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So, didn't know where to put this, but a guy on another forum I'm on writes these end of the world blah blah blah short stories I found fun to read. If anyone is interested lmk and I can keep posting them.

Clark Story #1

The year was 2004, the economy news he was keeping up with sounded like a spawning of doom. He was 49 years old and single – His wife had died from cancer of the liver and there were no transplants available unless you were in the know or extremely rich – That left him and his woman out in the cold.

His 2 kids were 24 and 26 years old and had graduated from college on scholarships which was the only way they could have afforded to get a college degree. They had mates and lived fairly close to his small farm in the mountains of West Virginia.

He had developed diabetes about 3 years ago and had an extremely difficult time of keeping it under control, mainly due to his food and alcohol consumption. Clark was a fairly big man. 6 foot 2 inches tall – Not a lot of it muscle. He had let himself go for many years after he retired from the military.

Insulin was expensive if you bought it from the local pharmacy – The VA provided him with a monthly supply for 9 dollars a month – He always ran out because he needed more then they were supplying him and the 120 dollars a month he had to come out of pocket for the small amount he needed to get through the month was killing him. He had many consultations with the PA (physician’s assistant) that was his primary doctor at the VA who finally agreed to give him another prescription with an extra bottle to get through the month. He knew he could travel to the military base 225 miles away at Wright Patterson AFB and get it for free – But the cost of the trip just about offset any savings.

He was fortunate to be sent to a local eye doctor by the VA for a check due to his blurred vision. The laser surgery repaired his eyes back to 20 – 20. The burst leaking small capillaries in his eyes had been repaired due to the laser surgery. The eye doctor informed him if he kept his diabetes blood sugar under 140 he wouldn’t have any more trouble. He became a health nut that day. The small pricks in his fingers to monitor his blood sugar hurt after all the fingers had been punched repeatedly. He put up with the pain and kept his sugar under the 140 that he had been instructed to do.

The house that his Dad had built in the early 50’s had a bomb shelter due to the Soviet threat and was now used as basement storage. All the equipment that had been installed in the 50’s was still in working order and there were 12 filters for the hand crank air filter. He had marveled at the stuff his Dad had done and decided to keep the place ready for any emergencies, he even bought 4 new belts from NAPA that fit the air hand cranks and hung them on the handles.

When he moved in with his Dad and Mom after his wife died, he sold his house and had a fair bit of extra money. He bought some prep stuff and began to surf the internet for medicine and antibiotic supplies. He stumbled on a place called alldaychemist.com and purchased a fair amount of antibiotics and a 10 year supply of Humulin which he was on now. He always figured any insulin was better then no insulin. There was a small article that he had read that stated insulin kept at 34 degrees F would maintain its potency for 10+ years – So he rotated his supply out and kept all fresh insulin in a special small AC-DC fridge with temperature control set at 34 degrees. He bought 2 more cheap TV size AC-DC refrigerators as a backup. The price was right in 2004 at 110 bucks a fridge.

The thinking he was going through at the time resulted in him buying a decent sized generator and a 3000 gallon tank of propane to run the gen. He again thought through the problem of keeping his insulin cool and decided on a solar system to augment the generator. That cost several hundred dollars in 2005 for 4 solar panels and four 6 volt golf cart batteries.

The bomb shelter was cleaned up and organized for his reloading equipment and prep supplies. His dad was getting really old now and was 91 and told him he was trying to make it to 100 years old. Sgt Clark didn't think he was going to make it due to the constant hip pain his Dad was going through and other medical problems he was having.

2008 brought in all kinds of problems – his Dad passed away in Feb and his Mom had all kinds of medical problems resulting in bed sores and it took a massive amount of bedside help to get her through the problems. She was 90 and had some other depressing problems, but her mind was still sharp. He never had any intentions of putting her in a nursing home. But, she kept on insisting because she would at least have people her own age to talk with. He sat on that problem and reminded himself to stay close to the house with her to maintain some continuous conversation. She was still ambulatory but needed help getting in and out of the bathtub for a shower or a long soak. He always wondered why his Dad never put in a shower. But he was second guessing a 93 year old deceased person. Not his business he thought.

Late March or early April he rolled out his black leak through rubber garden sections that totaled out to an 80 X 80 foot garden tarp. The ground had been plowed in late November and a ton or so of cow manure and 10-10-10 fertilizer pellets was plowed in. He had started the plants that needed to be started early in the bomb shelter under hanging 4 foot florescent lamps and they were about a foot tall and ready to be placed in the fertile ground.

His 2 kids came around regularly and helped him with his Mom and just generally did some things he never had time to do – like run the vac or dust and just neat little things in helping him.

He didn’t really need the security guard job 2 or 3 days a week he had, but he felt the activity kept him sane. A new woman would be nice. But he kept his emotions under tight control and told himself God would help him someday on that option.

The elections were finally over and a Maniac was in charge of the White House. It didn’t bother the good Sergeant until the Maniac tried to pass a bill to cut his military retirement check in half and eliminate all retiree military peoples health care. The crazy person in the White House also wanted to raise his taxes to where he would not make a viable living. And what really ticked him off is his puny tax dollars would all be used to support the illegals and the total dead beats who would not work and who screamed for more money for their entitlements. This upset him to no end.

His Mom died late August and that was a really sad day because he missed his daily 2 or 3 hour talks with her. Just 2 months before she had drawn 8000 dollars out of her account and gave it to him for her burial fees. He was flabbergasted but kept his mouth shut. His brother who was an opportunist and a gambler was watching everything he did – He knew that his Dad had amassed several hundred thousand dollars during his life and his brother wanted it all. Sgt Clark was on watch for this deadbeat to do something stupid. Clark had taken his Dad and Mom to a lawyer and had an iron clad will drawn up to insure the crazy brother did not take the property over and sell it off. His Dad wanted to make sure that the bad brother would get 40 percent of the cash in the account to keep him satisfied and just maybe it would be enough to set him straight since there would be no more handouts.

It was cold and snowy late November 2009 when the real brown chunky stuff hit the fan. Clark had just gotten up from working a midnight 12 hour shift. It must have been about 4 pm. There were no lights and everything electrical did not work. The internet was down, the satellite TV did not work, His 2006 VW gas engine would not start, he had a new computer and electronic stuff to get it running in case of EMP. He knew then that brown stuff was rolling downhill quickly.

The farm was 45 miles away from any large city and 4 miles off the main blacktop roads with a cattle grate and a large iron lockable mining iron barred gate. Into the shelter he went. He pulled out a NOAA crank up radio and listened – Nothing. Some rechargeable batteries that had just come from a charger were installed into a cheap radiation detector and turned on. Walking back up the basement stairs he held it in his hand pointing in front of him. The meter flew to the peg. He charged back down the stairs and slammed the door shut hoping he hadn’t been irradiated because of his stupidness.

12 days later he opened the door and pointed the meter out in front of him – it was down to 25% of what it was before. He relocked the door and huddled down to wait another week or more – The NOAA radio had spat out nothing. The small Hallicrafter shortwave tube radio echoed nothing but static. He settled down and watched some movies and checked the temp in his fridge that housed his insulin – 35 degrees running off the solar system and batteries. OK, I am alright for medicine – He looked at his supplies in the 20 X 40 concrete shelter and decided he would be alright for a long while.

Wondering about his 2 kids – Clark finally left the shelter when the radiation detector needle did not move off its stob. The outside didn’t look any different – The sky had sort of an ominous overcast. The grass was still golden and the evergreen trees off in the distance still had that green winter time color.

He brought out the spare computer for the VW and the other electronics that he had purchased many years ago. After squeezing his chunky body up under the dash he got the old computer unplugged and the new one installed. He decided to see if it would start before doing any more maintenance. The engine fired right up. He left it idling and went in out of the cold to use the hand cleaner to remove the small amount of grease and dirt on his hands. He loaded 3 long guns on the passenger seat, a Remington 12 gauge pump, an AR15 223 caliber rifle, and a Remington 30-06 semi automatic with a 20 round magazine. He strapped on a 1911 45 caliber pistol, threw the alice pack in the rear - Checking to see if all the guns were loaded and extra ammunition was within reach he backed down the driveway and proceeded to his oldest child’s residence.

He parked in front of Harold’s house noticing their 2 automobiles were in the driveway. He had a bad feeling about this. Knocking on the front door there was no response. Going around back and down the steps to their storm shelter, he picked up a shovel and began to beat on the shelter door which was made of metal. He could hear some one faintly hollering - Waiting a few minutes, he again beat on the door and heard a faint reply. Must be something wrong in there was the thought that crossed his mind.

The back door of Harold’s house was easy to break open – entering the kitchen he found the tool chest. Cussing a few more minutes when he saw there was a padlock on the entry shelves. He searched the kitchen drawers until he found a ball peen hammer, didn’t take but 2 hits to knock the cheap padlock off. Gathering a larger hammer, some chisels and a pry bar, he headed back to the basement shelter door.

It took about 15 minutes to knock the lock out of the door and another 5 minutes using the pry bar to get the dead bolt out of the lock slot.

Entering the shelter he noticed the smell was really bad from body waste and just all in general a really nasty kind of make you want to puke smell. Harold was laying face down on his bunk and his mate was lying on her back in her bunk. Geesh what a mess he thought.

He approached Harold and noticed half of his head hair was missing and he had soiled himself and the bed. His mate was in the same condition. He left them there and went back upstairs and turned the propane stove on to the hot water tank/heater and walked outside and fired up the generator.

This is going to be a job was the thought that kept going through his mind, dragging Harold up the steps first. He got him to the back door and stripped all his clothes off him and carried him to the shower and left him. He didn’t think the water had heated up yet. Next he did the same to his mate. Laying her on the bathroom floor he put Harold in the shower and rinsed him off and soaped up some of the raw spots on his skin with a wash cloth - Getting Harold clean he drug him to the king size bed and put 4 or 5 towels and a large blanket down – Harold was lifted onto the bed and stretched out in a semi spread eagle position. 4 or 5 pillows were placed under his head/shoulders and a straw from a glass of water was placed in his mouth. Harold drank all the water. Clark left him and did the same for the woman. All of her hair came off in the shower and she had more sores on her body then Harold had.

The house was warm now and he had given them a few cups of instant chicken broth. He left them resting and went back to his house. He needed some anti-biotic and some of those anti radiation KI03 pills. His medical knowledge was limited but common sense here was better then doing nothing. The trip took about 30 minutes.

He checked on them and got them to take a KI03 pill and an antibiotic. Next he cleaned up the shelter – instead of washing that mess up he threw all the sheets, blankets and clothes in their burn barrel. Next he cleaned the bathroom up and settled down to keep a watch on them. All he could do about the sores was put Neosporin on them.

About 10 hours later, Harold asked Clark to take him to the bathroom so he could sit on the stool. This was accomplished and when Harold got back in bed he fell into a deep sleep. A little later the woman woke the napping Clark up and asked for help getting to the bathroom. After she fell asleep Clark lay down beside the bed on some heavy quilts and went to sleep himself. He still had another child to find. That would be his 1st job in the morning.

He fed them some chunky style vegetable soup in the morning and helped them to the bathroom – They could sit up now on the side of the bed but were not ambulatory yet. They were given the medicine and he told them he was going to check on Donna, Harold’s sister. He told them he would be back in a few hours

The trip to Donna and her mates’ house was about 45 minutes on some very curvy roads. During his travels he had not encountered anyone. When he pulled up to Donna’s house he saw a light on in the front room and breathed a huge sigh of relief. That sigh of relief was a little early. Donna and her mate were barely ambulatory and could do nothing but go to the bathroom and drink water. They were too weak and sick from the radiation poisoning to even cook or heat up food. Another geesh slipped out of Clarks’ mouth. He told them they could tell him what happened later.

The decision to transport them to the farm was an easy one to make. He bundled them up in some winter clothes and put them in the back seat of the VW. He then locked their house up and shut the generator and propane off.

Arriving at the farm he cooked them some chunky chicken soup and started them on a regimen of medicine that Harold and his mate were taking. After getting them settled down in a bedroom – He went back to Harold’s house. They were well enough to be helped out to the car. He had his family home again he was thinking.

A week later they were none the worse for wear and they looked kinda cute bald-headed. He told them in a few days they could tell the story of how they got irradiated. He already had a good idea but kept his mouth shut. Another decision was made that day. They would all live at the farm since there was more safety in numbers and the large garden would hopefully supply them with some food the following summer, unless the nuclear winter and nuclear summer theories didn’t do something to jolt that.

The farm was set up for long term survival in that the primary heat source was wood and there were 2 air tight quality stoves to heat the sprawling house. Wood was everywhere just for the taking and there was about 30 cords cut and stacked in the 40 foot long tin covered wood shed. When the propane ran out to run the generator several years from now that would create a problem with electricity. He had a solution to that problem but had not yet implemented it. After the sick ones were well enough they would have to help to insure their long term survival. He had made a small list of things to accomplish in the next several months. Not necessarily in the order listed.

Solar panels
Material for greenhouses
Meat animals/chickens/rabbits/cattle/goats
Food for animals
Stock the pond with fish
Transportation/namely diesel and flat bed trucks
More treated fuel and more fuel tanks
Extra sheds for storage
Farm tractors and implements

Harold and Donna had large reserves of long term food at their house and it would eventually be transported to the farm. Their weapons would also have to be brought here. Since Clark had not seen anyone on the roads he assumed their 2 houses would not be ransacked anytime soon.

Several days later the 2 men and Donna had recuperated enough of their strength to retrieve their property. Harold had an older diesel pickup that Clark thought would run. That was the first stop they made and the truck did run. They stopped at several of the closest neighbors to check. The occupants were all dead. Clark noticed the solar array and the large antenna on the back of one of the wealthier resident’s house and noted it in his to be recovered book.

They had found a 20 foot tow along dual wheeled wood sided homemade trailer at one of their stops. It was attached to the pickup. It took the 4 of them 3 days to bring all the supplies and guns from the 2 houses and be packed away. Clark noticed that storage space was rapidly being used up so they decided to relocate several of the neighbors sheds to the farm. That was an easy job. Harold took the 20 foot heavy duty tow along to a mine he had once worked at and drove a diesel forklift up onto the tow along. Clark noted the mine golf size buggies and had Harold drive the forklift back off and found some tow chains. They hooked the tow chains onto the batteries and lifted them into the bed of the pickup. They only took 4 this trip the things were heavy.

