Thanks for the new chapter. It would be nice to see Larry strangled; sooner rather than later. You can just tell he is going to be bad trouble down the road, and it may be better to prevent that before it happens.
Fall came and we had a good harvest. The drought seemed to have slacked off some—with reservations.
There wasn’t enough rain in the grain belt for the big agricultural concerns to have anything at all like optimum harvests. They grew just enough to stave away famine—only just.
The prices of pork and chicken rose perhaps three hundred percent, since commercial hogs and chickens were largely fed with corn—with a minor smattering of other grains.
Beef could be largely raised on pasture—and many were—but the relative dryness meant that even pastures weren’t optimal. Cutting way back on the corn-fed fattening stage meant that most of what beef there was, was noticeably less prime.
People had to spend a much larger portion of their income on food.
Gasoline prices went up. Oil hadn’t vanished, but it wasn’t quite as cheap as it once had been. Higher diesel prices added nickels and dimes to the prices of most everything transported by trucks or trains.
Foreign countries accepted American dollars for their goods in expectation that somewhere down the line, those dollars could be used to buy material goods from America.
One of America’s big exports had been grain. Grain exports hadn’t ceased—but they had dropped off considerably.
That meant that the price of the electronic toys that many Americans used to distract themselves from the bleakness of their lives also tripled and quadrupled in price.
All of life’s necessities and luxuries had gone up in price. The government stepped in with price controls and rationing as well as financial aid where the government thought that it was called for.
Then the government had no way to cash the checks it sent out, but to crank up the printing presses and make more money the old fashioned way.
Black Markets sprang up. Actually, Black Markets were the best means that people had for dealing with a very bad situation. The government preached against Black Market Profiteers and promised draconian punishments…
But they couldn’t fail to understand that without the Black Markets full-scale insurrection and eventual collapse were imminent.
Folks in the cities were already in a flabby sort of Martial Law as it was.
The thing that surprised me was that the government opted to leave large chunks of rural America—areas that weren’t tried and true parts of the American Agricultural Machine pretty much alone.
Folks with small farms could be and were pretty much self-sufficient. If the State closed their farms, they’d either have to kill them outright, or add them to the roles of folks that needed to be fed from public pantries.
The government didn’t have the time or resources to devote to smashing all the small-scale farmers. Most of them wouldn’t be willing to leave their homesteads without a fight. Many folks would have been surprised how well armed and trained many of the farmers were.
But above all else, the small farms often generated a small to moderate surplus.
Fat hams, Thanksgiving turkeys, eggs and cheese as well as grape, strawberry and blackberry jelly along with numerous fruit preserves…and whisky too—well few if any of those things made their way to New York or Washington DC.
We didn’t have to bribe Washington though. Our produce—by “We” I mean the small-scale farmers—made its way to Louisville and Indianapolis, Bloomington, Evansville, Lexington and Cincinnati.
Keep the commissars in those local urban centers happy and they’ll create excuses to keep Washington off our behinds—as a general rule.
That’s why I thought that it was a reasonably prudent course of action to go to the fair at Tell City.
There were still barges going up and down the Ohio, though the River got too low too navigate for weeks at a time. Barges were excellent means to smuggle Black Market food and luxuries to Evansville, Louisville, Cincinnati and other cities on the River.
Tell City, being about halfway between Evansville and Louisville was an excellent place for local traders to bring their wares.
Most farmers didn’t make the journey themselves, but traded with the free-market middle-men who’d sprang up to fill the newly created economic niches.
But I had a special reason that I’d wanted to go. I had a friend in Birdseye. A lot of people are Survivalists. Stephan pondered at great length, what it would take to make a comeback from a collapse.
Stephen was well versed in the theory of vacuum tubes and he was set up to make his own. It’s not that hard if you know what you’re about. He figured that some sort of EMP or MCE might fry most of the World’s transistors. Getting silicone pure enough to make useful transmitters—not to mention gallium and germanium or whatever, to dope the silicone with.
