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Full Online Book HomeLong Stories100%: The Story Of A Patriot - Section 59
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100%: The Story Of A Patriot - Section 59 Post by :Joe_Coon Category :Long Stories Author :Upton Sinclair Date :May 2012 Read :1813

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100%: The Story Of A Patriot - Section 59

The motor purred softly, and the car sped as if upon wings thru the suburbs of American City, and to the country beyond. There were cars in front, and other cars behind, a long stream of white lights flying out into the country. They came to a grove of big pine trees, which rose two or three feet thick, like church arches, and covered the ground beneath them with a soft, brown carpet. It was a well-known picnic place, and here all the cars were gathering by appointment. Evidently it had all been pre-arranged, with that efficiency which is the pride of 100% Americans. A man with a black mask over his face stood in the center of the grove, and shouted his directions thru a megaphone, and each car as it swept in ranged itself alongside the next car in a broad circle, more than a hundred feet across. These cars of the younger members of the Chamber of Commerce and the Merchants' and Manufacturers' Association were well behaved--they were accustomed to sliding precisely into place according to orders of a megaphone man, when receptions were being given, or when the younger members and their wives and fiancees, clad in soft silks and satins, came rolling up to their dinner-parties and dances.

The cars came and came, until there was just room enough for the last one to slide in. Then at a shouted command, "Number one!" a group of men stepped out of one of the cars, dragging a handcuffed prisoner. It was Michael Dubin, the young Jewish tailor who had spent fifteen days in jail with Peter. Michael was a student and dreamer, and not used to scenes of violence; also, he belonged to a race which expresses its emotions, and consequently is offensive to 100% Americans. He screamed and moaned while the masked men un-handcuffed him, and took off his coat and tore his shirt in the back. They dragged him to a tree in the center of the ring, a somewhat smaller tree, just right for his wrists to meet around and be handcuffed again. There he stood in the blinding glare of thirty or forty cars, writhing and moaning, while one of the black-masked men stripped off his coat and got ready for action. He produced a long black-snake whip, and stood poised for a moment; then in a booming voice the man with the megaphone shouted, "Go!" and the whip whistled thru the air and was laid across the back of Michael, and tore into the flesh so that the blood leaped into sight. There was a scream of anguish, and the victim began to twist and turn and kick about as if in his death-throes. Again the whip whistled, and again you heard the thud as it tore into the flesh, and another red stripe leaped to view.

Now the younger members of the Chamber of Commerce and the Merchants' and Manufacturers' Association were in excellent condition for this evening's labor. They were not pale and thin, underfed and overworked, as were their prisoners; they were sleek and rosy, and ashine with health. It was as if long years ago their fathers had foreseen the Red menace, and the steps that would have to be taken to preserve 100% Americanism; the fathers had imported a game which consisted of knocking little white balls around a field with various styles and sizes of clubs. They had built magnificent club-houses out here in the suburbs, and had many hundreds of acres of ground laid out for this game, and would leave their occupations of merchanting and manufacturing early in the afternoon, in order to repair to these fields and keep their muscles in condition. They would hold tournaments, and vie with one another, and tell over the stories of the mighty strokes which they had made with their clubs, and of the hundreds of strokes they had made in a single afternoon. So the man with the black-snake whip was "fit," and didn't need to stop for breath. Stroke after stroke he laid on, with a splendid rhythmic motion; he kept it up easily, on and on. Had he forgotten?

Did he think this was a little white ball he was swinging down upon? He kept on and on, until you could no longer count the welts, until the whole back of Michael Dubin was a mass of raw and bleeding flesh. The screams of Michael Dubin died away, and his convulsive struggling ceased, and his head hung limp, and he sunk lower and lower upon the tree.

At last the master of ceremonies stepped forward and ordered a halt, and the man with the whip wiped the sweat from his forehead with his shirt-sleeve, and the other men unchained the body of Michael Dubin, and dragged it a few feet to one side and dumped it face downward in the pine-leaves.

"Number two!" called the master of ceremonies, in a clear, compelling voice, as if he were calling the figures of a quadrille; and from another car another set of men emerged, dragging another prisoner. It was Bert Glikas, a "blanket-stiff" who was a member of the I. W. W.'s executive committee, and had had two teeth knocked out in a harvest-strike only a couple of weeks previously. While they were getting off his coat, he managed to get one hand free, and he shook it at the spectators behind the white lights of the automobiles. "God damn you!" he yelled; and so they tied him up, and a fresh man stepped forward and picked up the whip, and spit on his hands for good luck, and laid on with a double will; and at every stroke Glikas yelled a fresh curse; first in English, and then, as if he were delirious, in some foreign language. But at last his curses died away, and he too sank insensible, and was unhitched and dragged away and dumped down beside the first man. "Number three!" called the master of ceremonies.

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Now Peter was sitting in the back seat of his car, wearing the mask which McGivney had given him, a piece of cloth with two holes for his eyes and another hole for him to breathe thru. Peter hated these Reds, and wanted them punished, but he was not used to bloody sights, and was finding this endless thud, thud of the whip on human flesh rather more than he could stand. Why had he come? This wasn't his part of the job of saving his country from the Red menace. He had done his share in pointing out the dangerous
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So they gathered, until about thirty were present, and then the meeting speedily got down to business. It was evident, said Grady, that the authorities had deliberately framed-up the dynamite conspiracy, in order to have an excuse for wiping out the I. W. W. organization; they had closed the hall, and confiscated everything, typewriters and office furniture and books--including a book on Sabotage which they had turned over to the editor of the "Evening Times"! There was a hiss of anger at this. Also, they had taken to interfering with the mail of the organization; the I. W. W. were having
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