The Day the Dollar Died (Part XX)
XX. Help Wanted or Else
Filed under: The Day The Dollar Died Series
By John Galt
February 17, 2010
For those new readers, not paying attention to dates or times, the following below is FICTION…….
February 27, 2010 03:26 A.M. Central Time
The radio on the PFC’s vest blared out “Blytheville is a no go. Blytheville is a no go. All units take I-155 to Dyersburg. Follow command vehicle.” Mike looked over at the PFC and turned the radio blaring country music from WSM down and asked, okay PFC, what is this all about? This route could add another two hours to the trip that should already be over and we took four hours to go just over a hundred miles already. Is there something I should know about up ahead.” PFC Andrews was wide eyed and nervous and put the shotgun up on the dash of the big rig and replied, “Nothing you have to worry about sir, just follow the vehicle in front of you it is all under control.” Before Mike could say a word in response, a Stryker went roaring by, guns level towards the road ahead and Mike knew that action was probably pending. “Uh, son, that Stryker didn’t pass us to buy ice cream up ahead,” Mike started to say, “and if you don’t take that shotgun off of my dash and hold it properly at your side with the safety ON, I will make you eat it.” The PFC looked even more horrified and looked at Mike and slowly grabbed the weapon, replying with a soft “Yessir” so as to acknowledge Mike’s authority on this issue. “Now you can tell me what is going on or I’ll find out when we turn up ahead as someone is going to leak the information at some point,” Mike said, as he started shifting up as the convoy sped up finally. “Sir, don’t repeat a word of this. The terrorists have been blowing bridges in Arkansas and setting vehicles on fire to block the roads,” the scared PFC said,”and the ambushes have been brutal in Arkansas and Louisiana. The word among the Home Guard is that they don’t take prisoners.”
Mike knew what that meant but didn’t want to upset this kid any more than he was already, especially since he obviously did not know how to handle a gun in a real combat situation. “Son, if we get into trouble, just give me the shotgun, I’ll know what to do.” The PFC’s eyes wheeled back at Mike in horror and he just nodded. As they approached the exit to I-155 there were Strykers and Bradleys blocking the road southbound and up on the overpasses around I-55 which gave Mike the impression he had been suspecting all along, that there would be no cake walk for this kind of government manifesto to take over every square mile of this nation. The slow lumbering convoy took the turn to the east and headed now towards Dyersburg, Tennessee and where Mike knew the opportunity for further ambushes would be everywhere on a U.S. Highway and that made him worry that this detour was too well planned by whoever wanted the contents of this convoy or to just disrupt the government plans.
The turn through Dyersburg was uneventful as U.S. Highway 51 was relatively peaceful as the long convoy transitioned southbound. The entire turn took two hours but for the life of him, Mike could not figure out why someone did not take advantage of an ambush along this road, especially near town. Then the whirring sounds and thudding vibrations generated by helicopter blades hit the truck as a Blackhawk zoomed over his truck going north over the entire line of trucks. Mike looked over a the kid and said, “Chill, we have air cover.” The PFC was nervous and did not know what to say other than, “What’s air cover do for us? I don’t get it.” The laughter that burst out of Mike’s mouth intimidated and angered his passenger but he had to calm down and explain, “Son, it means that there is no way anybody would be stupid enough to attack us now. If they are flying with us all the way to Memphis, we’re in the clear and you can take a nap or play Nintendo or whatever the heck you do when you’re not needed.” The PFC’s shoulders slumped and he sighed as he said, “I’m always needed. The President said the Guard will be needed for years to come.”
The road into Memphis was uneventful now. The patrols were overly sufficient, as the sun rose in the east, the convoy dragged into an area of Memphis Mike was not familiar with on the north side of town. The citizen’s band radio started to come alive as the signs for I-269 approached, “Perishible units two-oh-one through three-seven-five, take the I-269 exit with your escorts. Non-perishable units follow the lead unit to the Memphis Motorsports Park off Victory Lane. Repeat, perishable units two-oh-one through three-seven-five, take the I-269 exit with your escorts. Non-perishable units follow the lead unit to the Memphis Motorsports Park off Victory Lane.” Mike did not understand the instructions as there were no perishable shipments out of Austin thus he concluded that another convoy was hooked up with fresh meat to insure that the city received adequate provisions. The thing that bothered him more than anything though was that he had a reefer unit and they did not ask him to head to one of the meat houses and load up, thus wasting some weight and fuel that could have been used to haul more weight from Austin on a dry van. Mike buried his suspicions as he slowed to a stop at the makeshift guard post at the entrance to Victory Lane and the airport.