But anyone with a good understanding of diodes, triodes, pentodes, etc, and a way to blow glass and create a modest vacuum can make tubes.
Personally, I’ve always felt that transistors were a passing fad anyway.
I didn’t want a super-heterodyne radio receiver with seventeen tubes though. Stephen made some brilliant manually powered machine tools too though.
Have you ever seen an old watchmaker’s lathe?
Some of the more advanced ones are treadle-driven, but some of the oldest ones were driven with a bow operated with the left hand, while the right hand held a cutting tool…
And those dudes made watches from the parts they turned that way. Of course those were rather thick pocket watches, but still…
Stephen had a treadle-powered lathe he’d designed—though borrowing heavily from old models.
It was foot-powered, had a cross-feed and a compound slide and an automatic feed. That was a matter of driving the compound slide at a constant rate with the same motive force turning the spindle.
He also had rifling machines and a hand-powered shaper.
I’d contacted him, he was going to the fair anyway, and he’d built a small foot-powered lathe suitable for most Gunsmithing work and a shaper along with the hard to build parts of a rifling machine.
There was relatively little theft or rustling going on in our area. Once things had shaken down and settled into a stable pattern, there were more than enough duly appointed deputies to keep the peace.
I didn’t feel at all bad about leaving the Farm for a few days. Joandelle had been feeling poorly and hadn’t wanted to come.
I’d locked away and cached most of the really irreplaceable things and I’d hired three brothers to stay there and watch the place and Joandelle while I was gone.
The youngest brother was seventeen. They were all armed with M-16s, almost certainly looted from some National Guard Armory. They were fortunate to find M-16s instead of M-4s.
They all carried Machetes too.
They came highly recommended for honesty, dependability and competence with their weapons.
It was seventeen miles to Tell City—no more than an hour’s drive under all but the most extreme driving conditions. But the traders stopped at every cow-path and wide place in the road to trade and swap with folks along the way.
It was going to take us two or three days to get to Tell City, though our return would be much faster.
Farms and Townsteads were fairly safe from brigands, but a trading caravan might prove too much of a temptation. We had several armed guards accordingly.
The traders charged me to travel with them, but we got a heavy discount because of the firepower we brought along.
Oddly, they seemed to put more stock in Larry’s delta-stocked AR than they did in Jerry’s .30 Carbine and Sissy’s home-made .17 Fireball. In a firefight, I’d have rather had either of the girls than three of Larry.
I’d brought along an H&K .308 Main Battle Rifle. I figured that if heavily armed bandits attacked then every bit of power and penetration was good.
I also kept a .308 Scout Rifle close to hand. If wurst came to wurst and I had to run and hide, I could cache the H&K and carry the much lighter and potentially more useful Scout Rifle.
Riding through the countryside was relaxing. I took no part in the trading, but I watched carefully and made note of what was dear and what was common. And I just noted how well fed and healthy the folks and how prime their produce was.
I was put just a little on edge by the possibility of bandits. So when we pulled into Tell City I heaved a sigh of relief.
The traders set up their booths to trade while I went in search of Stephen.
I noticed that they were setting up some of the same carnie games to fleece the Rubes that I’d worked on thirty years earlier.
They even had a few carnival rides up and working. I saw a Spider, a Tilt, a Scrambler and a thirty-three-horse Carousel.
I talked with the show’s electrician briefly.
You know there’s some oil in Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky?
I knew, because I’d seen the small pumps, looking for all the World like giant praying mantises, tirelessly bobbing up and down like Mussulmen at prayer.
Did you know that since the crisis, virtually all of those small oil wells have gone dry?
That’s where much of the fuel to run convoys, local Law vehicles and carnie generators come from.
Not that there aren’t vehicles running on Methane, Ethanol, Bio-Diesel and other alternative fuels.
I found my friend and was more than pleased with the goods that he had for me. Gold changed hands and I made arrangements for him to transfer the machines to my truck.
Larry made his move a couple days later. I’ll admit that his timing was flawless.
