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Monthly Vignette: Protecting the Served.

By Alex Wallace.

Oh, good. Vignette time again.

This month, our vignette is from the 72nd vignette challenge, which had as its theme: “Lawman.” This was from the prolific Alex Wallace. It is a short one, but packs a lot into its brevity.

The current monthly vignette challenge is on the subject of Jobber, the also-rans of life, and can be found here.




Protecting the Served


Another police killing, this time on the campus grounds.


Blood-stained Richmond Road, right across the street from Ewell Hall.


The William & Mary Center for Police Reform had another urgent meeting.


At this point there was no reason to doubt the necessity of what Dr Waltham had proposed. They had to tunnel into other universes for ideas.


A contraption was hastily put together using an old steam tunnel as the testing ground.


They lost some of the workers. Collateral, they thought.


But the researchers found a way to calibrate a drill through the time stream, to jump to other worlds and study them.


The President of the Commonwealth was counting on them.


Of course, he was also championing a bill in the Bufgesses that would tear away the College’s funding if they didn’t.


Too many Africans were being killed by the Commonwealth’s police. It was simply ungentlemanly for this to be the Commonwealth’s reputation!


They imported high-tech components from Pennsylvania and New York and France and Spain. For a brief time, Duke of Gloucester Street was awash in trucks.


Eventually, they pulled the lever.


They stepped into the swirling vortex and light and time, and found themselves in another world.


A Virginia under a red banner, with a cog and a star on it.


They heard the call of the propaganda towers, that “our brothers of African heritage must stop their counter-revolutionary insurrection at once!”


They saw the gunfire shred civilians, mostly black, in the streets of this Williamsburg.


They went back to their home.


They tried again. They entered a world where Virginia was part of some larger union, with a flag with an angular eagle.


The police carried machine guns.


The propaganda posters had Africans portrayed as near-demons, as the enemy of the state.


They could already tell nothing much would be learned from here.


Back home, again.


Into the portal, again.


A world where Virginia is part of a larger union, spanning the continent.


Yelling on phones, on networks that seemed so much more developed in their world, about a dead Black man named George Floyd, in a state that never existed in their world.


Nothing could be learned here, either.


The director of the project wrote up a report, and handed it to one of the slaves that the College owned, to be sent to the Governor’s mansion, to say that not one of these worlds had found a proper way for police to combat drapetomania.




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