The Day Ike Feared Most

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The Day Ike Feared Most

Post#1 » Tue Sep 12, 2006 10:36 am

I enjoyed reading this short story. Kinda has a Henry Bowman feel to it. hangman,1733.0.html
Good short story below.....see MarkTurner's post at the Saloon for the link I stole it from.

The Day Ike Feared Most
© Kenneth Bush 2006

It was Sunday morning and Ike Harmon was up early. Ever had a day when you just knowed something big was going to happen but wasn’t sure what it was. That was how Ike was feeling this morning.

Ike was supposed to go fishing with his brother Billy today; it was a solid fishing date. The brothers took off every third Sunday and went fishing since they were in high school. Only near death illness was an acceptable excuse to miss those fishing excursions. Ike hurried up and started packing the fishing gear.

He glanced over at his bug-out-bag and the five totes that he’d kept ready since 1999. He’d been telling Billy he’d needed to put together a B.O.B. for him, his wife Jean and their two kids Andy and Nicole. Maybe if he showed Billy that the survival equipment was not “out there” he’d start buying a little at a time. Yep that was an idea. So Ike loaded the totes and the B.O.B. in back of his old pickup.

Traveling down I-85 to Georgia, Ike was surprised at how much traffic there were this early in the morning. Arriving at Billy’s house at 9:00 a.m. he found Billy ready to go, rod and tackle in hand. After a few short minutes they were on the road to Old John’s Lake. In less than an hour they had lines in the water.

About noon the game warden stopped by and shouted, “Catching anything Billy”? Yep we caught 8 biggun’s so far. Almost enough to feed the whole family. The warden didn’t even check Billy’s fishing license after all Ike and Billy had been coming here for almost 15 years. That warden had set and fished with them many a time so he knew that Billy always bought his license first week of January every time.

Come two o’clock Billy and Ike had ten big catfish and were ready to head back to the house to eat them. Ike had learned a trick from their dad and quickly gutted and filleted the fish on the side of the bank. Dad always did that and put the meat in a cooler filled with ice water. Some people thought that strange but Ike had been doing that since he was 7 and guessed he always would.

On the way back to the house Billy stopped off at an ATM machine to get a few bucks. Put his card in and the ATM flashed account not recognized. Billy tried again and still it didn’t work. Billy let out a few terse curse words and walked back to the truck. He told Ike what had happened and Ike just laughed and said you ought to keep money at home not in a bank. But deep down he just figured that the ATM had glitches. It happens.

When they got back to the house Jean, Andy and Nicole had come home from Sunday Service. Jean had a hard look on her face so Ike said with a big smile, Now Jean whatever Billy done he’s sorry, mighty sorry and it won’t happen again. Normally that would have put a smile or her face but today it didn’t. Jean looked hard at Billy and said, did you pay the power bill last week like I asked you to? Billy replied sure did and went in the other room coming back with the checkbook. See right here is a copy of the check I wrote. Jean looked and relaxed a little. Well, why did the power company turn off our power? Ain’t got a clue, said Billy.

Well it’s hard to get Billy down so out comes the charcoal grill and they had their fish fry. After eating Billy grabbed up the phone punched the button and nothing happened. What the heck is going on Billy yelled. The blasted phone bill ain’t due till the 27th . Ike had a bad gut feeling but kept his mouth shut.

Ike had made plans to stay a week this time because the Gun Show was in Atlanta and was supposed to be the biggest one they’d had in ten years. He was kind of low on 22 ammo why last count he only had 5,000 rounds. So into the night Ike talked to Billy and Jean about survival and gear he had. They both listened but Ike could see that their hearts just weren’t into it.

Monday morning bright and early the brothers took off to the bank to wait till it opened and see what was going on. A little after nine they walked in and Beverly said good morning Mr. Harmon what can I do for you today? Billy told her what happened at the ATM and she said let me pull up your account and see what’s going on. After five long minutes she looked at Billy kind of sad and said Mr. Harmon you remember that letter we sent you back before Christmas last year, the one that announced the new banking procedures? Billy shook his head, nope can’t say that I recall any such letter. Well Mr. Harmon the fact of the matter is that I need you to bring your Real-ID over here and swipe it and put your thumb on this reader and your account will be reactivated. Otherwise your money is in limbo and I can’t let you have it. Billy and Ike walked out to the truck. Ike explained the Real-ID to Billy. Billy was listening now.

Next stop was the power company. The lady at the desk said Mr. Harmon you received three notices that you would be required to bring in your Real-ID and swipe it to update your account. Billy said well I’m here right now I’ll pay in cash and you turn the power back on. I’m sorry Mr. Harmon but the new laws are specific and you have to comply just like everyone else. Well I don’t have a Real-ID said Billy. Then you had better head on over to the DMV and get you one said the clerk.

Any use you think, Ike, to go see the phone people? May’s as well see what they have to say, Ike said. When they got to the phone company there was a line about 15 deep. After twenty minutes or so Billy got up to the head of the line. He asked the young man about his phone service. The young man pulled up Billy’s record and said Oh its no big deal take your Real-ID over to the locale phone access office in town. It’s on Bridges street. Alice will swipe the card and your phone will be back on in 24 hours….

It was a quiet on the ride back to the house. Ike said, look Billy, I have a few bucks let’s stop and get a few groceries and I have my Coleman cook stove with me. We’ll figure out something.

They pulled into Wal-Mart and got a buggy full of can food. When they reached the check-out the lady scanned in the food and said that’ll be $89.50 will that be credit or debit? I’ll just pay cash, you do take cash don’t you, Ike said with a grin. Yes we do the cashier said. But you’ll need to put your thumb in the reader for me it’s the new law. I guess you already have your Real-ID so your probably already in the system. Ike said he was from out of town and hadn’t gotten his Real-ID yet. The cashier offered to get a manager but Ike and Billy just left the food and walked out to the truck. What the devil is going on said Billy? Well some folks say it’s the mark of the beast in card form others say it’s just the government’s way of keeping closer track of everything we do, Ike replied.

Close to Billy’s house was an older convenience store, Billy pulled into the stores parking lot. They got several bags of can food and several packs of hotdogs. Billy said how you been getting along Clara and how’s Frank doing? Pretty well, that’ll be $39.28. Ike pulled out two twenty’s and laid them on the counter. Clara said, Billy put your thumb in that reader over there. Billy turned red and said Clara I don’t have a Real-ID so I’m not in the system. Well just this once we’ll overlook it, Clara said.

