Anarchy 44/In the trucks
In the trucks
Men move down beside the trucks, cramming them in, pushing against their rumps so that they can close the doors on them. Sometimes the doors will not close on the solid bodies, and then the men run and swear and shout and push harder until they force the mute accepting bodies half an inch further inside, and the doors meet and the truck moves off.
Heads nuzzle each other, cheek touches cheek, body presses on body, chin rests on another’s shoulder, in an appalling mockery of tenderness. At first they try desperately to get away from each other, to stand alone, to breathe their own air. But it is impossible, and soon their eyes close and they see nothing. Do they then secretly regain dignity, or only the relief of blankness?
Such tired eyes. How weary they are, how utterly weary. I look through at the packed, sweating mass, and of every ten heads I see, in seven the eyes are closed. Yet the journey is only just beginning. Whenever the truck grinds to a halt, the eyes open, blink once or twice, and peer round, then close once again in an impassive resignation. Those near the door fall as the door is opened, and, regaining balance, either stand there bewildered and buffeted and sometimes knocked headlong again by those who fall after them and those who at once fight their way through to the air, or else, caught in a new moving mass, are themselves pushed inexorably along to another path, another truck. Is there no law against it, no humane Act of Parliament, no individual moved enough, angry enough, to shout aloud as poets and writers once shouted?
What is so extraordinary is their passivity. They were proud creatures once. One hears—
Occasionally one turns momentarily on another and snarls a little with a sudden flare of maleness, or another tosses her head and sighs in infinitessimal protest. But nothing happens. The herd clamps itself together again, thigh against thigh.
And eventually they stumble out of the trucks, blinking, grateful enough that now they can breathe more easily, and they move their heavy heads with the half-