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Old 11-18-2013, 06:40 PM
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Intro: This is a fiction book set in a rapidly balkanizing United States. It is the story of one man who refused to bend the knee any longer. It is not meant to portray a hero, but a man. One plagued with doubts and fears, one who makes mistakes, one who was never a tier one operator. He's just a man. THIS BOOK IS NOT APPROPRIATE FOR CHILDREN. I explore several gray areas of morality and justice, with the hopes that you, gentle reader, may form some conclusions on your own. If you hate, forgive, cheer and question the protagonist, then I will have accomplished my goal. Comments and questions are welcome. Enjoy!

CHAPTER 1:

"What am I doing here?" I thought for the hundredth time as I watched the situation unfold. It had happened before, and would happen again, and the inevitable conclusion would be reached. Via surveillance camera I watched a man got out of his car and began striding toward the GreatNation building, one of the two insurance companies still in existence. Both were backed by the "full faith and credit of the federal government," which meant they were being bankrolled by Uncle Sam. The man didn't work here, but made the mistake of parking in the visitors parking space. It gave me the luxury of sizing the man up before he came in the building, and I was grateful for it. Ten years ago he was probably a suburban yuppie, with a couple cars in the driveway and a cookie-cutter house in some upper middle-class development. While a healthy six foot, two-hundred something, a slightly receding hairline and an extra twenty-five pounds around his waist bespoke to his sedentary lifestyle. Middle management material. "Good" I though. I much preferred the soft, indoor type to workboots, gnarled hands and the hard, wiry frame of physical laborers.

He strode towards the building with purpose, no doubt reassuring himself that his plan was sound. He was about to find out in a very real way that it wasn't. Through the glass doors and atrium he strode, a man with a plan. The heels on his dress shoes clacked as he made his way towards me. The designer labels confirmed my suspicions of his yuppie status, as did his approach. Security was the help, and while he would be polite, the condescention was there. People like me worked for people like him. We were the help. In the past, people like me had merely been a hoop to jump through, we kept out the riff raff, not guys like him. We said "yes, sir" and "have a good day, sir" and politely asked if he needed help. Five years ago that was the case, problem is, a lot has changed in five years. Slowing his pace, he walked up to the desk in the atrium of the building. While the walls were well appointed with large propaganda pieces from GreatNation HR, there was no longer any furniture. Gone was the table and office furniture, it was now a room with a desk and tile floors. The previous desk had been replaced with something out of a hotel lobby or airport check-in, one of those awkward two-tier pieces with the outer facing tier too high to for a desk and too narrow to place much of anything on it. Mr. Suburban placed his hands on the desk, leaned in, and in a faux conspiratorial tone said, "Look, I need to see the billing department." Barbra, the middle-aged secretary, smiled and asked if he had an appointment. Barbra oozed charm, in an Southern aristocrat kind of way. She was the good cop in these scenarios. I just watched the hands. I always watched the hands, they telegraph nearly as much as the eyes and hurt a hell of a lot more. "Hands kill, looks cannot...or I'd be long dead," I though bemusedly. "No ma'am, I don't have an appointment, but I absolutely have to see someone. Look, can I speak to a manager in that department." Barbra stated matter-of-factly, "I'm sorry hon, but we are a fusion center and simply do not allow customers to speak with representatives in person. Here, let me give you the number for the customer hotline. I'm sure they can resolv-" The man said, "I HAVE THE NUMBER, DAMN IT! All I get is a thank you for my business and the rates keep going up! My wages are being garnished, I'm being harassed at work and I WANT ANSWERS! Do YOU PEOPLE have any idea-"

Barbra gave me the look, the kind only a mother can give, even if she's not yours. She was polite, but didn't take kindly to the increasing amounts of abuse she was being forced to deal with. Bad cop time. "Sir, you need to calm down or I will be forced to remove you from the property and involve the authorities." I parroted. Because the healthcare fusion centers fall under the purview of the Department of Homeland Security, the DHS officials had seen fit to mandate we use specific phrases before escalating to force. It covered their butt and ours, "liability mitigation" was the official title, real inside-the-Beltway leetspeak. A person's response to this request was a Rubicon moment, and they weren't even aware of it. Create a scene, and not only was I granted the authority to get ugly, the local PD would arrive and charge the man with "attempted domestic terrorism of the 3rd degree." Since domestic terrorism was now a catch-all for the federal governments, the penalties had been bifurcated into degrees of punishment. A minor federal charge, but one that landed you on numerous naughty lists and a hefty $10,000 fine. To a cash-strapped man that usually meant his house became property of Uncle Sam under the anti-terrorism seizure laws.

