It was cold. So cold. He’d never been so cold. The heat in the house was set to 40. People had to fend for themselves, but the pipes had to be kept from freezing. How many decades had they struggled? He mused as his body tried to warm the bed and blankets. More than two. The “carbon tax” to prevent “global warming” was the event that had started them down a road to “hell frozen over”. But, other things had set the stage. Even the children and grandchildren were impoverished. They all lived with him. He wept. More than a decade ago, his proud son was beaten by “the economy” and came home to live. The son brought his wife and three children. Couldn’t earn enough to feed everyone; never mind shelter, clothe, or anything else. There was no work. Debt crushed that once proud son and bankruptcy left them nothing. For awhile, it was OK. There was enough work from time to time to pay the bills. But “the economy” was in a death spiral. On their little plot of land, they resurrected a “victory garden”. Some victory. Not much of a garden. He and his wife moved to the first smallest bedroom so that the five refugees could have the largest room. At the time, he groused at his sainted wife that “it was temporary” and “we could take the second larger room”. Her response was: “I see worse times ahead.” That scared him. He began to take some modest steps for “worse times”. Cut the cable. Watch expenses like a hawk. Sell stuff. Hide other stuff. The polictics of “soak the rich” sounded too much like class warfare of the Nazis and Communists. He knew from a survivor of the Shoah and another from Cambodia where that led. He hid some stuff. Above the refrigerator coils. In clocks and appliances. Curtain rods. Nothing paper. He acquired some unpapered assets. Anything with a paper trail would be lost. An abandoned prized car in the backyard covered a multitude of metal detectable “sins”. As “the economy” worsened, his daughter and once proud son-in-law arrived with their three kids to take the middle small but larger bedroom. Again for a while it was OK. The taxes were oppressive. But when you have no income, there were no income taxes. Corporations were heavily taxed to make it up and they raised their prices. So people, who had nothing, paid the taxes hidden in products or went without. There was a a lot of going without. “Global warming” need to be fought more. Despite the ever colder winters and quick cool summers. No one told the king he had no clothes. The rich left for Europe and other destinations. Taking their wealth with them. They had no allegiance to a Titanic that was going down. Despite their particular part in the political lunacy that led to the sinking. They were cheerleaders in the hysteria! Hollywood “celebrities” left if they could, but there was nobody with any money for “art”. Their Sodom and Gomorrah wound down to drugs and prostitution. Just like the whores and grifters, we always knew they were, but were too blind to see. “Sports celebrities” fared even worse. Without any attendance, teams folded. Millionaire third baseman, quarterbacks, and dribblers were flushed into the toilet bowl with ordinary people. In some ways, he was “lucky”. During one of the many crisises, he bought a low emission vehicle, so they had a car. It was a modest profit center. They could get to the store, the doctor, or to work if there was any. Six adults and one neighborhood sharing one car made scheduling a nightmare. But survivors cooperated. It was a life raft. There were plenty of cars around. Just none that were “road worthy” according to the government. “Global warming” had ruled all the non low emission models off the roads. For the children, of course. That and the price of gas was in the three digits. Yes, OPEC had finally made an oil based currency and the American dollar was a stone around their neck. American “national debt” ensured the dive to civilization’s history book as a footnote about the American experiment with “liberty”. In every tragedy, some do well. The politicians were always “saving us”. Funny how they seemed to always have government transportation, food, and lodging. So too, the bureaucrats that served them, with their paychecks and gold plated pensions, did well. And, the toadies and hangers on, who lunched at the ever declining public trough. This was all not without some unpleasantness. The various “disturbances”, that the servile media did have to report, were always crushed. One could see nearby cities on fire. The prisons were overcrowded with all sorts of economic, drug, and other non-violent crime. “Hoarding” became a capital crime. As was non-payment of taxes. Unless you were politically connected. For public safety, all the guns were collected. Not us “public”; the “public servants” weren’t very safe! The howling of the NRA, GOA, and honest men were to no avail. Of course, if you can’t keep guns and drugs out of prisons, then the collection wasn’t very complete. It amused him. The thugs came a searched the house and seized his registered guns, a few gold coins, and what they called “extra food”. But as with most things done by government, they did NOT find the unregistered guns, the various stashes of gold and silver, and the caches of food. One neighbor was pointing out stuff for the thugs. A week later, he took care of that Quisling. And, his family. That was the end of snitching. A twenty two to the back of heads was a necessary ‘rodent elimination” project. He was not alone in the clean up effort. Anyone in the neighborhood who worked for the Government often met a similar fate when the employer was identified. Live too high on the hog and it was obvious where your bacon was coming from. And, of course, wretches, who had even less, came to prey on them as wealthy. He’d had learned a lesson from Western farmers. The men of the neighborhood watched out for their own. On any given day, half the folk slept for their night watch. In a way, it was, in a way, a modest profit making activity. These modern day looters were often packing heat and carrying treasure from an earlier heist. They no longer had need for it as they went to their eternal repose in the fields, cisterns, or abandoned cars. Shoot, shovel, and shut up was the “standing order”. Yes, it was hard times. And, hard men had starving families. He worried for his family as he aged. The wife passed. And he aged. His pensions, modest social security, welfare, and his “hidings” were the sustenance that kept them alive. The churches and poverty pantries had long since given their last. Welfare was a joke. They were wealthy, because they had a place to live. Civil unrest was even decimating the police and bureaucrats. He limited what he ate because there really wasn’t enough to go around. And, he’d heard that low calorie diets made you live longer. They needed him as a “cash cow” to live forever. Each day, with each child, he walk once around the block. Exercise was good for a long life. He listened to the child and then would tell them of the “good old days”. Gas, food, and fun was abundant through out the land. But there was a cancer in men’s minds that blinded them to the threat that their fellow man presented. It was a long walk. And getting longer. Or was he going slower. And, the children getting bigger. Homeschooling in addition to government schooling. There was not much to do on the cold dark nights. Electric was too valuable to waste on anything as frivolous as TV. The end of daylight signaled bedtime. At least a bed full of bodies was warm. He, of course, was alone, in that smallest of bedrooms. What would become of his family when the “cow” died? It was so cold. He fell asleep crying: “Noooo”!
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