When It Happens Here
It is a pleasant, early evening on the first day of a three day Columbus Day weekend. You are relaxing on your back deck shaded from the setting sun by trees that are still holding their leaves as early autumn creeps over the land. Sparks kick up from the dying embers of your grill when the wind turns to the west.
Your name might be Jones or Stuart. Perhaps it is Furman, James or Malinowsk. The shade of your skin is light complexioned or dark. The color of your hair is different from every other person you know. You may be heavy set or thin; short or tall. You call yourself an American. What you mean is that you are a citizen of the United States of America. You were either born within the borders of one of the fifty States or you became a naturalized citizen of the country through its legal process. No matter, to the members of the Federal Government you are just one of the three-hundred-seventeen million gullible constituents.
In your younger days you loved the outdoors. You went on hunting and fishing trips. You’re no hunter, but you managed to down a few rabbits in your day. You own a Mossberg and an ancient Colt pistol, a world war two souvenir left to you by your father when he passed. Your home is a modest ranch on the outskirts of a small town, a down size after the family you raised married and moved across the country following job opportunities to bring up their own families.
You have just finished a dessert of strawberries and whipped cream that topped off a grilled steak and baked potato dinner, washed down by a glass of you favorite red wine. It was a bountiful beginning to your pleasant Columbus Day weekend. True the steaks, berries and wine would have set you back almost a full weeks pay if you were still working. Only now you are retired on a fixed income from your pension and Social Security. But it was worth it. Damn, how often have you been able to kick back and enjoy yourself this way in the last few years?
Well, tomorrow after church you and your wife might take a drive to visit the daughter and two grandkids who live sixty miles away on the other side of the state The gas to fill up your car will cost twenty times more than what you paid for a tank-full when you were a teenager. Hell, almost triple what gas was just five years ago. That almost seems sacrilegious to you.
Your wife begins to clear the dessert dishes, so you lean back into your deck chair. You pick up the remote and click a button on the TV remote to turn on the set that you moved onto the deck before dinner. The last innings of the Cub’s doubleheader at Toyota Field might still be on.
Picture and sound erupt from the digital TV, but it isn’t showing the ballgame. Instead, an ashen faced local news anchor is leaning into the camera from across his studio desk. Perplexed, you adjust the volume compensating for your hearing loss to find out what this breaking news might be. You call your wife as you flick at the sound button of the remote.
“……the American dollar is no longer the world reserve currency.” The image manages to read strait faced from a studio teleprompter. “Speaking for the President, who is vacationing in Hawaii, the Secretary of the Treasury announced that the Chinese Renminbi is now….” A pop-up screen opens behind and to the right of the news anchor. Facing a room full of fidgeting reporters the Secretary is standing behind a podium emblazoned with the Great Seal of the United States.
“Ladies and gentlemen, “he begins as the pop-up morphs to fill in the full screen of you TV. “With the full endorsement of the Congress, the President has this date signed into law the Monetary Recovery Act. The provisions of this action will serve to preserve the currency of the United States on the world market. Under this program the Federal Government authorizes the Chairman of the Federal Reserve to print sufficient money to offset our national debt of twenty-two trillion dollars. Unlike the currency of the past, the new bank notes will only be legal tender within the borders of the United States and guaranteed only by the services of its citizens and their personal wealth. Purchases beyond our borders for imports will be conducted with Chinese Renminbi obtained at the free market place from day to day. To facilitate this transition there will be a three day bank holiday beginning Tuesday October fifteenth, running through Thursday October seventeenth…”
Your long pleasant Columbus Day weekend has suddenly become an unprecedented national event. You wonder for a moment what you may have missed at the beginning of the newscast.
With your eyes transfixed on the TV monitor you can see that the reporters within the Whitehouse screening room are anxious to question the Secretary. They raise their hands, waving to seek his attention, even calling out the Secretary’s name at the top of their voices. Then you notice something strange, there is an overabundance of uniformed Homeland Security personnel within the confines of the screening room. You wonder why.
The Treasury Secretary raises his hands motioning the questioners to let him finish his prepared speech. Reluctantly the reporters relax, scrunching back into their seats to await his final comments.
Your wife, who has joined you to watch the newscast, asks, ”What does he mean by services of its citizens and their personal wealth?”