"Sir, it's best for both of us if you leave now. No paperwork, no problems, and we both just forget about it. Trust me." The man turned to me, pointed a finger, and spoke. "Oh, you think I'm just going to LEAVE? I drove TWO HOURS to get here and I'm not leaving because some thug in a uniform told me too! I've FIRED guys like you for less. " "You need to go." I said, in an even tone. His hands gave it away. They were shaking before, timid, unsure of where to be. Now they had purpose. He flung the assorted pamphlets, folders and a vase of lillies across the foyer with one sweep across the desk.
The desk was two-tiered, so he missed the computers, Barbra's romance novel, and my coffee cup. I strode around the desk to the open space. I pointed towards the door and said "Sir, this is the last time. Please leave the premises." His face was turning purple, and I casually wondered if an aneurism wasn't going to cut this circus short. "What are you going to do TOUGH GUY? Throw me out? You don't GET to throw me out." As he said that, he closed the gap and poked me with his right hand above my name badge. Physical contact. I could feel my blood pressure rising...I hated being poked like that. Personal issues, I know. In my peripheral vision I saw his left hand ball up. Here we go. I ducked the huge, left-handed haymaker at my head; telegraphed before he even swung. A typical gut reaction, instinct. Suburban life had made men like him soft, vulnerable, but most of all it gave them no sense of exactly what they were and weren't capable of. What seemed lighting fast to him, was not necessarily true for all of us. I ducked and stutter-stepped under the arcing punch and closed the remaining space to him. I snaked my right arm under his extended left and around his back. My left arm found the tricept of his right, and I pivoted to my left, leveraging his weight over my hips. Using his momentum and my hips as a fulcrum, his world turned upside down as I executed a pretty decent hip toss. I'd been getting alot of practice lately. He landed flat on the floor and I heard the dull thud of bone on ceramic tile. My right leg pivoted around and as I straddled his torso, I administered two hard, driving punches directly to the nose and mouth. Blood began pouring out, and I noticed the nose was now at a rather peculiar angle on his face. Ironic, considering he was here over health insurance. "Becky, how about a couple tissues over here." She handed them to me and began to pick up the phone. "Don't worry about it." I said, "Let me just haul him to his car and not get the goons involved." I had recently been having second thoughts about how enthusiastic the local PD was in "apprehending" these people. Rumor had it that one person was in a coma because of their enthusiasm for justice.

The evening air was cool, but smelled clean and crisp. The kind of smell that air fresheners try to replicate. I hefted the man over my shoulder and carried him to his car. I found the keys in one of his pockets and slid him into the drivers seat. He began to stir and looked at me with a mixture of fear and defeat, a broken man. No point in bravado or condescention any more. "What do your parents think of you? Do they know what you do to people...for a living, a paycheck?" A fathers words, an observation only a parent would make. Probably a decent one at that. "You were warned." I said lamely. "I had to do something. It's my JOB to do something. I cant..." He looked up at me, mumbling the words between split lips and a broken tooth, "I have a family...what am I going to do? What am I going to do now?" "I don't know" I said softly. "I gotta get back. You get that nose looked at, I'm sorry it had to go down like this." For the second time that night I asked myself what the hell I was doing there.
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Old 11-18-2013, 06:51 PM
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CHAPTER 2

My name is Raylan Eberstark, and this is one man's account of the extraordinary events of the past five years. To some I was a domestic terrorist, to others a thug, some mistook me for a hero and to some I was grateful enough to be considered a friend. Perhaps I was all of the above. Whatever I was, and will be labeled, is of little concern. This is my journey, for better or worse and as I write this, my prospects of remaining on this mortal plane continue to diminish. Consider this my last testament, a final witness to the most definind moment in our country. Let future generations realize the reason so much blood was spilt. The United States, born and forged in blood, died in the same manner. What will rise in her place is something that cannot be left to the academics and charlatans that through deliberate malfeasance, or callous indifference, allowed her to perish in the first place. Rome is burning, and the savages are at the gates. There are no more unknown lands for modern day Pilgrims to escape to. "Go west young man" is no longer an option. Western culture lives or dies within these shores. To those reading the scribblings of a man aged far beyond his years by this conflict, know this, those unwilling to die for their freedom will be enslaved by those willing to kill for power. Absorb it in every fiber of your being, for it is the nature of man and the men who govern. De oppresso liber!

The economy had tanked in 2008, when I was a junior in college. With few job prospects upon graduation, I had set my mind on law school. After all, who has ever heard of someone with a doctorate being unemployed? I had decided upon University of Virginia, despite it's distance from my native Texas. The biggest selling point was the call from admissions offering me a scholarship to the school. Apparently there had been few applicants with comparable LSAT scores. So, despite my lack of contribution to their ethnic or gender diversity I had slipped through the cracks. In 2013, shortly after the third, and final, graduation ceremony of my life, the Affordable Healthcare Act was implemented.
It was an unmitigated disaster. The rates skyrocketed and within a year, labor participation rates were at an all time low, and healthcare costs were at historic highs. This led to the implementation of the Healthcare Consolidation Act, which merged all insurers into two companies, GreatNation and AmeriHealth. Both were funded through appropriations from Congress, which mitigated much of the premiums for those receiving government benefits. For others, the premiums continued to skyrocket. Those in the middle class faced rate adjustments yearly, then quarterly, then monthly. A family of four was now paying about $3000 per month. Despite the average family income of those lucky enough to be employed was now around $80,000, the inflating premiums seemed to always be ahead of the inflating wages. Healthcare was now a mortgage payment on your life. When an AmeriHealth fusion center was bombed in Des Moines, DHS was brought in to secure the facilities. Most employed unarmed security guard, while those in other states, such as Texas, were forced to resort to armed security and bullet-resistant glass.

The economy continued to slide, and the government had years ago resorted to quantitative easing in an attempt to revive the comatose economy. In 2015 the Bureau of Engraving and Printing announced two new facilities in an attempt to dramatically increase the number of Federal Reserve Notes in circulation. Like healthcare, inflation rates began to increase. First it was 6% a year, then 4% quarterly and in the spring of 2017 it became 2% monthly. The companies still employing people full time were required by the newly minted Fair Wage Act to now pro-rate the salaries of employees monthly to mitigate the monthly decrease in buying power. Virtually the entire workforce, all 35% of the population, had become part time employees, and the average employed American now worked 1.8 jobs. The rest were either politically connected or worked for America's largest employer...the federal government.