How come you have that thumb print contraption in here, Billy asked? Well the bank brought it out and paid me a hundred bucks to install it and they hooked it up to the phone line. They’re going to pay for the service and give me fifty dollars a month to boot. Seemed like a good idea. Wouldn’t want any of them illeagles to buy stuff here. Clara said. You go get that new ID they’re extending the amount of time from five years to eight years since this new license cost forty bucks. See ya later Billy.

When Billy and Ike got back to the house they told Jean everything that had happened. Jean was devastated. Why haven’t the entire God fearing people made a fuss about this, Jean asked? I guess it’s because so many didn’t know about it till it was already passed, Ike replied. Now they’re afraid to do anything. Just look at what Billy and me went through today. Billy looked over at Ike I guess I screwed up, huh? Is there anywhere safe to go to?

Ike looked Billy square in the eyes, brother you ain’t seeing the big picture. Right this minute you can’t sell your house, your seven grand in the bank is gone and what ever you have that’s portable is all you have. Plus if you still owe on the Suburban then it’ll get repossessed or best case the insurance will be canceled because you’re not in the system. Ike walked outside to give Billy and Jean a chance to let the situation sink in.

Ike was doing some thinking of his own. He went through the totes and pulled one and carried into the house. He said look Billy I’ve been preparing for The Stuff To Hit The Fan since 1999 and nowhere not in books I read or on the internet did anyone forecast that you couldn’t buy food with cash. I’ve expected to have to barter and maybe pay triple what it’s worth but not being able to get stuff wasn’t in my game plan. Now right now this minute I need to know, are you and Jean taking the Real-ID? If you are, then I guess your problems are over as for me I just can’t do it. I’m convinced that the next step will be implanting that same chip in my hand or head.

You guys know I’m not that religious but remember what Dad said “Don’t take no unnecessary chances with your soul”. This reeks of what he warned us about on them camping trips. So what’s the verdict? Billy looked at Jean and Jean said Ike we are not condemning our souls to hell for no government. Right or wrong NO we are not taking that chipped card. Jean had tears streaming down her face and Billy looked like he had aged 10 years in just a few minutes.

Ike had to smile maybe his brothers wife was stronger than he thought. Now to break the news to the kids, Ike yelled out for Andy and Nicole to come into the kitchen. In ten minutes the kid’s understood the problem. Nicole always had listened to uncle Ike and proudly told him she had her B.O.B. ready. Andy said he’d get his camp gear and 12-gauge pump. Billy said all right Ike you call the shots for a while; let’s survive this thing.

Ike pulled out a ham radio and ran a long wire antenna. In minutes he had contacted his buddy back near home. He told him that the “Old Eagle” had finally died. That was code for Randy and his family to bug out. He told Randy that he could have that old beat up pull behind trailer if he wanted it. That was code to bring Ike’s bug out trailer with them. Randy asked if Ike’s brother Paul was still in the hospital. Ike said yep and it don’t look to good for him. Randy asked should he come to see Paul, and Ike said that right now might not be a good time.

To the casual listener this was typical amateur radio talk. But Randy now knew that it was too hot to go to Georgia. Ike said, I’ll sign off for now you might feed the cat for me I’d appreciate it. The final code to meet at Roger’s house out in Texas, both gave their call signs and Ike turned off the radio. Billy looked over at him and said since we don’t have a brother Paul I’ll take it that was code for something. Ike smiled, yep.

Looking over at Andy he asked if they had kept the five 5-gallon gas cans full like he had told them to? Unhuh Andy smiled, even though dad said it was a waste of time, Nicole and me have made sure they stayed full. How’s the gas situation in the burb? Jean said she had almost a full tank. Now that is good, really good, Ike said.

Billy, Jean and the kids packed the Suburban full in less than an hour. Ike laid out a route for them to take to get to Rogers. Ike’s old Ford had dual tanks and both were full. People looking at his truck figured it for an old beater. Underneath that hood was a new engine with less than thirty thousand miles on it. His buddy from work had helped him install the engine and transmission. An engineer would be proud of that “special” gearbox. He had often complained about the gas mileage but in reality that truck would get 20 around town and 26 on the highway and that was fully loaded.

It was a little over thirteen hundred miles to Rogers place up in Dalhart, Texas. Ike figured that it’d take about fifty-two gallons in his Ford. He had a twenty-gallon and a twenty-five gallon tank. So somewhere along the way he’d need to be able to fill up or at least get ten gallons or so. Now the Burb had a forty-gallon tank and got eighteen miles to the gallon. So Billy was going to need seventy-two gallons. Figuring that the tank had thirty-nine gallons in it and Billy had twenty-five extra gallons in cans. He too would need about ten gallons along the way. Ike hoped that most of the country was still adapting to all this Real-ID stuff. It would make it easier to get fuel along the way.

Straight through driving would take twenty-three hours. Ike could do it, and with two drivers Billy should be able to do it too. Randy had three drivers in his family and was a hardcore survivalist. Unless there was civil unrest or some kind of shoot out Randy would be at Rogers about the same time they got there.

Seeing a place that they could pull off Ike radioed Billy that they should make a pit stop. Everyone took a quick bathroom break. Ike noticed that Billy had stuck dads old Smith and Wesson Model ten in his belt. That made him smile Billy really was catching on quick. What floored him was when Jean walked out of the woods carrying a Forty-five automatic. She sheepishly grinned and said remember a couple years back when Billy changed jobs? Ike nodded yes. Well he was gone at nights some so I bought this forty-five and five magazine’s. It really feels good in my hand right now. Now Ike slapped Billy on the back, you married good brother, I’m proud to have ya’ll with me. They topped off the Suburban gas tank and made a quick sandwich. Ike was glad he had thought to bring those totes.

When the second tank hit the quarter mark Ike knew they had to have gas. So he radioed to Billy to start looking for any open station. They found an open Texaco. Parking on both sides they tried the pumps, both smiled as the pumps came on and they started filling the tanks. Ike filled both his tanks and the five-gallon gas cans. Billy filled the Burb to past full.

