Relations: Smash Your TV! (online version)
Juan Rivera 
After all these years, Mr. Rivera still had not given up. There were many, many times
where he had been tempted. Where life would have been so much simpler if he would just
start taking C5 and stop working so hard every day on recalling how to read and write.
Every year free time was harder and harder to come by, and taking time to concentrate on
remembering how to spell words seemed more and more like a waste of time. And yet he
persisted. He dared not write any words down, he dared not stare too long at the infrequent
written words that you might still come across in daily life. He had to do all of his
remembering in his head. But he did it. Every day.
Why? What had he been hoping would happen? He had no idea. It was basically a pipe
dream to imagine that anything different might ever happen. But, somehow, he had never
stopped hoping. Hoping for something. And today, when he was closer than ever to giving up,
it had happened. He was watching tv and the Hotcha commercial had come on and it had
As a youth, Juan Rivera had been a graffiti artist. A graffiti artist still lived in his
soul. When the new ways had come along he'd needed to hide his spray paint cans away where
they would never be discovered. And there they remained until one evening when he went to
retrieve them. In the dark of night, on a day of strange happenings, Juan sprayed one
letter at a time on the side of an enormous structure.
He wondered why. Why did these crazy ideas have such a hold of him? Why could everyone
else just live a normal life and he could think of nothing else but doing this? Why?
Would anyone even be able to read it? Yes. The people who the message is for, the Relations
class people, will be able to read it just fine. His heart pounded as he worked on
remembering each letter in sequence and filling it in with beautiful spray paint designs. He had
no way of knowing whether to expect that the authorities would swoop right in the moment he
started painting or would never show up or would show up in the middle. Life kinda made
you feel like authorities would pop out and kill you the moment you did something unauthorized.
As he stood back and looked at the 15 beautiful letters that he had carefully created, with
his heart thundering in his chest, he began to consider the idea that he might not get caught.
He went home trying to stop himself from looking over his shoulder.
As the sun rose on Manhattan, people gasped as they saw that the enormous dome that covered
Central Park --president Robert Minton's personal park-- had been defaced. Most didn't know
what it said but they wanted to. Some began asking what it meant. And as the few older people
who still knew how to read began spreading the word, it spread like wildfire. People feared they
would get in trouble for talking about it. But how could they not? You couldn't keep it to
yourself. There was a huge painting on the side of the dome over Central Park. And it was
words. And the words said "THIS BELONGS TO US!"