The legal industry was decimated by the ever-increasing liability and health insurance premiums and all but a few of the major firms ceased to exist. I resigned myself to finding any job, preferrably one with health insurance benefits. GreatNation had just finished building a fusion center in Lynchburg, and I applied as an underwriter. Despite my over-qualification for the job, I was told that due to their "commitment to diversity," I would have to look elsewhere. The Human Resources manager asked me if he could forward my contact information to a few employers who were hiring. Stupidly, I told him to forward it to anyone he thought was hiring. Homeland Security called me a few days later, scaring me half to death initially, and informed me that they were interested in hiring me as a security officer for GreatNation. I was informed that my college wrestling had interested them and that my job would place me under the Federal Employees Exemption Act. Ironically, my apparent intelligence was less marketable that the ability to inflict pain on someone. A wise man would have seen the parallels with ancient Rome. Unfortunately, I was twenty-six and far from deserving of the label. I was excited enough about a job with insurance benefits that I never gave a second thought at how they got the information to begin with. I wish I had.

The security job at GreatNation was child's play for the first year. I did nothing but babysit adults and make sure doors were locked and the lights were off at night. Then the desperation began to kick in. Healthcare was law. If you could not refuse to pay. Initially it was garnished out of your tax refund. Because of "insufficient market penetration," premiums then began to be garnished via liquid assets. In laymans terms, your bank accounts, and the few remaining IRA's, mutual fund accounts, stock portfolios and any other form of financial investment. The financial handcuffs tightened their last click when tangible assets became fair game. The good, old, USA could now take your house, car and what was in it if you refused to pay your mandated "fair share." Providing, of course, you didn't have an EBT card or live in rent-controlled housing. Slowly but surely, people began to show up at my site. They began questioning the constant rate hikes and reductions in benefits. A hotline was all that GreatNation was required to provide for "customer service," and had long ago given up attempting to justify the government mandated rate increases to the public. That was where I came in. DHS responded to the increasing public outrage by tightening security and ramping up the use of force on the less "progressive." Domestic terror charges began to be used against those who were "attempting to interrupt the operations of healthcare services deemed essential to the security and welfare of the United States."

I was never a serious national contender in my weight class during college. The German stock I descend from capped my height at a mere 5' 9", but gifted me with the width of someone 8" taller. At two hundred pounds, few of which are excess weight, I tend to look even shorter than I really am. This coupled with brown hair and German-like stoicness make me a rather forgettable individual. It also made me fairly adept at my job, since , as I am often reminded by friends, I have a "low center of gravity." Many left without much persuasion. Lately, those that were turning up began to look more and more desperate. I could understand why. A middle class family does not make the transition well to the rent-controlled district. Picture dropping the cast of Full House off in Compton. Yeah. These areas were beginning to increasingly resemble prisons, and the cops did little about it. Those accustomed to different "cultural" norms and behaviors quickly took advantage of the ex-middle class showing up next door.

The last several months, things have been getting progressively worse. This month alone, five people have been arrested after an altercation with me, and there is still a couple days left. In the end, the more that leave in an ambulance, the fewer show up to bluster at GreatNation. The fewer that show up, the better DHS looks. The better they look, the more appropriations they get for securing the fusion centers, "a vital part of our commitmment to the health of America." I don't see any of the money, but you can't argue with stupid and I stopped a long time ago. I reasoned that you either play along or get swept under the bus. A good portion of my peers were busy working two or three jobs while still living with their parent. Multi-family dwellings were quickly becoming the norm. I consided myself fortunate, and if having to handle some unruly stiffs once or twice a week is the result...then so be it.
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Old 11-18-2013, 06:54 PM
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CHAPTER 3

"How many asses did you kick today?" kidded Rob. "C'mon man, give me a break." I said. "Every time I come over here you start with this crap. Nag, nag, nag. I've got to eat. It's that simple. You got any better ideas? We can't all be Mr. Fireman." Rob put his hand on my shoulder, "You're like a woman, you know that." Rob chuckled, "You having menstrual cramps again? Want me to see if my wife has any Midol? Would you like some cranberry juice to cry into? Seriously though, what's going on man?" I told him about that evening's encounter. "It was the parents comment, man. I mean, he's right. The reality is, I'm a bouncer. A hired thug. Security? Nah, I'm the guy who beats the crap out of people wanting to know why they can't afford to feed their families. Pay the mandated insurance, or feed and house my family? They come for answers and I kick the crap out of them." "You know how I feel, man." Rob muttered. I countered, "I know, I need to get out of there...forget about it, I'm fine. C'mon, toss me a cold one and lets play some Call of Duty."

Whatever an outsider might think, Robert Oswald was my closest friend. Despite the constant barrage of insults and put-downs directed at each other, we each respected the other. Both of us were extremely concerned about the state of the economy and government. Like me, he was a big fan of the "leave me alone" school of politics and laissez faire economics. We differed as dramatically in personalities as we did in appearance. Rob was 6' 2" and a solid 230 lb, and kept his receding hairline cut short. I was almost a full six inches shorter, but only thirty pounds lighter and had unruly brown hair. Normally a jovial guy, prone to frat-boy behavior around friends, it belied a serious, analytical mind.

