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Thursday Edition

Brothers for Truth

The Real Story

By Bandit with images from Sam Burns, Barry Green and Wayfarer

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Joey woke up early. He had to blast to work, a new job. The sky shown a brilliant blue with sparce clouds over the vast Wyoming plains. He was new to the area after riding his Sportster out from California and finding an apartment. He immediately faced a daunting issue, though. Winter loomed and motorcycles didn’t fit. He needed to find a garage and a used 4-wheel drive pickup truck. He also needed a dojo and there weren’t any in the small town of Pina.

The growing berg was split by a highway and the founding fathers of the community wisely put the town on one side of the highway and the industrial area and growing oil fields on the other. Joey showered, trimmed his tightly cut Vandyke facial hair, dressed for work and rode a couple of blocks to Mable’s Diner for breakfast. He passed fresh new franchise joints being built like plastic toy boxes and an old brick building being restored. The Pina was clean, vibrant and growing.

Joey rode passed a new bicycle shop. The hippie crew rehabbed an old clapboard building and moved in. He pulled up to Mable’s ’50 stone restaurant front. He kicked his sidestand down and strolled inside to the counter. Folks seemed friendly and happy except for a group on youngsters sitting at a table in the corner. They all wore nylon quilted, fluffy down vests over sweatshirts and goofy knitted stocking caps.

Joey sat down and Shirley the blond bombshell waitress pushed out through the polished swinging door from the kitchen. Her smile completed the sunrise outside. Her teeth white as snow sparkled as did her baby blue eyes. She was a sight for any soiled, grim-soaked oil worker.

“Hey Handsome,” she smiled. “What would you like this morning.

“How about chorizo and eggs but cut the onions,” Joey smiled back. “And I’ll take some coffee and an order of your special toast.”

“You’re working in the oil fields across the highway?” Shirley asked eyeing the stained canvas jacket under his brown leather vest sporting a Sturgis rally pin. She poured him a cup of joe in a ceramic cup as she checked out his bright green eyes and constant smile under his mustache and crisply cut facial hair. Sandy blonde, there was something honest and wholesome about his direct and upbeat nature. He had confidence and looked strong.

“Yep,” started last week.

“Better work hard,” a voice came from behind him. “Those oil fields are going down along with all Fossil Fuel products.”

Joey spun on his stool and came face to face with a bearded hippy in a knit cap. He was angry as a bull with a wooden sliver stuck in its hoof.

“Then I can get a job in your bicycle shop and pay for my growing family with Shirley?” He turned to Shirley and winked.

“We’re going to sue the oil company out of business,” this guy said and stood.

“Where are you getting the funds for that?” Joey returned. “The slum lord George Soros?”

The other three hippies got to their feet, two were American Indians. “We’re killing fossil fuels, just wait and see,” the leader said and they headed for the door joking with one another. They didn’t pay their bill, just tossed a couple of ones and change on the table.

Joey sat back down and turned toward the counter and the lovely Shirley. “My family has lived here for a couple of generations,” she said. “This place is growing finally, we have new streets, new schools. They’re working on bringing a community college here.”

“Good luck with that,” Joey said. “And no more asphalt streets if Fossil Fuels are gone. Hell, your chef won’t be able to cook my chorizo and eggs. It’s nuts.”

“Why is this happening?” Shirley asked.

Joey turned and looked outside through the plate glass windows. He could see his shiny Sportster and the pickups parked at the curb diagonally. The sun glimmered and life was good. “Because they can,” he said. “Don’t you know, we’re doomed.”

Shirley looked at him quizzically and moved onto another customer. Joey enjoyed his breakfast smothered with fresh salsa, the warm coffee and homemade toast.

He rode less than a mile over the highway to the oil fields beyond. He worked maintaining the rigs and at lunch met with the team. “What about the ban Fossil Fuel crew in town?” Joey brought it up over a chicken burrito from the lunch truck. He was a new guy but needed to test the waters.

Some of the guys stared at their plates and didn’t say a word. “There’s a town hall meeting at the end of the week,” an older worker muttered.