You’re not so sure so you shrug. “Don’t know,” you say, “maybe he’ll get to that before he finishes.”
“Each one of you will be given a transcript of the complete order at the end of this briefing,” the Secretary continues, somewhat mollifying the reporters. “There are a number of additional caveats contained in this legislation which will be addressed by the President on national television tonight, including the three day bank holiday. The President, speaking from the vacation Whitehouse in Hawaii will give a formal address to the nation at nine o’clock central daylight time.”
The surge of screaming, hand waving reporters is quickly held in check by the now more than noticeable Homeland Security presence. But they continue to push forward, hands in the air, seeking the Secretary’s recognition.
“Yes, Jonathan?” The Secretary points to Jonathan Handecker, the ABC Whitehouse correspondent. “Your Question?”
“Mr. Secretary, you have indicated that the Fed will be printing twenty-two trillion dollars. What will that accomplish on the worlds currency market….and for us?”
“In the short run it will…”
During mid-sentence your iPhone rings. Ignoring the Secretary’s lengthy answer to Handecker’s question, you pick up the phone. “Hello,” you say, as you hit the unlock key.
A pleasant automated voice responds, “The President will be speaking to all of the citizens of the United States at nine o’clock this evening. Turn to your favorite news channel to hear his comments. They are of national importance and concern the wellbeing of you and your family.” The line goes dead before you have a chance to say anything.
“Who was that?” your wife asks.
“A young lady, I guess,” you respond. “Well, just a recorded courtesy call, reminding us to be sure to listen to the President has to say about this money stuff.”
“….that is the underlying cause for the change.” You hear the Secretary’s voice trail off in the conclusion of his answer. After an aside with his aid, with his hand over the podium microphone the Secretary nods his head.
“Peter,” he calls out over the pleas for recognition of the others who are now physically pushing against the half dozen security personnel stationed in the front of the room.
You recognize the correspondent who has been a regular on NBC’s Meet the Press. A microphone is passed to him by a sergeant wearing the blue on blue Homeland Security uniform with the Presidents “Infinity” shoulder patch on his left sleeve.
“Can you tell us if this has anything to do with the poor harvest due to the changing weather conditions over North America in the last three years?” he asks. “I mean specifically last year’s winter wheat failure and this fall stunted corn crop.”
You smile. Now that is a good question. Food prices are already out of hand.
“Well Peter,” the Secretary begins, “I wouldn’t lay all of the current action on that alone, it has more to do with the overall productivity index, the growing imbalance between imports and exports…”
“Right,” the correspondent agrees. “But haven’t our surplus grain exports been the stabilizing balance in trade with Europe and Asia over the last few years?”
“Certainly a factor,” the Secretary says, “only a small one compared to the immigration, unemployment and the deficit interest burdens our President inherited from his predecessors.”
You don’t believe that comment, although it has the sting of truth. Immigration has been on an upswing after the Mideast wars. And you do know that more folks are receiving government welfare check than ever before. You try to remember the last unemployment figure that you saw on Fox News before the Federal Government stopped the networks from posting that type of information.
You ask your wife if she can remember. “Hum…” she answers, “seems to me the late news did mention about a forty-two percent increase over the previous year sometime last February.”
“I think you’re right,” you mumble. “I remember now. Cost an additional trillion dollars a year, that’s why the damn deficit keeps going up. Even mailed a cartoon about that to friends showing the Pres breaking into a child’s piggy bank.”
You mull over this remembrance to connect it with what you have just witnessed on the newsfeed from Washington. You catch the last words of the Secretary as he turns away from the podium “…make sure that this never happens again.” The Washington scene snaps back into a pop-up position above the local news anchor as he returns to remind viewers that the President is addressing the nation at nine o’clock. “…to insure a full audience everyone in the country will be receiving a courtesy call.” he adds.
Well that sure took care of the last innings of the Cub’s twilight doubleheader. You click the off button of the remote and the screen goes dark.
You laugh quietly to yourself for a moment. Seems to you that this heads-up call business wasn’t synchronized too well, you have already gotten your, um courtesy message.
“Well that’s almost three hours away,” you say to your wife.
She picks up your coffee cup and the last of the tableware, and then opens the screen door to head into the house just as your doorbell sounds.
