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Flight
by
Sherman Alexie

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Flight

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indigenous Americans (fiction)

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Flight

Copyright © 2007 by Sherman Alexie

One

“Here’s the thing,” she said. “You’ve never learned how to be a fully realized human being.”

Jesus, what kind of overeducated bitch says that to a kid?

She made me sound like I was raised by wolves when, in fact, I haven’t been raised by anybody.

I make it sound like I’m just a television addict. But I’m also addicted to books. And I know that there has never been a human being or a television show, no matter how great, that could measure up to a great book.

Topic:

Books (general)

I think it’s strange how curse words frighten and disgust some people. Yes, there are people afraid of certain combinations of vowels and consonants. Isn’t that hilarious? Don’t those wimps realize that each and every word only has the power and meaning you assign to it? If I decided that plop was a dirty word, and started using it to curse people, and convinced enough people to use it as a curse word also, it would eventually become an obscenity.

Topics:

Words

Swearing

Three If I killed enough people for real, would it begin to feel like practice?
Four Man, I had no idea I was this evil. And then it makes me wonder. Do evil people know they’re evil? Or do they just think they’re doing the right thing?

Topic:

Evil

Six

“I believe that what we did the other night was necessary,” he says. “Horrible and necessary. Do you understand that?”

Art and Justice fight on opposite sides of the war but they sound exactly like each other. How can you tell the difference between the good guys and the bad guys when they say the same things?

Topic:

Rationalizing

Nine

Did I want revenge? Did I blame those strangers for my loneliness? Did they deserve to die because of my loneliness?

[...]

If I kill him, do I deserve to be killed by this white soldier’s family and friends?

Is revenge a circle inside of a circle inside of a circle?

Topic:

Vengeance

Ten

It’s like little knives stabbing my knuckles.

Then I remember that God is really, really old. So maybe God has God arthritis. And maybe that’s why the world sucks. Maybe God’s hands and fingers don’t work as well as they used to.

Maybe God looks down on earth and sees the bad guys and tries to pick them up. Maybe he wants to squish them like bugs. But God’s arthritis is so bad he can’t make his fingers work.

Topic:

Justice

Fourteen

Why do people hurt each other like this?

I just know I never want to be as much in love with anybody as these women are in love with Jimmy. You can’t trust people with your love. People will use your love. They’ll take advantage of you. They’ll lie to you. They’ll cheat you.

Topic:

Love

Seventeen

“What kind of story do you want to hear?”

“Something personal,” I say. “Something you haven’t told anybody. Something secret.”

“I can’t tell you secrets,” he says. “I don’t even know you.”

And then the guy realizes that he can tell me anything precisely because he doesn’t know me. He realizes that any stranger can be your priest.

Topic:

Secrets

Nineteen

But I don’t know what that lesson is. It’s too complicated, too strange. Or maybe it really is simple. Maybe it’s so simple it makes me feel stupid to say it.

Maybe you’re not supposed to kill. No matter who tells you to do it. No matter how good or bad the reason. Maybe you’re supposed to believe that all life is sacred.

Twenty-one

I’m happy.

I’m scared, too. I mean, I know the world is still a cold and cruel place.

I know that people will always go to war against each other.

I know that children will always be targets.

I know that people will always betray each other.

I know that I am a betrayer.

But I’m beginning to think I’ve been given a chance. I’m beginning to think I might get unlonely.

text checked (see note) Mar 2008

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