“We need to be there,” Fast Fred said, one of the other bikers. Maybe 50, Fred was wide and buffed, with numerous tattoos, maybe a patch-holder at one time. There were three bikers on the crew, Joey one of them.

“I was there for the helmet protests in the ‘70s,” Grizzley muttered a short graybeard and a Vietnam veteran. “If we don’t step up…”

“We will!” Fred snapped. “We will all be there.”

“That's what bikers do,” Grizzley muttered and they split up to go back to work.

Friday, after work the brothers showered, dressed and rode to the small town hall, concrete building for the city council meeting in the court chambers. A handful of folks sat on either side of the mayor Martha Jones, a large middle-aged woman with a stern look and massive boobs sat in a dress that covered every inch of her being like a tent.

The environmental group in their knit hats sat in the front row and chatted loudly between each other. The secretary, another woman, thin and also middle aged read the minutes from the previous meeting, all normal stuff about the next festival, the plans for the Christmas Parade, new roads and infrastructure being built to allow the town to expand. There was the mention of hiring another police officer and checking the budget for an additional police car.

They voted to accept the minutes and moved on to discuss current issues. That’s when Martha asked for public comment and the alarmist started to shout about banning fossil fuels, suing the oil company, defunding the police and housing issues. This time Joey caught the leader’s name, Richard Marshall, a tall Irish looking sort with a red full beard. He barked a lot.

The startled mayor stammered and didn’t know which way to turn. Joey raised his hand and walked forward to the podium. “Just two things, maybe three. I get it. If we’re doomed, we gotta act fast, but what if we’re not. CO2 can’t be the issue. It’s the molecule of life. We need more not less. Second, we’ve got it pretty good now, the town is growing and these guys want to stop all the goodness and make it bad. So, what the hell are we going to do. I would like to propose a test.”

Richard jumped to his feet. “We’re in a climate emergency. We can’t test, we need to stop everything to do with Fossil Fuels, now.”

“What are you going to do with 80 gallons of oil in each wind turbine?” Joey said.

Richard stumbled and the mayor’s eyes brightened.

“Doesn’t it make sense to see if their plan will work before we step off the cliff?” Joey asked the city council.

“How would you propose to go about this?” The mayor ask, but Joey could tell she was relieved to encounter common sense.

Grizzly stepped forward with a one-page map of the town. He looked at it, rolled it up and used it to point to the framed map on the wall. “Let’s see if we can divide the city. There will be the green side and the oil side. We will eliminate all fossil fuels from the green side and go on with our life on the oily side.”

“We can’t do that!” Richard and his band of greenies jumped to their feet, “We’re here to take over not negotiate.”

The mayor’s gavel slammed against her podium. ?“No one is taking over anything.”

“But big oil is taking over the town,” Richard frothed at the mouth. “It must be stopped. It’s an environmental crisis.”

“Oil brought us wealth, stability, transportation, our new roads, medicine, electricity, you name it,” the mayor said. “It brought us you in your gas powered cars, spandex pants, oil-based tennis shoes and you’re afraid of a test?”

Richard fumed, his bright red beard shook as though it might come alive like Methuselah’s snakes. He sat down and whispered to a couple of his comrades. They slid out the back door.

The mayor, a middle-aged farm girl felt caught in the middle. “I’m going to table this issue for today,” the Mayor said and moved onto the festival of lights. The committee chair got up and gave a lengthily report and there was much discussion of the holiday decorations and who was responsible for what. Shirley from the restaurant stood up. She wore skin-tight denims and a plaid shirt. Her curly waves of blond hair danced on her shoulders as she spoke.

Mesmerized, Joey wanted to capture her attention and moved to a seat she couldn’t miss as she turned to leave. That’s when a knit cap ran in the back door and screamed, “Fire.”

The fire chief ran for the door followed by everyone inside. They discovered Joey’s Sportster seat ablaze and two alarmists handcuffed to his front wheel. They held a cardboard banner containing rough felt pen lettering, “WE MUST ACT NOW!”

Their leader stepped forward to proclaim, “We are not messing around. Fossil Fuel use will end immediately.”