We all had fun at the fair. That is, everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.
Larry and Trinity puzzled me a bit. He’d said that Trinity was his girlfriend. And presumably, love for Trinity had caused him to leave home and undertake a perilous journey.
So it was strange that I never saw them hold hands or kiss. Indeed, they seemed to scrupulously avoid all physical contact.
I had assigned everyone a private bedroom, but I hadn’t forbade them to cohabit. Issuing an order that you can’t enforce isn’t wise and having to punish someone for a rule infraction that was bound to occur is something best avoided.
So far as I could tell though, they’d never played musical rooms in the dead of night—not that I watched them. I really didn’t much care what they did so long as it didn’t cause me grief.
But I did see Larry put his arm around Trinity as they walked off to enjoy the fair.
I did a bit of trading. I had a little gold and beaucoup silver, along with a few semi-precious stones well cut. I found a few bargains.
The third night Larry and Trinity came in with their arms around each other. Larry in particular seemed to have been lubricating himself with adult beverages.
He wasn’t falling-down drunk, but he seemed to be a bit clumsy, and loud and very happy.
“I bought several bottles of wine cordials,” Larry enthused.
All I know about cordials are that they’re a very syrupy wine generally consumed it tiny quantities—I think.
“We always used to toast Christmas and the New year with a glass at my house,” Larry said.
“I want everyone to try some.”
“Shouldn’t you save them for Christmas then?” I asked reasonably.
“Pshha!” Larry spat. “I wasn’t going to buy them without trying a bottle…”
Larry paused and held up one finger like an old professor getting ready to make a telling point.
“I made them select a bottle at random. Anyway, I think that they don’t keep well once you open them. I know that father never left an open bottle unfinished,” Larry concluded.
Larry poured everyone a shot only marginally larger than a thimble, in tiny goblets made for consuming such minuscule quantities of hooch.
He poured everyone’s drink out of the same bottle. I never saw any particular reason to distrust him.
I was a bit surprised when he had everyone do a “Bottoms up”. I’d thought that one was supposed to sip such concoctions demurely.
But I rationalized that this was the way that Larry’s family had drank their twice-yearly libation of cordials—a mini-tradition, as it were.
Larry refilled everyone’s glass. The stuff tasted like nail-polish remover, Wild Irish Rose and a bit of vanilla extract all stirred together and left to get tepid in the summer sun—but I took the second libation.
If he’d just told me that he’d already drugged me, I could have forgone another sip of his nasty brew.
He had enough left for a couple of us to have a third round. That was an honor I cheerfully left for someone else.
I seldom drink, but I poured myself about four ounces of Scotch to help wash that nasty taste out of my mouth.
It may vary a bit with the individual, but I’ve long noticed that almost any drug that I take orally, takes about twenty minutes to hit me.
You would think that liquid alcohol would work faster than an Aspirin or a Vicodin that needs to dissolve first. I’d experimented with Aspirin, putting them into a capful of water. They totally dissolve in less than a minute. Never been so blessed with Vicodin to waste one clowning around.
At any rate, it was almost twenty minutes to the second, when Jerry started vomiting. Trinity looked stricken and when the smell reached her, she started throwing up too.
I tried to rise, but all of a sudden my balance was off. The room seemed to tilt crazily. I started seeing streamers around everything.
I fell flat on my ass and started laughing hysterically.
While the World experimented with all sorts of new ways to whirl colorfully around my head, three strangers walked into our tent.
I ‘d never seen Larry kiss Trinity, but he sure was making up for lost time with this knob-gobbler—whoever he was. Never had made Larry for splayed, but I’d had little reason to question his sexual orientation.
“What was in that?” Larry asked one of the others.
“Three four-milligram Dilaudids and enough LSD-25 to waste a squad of Marines,” Larry’s new—maybe old—friend said.
“I wasn’t sure whatever it was would be enough, so I added a Cogesic tablet,” He confessed.