They dismantled 6 of the neighbors sheds and used the forklift to put the parts on the tow along. 5 days later in a snowstorm they got the last shed assembled and placed. A 3 day break was called for and everyone recuperated from their strenuous activities. Clark noticed the flab was slowly disappearing from his body and his insulin usage was down by half.

The snow had not stopped for the past 3 days and it looked like they were going to be snow bound. They played board games and cards for a week until a warm spell blew through the mountains and melted most of the 4 foot of snow.

Joe, Donna’s mate, hair was growing back and looked like a tan cue ball with black spikes sticking out of it. Clark always chuckled when he saw it. The 2 girl’s hair was also slowly returning. Clark wondered how much damage had been done to the 4 people’s reproductive organs. He had always wanted little grandkids bugging him to do things. All he could do was say a small prayer for them and hope everything worked out.

There were no communications coming over the airwaves and they were completely in the dark. All Clark’s shortwave radio could pick up was static. They decided to venture out to the walmart 32 miles away. They took the tow-along and the VW. When they got to town they saw one man running down a side alley carrying lots of stuff. The Walmart glass doors were broken and they did not see anyone in the vicinity so they went in. The pharmacy door was laying about 10 feet from where it should have been. The rest of the store looked pretty tranquil in a dark sort of way. Their lists were brought out and they began shopping. Clark knew what he wanted – a Leupold Mark 3 or 4 scope because when he had bought his guns he went cheap on the glass. Still kicking himself over that. Everyone had a battle rifle except Clark. Clarks semi auto 30-06 didn’t technically qualify as a battle rifle, but since he had been raised shooting an 06 and he never in his wildest dream after leaving the military even considered getting in a drawn out fire fight. His bolt action gun was a Weatherby Vanguard plastic stocked 26 inch stainless barrel with an older 4X12 Redfield scope. He wanted to replace the 3X9 Bushnell scope on his Remington semi-auto with a Leupold. If he found another good Leupold he would consider replacing the 4X12.

All the guns were gone but the scopes were still in the display cases. He found just what he was looking for. The night vision was still in the case and he said, “why not”. He loaded his buggy. The only ammunition was 5 or 6 550 packs of .22 and 10 or so boxes of 30-06 180 grain Remington. He took all of it. He stopped at the Levi section and loaded 10 pair of gradually smaller waist sizes. He looked again at his list and went back to the sporting goods section where he gathered up 10 trotlines and some of those neat curled hooks, may as well stock up on some fresh monofilament and metal line. Him and his Dad had always been avid fishermen and had tons of fishing gear. His shopping completed, he followed the lights of the others to see if they needed any help. The tow along was full 3 hours later and they headed back to the farm.

Over the next month they acquired most of the things on the short list plus some extra things they picked up here and there along the way. Running a self sustaining farm was hard work and they tried to get every implement that made that work easier. Clark knew now that his insulin would last 20 years due to his getting super healthy. They had picked up enough vitamins to be stored in a freezer that should last them for 40 or more years. The only thing they had not found was a live cow or goat. They had gone to the river and put out minnow traps and carried the minnows to the 1 and a half acre stock pond. Donna and Joe had caught about 16 eight inch or so sized bass and dumped them in the pond which was fed by a small creek from the mountains. Chickens were everywhere and they had used the fork lift to bring several tons of cracked corn to the storage bin. Clark figured mice would soon be a problem but Harold had taken each 100 bag of corn and tied it from an 8X8 inch barn rafter 8 inches from the ground. There were 95 bags hung from 9 rafters out of the walkway. This would feed the chickens for more years then he wanted to think about. Clark told Harold that he would make a bet he would have to put a metal aluminum flashing ring up about 6 feet from the corn to keep the mice from climbing down the rope. They went and picked up 40 galvanized 30 gallon trash cans for other storage things or a busted bag of corn.

Everyone had a specific job – one fed the rabbits – did I mention we picked up 6 tons of rabbit pellets. One fed the chickens – one fed the fish every other day with worms from the rabbit droppings area. Some of these worms went to the chickens – One took care of the garden and everyone would help if there was going to be a crop, too early to tell in April. Everyone rotated on the cooking and clean up chores – But mostly everyone cleaned their own mess and plates up.

Finally in late May some foreign language broadcasts were picked up on the shortwave that they had removed from the wealthy farmer’s house along with the solar panels. He had a nice system, forty 200 watt panels with an elaborate charge system and 26 of those Trojan batteries. That coupled with the 12 mine buggy batteries and they had an abundance of power.

The 30X50 greenhouse was finally constructed in June. It had a passive solar heating system with a large wood/coal burning stove in the middle for bad winters. 3 dump trucks full of coal were brought from the mines where the batteries were found and dumped right by the door.

They had only seen that one man several months ago. Clark wasn’t so sure that he was an only survivor. Where had all the guns disappeared to? Who broke into the pharmacy and stole nothing but narcotics? These questions weighed heavy on his mind in the coming times.

Things at the farm were under control and the garden was slowly progressing. Clark wanted to make a long range recon of the area. He asked who wanted to go. Of course everyone wanted to go. He told them to play rock, scissors and hammer to find out who would go. Donna won.

They drove off the farm at daybreak the next morning in the VW. They went in the opposite direction from Walmart and decided to stay on the black asphalt 2 lane roads and would not venture into any cities unless they were all together. They were exactly 53 miles from the farm according to the trip meter when they saw a toddler sitting by the roadside. Clark told Donna to look sharp this may be a trap. He backed up 75 yards and tooted the horn. The little person just sat and glanced at them – he was playing with something and in his mind did not want to be bothered. A lady came running up from the hollow behind him – she was carrying what looked like a single shot shotgun. She hollowed out “What do you want?” Donna got out and hollowed back that they were checking around the countryside for survivors and if she wanted to talk, fine if not we will be on our way. The lady sat down in the middle of the road and started crying. Donna asked her if it was safe for her to come and sit with her. The lady lay the shotgun down beside her and hollowed back “Yes, Please come here.”

Clark just leaned back in the seat with his hand on his 06 and waited for anything. 20 minutes went by before Donna came back and said “Dad I don’t want to be a matchmaker, but this looks like one made in heaven for you.” Clark just stared at his daughter. Donna continued, “This lady is 42 years old and that toddler is her young sisters kid. Everyone including her sister, her husband and her sister’s husband and 3 of the little tot’s siblings are dead. The woman is having a hard time feeding themselves and they almost froze to death last winter in her little storm shelter. She cannot get any machinery running and is at the end of her wits. I invited her to come live with us, we can spoil the little one.” “You did what?” bellowed out Clark. “Ah, come on daddy, at least talk with the lady.” Clark knew he had lost when she called him daddy.

After the long talk the lady whose name was Patty Lou went back to her shelter to gather up her pictures and important papers and some clothes. Donna and Clark went with her. He ended up carrying the little one – The little one fell asleep in his arms and he got kind of misty eyed just thinking about having a little one on the farm.

The trip back was all a question and answer period. Clark did find out that she had heard motorcycles on the road several times. Ah chit he thought a gang. But he couldn’t visualize a city gang out here in the boonies unless they had taken over someone else’s farm and were using them as slave labor. Come on Clark get it together where did you hear that stuff and he remembered the post apocalyptic stories he had read.

Patty Lou was the same size as Brenda, Harold’s mate. They soon had her cleaned up and in serviceable clothing. Clark studied her for a few minutes from where no one could see what he was doing. She had black hair, a fairly large chest, 5 foot 9 or more, 145 pounds of solid body and she was pleasing to the eye. Maybe romance was in the stars again for the retired Sgt.

They ruined the little boy whose name was Jacob in the 1st 24 hours he was there. It would take Clark and 25 belts to ever get the boy to mind anybody. He helped ruin him too.

Things were just too tranquil going into the end of July. Clark had them install some of the ding dong security sensors around the farm. Firing points were set up around the house/farm and people did a bit of practice out to the 600 yard range of the 30 calibers. The 4 night vision monoculars which were a generation 2 were dusted off and security became an important part of their lives. The gate was kept locked with giant master padlocks and a person would need a torch to get thru the ½ inch steel covering plates to cut them. A video camera was set up 20 yards from the gate in a grove of trees and a transmitter running off of a small solar panel and a marine 12 volt battery sent the signal back through 8 short range repeaters 4 miles to the monitor in the farm kitchen. The outdoor camera was a real find at an electronics store – mainly because all the parts to get it running were in the box minus the big battery and solar panel. The repeaters used rechargeable NiCad batteries and there were 32 in the kit and a NiCad/NiMh recharger to charge 16 batteries at a time. After 1st testing it out for a week the batteries ran down quickly and Clark thought about all those little solar lights in yards and wondered if there was a way to hook into them. He had 26 all around the farm on the walkways so at night his dad wouldn’t stumble around and hurt himself. They all still worked many years after he had stuck them in the ground – He remembered he had to change one bad battery in all those years. Hmm he thought I betcha its time to change all of em to get a little more light out of those 4 led’s.

The battery problem was brought up at a family meal and Patty Lou spoke up. I have 3 years of college in electronics and electrical engineering. I was waffling between being an electric or electronics person. Clark almost bit his tongue in 2 pieces when she said that. This lady was looking better everyday he thought.

The next day she removed 8 of the solar lights and hooked the solar panel section into the repeater batteries with no problem. He watched her do it and said to himself – I cudda done that if somebody had shown me how and then he chuckled – Knowledge is where it’s at in this and the past world.

For the past week Clark had been hanging around Patty Lou helping her do some chores. One day she sidled up to him and asked him, “If he would like to court her?” He simply said, “Yes.” She replied with, “Well let’s go a courting.” And the romance began.

The garden was producing enough to keep them busy canning – The midget seedless watermelons were a hit with everyone. Clark counted out 60 more seeds – That ought to last 10 or more years before they become something you dream about. Finally the garden had slowed down enough for everyone to take some time off. Clark got restless and asked his new mate if she wanted to take a look around the countryside. They left the next morning.

29 miles by the trip meter in the 3rd different direction he had taken since the bombs fell. They stopped at a small house on a ridge and walked up to it. They were all nosey and always on the search for anything that would help them. Behind the house down a steep cliff in a huge valley Clark’s heart skipped a beat. There were 3 cows a bull and 2 calves walking around the valley. Patty Lou said, “Oh there is some meat, milk and cheese on the hoof.” Clark said, “Yep”. Now all we have to do is figure out how to get to them and transport them back to our neighbors fenced in farm that has a large barn and enough acreage to feed them during the summer months. They immediately went back to the farm and reported their finding.

Harold and Joe both said it at the same time – the bull is going to be a big problem. They talked about it for a while and Donna came up with a possible solution. Go to the Vet’s office and get one of his tranquilizer guns. “Then what, Patty Lou asked?” Harold said, “I don’t know how feasible it would be, but we can take the diesel fork lift and a few pallet crates and slide the bull up on the tow along, or into one of the caged animal tow alongs.” “Sounds like a plan,” Clark said. “We can refine it after lunch.”

The plan was revised and the solution was to get some tow along straps and tie them around the bull after he was tranquilized and use the fork lift to lift it on a caged carrier. They had to make some more modifications when Harold told them the forklift would tilt over if they tried to lift that much weight without the heavy weights on the back. Joe said, “Why don’t we just pull one of the truck bumpers over the weight carrier on the back of the fork lift and have someone back the caged tow along up to the fork lift and we can drop the bull onto it.”

Three days later the bull was in its own pasture and the 3 cows and 2 calves were on their pasture. They had the rest of the summer to gather up some stored hay on the other farms and transport it to the 2 barns they were using. Clark told all of them at supper that someone was going to have to learn about cows and bulls, because he knew nothing about them except they ate hay. Joe took on that task after a trip to the vets office and the local library. Patty Lou said she knew a little bit about goats because she had one as a pet many years ago. So Patty Lou and Joe became the soon to be experts on cattle.

End of August/early September another scavenging trip was planned to round up some things they had not thought about – snow shoes, snow mobiles, skis, clothes for the toddler and some pregnancy test kits.. The 2 couples were speculating heavy their reproductive organs had not been damaged. The ladies still had a regular menstrual flow and the men were just as ready for sex as they could be.

The farm looked like a parking lot for a large truck stop. 8 10,000 gallon propane tanks, 6 10,000 gallon diesel tanks, 7 10,000 gallon gasoline tanks and numerous new pick-ups and automobiles were parked in a neat parking lot fashion. They were fortunate in that they found enough Stabil, Pri-G and D product to stabilize all the fuel. A spare new propane generator was placed in the barn and many more dry batteries were accumulated with the battery acid in case any of the solar batteries failed. They had went back to the mines and brought 4 of the newer mine buggies that still had the battery in it to the farm for transportation. A 4 rack solar panel was installed over the open sided garage they were stored in to keep the batteries charged. They had lots of Stuff as Donna called their supplies.

Wondering how many people were left alive in the US, Clark and Harold began talking with the few ham operators that would talk with them. It sounded like the world was just about empty of humans. The radiation had been horrendous and if you were not sheltered anywhere in the world for the 1st 10 to 14 days, you did not survive. Harold, Donna, Joe, and Brenda had been irradiated before they got into their shelter and were lucky enough the dosage they received did not kill them outright. Clark’s administration of the KI product and the antibiotic kept them from developing a major infection and killing them. The North Pole and the South Pole camps had also received several multi burst nuclear warheads, Russia and china had many more then the US thought and they used all of them as did the USA. Russia made absolutely sure the Middle East Muslims would get to see their 72 virgins early. China hit Australia, USA, India, Japan and Pakistan with a vengeance. The US targeted North Korea, Viet Nam, China, Russia, Cuba and all the outlying islands off both countries coast where they had set up military operations, and those South American countries that were hostile to US interest. The gamma radiation from all those air bursts took out the rest of the world. Due to the US bases on the southern border, Mexico was all but neutered. Even Canada with all its vastness and empty land was struck with no less then 18 multiple war heads effectively killing just about all the population. Alaska did not survive the 24 Russian multiple warheads or the 31 multiple warheads from China.

Well, Clark thought there are a lot of survivors if they were near a shelter. He was wrong, 99% of the world population was dead and it would be hundreds of years before anything resembling a modern society would once again be in place on the American continent.