At midnight my phone buzzed softly. "We did it." It was a message from my father. "Rob, pull up the Drudge Report." We scanned the headline in all red caps: "TEXAS SECEDES." I felt numb suddenly, like your darkest secret had suddently been discovered by your parents. The Texas Secession Movement had been steadily gaining ground since 2002, and in 15 years had managed to slowly assemble a supermajority within the Texas legislature. The last two elections had been a boon to their recruitment efforts. The dismal failure of the ACA had been the icing on the cake. Apparently a motion had been passed and the state of Texas now considered themselves a nation once again. The move had been strategic. Texas had continued to resist integration into the nation's two other power grids, and instead opted to be the sole state with its own power grid. The state treasury had gradually been assembling a gold reserve within the state under the guise of funding the state's pension portfolios. Texas now could issue currency and maintain control over their own public utilities. The only unknown is the response of the federal government. The divorce could be done amicably, or it could be a repeat of the Civil War. The legislators were risking prison time and the lives of a fair number of their constituents to find out.

Rob looked at me "This is gonna be bad. Guess I'm not crazy bro." While neither of us warranted a spot on Doomsday Preppers, both of us had some cash, food and other items socked away. I kidded, "Hope you can still shoot chubby." Fact is, both of us enjoyed shooting, especially Rob. He had mustered into the Army at eighteen and spent the next 8 years there. His final MOS was Scout/Sniper and he had told me more than once that it was all he had ever wanted to do after that. Unfortunately, after several force reductions, the Army had discharged him and the former sniper had elected to make a life saving people as a firefighter rather than ending them. "I'm going home man, I gotta get to work in the morning and I suspect that it's going to be a hell of a day tomorrow." Rob called after me as I left, "Alright man, I'll see you later. Make sure you keep an eye on the news, and meet me over here if things get sketchy." "Will do man." I shouted back.
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Old 11-18-2013, 06:57 PM
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interesting, second thoughts about career choices?
there's no fanatic like a converted fanatic.
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Old 11-18-2013, 07:08 PM
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CHAPTER 4

As I walked throught the parking lot the next morning, I noticed several government-issue SUV's in the parking lot. The standard black, with tinted windows affairs and walked in to find several chubby men in suits pacing about while busily talking on cell phones. My boss, Monica Bryant greeted me with "Those racist homophobes down in Texas did it again. When we gonna learn that you can't fix stupid? Let 'em go I say." The irony, I thought. "Guess we probably should." I evenly replied. The rest of the morning was spent with me escorting one chubby DHS agent after another, doing God-knows-what, but convinced that he and he alone was the most important person in the room.

I was sitting in the cafeteria munching on my lunch when my phone rang. It was my company phone, someone from outside the front lobby had pressed the red security button. While it wasn't an emergency, I didn't want Barbra to handle it by herself. As I walked down the hallway towards the lobby, sounds of a commotion greeted me. I began running, and by the time I got there, I began hearing shouts of "Stay where you are!" and "Get down on the ground!" As I turned the corner, three DHS men I had yet to meet had drawn their department issued Glocks on a bandaged man and his family. It was the guy from last night. What was he doing here again? Did his wife make him drag her along this time? Did he think bringing his family would engender some type of sympathy? What was this guy thinking bringing them in here!
"Whoa, whoa, guys everybody just chill out. I know this guy, he's not a threat. Let's all just calm down." I said in a loud voice. "I WILL SAY WHEN IT'S TIME TO CALM DOWN *******!" screamed one of them as he turned to sweep me with his weapon. "WHO are YOU?!" the man pointing a gun at me screamed. I tried to reply as camly as I could, "Sir, I am Raylan Eberstark, the security officer here. Could you please stop pointing your firearm at me." The other two agents were alternately shouting at the family on the ground. "DOWN ON THE FLOOR!" one shouted at the man on the ground, "SHOW ME SOME ID!" said the other. Both seemed oblivious to the fact that the only person not on the ground was the man's younger daughter, who looked to be three or four years old. As if she understood. The man lay prone on the tile floor upon which he had been slammed not 24 hours ago. I didn't even get his name, I thought. The man reached in his pocket, and his wife attempted to pull the screaming child to the floor. It was pandemonium with all the screaming. The DHS agent who had screamed at me must have caught the movement in the corner of his eye. He pivoted, sweeping the room with his gun, saw the man reaching for his wallet and screamed one word "HOSTILE!" A half-formed question about which movie he got that from popped into my head. I never got a chance to ask it.

A microsecond after he turned, I heard the first shot. After that everything was muffled, like I was underwater. The smell of cordite was all I really remembered after that. I turned away instinctively and ducked with my hands up to my ears. I blinked involuntarily at every unexpected shot...and I blinked more than I can remember. After three or four seconds the shooting stopped and I looked up. The first thing I noticed was the holes in the glass door and outer windows of the atrium. The results of errant shots or ricochets. It's strange how little things stick in your mind like that. Bodies lying on the floor and you notice the tiny little bullet holes in the glass panes beside them, and spiderwebbed glass announcing their presence. "They are so small." I thought. Everything I did was in slow motion...enhanced. As if I was on some type of drug that turned life into a series of disconnected moments in time. I glanced down, four bodies lay on the floor. The smell of gunpowder, urine, blood and vacated bowels in the air. Nothing like the movies portrayed. It wasn't clean, there weren't these tiny holes with a drop of blood spilling out. It was everywhere, pooling and oozing. Like a scene from hell. I swallowed bile. Two were tiny, motionless bodies. They looked fragile, like a porcelain doll lying broken on the hard tile. The man's wife was still making a sucking noise while her chest heaved up and down. No one moved towards her. For the first time that day, I asked myself..."What am I doing here?"

