Wednesday, April 30, 2014

po nellie ch 2

Stay tuned for a guest article tomorrow.  I'm still considering the Bison Reprint idea.  It's a good idea, I'm just not sure of the comments taking too much time, not to mention the TWO friggin computers at work are both acting up.  I'll let you'all know.
*
PO NELLIE

Ch. 2

Summary

Almost all empires declines can be traced back to either soil infertility or water supply disruption. Which makes sense since the whole reason an empire gets to be the big cheese in the first place is a surplus of food. The Agricultural Revolution allowed centralized governments to thrive because of a reliable storable surplus of food and in turn those governments vied for the position of empire by turning that surplus into military and economic power ( geology of course had a lot to do with things, of course, but that makes for an initial advantage. In the end, food surplus also drives even the best placed. Not to mention human nature as imbedded in our culture, honed through hundreds of thousands of years way before farming, of food being our primary driver in all behavior from mating to marriage to death ). American Empire is no different than the Roman. After Rome could no longer advance and conquer new land, after they were checked in what would become Germany, after the Persians stopped them, after they encountered endless desert past the fertile African coastline, there was no where else to go. And after that it was a matter of time before population growth met up with overworked farmland and soil degradation. Once the surplus wealth could no longer buy foreign grain it was pretty much Game Over. All the other details, barbarian invasions, severe weather occurrences, hyperinflation and taxes driving farmers from their lands, was the putrid icing on the cake.

*

America did not advance to empire because she was special, or better, or democratic or any other jingoistic flag waving propaganda. She did so on an ocean of oil unique in the world ( even today, a hundred fifty years later after the first oil well was sunk, we are still something like third largest oil producer ). Geology certainly didn’t hurt- we had almost all the ores needed in abundance and some of the best collection of farmland around. But oil was what made us great. Oil won us the Second World War ( it certainly wasn’t strategy or tactics-we essentially still threw the masses of poor conscripts into harms way in mass assaults ) and allowed us to colonize half the globe ( we gave the other half to the other country that practiced socialism and sacrificed large numbers of indentured peasants in wave assaults. If you look at FDR and Stalin objectively there is little difference other than facial hair ). The problems began when oil started to be a little less abundant. Once we reached the apex of domestic Lower 48 continental production, things became a bit harder to control.

*

The 70’s really sucked engorged donkey member for the US. We had to abandon the Gold Standard, our oil production peaked and plateaued ( our whole empire was based on oil GROWTH. Plateau meant end of growth ), because of those two we had to concede defeat in Vietnam ( not strategically important, but important in holding the empire together ) and also start triaging our oil supply which included shutting down our industrial production. Luckily for us, we had a Nazi sounding birth control glasses wearing guy roaming the halls of power that had a great idea. Let’s get the Saudi dudes to start pricing the sale of oil in dollars. Since they are the eight hundred pound guerrilla of OPEC, others will follow. And it succeeded beyond all expectations. Suddenly, the US didn’t need a real manufacturing economy anymore. All we had to do was keep the military hardware flowing and protect our good buddies at the House Of Saud and we could print up worthless paper money that everyone else had to take as trading chits for oil. Then, as if this alone had reversed our run of bad luck, then the North Sea and the Alaskan oil started flowing and suddenly we were again seeing oil gushing in the quantities Americans had come to see as their birthright. Even better, we had enough oil to force down the price so much that the Soviets, facing their own Peak Oil, couldn’t get enough money from their oil and went into a collapse- having the effect of giving us another ten years of free flowing petroleum as Russia looked like an African third world craphole for a time.

*

Yet, all good things must come to an end. We never were completely out of the woods-our standard of living has very slowly eroded for decades and our society turned onto itself as the fighting over a shrinking piece of pie never stopped. The great thing about it was, the decline was slow enough to be manageable to the average citizen. It sucked, but far better than total economic collapse. But by 2005 it was all over but the fat bitch in a weird horned helmet singing. That was the year, in hindsight almost unanimously agreed upon, that globally conventional petroleum peaked in production. We immediately went into production of everything else we could get to combust in our motor vehicles, from turning half our corn production into ten percent of our gasoline, to making Canada our number one oil exporter even if most of that “oil” was tar sand liquids. Total liquid fuels have declined somewhat, but they would have dropped like a stone without all the oil substitutes we employed. Most exporter nations were seeing five to eight percent declines PER YEAR.

*

And yet, this wasn’t the worst of it. We just started hyper-inflating the money supply ( much easier now with computers compared to physical paper being needed ) to make it look like growth had not stopped with the oil supply. That kicked the can down the road. No, the worst of it was, the pricing of money in dollars was being assaulted by all sides. One could make a case that we invaded Iraq for no other reason than they tried this first, or at least were the first credible threat. Without the Petro-Dollar monopoly, we were screwed, blued and tatooed. And it was a lot worse than just an economic depression we had to look forward to.