One hundred gallons it took to fill up everything. Ike walked inside and the clerk said that’ll be Two Hundred Sixty-five dollars and Ninety cents. Put your thumb over there in that reader. Ike said won’t do no good I ain’t in the system yet. He lied and said I had to attend a funeral and all this Real-ID stuff started on my way home. The clerk not wanting to be responsible for that much loss said make that Three Hundred Twenty Five Dollars even and we’ll skip the thumbprint. Ike paid the clerk and walked out side. He told Billy what had just happened and Billy said well that dang jerk he stiffed you fifty-nine dollars and change. Ike said so what we can now make Rogers and still have gas to move on with.

Twenty-six hours it took before they pulled into Rogers farm in Dalhart, Texas. Randy and his family had been there for six hours and were getting worried about Ike. Ike walked over shook Randy’s hand and made his way to his trailer. He spent the next hour inventorying its contents. It sure felt good being reunited with his guns, ammo, tent, sleeping bag, assorted camping gear and eight totes of food. After introductions Billy, Ike, Jean, Andy and Nicole crashed for twenty-four hours. It was a good thing Ike had planned ahead and had friends in different parts of the country.

When everyone had had a bath and ate till they felt like they were busting Roger called for a strategic meeting. Twelve solemn men sat at that table. Ike knew Roger, Randy, Billy, Crazy Johnny but the others were strangers to him. So for the next two hours everyone got a chance to talk and get a feel for one another. No one was paranoid in this group Roger knew everyone here and everybody trusted Roger. He might be an old coot but he had survived two wars and was still getting around better than some young pups.

First thing we have to decide is to stay here and dig in or move on to Buck’s place up in Montana, Roger said. Everyone had an opinion but it looked like the majority was for moving on to Montana. We can always invade Canada if need be said Johnny. And he wasn’t kidding. It was less than a hundred and fifty miles from Buck’s place to McLeod, Canada. So each person made suggestions and a route was laid out. Shelby, Montana it was to be.

From Rogers place to Buck’s was twelve hundred and seventy miles. But that was ok now that they had made it to Rogers fuel was no longer a problem. Billy hooked up a pull behind to the Burb. It had a little over eight hundred pounds of food in it. Ike hooked up his tag-a-long. Soon everyone had a trailer behind his or her vehicle. All but Roger he had that old Hi-Lo camper he had modified and now we were leaving our first safe haven. Well rested we planned to drive straight through. It’d take twenty-four hours give or take depending on what they encountered.

Riding along Ike listened to the radio and a lot of violence had started happening over the Real-ID. Folks were angry that they couldn’t buy food with cash. Already a thriving Black Market had appeared. Ike smiled score one for the survivalist mind set.

Stopping at a rest area to fix a flat tire several armed men walked toward the convoy. What do you people think your doing yelled one of them? And what’s in those trailers? Another one said. Roger stepped up and said now gentlemen stop right where you are or I might assume you’re out to harm me. Why you have those big ole guns and I’m just plumb scared of them. Johnny and Randy had moved to put the newcomers in a crossfire. Something must have warned them because they backed off and mumbled as they left the rest stop. Roger smiled and said now boys that was plumb purty. I like men who can think under pressure. Now the tire was changed everyone took a break, each vehicle gas tank was topped off and it was time to move on.

Twenty-nine hours, one flat tire and some with sore behinds they pulled into Buck’s place. Buck was glad to see Roger they were old Marine buddies. Took almost fifteen minutes to get all the vehicles parked. Soon everyone was meeting Buck, his family and some odd twenty more survivalist families. Buck invited everyone to take a bath and get some rest. That was just what everyone needed.

Twenty hours later the first meeting took place. Each man announced who he was and talked a few minutes on why he was there. Ike noticed that two middle age women had entered the main room. Didn’t take long for them to make it known that they were sisters that left Virginia and under invite made there way here to Buck’s. That was enough for them to say. They had made it that spoke of their resourcefulness and courage.

Buck and Roger made a grand speech, basically they said were here and we have enough to sustain us for three years. We have plenty arms and munitions. This whole community is like-minded like we are. Everyone is to go armed. We’ll post patrols and see what happens. They (the government) may come after us. If they do we’ll most likely loose. But we can make a good show. Just remember this one thing. You have two choices in life “You can Go Down” or “Go Down Fighting”. I know we have already chosen the latter I just hope all the other like-minded folks like us make the right choice.

Chapter Two

Six months passed and other than some minor violence here and there nothing big had happened. The crew at Buck’s was getting restless. Where was the attack of the Jack Booted Thugs? Even more important where were the crowds of hungry, angry mobsters/looters?

Billy and Ike were discussing the events that had made the news. The Vice-President had made a statement that anyone comparing the Real-ID to the Mark of The Beast must be crazy or on some kind of drugs. Montana and New Mexico were the only two states to defy the federal mandate and just out and out refuse to enforce the Real-ID. Ike said that on the short wave radiobroadcast last night Vermont was discussing the possibility of rescinding the Real-ID. So where does that leave US? Billy asked.

Randy and Johnny came walking up just in time to hear the last bit of Billy’s and Ike conversation. Johnny said; so does this mean that we can start planning on returning home or is this the lull before the storm? Ike looked up and said, That, I don’t know. Randy had a mean look on his face. It seemed to Billy that Randy had been kind of mad these last few days. Ike had noticed it but figured when Randy was ready to talk about it he’d let him know.

Buck called a group meeting for 6:00 p.m. for all adults. After the regular ten minutes of BS’ing it was time to talk strategy. There had been no trespassers in the past 24 hours. The general store had received another delivery of foodstuffs and the Gun shop had reopened its doors. Tim (Buck’s oldest son) stood up and reported that there had been no “unusual” activity on the scanner during the past week and a half.

Johnny stood when Buck called his name; Johnny, Randy, Tim and Billy had gone into Canada three days ago. While the Canadian Government was supporting the idea of a national ID it wasn’t rabid about enforcement. Johnny smiled real big when he said that the “border” was still loose. No problems to report on border crossing. (Thinking to himself Johnny had to smile it wasn’t like they asked permission to enter Canada)

After an hour of talking it became clear that Buck had something on his mind. He finally spit it out. Buck said; you guys know that you can stay here as long as you want to, but I’ve had some complaints about bickering in the ranks. With this many people and no immediate threat it’s hard to keep morale up and there’s bound to be some personalities that will clash. So for the next 24 hours I want each of you to come up with at least two ideas to help solve this crisis. Dismissed.