Joey rounded Richard with the fire extinguisher. “We wouldn’t have fire extinguishers without fossil fuels,” he said and blasted his motorcycle. “It’s just like you bastards to do something that makes no sense. If my gas tank had caught fire, your brothers wouldn’t make it.”

The two kids handcuffed to the front wheel squealed as the front tire expanded with the heat and popped. Their cardboard plaque started to sizzle and they screamed to be released.

“I hope you have insurance,” Joey said stepping back from his smoldering bike. “You owe me a new motorcycle.

“They’ll all be banned shortly,” Richard shouted backing away from the flames, afraid.

“What, you’re not going to rescue your comrades?” Joey smacked. He used the fire extinguisher sparingly, allowing the flames to continue toward the gas tank.

The whimpering increased at the flames caught their cardboard banner on fire.

“Should we let them burn?” Grizzly asked staring at Richard who continued his frightful retreat. None of the other alarmist wanted anything to do with the conflict and scattered with their ol’ ladies.

Fast Fred stepped forward, a seasoned outlaw who carried a handcuff key on his keyring constantly. He unlocked the cuffs and the singed alarmist scrambled for safety their hair smoldering.

Joey finished off the motorcycle with the foaming extinguisher as the fire department arrived in their fossil fuel vehicle.

“They just caused 20 times the emissions of all the cars in town for the year,” Fast Fred said. “Sorta like a mini-volcano. Are they going to ban them?” He shrugged. “What’s the plan?”

The portly Mayor stood on the sidewalk. “Hey mayor,” Joey said. “How about that test. Maybe we can get to the bottom of this.”

“This is bullshit,” Martha said startling the others. “Something has to be done. Let’s do it.”

“Hallelujah,” Joey shouted. “We just want the truth, simple. The kids deserve to know what the real deal is.”

“You’re right,” Mayor Martha said. “We are going to divide the town into the Oily Gang and the Green Nation tomorrow.”

By noon the next day, the mayor had the city guys install a chain link fence down the center of town to the bridge leading to the oil fields on the other side of the highway. For security reasons the Green Nation wasn’t allowed across the bridge into the oil fields. Only one lane was allowed over the bridge and one back. No lanes were allowed off the highway into the Green nation, no trucks or fossil fuel vehicles allowed.

As the week progressed the mayor allowed heavy excavators into the Green area to remove all the asphalt. Troops from the local National Guard facility were allowed to walk into the Green Nation to confiscate anything made with fossil fuels. They searched and took all chemicals, plastics, computers, cell phones, you name it right down to women’s panties. All medicines were removed and when folks complained, the town council posted signs on the fence facing the test area, “No Fossil Fuels allowed.”

They sent tow trucks into the area and hauled out any fossil fuel powered vehicles, including lawn mowers and tractors. All natural gas connections were turned off, so stoves no-longer worked, neither did heaters or washers and dryers.

At the next meeting the alarmists looked a little frail and dirty. “We’re going to make this work,” Richard pounded the podium. “The President’s infrastructure bill gives us billions to build wind turbines and solar farms.”

“Sorry,” the mayor responded. “No wind farms, they are full of oil and solar panels are made from fossil fuels. And I need to point out that building fires or using your barbecues to cook won’t be allowed. That’s a no-no.”

“What the fuck,” Richard spat his scruffy red beard shaking. He turned to the three bikers sitting behind him, screamed and attacked pulling a wooden post from his padded vest.

“Sore loser,” Joey shouted and jumped to his feet. They went to blows right in the middle of the city hall city council chambers. The three bikers fought back as the cops from the back charged.

There were eight alarmists, but only four leapt into the violent fray.

As the cops approached one alarmist, a slick looking Hispanic, pulled a pistol and shot one. “We’re defunding you, right now,” he shouted and cocked his weapon again.

Joey made a move on the big man’s wooden bat. He jammed his open palm against the man’s fist, and then slipped his hand along the dowel-like post until he reached the end and the point of leverage. Twisting the wooden weapon, he took control of it, jammed it into Richard’s solar plexus and pushed him far enough away to smack the kid’s revolver arm.

