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Chapter One -- An Interview

“Don’t touch that dial! You’re on WEVD and listening to “What’s New In the Revolution.” I’m Gerry Valetto and we have a special guest, a major hero of these revolutionary times, Leo Torres. Good morning Commissioner Torres.”

“Good morning.”

“I don’t have to tell our listeners that Leo Torres is one of the foremost, if not the foremost leader of our revolution. I know you’ve been out in the field working with the people, what brings you back to New York this time? There are rumors that the miserable times are about over, that we’re going to stabilize this revolutionary process and come up with some kind of a government. Are you directing that?”

Leo Torres shifted uncomfortably in his seat and leaned toward the microphone, “Gerry, ah, I’m afraid I don’t know about any stabilizing process, and just to set things straight, I wasn’t a leader of the revolution and am not now.” Then, because the interviewer paused and Leo had been told that “dead air” is bad for interviews, he added, “I support it though.”

“I think you’d get a big argument from every American about your role in the revolution. Before you, the simultaneous economic and environmental crashes that brought on the bad times had just about robbed all of us of any hope. Then we heard about Leo Torres. You’re the one who took decisive action and showed all our friends, and all our enemies too, that change was underway.

‘Of course, we recognize the administrators assembled here in New York because they are directing things now, but when we talk about the revolution, when we sing songs about the revolution, it’s Leo Torres we’re singing and talking about!”

Leo felt, again, that he was taking too long to answer, “Ah, I was just trying to play my part. There was a misunderstanding, and some deaths resulted. It’s been kind of overstated since then.”

“I wish I could interpret, for these good listeners, just how impressive it is just to be in your presence, and what your humility really says about heroism. I had heard before that Leo Torres was not one to blow his own horn, but you don’t have to worry, plenty of us are blowing it for you. Now let’s get down to what you are doing and how we can understand better what’s going on. Weren’t you just out west somewhere?”

“I had an assignment in the Texas panhandle, and before that one in Oklahoma.”

“What’s it like out west?”

“Well, it was kind of a surprise. It’s not nearly as hot, or as humid, or as smoky, as it is in the city. I could see quite some distance because there wasn’t nearly as much poison junk in the air. They have water that just comes up out of the ground, ready to drink. They say the water and the air are aren’t nearly as good as they used to be, but I didn’t see anybody dying from either one. They’re a lot better than here.

‘Also, they had more food than I’ve ever seen at one time. Even before the difficult times, some of them lived on farms and raised some of their food. Even the ones who lived in the little towns were only a generation or two away from being farmers, or so it seemed. When things got really awful here, they adapted quickly. Even the fossil fuel moratorium didn’t hit them as hard as it did people in the city. They already had horses!”

‘A man of the people. What kind of problems did you deal with out west?”

“Well, in Oklahoma there was a problem with somebody wanting an exception to the moratorium on fossil fuels. I was supposed to sort that out, but the guy sort of stepped out ahead of the problem and left me with nothing to decide. It wasn’t bad, though, just a little exception.”

“And in Texas?”

“That was a lot bigger project. We were making a kind of settlement for chronic drug addicts. The idea was, is, that the rest of the country would be safer, that is, safer from mostly petty crimes, if this certain part of the population were attracted to our project. It seems to be working, but my job in it was terminated.”

“Enforcing the fossil fuel moratorium and solving drug- related crimes sounds absolutely wonderful to me! Would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself? Other than the amazing revolutionary acts you undertook, most of us know very little about you. I understand you were raised here in New York?”

“Ah, When I went to Oklahoma, that was the first time I ever left the city. I don’t know if I should say I was actually raised here, because I’m not sure I was raised anywhere, or raised at all. I just lived on the streets, like a lot of kids did in the difficult days before we started to see our way out. I ate what I could find or take away from somebody else, I got my clothes the same way, and I slept anywhere that I didn’t get evicted. When I came across Paul Kerr and his group of Progressive revolutionaries, it was the first time I had ever associated with anybody who was thinking beyond their next meal.”

“Go on, what happened then?”

“They were about my age, teen aged or maybe a little older, so I just hung around with them and did what they did. I guess it was lucky for me that I came along just when they were starting to be successful. The national strike was already building and picking up support from other places. Even though we were doing something every day – picketing or handing out literature or begging for money – just about the only thing on my mind was learning. I was just coming from behind the rest of them. I was trying to learn what they knew, but I guess they were learning, too. Everybody was learning in those days, whether they were revolutionaries or not, whether they were leaders or not. I guess that none of us have ever done anything like what we did then and, for that matter, what we’re doing now.”

“And now you’re leadership. Can you give me any kind of hint as to what’s going on as to developing an ongoing government? Or is it too hush-hush at this time?”

“As I said, I don’t know anything about it.”

“We’re starting to run low on time, Commissioner Torres, so can you just tell us in general what this whole process and your participation in it has meant to you so far?”

“Well, I’ve just been learning a lot. The biggest thing wasn’t about anything we’ve been talking about. It was personal. At the personal level, I met somebody when I was on assignment, and she came back here with me. I have to tell you that she’s the most important thing in my life up to now. I hope she’s listening.”

“That’s really wonderful and I wish we had time to get further into it. Thank you, Commissioner Leo Torres, for coming in. Thanks to WEVD for providing the air and video time, and, especially, thank you for listening. This is Gerry Valetto signing off until tomorrow when you’ll find out -- What’s New in the Revolution!

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