The USA had been separated, for many years. The powerful, and the weak. The politically connected, and the great masses. This was still the case. But there was another separation coming to play. The prepared, and the unprepared. The people who had put back some food were doing fairly well. Farmers, who had a pantry full of produced food. And the survivalists. Who were living off MRE, and other military rations. And the other prepared peoples. Having lost the USA as an economic trading partner, many other nations were suffering. Self sustaining nations such as India and Pakistan, hardly noticed. England, Japan, Korea, and China were among the many who were hard hit.
As the sun set in the west, the President took to the airwaves, to try to spread reassurance, and calm among the nation. The President spoke for several minutes, but said nothing of any importance. he reassured anyone who was listening. (And that number grew fewer eery day, as the radio batteries wore out.) There were vague promises of rebuilding. But no details were forthcoming.
At the dining room table, Sam looked across, at the Mormon missionaries. "Well, now, that's an experience I've not yet had. I'e sure enjoyed you boys visiting, and you're always welcome. But now we got to get you home some how. You want some food to take with you? The Elders gratefully accepted, and Brenda went in the pantry to find some food that didn't need any cooking. "Hey, honey, how about send them home with some of them nutty power bars?" Sam called. Brenda replied from the pantry "We've only got two left!". Sam looked puzzled. He was sure they had over 100 of those power bars. He got his crutches, and hobbled off to the pantry to look for himself.
Came back, and apologized to the boys. Still looking confused. "Well, I'm sure we had a heck of a lot more food, there, but I'll be damned if I know what all happened to it!". Chris broke the uncomfortable silence. Said he'd be happy to drive th e boys home. The Elders siad they had some families bring them food at the other town, they would be OK.
As the three left the house, Sam remarked "that musta been some huge rat, ate all them power bars."
In Tenn, they were getting the kids ready for bedtime. Martha was upstairs, drawing a bath. Peter was sitting out on the front porch, rocking in a chair. A loud noise came from the front of the house. Madison jumped and exclaimed "What was that!" Jade looked at her like she had gone dumb, or something. "A gun, stupid." Martha, the diplomat, said it was likely okay, but she'd best to be checking with Pete.
Out on the front porch, there was Pete. With a shotgun balanced on his knees. He looked up, and raised one eye brow. "Huh?" Martha asked what was all the noise about. "Rats. All over the place. Just blew up a couple of them out in the yard. Load of fours." Martha agreed that shooting rats was important. But asked him to use a quieter gun.
"Women!" Peter replied. Took the shotgun in the house, and came out with a rim-fire .22 rifle. Just as Martha was going in the house, he squeezed off another round. And another rat dropped over, dead.
Dead wasn't totally accurate way to describe Gomer, but he wondered if he'd have felt a bit better, if he were dead. A useless lump of flesh, how he was thinking to describe himself. Away from his compound, and now he was about 10th in the chain of command. Riding around as a passenger, in a Chevrolet to boot.
Sam announced it was quiet time, and asked Brenda to get things ready. She started to head up the stairs. Gently, and quietly. Sam turned to Chris, and opened his mouth to speak. "WHAT IN THE HELL ARE YOU DOING!!!!!" a voice echoed through he house. But, it wasn't deep enough for Sam's voice. Confused, he turned around and looked. Then he and Gomer and Chris looked at each other. Chris figured it out first, it was Brenda's voice from up the stairs. Chris quickly drew his revolver, and ran up the stairs. Gomer was half a pace behind him, also arms at the ready.
At the top of the stairs, Chris peeked around the corner, not sure what to expect. He saw Brenda, standing in the hall, looking very shocked, and concerned. He didn't see any immediate threat, so Chris slowly edged around the corner. "Put on some clothes!" Brenda yelled. Chris saw Sammy get up from the floor, behind the bed. And then a second head of hair showed up behind the bed. "Come downstairs, now, your father and I need to talk to you." And then Brenda glared some more.
Realizing the incident was winding down, Chris turned to go down stairs. Sam was at the foot of the stairs, on his crutches. "Looks like your boy was getting a piece of action" Chris said. Sam's expression changed from concerned, to proud. Chris and Gomer went to the living room, and sat down. For once, Gomer didn't turn on his electronic toy, and didn't put in the ear buds.
Things were a bit more calm, at Martha and Peter's house. Martha went back upstairs, she wasn't all that comfortable with guns. It wouldn't do for Peter to be shooting the big loud one, and keeping the kids awake. She glanced into the bathroom, as she got to the top of the stairs. The bath tub was drained. The pink towel was neatly hung, on the towel rack next to the toilet. The blue towel was crumpled in a pile, in the corner. Such a boy.
Martha knocked on the bedroom door, and then cracked the door open a bit. Madison was in bed, laying on her side facing the wall. Jade was sitting on the floor, pushing a toy car. "Into bed with you, boy!" Martha exclaimed. After all, it had been a long day.
Bedtime was the moment, for Heather, and her kids. Now, she had two more children as charges. She considered what to do, about Faith's untimely end. Should she call the police, or maybe the coroner? Petition the courts for custody of the kids? Well, nothing would happen until Monday anyway. And best not to trouble the kids with such thoughts.
Heather reached into her purse, and pulled out the cell phone. Turned it on. The screen said in big letters "NO SERVICE". Odd, she thought. the cell phone had been dependable, until that point.
In Ohio, things were getting good. Sammy came slowly down the stairs, and the teenage girl, behind him. They walked over to the dining room tale, and sat down. Sam, with some effort, managed to sound stern. "So, what is this all about?" Sammy replied that they were in love. For the last several years, they had been sweet on each other, and more recently they discovered again how much the loved each other.
As the details came out, Chris and Gomer tried to act like they weren't paying attention. But, they were listening to every word. Hadn't had excitement like th is, in ages. Better than television, even. Chris looked at his watch, and then pulled out his cell phone. Called Faith, and got an error message. Called to Bill's cell phone, and got another error message. Asked Gomer to try his cell. But, Gomer's cell had the same results. "Time to head for home?" Chris asked. Gomer nodded. "In the morning." Gomer replied.
What Chris and Gomer didn't know was that the UN had been sending troops to the US, in large numbers. These troops were ignorant of US constitutional protections. But they were good at following orders. And the provisional US Government was sending out orders, that would not have made the Founding Fathers rather unhappy. The roundup of truckers was just the beginning. The Rex 84 plan was in full swing, internment of red list citizens was in progress. A couple more weeks, and all the red list people would be interned. The world would be safe for the New World Order.
Since they hadn't turned on the radio yet that night, they also didn't hear the Presidential proclamation, that all privately owned firearms needed to be turned in, for national safety.