I wish I could tell you I felt rage, a rightous anger at the slaughter of innocents. I did not. I felt numb, cold even. Like a fall wind that cuts through your jacket. I cursed my overdeveloped sense of logic and underdeveloped sense of apathy. Logic and far too recent experience told me if I started anything, the fat-boy ninjas would likely get trigger-happy again. Deep down I knew I should say something, DO something...right this wrong. The DHS agents were quietly talking amongst themselves. No doubt how to spin this as a rightous kill. The man who had pointed his gun at me walked over. "Look Ray, you were here, you saw." he said to me. "The man clearly was reaching for what I thought was a weapon. He wasn't supposed to be here, and by my estimation that already makes him a domestic terrorist. He used his kids to shield him and it was unfortunate, but I chalk that up to collateral damage. Let's just get an ambulance here and file a report." I shamefully mumbled my assent. Clearly this one was the alpha male of the group, the other two looked as if ther couldn't decide on ****ing themselves or having a coronary. Wild eyes, beet red faces, hands visibly shaking...maybe they still had a shred of conscience left. Maybe they would tell the real story. The logical side of me asked "And risk their pensions and jail time?" I cursed myself for the second time that day. After the ambulance had left, he sat down beside me in the cafeteria as I stared at my half-eaten sandwich. "Ok, there Ray. Here's my card. I penciled my guys' names on the back in case you didn't catch them. I'll give you a call within the next day or two and you can file an official report. I had no idea you were one of us. Hell, I'll put in a good word and maybe you can join us in the big leagues." There it was. The silver. "My name's Raylan." I said. "Whatever chief, just make sure you get that report to me."

I remember hearing once that the cartel used to give you two choices. Silver...or lead. I've also heard it said that the federal government is the world's largest criminal organization. Somtimes the silver means you prosper while the dirty masses starve, and other times it means you just get to see tomorrow. The lead always means the same. A simple choice. Logic makes it easy. Get on the bus or be a speed bump. Once your on the bus, no one gets off. The Masters of Silver own you. They know where you live, what you do, what you own. More importantly, once you cross that line in your mind, few ever make it back. You are invested emotionally, physically and financially into keeping the status quo. You have something that can be taken away.

I have no idea where Barbra had been during this encounter, but she materialized from under the desk as I was headed to the parking lot, away from it all. I informed her in no uncertain terms that I was taking the rest of the day off. I don't know if she heard me or not. She was mute, with a thousand-yard stare, likely thinking about the carnag played out upon GreatNation's front atrium. I couldn't even remember her being there.

Walking out to the parking lot, I ignored the stares of the evacuated employees. As I began to turn the key in the ignition, I paused. I sat there in my truck and wanted to cry, tried to cry. The senseless waste of life, the callousness of it all. I couldn't. I hadn't cried in fifteen years and despite having the best reason to in my thirty years on earth...the tears wouldn't come. I felt like betrayed, cornered, frustrated. I hadn't pulled the trigger, but I was a cog in the machine that did. I was sitting in a truck paid for by the silver I had taken every paycheck for the last three years. I started the truck and drove home in an unthinking, robotic daze.

I looked at the clock on the wall, the hands told me it was 2:30 in the morning. I had an inch of Blanton's in one hand and my Glock sitting beside me on my couch. Seventeen dull, copper jacketed hollowpoints stacked neatly upon one another in the magazine. Seventeen tries at justice. I considered using it on myself...on them. What would that accomplish, I asked myself. What would writing the report accomplish, I countered. I knew what would happen. The paperwork would be filed and a duly appointed Internal Affairs schmuck would take a cursory glance at it and sign off. The neat trick of beauracracy is dispersing blame, it's a professional ass-covering machine. Terms like "regrettable," "agent safety," and "domestic terrorist" would be used. By the time the report got to anyone who cared, it would look like Captain America saved GreatNation from a band of hadjis trying to blow the building up. It was affectionately referred to as "massaging the facts" and DHS had plenty of practice. No, nothing would be done. To file a report was to become complicit in murder. A phrase from my youth kept coming to mind, courtesy of my strict, Baptist parents. Mene mene tekel upharsin. It was from Daniel 5...a fragment from sermons past. "Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting." The thought shook me to the core. I had witnessed evil. I had looked into the abyss, and I had seen myself. I thought of the conversations and statements I had made about standing up to tyranny if it reared its ugly head. Until tonight I had considered myself a free man. I was principled. I was one of the good guys! No. The reality of the matter is, that I had embraced the shackles and been a faithful servant. Both my feet were fixed firmly on the plantation.