It went off, missing the other officer, the bullet slamming into the wall. The next swing broke the kid’s nose and sent him to the deck.

The cops rounded up the alarmists and drug them off to jail. “You guys won’t have any problem,” a snarky looking cop told them after taking statements.

Three days later the alarmists were back on the streets, cut a hole in the chain link fence and strolled into Mable’s, sat down and drew out a wad of cash. “We need to order,” Richard spat.

Later that day two black SUVs cross the bridge and federal officers arrested the bikers. “What the fuck,” Joey said while being dragged off the derrick platform.

Handcuffed and tossed into the back of the long dark Excursion with tinted windows, they were given their rights but not told what they were being charged with.

The next day while residing in a holding cell in county lock-up, Richard walked into jail looking clean and over-confident. “Just thought you should know,” he said smugly. “I got cleaned up in your apartment. We are taking all the homes and handing them out.” He looked directly at Joey. “We will have the mayor arrested tomorrow.”

“What the fuck for?” Grizzly jumped to his feet.

“Because we can,” Richard muttered. “She’s a racist. She won’t be your friend anymore. We will replace her.”

“So, take some of your federals funds and buy me a new motorcycle,” Joey spat and charged to the bars. “What’s the deal, anti-capitalism?”

“No motorcycle for you, pal,” Richard muttered smugly. “We’re going to take over this town, close the oil fields down and make it ours. Yep, it will be socialists. Everyone gets a home for free, but they can’t own it. I will own ‘em all.”

Two weeks later the three bikers and the mayor stood in front of a county judge for a bail hearing.

“You were far too radical and aggressive during a city meeting,” the judge snapped. He wasn’t tall, but his snarky countenance indicated a small man desperate for power and suddenly he had it. “And the mayor didn’t perform her duty to control the situation. The violence is her fault.”

“What are they charged with your honor?” The oil company supplied an attorney. They needed their guys to be on the job.

“We’ll get to that,” the judge snapped, “but first bail. A man died during this shameful altercation. This must be handled very carefully.”

“These men had nothing to do with the gun fire. In fact, one of them prevented the gunman from firing again, perhaps saving another officer’s life,” the attorney, a young confident man, who was well groomed, direct but unfamiliar with wok politics.
“They attempted to bring sober reality to a difficult climate movement.”

The statement infuriated the judge who mopped his sweating brow and bald head with his white linen bandana, sporting his embroidered initials. “Nothing they are doing, has any political motivation or ideological rationale. It’s entirely a reaction to threatening science, to the mathematics and physics that explain what is happening to our planet. We are doomed if we don’t act immediately. I honor their efforts and will not set bail for six months. This case is closed for now.”

The brothers, jarred by the ruling each reacted differently. Grizzley, pissed off wanted to shout. Fast Fred grabbed the front of his plaid shirt as if he might have a heart attack and Joey pulled on his mustache and looked at the attorney.

The attorney turned to Joey and just nodded. “I don’t believe this. Then he turned to the concerned mayor who slumped in her chair terrified and stared at the wooden deck.

Martha’s gaze simmered. “What’s next?”

The attorney just shook his head dismayed.

“Hey,” Mark said to group as they were led back to their cells. “They don’t have any charges. They don’t have a case. They just want to control this situation and take over the town.” He turned to the mayor who looked disillusioned. “Your political career is over. They’ve assigned a new progressive mayor.”

“What about us?” Joey stepped forward.

“If you keep your noses clean in here, they will drag this out for a year and then charge us with a hefty fine or jail time,” Mark said shifting his briefcase. “I just want to get away from this place. It’s smells of corruption.”

Six months passed and they were finally given bail.

Shirley picked up the crew in Mable’s Diner van and they piled in with the Mayor sitting up front. As Shirley pulled away from the County lock-up curb she looked over at the Martha. “You’re going to choke on the new mayor. He’s all over working with the alarmists to destroy the town and the oil fields. The town has gone to shit.”

“Is Mabel’s still open?” Joey asked.