Jean walked over to where Ike and Billy were standing. She said you know Ike, Billy and me appreciate everything you’ve done for us but I’m really missing my Church family. I know you might not “get it” but after eight years of attending the same Church you become like family. I can’t get through to them by phone and it’s weighing heavy on my mind. (Ike had a bad feeling) So, I guess Billy and I will have to make a run back to Georgia. We need to see what’s going on with the house and I can find out how my friends are doing. Jean paused; then said if you and a couple of the others wanted to come along we’d be happy to have you. Jean quickly walked away before Ike could respond. In her mind it was up to Billy now to talk Ike into going with them.

Randy had been standing off to the side but he heard most of what Jean said. He said to Billy and Ike, looks like Jean has made up her mind, but are you crazy enough to go with her? Billy said, yep, she’s my wife and I feel a little out of place here. If things aren’t so bad at home I’d feel better in my own house. Ike still hadn’t said anything.

Randy looked Ike straight in the eyes and said I’m bugging out. I’ve had more than I care to stand of the holier than thou attitudes of some of Buck’s friends. When we were all keyed up it was working but that “bickering” in the ranks is folks like me and mine having a difference of opinion with Bob and that preacher fellow that Buck thinks so highly of. I have always respected and liked Roger and if I can persuade Roger to leave here, I’ll mosey on back to Texas with him. If your going to help Billy, Jean, Andy and Nicole get back to Georgia I’ve got your back. Either way come Saturday me and mine are out of here.

Ike stared at Randy then Billy, Ike smiled. Well you can’t live forever. All right Billy I’ll see you safely back to Georgia. And Randy, if you and Sue want to come along then I feel our chances of making it there just went up 50%. Randy’s face seemed to transform and the old Randy was back. Better start making plans; Billy said.

Ike figured if Billy pulled the gas wagon behind the Burb they could make it to Rogers place and refill all the cans. Then make it back to Georgia with a few cans to spare, just in case. Ike hated to admit it but he was ready to travel somewhere, anywhere, just sitting around had begun to take a toll on his general good disposition. Later that night Ike, Billy and Randy approached Roger and told him of their plans. Roger said that if he had knew it was going to be such a small revolution that he’d have defended his place. So Roger made plans to join the group back to his place in Dalhart, Texas.

Roger broke the news to Buck but Buck wasn’t surprised. Buck said that he had a feeling that some of the folks that had met at Rogers were ready to head back that way. Seeing that it was going to happen Saturday, Buck threw a party. Afterwards Buck offered supplies and fuel for the return trip to Texas.

No one was really surprised when ten of Rogers original group packed up to go. Regina and Beth the single women from Virginia were the last ones to voice their choice to leave Buck’s. Jean thought that Ike might have influenced that choice a “little”. She had noticed that over the past six weeks they had been spending a lot of time together.

Saturday morning came quicker than Ike had expected. On reflection Ike wasn’t sure that making the trip to Georgia was a smart one. Going to Texas they’d have a good size group but after Rogers place it would just be the three vehicles. Ike started to worry.

Chapter Three

Twenty-nine hours of travel and the group pulled into Rogers place in Dalhart, Texas. The trip had been uneventful. Of course the group had avoided any towns and stopped only at little pull off’s. The only thing that caused Ike to take notice was the abundance of Gang graffiti. It was on the backs of signs, all over overpasses and even on the highway itself. Ike kept his S&W model 559 and 2 extra mags on him at all times. Randy came over and asked Ike if he noticed the thirty or so gang members three exits back? Yes I did and they had really messed up colors on, must be a new gang, Ike remarked.

Roger knew in his gut that something was wrong as soon as he pulled into the yard. It hit him like a ton of bricks all the windows in his house had been shot out. Roger grabbed the mike and yelled into it “Tactical Positions” the house has been hit. Randy and Ike saw people jumping out of their cars with guns drawn. Ike reached over and flipped the radio back on just in time to hear Roger say, “I repeat Tactical Positions the house has been hit”. Oh ---- Ike exclaimed pulling the S&W 559 out of its holster. Randy drew his Colt 1911 45-auto.

Carefully Roger, Mark, and Johnny, Jr. approached the house. Regina and Beth seeing the shot out windows opened up the rear of their K-5 Blazer and retrieved their Calico weapon systems. Regina had a Calico Model 110 a 100 round 22LR pistol sporting a 6” bbl. Beth favored a Calico model M-950 a 9m/m with a 7.5” bbl. that she had a 100 round and a 50 round mag for. Both ladies made ready the Calicos with a 100 round magazine in each.

Johnny came up beside Regina and Beth, he had a Mossberg model 500 Bullpup shotgun loaded with eight rounds of buckshot. The three moved at an angle so they could cover Roger and the other guys in case they had to retreat. The adrenalin was pumping everyone was wide-awake now.

It took only moments but it felt like hours before Roger returned from the inside of the house. He gave the all-clear hand sign. He motioned for everyone to congregate around his Hi-Lo camper. After a few minutes Roger spoke loud enough for all to hear. Folks the house has been trashed. There are shell casings from 7.62x39 and .223’s all over the floor. The shooters destroyed the refrigerator, the big screen TV and shot the crap out of all the windows. There is a lot of graffiti painted on the walls.

There was a quiet now and Roger continued. I want groups of five to check the barn, the two sheds and a group to recon the area, I know were tired but we can’t risk an attack with all of us asleep. Roger asked who had slept some on the last leg of the drive here. Jean, Andy, Nicole, Sue, Johnny Jr., Beth and Ronnie raised their hands. Good said Roger that gives us a five-person team and two relief personnel. Let’s get these vehicles closer to the Barn, Roger said as he moved toward his truck.

Ike was getting sleepy the past twenty-nine hour drive was taking its toil on him. Billy came up just as Ike was setting up his army cot. Just heard the idiots shot up the buildings and the barn Roger is asking those that can to help police the area a little, where you gonna sleep, Billy asked? Ike replied it don’t matter, I’m so tired that right here beside the truck is fine. Johnny hollered at Ike bring that cot on in the barn we raked up most of the mess. Billy and Ike each grabbed an end and moved the cot inside. Looking around Ike saw that about everyone was grabbing some floor space.

