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The Day the Dollar Died (Part XVIII)

August 30, 2011

XVIII. The Boxankle Adventure
Filed under: The Day The Dollar Died Series
by John Galt

February 14, 2010

February 26, 2010 12:07 P.M. Eastern Time

The hazards of the roads in this portion of Georgia were well known to Tom but when you add spotty ice and check points with trigger happy deputies or terrified residents, the adventure was something to behold. As Tom made the left turn off of Barnesville Road and on to Van Buren he knew that he was not in Kansas any more. “Honey, please keep an eye to the rear for any trouble,” Tom said firmly to his wife, “I don’t want to be surprised by some yahoo coming out of his driveway firing away at us.” Sandy did not know how to take his comments so she started to shake in the back seat, which grabbed the attention of Lillian, “Child, get it together!” she yelled at her daughter. Sandy was startled and yelled back, “But Momma, this is insane, this is America, not some third world country where you can’t move around!” Lillian shook her head and glanced at Tom who was driving slowly on the curvy Johnstonville Road now, trying to insure that nothing would attract attention as they approached the I-75 overpass. “Tom, maybe I should move to the back seat,” Lillian said in a subdue voice, “I think that you can handle the front view and it might be better if she sat beside you.” Tom nodded and replied, “Let’s get past the I-75 interchange first. That’s the only spot in this trip that I worry about as who knows what kind of checkpoints they have set up or if the government is even functioning down here.” The shock of what Tom and everyone in the vehicle saw stunned them for the rest of the day. The interchange was basically closed off as they drove by, with pancaked cars, probably from the cash for clunkers idiocy Tom figured, piled up at the top of each exit ramp with barbed wire just thrown around the cars to slow down meddlers.

The pause just east of English Road gave Tom a chance to take care of business while the girls rotated positions and then hear his wife yell out while he was behind the tree, “What if I have to go?” Tom banged his head against the pine tree and then finished up, walking back towards the vehicle shaking his head and yelling back, “Honey, we have no shortage of trees between here and your Mom’s choice of destination. If you think I’m stopping somewhere that has heated bathrooms and attendants you chose the wrong airline sweetie!” Sandy turned red in the face at this response and yelled at both Tom and her mother who was grinning like a Cheshire cat at Tom’s comments, “Y’all might think that’s funny but I don’t.” Tom got very business like after she vented and looked her in the eye as he approached her, “Sweetie, you had best go now or shut up. It is too dangerous to stop too many times and to be honest I will feel better when we get to our final destination.” Sandy winced, grabbed a napkin out of the center console and ran like a doe to a tree fifty feet away from the road. It was a strange feeling to her, being pampered all of her life in the comforts of home and her mom felt sorry for her. Lillian grabbed a wad of napkins from the same console and looked at Tom as she said, “Well, I guess I had best teach her some damned reality about the woods, the country and nature.” With that Lillian waddled up into the woods to console her somewhat terrified daughter who had never really had a rough day in her life.

As everyone piled into the rear of the SUV, Tom asked in a very firm tone of voice, “Did either of you see any movement around us? I think it is all clear, but I want to make sure.” Lillian piped right up, “All clear son, don’t slow down now and for God’s sake do not turn the engine off ever again. What if it doesn’t start up?” Tom turned red with shame, “Mom, you’re right. In fact I’ll stay with the truck and we’ll keep the gun in here in case we have to stop again, that way we have a place to move back to, sort of a Fort Apache should we get in trouble.” Lillian laughed out loud, “Okay Chuck Bronson, you kick butt and lead the way.” With that bit of levity Tom hit the gas and they sped towards the intersection west of Juliette, their next concern on this twisted road to a new start, or so they thought.

The trip proceeded normally without a soul in sight until they approached the intersection of Boxankle Road and Johnstonville Road where Lillian started screaming at Tom from the back seat, “For God’s sake do not stop and do not act stupid!” Tom noticed two vehicles about four hundred yards north of the intersection with men guarding the road armed and pointing guns down the highway at him. On the south side of the road, Lillian saw three burned out cars blocking the road with a sign that said “Nobody Thru” hastily spray painted on a piece of plywood leaning against what appeared to be a burned out Georgia State Patrol car. Tom did not hesitate. “Screw the speed limit, hang on!” he helled to his wife and mother-in-law and he gunned it up to sixty miles per hour to get through that area so as to let the locals know he respected their warnings and to insure that it would be hard to get a good shot at his SUV.

