BEEP! The alarm on the weather alert sounded. A
hairy hand reached out from under the bed covers,
and turned the switch from alert to monitor. The
speaker stooped squalling, and changed to voice.
The voice said: .... rioting has been observed
in the five counties including.... all persons
are advised to stay home, and call 911 if they
see trouble. Travel advisory is in place. No
Butch knew it would happen, it was only a question
of when. The economy had been failing. People were
unable to get basic services such as food, gasoline,
and medical care. The government people had been
blaming each other. But no one seemed to be able
to do anything sensible. All the proposals included
raising taxes, and more spending. Unemployment was
over 48% and the economy could not tolerate any
more taxes. But, still that's what they were
Butch got out of bed, and logged onto his computer.
He typed in his username Butch, and his password,
Samurai. He clicked the favorite blog, Survival
Samurai. He used the same user name and password,
figured no one would think to hijack his ISP. An
alert had been posted, by Sam Samurai, the webmaster.
Butch had private messaged Sam enough times, he
knew his real name was Sam Johnson, and he was a
postal clerk in another state.
The alert said that the cities would soon be
uninhabitable, and that he should bug out
immediately. Sam had been right every time
before, and there was no reason to doubt it now.
Down the street, Charles Mingham was also
listening to the same alert on hs weather radio.
Folks had taken to calling him Caspar Milqutoast,
after the fictional character who was mild
mannered to extreme. Charles turned on the television.
He saw some news reporting of riots int he city near
him. Charles also checked his computer. He logged
on with his name Charles, and his password Belinda.
He and his wife had enough trust in each other,
they didnt need to know each others pass words.
Still, if Belinda had asked, he'd have been only
pleased to tell her. Charles aso logged onto the
Samurai web site, and looked at the main page.
Charles and Butch had messaged before, and found
out they lived in the same city. Neither knew
that they lived about two blocks away from each
Charles considered the matter. Belinda was still
asleep in the master bedroom. The girls were
nestled into their twin beds, sharing a bedroom.
At ages 6 and 8, they were best buddies. His son,
12, had his own bedroom. He'd be fast asleep
until at least 8 AM. What to do? Should he wake
the kids and flee to the hills? Charles decided
he didn't really have enough information. Charles
got dressed, and put on his winter coat. He opened
the front door, quietly. Pushed the storm door open.
The three inches of fresh light snow pushed aside,
leaving a cheese wedge of fresh trimmed snow on the
front step. Charles steped out about half a step.
Looked both ways. The street was empty, but for a
couple parked cars. The street lights shone, as far
as he could see. And then the lights went off.
Butch had reached into the hidden drawer under the
computer, and pulled out his 9 MM pistol. It wasn't
registered in the state, and he knew he could be
facing jail time if the cops found out. Butch was
a law abiding citizen, but he also knew that some
day "they" would come for his family, and he wanted
to be ready. Butch fel the weight of the pistol in
his hand. He set the pistol in his lap, and then
reached for the computer mouse. At that moment,
the computer and rest of the house went dark.
Totally dark, only a trace of light from the stars.
Butch reached back under the computer table, and his
hadn't slowly gripped the pistol.
At this moment, both men made decisions. Decisions
which would affect thier families forever. Neither
would have the chance to talk to the other one, and
they would not have the chance to share notes, as
to what they could have done differently.