“Nope,” Shirley said. “They mandated all gas stoves be shut off. We can only make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. They shut down the local chicken farms, and your oil company is gone.”

“When’s the next city hall meeting?” Fast Fred asked.

“This coming Friday,” Shirley said.

“We’re staying in the next highway truck stop,” Grizzly said to Shirley. “The Makeshift Motel.
Our bikes have been moved.”

“Okay,” Shirley said.

“We’ll be at the meeting,” Joey said and touched Shirley’s shoulder. He still had a thing for her, but he didn’t know how she felt. The mystery continued.

The meeting kicked off at 4:30 so the brothers rolled in on their bikes at 4:00. As they rolled off the highway, suddenly they were confronted by the transition. Homeless tents line the streets. Most businesses were closed and drug addicts sat on the curbs. There were no cars or lights on as dusk settled around the town. Trash and debris lined the streets. Illegals moved into the abandoned gas station, but there was no heat or food

As they pulled up in front of Mabel’s Diner Shirley came to the door a terrified frown on her face. Richard pushed her aside and stepped out of the door with a guy in a silky looking suit following. “This is the new mayor, Gavin…”

“I don’t care what the fuck his name is.” Grizzly snapped.

“Motorcycles are banned,” The tall angular, slick mayor said in a creepy way.

“And were taking yours,” Richard said forcefully and pulled on his red beard. He bubbled with authority and power.

Tough guy Fast Fred dismounted to confront the big redhead in his knitted beanie hat. Suddenly the brothers were surrounded and the fight began. Out-numbered four to one, the brothers came prepared with pipes and ballpeen hammers. They fought valiantly but there were too many and they kept coming. Joey signaled to make their escape.

They scrambled to their bikes and fired them to life. “You’re done here,” Richard screamed. “No more bikers in this town. You’re not welcome. He pulled Shirley to his side and wrapped his arm around her.

Wounded and cut, the brothers rode back to the Makeshift Motel where Martha met them. “You’re lucky you didn’t come,” Joey said. “There’s something slimy about that new mayor.

Martha and the cute Hispanic cleaning lady helped clean up the brothers. Joey called the shop in the next town over to thank the owners for fixing his bike. Fast Fred bought a used computer and started to google research the new mayor. Once healed the brothers rode over to the shop in the nearby town for a meeting with a local club of bike builders and shop owners.

“We can’t ride into that town anymore,” Charlie Chrome said, a little guy with a vest full of chromed event pins.

“What the fuck are we going to do about it?” Grizzly said. “Bikers fought for our freedoms back in the ‘70s. When the AMA said we couldn’t race, we started our own races.”

“They kicked the cops out of the town and defunded the police,” Charlie Chrome said.

“If we want it bad enough, we’ll go get it,” Joey said. “I don’t want it for you and me, I want it for the community and the kids. And fuck it, we want to ride free. Besides, did you hear they want to ban chrome.”

“We’ve got a month to get our shit together,” Fast Fred said. “We gotta be smart. This isn’t going to be easy.”

Joey looked around the room at the motley crew of grubby bikers who looked beat and concerned. “Reach out. We will be back in touch with you motherfuckers in two weeks to see if you’re still afraid.” Brothers started to sit up. “If you don’t believe what we are saying ride into Pina.”

“I will,” Rep Ricky raised his hand. “Goddammit, I’m not afraid. I need to see for myself.” A youngster and a member of the AGAVE MC a tequila drinking motorcycle club stood up. “I’m sure my brothers will support me and have a shot of 100% Reposado waiting when I get back.”

“I like it,” Fast Fred got to his feet with Joey and Grizzly. They thanked the brothers for their time and for hosting them.

“This is a no bullshit game,” Joey said. “We’ll be in touch in two weeks.”

They rode back to the scruffy Makeshift Motel. Funds fading, they didn’t have government supported income to keep the freedom fighters going. Seemed strange, but every day they packed every minute with survival activities. Joey trained, Fred lifted makeshift weights, and grizzly hunted for weapons.