“I’ll get it,” you call after her. You wonder who the hell this could be at six –thirty on Saturday night of a holiday weekend. You open the front door to find three people facing you, a youthful looking police officer in a flack vest, a willowy blond woman wearing blue tinted glasses and a heavy set, dark complexioned man with short dreadlocks who is holding a small valise.
“Good evening,” the young policeman says. He holds up his badge for you to read. “May we come in?”
Slightly taken aback, fearing the worst. You invite the trio into the entryway of your home. It is then that you notice that the woman and the man accompanying the policeman are garbed in Homeland Security uniforms with “Infinity” patches on their left sleeves. Both are wearing sidearm’s.
“What’s this all about,” you say, “Is there something wrong?”
The blond moves her finger over the Surface tablet she is holding and looks down at the screen. “You and your wife are registered Republicans,” she states.
“How…” you ask
“From your voter registration records,” she says. “Are you Republicans?”
“Yes .” you say. I guess that you can say that.”
“You freely admit that you are Republicans?”
“I…uh, why yes,” you answer.
“That’s all we need to know,” the young man with the dreadlocks says. He opens the case that he has been holding at the ready and produces two bracelets.
“Please ask you wife to join us,” the policeman orders.
“But why…” you stammer.
“All in good time,” the blond says. You can see that she is about the age of your daughter, somewhere in her thirties. Looking again at the dark complexioned man you realize that he is even younger.
You call your wife and within a few moments she is at your side, looking at the party of three standing in the foyer.
“Put out your left arm,” the young police office orders.
“Why?” you ask.
“Don’t argue sir, just do as you are told,” he counters.
Reluctantly both you and your wife extend your arms. In one quick movement the woman snaps a metallic bracelet that is stamped “R22” around your wrist. The young man with dreadlocks has done the same to your wife. Her bracelet is simply marked “R.”
“What the hell,” you say.
“The bracelets identify you as Republicans,” dreadlocks explains. “They are monitored at the Department of Home Security office. Do not attempt to remove your bracelet of interfere with its wi-fi signal under penalty of law.”
You are now completely irritated. “What fucking law?” you ask. “What penalty?”
The three look at one another for a moment smiling. Then the policeman glances at the iPhone that he has produced from his vest pocket. “You have a Mossberg MMR registered to you. Will you get it for me, now please?”
“What…,” you say.
“Now.” The young policeman’s tone has become deadly serious and you watch as he unclasps the holster safety of his sidearm. “I’ll come with you,” he says.
He follows as you step into your small office off of the entryway. You unlock the lower cabinet drawer of your bookcase. The policeman watches as you pull your cased Mossberg from the open drawer.
“Here,” you say, handing the rifle case to him. “Now what?”
He takes the carrying case from you and sets it on your desk. After opening it he taps an app 0n his iPhone to snap a picture of the Mossberg, mentioning your given name at the same time. “Thank you for your cooperation,” he says after closing the case.
“I don’t understand,” you begin. But he young officer has a ready answer “Security.” He says. “Under the Federal Gun Law all registered guns and ammunition became the property of the Federal Government and are subject to recall at any time necessary, as deemed by the Commander in Chief. Your rifle has just been recalled.”
“What the hell are you talking about?” you demand.
Picking up the gun case, the officer continues his explanation. “If you had been listening to the six o’clock news you would know that the President signed the Federal Gun Property Legislation into law earlier today.”
“But…but,” you stammer again, “the Republican controlled Senate has blocked proposals like the ones sponsored by Durban, Menendez and Feinstine for years. No way.”
With that the officer chuckles. “Sorry,” he says smiling at you, “the ammo for the Moss.”
Reluctantly you offer him the two ammunition packages and the back-up clip for the Mossberg. You shut the drawer before he can notice th unregistered Colt.
Still chuckling under his breath, he returns to the entryway to smile at his two companions. “Guess you haven’t heard then,” he says, “by proclamation of the President of the United States the Republican Party had been dissolved. All of the ranking Republicans who were in Washington to vote against the Monetary Recovery Act before the Columbus Day weekend began have been rounded-up, arrested and held for treason.”
Your mind is whirling. What the hell has been going on? You can’t believe what you have just heard. Most of all you can’t believe what has just taken place in your own home.
