1984, Aneth Utah- Navajo elders mediate a collaboration between the US Air Force and the Jesus Christ Church of Latter-Day Saints. The matter at hand is an urgent but potentially disastrous revision of a thirty-three year old spy-building program called BRAT, which, for years, has selected its agents among the children of average military families.
Genre and Craft Study:
Brat is an overtly fictionalized autobiography, which uses a simple code of headers to demarcate factual and fictional content. The purpose of Brat (or “mission” of BRAT) is to join together a wild, unfettered, paranoia, a latitudinal mass “delusion” or fantasy, with the militantly disciplined and ever-persistent narrative history that we currently call “reality.”
Early Memoir Stock Footage
The details of that kitchen, the cheap fiberboard counters, the table’s position against the front wall, the overall box-shape of the room— as if it were modeled after the cube of our little brown microwave—each small detail would be lost on my memory if it wasn’t for my mother being there also, fetching a jug of orange juice out of the refrigerator, dotting back and forth to the table to set up our lunch. The residual effects of her presence in this footage are remarkable, tying together fragile wisps of image, a strange Polaroid-development of an old memory that turns out to be rather remarkably preserved, right down to the small dust specs on the linoleum floor, now blinking to the touch of the seaside sun. It’s as if my mother’s station in this moving picture has a strange kind of Moses-effect on my memory, leading to freedom the finer touches of my childhood from a black, classified bondage, to a new and noticing light, their truth revived, their permanence confirmed. I believe again, that the past, no matter how much I’ve abused it, did, in fact, happen. We have proof even, for there I am, five years old, wandering into the kitchen to take my orange juice and plead for a cookie to go with it.
“What do you say?”
“Thank you.” I garble up at her, cookie crumbs spill out of my mouth onto the floor. “I want another one.”
“No more. We’re going to have lunch.”
She’s pretty, my mother. She’s tall, with curving hips and big bosom. I often wished I could have the same pretty blue eyes. Jimmy, my brother, has blue eyes. “But Joey, you’ve got such great beautiful brown eyes,” she would say, and it made me feel better. Her hair is pretty, colored like the bark of a redwood tree. I like its touch: soft, rich, smooth. I like South Carolina. And I’m always sad to leave to go to Utah. But it’s the same thing when I’m in Utah, just the other way around. It’s always going to be sad.