At the end of the week Rep (for reposado) Ricky, sorta buzzed rode into the shattered town, over run with homelessness, drug addicts and shuttered buildings taken over by migrants. Dismayed and startled, he almost turned around immediately to escape, but kept going. One truck had pulled over in front of the bicycle shop. As he closed in on the vehicle, he noticed Mexican cartel guys unloading cases of nitazenes tabs—up to 20 times more potent than fentanyl.

There was some disagreement about the payment as he pulled up. “Where’s the rest?” A wiry Hispanic man wearing blue neoprene gloves shouted at Richard. “You get money from the feds and these losers.” He nodded to one of his men who pulled a 9mm auto and shot the environmentalist holding the bag of cash. He snatched the bag of cash as the young radical slumped to the pavement.

The leader pushed the last box of pills off the tailgate. It fell in the gutter, split open and pills scattered everywhere. The cartel guys scrambled into their grubby box truck and turned to leave.

Suddenly, this biker in the center of the street became the object of attention. Ricky recognized his dire predicament, revved into a burn-out 360 degree spin to reverse his direction and get the fuck out of dodge. The roaring FXR almost on its side spun and held off the ensuing cabal of alarmist charging in his direction.

Ricky pulled a wheel stand and headed after the escaping box truck, but not before the same slithering alarmist who gunned down the cop pulled his long-barreled revolver and fired. The bullet slammed into Ricky’s tequila drinking patch and he went down in a shower of sparks sliding along the fossil fuel constructed street surface. He was immediately surrounded by a gang of extremists who kick and beat him until his last dying breath, and then they set his beautiful motorcycle on fire.

Shirley captured the images on her phone from atop Mabel’s and sent a link to Joey. The film went viral. Joey called Country Cycle. Charlie Chrome called the local framers. They set a meeting in a barn in a field far from town. Joey, Fast Fred and Grizzly rode over.

The yard surrounding the large red wooden barn contained a hundred bikes and just as many pickups. Hispanic field workers, winery owners, spinach farmers, corn growers were all there.

Charlie Chrome introduced Joey and he stepped up on a milk crate. “I’m just a grubby biker trying to make a living here and they want to destroy everything we do,” Joey said, not knowing exactly what or where he was going. “Do you guys get it and what the hell are we going to do about it.”

“They want to shut down our farms,” one farmer said. “How can we feed the communities?”

“I just don’t get it,” A corn grower stepped up. “Why doesn’t anyone question their motives?”

“Shooting a guy in the back…” The big round boss of the Wild Agave MC shouted starting to breakdown. “We have got to do something.”

“They’ve pushed too far,” another biker shouted.

“So, what the hell are we going to do?” Joey asked.

Fast Fred noticed a little guy in the back pushing the barn door open, while glancing over his shoulder and bolting out the door. Fred followed. Outside the kid mounted a dirt bike but Fred snatched him before could leave and pulled him inside. The kid squirmed and fought but Fred dragged him to the front and slapped him.

Joey jumped down from the crate. “So, what’s the deal,” he said grabbing him by the collar.

“You people don’t have a chance,” the kids said and pulled a knife. He scrambled back and jumped to his feet. He stabbed a farmer who collapsed.

Joey snatched up the plastic milk crate, using it for protection the fight was on. The kid lashed out attempting to cut Joey, but a farmer handed him a long-handled rake.

“We can kill all of you and burn your homes,” the kids screamed lashing out at Joey and cutting his arm.

Joey struck back with the rake but it broke off.

The kid laughed hauntingly. “The authorities won’t do a damn thing. We own them.”

Joey dodged his knife, smacked him in the face with milk crate and drove the jagged end of the rake handle into his chest. The kid went down, blood gurgling from his mouth. “They’ve got your girl.” He laughed and died on the hay-scattered dirt floor of the barn. Ranchers and farmers started backing away.

“We’re farmers not warriors,” an old obese farmer said opening the wooden slat barn door.

“We can’t get involved with this,” Another business owner said. “I’ve got a family.”

Joey stood in the center as some of the folks in attendance departed. “We can’t give up,” he said holding the bloody rake handle.