“Bullshit,” you shout. “That’s bullshit. You’re feeding me a bunch of crap.”
The two Homeland Security Officers join the young policeman to move out the door. “Don’t mess with your bracelet,” short dreadlocks says, “you’re listed as an R22.”
You can no longer control your emotions. “What the hell is that?” you scream.
“An “R22” is a suspected subversive,” the blond snickers, “an admitted Republican who has been posting provocative emails and tweets disrespecting the President and his good works. Make sure you and your wife watch the Presidents chat tonight.”
With that the three retreat to a squad car parked in your driveway. You imagine that the driver you see sitting behind the wheel was meant to be the designated backup in case of any unforeseen problems in retrieving your registered firearm. How the hell, you wonder, do they know about your emails and pol bashing tweets?
What if you hadn’t given up the Mossberg so easily? What if you had just ripped this damn bracelet off of your wrist? These thoughts bring a shudder to your body.
“Something God Damn strange going on,” you mumble to your wife as you turn back in her direction from the doorway. She is standing still in the entryway fingering the metallic bracelet on her left wrist. The making of tears glistens in the corners of her eyes. She doesn’t respond to your statement. You realize that she is scared.
To break the uneasy science you ask your wife to brew another pot of coffee. Still in a daze, she heads to the kitchen. You do an about face to return to your office to grab your iPad. Your mind is still in a whirl. We can’t be the only ones that Homeland Security visited tonight, you reason. You wonder where all of the paramilitary people come from. Wasn’t Homeland Security supposed to be watching for terrorists at airports and tube stations not banging on doors and handing out GPS tracking bracelets to folks who send out political cartoons, have gun permits or call themselves Republicans.
You flip open the cover, tap in your pass code and open the Face Time app. Making a specific selection, you thumb a name at the top of your list, John Schearer, one of your neighborhood friends. He was, you remember, with you on your last rabbit hunt out on the Kreiger farm two years ago this coming November.
While you wait for a friendly face, you think back. What else was going down in that special newscast before you accidentally turned it on after dinner. Then it dawns on you. The news anchor was acting scared too. Now that you recall, in the short segment that you caught, his face was drained as though he had just seen a glimpse of Armageddon. And that damn automated heads-up phone call? How the hell did they manage that? There’s no connection between the Feds and the telephone companies. Is there? Did every phone in the country really get the same message?
Tears were streaming down the face of the woman showing on your iPad screen. Lois, the wife of your old hunting buddy recognizes you, and it is all she can do to utter your name in greeting.
You realize then that you have inadvertently requested Face Time with someone who may have had an early evening visit with by the police department and Homeland Security. The same thing that happened at your home could also have happened there. “Lois,” you ask. “Is John home…can I talk to him?”
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry…it’s just…” she answers. You can see that Lois is quite distraught. Tears are streaming down her face and she chokes on her next words. “They’ve… take John.’
‘What,” you ask. “What did you say? Who?”
You can see the tears splash as the hit the screen of Lois iPad. “The police,” she manages to say.
“The police,” you echo her question. “But why…how?”
“John wouldn’t give up his Savage shotgun,” Lois sobs, “he gave them his other two rifles…they took him.”
“Took John…. where?” you ask .
“I don’t know, I don’t know,” she stammers and continues to cry. “They were here about seven. A police sergeant and two others in uniform. Asked us questions about our politics. Made us wear some kind of monitoring bands. Demanded John’s guns….”
You can see where this is going. John was an ex-Marine who saw front line duty in Viet Nam and had retained a bit of a military temperament. His political views were always subject to change but he voted straight republican for the likes of Reagan and Bush.
“…he told then he wasn’t going to give up his engraved over and under…pulled the band off his wrist and threw it at the man who had put it on him.’ Lois sniveled back a sob and almost screamed, “then the other one hit John.”
“Who are you talking to?” your wife asks. She hands you a steaming cup of freshly brewed coffee.
“Lois,” you say in an aside to your wife. “She and John had visitors tonight too.”
“They took him…they took him,” Lois is crying again, her voice now almost a whisper.
“Lois,” you say. “Lois, listen. I’ll call the City Police Department, I’ll find out what’s happened to John and get back to you, okay?’
