Kids in Black (a NaNoWriMo audition tape)
The Kids in Black aren’t bad or good. If you suggest they’re either they’re liable to flip, though unlike you may never know that’s what they did.
A little while ago, some kid heard that we have no free will, only free won’t. Said kid got to thinking and talking with other kids, as kids are wont to do. These kids weren’t tribal, weren’t rebels, weren’t particularly remarkable in any degree other than their contemplative depth. As an experiment in escapism (from the self, from society, from school, from hormones) said thoughtful kids that their identities, now perceived as agglomerations of programming intrinsic and extrinsic, needed redefining. They had to find out who they really were, something they decided was only possible through the conscious, moment-to-moment application of their free will. Or won’t. And to these kids the only way to know free will was being freely exercised, was to do anything except what they wanted to do.
The Kids in Black were defined by undefinable patterns of behaviour. Rational actions had a part to play in their lives, alongside irrational ones, as valid breakers of rationality circuits. Just when you were sure you could predict the direction of their mania, they would switch tack, assuming the proportions of normalcy with zealot intensity.
The black uniform was a prescient defiance of the vain showboatery they knew they risked. Picking a colour scheme meant making aesthetic choices, meant addressing the external self, and the kids weren’t interested in outward perceptions. Some were smart enough to know this was a phase. They foresaw graduation from blacks into normal society’s jeans, stronger and better self-defined for their time as Kids. Sadly, as the enigma spread and lured those seeking a ready-made identity (even one as low-status as “weird, ebony-clad youth), the black became an affirmation rather than a negation.
Kids could be spotted easily. They were the ones sitting motionless in the middle of the road. Also the ones leaping up to hug swerve-enraged drivers.
They were the ones walking backwards across public spaces, cartwheeling down crowded sidewalks. They alternated exhaustingly between action and inaction, jittered with impulse/counter-impulse static. A Kid at her happiest would run up to you with crocodile tears streaming from her face and plead with you, “Help Me I’m so lonely I don’t know who I am I want to be normal”. A desperate, near-suicidal Kid would mosey up casually and offer to carry your bag, pay you a compliment, the desperation undergoing an alchemy to produce not ease, not charm exactly, but the endearing authenticity of someone in the grip of profound emotions trying to make it back to polite equilibrium.
I’m talking about the Kids. They’re not to blame, but you can’t understand the Children without first knowing the Kids.