Prepetorial#18: Vienna Weiners
The little store marked “Joe’s 24” sitting off Highway 87 near Jay, FL has changed hands a few times in the last 4 years, but now in 2010, it became the meeting place for everyone crossing from Alabama into Florida and vice versa to get goods and gas. This little country store had become a symbol of the resilience of American ingenuity and business acumen because despite the food and gas ration programs, Joe always had enough gas and stock to meet the needs of the residents in this part of the panhandle. It did not hurt that Joe’s brother worked in the newly formed US Department of Economic Allocation and that department was as messed up as Homeland Security so insuring regular deliveries was not an issue. The concern Joe had was what happened to his brother if he got caught.
On the normally sleepy morning of August 23rd, it became apparent that the news on the new war in the Middle East was not going as well as planned. The fact that President Obama had received a near unanimous vote approving the reintroduction of the draft after Iran sunk the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan on a lucky missile shot put the fear of a total war in Biblical proportions into the local residents. The shortages that oil priced at $227 per barrel created were so numerous that Joe wondered if it was worth keeping the store open. Yet on this hot, sunny and soon to be terrifying morning, he had no idea his life would change forever, nor did his customers as events spiraled out of control.Joe knew something was up around 11 a.m. when a truck driver ran into his store and said “ turn on two and eight and keep the change!” The driver threw ten crisp one hundred dollar bills at him and Joe happily obliged since he recognized the company truck was out of Mobile and ran through his area all the time. But the urgency caught Joe off guard. As Joe determined how much to pocket he figured, it’s time to turn the television on and see if there was some news. There it was scrolling across the bottom of his local NBC affiliate:
NEWS ALERT, NEWS ALERT, WARNING, Los Angeles California severely damaged by two nuclear detonations…….Kansas City, Missouri communications lost five minutes ago, rumors of multiple attacks on U.S. Cities…the Department of Homeland Security will assume control of all United States broadcasting at 11:27 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time…..
“Crap”, Joe thought to himself. The refueling truck was due at 2 p.m. and now he knew that was not happening. Thankfully the only customers were the truck driver and Mrs. Carlin from her farm and there was no sign of any further trouble. Joe called his wife and told her to start filling water jugs and what had happened. She reacted as he had feared with a typical “And so what? How does this affect us?” Joe screamed into the phone over and over to her that “we could all be dead in one hour and your butt had best get in gear and grasp reality woman!” She cried then told him she would get right to work. Joe had no idea she was so clueless, then again, she had no idea he was equally so.
Mrs. Carlin was a nice sixty year old widow living on the property about four miles from the store and all she ever bought on her trips to his store were the fresh doughnuts and some gas. Today was no different except she walked up to the counter with two cans of Vienna Wieners and gave old Joe an extraordinary stare. “Don’t you think $1.72 per can is a bit steep son?” she asked poor Joe. He replied in the only manner he could at this point in time “Ma’am, haven’t you been paying attention to all the inflation we’re are dealing with here?” She just shook here dead and put five cans on the counter and said “I hope you are preparing like I am. I bought some more plastic sheeting and tuna too. I’m ready for this war sonny.” Joe said “Yes ma’am, we are ready I think. Good luck to you and I hope to see you again soon” as he gave her change and watched the flashing news updates out of the corner of his eye.
As she walked out the door, the truck driver walked in, somewhat agitated but still sociable. “Sir, how much bottled water do you have here?” was all he uttered. Joe said “What you see is all that I have sir.” The driver looked around the store, walked down a few aisles and scraped can after can of food into his t-shirt then walked back to the counter. “I figure this is about two hundred bucks worth; I’ll give you three hundred and you can keep the change” and with that the driver asked if Joe would help him load all the water in the cooler and on the floor into the sleeper door of his truck. Joe agreed and loaded the entire stock up and started to worry a lot if his wife did not obey his instructions.
Joe tried calling her again as the driver pulled away when he noticed something very disturbing about a half mile north of his store off the highway. Without thinking Joe started walking up the road as his ear as glued to the cell phone trying to reach his wife. The phone kept ringing busy and as he got ticked off hitting redial, he noticed the pace of his walk picked up more. As he got about 125 yards north of his store, he saw the blood on the shoulder of the highway, two cans of Vienna Winers with the $1.72 price tags still on them and Mrs. Carlin’s car on fire. “What the hell?” he wondered to himself. Then he realized the trouble she was in as he approached the car and it was empty. He called 911 instinctively but it was busy as was 411 where he wanted other numbers to get anyone out there as soon as possible.
As he ran towards the other side of the old Buick, he saw what he had feared. There she was on the pavement, bleeding from a gunshot wound to her head. Her groceries and money gone from the car with not another soul in sight. “Oh hell, the store!” he realized and ran back the half mile in record time. “Thank you God” he screamed aloud as he got back and saw it empty as before, with no cars or trucks near by. With the cell phone glued to his ear Joe began locking down the pumps and shutting the store down. Just as he tried calling home again, his wife pulled up and ran to him screaming “Honey, I’m so scared, what do we do?”
“We hunker down honey. We have food, some water here, and we watch the news. Once we find out what is happening, we’ll take what we need from the store and go home to watch what’s next.” Joe’s response comforted his wife, but not for long. There were cars approaching several miles up the road that Joe could see and he needed to shut things down. Joe had her pull the car around back and pulled the hurricane shutter down covering the glass in the front of the store with the garage door type shield and painted on it was “Sorry Joe’s is closed” all over it in large letters.
Joe walked in the back door and locked things up. He then loaded the shotgun under his counter that he had hoped and prayed he would never, ever need. The television just had a blue screen with the EAS notice he had gotten accustomed to seeing from hurricane season plastered all over it so he grabbed is radio and tuned it into the Dothan talk station. He heard a stately, calm male voice which was obviously a recording instructing everyone to remain home and that anyone in violation of the national curfew caught outside after 6 p.m. local time could be arrested or shot. Joe was stunned. His wife was crying.
And then as he tried to tune into something else a thundering crash hit the hurricane shutter in the front, splashing glass and canned goods everywhere. Joe grabbed his shotgun and before he could take the safety off a man jumped out of the back seat of the old four door and shot him and his wife dead on the spot. With the annoying EAS tone as his last memory, Joe faded away, as the gunman along with his crew proceeded to clean the store out with some other looters helping themselves as the flies circled the corpses.
The moral of the story?
Well, for those of you that have been reading Prepetorials over the last year plus, you know there is one. This is a simple one:
Don’t hunker down in a target.
The first place criminals and immoral souls will go is where they think there will be relatively easy access to ill gotten gains, food, water, firearms, etc. If you advertise that you have that in your home, then you put a bulls eye on your family’s home and should be prepared for the consequences. The ideal is to be stealthy, not obvious.
The “bug-out” strategy has to be equally as discreet. You can not load the family truck or car up in broad daylight and head down the street without thinking someone is not going to follow. If you are going to bug out the key is to pre-position your supplies in a safe, discreet secure location. This is not the time to be wondering if you have a good strategy for this; you had best know now and have everything in place. Once the freedom of movement is restricted by the government, be it local or Federal your options are narrowed down by a factor of 95%.
To plan ahead is the key. This is the time to plan and please, do not take these warnings lightly. The citizens who thought they could stay locked down during Katrina found out quickly that the Constitution means nothing during anarchy and martial law. The failure to plan ahead means you should be kind enough to have one thing in your house to accommodate your new masters:
A body bag that you will fit in.