Snow leopard

They think I’m inferior because I’m in their cage. I’m inferior because I look differently, act differently, have different morals and values than they do. They think they are so superior and they laugh at me, calling me names because to them I’m just an animal.

I want revenge. I want to strike back, shove their vile lying taunts down their flabby throats.

No. That didn’t work the last time when we were the superior ones and they were in our cages. It never works because one or the other always suffers.

There are only two options. The desirable one is to co-exist, to treat each other with mutual respect and dignity. But how? We are so different and we are being driven further apart by radical extremists who each say one side must win for anything to be good. But that means the other side much be crushed under the victor’s heel.

The other choice is mutual annihilation. Let God sort out the bodies and start anew. God. They hate me even for that, believing they are the ultimate moral and creative force in the universe.

They may have me in their cage but we’re all in a prison.

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge of January 14th 2018. The idea is to use the image above to inspire writing a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 200.

Normally, I’m pretty literal in my interpretation of the prompts, but lately I’ve been inundated with politically and socially driven rhetoric from both sides of the fence (as if there were only two sides). That, plus the false alarm stating that Hawaii was under missile attack really set me off.

Both conservatives and liberals seem to think that their side must “win” in order to save their country or the world or something. That means, they have to marginalize, denigrate, and “cage” those who aren’t exactly like them.

Sure, there have been differing political and social opinions ever since there has been civilization, but it seems like the past eight to ten years or so in the U.S. that it’s gotten much, much worse. I sometimes feel I’m on one or more groups’ “hit list” because of my views, or just because I’m old, white, and male, but I don’t doubt that others feel the same way.

So what options are there? Like I said, there are two. The first is to make an effort to understand each other and allow the moderate position, which is currently being violently choked to death, to grow larger again. Really try to see the other person’s point of view and why they feel so concerned about whatever issues are important to them (it doesn’t mean we’ll always agree, but at least we’ll understand that we’re all human).

The other is to destroy ourselves and let God or Mother Nature or whatever force larger than humanity you believe in (unless you believe humanity is the ultimate moral force in the universe) to take over and start again.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to

20 thoughts on “Caged

  1. An additional consideration to complicate your story is if the two competing sides or ideologies are not truly of equal value. If the morality of one side is misanthropic, harmful to the well-being of the species, or of the economy that supports life, then allowing it to flourish due to some misguided sense of “moderation” or “empathy” is to threaten harm to the well-being of all. Such an evaluation does require, however, access to a standard that can be supported by more-or-less objective evidence.

    To illustrate by means of a straw-man, consider what would happen if liberal “empathy” were to release all violent criminals and convicted murderers from the “cages” of public prisons. The threat to society is similar to that of anarchy, because of disrespect for the notion of a social contract that protects the weak and the altruistic from the strong and the selfish. Increasingly, life would become “nasty, brutish, and short”. Any trace of noble or liberal values would collapse and be overrun by the vandals who care nothing for them. What conclusion, then, may be developed, except to do everything possible to restrain the madness — of both the violent and those who would refuse to restrain them?

    Indeed, it seems to me that the internal monologue you’ve presented here represents the cluelessness and presumption of moral equivalence characteristic of the so-called “liberal” side of the current cultural conflict. Several of its fundamental beliefs are flat-out wrong, hence the conclusions it draws from them are likewise. My only complaint about the story is that its illustration of that fact may be too subtle and thus insufficiently recognizable. There actually exists a third option, which is to analyze logical flaws and to project consequences that illustrate them, in order to actively challenge and combat them — to remove the evil and to promote the good, thus *preventing* mutual destruction. Note that neither extreme is shielded from such analysis, though it does not favor moderation for its own sake. Flaws of moderation are just as susceptible to its censure.


  2. I am just glad that I am not in charge of the world, I may hold strong views, but are they right? There you have got me thinking.🙂


    • We all have opinions and viewpoints, Michael. Some may be very strongly held. If we didn’t think they were right, we probably wouldn’t have them. My concern is when we (anyone) use those viewpoints to convince ourselves that other people with whom we disagree are not as valid as human beings as we are.


      • Still, the question remains about what to do with valid human beings whose views and behavior are invalid? If one can be separated from the other, the valid humans may be preserved and retrained. Otherwise, the humans may suffer along with the suppression of that which is invalid.


  3. Wow, a drastic change of tone and style with that one James. Given the way things are going, I won’t be surprised if we are not actually left with a choice. Not in the immediate future maybe, but in a century or two, option two will automatically get triggered.


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