*

DRAMA CONTINUES

Of course, the silence didn’t last too long. Introspection was not a strong suite in most of today’s youth- although to give them credit, at least the following chatter was of almost forced quality as if to cover up an embarrassment such as when a guest at a party farted early on in the alcohol consumption phase and there was still a bit of social stigma attached to it. Steve didn’t know what to think, although he knew that although he had no information, what he could figure out, what anyone with half a brain could figure out easy enough, was that something very strange indeed had just happened and it was so far from normal it had to be a game changer. Like, if a German tank suddenly showed up at the road leading into your Polish village, that pretty much gave you a clue that there would soon follow very few if any Sunday services, your cousins baptism or a tasty lunch at the café tomorrow. Steve hadn’t done much more than follow the bigger news stories for some years now- the newspapers had shrunk in news and bloomed in gossip, sports and trivia and the TV news was so focused on the mundane and had such restrictive blinders on about anything not of interest at the moment to our DC Mandarins, they were both irrelevant. Anymore, if you just read the Internet connection homepage bullet-point headlines you kept up almost as well as if you had spent hours combing through the mass media offerings. Steve understood that this was probably by design. What the lemmings didn’t know to frightened them kept them from running to the cliff. But he certainly didn’t have time to devote to ferreting out whatever truth was out there. He had to work most of his waking hours. Now, completely lacking in any background information to explain things, he was regretting his forced disinterest in keeping up with what had been going on.

*

“Does anybody know someone to call to get any kind of answer to what the fuck just happened back there? A bunch of hayseeds and soccer moms don’t just suddenly get stupid and go nuts. And all the stores don’t just suddenly run out of most things. How empty was the store, anyway?”

“Had to be at least half empty. I mean, it was kind of hard to tell. You had some isles that were still full like usual. You know, the retched crap like the soy meat and the gluten free bread products. And it wasn’t like a regular storm where only the bread, milk and beer were gone. It was more like most things that came in on a daily basis weren’t being restocked. But I’d say, pretty close, about half the stuff was gone.”

“So, not even during our worst storms and road closures did we see this. Back east when the ice storms took out the electricity for two weeks, obviously there was going to be a run on the stores and shortages, but nobody ever went batcrap crazy and started shooting the place up and looting and whatnot. And it wasn’t like people were buying anything and everything, except perhaps pseudo-health food crap, in desperation prior to the riots. They had plenty of stuff in their cupboards. What is different this time? What are we missing?”
“Probably they were running out for some time, right? People have seen their home stash dwindle down, then they hear something that gets them spooked, really freaked out like they know there won’t be anything at all left for whatever reason. One person calls another, they call two more, in fifteen minutes half the town is in a panic.”
Nicole piped up from the back seat, “Pull over the next spot and I think I know who to call to get some more info. I’m about to puke back here from claustrophobia and car sickness
combined, plus I’m getting a bit nauseous as Tyrone and Mary are grab assing and I can imagine what befouled condition his pencil dick is in. If I add trying to talk on my cell at the same time I‘m going to blow chunks right on the back of your head.”


They went on for a few more minutes before Susan pulled off at the first possible spot. They were on the state highway heading north and mostly it was drop-offs or cliffs on either side with nary a flat stretch or valley the whole length. After much shuffling and flailing about the whole carload of human sardines emptied out and began bemoaning, stretching, bitching and in general acting like they had just crossed the country rather than just driven twenty minutes. Nicole got busy on her cell phone, and like yawning the contagious maneuver prompted most parties to do the same as if anybodies unimportant, unconnected and uneducated acquaintances would have the wisdom to shed light on the current situation. Well, at least they were trying.

*

“Okay, one of my classmates from GBCC was a poly sci dude, heavily into international events, banking, even military history. Loved to go on and on about what he called The Big Picture. I don’t event think he was all that serious about getting a degree, it was more like a really weird hobby with him. I met him playing D&D,” cries of Dork, Dweeb, Nerd and Poindexter where brandied about as Nicky grabbed her crotch and flipped everyone off, “which he claimed was how he recharged his mental batteries. Anyway, he was clearly pretty excited about all this. It was The Collapse Of Western Civilization according to his barely suppressed enthusiasm. A whole bunch of other nations have broke off with us, even most of our allies, he mentioned a standoff in Germany between our troops and theirs, and refused to honor the dollar as a trading currency. He was going on a bit about this and that, but I remember the ‘sixty percent of our oil is imported and about the only ones still promising us anything is Mexico and Canada.’ He seemed to think that we’ve lost half of our daily fuel supply over the last month. I guess one country after another kind of joined an avalanche deal on screwing us. He also went on about nuclear weapons and posturing, but didn’t seem to think it was a huge threat. He mainly talked about how almost nothing is getting shipped around much. Been that way for some time, everyone was covering, substituting, raising some prices to keep all the inventory from selling. But this is after End Game, in his words. The crap has already hit the fan.”