“Sir, I will need to see your D-Card, CDL, and manifest. PFC, please note the time and hand your pass over, you are relieved of guard duties and ordered to the duty shack at the north west corner of the race track.” The guard was firm, business like and obviously someone who had actually served in the services unlike PFC Fluff N’Stuff, which impressed Mike enough to give him a “Yessir” as he handed his documents over. The guard then issued instructions, “Sir, please follow the ATV in front of this location to your drop location. From there you can report to the duty shack also for further instructions.” Mike took his personal identification back, leaving the bill of lading with the guard and followed the ATV to an area on the infield where dozens of trailers were already parked, some with reefer units running, others just sitting there like a typical warehouse arrangement. The ATV zoomed out and upon reaching a vacant space, signaled Mike to back it in and drop it, and requested that he head over to the duty shack. Mike acknowledged, then pulled into the vast parking area in what appeared to be a recently cleared field with fresh gravel spread everywhere and Humvees with the black Home Guard insignia emblazoned on all of the doors and pennants around the small building. PFC Andrews hopped out of the truck and there in front of the duty shack was Sergeant Al Wilsheski smiling away who yelled out at Mike, “I told you back in Minnesota old salt, don’t push the Home Guard.” Mike was getting angry by this time but felt compelled to reply, “Yeah, but I didn’t hear you nor did I mess with you. Your commander is just a piece of crap and so are you.” The PFC slammed the door, flipped Mike off and walked into the duty shack and Mike responded by dumping the air out of his truck’s system to add a little dust into the air so as to remind these clowns that he still held the wheel. His anger was obvious as he pulled into a parking space and he was itching for a fight after over twenty-four hours on the road without rest and being bossed around by a bunch of amateurs in his mind.
After parking his truck and shutting it down, Mike locked it up and hid his pistol up under the dash, not wanting to create a scene inside the area where apparently a new thug force was headquartered. As Mike brushed off the guard at the door who tried to slow him down, he pushed the door in and uttered an obscenity then yelled, “Who’s in charge of this circus?” Mike was stunned to see the Lieutenant from Minnesota show his sorry face and announce, “I am still in charge CIVLIAN. What do you need?” Lieutenant Smith meant all business as he had an armed escort as his side and despite being in “his” headquarters for the moment, was still wearing his Kevlar vest and sidearm. “Mr. Elmendorff, we can have a civil discussion,” the Lieutenant started, “or we can have it from the stockade. You have been under suspicion since we left so let’s be frank and up front with each other. From my perspective, you’re on thin ice, very thin black ice to be exact as have many of your cohorts on this run. What do you need and let’s conclude business now.” Mike was taken aback and glared at the guard to his side and the cadre of others who were starting to encroach on his location, “Mr. Smith, you have my trailer dropped out here in a field of an old race track. I simply want to know when it will be empty and when I can have it back so I can head home to my wife and take care of her and when and what I will be paid with as soon as possible.” The Lieutenant grabbed his Blackberry out of his holster and requested the clipboard from one of his subordinates. As he keyed something into his phone he scrolled, sighed and looked up with a reply, “Right now, your trailer is scheduled to be unloaded on March eleventh at four in the afternoon. You are welcome to work locally for the government delivering other trailers until that time and you will be compensated fairly.” As he finished the sentence he motioned one of the Home Guard soldiers to move behind Mike, which of course, did not escape his attention. “And if I elect to not work for you,” Mike began,” just what do I do for two weeks waiting on MY equipment to be offloaded?” The Lieutenant chuckled, “It is not your equipment until it is empty. Right now, you and the trailer are government property. If you elect to leave our supervision you are on your own. You can proceed home, and good luck with that, or you can work for us and come back on the scheduled date and your trailer will be empty within four hours of that scheduled time.”