The 7 survivors went about their daily lives working the land and living a decent life. There were 7 children, 4 girls and 3 boys, born in the next 4 years to Donna and Brenda. Clark and Patty Lou raised little Jacob until he became a fine young man.

The end

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This next one takes more than one post, it's loooooonnnggg as shit.

Clark Story #2 - Effies Farm

Clark realized too late in the last half of his senior high school year that his grades would not get him a college scholarship. He buckled down and finished the remaining time in high school with respectable grades. He actually learned something when he started paying attention to the teachers. He had had a great time in the small town WV school; he was a starter for the basket ball team, a wide receiver for the foot ball team and wrestled for one year before deciding he didn’t like to be in such close proximity to another male. His forte was sprints and distance running and his time for the 100 yards was a respectable 9.87 seconds. If he got the required 2 steps on a defender in either basketball or football, only a cheetah could catch him. He was one of those individuals who had that long wiry frame and his stamina was way above normal. He was 6 foot 2 inches tall and weighed 175 pounds. He had really wanted to go to college but things did not look like they were going to go his way. His parents were both service provider workers and did not have the money to send him to college, heck they couldn’t even afford to buy him books to go the local community college. That left one option. He went to the recruiters’ office a week after high school. The reason he waited a week was that was the day he turned 18.

4 years later he returned, honorable discharge papers in hand and the wherewithal to attend college for 4 years. He was a little older, a little wiser and a little stronger. He had spent 4 six month tours in a war zone, did some things no normal 18 or 19 year old should have ever been required to do. And learned some things no civilian walking around in the USA would ever think of. A small scar less then ¼ inch long adorned his left cheek. He laughed at that every time he looked in the mirror. He was in a concrete building and the phreakin place had only one window in it – you guessed it he got cut by a piece of flying glass from a grenade blast one of his squad had dropped from the top of the building to eliminate a person sneaking up to that window. He got a purple heart for that scratch and it wasn’t even hot metal that dinged him. There were several firefights he was involved in and he was sure nobody got hurt on any of them at least on his side. His luck held all during his time in that country and the IED (improvised explosive device) detonated on the opposite side of the HumVee he was riding in. The soldiers on that side were severely injured. He continued his sprints and distance running, but he had to do it later in the evening due to the heat. He found his limit was ten 5 minute miles, anything over that and his time went up to almost 8 minute miles. He was thinking he would try out for football and basketball at the college in 2 months when classes started.

The SHTF the week of July 9; his dreams of attending college were instantly shattered.

It happened so quickly the good sheeple of the USA had no idea anything was wrong until the lights went out permanently. The terrorists’ teams had to have planned this for many years. The 24 main power grids that transferred excess power from Canada to Mexico and from the east coast to the west coast were blown up at 3 pm pacific time on the 9th of July. 72 power generating dams across the US and Canada were damaged so heavily that it would take years if ever to repair them. 41 nuclear power plants in the country were each shot with one AT-4 anti tank missile on its dome. This ruptured 36 of the domes and caused the plant to SCRAM (shut down). The other 5 were manually shut down and it would take many months or years to check the integrity of those. 400 critical relay and electrical power transfer stations were blasted with 60mm mortars and completely destroyed. Hoover dam was invaded by 3 teams of terrorists and the generators blown up with large charges of C4. The power generating capability of the USA had been terminated.

The US military went to DEFCON 1 or THREATCON 1 - They did not yet have a country to retaliate against. The President of the US got on the hot line to Russia and China and received some more bad news – Their countries had also been struck and struck hard.

The satellites were still working because they were out of reach of a 3rd world country terrorist capability. So everyone thought. The terrorists knew they could not reach the satellites but they sure could destroy the ground infrastructure which they did with a vengeance. The only satellites still working was linked to on protected military installations and the terrorists did not have the man power or the weapons to take on a fully alert military base.

The terrorists had small planes flying low to the ground when the representatives were helicoptered out to their secure locations. They noted these locations and went into hiding for now.

The stock market just vaporized, there was no trading nor would there be any for who knew how long. The money printing presses in Washington DC rolled to a stop. Social Security checks could not be electronically transferred or sent by US Mail. The food stamp cards and welfare checks ceased. The big grocery chains sold out in 48 hours. There would be no more just in time deliveries for years. In other words if you didn’t have it, you ain’t gonna get it.

Untold thousands of critical care patients died from lack of food and or critical needed power to keep the systems up and running.

Back to our main character Clark.

story #2 part 2
4 days had gone by since the power went off. Clark was sitting on his dad’s front porch saying a dirty 4 letter word over and over. The temperature in the shade was 93 degrees with 90% humidity. Sweat was dribbling down his forehead. He kept thinking I never sweated like this in 115 degree weather and the thought hit him – Ah there was no humidity in the desert. His dad came out and sat in the swing beside his boy. There was a little quiet tension for a few minutes until Clark broke it. He told his dad we cannot stay here, this city is going to explode soon and when the water tank up on the hill there, he pointed at the huge tank on the mountain top, dribbles out the last bit of water, there will be real bad times. His dad agreed with him and said your mom has a 1st cousin who is quite old and lives about 95 miles out of the city in the country and lives on a small 1 acre lot with a creek running through it. I have about 10 gallons of gas in the little shed and that will be enough to get the pickup there.

Clark asked him about guns, his dad said just those 4 long arms and a 357 revolver. A 12 guage pump, a 30-06 bolt gun, and the the lever action 30-30 I bought many, many years ago. There are 2 and ½ boxes of 180 grain 06 bullets, 2 boxes of 30-30, and about 75 #5 or #6 shot shells for the 12 guage and a full box of 50 158 grain jacketed hollow points for the .357. The last time they were out of the closet was when we went squirrel hunting and the last time for the 06 and 30-30 was when we went deer hunting. Clark sat there and said that was over 8 years ago. His dad looked at him and said yep. His dad said your mom is ready to leave; we just have to load the truck.

Clark backed the truck up to the shed which was beside the side door of the house. His dad poured most of the gas in the truck, kept about 2 gallons for the dual fuel lantern and Coleman stove, and Clark started loading their personal possessions. He brought all their important papers because he didn’t figure the house would be here when or if they ever came back. They did have a small amount of camping gear, the cupboard was emptied and his mom brought her sewing materials. The fridge and freezer had been emptied yesterday and the spoiling goods put in trash bags and placed on the curb where the rats and animals would eventually get into them because there would be no more trash pick-up.

Clark asked them if that was all and his dad said just a couple of more things to do, he turned the water, the main breaker and the gas off. Everyone said good bye to the house they had lived in for so long. Clark told his dad to load the pistol, the 06 and the shotgun and cover them up under a blanket on his side behind the driver’s seat in the bed of the truck. On second thought he said, give me the pistol and lay the box of shells on the floor board. Clark was back in combat mode.

just anoter story 2 Part 3
They almost made it past the city limits on a back road before trouble struck. There were 4 autos in front of Clark and 1 behind him. He heard that unmistakable sound of gunfire.
He pulled over to the side of the road and motioned for the auto behind him to pass. The idiot got up close behind him to where Clark could not maneuver. He started to get out of the pick up and tell the idiot to let him back up. He looked close at his side rear view mirror and saw there were 3 guys, all black with big grins on their faces. Ah ha the thought hit him this is an ambush set up and he was last man to be picked off. He sure wished he had his squad with a SAW (squad automatic weapon) and a few other neat devices. Not gonna happen today he thought. OK this is easy. He jumped out of the truck and fired 3 rounds at the car behind him. The driver was the 1st to get shot. The passenger next and the dude smiling under the rear view mirror in the back seat lost his front top right tooth as the 357 bullet took it out through the back of his head. He jumped back in the pick up and told his dad to reload the pistol and backed up beside the car behind him after he had the reloaded pistol in his hand – Lucky me, he thought, he grabbed an AK 47 leaning on the seat beside the driver and a bandoleer of loaded magazines. The back seat man had an AR 15 or M-16 type weapon beside him on the seat. He grabbed it and 5 fully loaded magazines. He then backed up 200 yards and got the 06 from the bed of the truck. He checked under the bolt and saw the shiny brass round gleaming in the sun. He asked his dad about the 06 which had a no name brand 4X scope on it. His dad said ain’t anybody touched that gun since you shot it last. He dug deep in his memory and remembered he had zeroed it in to shoot 2 inches high at 100 yards and that would put him back on at 225 yards. He did all the 30 caliber weapons he picked up in that war zone the exact same way. It worked for him.

He settled down to wait and see how many idiots were robbing the unarmed sheeple. There were 6 of them. Pretty good odds for the amount of firepower he had laying beside him. He told his mom and dad to take a small walk to a grove of trees about 50 yards behind a small mound. He handed the shotgun and the pistol to him. He said if I remember right you cannot hit the side of a barn with a rifle. His dad gave him the finger and said yep. He parked the truck sideways in the middle of the road and pulled a pillow out of the back of the pick up. He leaned across the hood of the truck lay the 06 on the pillow and grinned an evil half grin. He laid the box of 06 bullets on the hood of the truck and took an aim at the big black guy who seemed to be screaming at the other 5.
Well, he thought I cannot stay parked here in the middle of the road with dead people everywhere, if there are any police working it will really look bad for me, unless I kill the police. Nope don’t wanna do that right now; things haven’t went all the way completely down hill yet. He held his point of aim on the big guy’s sternum and was going to track right to the other dude who had hair that looked like it stuck 2 feet straight up. The 1st 2 shots went true. The next 2 went true. Uh Oh the 2 remaining dudes took cover. Well I have to reload this sweet shooting gun. So he did. He walked behind the pickup and lay on the hot asphalt and saw their feet moving around behind a Chevy pick up. He grinned again and when one of the feet quit moving he shot it dead center right about 6 inches above the foot. The other 2 feet were moving to fast away from the auto for him to keep track of. He walked back to the hood and saw the guy about 320 yards away moving fast through a field of 2 foot tall hay. He held just on the back of his head and squeezed the trigger. A red spot appeared about mid center of the running mans back. Now I wonder how much damage was done to that idiots shin bone. He laid back down behind the truck and saw the man laying on the ground holding on to his leg and quivering all over. He shot him again, this time in the stomach. The quivering stopped and the guy ended up in a spread eagle position. He watched him for 2 minutes and there was no movement. He whistled for his dad and said lets get away from here. He picked up the 06 brass and pocketed it.

just another story #2 Part 4
Clark stopped to check the other vehicles for survivors; his mom was giving him down the country for shooting them people. He snatched open the side door of the pick up and almost grabbed her by the hair of the head but came to his senses. The fiery combat mode was slowly fading. He politely asked her to come over to the side of a Ford car and look in the back seat. There was a 2 year old white boy or girl, he could not tell the sex that had been shot in the top of the head with a large caliber bullet and its little tongue was hanging out about an inch from its mouth and both eyeballs were hanging on its cheeks. He said to her in a really low voice. Mom, please do not try to second guess me on some things I do. She puked all over the side of the car. He left her to recover herself. His dad was looking around and said to Clark, they ain’t anything wrong with this Chevy 4 whl drive pick up other then the 2 dead people in it. Clark asked him if he wanted it. He said it has a full tank of gas and is loaded down with supplies that may come in handy later on. Clark said, good thinking dad. Let’s take it. I’ll get mom and put her in our truck. I don’t think she could ride in a blood spattered auto right away. It will take time until she realizes this is a changed country. He helped his dad remove the bodies from the Chevy and they headed out again.

just another story #2 Part 5
He looked at his mom several times while traveling along. She had a glassy eyed look; he hoped it wasn’t a precursor to shock. A few minutes went by and she said Oh My God several times. It looked like she was going to pull herself together and she did. She looked at him and said, I didn’t know there were people who could do those kinds of things I just saw.” He answered her back, mom you ain’t seen nothing yet. If the military cannot get a handle on the masses in the cities there will be millions of people murdered and/or tortured for a little food. Those gang guys were just early opportunists and probably looking for money or valuables that aren’t going to be worth anything soon. Clean water, food and shelter will be the number one priority for survivors. He glanced again at her and noticed a kind of hard resolve come on her face. She said I hope you continue doing what you did, I was wrong to say anything. I am so glad you went in the military, they taught you some things extremely well. She then said about 40 more miles we have to take a right turn onto a small connecting road called Sommerlee Lane.

Clark was really good with finding his way around in a featureless desert combat zone. This was ridiculous 9 different turns onto different graveled roads in a mountainous forested area. He finally asked his mom how did you ever find this place the 1st time. She said, Oh I forgot to show you the markers. We used to come here a lot when I was young and my dad showed me the rocks and small metal stakes that the locals put up for night time travel. They finally arrived at Cousin Effie’s small stone cottage about 630 pm. There was an elderly lady on the front porch in a rocker with a shotgun leaning against the door jamb and after Clark got a closer look, elderly was way off. She was ancient. Effie said howyadoin Pearl. Clark had not heard anyone ever call his mom, Pearl before. She looked at Clark, giggled, and said I’ll tell you about the name later.

They were invited to the porch and the story swaps began. Effie said I hope youall’s got a gun or some ammeenition for my polkstalk. Them bad Ferdnand boys been ridin by on bicycles and givin me the evil eye. They don’t know I ain’t got any ammeenition, I used the last shell 2 days ago to shoot close to their feet when they started walkin towards my house.

Joe, Clark’s dad said we got some shells that will fit your gun Effie. Good, so ya’ll wanna stay here till this trouble goes away in the city. Joe said that was what we was going to ask you Effie. Of course ya’ll can stay here, I need the company and I need a little help canning up my garden. Why don’t we get in outta this heat Effie said? They walked in and Clark was amazed it was 20 some degrees cooler inside and he didn’t see an A/C, he smacked himself, no electricity. He asked her straight off how she kept it so cool. She gave him a toothless grin and said, why I just open up them thar vents to the root cellar under the house and let the cool ground air come in.

After they had a glass of tea, Effie said you should bring your stuff in and fix that other bedroom up. And you young man can have the couch. Clark looked at the couch, it was one of them ancient ones that was about 7 feet long and that suited him fine. He looked at it some more and saw it had hardly been used. She grinned and said to him that couch is 45 years old and ain’t nobody hardly ever sat on it. We un’s all sit on the rockers in the kitchen.