Steve felt he should be dipped in shit, and said so.

Mary chimed in, “I watched a couple of documentaries on organic farmers and permaculture. I remember them talking about our big farms, how they needed so much oil to grow and transport the food. I think it was like a quarter of the oil we use. But, it could have been energy. You know, like a damn making the electric to freeze the food. Anyway, I know it was a ton of oil just growing food.”
“So, we just filled up with gas. The retards are shipping gasoline to stations, but not food to stores? How much sense does that make?”
“A little. I mean, we all probably fill up more often than we go shopping, if you keep anything at home. But your tank is only twelve gallons, and nobody keeps spare gas around. And gas had kept going up in price the last few weeks. Perhaps enough to keep its consumption down?”
“So they were trying to buy time? Hope to get things turned around before it fell apart? Keep us all in the dark?”
“Sounds about how they’d do it, right? I wonder how many Internent blogs got Spammed or blocked or shut down if they smelled a rat.”
“Well, we got a pretty good idea. We are fucked. Now what do we do about it? Keep driving? Where?”


Steve got to thinking more, because this had been brewing subconsciously already. His brain had already formed its own conclusions, not too long after the shooting of the Trooper. That kind of crap just was simply not done. Even in big cities, only really wigged out super fucking disturbed criminals popped cops. Your average citizen did not. Ever. Even as they were being framed, abused, harassed or intimidated. Hell, cops came to steal your kids, put them in foster care, Joe Average still believed in the law and thought he could seek redress peacefully in court. For it to be deemed self defense if a cop was trying to get you to stop stealing food, that was a paradigm change ( Steve only had a vague idea what ‘paradigm’ meant, but he was sure he was thinking of it in the correct context ). And Steve could actually accept it. Oh, this was as surprising as trying to take a shit in the wee hours, it feels weird, and then a flying monkey weasels his way out, covered in feces and blood, smiles at you and proclaims a top of the morning to you. Obviously you are going to be shocked, surprised, dumbfounded and a little grossed out. At the monkey. At the system falling to shit in no time whatsoever? Not so much. Consciously, you always just plodded along in acceptance. Subconsciously, your sentient simian of average intelligence had to know the whole fucking thing was long past expiration date and only blind luck had saved everyone’s asses so far.

*

Steve wasn’t well versed in much of anything other than corporate management, but he pretty much knew nothing had been working. And so all this made sense. Sure, he was a fucking moron for not waking up to this a lot sooner, and perhaps preparing like those crazy bastards on TV with all the guns and cammo and weird military food-although who’s crazy like a fox now, right?- but you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. Not having a good goddamned of an idea of what to do was not an option. They could sit around and be road kill, or do something, anything. They didn’t have to be stupid about it, but they also needed to act in an expedient manner.

“Okay, troops. I see this as Shit Or Get Off The Pot. We need to make some really hard decisions, right now. First, decide if you are going to find a safe hole and wait for help. You saw how much help three law enforcement agencies were in town. They managed one cop. He didn’t last long. If any of you forgot, Hurricanes in New Orleans and New York City saw about zero troops moving in to restore order or bring food. For days. And they had outside resources to bring in. If this shit in national, and there is no reason to think otherwise in my opinion, there is no outside help. But you can go that option. You might want to. Because I see one way out of this, and that is to go preemptive. We need to do one better than those lone yahoos fighting over groceries. We need to go steal our own. Right now. Nothing is going to last long. We need to turn around, go find a soft target, and take their food. Simple as that. And we have to back it up with force, if necessary. I don’t expect any of you to shoot anyone. I’ll have to do that. But you need to be my eyes and ears, and help me load up the car with the loot. Everyone pile in, and you’ve got about fifteen minutes to decide. Right outside of town, we drop off those not willing to participate.”

Surprising everyone, perhaps, not a word was spoken. The silence went a lot deeper than last time.

*

Several minutes later into the return trip, Steve happened to look past the irritatingly long hair of his lap buddy Michele whipping into his face and catch in his peripheral vision a flashing light in the rear-view mirror. Cop car behind them. If he had stopped himself and thought about it, he would have done nothing. But now that he had made up his mind and banished the indecision, and as long as he turned off his natural over-analysis tendencies, this stuff just got easier and easier. He roughly pushed Michele off his lap into the tangled pile of people in the passenger seat and began instructing Susan as he kept an eye in the rear view mirror. “Suz, don’t argue, just listen. Keep your eyes straight ahead and turn on the blinker like you are pulling off. Loosen your grip on the wheel. When I say ‘now”, tighten up on the wheel and take your foot off the gas. Don’t slam on the brakes. You just need to keep us on the road. Okay?”

