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Mountain Women

From Mountain Women
Copyright © Paula Friedman 2007. All rights reserved.

. . . and in the early days Katrine ran a swift-group up on Donner. Katrine’s friend, her good friend Payalae, worked nearly singlehanded after the Black Tuesday raids, old lady on a boulder waving to a passing Guards truck, wearing a wrinkled grey silk skirt and REI tee. Looking, some ways, not so different from when we studied in her courses down in Berkeley—she had been Professor Sorinski then, teaching her Ethics 102, “How Life Is Not a Proof” and intriguing my dear Katrine. . . See, we all had to survive, back then; this was right after the London and Haifa Bombs finished off, you know, “civil liberties.” The Avengement, the rush from the cities, all that, only speeded the Patriot Surge. Hell, you’ve seen the pictures—those elderly pacifists with their hands still outstretched. . .
       But by then, Katrine and the rest of us had the base high up on Donner. We’d come down by darkness, heading out past the glacial whatnots, and take out the army robo-convoys. But that night . . .

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Reaching Through

from Reaching Through
Copyright © Paula Friedman 2007. All rights reserved.

Leah looked away into darkness, the flat white road. If I move, I’ll confuse his timing—more people will be hurt. The road had a peculiar whiteness. If it’s even happening.
        Gears ground; the weapons truck braked hard.
        No time.
        In the white television lights, she half-saw Marines rush out and attack the person. The high-packed napalm truck, its huge bulk momentarily blocking her vision, sped past. Whoever the demonstrator was, they were dragging him out in the light of the cameras, hitting him with nightsticks, shoving him down.
        But her feet would not move.
        Like a movie, unreal. Not she who had stopped the trucks. I would only make things worse.
        The fragile woman Selena was running out onto the road, throwing herself across the injured demonstrator, one hand upraised. A Marine mouthed something, raised his club. . .

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