“Damn! I hope he doesn’t OD before we can find out where he hides the gold and silver,” Larry’s kissing buddy said.
One of them slapped a pair of handcuffs on my wrists. He didn’t bother to roll me over and put them on from behind.
“Do it right!” I heard one of them say.
“He’s going to go beddy-bye for awhile. Those pain-killers will have to wear off before we can torture anything out of him. I don’t want him to drown in his own vomit.
“That’s what killed Mama Cass Elliot. With his hands up front, he can at least lift himself a little.”
“What about the girls?” Larry asked.
“I hate women!” One fellow said.
“I hate black women, black people period,” another one said.
“Big ten-four on that good buddy,” said Larry. “That little one—‘Jerry’—she’s white though.”
******************* ************* ********
Larry, you stupid Spritz, I thought to myself.
There’s a joke about a fellow who moves into a ghetto neighborhood. He sets out rat poison. The rats keep him awake all night, beating on his door with the empty rat poison box, wanting more.
I clowned around altering my state of consciousness by means of chemical assistance for the better part of a decade before I left that rather sterile field of endeavor for other pursuits.
Right from the beginning I had a taste and a tolerance for Brobdingnagian quantities of drugs.
Thanks for the cheap high Larry, but do you have some more?
I am moderately claustrophobic. I seriously don’t groove on having my hands tied behind me. Consequently I’ve driven myself to practice getting out of restraints. I have small picking devices concealed in several places on my person.
Getting out of cuffs with a head full of acid with my hands behind my back might have proven rather challenging. With my hands in front, it wasn’t challenging.
Larry had taken all my visible Guns. I don’t think that it even occurred to the dip-spritz to pat me down for hideouts.
That was protein for my team.
One of Larry’s buddies came into the room to check on me.
I rolled over onto my stomach and held my breath momentarily. He turned me over to see if I was still on alive.
I grabbed him with my legs to pull him close and shoved the small stiletto into his heart. The Stiletto had a four and a half inch blade and was square in cross-section. I pumped the stiletto seven or eight times while throttling his throat as tightly as I could—but it was the first and most accurate thrust that really settled his bacon.
I had a .45 Auto—a 1911A1 type that I carried concealed in a low-riding front holster. It had an Officer’s Model frame, but a Commander slide and barrel. Sometimes the Officer length slides can be a bit of a bother to tune for maximum reliability. And the longer barrel gives a bit more “Oomph!”
The .45 and the stiletto should be more than enough to settle Larry and company—but we were in a city. I was an escaped convict. I couldn’t afford to have the local Laws poking around. All they’d have to do would be run my fingerprints and I’d be skewed—as the term is in Old Sanskrit.
I grabbed my Bowie and a nice Wakazashi from my trunk. I’d just bought the Wakazashi from a local blade-smith. The blade was twenty-four inches long and there was room for both hands on the handle—though not widely spaced as in Kendo.
The blade was also wider and thicker than the traditional Wakazashi. It would have done reasonable service as a pry-bar.
As I stepped into the other tent, I swung the Wakazashi in a wide arc and took the head off of one of Larry’s co-conspirators.
I used to have an old book that was supposed to be about Assassination Techniques. Looking back, I think that about eighty percent of the book was kibble for chuckleheads. But I’ll always remember that illustration of a dude’s head leaping off his shoulders, a bloody sword along with a veritable fountain of blood. The caption said:
“Decapitation is instant visual and tactile confirmation of termination.”
I threw my Bowie underhanded at Larry’s last remaining comrade. If he hadn’t been so greedy, it might have taken several thrusts with knife or sword to settle him. But he was hoggish enough to take one wound and be satisfied with it.
All that I’d really intended to do was discomfit him momentarily as I dealt with Larry—but the man grasped the hilt of my Bowie and folded up like a cheap card table.
Larry went to draw his Python. As I’ve observed, he was left-handed. At least he carried his Revolver for a left-hand draw.
I was using the Wakazashi left-handed—“Blade-Hand; Gun Hand”.
