I Threw a Brick Through a Window

Hudson, Manhattan

The men and women in their crystal palaces gathered up their stones in preparation for war. Glass warfare was coming. The old saying goes; A glass war benefits no one but the glass makers and the broom pushers. But it was inevitable. It was – from the moment the rock hoarding began.

Some have suggested that perhaps making all houses – glass houses was not the best idea. It was the paranoia and distrust that forced the town fathers to outlaw privacy, security and opaque solid walls. Every building would be demolished and soon all the houses in the town were glass.

Everyone lived out in the open. Nothing could be hidden from your neighbors or your friends or other residents. All of your bad habits were on display for the world to see. There were no secrets.

The positive effects were immediately felt. Without secrets, there was no mistrust. Without walls there was no hiding. I see you. You see me. They see us. No room for shame. If we had something to hide, we no longer could, so we no longer did.

Going into the Glass House

After someone spotted a pile of rocks neatly stacked beside a small house, behind glass soon became an uneasy existence. A child had played army and made a tiny rock fort for his figures. But the people on the street saw this as a coming threat to their community. They gathered what rocks they could find and brought them into their houses. Maybe just to get them off the road but that was where it began. It soon became an arms race that spread to the entire town. Within days every house in the tiny glass town had its own pile of stones on display. A symbol that said no rock would fly without retaliation. Some families had more stones. Some houses had larger ones. But there was no home without them, without weapons. In a town made of glass there was no house without its own weapons of mass destruction.

It seemed inevitable. Surely the war was coming. Someone would strike first. Someone would bring about the glass apocalypse, if only by mistake. But after months of tension and rock collecting, it didn’t happen. They realized that as long as they all had rocks and as long as they all had breakable homes there was always a need for peace, however fragile.

Rocks

Keeping rocks on hand was no longer just the right of every citizen but every citizen’s duty. The rocks became fancy. Decorated, painted or shaped to order. Some were aerodynamic like skipping stones for more speed or distance. Some sharpened or flattened depending on the preference. Sling shots were fashioned. Some nicer homes displayed rock propelling sling canons and catapults. Every citizen had their stones. Some had bricks and boulders. In a world made of glass everyone was dangerous. But still there were no incidents. Because in a world without real walls there were no real conflicts.

Enter the trouble-maker. A soft-spoken man. No one really knew what was his problem. Maybe he thought he knew what was best for them. Maybe he believed they were all trapped. Locked in the cold war of a tension-filled town under constant threat of complete destruction. Maybe he was bored. He claimed later to be a good man. A man who believed that the glass walls of their glass houses kept the town further apart. He would help to tear them down.

He threw a brick. No one had hurled a rock through the air in years. When this good man threw a designer brick through the walls of his own house. The sound was unmistakeable. It was the sound of breaking glass. It sent chills up the spines of all who heard it. Followed closely by fear.

The panic spread quickly through the town as the facts of “the tossing” changed over distance and retelling. Many people began to suspect their neighbors. And with tensions at an all-time high then came preemptive strikes.

When fear takes hold of a community nothing breakable can survive.

The Glass War had begun.

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