“Fuck it,” Joey snapped and tossed the rake handle into a pile of hay. “I’m going to give it hell or die trying. The crowed parted as Joey jammed out the door to his Sportster. He grabbed Fred’s Ballpeen hammer from the scabbard attached to his rear shock. Grizzly tossed him a gun belt loaded with .357 magnum rounds and a 4-inch barrel revolver.

Joey cut a dusty trail across the fields to the highway. He had less than 15 miles to formulate a plan. Emotions running high, he ground his teeth against the wind as he neared the town and dipped off the highway into the storm drain gulley. Leaning his precious Sportster against the grassy dirt wall, Joey stepped back. He knew this might be the last time he rode her. He also knew this might be his last opportunity for escape, run, but he knew there was no escape from what was happening to his country.

Joey snuck into town looking for the back of Mabel’s. Alarmists and illegals seemed suddenly everywhere, but not doing much except destruction. He crept between buildings and around structures. A young guard spotted him, but Joey knocked him out with the ballpeen before he could alert anyone else.

He reached the back of Mabel’s and slipped into the back door to the store room, which was virtually empty and then into the kitchen. He could hear voices in the dining room as he approached. “You don’t have a clue,” Richard said to a lieutenant and to Shirley, who was tied to a dining room chair.

“We are basically taking over this country,” he continued.

“But what about the future?” Shirley asked struggling against her bonds.

“We don’t care,” Richard said. “We’ll be rich and in control.”

“So, you will turn it into a third world country, and then what?” Shirley squirmed some more and Richard smacked her across the face. “Stop, you can’t stop abject destruction.”

“What will you eat, bugs,” Shirley asked and Joey strolled into the dining room.

Richard jumped to his feet. His guard did the same but Joey had the drop on them pointing his pistol. “Fuck integrity and science,” Joey said. “You’ll rule with an iron fist and fuck anyone who doesn’t like it, right?”

“That’s right,” Richard said. “We politized everything from the top right down to city governments, the military and the courts. No one will stop us.”

Joey looked at the counter and saw a jar of some kind of new drug. “What’s this?”

“That’s even stronger than Fentanyl, Nitazene,” Richard said. “This will be in every American high school next year.”

Joey, still wearing his leather gloves grabbed a couple and tossed them to the guard. “Take them, then leave,” Joey ordered. He lifted the revolver and aimed it at the kid and cocked the hammer.

The kid downed them but didn’t make it to the door before he collapsed.

“Strong shit,” Joey said as he cut the ropes incasing Shirley. She jumped to her feet and rubbed her bruised wrists.

“Can you get out of here?” Joey asked.

“Not without you,” Shirley said.

Richard made a move and shoved the table at Joey and then bolted for the door shouting. Joey dodged pulled the bloody ballpeen hammer out of his belt and threw it as hard as he could at Richard.

The hammer head scuffed the side of Richard’s head and he went down but rolled and jumped to his feet as Joey hit him. “Go,” Joey shouted to Shirley. “They’ll be coming.”

“I’ll be back,” Shirley muttered and ran out the back door.

Richard, knocked down again, clamored for the door to alert the alarmist troops. Joey the smaller of the two hit Richard again, but he kicked him away and reached for the door. They fought for their lives crashing from table to the deck. Joey, determined to give Shirley enough time to escape, fought with all he had against the bigger man who seemed hell bent for destruction of everything.

The two of them crashed into the glass door and shattered it. A shard cut Joey and Richard pulled a knife slicing Joey’s cheek. The two of them crashed outside onto the porch and Richard made a final attempt at slitting Joey’s throat. Joey ducked the blade and came up with the revolver. Richard stood as guards started to approach. Joey shot him and he backed into the street and fell in a lump to the dirt.

Richard raised his right arm and pointed at Joey. “Kill him slowly and then burn him alive.” His hand fell to his side and his last breath escaped his quivering mouth.

Surrounded, Joey knelt and fired. He backed into the gunshot shattered and neglected dining room and ran out the back door, where he reloaded the revolver. A bullet whizzed over his head and ricochet off the adjacent wall. Joey ducked and ran down the alley to a shuttered bank building, but the bullets kept coming. He recognized the report from the long barreled 44 mag used in the city hall. The owner came around the corner of the bank along with the rest of the knit-cap radicals.