I was in an ideal position to intercept Larry’s forearm just slightly after he cleared leather. I cut his left hand off about five inches up his forearm.
He stood there momentarily, holding onto his spurting stump with one hand.
“What will life be like with just one hand Larry? I did that to you. Go on, I’ll give you an even break. Try to pick up your Python,” I said.
I sheathed my Wakazashi and shoved the scabbard into my belt on my right side.
I’m right-handed. I practice my blade techniques diligently with my left-hand, seldom if ever bothering with right-handed drills. And since I’m right-handed, I can do most blade movements almost as well with my right hand—that never gets blade practice—as I am with my highly trained left hand.
It saves beaucoup time.
Larry had seen my practice Kendo and Polish Saber Technique.
He’d never seen me try to do any fencing maneuvers right-handed.
He waited till my left hand was buried in my pocket and then bent to scoop up his Revolver with his right hand.
I drew the Wakazashi with a right-handed reverse grip. I slashed across Larry’s forearm as he raised his Colt.
I wasn’t expecting to take his hand completely off with a backhand slash, but as I’ve said, the new Wakazashi was both razor sharp and heavy.
“Now you have no hands at all,” I told him. “Don’t worry though. I wouldn’t leave anyone alive like this. Say any prayers that you’d like to say and then I’ll end it.”
He surprised me then. He begged and pleaded with me to spare his life.
Who in their right mind would want to live with just one hand? And he had no hands at all.
I was kind.
I took his head off with a quick cut. He never saw it coming.
It might have been a give-away to leave the fair early.
Larry and his buddies were carefully dismembered, bound into weighted burlap sacks and tossed into the widest part of the Ohio River.
I don’t think that it took the local catfish long to swim in through the small rents in the sacks, and eat the flesh.
The prints and the teeth were thoroughly obliterated before they went into the water.
Folks have other concerns nowadays. I doubt that they’d put much effort into finding out who killed an unknown quartet, even if they should somehow happen to stumble upon them.
The girls all recovered fully from their drugging.
Larry was rightfully afraid of me. He’d given me far more LSD-25 than he’d given all the girls put together.
I was pleasantly spaced and seeing streamers and scintillating scotoma for a couple weeks. I had flashbacks, though with decreasing frequency, for three or four years.
I enjoyed the aftereffects tremendously.
And for anyone who feels that I shouldn’t have toyed with Larry at the end…
Yes, it was needlessly cruel as well as reckless.
I was high as all hell at the time—and who’s fault was that?
Late comer as well, but, I don't usually begin a story that doesn't have a 'The End'. This one grabbed me for some reason and it didn't seem to matter...
Excellent story... good character development... realistic and futuristic... and above all... few spelling and grammatical errors that detract from enjoyment of a good story line...
10 thumbs up...
It was dry, but crops grew fairly well in our corner of the state.
There is a difference, of course. If I had ten acres of cropland and say fifteen acres of pasture and all I needed to do was feed my family, and me with a bit left over for trade—that was quite doable.
If I had one hundred and twenty-five acres and was farming it with tractors, using fertilize and insecticide, and I was farming for profit…
Well there goes my pasture and woodlot. I need a much bigger wield per acre, to pay for my agricultural machine and to pay taxes—plus I had to contend with nidderlings at the State Capitol or DC shackling me with idiotic regulations, quotas and God alone knew what else.
In the middle of the drought, we weren’t doing too badly.
****************** ********** *********
I was cleaning up the rabbit pen. Feed the rabbit turds to the worms and then feed the worms to the tilapia fish. The fish live in the hydroponic solution and the whole aquaponic system is under glass, so most of the evaporate can be collected and reused.
And we got fresh vegetables and fish year round.
And as a bonus, the worm turds helped fertilize some of our outdoor agriculture.
Joandell and the youngest Goins boy walked up to me. Ever since he’d guarded the farm, they’d been together a lot.
“I have something to tell you,” Joandell said.
She looked at the ground as if she were ashamed.