She nodded, suddenly looking nervous.

Steve put his hands on the steering wheel, keeping his eyes on the mirror.

This was deliciously perfect. The vehicle was one of those pimped out pick-up trucks turned patrol car, so hopefully it was a lot less stable then a typically lower center of gravity passenger car. “Everybody, brace yourselves for impact!”
Before the first hand could reach out or confused inquiry be voiced, Steve savagely yanked the wheel to the left, impacting the pick-up going at a high rate of speed. He held on and kept pulling over into it, until the truck lost control and shot over the edge, sailing into space. Steve yanked the wheel back over and let go, “now!”. The caddy fishtailed in the dirt and they almost followed the truck down into the gorge but Susan obviously had some experience driving while grabbing ass and did a masterful job of not killing them all. The car righted itself and slowed.


“Okay, you beautiful bitch! Thank you. Most wonderfully done. Go ahead and stop and back-up to the crash. Anyone fucked up from the jostling? Bashed heads? Bruised limbs? No? Boy, that was lucky. I thought we’d knock somebody out. You sure you’re okay, Mary?”

Steve reached over and opened the drivers door as soon as they’d come to a stop, “Flashers on, please. Safety first!”, and pushed Susan out. “Just keep an eye out, okay? If they were traveling in pairs I need a shout out so I can act like a good Samaritan and this guys pissed off buddy doesn’t ventilate me.”
“Goddamn, Steve. This is some fucked up shit, boss. Just what is it we are doing here?”
“You want to go wait with the mob outside Wally World? Hope they are still selling some guns, still have ammo. I’m arming us so we stand a chance. It was a sign from Baby Jesus himself that he loves us, sending the,” Steve looked down the hill and cocked his head slightly to better read the now upside down door sign on the smashed to crap busted up twisted truck with a limp arm dangling from a shattered window, “tribal police out here in the middle of nowhere so we could requisition his firearms. You know every swinging dingus in law enforcement from the Feebies to the game warden to the BLM is well heeled from anti-terrorist grants after 9-11. We don’t need a machinegun, but we sure could use a few long guns and more pistols. You having second thoughts? You going to be one of us who bails at the edge of town? I guess that means the rest of us walk, right? I’m not judging you, it is just that you’ve been the one stepping up for me since all this shit went down. I kind of like knowing someone has my back. And, yes, this is some fucked up shit. I just killed some poor bastard. Or, if he is still alive and struggles, I’ll be killing him shortly. I’ll have nightmares and guilt later. Right now, we are all surviving.”


“Give me a bit to process it, okay? I just start thinking about one thing, there’s another. Give me tell the city limits, okay? Just like the others.”

“Okay. Keep an eye for me?”
“Least I can do.”


*
Steve was hoping his Libertarian Tea Party Righteous Indignation tirade on LEO’s being heavily armed wasn’t feeble bullshit. They needed more weapons, even hunting rifles would be okay. And ammunition sure wouldn’t hurt. He reached the wreck and didn’t notice anything in the cab. The officer, as white as white could be for an Indian Reservation cop-which was okay with Steve since now at least he didn’t have to feel guilty about being a Caucasian killing off one of the last redskins-was still moaning in a barely audible pitch but there was enough blood pooling under him that Steve wasn’t too worried about him lasting too much loner. Luckily for Steve the driver side was now facing away from the road, so he could cut the seatbelt away and drag the guy out and still not be fully seen if another cruiser showed up. He didn’t need the belt as it was too bulky, so he just took the semi-auto and all its clips, then unlatched the bulky key ring. It was going to be a little obvious as soon as he unlocked the truck bed cover that he was up to no good, but he was sure that was where the long arms were going to be. Just to be sure, he quickly checked under the seat and behind it for any. Nope.


“Send one of the guys down so I can tilt the truck up and get into the bed.”
“Fuck him.”
“Tyrone says Fuck You.”
“Tyrone is my least favorite right now. How about it? Jerry, Joe?”
The two didn’t look enthusiastic but they came down and started to manhandle the latch end of the bed up and to its side. And the little fairy didn’t even drama up! Steve peeked into the opening, the cover raised as far as it would which wasn’t much more than a foot or two. “Jackpot, boys and girls. Joe, you’ve got us all beat skinny-wise. Can you shimmy in there and start pushing everything out?”


Everything was two plastic rigid long gun cases, a first aid kit of no small size, what he assumed was ammunition in one of those old military metal cans with the pop up lid and a few obviously personal items they weren’t going to root around in just about now. “Let’s get this and go, guys. I’m nervous as a cat on the stovetop waiting for someone to start dinner. Put em in the trunk and let’s jam back in. One of you know anything about a Glock? I seem to remember a safety on the trigger, so if you figure out the magazine release you should be able to operate it without too much embarrassment.”