Mike glared deeply at the officer and the PFC rider he had who was hiding behind him now, shotgun in hand. “I’ll be heading to the truck stop in West Memphis. You have my number. Call me when it is empty,” Mike began, “and if I don’t get a call on March eleventh, I’ll be back here madder than I am now.” The Lieutenant acknowledged the conversation, gave Mike a fuel and shower voucher and said, “Good luck, I know you’ll be back to work as everyone needs the money.” Mike walked back to his truck, unlocked it and took a deep breath. He knew the decision he made might well be the last of his life of any major consequence and gently banged his head against the side door of his truck as the sun warmed the Memphis air. The steps up into the cab seemed heavier than ever but Mike knew he was left without any choices but to do what was best for his wife, even if she had no clue what it meant for their future. As he headed south on U.S. Highway 51, his heart felt heavier and heavier. The Petro truck stop in West Memphis never looked better than ever, as a beacon to the last outpost of freedom in his mind. He topped the fuel tanks off and parked his rig, completely exhausted from the caffeine and adrenaline rush of the past day. “Mike, is that you?” a voice in the parking lot rang out. Mike glanced over and only knew the driver by his first name and handle, or so he thought, “Boghound? Bill, is that you?” Mike asked in amazement. “Yeah, it’s me,” Bill replied, “they snookered you into this nonsense too I see.” Mike look stunned at his comment, “How did you know that?” Bill laughed hard and pointed to the right side bumper of Mike’s truck. “You were tagged many moons ago my friend,” Bill said, “you’ve been on their radar literally for a while and still live on their screens. That’s a transponder for tolls, and more you old dog. I guess you forgot to do your pre-trip!”
Mike was not amused. He walked over and sure enough there was a transponder with the black Home Guard insignia on it clamped on to his bumper with some 3M tape. Mike yanked it off and put it in his pocket commenting to Bill, “First dump truck becomes my pet and their whore.” Bill laughed and said, “Let’s clean up and get some coffee. I’m sick of all this drama.”
February 26, 2010 1:17 P.M. Eastern Time Sarasota, FL
My wife was not pleased with me. I was slinging my keys, the groceries, my phone, everything on to the floor of the house. “Honey, calm down,” she begged, “you can not go back to Publix in front of hundreds of people and shoot that fat slob Porky with a twelve gauge shotgun. “Dammit honey, I know that,” I yelled back, “but I’m also not going to live like that. The idiocy where I, a person with a degree, more brains, more skill, more ability, and an advocate of freedom will have to submit to a fat drugged out loser like that is not a situation I am going to tolerate when it comes to buying food every week. Does that instruction sheet the Nazis gave us have anything about alternate stores?” She looked horrified at my words, grabbed the information packet and started flipping through page after page. Finally, after what seemed like an hour, she glanced up and said, “We can go to the WalMart on Highway Seventy in Bradenton every other week but our ration coupons for the week before do not carry over.” I took a moment to gather my thoughts and replied, “Then you can go shopping at Publix. I am not tolerating that jerk. Bad things will happen.”
After the big scene I had just made I settled down on the sofa and gathered my keys, the cell phone off of the floor that I had thrown and noticed that on the table was another manila envelope that I had forgotten to open. As I tore it open and noticed the usual headings from our newly beloved OES office in Tampa, the heading was nothing compared to the shocker in the cover letter:
YOU ARE HEREBY ORDERED TO REPORT TO THE FLORIDA OFFICE OF EMPLOYMENT SERVICES TEMPORARY FACILITY AT THE SAM’S CLUB ON FRUITVILLE ROAD AT 10:00 A.M. SATURDAY FEBRUARY 27, 2010. YOU WILL BE GIVEN YOUR NEW EMPLOYMENT ASSIGNMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT COMMISERATE WITH THE INFORMATION WE HAVE ON FILE ABOUT YOUR WORK HISTORY AND THE TESTING TO BE COMPLETED DURING YOUR APPOINTMENT. REFUSAL TO APPEAR WILL BE CONSTRUED AS A REFUSAL TO INTERVIEW FOR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AND ALL GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE WILL CEASE AND DESIST TO YOUR HOUSEHOLD WITHIN FORTY-EIGHT HOURS OF THE APPOINTMENT TIME IN ADDITION TO OTHER CIVIL PENALTIES WHICH MAY BE LEVIED AT YOUR REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR’S DISCRETION.