“You’re really a dude?” I asked in mock horror. “Great disguise!”
“I’m pregnant,” Joandell said. “That’s why I didn’t go to the Fair.”
“It’s my fault,” said the youngest Goins boy.
“Y’all do know how this happens, don’t you?” I asked sternly.
They both nodded and mumbled in embarrassment.
“That’s wonderful! Could y’all explain it to me? I’ve always been a bit fuzzy on the details…
“Especially since Joandell is a man…”
“I’m not a man!” Joandell said.
Then they both cracked up laughing.
“Can’t you be serious about anything?” the Goins boy asked.
“You’ll find that I’m serious about everything,” I told him. “But my seriousness is skewed off-center.
“Alvin, have you seen me ride my bull? I wouldn’t consent to having my ride castrated, so what made you fear for your jewels?”
“Actually, the thought hadn’t entered my mind,” he said.
He grabbed himself unconsciously.
“I just thought you might content yourself with lesser punishments—like a good beating or shooting me.”
“Joandell, I’m not your father. Why would you hesitate to tell me about this? It’s not my place to scold you.”
“But you’re like a father to me,” she blurted and then started crying.
“That’s flattering. So what y’all gonna do?”
“I want to do the right thing,” Alvin stated confidently.
“Never held with suicide myself—though there may be special circumstances—I really don’t think that this is one of them though,” I said.
“I don’t want to kill myself. I want to get married,” Alvin said.
“Okay, what does your father think of the idea? I get the idea that he’s not too fond of black people,” I said.
“He’s not too fond of anyone, get right down to it. He called a family meeting and told my brothers that they had better not follow my example, because he’d exhausted his tolerance with me,” Alvin said.
“Does that mean that it’s okay?” I asked.
“Well, not exactly okay, but he won’t disown me.”
************* *************** **********
So after harvest, we had a big wedding at Riemann’s
Joandell’s father wasn’t there, so I gave her away. Never been part of a wedding before.
Old man Goins seemed to be drinking a bit much and I was getting a bit concerned.
Then he took a Double Barreled Shotgun and fired both barrels into the air to draw everyone’s attention.
“My youngest son come to me and told me that he wanted to marry this woman,” he pointed at Joandell. “This poses a problem…”
He paused dramatically.
“I’m calling a meeting of the Farmer’s Guild. Everyone stick around, everyone is concerned.”
“The Farmer’s Guild” sounds like it could be most anything. In fact, it was a secret society dedicated to undermining the Government at every turn, and to keep them from expanding into the nominally unincorporated parts of the country.
Sounds good when you say it fast. Thing was, the structure was based on the Olde-Tyme Ku-Klux-Clan,
The one Thomas W Dixon lionized.
Whatever else they might have done, they sure drove the Carpetbaggers and Reconstructionists out of the old South.
Rumor was that they were a bit racist though…
Gee! Do you think?
Old man Goins gathered his Knights around him. I fought the urge to raise my hands, so as to be in “Contest-Ready” position.
“As you know, to be inducted into the Guild as a Full-Fledged Knight, one must be of pure-bred Aryan stock.
“Does anyone challenge my son Alvin’s purity?”
No one dared—and of course the boy was about as white as the come.
“Does anyone challenge my son’s wife’s purity?”
I got his plan. He was going to declare his daughter-in-law white by Fiat. Of course, I had to antagonize the situation.
“I understand that she’s got more than a hint of Celtic Blood,” I stated.
I’d read that there was an ongoing controversy whether folks of Irish descent qualified as “Aryan”.
“We accept Celtic Blood,” Old man Goins stated levelly, while staring me down.
So they voted Alvin a Knight and Joandell a Lady of the Farmer’s Guild.
**************** *********** ****
That spring, the middle Goins boy started spending a lot of time with Trinity.
“You’re going to get all of us into trouble,” I told him.
Not that I ever stepped a half-inch out of my way to avoid trouble.
