WRITING: Go West Old Man? (Index Card Novel)

He sat is his very comfortable McMansion. He and his wife had tuned it to their needs. He was enjoying coffee and his post-Church Sunday paper. Soon the children and grandchildren would arrive for his wife’s special monthly Sunday dinner; just like in her farm girl days. Poor farm girl, but farm girl never the less.

The feature story in the Culture section was about a return to the land by 21st Century yuppies returning to the land. The turn to socialism by Obama along with the multiple risks of unemployment, inflation, higher taxes, higher expenses, and exploding debt loads had given rise to some Depression Era thinking. A smaller, cheaper, less-expnsive, less-stuff lifestyle was being sought by young people. Like the Titanic before collecting ice cubes, one didn’t have to be overly psychic to know that egotistically speeding in the dark across an iceberg laden sea in an “unsinkable” ship was a prescription for disaster. Some people were always in the know. Vast tracks of undeveloped land in Western North Carolina were being quietly, silently, and cheaply acquired. Not by big builders for massive development. Not by governments for big construction projects. Not by real estate moguls seeking something the government was not “printing more of”. But by ordinary people. Doctors, lawyers, technology people, PhDs, writers, business people. Basically a whole lot of people were getting out of dodge full time. And, interestingly, they weren’t building big houses. They weren’t getting on the grid. They weren’t putting in cable or satellite TV. They were building small and green with solar. “Farmettes”, the article called them.

He had a raving loon of a friend. Y2K was an awakening for his nutty buddy. After that, he was a “real tin foil hat”. But the gold purchase he made in prep paid off. 200 to a 1000 was a nice killing. His friend had learned the lessons of Wall Street from his time there. It was a rigged casino. Survivalist, anti-establishment, anti-state, “gold bug’, anti-FED, Ron Paul, light conspiracy theory, and other loony stuff appeared in his email box from his firend regularly for more than a decade. Some times there was five or more in a day. His friend really needed to find a job; he was a ‘severance package farmer’. That too was evidence of the lunacy of large corporations. Pay employees to leave quietly. When they all got together, everyone — including the wives — were careful not to get him started about politicians, taxes, or the “gooferment”! He was a real wack a loon. But he had taught him one thing, these were NOT “farmettes”; these were “suvival retreats”!

He’d lived through Hugo. More than a week without power and water. Taking charity from the National Guard. Flushing toilets with a neighbor’s swimming pool water. At least they had gas for the car to get to the nearby church for showers and hot chow. What would a longer or worse condition be like. His nutty friend had given him the vocabulary; he had it down pat. He knew the words “Golden Horde”, Zimbabwe, and TEOTWAWKI. What’s worse is that his friend had taught him what they meant! His friend was a certifiable member of the “lights are on, but no one is home” club. But, these people in the article were smart folks. Not skitzo. Not panicked. Not emotional.

His crazy “tin foil hat” bud had told him that it was the Grandparents that had to lead the “evacuation”. They were the only ones who had the time, wisdom, money, and vision to see what was on the horizon. The children were too young and the parents were blinded by the day to day needs of modern life. The Jewish intelligentsia, when seeing Hitler for what he was, shipped children and some young families out of country wholesale. Often sacrificing their own lives for the future generations. Was he now having this glimpse of the future. Act on it or be doomed?

This was turning morose. He moved on to the sports. He had to break out of the rut. Get away from disaster thinking. Yankees opened their new stadium with a loss. The city government put a fortune of tax money into a new smaller stadium. His wacky friend’s lectures invaded this page too. “Millionaires Playing For Billionaires”, he’d rail. “Why does the tax payer have to pay for bread and circuses?” Argh. That nut was ruining his Sunday. Was he on every page yelling “escape!”; what next the classified. As a joke on himself, he turned to that slender section. The reason the papers were going broke was that advertising and the classifieds were moving to the internet. He tuned to the middle. There was a modest eighth of a page ad: “Robert F. Hoke Estate Company announces undeveloped land for sale in Lakewood NC. Due to a family bankruptcy, several hundred thousand undeveloped acres are being offered for sale located between Chattahoochee and Sumter National Forrest. Land is being sold as is. Prices range from as low as 100$/acre when purchased in 1000 acre lots.”


Did you ever get a song stuck in your mind? He knew turning to the front page, his friend’s echo would be easily satisfied. “Obama apologizes again at South American Leadership conference. Helicopter Ben assures everyone that inflation is not on the horizon. Cigarette tax raised two dollars.” He need to put the paper down. Sip his coffee. And, take a deep breath. Was the Lord putting this in his mind? Like Noah. Was he supposed to build his family an ark? He did have the assets. He had just the girl who could homestead. Was he developing Alzhiemers. He had to get new friends.

All he could think about was Hugo. Bigger, badder, worse, and all-encompassing.

Maybe it was time to “Go West, Old Man. Go West”!

He yelled out “Hey, Hon, gotta minute. You have to see this.”

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