It was still daylight and the house had been set up for Clark’s family. Effie told Clark to take a look around outside and when you get on the other side of the garden watch for snakes in that rocky area. Clark put the .357 in his waistband and went for a stroll. It got dark to quick for him to recon the entire lot, so he went back in an they sat around the kitchen table talking till about 915 pm. Effie was on her way to bed when she told Clark she got up at daylight. Clark said that would be fine since that was about the time he got up.

Clark helped Effie make some breakfast. They had eggs and home made sourdough bread toast that was cooked outside on the wood burning porch stove. She said I always use this stove in the summer, keeps the house cooler. His parents got up about 9am.They found several pounds of coffee in the white pick up and had coffee and toast for breakfast. Clark noticed the vents to the root cellar were closed at about the time his parents arose.

just a story part 6
Clark got some ideas about the surrounding terrain from Effie. Earlier he had taken his small amount of combat gear out that he had hidden in the bottom of his foot locker to send home on his 4 different trips. He had accumulated some pretty good gear, all except weapons. He put on his desert combat boots, one of 4 new pair he had, his Alice gear, he decided not to take today, just a shoulder rucksack. He got the 357 revolver to fit in the 9mm automatic holster and hooked that to a web belt and added a canteen. He put on a woodland BDU fatigues (set of camouflage fatigues), folded up the desert camouflage ones and pulled out a fatigue hat. He went through the gear and smiled when he pulled the generation 5 night vision helmet monocular out. He was a little scared when he reported it lost on a combat patrol with his helmet. The supply sergeant just issued him another one with a new Kevlar helmet. He took the thing apart and mailed half of it home and put the rest of it in his foot locker. The most important part had been mailed home so he wasn’t afraid of anyone finding some broken parts in his gear. He got away with it. He always wanted an AK, but the idiots in charge refused. He did send some wooden AK stocks home just to spite the military brass. A lot of his buddies had friends in the AF that were flight crew members and he knew for a fact they had sent a bunch of weapons home with them. Ah well one can’t have everything. He was just happy he had what he had. The laser 1600 yard rangefinder was his other jewel he had managed to obtain. Enough reminiscing he thought. He hefted the ruck sack with a few cans of beanie weenies, some extra ammunition and set off on his recon mission.

The 1st place he was going to look at was the bad Ferdnand boys’ property. After watching the place from a wooded hillside for a few hours he understood why they wanted Effie’s property and her supplies. They literally had nothing, it reminded him of those stories from the 1800’s, how people lived in a wooden shack on hard scrabble land. They had 2 pigs that he could smell from 500 yards away, their garden was about 6 foot by 6 foot and he guessed they lived on food stamps or welfare money. There was no way those 2 pigs and that little garden would feed 3 men through a WV mountain top winter. He knew trouble was coming but he would take care of that another day. He watched a little while longer as they cooked something that looked like a rabbit or a squirrel on an outdoor stone cook pit. The 6 X40 binoculars were pretty good but he wished he had a little better set. He left the area after 3 hours of watching their routine.

He hit a gravel road that Effie said would make a large circle if he kept making left turns on each new gravel road. He started jogging. Effie said it was about 9 miles around the area she lived in. He saw wood smoke and smelled it in several locations. He would recon those areas another time. Today was just to get a feel for the place. He made it around the area in about 2 hours. He then slipped off into the woods near Effies cottage and scouted the place for game. There was plenty of squirrel, rabbit, pheasant and turkeys. He watched several deer bed down in some laurel thickets. He eased back onto the gravel road in front of Effies and returned to the cottage.

just a story - part 6a laying some groundwork
It was a question and answer session for Clark with Effie. His dad and mom chimed in every now and then. The conversation went something like this –Clark - Effie how ya fixed for chicken feed for the chickens? Effie - We gonna have to eat and/or can the chickens afore winter comes, ain’t got but a 20 pound sack of cracked corn left. Clark, why can’t ya lettem free range? – Effie - To many coyotes, skunks, chicken hawks and what not out there, had to put double layers of steel fencing around the coop to keep the chicken eatin critters away. I do takem to the garden when the plants are up to lettem eat the bugs and new grass and then it’s a big chore to gather em back up when I do takem out of the coop. Clark – Do you have any fencing? – Effie – Nope, cost too much. Clark – I see you have rabbit hutches against the shed. – Effie – Yep, had to eatem and can em – Cost of rabbit food got to much. Clark – I also see there is a pasture out there with 4 foot tall grass in it. – Effie – Yep, had to have Burl and another man come get my cow and butcher it for me. She went dry. – Clark – How ya fixed for canned vegetables and meat in the root cellar? Effie – Got enough for 4 people to eat for 2 years. Got enough of a garden and enough chickens to replace what we eat to add another year to that. Iffen I had a fence or one of dem movable chicken things We could keep the chickens till maybe late November. Also, Iffen I had some rabbits, I could get enough worms to dry and feed the chickens up until February, but that is a maybe., won’t know it until I try it. We also gonna run outta flour in about 2 mos, ain’t got but that there 50 pound sack left and its getting kinda buggy, have to run it through the sifter every time I get some out.
Clark just said, I see.

The food situation wasn’t too bad yet, Clark thought. He was going to have to do some requisitioning – Just like everybody else was going to have to do.

just another story #2 Part 7
Clark didn’t do anything for 3 days except run the gravel roads and think. He knew one thing Effie could have worked in any 5 star kitchen as the chief cook. He had never eaten such fine food. Everything she cooked tasted 10,000 times better than what he had eaten before. Maybe it is the mountain air, Maybe it is living in a pollution free place. He had no idea except he would probably weigh 500 pounds if he wasn’t careful.

Clark hit the dirt and rolled into the forest. He knew what that angry hissing sound was that flew past his head; he had heard it many times. He was about 3 miles from the cottage on one of the gravel roads and he was also close to the bad Ferdnand boys place as Effie called them. The sharp crack of the rifle came a second or so later. This ticked him off. People should not be shooting at innocent people and he laughed and that evil grin came on his face. There was no question in his ex-military mind who had done the deed. All that the bad Ferdnand boys had done was shorten the time they had on this earth. He had asked Effie about where the mother was. She just said the mommy had taken the 2 young girls and packed up and left. She kind of had a far away look in her eyes when she said – I heard something about incest. He just nodded his head.

He reached in his rucksack for the hard case he kept in it. He put the heavy duty military issue, strap around the head, safety glasses on and started running through the woods. They were really for night time use while on patrol in a forested area to keep anyone from losing an eye. He wasn’t taking any chances because he was going to run flat out in case one of the idiots would track him. He didn’t want to get in a gunfight with a pistol when the other guy had a rifle. He had run up a 30 degree slope on a mountain and it just about wore him out. He also knew, unless the other guy was a world class running athlete, there was no way anyone was going to catch him. He made about a 4 more mile circuit of the hills at a slow jog; he was keeping a lot of energy in reserve in case he had to depart the area quickly.

22 year old Jed Ferdnand said to his 21 year old brother Bubba, you missed him. Bubba said that’s ok I’ll run him down and shoot him. He ain’t got a gun as far as I could see. 30 minutes later Bubba hollered for Jed to come help him find the guy – I found his tracks and it looks like he ran thataway. Jed said well lets follow him he can’t be very fast with those combat boots on. We oughta catch him in an hour or so. 2 hours later Bubba told his brother half way up that 30 degree slope, this guy must be in purty good shape. I’m about wore out. Jed said let’s go home we can get him tomorrow. He don’t know it was us n’s that shot at him. Bubba said that’s a good idée.

Clark made it back to the cottage at 4pm. He had come through the woods and exited onto the road as close to the cottage as he could. He ran flat out to the door and entered.
After telling everyone what had happened, Effie asked him if he could shoot that rifle he had. Clark grinned at her. She said I know a little deer path about 700 yards on the other end of my lot that will getcha about 300 yards from the front door of their cabin. Clark said I know where you are talking about. I looked over their place from the other side on that mountain. She grinned at him and said I knowd you was a good boy.

Clark ate a sandwich, lay down for 15 minutes to regather his strength. He then set off with the 30-06 and 40 extra rounds. He thought if I can’t get three people from 300 yards away with 40 bullets I ain’t got no business people hunting.

He got there just as Bubba and Jed walked up to the cabin. Both of them had a rifle over their shoulder. Bubba sat down on a stump outside and laid the gun on a log table. Jed came out with what Clark thought was a cleaning kit. Yes it was a cleaning kit. He did not have the 3 piece screw together cleaning rod. He was using probably a nail tied onto a string and pulling some material through the barrel. He found a nice swale in the ground and got into a prone position. He waited till Jed and Bubba were lined up and shot bubba through the chest hoping the 06 bullet would have enough oomph to take Jed out also. He immediately tracked left and shot the other man, Delbert, in the chest. He knew their names because Effie had told him, but he wasn’t sure which one was which. All 3 men were down and there was no movement. He waited half an hour before approaching. The shot on the 2 men had done just that. The 06 180 grain bullet had punched through the first one he called Bubba and then hit Jed in the chest. He looked at Jeds chest and the hole going in was about the size of a 5 cent piece, and coming out of Jed was about 2 silver dollar sizes. But it was a ragged double silver dollar size hole because of the meat and bone it had pushed through the body. So he knew the 8 year old 180 grain bullet had expanded perfectly. The other guy had been hit just a little bit above the sternum and punched through his spine while exiting and made a huge exit hole mess.

Clark sat there for a few minutes. Effie had told him no one ever went on their property because they were afraid of them. That made things simple for Clark. He took all their clothes off and threw the naked men in the double pig pen. The pigs were about 400 pounds. He would check back tomorrow and remove the bones if any were left and bury them on the back side of one of the mountains in a post hole digger size dug hole. Before he left he burned their clothes, He went in the shack and got all their clothes and burned them too. The rifles were both 30-06 Remington bolt action, one had a, surprise, surprise, a Vari X 3 Leupold scope. Must have stole it, Clark thought. He spent about 30 minutes going through everything in the cabin. There was a Browning semi-automatic 12 guage, another surprise, and 6 boxes of #4 lead shotshell, squirrels, rabbits and turkeys he thought. He found 2 tubes of silver dollars and 4 tubes of Mercury head dimes. Some body was thinking ahead and saved some silver. There was 8 boxes of 30-06 180 grain Remington bullets. Those were what he was using. This was a good find. There were some fresh dug potatoes, 2 ten pound sacks of flour, some fresh dug onions and a bunch of spices. This was going to take him 3 or 4 trips to haul the goodies home.

just a story #2 part 8
He carried the 06 with the high dollar Leupold scope home and the 2 sacks of flour. Effie looked at him and said I hope you eliminated some vermin. Clark nodded. He told his dad, you can make that little walk with me tomorrow and we can load up some stuff and bring it back on the road on those bi cycles they got over there, or we can drive over there and load some stuff into the pick up and make one trip. His dad said lets take the truck.

They got to the Ferdnand’s place about 615am and loaded up everything worth while into the truck. He told his dad to stay by the truck for a while, because he wanted to check on something. There was a lot of meat left in the pig pen, he would ride a bi cycle back tomorrow and make another check. The pigs looked healthy and a lot fatter. He grinned.

His mom didn’t say anything about the supplies they brought back. Effie had a toothless grin that lit up the house. Clark decided to make the recon on those other places he had smelled and seen smoke. He asked Effie about what she knew about the other people living around her. She said most of the people are really closed mouth and don’t shoot the breeze much. But here’s what I know about em.,,

Clark spent 6 days checking the other residents out. They were just what Effie said they were. Survivalists or preppers. They did not bother anybody; they tended their large gardens and minded their own business. Clark noted some of them had large solar systems and 50 foot tall short wave antennas. He wrote down in his log to ask them how the rest of the world was getting along and if the government had started their broadcasts. That posed another problem. How do you approach them without getting shot from long range? Information was needed to find out if there are any diseases ravaging the country or if the government has set up logistic points to resupply the local people with food and medical help.

The next morning he talked it over with them and Effie said that’s simple on how to contact them. Leave a note in their mailbox and raise the flag. Ok. Now what does the note say. They slung that question around for a while. Effie again solved the problem with a simple solution. Why dontcha just askem if they have any news about what we talking about, and if they do to put it in Effies mail box. One more thing I wantcha to askem, see if they have anything to trade and if they do list the items. Well Clark thought that’s simple enough to do. 14 notes were written and placed in the mailboxes.

just another story #2 part 9
When he rode the bicycle back to check on the remnants of the bodies he found 3 skulls and some long bones. He gathered that mess up and put it in a burlap sack he found in a shed. He continued to search around the property and found something really useful. 2 50 foot rolls of ¼ inch mesh rabbit fencing and another 5 rolls of old rusty 50 foot, 36 inch tall chain link fence. Well here were the makings of a chicken sled. Continuing his systematic search of the property, he found a small cave that had a still in it and at least 20 bags of 100 pound cracked corn for making moonshine and 500 pounds of sugar. The sugar was in 50 pound bags and was as hard as a rock. He didn’t think sugar went bad or spoiled. Now he knew where the silver and high dollar scope came from, moonshine profit. WooHoo he thought – He could now have eggs and fried or roasted chicken for another couple of years.

It was the 30th of July and the chicken sled was completed. It took Clark and his dad to move it every day but there was no chicken feed being used. And the chickens were as happy a male rabbit with 10 female rabbits in a cage. If the chicken sled was to be moved a long distance, the truck would be used. The Chevrolet pick up had ¾ tank of gas and the family truck had ½ tank. The bicycles were used by everyone except Effie. She slowly walked to wherever she wanted to go.

There were 8 notes in Effie’s mail box. The US had collapsed and there were no resupply locations being set up by the government. Diseases of all kinds were rampant in any population center. The population had shrunk to less then 40 million people. The farmers had been inundated with overflowing frenzied fleeing city people. The farms in other words were overrun and basically destroyed by city folks who had no idea of what a person had to do to eat another day. They took it all and ate it and wondered why the ground was not producing bread and vegetables for them to eat the next day.

This is what Clark did not want to hear, but it was the result he expected. He would start scavenging some equipment to keep this little piece of property running for many years. He made of list of things he would need.