Roger took out a handmade T-handle “special” key and unlocked the hidden door that lead to the hidden (tower) room in the very top of the barn. He gave instructions to Jean, Andy, Nicole, Sue, Johnny Jr., Beth and Ronnie and handed them the electronic heat detectors.

Roger was proud of these tiny electronic marvels. He’d invested $3,000 for the dozen units but they could be set for wide angle and pick up a small dog size target up to 300 feet or tune to narrow and get 750 feet coverage and that was in thick brush. A hot vehicle engine would set it off at 1,500 feet.

Right now Roger was instructing that the units be set narrow and placed in the 4 slots up in the tower room. That would be an extra security measure to help out Jean, Andy, Nicole, Sue, Johnny Jr., Beth and Ronnie. Roger told them to get their gear and set up in the tower room. Roger turned and said in a loud voice everybody not on guard duty catch some sleep.

At 6:00 a.m. Ike woke up, looked at his watch he’d slept nine hours. Ike got out his pocket folding stove and a couple trioxane bars and started a pot of coffee that could float a horseshoe. Now where had that saying come from? Hmmm oh yes that was one of Cowboy’s favorite sayings. Ike wondered how things were out in Montana.

The coffee was boiling and the smell woke up Randy, Mark, Billy and Regina. Soon they were discussing what must have happened here. Mark said that there had to have been at least 20 or more and they had meant for anyone in either structure to die. You got to wonder if they knew about Roger being a survivalist? And why shoot a big screen TV what purpose did that serve? Regina looked up and said maybe it was that gang we saw about three exits back, I counted at least 10 before we were out of sight and there was a good many more up there.

Jean, Andy, Nicole, Sue, Johnny Jr., Beth and Ronnie came down the stairs and out the “secret” (well no longer secret) door. They looked bushed. Ike told them to get some rest. Roger came in and brought some bacon he had fried up in the Hi-Lo. Roger asked who was the morning cooks? Christina and Regina volunteered as long as someone else would do clean up. Randy and Ike said that they would do clean up just get the food started.

In less than an hour there was eggs, bacon, grits and biscuits. Everybody was ready to eat. Ike thought that this must have been how the old Calvary must have felt coming back to an abandoned fort. There was a lot of work to do and now it was obvious that things were far from normal.

As Billy looked around at the faces he started putting names to them, his wife Jean and their teenagers Andy and Nicole and over there was Randy, Sue and their son Ronnie. Then there was Crazy Johnny his wife Lisa and their son Johnny, Jr.. He knew Mark was Sue’s brother and that his wife was Christina. There were the two sisters from Virginia, Regina and Beth. That left Roger and Ike. Sixteen people in all, maybe going on to Georgia was a bad idea. But how would Jean take it if he told her that now after making it this far?

Roger called a special meeting the following day. Its time to look at our hole card he said. Let’s check weapons. Roger said I’ll go first, I’ve got my Parker Hale model 85 sniper rifle, Colt 45, 2 AK-47, 2 AR-15 and 2 Ruger 10/22 with extra magazines and plenty ammo.

Billy looked up and said my family has a S&W model 10, 45-auto, Remington 12-gauge pump and a Ruger 10/22. Less than a 100 rounds for each.

Ike said well I have my S&W 559, 2 SKS, an AK-47, 2 Ruger 10/22, Kel-Tec P32 and my Kimber 45. Guess I have close to 10,000 rounds all together and extra mags for those that use them.

Regina spoke up well me and Beth have a Calico model 110 and Calico model M-950 and we both have Browning BDA .380’s. We have 6,000 rounds of 22LR, 2,500 rounds .380 and 2,000 rounds 9 m/m. We have extra magazines for rifles and pistols.

Randy said I’ve got my Springfield 45, and Springfield BM-59 (.308), Sue’s got her AR-15 and Walther PPK, Ronnie has a SKS and a 38-snub. We’ve got 500 rounds for each weapon. Maybe a bit more for the rifles.

Johnny looked around and said well I have this Mossberg model 500 Bullpup 12 gauge shotty and a Colt 45, Lisa has a Taurus M-44 44-magnum pistol and a Henry Lever-action in 44-mag and Johnny Jr. has a Ruger 10/22 and a scoped SAKO model 74 carbine (30.06). I reckon we have 5,000 22LR, 600 44-magnums, 350 12-gauge half buckshot half slugs. Johnny Jr. spoke up I have 900 30.06 rounds and some reloading supplies.

Mark said I guess that leaves me and Christina we have a Galil model 308 AR, Taurus PT-911 9 m/m, model 15 S&W and a Coach Dbl Bbl 12 gauge shot gun. We’ve got 1,500 rounds .308, 1,000 rounds 9 m/m, 500 rounds .38 special and 400 rounds 12 gauge mixed buckshot and slugs. I’ve also got several thousand twenty-twos for barter or use if necessary.

Now Roger said; food wise, we have what we brought back from Montana and buried over about 4 acres there are nine 55-gallon drums full of freeze dried, MRE’s and other foodstuff. Roger asked for volunteers to go to town to see what the conditions are right now. Randy, Mark and Johnny headed for Mark’s Jeep Cherokee.

Arriving in town Mark drove to the locale Texaco. He tried to pump gas but the pumps would not come on. Johnny walked in and told the clerk to turn on the pump he would pay for the fuel. The clerk asked for Johnny’s Real-ID and Johnny explained that he didn’t have one. The clerk then informed Johnny that he could not purchase anything at Texaco. Johnny quickly walked outside and told Mark and Randy the situation.

Leaving the Texaco they drove over to the courthouse. Walking to the deeds office Randy asked to see locale records for pages 747-789. The lady found the book and laid it where Randy, Mark and Johnny could look at it. There were some really odd-looking stickers on each listing for Rogers’s property. Mark asked what do those orange stickers mean? The lady looked at them and said Oh that property is now owned by the State. The previous owner failed to comply with the new laws and the state seized the property.

She looked at a reference number on the sticker and said You men can bid on it next Saturday when it get’s auctioned off. Johnny said how much you think it’ll run per acre? She said about $5,000 more or less. Johnny thanked the lady and the guys headed back to Roger’s. They drew straws to determine who got to tell Roger the bad news. Randy lost.