“Yes… okay,” she says between sobs. “Thank you…”
Lois notices your wife beside you and begins speaking to her, rehashing the episode with the police between her sobs.
You bid Lois good-by and the head out to your deck and retrieve your Cell phone. You Google the City Police Departments number. While you wait for the connection you realize that this might have been you. John did have more balls than you when it came to standing up in a given situation. He was the one who shagged the deer hunters off Kreiger’s property when you and the guys were out tracking rabbits a couple of years ago on the day after Thanksgiving. Your remembrance is only momentary when you notice that your Cell does not complete the connection.
You press the “Help” button. “How may I help you?” the friendly automated voice asks.
You respond, “City Police Department.”
“Homeland Security, sergeant Moghadam,” the voice says mispronouncing your last name with a vague mid-eastern accent. “How may I help you sir,”
His answer to your call comes as a complete surprise. Did your Cell phone interface malfunction? Taken slightly aback you say,” Uh, sergeant, can you give me any information about a John Schearer? He would have been brought in about seven forty-five or so.”
“You want to spell out the name for me,” sergeant Moghadam says, “been a busy night.”
“S-c-h-e-a-r-e-r, sergeant, first names John,” you respond.
“Okay, got it,” he says. “Not booked yet. Taken to Mercy Hospital after the accident.”
You don’t know what to say. “What?” you ask, “what accident?”
“Desk report says that this Shearer person, his police escort and one of the Homeland Security personnel on the job were injured in an accident.”
“How did….” You start to say.
“Squad hit an abutment on State Road Two underpass near Old Oak subdivision shortly before eight,” sergeant Moghadam reads to you. “Rolled the squad. All five occupants taken to Mercy Hospital, one with a gunshot wound.”
“Gunshot wond? Does the report say who was shot?”
“Hum.” The sergeant intones to fill the void of search time. “Yes here it is. The suspect – that would be this John Schearer – was shot by the
Homeland Security Officer in charge while attempting to escape.”
“Oh, my God.” You wheeze.
“Report also indicates that this Schearer managed to get out of his restraints. Grabbed the police officer driving,” Moghadam continued,” caused him to lose control of the vehicle. Okay I’ve noted your inquiry. Anything else you need?’
“No….,” you start to say and then rethink your reply. “I called the City Police Department how did I get…”
“Homeland Security is now in charge of all civil affairs, “ the sergeant interrupts you. “Local law enforcement and the National Guard report directly to the Department of Homeland Security.”
“When…?” you offer as a weak question.
“Since noon today,” sergeant Moghadam replies, “ by executive order of the President.”
You swear that sergeant Moghadam ended the phone conversation with,”May Allah be your guide,” as he clicked off.
You gulp the cold coffee from the cup your wife handed to you some minutes ago. “Shit,” you say under your breath. Then you wonder what else you have missed today while you were enjoying the first day of what promised to be a long, cozy, uneventful Columbus Day weekend.
You make your way back to your office where you find your wife still conversing with Lois Schearer. From what you have seen and heard in the last few hours, you are somewhat surprised that the internet and phone service are still functioning without the Feds interference. Maybe, you reason. It’s because they want everyone to believe that everything is functioning normally. John’s arrest could just have been an anomaly – how many ex-Marines are going to take a stand and refuse to give up a prized weapon to a group of armed police and seemingly paramilitary personnel? But you’re beginning to believe that is not the case.
You motion to your wife to let you speak to Lois, who has noticed that you were back on her screen.
“Lois ,” you say carefully so that you don’ have to go into the full accident and shooting explanation,”the police car that John was riding in has had an accident. John has been taken to Mercy Hospital. I’m sure that if you call they will be able to give you more information.”
There is a momentary gasp from Lois. Evidently the conversation with your wife had calmed her. She is no longer crying. “Thank you, I’ll call right now,” she stammers as she ends the call.
You touch the “End Call” icon and the iPad screen reflects you and your wife standing in your office.
Your wife asks, “was John hurt?”
“John was shot,” you say.
“For the love of God,” your wife blurts out, “why didn’t you tell her?”