The rest of the world was someplace a human did not want to be. Anarchy reigned in all the European countries due to the collapse of their money and the US dollar. No exports to feed the starving masses in the 3rd world countries were shipped out. Most of those dependent on US food died off. The US was in super bad shape as far as transporting and feeding the remaining population. Disease was rampant and no new medical supplies were being produced. This meant anyone dependent on long term medicine would soon die. The military still had fairly good control of the big installations that housed the nuclear war heads. All in all No country wanted the nuclear wrath of the US to descend on them. So the status quo as far as another country taking over the US remained the same.

Now back to those 4000 terrorists that started all this, the remaining numbers had fallen to about 2900. That was still a formidable force to be reckoned with, especially when the US was trying to get a handle on the major outbreak of diseases that were tearing through the country.

just a story #2 part 10
The remaining terrorists had gone to ground after the 1st attack. Some lived in tents in deep woods, some as regular people in apartment buildings. Anyways they were spread out and had extremely well documented backgrounds that would pass a cursory examination. They were just biding their time waiting to implement their next pre planned attack. The people that had formulated this plan were some kind of evil geniuses. They didn’t know that what they had done would cause such massive damage. If a Muslim knew how to high five they would all be doing it 29 days after their 1st attack. On the 30th day they set out to complete the 2nd phase of their plan. Since the USA had 3 time zones in the lower 48 the attack would have to be staggered to accomplish their goal. The small contingent in Alaska had their own time table. The attack was set to drop a cocktail of contagious airborne weaponized virus at 220 am on each military base. Only two 60 millimeter mortar shells would be fired into the personnel sections of each military base. The shell heads were constructed of super tough plastic that would shatter when hitting the ground and if they did not shatter a large rifle primer would detonate along a specially designed seam to crack the shell head open and release the cocktail of virus. The large rifle primer could not be activated until the shell had traveled 100 meters. These devices had been tested and were 99% effective. At 220 am in that time zone 329 military bases were infected with common and a not so common virus. The locations that the representatives had been choppered to were also hit at that time. The powers that be had let the representatives and senators out of the shelters during the day because there was no NBC (nuclear, biological or chemical) threat. The terrorists buried their equipment and headed for a pick up point on the coast of northern Maine. The pick up was set for April of the following year giving the attackers plenty of time to travel the distance. The last phase of the operation was for the ones coming from the west coast to drop an pad infected with mad cow disease and hoof and mouth disease on as many working cattle farms they could access easily on their trek east.

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just another story #2 Part 11
Clark’s parents had been slopping the hogs for a while now. They asked Effie what they should do with that now almost 1000 pounds of pork on the hoof. No one but Clark knew the hogs had eaten the Ferdnand clan. Effie said, lotta work to butcher a big hog like dat. I use ta do it when I was younger. Iffen you un’s wanna butcher it, I cn show ya how. Can’t do it now – too hot, After the first frost we un’s cn do it. Probly make some hams, bakin, and a lotta pok chops and pok roasts, shud save a buncha lard too. It be best to trade one of em on the hoof off for somethin.

Clark wanted to make a run to a ravaged city, anyone would do, He needed some things that regular city people had no use for. Number one on the list was a few good chain saws. He knew the winters were really cold up on the 17 and 1800 foot levels of these mountains. He had been looking at Effies wood pile and they would be lucky to have enough to cook on for a couple more months. He had looked at her inside wood/coal stove for heating. It was a huge one made back in the early 1920’s and the metal casing looked to be ½ inch thick and the grate on the bottom would probably last another 200 years. He asked her how good it heated the house up. She said – I have ta quit putting wood in it about 7 pm or the house gets to hot to sleep in. It ain’t got no hot coals in it when I get up but the metal lid is still warm. How about smoke coming in the house when the door is open. Nope, as long as ya gotta good fire burnin in it. Iffen you ain’t gotta good fire it’ll smoke the livin room up. About 20 some year ago I got one of dem good rebate checks from our gubmint and I bot some high dollar stainless steel chimnee pipe, sposed to last 50 or more years. So I reckon the pipe be here long after I’m gone. The outdoor wood stove vents up through some fancy stone work and the kitchen stove goes through the wall and straight up through some more fancy stone work. Ain’t never had no trubble with either of em. I always get a hot fire in em and that cuts down on the tar bild up. The caps on the top of the outside chimneys are made out 5/16 inch iron and they look just as good as the day they were put up there 50 year ago. Burl come by about 25 year ago when I was havin trubble with chimney swift birds bildin nests in em and covered em in some thick ¼ inch holed stainless steel fencing stuff. And that eliminated that problem.

Clark had looked at the construction of the house and was amazed at the fine work that had been done 75 or more years in the past. He knew why it stayed cool when she opened the root cellar vents into the house. The walls were about 22 inches thick and had an air gap in the middle – The builders had put a 10 inch stone on the inside and a 12 inch stone on the outside with as far as he could tell a 2 inch gap between the stones. The interior of the kitchen ceiling was real 2 X 12’s and entry up in the attic showed that the 2X12’s had been covered with that 12 inches of insulation they used 75 year ago and that was covered with real 1 X 10 planks. The roof joists were real 2 X12’s and the covering on the roof were more 2 X12’s and the outer covering was 1 inch thick slate on a 6 – 12 inch pitch for snow to slide off and no chance for rain to gather in a crack. Whoever built this house 75 years or more ago wanted an eternal small castle. And it has held up extremely well. The root cellar was the same dimensions as the upper floor of the house with a dirt floor and you guessed it 2 X12 shelves all the way around the cellar walls from 1 foot off the floor all the way to 12 inches from the 2nd floor under the kitchen. The shelves were anchored into the stone walls with heavy metal fasteners. He wondered if there was insulation on top of the bottom floor under the kitchen. He was willing to make a bet there was. He was curious and measured the thickness of the bottom floor where he could get a sheet of paper up beside it against the wall. Yep – 2 X 12. There were ingenious sliding boards that opened up to each of the 5 rooms in the house and that was the vents that let the cool air up into the house. It was about 50 degrees in the root cellar, a place to go to if you ever wanted to cool down quickly in the summer. There were 2 heavy doors you had to open to gain entry into the root cellar and he was amazed at how tight they were even after all these years. Yes indeed, the builders of this house were master carpenters and stone masons.

2 other things he noted. The kitchen had a manual well pump as did the bathroom to flush. He asked Effie about the pipes going up the bathroom wall beside the shower and iron tub combination. She said oops i fergot to mention that to ya. There is a 25 gallon black cast iron tank on the south wall outside, iffen ya wanna take a hot shower in the evening ya gotta open the valve to the tank and pump water into it so's it'll get warm in tha day. It ain't much good in the wintertime unless they be an Indian summer or a cupla hot days.

just another story #2 Part 12
They sat around the table and made some lists up on what they thought they would need in the coming times. Effie had a short list – see if ya cn find me a manual wringer washer, I knew I shud not have sold mine to that idjut woman collector when we got electric power out here. Clark said there is one in the Ferdnand’s shack. Dang, Effie said I didn’t think them boys ever warshed anything. Another thing Effie said I like store bot soap, I cn make all that gritty soap a person wud ever use. But I dun got partial to that sweet smellin Dial soap. I’d like to have sum more kerosene, I theenk there is 12 or so gallon in the shed and if we un’s careful, that otta last about 4 years. Keep in mind it get dark early here in winter an we gonna need some good light. If we gonna make them hams an bakin outta that hog, we gonna need some brown sugar and a hunnert or so pounds of salt, not that kind that got idine in it. I ruined some good meat one time usin that. That’ll do me for a bit. Just use some common sense when ya gatherin stuff up.

Clark spent the next 2 days in classroom work teaching his mom how to handle and shoot the M-16, it was an M-16 full auto. People who have never touched a firearm before, especially women tend to pay attention and learn more then the average red-neck who has went deer hunting with his drunken buddies and shot a box of ammo off once a year. The last words he told her before he left the following morning were, do not put that selector switch to full auto unless there are 40 Zombies coming through the door. He had let her shoot 30 rounds and she was surprisingly a good shot out to a hundred yards. She did get to find out what would happen if the gun was put on full auto. Clark had put 6 rounds in the magazine and she said Gee Whiz that was mighty quick. Clark grinned.

Clark and his dad left the following morning. They had 4 guns, the 06, 12 guage, AK-47 and the 357. They had to bring the little 1000 watt generator, that was in the chevy pick up with them, they may have to find a pump and pump some gasoline out of a service station tank. They had both read the information that was in Effies mail box about the diseases that was running rampant throughout the US. Clark told his dad you are going to have to stay in the pickup with one of those masks we found in the truck. I am going to wear one also. I have been vaccinated against most of this stuff floating around and you haven’t. My vaccinations are still current from my military time. The news had not yet filtered out about what had happened at the military bases. Effie had told Clark about the 2 small towns that had good hardware stores and decent grocery stores and were just a little ways off the main highway. They drove through the 1st town at a high rate of speed and stopped out of sight around a curve. Clark hit the woods and started a recon. His dad had backed the truck up into a 1 lane rutted road that ended 50 feet back in the woods, it was enough, the truck was invisible from the roadway.

Clark walked the whole town and never seen a soul or heard a sound. The hardware store was trashed but what he was looking for he found. Chainsaws, pump, some hose for the pump, a set of 30 inch bolt cutters, a small tool box to remove batteries and some hand size heavy duty wire cutters. 8 metal 5 gallon gas cans were in the ware room. He gathered everything and placed it by the back door. Next stop, the grocery store, All the food was gone, he expected that, he found the salt and brown sugar and a case of dark molasses. There must have been 500 bars of soap strung all over the place he got a buggy and picked it all up, several packages of safety razors and some shaving cream. Some feminine pads for his mom, all the toilet paper was gone but there were 3 cases of Bounty towels on a side shelf. All this went to the back door. He ran and got his dad and 2 quick stops later they had the items in the back. They stopped at a gas station and Clark screwed the cover off the underground tank. He dropped the 25 foot of black hose in the hole with a metal weight tied to it. He pulled it up and saw there was about a 6 inch wet spot on the hose. They fired the generator up hooked the pump to it and filled the truck first then the 11 cans they had – He had brought the 3 empty ones from Effies shed. Clark figured there was probably 200 gallons or more in that underground tank, so he screwed the lid back on it. They stopped at a NAPA and found 2 12 oz bottles of Stabil on the shelf. If you didn’t get down on your hands and knees and shine a light back on the shelf, you would not have found them. Well dad we been lucky so far, want to push it a little. His dad looked a little nervous but he said I’m game. Clark told him he wanted to cruise around the wealthier neighborhoods and look for some solar panels. If we don’t do any good there, we can cruise the railroad tracks and find a solar operated switching station and take it and the battery. That will give us some real florescent light instead of candle or lantern light. They were at the end of a large cul de sac when Clark looked at a 3 story mansion and said that must have been nice to stay in and have parties. His dad was making the turn when it clicked on him, the porch light was on. He said go out to the end of the corner and back into a driveway and wait for me. Clark got out and followed the chain link fence around to the back of the huge house. He noticed the grass had grown up and the plants and flowers in the hanging vases were dead. There were leaves in front of the door and spider webs on the door handle. He eased around to the front and the front door and plants were the same as the back. OK, he clipped the pad lock on the back walkway gate and entered. Dang, I bet those solar panels are running a burglar alarm. Not to worry he thought, he hadn’t seen a soul in this town, much less a police presence. He cut the lock on the driveway gate, ran and got his dad and drove the pick up behind the house after he shut the gate.

OK dad, unless these people are holed up in a bomb shelter, we should be OK. He went back around to the front of the building and unscrewed the 100 watt florescent bulb and put it in his ruck sack. He started to use the large crow bar on the back door, when his dad said have you turned the knob? Clark felt stupid. The dang door opened. He noticed right away the blinking light panel on the side of the wall. Uh Oh, well I’ll just have to wait till it goes off and tear the alarms off the wall or wherever they are. He laughed; a voice came from a few speakers saying the police have been notified of a burglary in progress. It kept saying it over and over and over and it finally got on his nerves. Let’s find the batteries for that solar system and disconnect them. The batteries were in the basement and were those huge ones like a mine buggy battery that weighed several hundred pounds. His dad said do not disconnect anything yet, the lights will go out.

They searched the house for useful items, the guy had to of been a prepper, there were 10,000 rolls of toilet paper in one basement side room. Strange Clark thought no food. His dad said I betcha he has one of them bug out places and will probably be back for this most important item and he started laughing and couldn’t stop. Clark just stared at him for a bit before he continued to search the house. He found a dolly, the kind that you could walk up and down steps with the extra wheels. Let’s take 2 solar panels today and comeback with both pickups tomorrow and get some toilet paper and as many batteries and solar panels as we can next trip. Sounds like a winner his dad said. They made it home and still did not see anyone. This is strange Clark was thinking.

just a story #2 part 13
They unloaded the items and carried the solar panels to Effie’s barn. The gasoline was treated and put in the shed. After supper Clark and his dad told Effie about the days events. Effie said glad ya got the salt, molasses and brown sugar. We can cure up a bunch of stuff from that hog after it gets cold. She took at least 25 bars of soap and walked to her room with a wide toothless grin. Pearl as everyone had started calling his mom said I would like to go with you to that house and look at the curtains and towels. Clark didn’t see anything wrong with this and told them he would drive their truck and fill it up at the gas station before going to the solar paneled house.

3 days later and 2 men with almost broken backs were finished gathering the toilet paper, panels and those heavy, heavy batteries. Clark told Effie that in a few weeks as soon as he got the solar panels rigged up on some metal racks beside the house, she could use her electric washer. He mentioned quickly that he was going to bring the manual wringer washer from the Ferdnand’s place and store it in the barn. That made her happy. They still needed a few things and were planning another trip to gather some transmission fluid to use in the chain saws for bar lube. And look for some Stabil or Pri – G. She told him where an Advance Auto and an Auto Zone store were in a 3rd town which was larger then the one he had just been in. They had taken all the screw in Florescent 100 watt bulbs from that house and replaced Effie’s 60 watt incandescent bulbs throughout the house including the 2 in the root cellar.

The next trip netted him the Pri-G from Advance auto, 2 cycle oil and the transmission fluid. He and his dad could now cut some firewood for winter. They stopped at the gas station they had been taking gas from and Clark poured in enough Pri G and STP water remover to treat 200 gallons. That would be their long term personal stash of petrol.