Chapter Four

When the Jeep Cherokee pulled up Roger could see the boys were put out by something so he walked over and said spit it out. Randy looked at Roger and said it ain’t good. The state has stole your land and they plan to auction it off Saturday. Roger felt like Randy had just punched him in the gut.

Roger said these 60 acres has been in my family for 94 years and because I refused to take a communist national ID the JBT’s think they can just take it from me. It’ll be a cold day in …never mind come on over and tell us all about what you learned.

In a matter of minutes everyone was gathered around to hear how the trip to town had gone. Randy told about the Texaco and the deeds office visit. Well that’s it said Johnny if we stay here we’ll have to battle the locales and who knows who else.

Were pretty well armed but fourteen people ain’t what I’d call a strike force. Sixteen if we count Andy and Nicole. Johnny looked up at Roger; but it’s your call Roger. Roger weighed the matter and said ok, Johnny Jr. take Beth and go cover the road coming off the pavement. Mark take Andy and Nicole and cover the upper pasture. The rest of you come with me.

The way I see it we have four days to get everything I buried and get it loaded and haul it out of here, Roger said. He passed a map that had landmarks and exact feet to walk to find the 55-gallon drums. Roger passed out shovels. Dig down to the barrels and we’ll get them out one at a time. Ike bring your truck and we’ll use your winch to get them out. Well what are ya’ll waiting for an invitation, Roger asked?

Jean was visibly upset by all that was going on, she told Billy that if this could happen to Roger, what was happening to their friends back in Commerce, Georgia? They needed to get back there and help them someway. Billy kept shoveling and said that he’d talk to Ike about it.

Ike was driving and Roger was walking in front of the truck to make sure they avoided any trip wires. Randy and Johnny each headed for a different barrel and started digging. Sue, Christina and Lisa took a shovel and also headed out to dig up a barrel.

It took the better part of two days to get the nine 55-gallon drums of food and a drum of explosives. Roger dug up his two tubes that had a cosmolined SKS with five hundred rounds of ammo and basic survival kit.

On the third day Beth radioed that a car was coming up the drive. She identified it as a Sheriff’s car. Roger immediately asked how many was in the car. Beth radioed back and said one. Roger said let it pass.

The Sheriff’s car came slowly into the yard. Thomas had been Sheriff for the past ten years but he had known Roger forever. Getting out of the car Thomas was careful to not make any sudden movements he saw that there were quite a few guns at the ready.

Howdy Roger, looks like you already heard about the land grab. Roger looked his old friend square in the eyes are you here on business or pleasure? Thomas looked pained. How can I be here on business when I’m out patrolling the Interstate? Roger relaxed a little.

Roger gave a short introduction and Thomas started talking bringing the group up to speed on what had been happening in Texas. The gangs are uniting said Thomas. Which ones asked Ike? Thomas looked sad “All of them”. Their calling themselves the “UGFFC” care to guess what that stands for? No one said a word. Thomas continued stands for “United Gangs For Forced Change”. The Bloods, Crips, MS-13 and several dozen more have already joined up. But that ain’t the kicker. This reminds me of a “spook” operation like we saw back in ‘Nam. It has all the earmarks of a plan gone bad.

Roger offered Thomas a beer and Thomas continued. That know it all President has announced that anyone not having the Real-ID by July 4th will loose their citizenship. That’ll make a lot of criminals out of good folks. The prez laid it on thick how not taking the Real-ID made you an illegal alien and how Mexico and Canada was beefing up their border patrols. Just where do you suppose he plans to send ya’ll illegal aliens? Thomas paused. Then said; there has been a rush to put up fenced in “holding centers”. Sounds better than concentration camps, huh?

Well I better get back on patrol, said Thomas. But before I go here are two temporary “Real-ID’s”. Back in January I had an option to leave off the fingerprints and retina scan so I made a few for Emergency situations. They’ll let you get fuel and food and should pass all scrutiny for 72 hours after the first use, after that, you’re on your own. That’s the best I can do for you. Thomas got back in his car and drove away. What a waste of good people were the thought that ran through Thomas’s mind.

Chapter Five

As Sheriff Thomas made his way back to the highway Roger motioned the group to circle around him. In a commanding voice Roger spoke, You all heard it, they’re coming out here to take my place. Well they may come and take the land but I’ll be hanged if they get any useable buildings. Tomorrow we will plant explosives to take out the house, barn, workshop and fuel depot. Since we won’t be staying here any suggestions?

Jean raised her hand and said I vote you all come with us to Georgia. It’ll be safer for us and maybe things down south ain’t as bad as here in Texas. Johnny spoke up, why not go back to Montana? We have enough reserve fuel and there’s nothing for me in Georgia. If looks could kill Johnny would have died right then from the look Jean gave him. Roger cleared his throat and spoke up loud enough to be heard. Think about it for 2 hours and meet back here. We will decide then.

The two hours passed slowly and Jean had pleaded her case to anyone that would listen. It was time to vote. Roger spoke loudly; we have two choices to vote on. Back to Montana or on to Georgia. Which one is it to be? By show of hands all that vote for Montana? All right that’s 7 votes for Montana and that leaves 9 votes for Georgia. Johnny jumped up and shouted that’s not fair Andy and Nicole are kids and their vote shouldn’t count. Johnny Jr. stood up and said then I change my vote for Georgia. Roger said then it’s settled. We’ll leave at 5:00 a.m.. Everyone load and be ready to pull out by 5 because at 6 a.m. this place is going to go off like a forth of July party.

Ike was up at 4 a.m. he had promised to help with the final positioning of the explosives. It was a shame that such fine craftsmanship was to be destroyed. But it was better than letting the unlawful bastards get it.

At 6 a.m. a tremendous boom awakened the town of Dalhart. Only Sheriff Thomas had any idea of what had happened. Thomas grimaced at the thought of the report he’d file later today. Turning over he had to smile as he thought, “bet there’s nothing left but dirt”.

Driving hard the trip to Commerce Georgia was made in eighteen hours. Exiting off the Interstate and driving down a back road Billy led the crew to an abandoned ball field. Billy was pretty sure that no one would look out here for a group this size. At least he hoped not.