Joey stuffed the revolver back in its leather holster. The town destroyed, debris tossed everywhere he searched for a chunk of pipe. He a found a chain-link fence connecting rod used for a gate about 3-feet long. As he picked it up two young men rounded the opposite corner, started shouting and charged.

Joey stood between the buildings and knew his time was limited, the shooter would come and he had to move. He swung the galvanized rod and the youngsters cringed and ducked but followed. Joey forced to run directly into the street turned and smacked the alarmist. One went down and the other one backed away. A bullet, large caliper hit the asphalt at his feet.

Joey looked up as Enrique took aim from the top of the bank building. Joey dove and rolled, bullets smacking the pavement around him. He made it alongside the city hall but more attackers came. Some just followed the crowd, no desire to fight, some as mad as maniacs screamed, fools shouted socialist propaganda.

Surrounded, he threw the galvanized pipe into the crowd and drew his weapon. Behind him a voice challenged his position. “So, it’s just you and me,” Enrique said and holstered his weapon.

“I doubt that,” Joey said and turned toward the murderer. “You like to kill.”

“I fit right in with this crowd,” Enrique snarled. “They’re killing the country and I’m killing anyone who gets in the way.” Standing between the two buildings the sun began to set and the shadow grew and spread across the narrow space. Joey pondered his options, but there weren’t many. The crowd behind him expanded but split in case an errant bullet missed its target.

Behind Enrique another group gathered carrying makeshift weapons. “Kill him, brother,” one outspoke member of the gang hollered. “The town is ours. No more oil or capitalism! It’s all ours.” The kids around him shouted.

“What’s it going to be?” Enrique shouted at Joey.

“An old west shootout,” Joey said and shifted his gun belt. “The good citizen protecting his town against the evil marauders…”

Over-confident, a killer to the bone, Enrique grabbed at the ivory handle of the long-barreled .44 mag, but the gun was heavy, unbalanced and awkward for a fast-draw competition.

Joey knelt, yanked the .357 mag and aimed. For the second time in a day, he could end a man’s life. He had no choice as Enrique gained control of his weapon and attempted to aim. Bullets flew and Enrique’s gun shattered. The man’s face sliced by metal fragments caused him to dodge. His gun hand also severely wounded he screamed and fell in the dirt.

Members of his clan ran to Enrique’s side. Surrounded, Joey spun and fired into the air, he attempted to escape up a building’s fire latter. Alarmist uncertain of what to do milled in the alley like rats wondering where to find their next meal.

Joey knew they would be coming and ran to the apex of the building searching for options. The setting sun glared in his strained eyes as he looked west toward the highway and spotted a caravan of farm equipment heading his way. He looked north and saw a pack of motorcycles blasting into town. From the south slat bed trucks came carrying Hispanic workers packed in the beds with shovels and bats as weapons. From the south came emergency vehicles, fire trucks, loaded down with firemen, EMTs in ambulances, sheriff’s vehicles from the county, they all came. Oil field workers filled buses. They all came.

Only a handful of shots were fired before the alarmists, the illegals, drug addicts and homeless were rounded up. All were loaded and shipped to San Francisco. In a day the streets were cleared and calm returned. In a week, the bros returned to work, Mabel’s reopened, and Martha returned as Mayor. The slimy one was asked to leave. Folks came to town to open shops. Street lights glowed, house plants blossomed in pots outside stores, and gas stoves cooked the best burritos around.

Another week passed and a fossil fuel powered festival energized weekend activities with mariachis and colorful vendors selling fossil fuel fired ceramic pots. A vintage car show lined the street and a long chopper glistening with chrome and metalflake paint rumbled through the center of Pina pipes blaring. Kids ran to the curb screamed with joy and started clapping…

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Reader Comments

The over-reaching totalitarianism in this story seems so impossible.
However, then I turned on the news and it’s happening??

Scheuer Greg
Columbia, SC
Monday, March 18, 2024
Editor Response Yep, fight back or die trying...

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