They cut some dead wood first to increase the wood pile and then cut all the 4 to 6 inch trees by the road to eliminate any long hauling of wood. They mostly got lucky and 95 % of the cut trees fell on the road way where it was cut into 18 inch sections for the house stoves.

Clark knew you were not supposed to cut wood in the summertime when the tree was full of sap, but he had no choice in the matter if they wanted to stay warm this coming winter. He hoped Aug, Sep, and Oct would be enough time to dry the logs. They were stacked so they had air moving over and through them. 16 cords of wood later they called it quits, cleaned the chain saws, emptied the petrol and let them run dry, because he had not found any carburetor repair kits for those models he had. He did find some spark plugs at one of the auto stores and a 3 way file to sharpen the chains at a hardware store. They poured the chain saw mixed gas through an old T-shirt into one of the treated 5 gallon gas cans and marked a big C for chain saw on it. Both pickups were for all practical purposes full and the oil looked clean in them so they parked the trucks. He would like to have one of those 2 car aluminum car ports to keep them out of the snowy weather that would be here in a little over 3 months. Effie had plenty of room on the farm to set one up but she had no cement to anchor the posts. He talked that problem over with his dad and Effie and she said I gotta post hole digger out there in the shed, Clark knew this because he had used it to bury some bones, he grinned at that thought. Effie continued on, don’t need no cement, just make dem holes 5 feet deep and chunk some rocks in around em afore ya put the dirt back. That’s all we ever did when we put a post in da ground. Clark thought that would probably work. They planned to make a trip to the closest town they had 1st been to and jack one of them 2 car – car port posts out of the ground with a bumper jack. It will be simple to screw it apart and let the top hang out of the back of the pick up when we bring it home.

3 days later and many burst hand blisters from using the post hole digger, the car port was up and Clark knew the 4 foot he had buried the posts and the 5 inch bolts he had put near the bottom of the pole through a drilled hole in the pipe would insure the wind would not get under it and blow it away. The cab of the trucks just cleared the top of the car port by an inch or so. Good work he told his dad. Let’s rest up for a few days before we tackle any more jobs. Clark only ran 4 miles that evening.

just a story #2 Part 14
Clark told the family at breakfast the next morning that this waiting on the neighbors to leave them a note in the mailbox was not a very efficient way of getting information or communicating. They made another trip to town looking for trucks with CB antennas on them, preferably one of those long springy ones attached to the bumper. A base station would really be nice. They found 2 cars that had the magnetic 12 inch antennas on the roof. They took the CB’s and the antennas and kept looking. They found a taxi stand that had a base station and a large antenna on the back of the cab stand. This would do for now. On the way back from town Clark’s dad told him to stop at an excavation site they had noticed on the 1st trip. There was a white pickup with a 12 foot antenna on the bumper. They took that CB and the truck antenna. They were now set to communicate with those neighbors that had CB reception.

Before they got home with the disconnected CB’s and base station which was in the back of the truck. There was something else the terrorists did while they were on their way home. The terrorists had launched 4 enhanced scud missiles on each corner of the US pointed inwards from small 50 foot or so long boats. The scuds had small nuclear devices, bought from Russia. The missiles detonated about 60 kilometers high producing an electromagnetic pulse that entirely covered the lower 48 states. This further damaged small electrical systems the small infrastructure left alive, from the riots and food stampedes, had set up. This was something else the terrorists did that they did not find out till later.

They could not install the base station until the solar panels and batteries were hooked up, but they could install one of the CB’s in their pickup with the long antenna. That was done that evening. A note was put in the neighbors’ mail boxes telling them they would broadcast and listen on channel 16 at 8 am, and 6 pm. The neighbors were also informed that they had a base CB station and were going to hook it up in the next several days and they would then monitor it from the house all the time unless they were working in the garden or out and about. Clark thought this was a start and put in his log book to look for a shortwave radio and the appropriate antenna.

Over the next week 2 more scavenging trips had to be made to gather some nuts, bolts and some more metal poles to place the solar panels on, a battery box was made with scrap lumber and some roofing put on it beside the house. Finally they had power 10 days after they started putting the system together. The only reason this system, the CB’s and the base station worked was it had all been disconnected from any long electrical wiring systems. The reason the automobiles worked was they were down 45 feet in the excavation pit parked by a large metal bridge footer on the west side that was being erected, removing the CB from that construction job truck. The east coast pulse went to both sides of their automobiles; the west coast pulse did not have enough pulse to cover the 2500 mile distance to reach them. Talk about luck the Clark family was rolling in 4 leaf clovers. There would be very few new automobile gasoline engines running in the US, unless it was parked on the lower level of a massive concrete parking garage.

Clark wondered how Effie used the electric washer with no water pump on the well. She showed him the 40 gallon cast iron tank mounted in the corner of the kitchen with a pipe running in and one running down to the washer. She said it was a little bit of work to pump the water into the overhead tank, but that tank held enuff water to do a load of laundry. I always wanted to run a line off that one way up there by the ceiling down here to the sink and then use dat to rinse dishes and wash things up without pumpin the handle ever so often. Clark thought that since they now had power he may be able to rig up some kind of pump to alleviate that problem. That job went in his log book.

The news was eventually passed on to Effie and Clark’s family on what had transpired in the US in the past few weeks. The entire legislative body was dead due to some disease or virus that had gotten into their shelter. Over 300 and some military bases had their personnel reduced by 95%, cause – Virus. The US was just about 100% dependent on its nuclear submarine force to provide a nuclear deterrent. The men and women who were manning the nuclear missile arsenal had to come out of their underground bunkers. There had been no resupply of food or water. Most of the bunkers only had enough supplies for 30 days. The huge 25 ton blast doors to Cheyenne Mountain were opened, same reason, no food. The military that had been locked in were told to scavenge for food and if a large enough supply were found to contact the staff that were remaining. Never did happen. The military people went either to their homes or became small survival groups, living off the land. They were well armed.

just another story #2 Part 15
End of August the 4 were busy canning produce from the garden. There were many things they did not have but they were getting along. They were lucky in the dental department, Clark and his dad had those teeth with the perfect gap that did not allow food to get trapped, plus the dad and Pearl came from good dental stock. So far no one had any medical problems. They had no idea about Effie’s health; she hadn’t been to a Doctor in over 30 years. All she would say is I know I am getting old and I have some aches I never had many years ago. They all wondered about her vision, she just told them, I can still see a fly on the window. The window was 30 feet away, so they didn’t say anymore about that.

Clark and his dad had studied and thought and came to the conclusion there was no way they were going to get a pump hooked up to the well without digging a new well and installing one. That wasn’t going to happen. So everybody got a workout on the manual pumping of water. They did hook some plastic pipe up to the kitchen tank and ran it to the sink. They now had a supply of water for rinsing and a quick hand wash. Clark thought the tank water would get nice and warm in the winter time with the stove burning and some warm water would be available for dish and hand washing. The creek was looked at as a source of water to be pumped to the house. After measuring the distance 630 yards, they just put that on a something to think about list.

It was a really hot August and what remaining plants there were almost wilted away. A few good rains pulled them back from becoming compost. A thought hit Clark’s dad. He asked Effie about garden fertilizer, she said all I ever used was cow droppings I gathered up in September and October and spread em out in da garden. She looked at Clark and his dad and said we un’s either gonna have ta get a cow or some of dat store bot fertilizer for nex year. Effie knew from long gardening experience that when you took something edible out of the ground, you had to put something back, namely fertilizer. Clark said, well I guess we will put a cow on our find list. Effie said, not yet young man. I ain’t got no hay, corn or feed ta feed it over the winter. One other thing ya cn theenk about, need us n’s a female cow bout 3 yr old. And while ya thinking on that, need ta get her serviced so’s we cn have sum calves an milk later on. Clark looked at her and said, there is a lot more to this farming then I knew. One more question he asked. What about putting the cow out in the pasture so it can eat during the winter? She said something Clark hadn’t heard since he left the military. Yeah right, and who gonna move da 4 or 5 foot of snow offa dat covered up grass so’s da cow cn eat. He shut up because he was way out of his depth.

just another story #2 Part 16
They knocked around some plans in the morning; nothing seemed to spark any of them. They did their daily routine and thought some more in the afternoon. Effie said for starters, if we un’s gonna get a cow, you may as well start gatherin up some hay from da abandoned farms out on da main hi way. Gotta have hay for da barn for da cow to stay in either in da winter or da summer. Mark down whereya see some corn or cow feed. Sure would like ta have some baby chick feed to start some new little ones this spring. Iffen ya can get one of dem hay haulers, load it up an we un’s cn park it in the barn, so’s ya won’t have to unload it. I thought of a few more things, but dat’s enuff for a start. Clark asked her where she thought a good abandoned one would be close enough for them to make a look-see. You’n a purty smart boy – I been to several of dem small farms in outta da way places. Let me draw ya a map. The 1st farm they went to, 2 bullet ricochets’ off the asphalt road in front of the truck enlightened them. They made a hasty retreat thanking someone somewhere for the people in that farm for not shooting them through their windshield.

The 2nd farm had some hay but no hay hauler. The 3rd farm they hit the jackpot. When the farmer had left he released his cows into the pastures, think big, 4000 acres of pasture land. Clark counted about 22 cows and calves near the barn. The hayloft was full of string tied square bales and a road traveling hay hauler was in a large shed. Clark and his dad had a smile on their face. They loaded the hay into the hauler and hooked it on to the pick up. That job wore the muscles in both their arms out. They headed home to tell Effie about the find. The hay was parked in the barn. Effie said to them. That’s good work, now which one of ya know how to tell which calve belongs to which cow. She got a blank look. OK I will go back with ya’ll tomorrow and we will bring us ‘ns our cows home. Nope, she said, we’uns need some cow feed/oats and a trailer to move em. Ya’ll go look some more and find those things afore we bring any cows here.

Clark and his dad finally, after a 2 day search of 8 more farms found everything Effie told them to get. After the barn was stocked with feed for the cow, Effie got in the pick up with them and went to retrieve the cow and calf or calves. Effie looked over the entire (she called em a mess) herd of cows and picked a healthy looking momma (her words) and 2 calves, 1 female and 1 male. Clark and his dad learned something that day. She grabbed the nose ring on momma cow and pulled it into the hauler and took a switch and beat the 2 young ones right in beside the momma. The tail gate was shut and she said I wanna look around this place afore we go home. There was no food, but she spotted the 2 freezers that were empty with the lids open. That be your next pick up she told them. She found an electric butter churn and got that big toothless grin. We take this with us now. She picked up several things and loaded them in the pick up and said, this place has lotsa stuff we need and we’uns gonna make another trip here tomorrow and we bringin Pearl.

The terrorists who were trekking east ran out of virus, (hoof and mouth and mad cow) on the eastern side of Missouri. They were still infected on their clothes and foot wear for another 100 or so mile before the virus died out on their shoes and clothes. The ultra violet sun rays did most of the killing. The rest of the virus just fell off or was damaged by sun light; the sun did most of the destruction. The date was August 10th. The damage had been done to the western portion of the US. It would be a long, long time before the cows would perish. The funny part is, if you can call this funny, the double whammy of hoof and mouth and mad cow were counter productive. The hoof and mouth disease would kill off the cows before the mad cow disease got a good foot hold (pun intended) on the surviving cow population. But that would be many years in the future before it was found out.

just another story #2 Part 17
As Pearl and Effie were going through the abandoned farms items, Pearl said to Effie, don’t we need a hamburger grinder to make sausage and hamburger. Effie said we’uns sure do. Is this not one of them Pearl asked. Yep, sure is. They continued through the items, a commercial meat slicer was marked for pick up and a steak cuber tagged. There was lots of cooking items and two 30 some quart pressure cookers, the one that didn’t have the rubber seal. The aforementioned items were loaded in one of the pick ups. Clark asked if they had everything, Effie said nope, but she had a small notebook in her hand and had written down some things that they may need later on down the road. Effie asked Clark and his dad if the power they had at her farm would run the big 220 volt meat grinder. Clark said only for a short while. She said well if you hooked that small generator up to the system would it help? Clark said for maybe a little longer. Effie said we need to run this thing for about 6 or 8 hours to grind up the hamburger and the hog to make hamburger and sausage. Iffen that won’t get it, I recommend you get a bigger generator. We only need to do this once a year so’s that won’t use that much gasoline ya got stored in that tank down in that city. Effie asked another question, If that electric system he had would make enough power to keep those 2 freezers working. He answered in her language, yep.

So another search was started the next day for a 6 or 8000 watt generator just to run a hamburger grinder. That search ended quickly when one was found or for better lack of words, in his log book. They retrieved the generator and checked it. It started right up. They did the same thing to it they did to the chain saws. And then covered it with a plastic tarp and placed it in the barn. Effie asked Clark to take notes on what she was going to tell him. He did. She said you have to run da hamburger meat through da grinder twicest because that made it good for teethless people like her to eat. That ain’t the main reason; it just makes da tough cuts of meat not so tuff when ya fry em. It ain’t necessary to do da pork sausage da same way. Pork ground meat is soft and easy to eat; I don’t know why, but once through the grinder is enuff.

Clark kept his thoughts to himself about why Effie made him write down the instructions on grinding meat, maybe she knew something he or anyone else did not. It would be disastrous for her to die and they were not even close to being ready for long term Survival without her around, maybe he should start asking more serious questions on how to do some things.

