gargleblaster: the physics of freedom

Mr. Unger had his back turned when a student’s physics book crashed to the floor.

Whipping around, he threw himself on the ground.

As he rose moments later with wet eyes, an onlooking wall poster offered a silent explanation:

“Freedom isn’t free.”


37 thoughts on “gargleblaster: the physics of freedom

  1. This reminds me of the first time I ever drove with a veteran. He was a good friend of mine, and he had recently come back from Iraq, maybe a month before; he had spent 4 years there by that point. I was at the wheel, he in the passenger seat, when we came up on something in the road. It was nothing more than a piece of foam, but he yelled, “Look out!” and grabbed the steering wheel, swerving to avoid the foam. Later on he explained that he thought it was an IED, as he had seen one too many tanks run over those things in the Iraqi sand.

    Your piece hits home, both for those who have experienced that kind of sudden terror and for those who can empathize second-hand. Nicely done.


  2. The sound of terror. Great understory. I’ve had recent experience with books falling to the floor – it’s always unsettling to say the least. Physics book – forget it!


  3. So much of the story is ‘told’ here through allusion. As a result, you’ve accomplished a complete and deep story in so few words.


  4. I read this as a teacher afraid of school shootings. The freedom to bear arms comes at a cost. The soldier aspect never occurred to me. But either way, it was evocative and sonorous!


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