Joe volunteered, oddly. Steve hoped the gay blade wouldn’t break his wrist on it. The guy sure was skinny. Oh, FUCK! Seriously? He hadn’t ever thought of this before, really? He wondered if Joe had AIDS. That was going to suck, if a bullet sprayed contaminated AIDS cooties on him. Well, focus. Worry about that later. Let’s ride!

*

Not too many minutes later and at the edge of town, the fiercely unimposing gang of ne’er-do-wells gathered for yet another conference. Damn thing was getting as bad as a democracy, sourly mused Steve. “Okay. Decision time if you want to stay together. Look down at our sad little pathetic town. Fires. Hear the gunfire, still? Danger lurks people. But you can easily camp out here away from this crap, it can’t go on too much longer. I don’t want you with me if you are going to pussy up when we have to do whatever needs done. I don’t expect you gals to be super warriors, but you’ll still have to do unpleasant things. I can’t guarantee anything, even that I’m not overreacting. But I’m throwing the dice and that’s what you have to do also. I don’t need to debate with you, either. In or out. You all know what just went down. And I’m kind of glad. I jumped right to the top of the food chain, asshole-wise. I probably couldn’t have described what to expect any better without that stroke of luck. I’ll wait over there. Decide if you want to do this with me, walk over. If not, walk away.”

Joe and Jerry were the first, with barely any conversation. Steve imagined Joe liked his new pistol and wasn’t going to want to part with it, and as they say about Mama Ain’t Happy, Jerry was most likely easy to convince. Give a girl a gun, they get a sense of empowerment. Susan didn’t even talk to any of the others but came over with almost no hesitation. “Does this make me your number two, I join up with you now?” she asked quietly. Steve was momentarily confused until he felt a fingernail softly trail up his inner thigh. Wow! Okay. Message received. He smiled at her. Sure, she was close to ugly. But she had a nice rack, and she was showing herself to be quite the tough little bitch. Steve wasn’t going to complain. In fact, this was turning out to be one of the best days he could remember in quite some time! The hated corporate masters were now powerless to effect his fate, he just extracted revenge against The Man, and now a little hottie wanted to bump uglies with him for a share of the admitted tiny power he might wield even if for a very short time. It was good to be king.

*

Nicole walked over, even if she seemed reluctant. She kept looking back at everybody else, even faltered once. But she came over. And that was it. The rest turned at walked further away as if to firmly make the statement. Tyrone even flipped off Steve. “Psycho fuck. No way we’re getting mixed up with you.” Well, that was kind of harsh. Here he was, just trying to help a brother out. Ingrate son of a bitch. Although, honestly, who the hell wanted Tyrone hanging around causing trouble? Worthless tits on a bull turd. Mary was just his dingle-ball ( hanging on an asshole, get it? ), and Michele was probably going to go WD’s soon. And Maria was a smidge out of shape. So he is left with a professional shit stirer, two fags, one which might be contagious, and a new girlfriend who has a reputation as a skeevy whore ( Steve’s Little Brain reminded him that it really didn’t care what Steve thought and since it really was All About The Little Brain, Steve could shove his unsolicited opinions up his ass ). He felt like he was back in grade school, he had just chosen the least worst kids for his dodge ball team, and felt oddly triumphant.

*

Okay, Team Steve…”

“Team Steve? Ego, much? We need a MUCH better moniker.”
“Did you spend two years in our esteemed local institute of lower learning to memorize words like that?”
“I also learned the word, ‘blow me, doughboy’.”


“I’m not familiar with that one.”

“It’s the same as the word ‘pack it up your flabby pale ass’.”

“Don’t say it, Joe.”

“What?”

“Okay, let’s table the discussion for now on our cool new name and or if applicable mascot.”
“Five Fingers?”
“That’s as fucking gay as Team Our Adorable Leader Steve. And it brings to mind The Fickle Fist Of Fate Fucking every last one of us right now. We need upbeat and cheerful.”
“Okay, really, moving on. I have a great target in mind. I might even go so far as to call its selection masterful, inspired and Better Than Sliced Bread.”


“Team Wonder Bread!”

“How is that going to strike fear and envy into our enemies hearts? Moving on, we are going to hit the senior center. Before you all get stupid on me, sniveling and weeping, buying into the four decade old geriatric myth of insipid poverty as exemplified by tales of resorting to eating dog food from cans, look at it from a social survival standpoint. Oh, let’s drive as I convince you all of my great mental gymnastics. I call shotgun. Suz, go behind K-Fart, the back way by the smoke shop. Much less traffic, I hope. Anyway, these ancient decrepit fucks have been alive so long, despite the Feds irradiating them for ten years or so with aboveground testing of hydrogen bombs and shit like nerve gas in New York subways, not to mention the big ag corporations feeding them Spam and Velveeta, and now after all these close calls with the Grim Reaper they are hooked up to oxygen tanks and colostomy bags. They might not have had very good lives, but they sure were long as fuck. Not our fault they pissed them away kissing the boss’ ass in cubicles or blowing the milkman after popping pills from boredom. These Leave It To Beaver motherfuckers have hung around long enough. They aren’t going to be getting any more shipments of pills to keep them alive, so I can’t imagine taking their food is really going to mess them up all that much. And, more importantly, I don’t think a lot of people are going to have the same idea.”