Every thing was organized back at the cottage about 4 days later. Effie said if you ‘ns are done workin, I wanna go back and get us a 700 pound or bigger grass fed calf and butcher it. And we can fill up them 2 freezers we got. Don’t wanna wait till cold weather, somebody may gettem all before then – I cn show you’ns how to butcher it an we cn hang 4 skinned out sections of it in the root cellar for no more then one day before we’un’s finish the job and freeze it. Clark said we can probably do that, but is there any reason other then you being afraid someone may steal them all. Effie said nope and one more thing, I aint plannin on dyin before cold weather when we havta butcher da hog. Clark talked her out of butchering the 700 pound calf they brought back for a few weeks. He probed her mind and found out if they grain fed it for a week or so, the meat would tenderize a little bit and if they did it for 3 weeks they would have some grade A prime beef. That is what was done.

just another story #2 Part 18
The refinery plants in Texas were just idle for no better words. They could use fresh refined gasoline to power the in house generators. The problem was no oil was coming in. The small contingent of terrorists was waiting on the security forces to be laid off or become complacent - 11 August, the refineries were destroyed. The Muslim terrorists bartered no quarter. They wanted the non-believers wiped off the face of the earth. They were having no such luck with Israel. The Israelis had decided there would be no quarter given and unleashed 150 of their 350 nuclear weapons arsenal on the 12th of August. The instructions that were to be given the terrorists Maine boat pick ups were not sent. There were no insane mad Ayatollahs to rant and rave about what they were going to do. The Muslim war against the non-believers was over and nobody in the world knew it except the Israelis and they were not talking.

just another story #2 Part 19
All 4 of them went to the farm about mid morning the next day. They took both vehicles. Clark had noticed a trip would have to be made soon to fill the vehicles; he didn’t want them to go below a half tank. Earlier Clark and his dad took the 4 cows to the 4 foot tall grass pasture and if there was a cow heaven, the cows were in one. Pearl and Effie went through everything the farmer had left and just about filled up the bed of one pickup with their pickings. The other truck was loaded down with starter chicken feed. There were no chickens left on the farm, just those 22 cows. Clark and Effie both thought the same thing. The people at the place where they had been shot at had done some meat requisitioning. Effie told Clark that he had to come back and get the rest of the hay in the barn. When this was gone there would be no more unless they could get a lot of machinery running to cut and bale some hay. Clark told her I don’t think we can do it Effie. She said, I know. Anyway, there is enough cow feed and hay here to last our cows till we butcher the 3 young ones. Some day next year we may find a bull and freshen our milk cow up. The pasture I have will keep one cow alive if we can find some more hay next year for the following winter. We need a lot of rolls of that plastic that goes in one of dem vac sealers to keep the meat fresh in the freezers as long as possible. I am purty shore these cows we leavin here won’t make it through da winter.

They arrived home later that afternoon and put everything away they had taken from the farmers place. Clarks dad asked, are you ready to go fill the trucks up at the gas station? Clark said yes, we can leave now and be back in time for supper. While they were filling the pick ups at the gas station, Clark’s dad said we are using to much gas. I think we should look for you or both of us a small motor bike or a scooter to make these foraging trips. OK, let’s ask Effie if she knows of a bike place around here. Clark’s dad walked over to a phone booth and looked in the yellow pages. No need to ask her. There is one in the next town. Let’s leave one of the trucks parked here and we will go look. After going through the bike shop, they looked at each other and started laughing. There were 2 Vespa motor scooters and one 125CC trail bike left on the show room floor. They squeezed all 3 of them in the pickup and looked for some repair parts and manuals. They found some spark plugs and the manuals. There were 10 screw on lid, empty 5 gallon motor oil cans and 2 full ones of oil. They packed all them around the bikes and went to retrieve the other truck. Clark asked his dad how many of these cans should we put gas in. His dad said fill all of them, the gas is treated and won’t go bad in these metal cans. Let’s stop at the grocery store and see if we can find some of that plastic Effie told us to get. Their luck was running good; the shelves had 48 boxes of the plastic, seems like no one was thinking ahead like Effie. They wandered around the smashed shelves and noted down what supplies were left.

Effie looked at what they hauled in and said you boys did good. Pearl said to Clak’s dad, I want to ride one of those scooters, I always wanted one to piddle around town, but we could never afford one.

Around the middle of September the mountains started to cool down quickly as soon as the sun went down and everyone dawned a sweater of some type. That orange hue came on the leaves at this high of an elevation indicating cold weather was fast approaching. Effie said won’t be long afore we do sum butcherin. I hope you kept those light bulbs you n’s took outta my lights she asked. Clark said yes mam we did. Good, cuz we gonna need em. Clark wondered, but didn’t ask, he knew she would tell them. Got a little manual labor for ya boy’s ta do tommorry.

The next day they found out what Effie had in mind. They had to clean the chicken coop out and install the cold weather ends on the coop, but before they put one end on, She said I wancha ta run dat xtension cord to the coop and mount 2 light bulbs. One in dat glass and wired cage and hang it against dat water pan to keep it from freezin. Da other lite goes in da middle of the shed over the laying section. That otta put jus enuff heat out for em to keep layin all winter. We just gotta make sure the lite is on at 6 am and off at 9 pm, makes em think it still summer time.

just another story #2 Part 20
Everyone had chores except Effie, the colder it got the closer she stayed to the kitchen wood burner or the wood burner in the living room. She still did most of the cooking and the rest cleaned the mess up. The worst job was mucking the stalls. Effie had told them to use the wheelbarrow that was under an outdoor shed by the garden and dump the manure and straw right beside the garden, they would spread it out in November and let it break down over the winter under the snow. They wouldn’t have but one stall to muck when they slaughtered the 3 calves that were getting a little weight on them from the grain they were being fed every evening. Pearl learned how to milk a cow and said it was a lot of work. Either Clark or his dad carried the milk in where either butter was made in the electric churn or it was drunk. A lot of it went to the hogs which were about 800 pounds apiece now. The butter was made into blocks and frozen and then placed in a vac pack bag and returned to the freezer. They quit making butter when they had 60 pounds. Effie told Clark he was going to have to go to a feed store about 40 miles away and see if they had any animal feed made from wheat. This was she said pure wheat berries, they would then freeze the wheat in the freezer and winnow it and repack it back in the bag it came in and store it in the root cellar. There was a grain mill that would make flour and also was capable of grinding corn and beans. It is a goodun she said.

The extra hay from the farmer’s farm had been gathered with much expended labor and stored in the hay loft. Effie told them next week the slaughter would begin. It will be a hard job, she said. 4 animals is a lot of work and will probably take 1 day for each animal. If the weather is perfect we can hang the 3 calves for a few days to age them and do one or both of the pigs while they are aging. I have been on da CB telling da others we have a 800 pound hog on da hoof for trade and I have got a few nibbles, but nothing concrete. I was gonna wait a week after we did the calves and feed da calf guts ta da hogs, but that don’t look like it gonna work out. We un’s just gonna have ta wait an see, ever ting depends on da weather. Clark asked Effie what she was asking to trade for the hog. She said, 250 pounds of wheat and 15 gallons of oil and if we can’t get dat, we will make cured hams and bacon for ourselves and keep the lard for us n’s. If we do the butcherin right we can get all that meat in dem freezers. It will be a tight fit, but dey will fit. Gonna make at least 800 pounds good hamburger, lots of pepper jerky and you’ns have to decide what kinda steaks and roasts ya want. The pigs will be easier, because we gonna make a lot of hams, Canadian bacon, regular bacon, lots of lard, a few pork roasts and sausage. There are other things we can make. I letcha look at my book and ya’ll decide. She lay a Morton’s complete home meat curing and butchering book on the table. I still got about 20 pounds of tender quik and some other Morton stuff, but I like my own brown sugar and salt mix. We can use both. Clark sat there in a small daze amazed at what this woman knew about living on a farm and things in general, she was overloaded with common sense.

just another story #2 Part 21
Clark rode one of the Vespa scooters to the feed store. After breaking in through the back door he found two 100 pound sacks of animal feed – the rest was treated stuff for planting. He dragged the 100 pound sacks outside and placed them out of the weather under a large overhang beside the rail road. He continued his search of the store and found 15 five gallon buckets that had treated corn in them for planting. He carried them outside to where he had placed the sacks of wheat. He thought the buckets could be used for anything even food storage. He would ask Effie about that. The trip home at 55 mph only took him about 35 minutes. He never saw another soul anywhere. He wondered where in Hades had everyone gone. He would find out eventually.

Effie told him when he had returned with the items in the pickup. Boy you just don’t know how lucky we un’s is. What you brought home will keep us alive for 40 years. Even though dat corn is field corn, we un’s cn eat it or make corn flour. And what’s left over da cow or if we get another pig or even another calf. Dat dere stuff after its growed is good fattenin food for em. Since dat stuff is treated we un’s cn take a cupla buckets and dump em in a sack and store it in the root cellar – Its cold enough in there, won’t no bugs get to the corn an we ‘un’s cn plant some of it nex year. Da buckets I got a good use for em. Wisht I had 10 more empty ones. Clark told her there were lots of buckets there with grass seed and the like all over the feed store. You un’s go gettem. An we cn dump dat stuff out in a compost pile. So Clark made another trip just for buckets full of grass seed and whatever else was in them.

The air temperature in the day was about 45F and in the night got down to 36F or so. Effie said lets gather everthing we need for the butcherin we gonna do tomorry. The hoist was set up behind the barn, the 200 gallon galvanized tub was placed beside the outdoor fire pit, knives were sharpened, saws were brought out of their storage places, the skin scrapers and brushes for the pig skin were placed close to the galvanized tub, they were ready.

Effie checked her indoor weather monitor and it showed fair skies for tomorrow.

In the morning one of the calves instead of being taken to the pasture was brought behind the barn. Clark used the .357 to shoot it in the brain. It was hoisted up by both back legs and the butchering began. The temperature was 41 degrees. Effie said, iffen dis weather holds we un’s gonna have some nice aged beef. The gut pile or most of it was caught in the wheel barrow. Effie said you see dat small stomach dere. Clark and his dad both said yes. Cut it out carefully and wash it off and lay it on da butcherin table and cut it into 1 inch pieces and freeze each 1 inch piece in separate sandwich bags. Clark arched his eyebrow at her. She said rennet for makin cheeses. OK, Clark thought. They got the hide off without getting to much hair on the carcass. Effie told them Ya gotta pick ever bit of hair off an use some buckets of water to rinse it off. They had to stand on a ladder to get all the hair off, Pearl even helped. OK, Effie said, we done now except for cleanin up an haulin dat gut stuff and hide off and rinsing all da blood away. The calf was hung onto a 6 X 6 inch 12 foot long bar with upside down Y 4 X 4’s holding the 6 inch bar up 9 feet off the ground. Effie said dey had hung 6 full grown 1200 pound cows on dat bar and it never sagged or creaked.

The routine the next day was repeated. And the next day was a repeat of the 2 before it. The cows were hanging in a cold 40F degree weather that dipped to 34F at night. Did I ever say the Clark family was lucky. The weather held and on the 5th day Effie said it is time to butcher the 1st calf. They split it down the spine, Clark and his dad wore one arm out with that saw. Clark told his dad we could have done this in 5 minutes with a reciprocating saw. Yep his dad responded, but we ain’t got one. The work continued till dark. Effie and Pearl took the cut up sections and ran them through the grinder twice for the hamburger. Clark was amazed at how clean the operation was and the cool weather was invigorating. Finally at 9pm they got finished cutting and vacuum packing the whole thing. Effie was right on about how much meat they could get in the freezers. The 1st freezer was about a third full. Effie had been smart and went in and filled up two 4 gallon galvanized buckets with water and placed them on the 2 stoves. She said somebody was going to stay up late to take a warm bath to warm a third bucket up. The bloody clothes were thrown in the washer. Clark took them out 30 minutes later and hung them on a stretched out clothes line in the living room close to the wood burner. It didn’t take long to heat that third bucket and Clark had a warm bath. Everyone was asleep by 10 pm.

2 more days later and a worn out Clark family took a day off to recuperate. Effie said since no one has offered ta trade for our pig, we gonna butcher both of em. But it gonna take 3 days a pig because of da work involved.

The dehydrator she had was running 24 hours a day making cracked peppered jerky. Clark ate a strip after it was dried and smacked his lips. Better then any store bought I ever ate.

Effie said OK hogs are nasty and it gonna be some kinda job to get dat 800 pound thing in the pickup and brought here. I have a block and tackle and ya’ll boys gonna have ta kill one of em and snatch him outta that nasty pen he in. But when ya kill it, ya gotta cut his throat and let him bleed out while ya putting him in da truck. Iffen ya cut its throat while its alive da pork meat will be a 1000 times better then if ya try to bleed it while its dead. Clark asked her how the easiest way to do it would be. She went in her bedroom and brought back a razor sharp 24 inch sword. She showed him in da book where da juglar was and said one swipe of dat in dat area and ya will do a good job.

Clark and his dad drove to the pig pen and looked at each other. Clark said I’ll do it. The cut of the sword was perfect and the hog bled out as they watched. The other hog began lapping up the blood. The hard part began. They got the block and tackle erected and hoisted the hog up in the air and swung it over the hog fence. They dropped it and erected the block and tackle again and got it in the air, Clarks dad backed the truck under it and they took it home for the final butchering. When they got there the 200 gallon tub was bubbling with boiling water. Effie said as soon as I cool dis water down a little bit, drop him in da tub, she poured a half bucket of cold water in. The block and tackle was again erected and the pig was lowered into the hot water. Clark asked why she had poured cold water in. She said, don’t wanna cook it, jus wanna soften up, and scrape da hair, mud, and feces off da skin so’s we un’s can work on it on da butcherin table. The skin scraping in the hot water took over an hour. The pig was then hung and gutted. Effie again came to the rescue. She said see all dem small guts full of ever thing. Clark and his dad again nodded. Well,cuttem loose from whatever they hooked to and squeeze whatever is in em out in da gut pile. Clark again looked at her in a questioning way. She said dat dere is sausage casings we need ta put da sausage in. After ya get that done we needs ta run water thru em and clean em out good, then we gonna puttem in a small sack with salt in it to keep em from spoiling and refrigerate em. Then we gonna run water thru em again before we put sausage in em.

just another story #2 Part 22
I must be getting old or forgetful Effie said. Cut dat sausage casing in about 5 or 6 foot lengths and turn em inside out so’s we un’s cn clean da inside of da gut and then we put it in the salt bag and put it in fridge. Next, one of you boys cut da head off. Clark saw that this was easier said then done. He finally got it off. Ok now cut da jowls off for some seasonin bakin and throw the rest of da head away, unless somebody wants some brains, tongue, eyeballs or dem ears fried up. The head went in the gut pile. One more thing we’un’s can do or maybe 2 before we quit for da day. Saw it in 2 pieces but leave about a foot an a half of skin near where da head was ta hold the 2 parts together. Rinse everything off good she said. Now after it quits drippin water we cn scrape da leaf fat and trim da fat around da hams and put it into 5 gallon buckets. Does anybody want any kidney meat? OK cuttem out an puttem in gut pile. Clean da gut pile up boys, dat’s all we cn do today. Tomorry after da hog is chilled down good we will start da butcherin. Gee clark thought and its only about 3 pm.