Everyone but Mark, Sue and Ronnie crashed. Leaving the three to guard and keep them safe. Even Roger was too tired to set up the perimeter correctly. Twelve hours later the crew got up and started making base camp. Jean and Billy drove into town. Jean told Billy to go straight to Clara and Franks store that they would know what was going on.

Pulling into the store parking lot Billy noticed that the windows had bars on them. Upon entering into the store Clara looked up and seeing Jean yelped out “Jean Harmon” where have you been? Jean replied, “We’ve been visiting friends and just got back home”. ”What’s been going on here in Commerce?”

Clara looked around and said “It’s been He11, pardon my French” Why I can’t sell anything for cash anymore, everything has to be on the debit card. And the strangers that have come to town, why there all gang bangers if you ask me. It’s not safe at night anymore. So where are you and Billy staying? I heard about your house being auctioned off. Sorry.

Jean looked a little sick but said “Clara, what about the Church, Is everyone all right”? Clara nodded yes. Clara said quietly, Pastor Foster asked about you and Billy several times. He’s missed your family at services. Billy came over and said “we need to go for now Jean, Clara we’ll see you later in the week. Clara said bye. As the door shut Clara realized Jean hadn’t told her where they were staying. She’d better call Pastor Foster she bet he knew where they’d be.

Pastor Paul Foster was surprised by Clara’s call. Billy and Jean Harmon back in town. Now that was a problem. Did he try to help them or do his duty and call Homeland Security? Five times the Homeland Security Investigators had visited Pastor Foster and five times he had told them everything he knew about the folks they asked about. The Harmon family had been mentioned each time. He didn’t really know anything to tell H.S.I. Better wait to make that call.

Arriving back at base camp Jean told Roger and everyone in earshot that gangs had come to Commerce but that the Church was fine and she thought they should all go and visit this Sunday. Then Billy broke the news that His and Jean’s home had been taken and auctioned off by the state. Johnny swore and headed off to the edge of the woods. Ike followed.

Johnny said “I knew coming down here to redneck ville was mistake” Will you vote to go to Montana now? Ike thought about it and said why don’t we set up the ham radio and ask Buck how things are out there. Johnny said sure that would be a good start.

Ike got out his 10-meter radio and amplifier and pulled out the makeshift antenna from his tag-a-long trailer. In less than 10 minutes he was ready to broadcast. It took 15 minutes but Ike was rewarded when Buck’s voice came over the airways.

Buck said that everyone was fine but that some guys with black boots had dropped by and the electricity had went off. Buck then asked about Roger and friends. Ike said, “Rogers place had caught fire and burned to the ground. That the group had followed Billy home to find his home had been infested with vermin”. Ike went on to say that some thought a visit to Buck’s was in order if for no other reason Buck cooked a good Canadian goose. Buck replied; “The last goose had not turned out as good as before, maybe they should stay put for a spell”. Ike acknowledged that and signed off. Ike and Johnny walked over to Roger’s Hi-Low camper.

Ike told Roger that the JBT’s had visited Buck and that the crossover trail was now guarded so going back and forth to Canada was a moot point. Roger exclaimed “dang it” it just keeps getting worse when are people going to rebel and fight this crap.

Jean, Sue, Lisa and Christina drove into town to Clara’s store. They selected some meats and caned food and filled up the Jeep Cherokee. Lisa used one of the Real-ID’s Thomas had given them. Clara seemed a bit surprised at the different looking Real-ID but when it scanned true she smiled and said that’ll be $88 dollars please. Lisa looked pale and said “Oh God I left my debit card back at home” “Can you take cash this once?” Clara wasn’t supposed to but these were friends of Jean’s and they looked like regular folks. FINE, said Clara, just this once. Clara filled out a report and attached it to the cash.

About that time Pastor Foster walked in. Surprised to see Jean and friends he put on his Sunday best smile. Jean it’s been a while how are Billy and the kids? Jean smiled back and said “Billy’s good and the kids are about grown now.” Jean introduced Pastor Foster to her friends Sue, Lisa and Christina. After a few minutes of idle chit chat Pastor Foster asked if it would be ok for him to drop by and visit all Jean’s friends? Jean thought for a minute and said she was sure it would be ok. Jean told Pastor Foster that they were out at the old ball field on Ervin Road.

On the drive back to the base camp Sue told Jean that she should have put it to a vote instead of arbitrarily giving anyone permission to “drop in”. Jean just glared and said that Pastor Foster would be sympathetic to their cause and probably have some good suggestions to help them. The rest of the ride was driven in silence.

Arriving at the base camp Sue marched over and informed Randy and Johnny of Jean’s actions in town. Both became angry and headed for Roger’s Hi-Low to discuss it with him. In ten minutes word had spread through out the camp what Jean had done. Roger used the signal whistle to call a meeting. Standing on a stool Roger spoke out loud “It appears that Jean has already compromised our camp, that can’t be undone” “I want several of you to hide your vehicles and point them where you can make a fast getaway” “Maybe this preacher will be ok like Jean thinks, maybe not, I have a feeling we’ll know soon”.

Johnny spoke up “Why not move our camp?” Billy answered with “to where?” there’s not another spot around here that’s big enough for all of us. Roger spoke again “Anyone that wants to leave, leave now and there will be no hard feelings”. People milled around but no one made a move to leave.

Chapter Six

The next day Pastor Foster drove out to the old ball field to see for himself what type of folks Jean had gotten herself mixed up with. Pulling into the field he saw several tents and an older camper trailer. He pulled up near the camper trailer only to be met by a grizzled old man with a mean looking rifle. Roger said, “You had better be Pastor Foster”.

Pastor Foster swallowed hard and said “Yes I am pastor Foster I was invited here by Jean Harmon” Roger said “Well come in and have a seat pastor I’ll get everyone to come in so you can talk to us” Roger motioned towards a folding chair. Pastor Foster set down and waited. Roger gave three short and two long blasts on his whistle and soon people started coming in to see what Roger wanted.

After a short introduction Pastor Foster told all assembled that they were welcome to come to Church Sunday and afterwards they’d have a get together and help plan how this group could come into the fold. Pastor Foster was deeply surprised when Andy and Nicole came walking up each carrying a weapon. Pastor Foster had hunted a bit in his youth but, children carrying around weapons, was just plain wrong as far as he was concerned. Pastor Foster thanked the group for letting him visit and once again extended the Sunday invitation. Heading toward his car Pastor Foster tried to show no fear.