What if, what if I did what I knew was right? You will die, I though. Die after a manhunt, maybe a week, maybe a year, but you will die all the same. But what if that matters less than doing what is right, what is just? My ancestors had faced the same question seventy-eight years ago. They had answered incorrectly. The true enemy of the Germans had not been Hitler, it had been apathy. Casual indifference. Tyranny through apathy, until it was too late. I was at my own Rubicon moment. To write the report would be to go from a passive, unwilling participant to an active supporter. Blood would be on my hands. To walk away would lead to a violent, premature death that would likely affect no one. "But it's right!" I though. Funny thing, once a man sees the chains around himself for what they really are, he cannot bear it. They chafe, they burn like acid at the fabric of his being. What was once gladly accepted, is now the mortal enemy. It drives him to lengths no sane man would go, to rid himself of them. Sitting alone, half mad with equal mixtures of hatred, self-loathing and regret, I saw the chains that night...I saw the chains.
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Old 11-18-2013, 07:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swamppapa View Post
interesting, second thoughts about career choices?
there's no fanatic like a converted fanatic.
We shall see. In the words of Dylan, the times they are a changin'...
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Old 11-18-2013, 08:16 PM
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This, unfortunately, is coming right at us like a truck full of explosives roaring down a steep grade with no brakes. Time to get the hell out of the way! GF
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Old 11-18-2013, 08:31 PM
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moar,Moar, MOAR pleaseeeeee Yes it's a cool story and it makes sence but the ole pucker factor is kicking in so gots to have the full meal LOL
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Old 11-18-2013, 08:42 PM
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So your title is a play on the old Spanish term???
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Old 11-18-2013, 08:43 PM
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BTW, just a suggestion . . . . double space & paragraphs make one's writing MUCH easier to read.
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Old 11-18-2013, 08:45 PM
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The pinicale moment ,what shall I do????? He thinks. What shall we do when it's our time?
Do you go along to get along, then like the germans windup on the gallows saying I was just following orders mmmmm ,you bring some thinking points to your story.
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Old 11-18-2013, 09:07 PM
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Sorry about the paragraphs guys. Several of the chapters were written at work (don't tell the boss!) and saved as emails to myself. I did not notice the formatting change until after I posted Chapter 4. Not to mention the indents don't do crap for readability the way posts are displayed on here. From now on I will try to separate the paragraphs with an empty line between them.

@6471 Yes it's a reference to the term "plata o plomo." Figured translating it was better than leaving it in Spanish. Became all too familiar in HS and college to me. Native Texan...if you're in a border state you know what I mean.
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Old 11-19-2013, 01:46 PM
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Good start, interesting story developing. Please may we have More?
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Old 11-19-2013, 02:42 PM
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I am from Shreveport originally and I am certain North Louisiana would want to join Texas. Honest we are not that bad and are most like East Texas anyhow. We get all of Dallas's weather.
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Old 11-19-2013, 04:34 PM
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...if you're in a border state you know what I mean.
I grew up in NE Ohio,that's a border state.
And we did pretty well with English.
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Old 11-19-2013, 05:26 PM
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CHAPTER 5
I sat there in my dining room, looking down at the warm mahogany. Its colors and texture contrasted strikingly with the smooth, sharp lines of several field stripped firearms. I had rescued this table, saved it from the thrift store after finding out what it was. It had been covered in yellow paint, most walking by without realizing its value. I had stripped it down to bare wood and lacquered over it. Now people realized the beauty of the woods true nature. I had resolved to take a similar approach to the problem at hand. Homeland Security was masked covered not in yellow paint, but in propaganda. Everything was for our safety, or our own good, helping the poor, whatever the latest greatest reason was. No one stopped to ask if we were safe from the DHS. I intended to strip bare the nature of the beast. I knew what lied beneath that veneer, because I had seen it and lived it to a lesser extent. Actions have consequences. Those consequences would be wholly unexpected by those deserving. When those consequences manifested themselves, people would ask questions. The consequences would be public, unable to be denied or covered up. The consequences would be just.

I grabbed another patch, put it on my cleaning rod and gently stroked it through the barrel, pulling it out clean. One of my most prized possession lay disassembled on my dining room table. I knew the Smith & Wesson was far from the "tier one" products advertized in gun magazines. In truth, it had garnered little publicity. The M & P emblazoned on the lower of the gun stood for military and police, and was scrolled in official looking letters, starkly contrasted by the flowing cursive of the S & W trademark. I bought the gun before the craze of so called "assault rifles" became a magnet for public debate and posturing. Despite the current moratorium on purchasing current ones, the AR-15 had been grandfathered in because of its purchase date. It was light, handled fast, and I could shoot it accurately. In fact, it was one of the few rifles with Remington's highly regarded 1:8 5R rifling, making it more accurate than I would ever be. It didn't have the bells and whistles of the guns costing three times as much, but it was thirty rounds of ugly in a seven pound package. Fitted with a variable optic, it was an excellent weapon in the hands of a decent shooter. I reassembled the gun and brought the last of essentials down to my truck. I left a note for my landlords thanking them for their understanding and hospitality, and left the next months rent. I regretted not being able to warn them of the people that would be showing up at the house within a couple days. Driving down the highway I dialed a familiar number for likely the last conversation I would have with one of the handful of people who truly cared about me, my father.

"Hey, Bud, you get my text last night?" "Yeah. You get a response yet?" "No" he said, "but we think the delay is a good thing. The declaration was worded very respectfully, but made it pretty clear that if y'all want to come down here and start something, we might be a bit inhospitable...if you know what I mean." I sighed, he considered me part of the problem ever since he found out that I technically worked for DHS. "You should come on down, word is that people can't move down here fast enough. The state patrol is thinking about setting up roadblocks to keep the emigration down until we can figure out how to deal with it all." "Dad, I've got some things I need to take care of here first, I'll see how it shakes out and then consider it. You take care now...I love you." He paused for a second, "I love you too, son. Keep an eye on your six." The men in my family rarely voice their feelings. We all love each other, but for some reason the feeling goes unspoken between father and son. Wrong or right, it's how it's always been between me and my father. I knew he was wondering what was up, but he also had enough situational awareness to not ask over the phone. It was fantasy to believe that an about-to-be former DHS employee's phone wasn't tapped and recorded at all times. I stopped by the side of the road and flung the phone into the woods as far as it could go, feeling a pang of regret at not telling him that I loved him more often. As I drove away, I wondered how many chubby guys in body armor were going to descend on that spot of woods sometime in the next week. My mind drifted to one of my favorite songs: Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin.”