“I couldn’t,” you answer. “Nothing we can do right now for either John or Lois. I would still be explaining to her that the Department of Homeland Security is now beginning to look like the America’s SS elite storm troopers, who don’t recognize any second amendment rights. Well anyway none of the constitutional rights that you and I remember from civics class in grammar school.”
You can tell that your wife is in a huff. Her fear of moments ago has been replaced by anger.
“Look,” you continue, “judging from what we’ve heard tonight and what has happened to John, I know something big is going down. I don’t want to miss the President’s speech tonight. Maybe he’ll clear up this proclamation stuff. Maybe he’ll give us a hint about what the Feds are up to.”
Your wife’s frown means that she still doesn’t understand the way you treated Lois’s problem. But that is becoming the least of your worries. Whatever you say isn’t going to register with her, and if it did it would bring back the fear that she had in her eyes after the Homeland Security visit. You want to tell her that you are really concerned about everything that has been happening – the glimpse of the Monetary Recovery Act newscast fronted by a visibly shaken news anchor and the forcible confiscation of your rifle and ammunition under a newly enacted law. Pieced together with what the desk sergeant meant when he told you that the new civil authority, Homeland Security, was having a busy night – you know what the damn “R22” bracelet on your wrist must mean after learning about the decree abolishing the Republican Party and the arrest of its leaders.
If you had a do-over, you wouldn’t have given up your Mossberg so easily. You still have your dad’s old Colt 45, but that isn’t much help, you laugh to yourself.
In the last couple of years you have seen ominous signs from the Fed, though you and everyone else didn’t take them seriously. You heard rumors of internment camps being set up in Alaska and Georgia. You read about the high-security penitentiary built in Wisconsin. Everyone laughed about it as a money wasting boondoggle because it wasn’t being used. You weren’t worried about these facilities because there were military actions taking place in the four corners of the world and it seemed logical to have secure lock-ups for potential prisoners of war.
Even now, almost all of the active Unites States Military were deployed in South Korea, Israel, Sudan, Afghanistan and Iran. Since his election the President had reduced the standing Army and Navy to bare bones while relying on the Reserves and building a strong Homeland Security force under his direct command. It all seemed quite reasonable. Most of your fellow Americans agreed that a strong Homeland Security presence was needed because of the perceived threats of terrorism following nine-eleven. No one, not even Congress, questioned the cost of man power, materials, vehicles, ammunition and drones for the Department of Homeland Security. Well. You certainly hadn’t.
Then there was the God awful on-going National debt crises. No matter what the Republicans brought to the table of reform, work for a balanced budget and debt reduction was scuttled by the opposition or in the end vetoed by the President. You know that In essence the country is technically bankrupt with a huge national debt. Trillions are owed to major creditors that include China and Saudi Arabia. You remember reading that it would take two-hundred thousand dollars from every man woman and child in the country to pay the debt off all at once. And even that would only be accomplished if the Federal Government didn’t spend another penny. Even now across the country cities like Detroit and Washington D.C. and the states of California, Illinois and Louisiana were declaring bankruptcy.
Even though the Federal Reserve continued to keep interest rates down, inflation continued to grow. And now it seemed that there was a scheme in the works to print the Federal Government out of its debt, at least on the home front. God knows what that tactic will do to the world economy or to our international debts. There doesn’t seem to be any reasonable answer to that to you. Plowed under by the Fed many years ago the gold standard was long gone, replaced by the petro dollar in the fifties that depended on the American currency for fair trade. Now it appeared that this was gone too.
Your Social Security funds, currently called entitlement money by the sitting President have been reduced to worthless notes of credit against the Federal Reserve – wasn’t that money set aside by the pensioners and their places of employment as they worked their jobs for the last eighty years? What the hell did the Local, State and Federal Government do with these funds that were supposed to be held in trust, in the first place?
Food prices are at an all time high too. Livestock in the western states is at an all time low and dairy states are heard pressed to maintain sufficient milk cows because of the skyrocketing grain pieces due to decimated grain crops – blamed of course on climate change. All this while employment remains at an all time low with more than forty-three percent of the population on food stamps. You have seen news coverage of the ethnic flash mobs that roam the downtown streets in many of the big cities demanding free food while smashing and grabbing.