Roger spoke up as soon as Pastor Foster had left the field. “There goes a man that’s afraid” “You can bet he’ll turn on us”. Jean said, “No way, Pastor Foster will help like he said” “Can’t we at least see what happens Sunday?” Billy spoke up and said, “If we don’t like what they say Sunday we can leave right after the get together”. “IF I don’t like what they say I’ll be the first to pack up”. Mark and Christina spoke up together “I don’t like it”. Neither do I, Johnny said.

“Put it to a vote”, Ike said quietly. Roger said loudly by a show of hands who wants to hear the preacher out Sunday? Billy, Jean, Andy, Nicole, Ronnie, Lisa raised their hands. That’s six for staying. Roger said, “Now by a show of hands how many say leave tomorrow morning?” Ike, Randy, Sue, Johnny, Johnny Jr., Beth, Regina, Mark, Christina and finally Roger raised their hands. That makes ten for leaving. We leave at 6:00 a.m.

Jean said, “Well Billy and me and the kids ain’t leaving. I didn’t come all the way back to Georgia to get scared and run off again” Billy spoke, “I reckon I’m staying with my family, thanks for seeing us safely back to Georgia”.

Pastor Foster drove back to his home thinking about things and by the time he pulled into his yard he knew what his duty was. He made the call to Homeland Security. He reached an Agent Chapman. Pastor Foster gave his Real-ID number and quickly told about the group out at the old ball field. He told of the ugly weapons he’d seen and that he felt there was ten to twenty people out there.

Agent Chapman hung up the phone. He grinned, so a rebel group, and only fifty miles away. Chapman grabbed his radio and ordered a strike team to assault the rebel base at 3:00 a.m. He informed the Sergeant that he’d personally be there to lead the main strike.

At 2:40 a.m. Andy and Johnny Jr. ceased to exist as two of the Homeland Security “special forces” entry team took them out with out a sound. Roger’s heat detector went off at 2:55 a.m. he rose and flipped two toggle switches. One released several flares and the other activated his very loud speaker over which the song “EVE OF DESTRUCTION” was blaring. Both actions were designed to confuse the enemy while alerting his comrades.

3:00 a.m. Agent Chapman along with thirty-five armed Homeland Security soldiers advanced upon the ball field with Guns blazing. “Roger radioed for Ike to save as many as possible, Evacuate and Evade, that’s my final order” Roger reached down and swapped two connectors under the hi-low camper. Roger crawled into his truck and started toward the incoming enemy. He saw Ronnie and Johnny go down from the onslaught of bullets. Bullets were hitting the “bullet resistance” windshield. Roger was proud of the 4” thick plexi that protected the radiator and engine compartment. It was holding up better than he thought it would.

Under the heavy fire Roger was soon reduced to running on rims. The soldiers were surrounding him. Roger raised his hands. With his right foot he flipped up the red toggle switch. Roger came out of the truck with hands raised. Roger said, “Why are you attacking us?” A Homeland soldier shot him as an answer to the question. With his dying breath Roger said, “I die a FREE MAN” “You die slaves.” The soldiers just looked at him as his lifeblood left him.

Mark, Christina, Lisa and Nicole started running toward the lower field. Two snipers took them out with only four shots. Billy and Jean using the AK-47’s Roger had loaned them emptied the magazines until they had no more ammo. This last attempt to fight the soldiers was squashed by return fire from ten hardened soldiers. Just as the soldiers were sure they had won the hi-lo blew up. Contained under the frame had been four pounds of explosives. The shrapnel took out over half the soldiers and wounded another seven. Only the nine soldiers closest to Chapman had came away unscathed.

During all the confusion following the explosion Ike, Regina, Beth, Randy and Sue made it to Ike’s truck and tag-a-long trailer. Ike drove not as a madman but with determined skill. The four-wheel drive truck danced over the side of the hill and deposited Ike safely on the County Road. He drove for two straight hours and then pulled over onto a power line ingress. Randy jumped out and cut the lock letting Ike drive through the gate. Randy shut the gate and hung the lock so unless it was touched it would look normal.

Randy said, “Them Sobs killed my son and my friends” “You know that Foster -----wipe ratted us out” “How do you want to handle it?” IKE said, “We have one chore to do before we head for the hideout Roger told us about”.

That night Randy and Ike drove back to Commerce. Hiding Ike’s truck they waited till Pastor Foster left his home. Picking the lock was child’s play to Randy. Ike disconnected the gas line from the stove and placed the package close to the wall. Randy ran the wire to the simple switch and taped it to the doorframe. It took most of an hour but the wire was carefully concealed. Ike tapped the memo button on Fosters answer machine.

Pastor Foster came in from the Sunday get together. All in all it had went well. He believed his pain over the deaths of Jean and her family had came through and his flock was sympathetic but understood that Jean had fell in with a criminal element. As Paul Foster walked through his home he notice the blinking red light on his answer machine. He depressed the play button. Ike’s voice came over the machine, “You betrayed my Brother, his wife and their kids, You betrayed people that meant you no harm, I hope you rot in He11”. Pastor Foster never heard the explosion that destroyed his home nor did he see the fireball that burnt the home to a cinder.

Ike and Randy had left Commerce and returned for the others. Using the map that Roger gave him Ike drove the back roads heading for the hideout. Going down one dirt road they came to a creek. Ike locked in the four-wheel drive and crossed. It was touch and go but they made it. Watching from a blind two pairs of eyes watched. Seeing the truck make it across the two slipped back into the woods. Changing drivers they made it to the hideout. Ike was glad that Roger had planned on several temporary retreats. It was a bit cramped but it would work.

Ike awoke in a sweat, looking around he realized that he was in the cave. Regina and Beth were on guard duty. Ike felt lucky to have them both as friends. Randy and Sue were curled up in the corner still hurting over the loss of Ronnie. So many dead, Ike looked at his journal it had been 28 months to the day since the Real-ID had took effect. He had lost his brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew and seven good friends. Ike wondered that people were calling them rebels, criminals and worse. Ike thought that was a lie he and the four people with him were Patriots and Freedom Fighters. He just hoped he’d live long enough to prove it…..The End.

©Kenneth Bush 2006

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