What am I doing here? I though to myself. For the first time in the last three years, I had a good answer. I thanked the teller and pocketed every dollar I had in the world. I knew it would be flagged as suspicious, but by the time anyone connected the dots, the die would already be cast. Just in case someone pulled the tapes, I gave the ever-present security cameras in the bank a discreet middle finger as I left. Childish, I know. I proceeded to “invest” a good chunk of my money on several hundred more rounds of ammunition, including several boxes of match grade ammunition. Since I could only buy a single box at a time legally, most of the rounds I purchased were through various back-door suppliers I knew from some of my more active shooting days. There was a black market for almost anything now, given that everything from raw milk to furniture made with “unapproved hardwoods” to non-ethanol gasoline was illegal. By the time I exited Sam's and filled up my truck, with approved gas of course, the wad was significantly smaller than it started out. I no longer had a debit card, phone and briefly considered tossing my driver's license, but thought better of it. It was a burden lifted; I had just become a modern day Luddite, and by extension, significantly harder to track. My transactions could no longer be recorded, and I could not be tracked by my phone any longer.

I drove to Rob’s house and waited. What else was there to do? About an hour later, I watched Rob pull into his driveway. The tarp in the back of my truck made it look like a standard contractor's work vehicle to the casual observer. Plus, he lived in a quiet semi-rural subdivision with fewer and fewer neighbors, judging by the “Foreclosed Home For Sale” signs. As I walked up Rob asked me casually “What's in the back, man?” “Everything Rob, absolutely everything. I even brought those high heels you've been eyeing and some Rogaine for that skin condition you've got on your head. I checked with my doctor and he assured me creepy balding guy syndrome was not contagious. Good thing...it's a deal-breaker for me.” He smiled wide and replied “Thanks Raylan, by the way did happen to mention what he though it was that stunted your growth after 10? I mean take off an inch or two and you'd practically be a dwarf. Prolly woulda been better to have named you Gimli.” We went inside and the conversation took a serious turn. “What's going on man?” he asked me. “I'm done...I'm out.” I said. “Why the change of heart, all of a sudden?” He asked. Rob was visibly upset by the time I was done recounting what had happened. “So I guess the question is this, Raylan. What are you going to do about it?” I stated flatly, “I’m going to kill those ****ers.” Rob started laughing, “No, seriously man, you’re going to tell the truth in the report, right?” “Look Rob, I don’t think you understand. I’m not kidding. I plan on arranging a meeting between a pointy piece of copper and lead, and their cranium. Each of them.” “Raylan, that is crazy talk. You are going to get your ass killed. I’m serious. I mean if they heard us talking like this…” I raised my voice “That’s exactly the point! These guys wantonly killed four people and our first reaction is to whisper in the corner instead of doing what we BOTH know is right. You kill without cause or provocation…you die. Pretty sure I have the moral high ground here, Rob. We sit around congratulating each other on being ‘patriots’ and ‘free men,’ but we are afraid of voicing our feelings. With good reason too. We’re not free. We have to ask permission from Uncle Sam for everything. We can’t buy produce or food that isn’t approved by him. We can’t buy cars without his permission. We buy insurance because he says to. We get groped at the airport because he says it’s for our safety. We humbly ask his permission to exercise rights EXPLICITLY guaranteed in the Constitution. Then, to top it all off, if you’re the Indian who runs too far off the reservation and ****es the right people off…you’re a dead man. Assassination by cop or by agent. There are so many laws, selective enforcement has given them the ability to throw your ass in jail over just about anything. Oh, you don’t get a trial, you’re a “terrorist.”’ We’ll just throw your ass in jail, for a crime whose definition could be applicable to nearly every citizen in the country.’ Laws you don’t even know exist because there are so many. A no-knock warrant and it all but guarantee that “officer safety” will kill your ass in bed. We aren’t free Rob. Free is being able to tell the President she’s wrong without an IRS audit. Free is being able to grow food and not ask permission to sell it or eat it yourself. Ask yourself this. Does the law apply equally to everyone? If not, why? Is the life of your wife worth less than a government employee? Why are we still playing by rules the other side makes without our consent and without any intent on obeying themselves? Still feel free?”

Rob gave me a hard look, “I mean you know that if this goes sideways on us we are done. No second chances, it's not a game. If you do this we crossed a very big line. No courts. No jury. We are dead men walking.” I looked at him, “What is this us stuff man? You've got a wife, you work for the fire department for God's sake. I was a party to it. It's my deal now, not yours.” Rob looked me in the eye “I can't sit and watch you do this. Our friendship aside, what you said is true. At some point I have to pick a side. Hah, we’re the Indians this time, a dying breed. I won’t wait until I’m on a reservation to fight back. Men died to give me what freedom I've had these 35 years. Enough is enough. I swore an oath, enemies foreign and domestic, and I intend to keep it.” I simply stated, “Ok then, we're in it eyeballs deep now. I'm headed out to Brad's, and am going to hole up there. He's got room and it's got plenty of exfil options. We need to start determining what our options are and doing some serious intel gathering. You’re off tomorrow, right? Lose the phone before you hit me up.” Rob laughed, “What am I, an amateur.” As I walked out his front door, I couldn't help but wonder if I, we, were making a huge mistake. In either case, I now had an unexpected ally trained in observation and stealth. It wasn’t Seal Team 6, but it was a start.