“Not really,” Connor said unconcerned. “If Joandell is purebred Aryan, Trinity is her cousin after all…”
*********** ************* ***************
After the wedding, old man Goins pulled me aside.
“What exactly is your ethnicity?” He asked.
“Scots-Irish with more than a little Indian. Whichever tribe was still hangin’ on in Southern Indiana in the early 1800’s,” I said. “Along with some German and a little Gypsy.”
So when he knighted his middle son Connor, he also knighted me.
I never was much for joining things, but I got a nifty silver chain and a medallion out of the deal.
Besides, he didn’t really ask…
I always told my sister that I’d be knighted some day. I meant to buy a title somewhere, just for the Hell of it…and to spite her for doubting me.
Guess one meaningless title is as good as another.
****************** ************* ********
The drought hung on for another twelve years—though some years were worse than others.
I never saw Riemann again, or got to meet Trinity and Joandell’s fathers. They got lost somewhere along the line.
When Sissy was twenty-three years old, she proposed to me. Never fancied marriage, but I was afraid she’d turn into an old maid. And few of the farm lads shared the Goins boys’ indifference to race.
Jerry married one of Alvin and Connor’s cousins when she was sixteen.
Now I’ll tell you a little secret that I gathered from my reading of history.
When folks are starving and living hand-to-mouth, when famine stalks the land, they very seldom rise up in insurrection and revolt. They’re too weak and hungry to rock the boat.
No, when things start to improve, when the wrinkles are gone from people’s bellies, people start to get impatient and intolerant.
They figure that they could reach the destination quicker and more certainly with themselves at the tiller.
The first year after the drought broke; the floods were almost as bad as the drought.
Three hurricanes in succession pretty much wiped New Orleans off the map. Most of the southern cities within a hundred miles of the Gulf were heavily damaged.
A huge Atlantic hurricane almost obliterated Miami and the southeastern Florida coast.
Force five tornados hit Dallas, Houston and St Louis.
New York was hit by a Force Five tornado and before the debris was fully cleared, two hurricanes hit the city, one after the other.
There was a bad earthquake in California. It wasn’t the hypothetical “Big One”, but it was bad enough.
Mt St Helens and Mt Shasta had the biggest eruptions in three or four centuries. Volcanoes were erupting in Hawaii, Japan, Italy and a half-dozen other places.
Then the ARk Storm hit California and Oregon. It rained over an inch of rain for more than the Biblical “Forty Day and Forty Nights”. One day, over nine inches of rain fell.
But the second year, the weather became as ideal as it had ever been. The land bears more on a few acres, farmed indifferently, than the old Agricultural Combines grew on hundreds.
When you plant a seed, you almost have to step back fast, so the growing stalk doesn’t put out an eye.
Scientist say that we had entered a period of the best weather—and fertility—that mankind has ever seen.
I’m not too sure about that.
Eric Hoffer claimed that ancient Jericho existed before the invention of Agriculture and Herding. This ancient city supported a large metropolitan center with the food that Hunter and Gatherer specialists brought in.
Look at all the mischief the ancient Jews got up to in Israel. Nowadays, I can see folks getting fat, decadent and effeminate. For the rank and file to get into that kinda shape in ancient days…
It must have been one Hell of a lot easier to provide the essentials…
At any rate, three years after the drought broke, the folks in the Govie enclaves decided to ditch Socialism. They are back to being a Constitutional Republic now. Only thing is they want to expand.
We keep telling them that since we weren’t under the thumb of Big Govie, that they didn’t free us. We don’t owe them and we want to continue on our own way.
One other thing—Remember the healing nanites Riemann got for me?
Well they’re certainly able to do their job. I don’t seem to age. Eventually some random glitch will stop the nanites from replicating, and I’ll start aging once more—slowly.
They’ve moved a lot of my internal plumbing around and “Improved” me. But the nanites will probably last a few hundred years…
Being one of the few “Ageless Ones” and with a Knighthood to my name, I unintentionally parleyed that into a Kingship.
Zin convicted Murder and King of the Nation of Kentuckiana.
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