Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sunday Reading - Old Ed

Old Ed

Ever since the night the alarm had gone off Old Ed had been out of the loop. Not that he had ever really been in the loop before as anything more than a relay station but at least then he had felt important.

Edward Merritt was too old to really get worked up about much these days. He spent most of his time in his wheel chair but could manage to go up or down the steps from his basement once a day or so if the need arose. He had a cot tucked over in the corner if he didn't feel like going up stairs which he hadn't done in almost a year now anyway. Ed had to stay nearby to man the field phone, at least until recently.

No one had ever come to investigate the house after the night of the crash and shooting. Someone had showed up and investigated the remains of the OP the militia had set up. Someone had also removed the patrol car but the neighbor boys said the wrecked SUV was still in Ed's hayfield. Not that Ed really cared he had leased his land out years ago and these days it provided him and his wife Rose with their food, firewood and the odd job assistance in stead of cash. The neighbors worked the fields and they sent the food and loaned out their children for  whatever jobs needed doing. The arrangement worked so far and around here people took care of their own.

After destroying the field phone Ed just couldn't bring himself to remove the telegraph wire that had been run over the now dead phone lines that connected him to the Militia communications site, wherever it was located. It was pretty obvious Ed hadn't helped run the line himself to say the least, but as far as he knew it was still operational.

Lately all Ed took to doing was scanning the shortwave and HAM radio bands listening for news both from within the US and around the world but two days earlier something strange had happened, most of the broadcasts from within the US had suddenly stopped.  The traditional user bands sounded as if they were being jammed or constantly filled with open mic  static while the public broadcasts, even the well known religious ones, were just gone. The international broadcasts were extremely hard to get in clearly as well but Ed had managed to catch brief parts of several different ones and heard reports of mass riots, marshal law and open warfare throughout the United States.

From what little Ed could make out apparently things outside their county had deteriorated quickly over the last several days. The occasional International broadcasts were pretty general but ever so often he would find an operator broadcasting on some of the higher frequencies. One particular guy out of Oregon had claimed the electricity was off everywhere and most major cities were in flames due to economic sanctions put in place against the U.S. for human rights violations. The Government in turn was attempting to block all civilian radio communications and the internet had been shut down as well. Ed had listened to the Oregon guy for a couple of hours until his broadcast suddenly stopped late yesterday morning since then there had been nothing but static everywhere he tried.

After taking in all the Oregon guy had to say and thinking it over Ed had asked the neighbor's boy to go take a peek at the Fed checkpoint just a  few miles up the road. The boy had returned later in the afternoon and reported the checkpoint was unmanned. The simple 2x4 barriers were still there but no vehicles were around or men manning them. Ed had then asked the boy to check again this morning and had just been told the checkpoint was exactly the same today that it had been yesterday.

It seems the situation outside their little rebellion had changed and Ed decided it was time to see if his telegraph link still worked. If things had broken down as bad as Ed suspected outside their little county the militia may soon have bigger problems than scattered Federal raids.

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