“Baby, you are not going to believe this,” I yelled out at her, “I have to report to their work camp tomorrow morning now!” She came running into the room almost in tears, “What the hell are you talking about?” I handed her the cover letter to which she scanned, took a deep sigh and said angrily, “This is not an order to a work camp. You just need a job and they are providing it.” I threw the pile of papers which were the test that I was to fill out before my appointment and screamed back at her, “And if they assign me to work in Miami, Atlanta, or freaking Anchorage then what? Are you going to shoot the first SOB that pries off the plywood? Are you going to fend that fat freak Porky off? This is bull. I am not going to submit to this. I’ll go to the appointment just to pacify you but if they make up some nonsense about working for the man or whatever for minimum wage cleaning toilets or acting like that fat piece of human debris we met today, I am taking a stand.”
With that our conversation was over. She walked back into the kitchen and began putting the groceries up again without talking to me the rest of the afternoon. That is, until the screams from our neighbor’s house were heard and the police and Home Guard were kicking his doors in and knocking on ours.
February 26, 2010 5:51 P.M. Eastern Time, just outside of McRae, Georgia
After passing through the local checkpoint for the Telfair County Sheriff’s office on U.S. Highway Twenty-three, everything seemed to be somewhat normal down in the little South Georgia town of McRae except for the fact that almost every citizen on the streets was openly carrying some sort of firearm and the local stores down town had armed guards in front of them, none of them from the National Guard or new Home Guard, Tom noted. They obeyed every traffic law, crept through town and as they eased down south of the city, they noticed what the other sheriff was warning about. There were two burned out National Guard trucks, what appeared to be two Humvees that were torched and a big sign with a circle and slash through the words “NO FEDS” which made Tom smile and Lillian yell out “Lookie, lookie, these folks took a stand. Ah, God Bless them, they ain’t puttin’ up with this nonsense!” Tom was not as amused as his instincts from the city of Atlanta and driving around there told him that this could have just as easily been an ambush to steal their vehicle and supplies, so he sped the vehicle up just a bit to get away from this area as soon as possible.
The country roads looked as if nobody had been out in days but as they slowed down in front of the farm Tom noticed immediately that things were amiss, “Mom, hang on, someone is watching us from that front window. Let’s park here as they have no idea we are coming. Honey, you hold the gun and if something happens, just aim towards the house and start shooting.” Lillian looked at Tom and took a deep breath, realizing what he was saying. “Tom, you stand by the front of your truck,” she started,”don’t make any false moves, they might be family but they had no idea that we were coming.” Tom nodded and got out of the SUV, taking the gun from Lillian and handing it to his wife where the occupants of the farm house could not see it.
Lillian walked slowly up the dirt driveway, opening the gate to the farm and holding her hands up yelling out, “Sally, it’s me, please don’t shoot me our you won’t get any of my biscuits!” Tom started laughing but then gathered his senses as she turned around and winked at him. Lillian took what seemed like half a day to walk up the dusty quarter mile stretch of red clay, dirt and scattered gravel, yelling out the entire time that it was safe and not to worry that it was family. Tom was beginning to panic as she got closer to the house and nothing happened to indicate that they were welcome there. Without warning a gunshot was heard in the distance and Tom whirled around waving his hands down to tell Sandy to duck and do nothing, thankfully she complied, ducking behind the dashboard while Lillian just stood there in the driveway as nothing had happened then yelled out, “Sweetie, I know that wasn’t y’all. That had to be a hunter, it was too far away. Are y’all going to welcome us in or do we have to go build a tent at the end of the drive and act like squatters?”
Without warning four little children poured out of the home, screaming “Aunt Lil” at the top of their lungs. Tom’s shoulders slumped down and a tear welled up in his eyes as he realized that finally, maybe for a while, they could relax away from the big city and the circus they left behind in Boxankle and the other small towns which by now were inflamed with passions on both sides of this battle for liberty. Lillian yelled out, “Tom, bring everything on down, the family is waiting on us.” Tom hopped back into the driver’s seat and with a smile on his face, slowly took the pistol out of his weeping wife’s hand. “We’re safe now sweetie, your Momma knew best, but I would not have bet on it two days ago. At least from here we have bought some time, if not some freedom. Let’s get inside and help the family out and pray that our nation is sane after the President speaks Sunday night.” Sandy just wept and put her arm around Tom as she said, “I can’t take much more of this, but I promise to be strong like Momma. I think we are going to be here for quite a while.”