“Um, that is so diabolically genius I can’t really argue with it. And it probably isn’t as fucked up as killing a cop. No offense.”

“Not to worry, my cohort in defense. Don’t sweat it, just stand by the car and defend the food I bring out. I might kill a few oldsters with heart attacks, but I don’t think it is going to be much worse than that. Oh, and if you fuck this one up like you did the food back at the store, make sure to shoot me before I put a bullet into your brain. But, again, don’t worry. We can all be born anew in this brave new world. Start afresh. Redeem ourselves. Get it?”
Joe looked sufficiently chastised and resolute, so Steve was filled with confidence his award winning leadership was bearing fruit. “The rest of you are helping me. Pull around to the back. Every industrial size kitchen opens to the back, for deliveries and aping of course the great tradition of keeping the hired help out of sight of visitors. Locked. Okay, they aren’t complete idiots. You guys stay here, I’ll go through the front and open ‘er up.”


Steve hurried around to the glass entrance and found those doors locked as well. He picked up a combo trash can and ashtray, but of course it was too flimsy. The establishment must have spent the three grand a month per patient on salaries and advertising rather than good furniture. He hoped their frugality did not extend to the pantry quantities. He only achieved a small crack in the glass. What? They thought a resident was going to build up speed in a wheelchair and try to ram out to freedom after lights out? He tried again but mainly just began tiring himself. Fuck it. He went back around and told Susan to drive around and ram through the front, shades of Arnold “I’ll Be Back” in Terminator, and go back and resume position. This was taking long enough, and he didn’t need the masses congregating here trying to contest his spoils of war ( War On Aging? ). The windows offered little resistance to the Caddy, leaving as little evidence as the truck ramming had ( Detroit really needed to use more than Styrofoam and plastic on car bodies these days ).

*

Steve wandered the halls, peeking into rooms and seeing mostly catatonic occupants ( the glass busting in seemed to have little effect on them. Must have had their hearing aids turned off ) and no staff. Didn’t he read about patients at a mental hospital during Katrina being left to fend for themselves? Or was it an old folks home? Well, no matter. He’d stay cautious in case the faraway mega-corporation actually took money from their bloated bonus fund to hire a guard, but this was turning into a cakewalk. No competition and no resistance. Once he found the kitchen, there was a lone occupant. The middle aged, probably minimum waged Hispanic woman was catnapping in her chair behind a desk between the kitchen and back door that must have comprised the entire department administration effort. She startled at his throat clearing, started jabbering incoherently in her native tongue at the sight of his firearm, heaved herself up and out of her chair, extra jowls jiggling and gravity challenged bosom swaying madly, extended stomach lurching and shot to the exit at a surprising speed given her diminutive stature. She bolted outdoors, screeched at the sight of the others, especially the other armed teammate, started imploring Jesus-obvious even to the second language impaired- and careened away. Well. That was easy. “Let’s load up, gang. Every can they have except condiments. No frozen except a couple nights Barbeque meat. Again, Joe, eyes out. No dicking around.”

It didn’t take them long with everyone hustling and then filled up the trunk so much someone was going to have a suspension repair pretty soon. They even moved the cops belongings into the back seat. Plenty of room now, as the dead weight was pruned. He felt bad for Mary, well along in pregnancy, but the price of following the species tendency in caring for the breeders had the price of Tyrone. And if anyone was, he was destined to be removed from the gene pool.

“Another job well done. Now, Let’s figure out where to go with our booty.”

“I vote for anywhere out of town.”

“I don’t think any of care to stay here. But where?”

“Ryndon. Past that and there is no river. Well, we could go south of there, there’s the lake. Well, pond, really, but standing water anyway.
“I think that is going to do just fine. Susan, what does the gas look like?”
“Almost like I can see the needle moving towards empty as I drive. I’d say that is going to be about our last destination, with perhaps a partial return trip to town.”
It didn’t take too long-perhaps another fifteen minutes. There were plenty of fires along the way, especially at the general store next to the RV campground. Steve thought a propane grill and tank would be great for the meat, but there seemed to be a lot of activity there, mostly of the armed individual variety. He had the boys in the back seat look into the gun cases and ammo can, and it wasn’t bad but neither was it a great logistics victory. One case held a shotgun and the other a scoped bolt action hunting rifle. It would certainly help arm them, but it wasn’t military grade weapons he had hoped for either. No matter.