You’re aware that terrorist activities are becoming more and more frequent near Muslim enclaves throughout the country, where mid-eastern refugees settled and the Feds permit Sharia Law. You remind yourself that this President wrote that he would stand with the Muslim’s should the political winds shift in an ugly direction. Judging from the bracelet that is on your wrist it seems to you that these ugly winds were beginning to blow.
Your mind tumbles through all of this random information. You try to paste it all together with what you have seen and heard since six-forty-five today. Real fear is beginning to nag at you. You are on the verge of a migraine.
“Damn,” you mutter to yourself. The strange felling of trepidation that has been creeping up on you is more intense. You’re not sure what to do next. With a blockbuster of a headache coming on you decide to go to the kitchen for a couple of Tylenol, just as your wife returns with the coffee pot to refill your cup.
You look at your wristwatch, which is now keeping company with the wi-fi bracelet. “Only about twenty minutes before the President give his address, you say to your wife. “Maybe that will shed some light on today’s happenings.”
But you don’t think it will. You walk with your wife back to the kitchen and reach into the cupboard for the Tylenol.
“I’ve talked to the kids,” your wife says as she pours a warm-up into your cup.
“Thanks,” you say to your wife for the coffee.
She puts the carafe back on the coffee maker hotplate. “Just one of them had a visit from the police and those horrid security people,” she continues.
You swallow the Tylenol and wash it down with the steaming hot liquid from your cup. “Let me guess. The only one of our brood who is most likely to be a registered Republican voter. And he had to give up his two semi-automatic souvenirs he brought back from his deployment in Iraq. Right?”
Your wife nods her head, yes. “I don’t think any of the other three have guns in their homes,” she says, “at least nothing like that has ever come up in our conversations. And, I’ve never asked any of them how they voted, though they seemed to like the promises the President made during his run for reelection.”
“Well,” you admit, “the guy did talk the talk and made a lot of pretty promises. Pretty slick teleprompter reader. I’m sure that’s why younger folks were eager to get him elected; you know something like Roosevelt’s New Deal back in the thirties.”
You set your coffee down and retrieve the television set from the deck to place it back on the shrunk between the bookcases in the sitting room. After plugging it in, you click the remote to turn it on.
“…just a few moments,” the announcer is blaring out in a voice over, “the President will be addressing the American public from the summer Whitehouse here on Oahu. Security remains at an all time high because of the many threats received during the past week. The Secret Service, under the direction of the Department of Homeland Security has sealed off the entire north shore of the island. All air travel into and out of Hawaii has been suspended until the President leaves for Washington on Air Force One after the Columbus Day weekend on Tuesday.”
“You quickly turn down the sound to an in-house level to match your hearing needs and then sit back on the couch next to your wife to await the President’s arrival at the podium that is showing on the screen. Your head is throbbing and the migraine is distorting your vision. You sip at your coffee, waiting for the Tylenol to kick in; hoping that it will do its job so you will be clear headed during the Presidents explanation of this day’s Federal Law enactments and his public policy proclamations.
A full orchestral rendition of “Hail to the Chief” begins to swell as the President walks down the hall of the summer Whitehouse leading to the podium. The voice over announces, ”Ladies and gentlemen, The President of the United States.”
With a practiced smile the President begins his teleprompter reading. “Good evening, my fellow Americans.” He says and then pauses as the camera moves in for a close-up. “I address you tonight, not at the president of the Unites States but as a fellow citizen, your humble servant, here to prepare the nation for a new age. This day will go down in history as the culmination of the true democratic process began by our forefathers in Seventeen seventy-six. For the first time in history a civilized country has complete gun registration under control of the government. With the Department of Homeland Security guiding State and Local law enforcement our streets will be safer; our police more efficient.”
As he continues the President smile one of his all knowing, beneficent smiles. “Earlier today by Federal Proclamation, authorized by the sitting congress, I have banned the Republican party because of national treason. Their failure to accept new legislation to preserve our currency through the Monetary Recovery Act and their continued objection to both the Universal Health Care Program and a National Gun Control Act proved to all their anti-establishment nature.”
There is no applause, only still air time, but the President pauses for effect before continuing. “We offered sufficient capacity for compromise, but we must now acknowledge that a certain percentage of the population within our borders, those professing to be Republicans are the parasites on the body of work that my administration has put forth. The political party, which has been holding up our progress, has noe been disbanded so that the United States can move forward again.”
