Short Imagined Monologues
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Civil War General George B. McClellan Addresses his Troop of Ten-Year-Olds in a Game of Capture the Flag While Waiting for his Retinue of Horse-Drawn Carriages.
BY RIVER CLEGG
I know what you’re thinking. We’ve got them just where we want them. Two of them are in our jail. Their best player has just fallen with a twisted ankle. Some of them have rushed to make sure he’s OK instead of protecting their precious flag. We’re better rested and more numerous. Now’s our chance—we must go for the win.
Children, this is why I’m commander. The instant we make a charge for their flag is the instant we lose this game. Mark me when I say we’re not nearly prepared for so complex a venture as running from our side of the woods to their side, grabbing their flag, only to make the same treacherous journey back. Perhaps–PERHAPS I could be convinced if we could triumph by simply reaching their flag. But as is, we’re not ready. We’re not going anywhere.
Plus, my horse-drawn carriages should be here any minute.
What’s that? You’re not having fun? I suppose you’ll have more fun once you’re captured and led off to the Red Team’s jail?
I thought not.
I know that you must be growing impatient. But never forget: this game, like waiting for my majestic carriages, is a test of will and endurance. Rush in now and you’re sure to fail. Why, do you believe that the Red Team is fewer in number just because we can SEE that they’re fewer in number? Ha! They’ve easily got two, three times that many troops somewhere in hiding or on reserve, just waiting for their chance to pounce. Well, that’s a chance we’re not going to give them.
Certainly not before my finely crafted carriages arrive. Any time now.
My decisions have not always been popular, I know. But, children, I had specific reasons for ordering you not to chase those three Red players the last time they invaded. Did any of you want a repeat of the first time you tried that? The chaos? Sure, we caught two of their slower ones, but at what risk! Our defenses could have broken, my carriages had not yet arrived, and our proud Blue flag could be in enemy hands as we speak.
Well. Not on General George B. McClellan’s watch, no sir. And that’s why I’m issuing a direct order: not one of you is to abandon this tight, protective phalanx you’ve formed around our flag. Under no circumstances.
Do you think the horses are all right?
Now you shut your mouth Trevor! Okay, yes, I would prefer to have my horse-drawn carriages here before we make any kind of advance. What? Well I have a lot of nice things and it’s hard out here to keep track of them all—it’s just a convenience thing, really. An example? I might want to change shirts without walking all the way back to the cabin.
I might get sweaty.
I KNOW I’m not the one running around, what does—
Fine, when you’re in charge, you can order that we rush after the Red Team’s flag all you want. Outnumbered and with no carriages. But until then what I say goes, and I say you’re not ready.
I may seem severe, and believe me, I understand that you all think this game is simple. But it’s not. Thank your stars you’ve got a leader who knows that. This is capture the flag. Trying to capture their flag can only lead us to ruin.
Now where are those fucking carriages?
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