They arrived at the lake finding little activity. One family had set up tents already, so Steve had his crew go to the opposite end. They probably weren’t a threat, he just didn’t want to get in any pissing contests, and truth be told had no desire to be near the kids hooting and hollering. Bad memories, and not conducive to any kind of budding romance he was hoping for. Steve said a few words to the father, left some meat for them as a peace offering ( they had plenty, even if they gorged for several meals ), and went to set up their camp. Which wasn’t more than a fire pit. They had no shelter or even extra clothes. Luckily they were all dressed warm enough from hanging out in the work parking lot enjoying the show of destruction, but as soon as this mild weather broke they had yet a new problem. Besides having to eat their meat roasted over sage brush coals. Not the tastiest coating. But Steve found himself ravenous. Must have been all that anti-social activity.

That night saw them retiring early. They had one flashlight from the cop’s stashed items but no new batteries. So they pretty much went to bed after the fire was allowed to die down, all of them cramped but safe from the mosquitoes in the car. Which was probably a good thing, because due to the snoring, tossing, farting and groaning he kept waking up. The last time he stayed up and decided to go out to pee, in the hopes of then sleeping better with an empty bladder. And heard a group of males whispering not far from the camped family. He still had his pistol strapped on, not because he was paranoid and vigilant but because after eating and after being molested by Suz in the nearby bushes he had barely kept awake getting back to the vehicle and crashed hard, merely by accident staying armed. He wasn’t going to play the hero, had little interest in endangering himself for strangers, but he wasn’t going to get the group find the Caddy, either. He was doing the right thing, but for selfish reasons.

There wasn’t any moon, but the one thing he always loved about getting out of town here was the clarity of the sky and the fact the town wasn’t so big as to wash out the nightly stars. When you weren’t freezing your junk off or being eaten by bugs, a few times a year you could sky gaze in peaceful tranquility. They were enough to see by and he still had his shoes on so he could move without pain which might include whimpers and sharp intakes of breath.

*

Steve didn’t wait to hear what they were up to or try to fight fair. He saw there were three of them. He was a crappy mostly unpracticed shot, but he was fifteen, maybe ten, yards out-their center mass was going to be hard to miss. He opened fire on the first and saw him fall from the muzzle flash of his second trigger pull. And then was quite blinded, his night vision ruined. Great tactics, moron, he chided himself as he turned to run and promptly tripped over a bush. And again, Lady Luck must have had grand plans for her new favorite, because the bullets started flying overhead about as fast as he fell out of their way. Now he was deaf too. Well, hopefully they were too, he prayed as he yelled out. “Hey! I’m over by the other camp. Someone get some shots over this way. Shoot at the flashes!”

Which was met by impacts near his body. He barely heard the booms, felt the impacts and the stinging dirt hitting his face. They must have had ear plugs in, Steve lamented sourly as he scrambled away from his last position. This was not exactly going by plan or expectation. He guessed that back-up would have been a good idea. Of course, guards would have also. There was more to this Great Leader crap than stealing food from invalid old folks or ambushing cops. He wasn’t doing much except trying not to get killed himself when he heard the gunshots from the car. He saw one go down, and so started firing at the other, presumably the last one. And even as he connected on the second to last round, as instructed the team started firing at his muzzle flashes. Fuck, now they listen, he scrambled again for cover. “Guys, GUYS! Stop firing you fuckers. I think we got them all. You can stop trying to shoot me.” Which brought yet another shot, met by several answering. What the hell? The camper. Now the bastard was helping out. Hope the cunt got hit. Except he had kids.

*

“You guys done?”

“You hit, Steve?”
“No. I’d be cussing at you, maybe shooting at you if I was. Shitting myself more if I was. Get the flashlight. Let’s see what damage there is. Whoever has the rifle, use the light. Let the pistol and shotgun cover you. I’m pretty sure that’s it. Unless someone is waiting on us, but how else are we going to clear them anyway, right? Three between you and the tent, and then see if the family is okay. I can’t hear too well, how are you guys doing?”


“Got a buzzing from the noise, but I can hear you okay. I won’t hear the small stuff, like someone sneaking up on me.”
“Turn the car around and get some real light going for a few minutes. Then we can use the flashlight after we get an idea of what is going on.”
“Won’t that announce our position?”
“And the shots didn’t?”
“Okay, good point.”


