Monday, July 4, 2011

Captain America: Independence Day


Today we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 in which we declared our independence from Great Britain. America's a young 235 today and this year, Cap turned 70! To commemorate this grand occasion, Rick and I would like to feature the actual documents that define the great American experiment and to treat you to one of our little original story sketches the blog here is known for. We know Steve Rogers would definitely approve.

As always, thanks for reading, folks! Have a GREAT 4th!

The Declaration of Independence

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776. The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
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The Constitution

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
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The Emancipation Proclamation

Amendment XIII

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
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The Land of Fair Play

by Ben Alpi

It was a world of delights. Young Stevie was so used to being alone. And sick. And in bed. Mom, Dad, Grandma, they had always been his teachers. This. This was a Brooklyn city school. Stevie was still stiff and couldn't move very fast, but he was better (no crutches!) and going into the third grade. Stevie couldn't put his finger on it exactly, but perhaps for the first time in his life he felt something. Something special. Freedom. Playing with other children was a wonder although, he didn't get too close.

The slide. Oh, the slide! He couldn't get enough of the tall metal contraption; it was so high and what speed—it was like flying! Talking to other children was probably Stevie's favorite thing. There were light-skinned children and brown-skinned and all sorts of hair and eye colors, too. It had been quite a while since he had seen children this close-up. He often watched them playing stick ball in the street from his window, but that wasn't the same. This was wondrous. Until the day Ms. White started acting... different. She scolded Stevie harshly for talking in class. For taking too long in the bathroom. For day dreaming. For playing with his toy soldiers. She told him he was nothing special. Told him to smarten up or he'll end up working in a mine. What's wrong with being a miner? She accused him of taking answers from other children's tests. She made him read the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Emancipation Proclamation, but stopped there when she realized he liked re-reading the documents like old friends. She shook him and told him to pay attention or she'd give him reason to. What does that mean? She told the class to be careful or they would end up like Steve Rogers. For the first time in his life, Stevie felt an ache not in his bones or his muscles or his stomach. It hurt in his heart. The children began to laugh at him as the teacher did. Tommy, the big boy who had been nice enough before, started teasing Stevie. He called him names and pushed him, sometimes hard which made Stevie so very afraid because he'd had several broken bones before.

The amazing slide. One cloudy afternoon, Tommy wouldn't let Stevie up the ladder on the slide. He asked Tommy politely to move so he could get on the slide. Tommy refused. Stevie begged and the other children in line behind him started to complain as well, but instead of complaining about Tommy, they complained that he should step out of line. What? Stevie left the line demoralized. What a horrible, horrible place this is. These children are mean and terrible. Unfair. The sense of freedom left Stevie. Then an odd thing happened. Tommy stopped Laura, who Stevie had quite a crush on, from getting on the slide. Stevie watched Tommy stick his tongue out at her, push her a bit and fold his arms. She tried to push him back, but Stevie knew that only made it worse. Tommy got angry and pushed her hard to the dirt. Stevie saw the look in Tommy's eyes. He saw Tommy step toward Laura. That's when something coursed through Stevie's veins. He felt heat surge through him and his legs walked him toward Tommy and his hands balled into fists. Tommy grabbed Laura, then noticed Stevie's thin legs. He looked up and saw the scrawny little blond boy, the filtered mid-day sun shining above him.

"Let. Her. Go."

With that, Stevie twisted and drew his fist back and released all he had to give—all the fear, all the anger, all the heat—and delivered it to Tommy's jaw. Tommy spun and fell to the ground and pain rung out from Stevie's hand, but he knew pain. He boxed it and put it away as best he could and helped Laura to her feet with his other hand.

She smiled. He smiled. "Thank you, Steven." He blushed and was pretty sure Laura was about to kiss his cheek when Ms. White descended on him.

The tall, rail-thin, raven-haired woman yelled and yanked Stevie back inside the school. She pulled Stevie into the classroom, sat him down and slowly pulled a wooden ruler out of her desk like a sword. Such fear Stevie had never known.

"'He's been sick most of his life,'" she mocked. "'You have to be gentle.'" This was all happening too fast. Her eyes were large, filled with daggers.

"I have had enough of coddling you, Rogers. It's time you learned your lesson."  The pain from punching Tommy returned to his hand and invaded his nerves, pounding with his speeding heartbeat.

"Hold out your hand. Now." Stevie obeyed, tears streaming down his cheeks. She raised the ruler.

"This is what happens to dreamers."


Dressed as two wool-capped dock workers, Cap and Bucky sit amongst boxes and shelves of wine in a cellar lit by two candles. Cap slides a finger across the back of his hand. "She broke all these. She never believed my parents, just thought they were over-protective."

Bucky shakes his head. "Man. I thought my melamed was strict."

Cap smiles and rubs his hand. "It never really healed. It hurt every day until they put me in the chamber. I still feel a tingle every now and then."

Bucky looks off into the darkness and smiles wryly. "If they could see us now."

Cap leans over and snuffs a candle. "They're here." Bucky snuffs the other candle and in the dark, they stand on either side of the cellar stairs.

Upstairs, a door unlocks and several feet step in quietly. A whooshing sound of a rug being slide aside. The door set into the floor creaks open.

A woman's voice whispers softly. "Bonjour?" A cat pads down the steps, stops and looks around, then continues into the dark.

A flashlight shines down. "Ello? Américain?"

Another woman's voice whispers, "Aallons-y," causing the first to huff.

Three women descend the stairs and the second two gasp as the darkness nabs them. The first woman shines the flashlight and finds Cap and then Bucky holding her friends and covering their mouths. The woman shines the light on herself.

"It is I, Bucky. These are my sisters in the Résistance," she says, a bit hurt.

The men release the ladies. Bucky removes his cap and smiles. "Sorry about that, Cherise. We have to be careful, you understand."

"Yes, of course." She shines the light up to Cap's full height. "And oo is dees?"

"This my brother, as you say."

Cap smiles and removes his hat. "Enchantee de te rencontr, madam. Je m'appelle... Joe."

Bucky smiles shaking his head...

Original content © 2011 Ben Alpi

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