The road continued to wind until Tom noticed a new problem, way ahead and he slowed down, grabbing the map from his petrified wife and looking for options. “What’s wrong now honey?” Sandy asked shaking from the front seat. Lillian looked to her rear as they slowed down and tapped Tom on the shoulder, “Do it,” was all she said and Tom did not hesitate. With no warning he swerved to the right down Cochran Road, an old dirt shortcut the locals took and barreled down towards US 23. “Why did you do that? You’re freaking me out!” Sandy yelled. Tom replied, “That’s a major intersection up ahead and my bet is that we would get shut down by the National or Home Guard goons. I don’t want to gamble now, not this close to getting to safety. We only have one more interstate junction to deal with and from there we should make it to your Momma’s relatives in one piece.”

As they turned hard on to US Highway 23 south, Tom noted a lack of activity around the intersection in his rear view mirror. “Mom, keep an eye out for local crazies pulling out behind us. I’m really worried about the lack of check points on these country roads,” Tom said. After another hour and twenty minutes of weaving in and out of country roads and avoiding small towns, Tom, who was pretty much silent just listening to Radio America via WSB and focusing on the highway finally piped up, “Mom, it’s decision time. Do we go through the Dudley intersection or Haskins Crossing?” Lillian looked at a map and decided to throw caution into the wind, “Tom, Dudley looks like the perfect place to build a road block or seize folks on the road who do not know what is going on. Let’s cut under I-16 via Haskins, but don’t slow down and let’s pray it is like the roads up north. It is going to get dark soon.” Tom hammered on the side road, cutting over to the path that would take them under I-16 and much to his relief and his mother-in-law’s the exit ramps were blocked off with old cars and barbed wire again. “We’re living well Mom,” Tom yelled from the front seat, “let’s pray our luck continues.”

The rocky road finally put them on the final approach to McRae without any more events. With just over half a tank of gas left, they motored south on US 441 and 319 in Laurens county without incident until they hit a small intersection at Fountain Road and there it was, the first check point of the day. As they slowed down the Humvee they saw with the flashing blue light on top had a very unfamiliar insignia to them, a black shield with the “Home Guard” insignia which made them very paranoid. A voice suddenly bellowed out, “DRIVER, SLOW DOWN AND COME TO A COMPLETE STOP TEN YARDS FROM THIS POINT. NO FUNNY BUSINESS. HANDS FOR ALL PERSONNEL IN THE VEHICLE WHERE WE CAN SEE THEM!” Tom complied and told his mother-in-law to put the gun and its holster under the seat. “They’ll find it you know,” Lillian replied. Tom took a deep breath and said, “Yes, but at least they just can’t shoot us for carrying your gun now can they?”

The SUV crept to a stop with Tom, Sandy and Lillian all putting their hands in plain sight where the Home Guard troopers could see them. Tom had already rolled the window down when the guardsman approached and yelled out, “Good afternoon sir. What can we do for you?” The trooper was a portly fellow but looked as if he had been in the military at some point because he was all business. “Sir, I need your D-Card, driver’s license and transportation pass.” Tom looked at Lilian somewhat puzzled and shrugged his soldiers as if to play along and handed his D-Card and license over with a polite, “Here ya go sir.” The trooper was not amused and snapped back, “Where’s your transport pass sir? I know you heard me clearly.” Tom looked over at Lillian who glanced down as if to indicate she wanted to reach under the seat and grab the gun but Tom nodded as if to say no. “Sir, I’m not going to repeat myself, either produce that transport pass or step out of the vehicle,” the Home Guard Sergeant said. Tom looked at his wife and mother-in-law, shrugged and said to the trooper, “Well, I guess I’m stepping out. America used to let you drive to a family member’s house without a freaking pass but I guess you guys created another bogus law while all hell was breaking loose. I’m stepping out of the car now, please don’t shoot me.”