The three ambushers were nicely dispatched. No withering pain or unsettling high pitched cries. Just nice and dead. The dad at the camping site was a different story. He seemed to be gut shot, and was not shy in letting everyone know it hurt like a motherfucker. Nor was he too happy that his wife was laying dead in a puddle of blood. He was trying to drag himself to her, and the dead baby the wife still had in her arms. Nichole started screaming worse than the guy, dropped he shotgun and was acting all the girl. Susan didn’t seem to be appreciative of her trauma, but Steve was fucked if he was going to put up with that crap and pushed her forward. Shit, if Joe the flaming girl wasn’t losing it, Nichole sure as shit shouldn’t be. They weren’t even close enough to see if it was pellets or bullets that did them in, so why was she thinking she did it? Of course, he wasn’t sure if you could tell the difference between pistol rounds and shotgun pellets, so the only thing you knew was that the bitch was dead. And it was the husband joining the fight against the wrong target that got them killed, anyway. Steve wondered if this was just a Fem thing, crying to relive stress. Well, more important things to do.

*

The three attackers each had an M-16. Or, at least the civilian version. A hunk of shit weapons system, at least according to his bigger brother ( from whom Steve had learned much of his weapons lore ) who had to carry the thing over in the middle east occupation. He was probably still there. Fucked. Just like his kids on the other side of the country. If Steve was going to cry, it would be over them, not some local snot sucker he didn’t even know. Anyway, the rifles came with a total of ten magazines between the three former owners. Not exactly enough to start and sustain several firefights. Best to go see what was in these yahoos car. That had the bonus of getting them out of the immediate area in case anyone did investigate. And perhaps it was time to swap out for a better gas mileage vehicle. Steve retrieved all sets of keys-one had vehicle keys included. He gathered the troops, telling Nichole to stuff the crying or stay here alone, and they took the road back towards the pavement. Everyone was armed now, and the pistol holders now also carried long guns. Not much ammo except for the pistols, but not bad for several hours of being awake and a half day from the start of all this shit storm.

“Here’s a car, boss. Hoods still warm.”
“And the key fits. Let’s look for anything useful. I hope to hell they have more ammunition.”


“I don’t see anything. Some spare sweaters we can use, that’s about it.”
“What kind of dick hole only has three or four boxes of ammo for an assault rifle?”


“The kind that we attract.”
“Well, at least we have the car. We’ll be as crowded as before with all the food but perhaps we can get further.”


“Any gas in it?”

“Oops. Let me crank the key- and fuck me. Not much past the red.”
“What about the family camping? Where was their car?”


“Perhaps behind the trees?”

“Why does this remind me of the Senior Center? We’ve really got to pull our heads out of our ass.”
“Above our pay grade. That’s why you’re the boss.”
“Okay, let’s turn around and go back. And we need to see about the supplies we can get from them.”


The car was indeed hidden in the trees, but it was a large pickup, also with little fuel. It was going to be of little value. They did procure a few camping supplies and the dads rifle, but not much more. The meat given to them must have been the only food they’d had.

“We need to find another place, a better shelter. And figure out how to do it with little gas left. Then figure out how to get more and better supplies. Susie, if I told Jerry to lead this circus, would you still be attracted to me?”
“Probably not. No offense.”


“Crap, I didn’t think so. So I’m stuck figuring out the brilliant moves?”
“Yep.”


“Fuck.”

END CHAPTER


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9 comments:

  1. In my inbox this morning James; a publication on Earth bag building. Had good reviews; check it out:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0865715076/ref=pe_160550_118021900_em_1p_4_ti

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've got that book, first in kindle then in dead tree format because it is GOOD.
      a little hippie in attitude but down to the brass tacks quickly, and what survivalist doesn't want to have a bunch of sandbags on hand? or even better a house built of sandbags?

      Delete
  2. Good stuff. Fate really has an eye out for these guys. I'm surprised you didn't kill off one of the group yet (besides some of them abandoning the crew earlier.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The scrawny little homo will probably get it first.

      Delete
  3. I buy fuel and check belts and engine fluids at 100 mile intervals.
    I hope, but do not expect, that all will follow my example.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I buy fuel and check engine fluids and belts at 100 miles intervals.
    I wish that all would follow my example.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Doctor James, how can I say this? Your fiction writing sucks. Your basic blog about oil and your history review is spot on! I think I speak for the last remaining 50% of us that we would like you to pick up a couple of news papers or find a TV and watch some Fox News Network..
    Take some insight views about real world events and pass them along to us, I understand that you are having a bad time with your latest divorce, but we need good info. I have to admit that Rawles is (our) new source of God.
    Your fiction is dis-jointed, rambling, and we feel no connection to these people!
    I would prefer to read 1 of Rawles book's with imposiable group hookup than read about some group that finds a store with out a description of whats there and some slut that easily gives it up to some bike rider and cave dweller with unlimited gas.
    As usual We will expect a 1 or 2 sentence response from you J. Rawles
    I

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rawles is now just a brand name, not a writer of a survival blog. I forgive you, I know you are just trying to goad me.

      Delete