I had met Brad Whelan several years earlier through mutual friends. Brad was a short, stout man whose reddish-brown hair suggested Irish ancestry. While quickly approaching fifty, tending his small farm had given him the body of someone twenty years younger. Perpetually in tan Carhartt bibs, his distaste for the city-life was only outweighed by his utter contempt for the government. He had lost his wife seven years prior to melanoma, but his deep suspicion of “outsiders” kept him from making very many new friends. I was pretty sure that I was the lone exception. Brad lived to hunt, fish and just about anything else that allowed him to spend the better part of the day in the Virginia woods. He, along with Rob had taught me innumerable lessons in woodcraft, makeshift camouflage and tracking. The most valuable asset Brad had was privacy. His entire farm was fenced in, and the entrance to his gravel driveway was guarded by a heavy, wrought iron gate that required a code to open. The mid-19th century farmhouse he called home was on the top of a gentle sloping hill. One could slip out the back door and be in a hundred acres of forest within a few minutes, with someone at the gate none the wiser.

Brad heard the gravel crunching under my tires as I pulled up and came out to greet me. “Hey, there Raylan. You get a new phone or sumthin? Didn't recognize the number you called me from.” I leaned out the window and said “I got rid of it Brad. You ok with this?” “Look, you've always done right by me Raylan. I'd appreciate it if you let me know why it's so almighty important you stay here. If ya can't, well then I guess I prolly don't want to know. Long as you aren't working some sting operation or something. I'll kick your ass myself if you start meddling with people.” “I wouldn't have asked if it wasn't urgent Brad. Look, you REALLY don't want to get involved in this. I'm not kidding. This is not like shooting deer out of season. I don't want people knowing I'm here, because it could get ugly if they do. I'm going to go park this thing in the smaller barn. See you in a minute.” I gave Brad the broad strokes version of the last seventy-two hours of my life, heavily underemphasizing the beatdown I had given Mr. Suburban. While I would have preferred to lie to Brad, it would have been a serious violation of trust. Coupled with his trust issues, it would guarantee I would forever be persona non grata at his farm, and more importantly, it would permanently seal me off from the close-knit local farming community. Brad had provided bona fides and opened up several opportunities for Rob and I to shoot and train on private land. In time, the suspicions of the city-boy were laid to rest and I enjoyed a status as quasi-member of their clique. I knew at Brad’s place I was surrounded by people who would trust me long before they trusted a badge. A very real benefit given the actions I was about to take. There’s not a whole lot of people left with the sand to spit Redman on an agents shoes and tell him to stick his badge where the sun don’t shine. Many people underestimated how shrewd and observant the local farmers were, and the treasure trove of information they could provide about getting from point A to point B via roads, trails and creeks that few knew about and fewer had access to. DHS had a fusion center in town, so why couldn’t I?

I unloaded the truck and stored the food in Brad's root cellar, and the rest of my kit went into what used to be Brad's “man cave” before he became a widower. The room consisted half of a hay loft in his smaller barn that had been finished off with drywall, wired and had a window unit AC. The room offered excellent potential for an overwatch position on the property, but virtually no cover from gunfire. I laid down that night with a sigh of relief. I had significantly reduced my footprint within 24 hours and was no longer at my address. I laid there and relived the events that brought me here. Maybe it was God. Maybe it was fate. Maybe it was just men making choices, for good or bad. All I knew is that I had made a choice and now I was in it for the long haul.
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Old 11-19-2013, 05:46 PM
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ravinglawyer13 ravinglawyer13 is offline
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Originally Posted by bob2231 View Post
I grew up in NE Ohio,that's a border state.
And we did pretty well with English.
Hahaha, I forgot about the dreaded Canadian Mafia. Eh, silver or lead, eh? It's aboooooot time you came arooond Timmy. I wish we could clone Canada and put it at the southern border.

People don't realize how serious some of those guys are. Hanging people from bridges and cutting people's heads of and ****. Last time I was home some guy got whacked in Southlake, where my folks live now. It was a hit on a local lawyer, in one of the wealthiest counties in the state. Pulled up behind the guy in the parking lot as he was pulling out, a guy got out and popped him 4-5 times. He was using a can, and didn't touch the wife sitting next to him. Insane some of the stuff going on, but it doesn't get coverage because it's politically incorrect.
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Old 11-19-2013, 05:49 PM
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Worst thing ever to come out of Canadia,Moosehead XXX.
Got a headache halfway through the first bottle and threw the rest away.
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Old 11-19-2013, 05:59 PM
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Worst thing ever to come out of Canadia,Moosehead XXX.
Got a headache halfway through the first bottle and threw the rest away.
I cannot stand Canadian liquors or beer...or coffee. Tim Hortons is absolutely trash. Give me Blanton's or Basil Haydens any day of the week. Hell, I'd rather have Wild Turkey 101 than Crown Royal. If it's whiskey and it doesn't come from Kentucky...
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Old 11-19-2013, 06:13 PM
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Thank you good stuff ,keep it coming an make the MOAR monster happy
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