“My God,” you say to your wife,” he’s engineered a complete takeover of the hill.”
Adding a visual effect, the camera pulls back slowly revealing the row of flags behind the President. “To reshape the standards that apply.” he says, “Congress has established a process of review. We must now as other people do, rid ourselves of hold-back thinkers or we will sooner or later succumb to a crisis of unimaginable proportions. Under present circumstances, it is inconceivable that all of these naysayers will see the error of their ways. So it is incumbent upon us to provide the security necessary to accomplish our goals.”
Again, a short pause that produces a serious look on the Presidents face. “A dangerous time is ahead,” he says. “We must detain those who pose a threat to our nation. To provide for our countries safely, the Department of Homeland Security under the direction of the assistant Security Czar, Arif Alihan, will pursue a measure of preventive detention to insure that they are in line with the law of the land.”
You’re quite sure that he is referring to the unused internment camps manned by the Department of Homeland Security.
The Camera shifts right to profile the President and show his cabinet members and several key Congressmen alongside him. “For the implementation of this proclamation,” he says,” the Congress, at my urging, passed the Universal Healthcare Program and the Monetary Recovery Act. These two significant changes will remove the yoke of indebtedness from the backs of the middle class and reduce our national debt. To manage the monetary change I have declared a three day bank holiday following the Columbus Day weekend. With Congressional oversight this program will reshape the standards that apply to developing an appropriate legal regime to forecast the productive work of the country. To succeed, we need all of our fellow American’s to join with us.”
The President bows his head as he concludes his prepared speech. “Soon,” he says, “the rest of the civilized world will follow our process of review. The establishment of the healthcare program along with the monetary revitalization will lead us into a brighter future as intended by God. As loyal citizens and the owners of our new found prosperity we will be the true beneficiaries of all the tenants espoused by our Constitutional forefathers. Let us each mark this as a day of remembrance for the new order that defines who we are and how far we have come. Thank you. May God’s blessings be upon you and may he forever bless the United States of America.”
You are not even listening to the voice over announcer as he delivers his ending statement to the broadcast. Your lingering migraine is pounding to the beat of your elevated blood pressure. Rivulets of sweat are dripping from your forehead. “Bull shit,” you say, “absolute bull shit.”
You realize that the old United States of America is gone. And, sad for the world, it is not coming back. The escalating preparatory activities of the executive branch of the Fed and the Department of Homeland Security throughout the last decade to strip American civil liberties were just the beginning of the nightmare to come.
You now know what has happened and what the next few days will bring. The money that you have in the bank will become worthless by Friday of the next week. Social Security for seniors will end. The medical industry will be nationalized; the Department of Homeland Security will begin round in-up those who think as you do. You will be separated from your family and your friends. You will be sent to one of the interment facilities; your property will be confiscated by the government and given over to needy members of the ruling party. No more relaxing weekends, enjoyable dinners or twilight double headers for you. You will either be judged fit to work as forced labor for the good of the country or exterminated.
There is a small chance that all of the weapons held by common citizens have not yet been confiscated. You know that not every gun in the country has been registered, just like the Colt 45. Maybe, just maybe a stand can be made until the Armed Forces of the United States of America who swore allegiance to the Constitution and not a sitting President can reach home and take back the country. But would they? Your feeble remembrance of history indicates that the Roman Army didn’t during its day; neither did the German SA when it could have deposed Hitler.
“God Damn it all,” you yell at the flickering images on the LED screen. “How did we ever let it come to this?”
“Now I understand why you couldn’t do more for Lois or John,” your wife says. Fear is back in her eyes.
“Look,” you say, “I’m going to the store while I’m still able and buy a bottle of Jack Daniel’s and the bloodiest piece of pork I can find Then I’m going to round up all the ammunition for the Colt, rub and it all in pigs blood and load the three clips that I have.”
In one last act of determined defiance you tear the “R22” wi-fi bracelet off of your wrist.
“Don’t,” your wife cries. Tears are running down her face. “Don’t…..they’ll come for you.”
When the bracelet hits the floor you crush it under the heel of your sneaker. Your migraine has vanished.
“Let the sons-of-bitches come,” you say. “I’ll be waiting for them.