The Sergeant was not amused. He grabbed his mike to his radio and said, “Bill, we’ve got another wise ass. Get up here to help cover the occupants.” Another trooper emerged from the woods with an M-16 and an attitude also yelling out, “Everyone in the vehicle stand pat, stand down, or else!” Lillian looked at her daughter and sighed, “Army rejects.” Tom was about to say something as the other trooper came down when a Laurens County Sheriff’s car pulled up to the scene and a tall gentleman who appeared to be the county sheriff stepped out. “I’m Sheriff Will Atkins, what have these people done soldier?” he yelled out as he stepped out of the vehicle. The Sergeant did not even hesitate, “Driver, put your hands on the hood of the vehicle and spread him. Private if he moves, shoot him, I’m going to square this off with the local law. We have jurisdiction here Sheriff, you need to move on.”

Will Atkins was not one of those Atlanta law enforcement types who would surrender his legal authority to a bunch of Washington outsiders and today was no different. “Son, you had best pull it back a notch, we dang sure do not put up with this attitude down here,” Atkins said to the Sergeant. The Sergeant would have none of it and turned red in the face, “Don’t you even think about giving me any of this jurisdiction crap you rednecks talk about down here. We are in charge of all security and these people do not have a pass to be here. Hell, they do not even live here. They are snooping for trouble or are runners. Now you need to bug out and go eat some donuts or chase a chicken or something.” Sheriff Atkins had had enough after two days of the Federals trampling over his authority. He told his deputy to cover the car with Tom and his family while he asked the two Home Guard soldiers to calm down and step behind their Humvee so they could discuss this like professionals. “Don’t worry, Deputy Arnold will cover them. They ain’t going anywhere,” Atkins said as the three men walked behind the Humvee.

Tom was still pasted to the hood of his SUV, terrified as to what was coming up with all of the adrenaline flowing and the guns pulled everywhere but in his hands to defend his family. Lillian was glaring at him from the back seat of his vehicle and she looked scared for the first time since he had known her. Sandy had both hands on the dash of their truck and tears were streaming down her face as she felt that her husband was at great risk. The deputy was a true professional and as the men ducked behind him to talk behind the Home Guard SUV, he spoke, “Everyone stay calm, this isn’t unusual. We have new procedures and we’re all working our way through it.”

The silence seemed to last forever to Tom. He heard the voices behind the Humvee talking but could not hear what they were saying. “What if they are going to kill us all?” he thought to himself. Suddenly, without warning, four shots rang out.

Sheriff Atkins walked out from behind the Humvee and yelled out at his Deputy, “Give me hand putting these clowns in the front seat. Take their ammo and radios and we’ll push this off the road and burn it. I’m not putting up with any more crap from these clowns any longer. Laurens County will not submit.” The Deputy yelled back, “Hell yes!” He then looked over a Tom who was sweating profusely now in the forty degree weather and said, “Go get in your truck. As soon as we push this off, you git and I mean fast.” Sheriff Atkins chimed in, “We’re sorry folks that you had to see this. These guys have been bullying the locals for three days now and I’ve had enough. We’re going to take a stand. Just get out of here and fast as I’m rounding up volunteers. And watch out if you’re heading to McRae, there’s a large group of them just north of town.” Tom took his hands off the hood and started to cry a bit as he yelled out, “God Bless you sir and thank you sir for your bravery. I had never seen it so bad the last three days either. Atlanta is a hell hole and we just wanted to escape to safety.” Sheriff Atkins looked back at him and said, “Son, you don’t know the half of it. A world of hurt is coming to our nation, I just pray we survive the next thirty days.”

Tom put a pair of gloves on and helped the Sheriff and his deputy push the truck off into the drainage ditch off the side of the road. As he started to hop into his truck the deputy handed Tom a 9 mm Beretta off of the body of the dead Sergeant and two magazines. “Don’t load it until we can’t see you or the Sheriff will shoot you,” he said, “this is to give you a fighting chance to make it down to your relative’s house.” Tom nodded, thanked the deputy and handed the weapon and magazines over to Lillian, “She’s my gunfighter,” Tom said with a smile. “She’s a tough lookin’ hombre,” the deputy said smiling back, “now y’all take care and get out of here while we finish up here.” Tom cranked the SUV up and hit the gas peeling out of the area as fast as he could. In the rear view mirror he saw what Lillian was staring at, a Humvee burning on the side of the road.

“We’re not in Kansas anymore,” Lillian said. Tom replied, “Yup, and this aint’ no country for old women or men. We’re in it now, neck deep. Thank God we’re less than half an hour away. Let’s take back roads until we get there.”

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