That evening Clark and his dad helped Effie and Pearl render the 5 gallon buckets of fat they had. Each of them took a turn at stirring the huge soup stock pot that Effie had on the stove, Clark asked questions this time and noted the candy thermometer stuck down in the lightly bubbling lard. Effie said its all in da book, da rite temperatures, dat is. Later on he watched her drop a potato down in the lard and again watched as Pearl scooped the lightly browned cracklings off that floated to the top. Finally about 830 pm the 2nd stockpot of lard was cooled down enough to put in another one of those nicely sterilized 5 gallon buckets that had had grass seed in them. Effie told Clark and his dad to puttem in da root cellar. We un’s got about 2 or 3 more ta do tommory. Wow Clark thought 25 gallons of lard should last a long time and this is only the 1st hog. And then he thought of all the back breaking manual labor that went into getting that lard. Clark’s dad, Joe took the stock pot out after some boiling water was put in it to remove the fat residue in the bottom of the pot. Effie had told them she didn’t like to put fat down the drain into the septic system. He dumped it in a place Effie had designated. She said she always put the little scraps and things there because the ground was soft and was easy to
turn over with the spade. The scraps just decomposed back into the earth and there were no food scraps laying around for rodents to nibble on.

The next morning was almost frosty and probably would have been if there wasn’t a slight breeze. Effie checked the hanging carcass and nodded her approval. OK, you cn cut da skin holding dem 2 parts together and both of ya can manhandle half of it ta da butcherin table. Clark looked at Effie and said, it is to heavy for both of us to carry it without dropping on the ground. OK, she said dey is more then one way ta skin a cat. Move the butcherin table over underneath it and drop it down. Clark said, now that we can do. Took both of them 10 minutes to get the flat topped 200 pound log table under it; finally after intense instruction from Effie, the butchering was finished on both halves of the carcass. She told both of the men to go get the maple box from the barn; the one about as big as a foot locker. Pearl had boiled up about 3 gallons of water and sat it on one end of the butchering table about 30 minutes ago. Effie brought out what Clark would describe as a needle and plunger for injecting elephants. The tender quik was mixed up and injected into the hams and bacons. They were then covered with a mixture of Morton cure and her home made cure and placed in the maple box, Dang she said. I knew them hogs were ta big ta fit in dat one box. There is another maple box in da loft. They drug it down and the rest of the hams and bacons were rubbed with the mixture and placed in it. Dat’s it for dat part, it gonna get really cold in about a week and we gonna have ta keep dem boxes from freezing so’s da cure can work for a long time. Take da boxes and puttem in dat little corner room in da barn, they used the dolly. We un’s gonna watch the weather and when da temp go below 34 degree, we gonna lite up 4 kerosene lanterns and place em beside da boxes until da cure is finished. Dat room is good an tite an da temp shudn’t go below 38 or so degree. It never did when we did it before. Let’s get da rest of da meat vac packed an we make sausage after dat. Before the sausage grinding was done, Joe and Clark went in an dumped the lard from the 1st rendering in one of the 5 gallon buckets, cleaned the pot out and refilled it for a 2nd rendering. They finished the grinding and vac packed the sausage and froze it just in time to dump the 2nd fat rendering into another 5 gallon bucket. They cleaned the pot out and a 3rd rendering began. Clark looked on the fridge door and there were dates marked when to turn the bacon and hams and repack the cure.

Dang Clark thought this farm life is for hardy people.

Effie told them the barometer indicated bad weather coming so we gonna wait for it ta clear up afore we do da other hog. Ah a break, Clark thought. Not to be. At daylight Joe, Clark and Pearl were spreading the manure out on the garden. And after that the chickens had to be tended to, the cow milked and Pearl and Joe slopped the other hog. The cow had figured out that after morning milking it was to go to the pasture and close to dark it would come to the barn for the 2nd milking. Clark mucked the one stall and thought now this ain’t so bad of a job. Clark took his scooter and went to a department store Effie had told him about. He needed a pair of winter boots, those desert boots were made for just that, the desert. He found 3 pair of winter boots in 13 W that were a pretty high dollar set and he was tickled pink. He grabbed some running style tennis shoes in his size and returned home.

That evening Clark looked at all the things Effie had put out on the table and asked her what it was for. Well we un’s is gonna start making some cheeses, she said. So the cheese industry as Clark called it was started. He finally found out how that little piece of stomach from the cow was used.

The next day it was spitting snow flakes. Effie told Clark to go and get some of that hickory you cut down and a couple of limbs off that dead apple tree in the orchard. He smelled something delicious coming out of the oven and asked what was for supper. She just told him you will find out later. He found out and before he could get any of it he had to do some work. He built a smoky fire in the BBQ pit and laid the ribs that had been precooked in the oven. Pearl handed him some BBQ sauce in a mason jar. She said some of Effie’s work from the summer garden. Baste them on one side after you turn them, Effie’s instructions. So that night Clark had a delectable return on some of that hog labor.

just another story #2 Part 23
They were all waiting on Effie to tell them when to butcher the other hog. She just said, not yet. So Clark and his dad made some plans to scavenge a couple of snow mobiles for winter time use in case they had to evacuate or scavenge for a critical item they had not yet thought of. Effie told them, dem boys in dat 3rd large town had lots of dem machines ya talking about. I’d go lookin in some garages dere. They did and found 2, both of them were on small tow trailers, one of the machines had 3 full 5 gallon gas cans on its trailer. Shucks, Clark said we going to have to make another trip. Clarks dad said maybe not. They slid the other trailer up on the 1st one a little ways and used a tow strap to attach it. If we go slow Joe said we won’t have any problem. Clark said dad I sure would like to watch some movies, I am tired of reading paperbacks that we took earlier from that store. Another trip to find a phone book and they discovered where an electronics store and a movie rental place were. They took 3 lap tops with 20 inch screens that had a DVD burner/player on it and 3 small digital cameras to download pictures to one of the computers for future reference. Clark took his time and selected about 400 movies and Joe just snatched another 300 or so for the women to watch. Clark asked his dad what kind of movies he wanted. Joe told him I like what you picked and will watch them. They wandered through town and stopped at a drug store which had the doors torn off. The pharmacy was a wreck and Clark said I bet they ain’t nothing missing but narcotics. A PDR (physician’s desk reference) was picked up and browsed. They took a few of those quart sized plastic jars with antibiotics in them and a few other things they couldn’t remember if they had on hand for cuts and bruises. Joe loaded 4 buggies up with feminine pads, shampoo and some beauty aids that he knew Pearl had used in the past. Clark said I know we have a lot of tooth paste, but let’s take another buggy full and all the toothbrushes and dental floss. As they were leaving town Joe noticed a large sign on the front of city hall. He asked Clark to stop so he could read it. It said town is infected with unknown bacteria and virus. We have gone to, a location was given and that was it. They just stared at each other. Clark said I think whatever was here is long gone or we would have been infected more then a month ago when we first came here. Joe said I sure hope so. The trip home was really silent.

just another story #2 Part 24
They got home, did their chores and stabilized the gas in those 3 jerry cans. Clark started both machines they ran fine. Next he checked the tracks and they looked almost new, so someone had taken care of these machines. The gasoline was drained from them and the engines were run dry. He refilled both gas tanks with stabilized gas and went in for supper. Clark’s dad got a big hug for the feminine stuff he had bought home. They finished supper and Joe told Effie and Pearl what the sign had said. Effie just harrumphed and told them, can’t worry about it now. Tomorry you boys gotta make 2 boxes to cure the hams in. Clark told her Ferdnand’s shack had oak siding. She said dat be fine. They finished the boxes up about noon and used the Ferdnand’s bathroom door and bedroom door hinges for the box lids. Effie said fair weather tomorry, we butcher at daybreak. Joe told Clark; well we will find out if that reciprocating saw with a hack saw blade or wood blade you found will cut through that back bone. Clark said I sure hope so; it will save us an hour and a half of manually sawing that thing in 2 pieces.

Clark got lucky again and cut it in the right place. The heart pumped out most of the blood before the hog died and the heart quit. They had made a few changes to the block and tackle system and only had to lift the hog to the fence and drop it in the truck. The reciprocating saw worked great. The dipping and scraping in the hot water went faster this time as they had an idea of what to do. Clark had hooked the hose up to the well pump end and they used the hose to clean the pig up while it was being cut in 2 pieces. This also made cleaning the hog gut pile remnants easier. There was a piece of 48 inch tough rubber mine belt under where the meat was hung and this helped out a lot to spray the small chunks of meat and dripping blood into one place and scoop it up with a snow shovel. They finished at 130 pm this day. Effie had stayed on the porch by the outdoor cook stove that was fired up early when they arose. She told them, just holler out and ask me if you forgot what ta do. Don’t ruin a bunch of meat because you n’s afraid ta ask a question. That afternoon she said the temperature is 39 degrees F and the barometer says another fair day tomorrow. Just say a small prayer that it don’t drop down ta 15F or so. Dat freezes da water in da hanging meat and almost will ruin it. They got lucky again. Effie told them when they were butchering it on the 2nd day to make a lot more Canadian bacon this time. The 3rd day the temperature hung on 34 and dipped below freezing after they had finished grinding the sausage. Effie told them tomorrow in the day time when it went above freezing to use the hose and clean the butchering area up. Joe went and lit the kerosene lamps next to the curing bacon in the barn. Effie asked him if he had put a long wick in the lamps. He said no it darkens the lamp glass. She told him, don’t care about glass turning black, need heat, not light. So Joe went out and raised the wicks a ¼ inch more and shut the door. They had been lucky again; the temperature that night dropped in to the upper teens and stayed that way for a week. Clark had found the blackberry, peach, blueberry, apple, apple butter, jellies and jams in the root cellar and a happy gleam came from his eyes. He took 2 jars of different jams to the kitchen and Effie flat out told him, you u’ns can only open one jar at a time and when dat is finished, another jar cn be opened. He hung his head, but he asked her why. She told him, dat is homemade and ain’t got no preservatives in it and don’t last for months after ya open it like dat store bot stuff.

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just another story #2 Part 25
Sure would like some corn bread and pinto beans, Joe said at lunch one day. Effie laughed and told him, ain’t got none. Now iffens you and young Clark dere wanna go look and find some, I be happy too. Oh and when ya lookin for dem beans see iffen ya can’t find a 22 and some bullets to shoot a mess of squirrels for some thick white squirrel gravy. Don’t like squirrels dat been shot with shotgun. Da BB’s really hurt my gums when I bite one. So another trip was planned, they debated taking the scooters or the truck, but when Clark said it is 19F outside, a little gas could be spared. They would take the scooters in the truck to search the large town that supposedly was infected. In the manual and literature they got with the scooters. It said they would get about 115 miles per gallon and that thought Clark was really sipping on the gas.

They used a 2 X 8 to push the scooters up in the truck and tied them to the truck bed hooks with tow strapping. They first searched the grocery stores, all the food, except sugar, salt, molasses and strange items, was gone. They stopped and planned their next move. Clark said there are 4 or 5000 houses here and that is a large search area for 2 people. Well, Joe said whatcha want to do. Clark said I have no idea. Joe said well let’s look at all the stores before you grid this town off and we each start searching houses. A house is probably where we will find a 22 rifle. I expect all the people took their large caliber rifles and pistols. Clark said OK. In a small mom and pop store they found a 20 pound sack of pintos, three 25 pound sacks of rice and 5 2 pound bags of kidney beans, Joe said ah, we can have some chili now. They laughed when they hit the family dollar store; there were about 40 of those little single serving boxes of corn bread/muffin mix on a shelf. OK Clark said that will take care of us for a long while. Now let’s go find a 22 rifle. Clark thought it was the 76th house he searched that he found a Ruger 10 – 22 with a 1 inch 2 X 7 power Bushnell scope on it and a 30 round empty magazine in it. There were no bullets in the house that he could find. He went to the next and next and on and on. He met up with his dad at the time and place they said they would meet. Clark showed him the rifle and Joe said nice, now we can go home. Clark said we have a small problem, I never found any bullets. Joe said argghhh. They went back and looked in the yellow pages for a gun store. They found 2 gun smiths but no gun store, Joe said look for pawn shops. 1 pawn shop and 2 gun smith places were put on the search now list. The pawn shop had nothing but dust in it. The 1st gunsmith house netted them some shotgun and 30-06 rounds. The 2nd gunsmith, of course it is always the last place you look, they found what they were looking for and a lot more; AK-47 bullets, 2000, 223 bullets 1000, 22 bullets, 10 bricks or 5500 rounds. They loaded their great find and left the town, hoping it would be a long time before they had to return, Clark had that itch he sometimes got when he was under observation by the enemy in the war zone. They made sure they were not followed, filled the truck tank up and took a circuitous route home.

15 of the terrorists had made it to this town and were staying in a gridded off section of town in 2 houses which were to be searched next. Clark’s luck was holding. One of the hot heads told the element leader to shoot them and take that automobile that is running. Our friends have put us on foot from the EMP (airborne electro magnetic pulse). No the leader said, they both have long guns and that young one in the front has an AK-47 at the ready and he looks and acts like those trained enemy soldiers we have seen in our country. We will search this and the next few towns we come on and wait for them to come again. They cannot live to far from here and I know gasoline is hard to get right now, that is why they are riding those small motor scooters to save on gas. They probably only have a small amount.

just another story #2 Part 26
Joe and Clark got back about 430pm. Clark told everyone at supper there would be no more trips to town till Christmas. They all looked at him. He just said I’ve had these feelings before and I trust them. There are bad people in that large town. I recommend we not use the radio any more and go back to those mailbox deliveries. I am going to put in that message for the mail boxes there are many armed Arabs in town. Pearl said, you don’t know that and then she remembered something that happened on the way out of town. She just said forget I said that. Effie said some of those people want a meeting held ta meet us. Clark said something only his dad heard, hope there are some pretty young girls, Joe grinned. Pearl said yes, I would like to see the faces of those voices I hear on that radio.

The meeting was set for 3 weeks from today; Clark looked on the fridge to see if any bacon turning was to be done that day, no turning. Clark asked Effie why the bacon was in a box. She just looked at him as if he had turned into a stone cold idiot. All she said was mice, done got ta cold for bugs. He turned kind of red and mumbled something. They all watched whatever movies they wanted. The solar system was a good one and Clark and Joe followed the instructions, they had gotten with the panels, to a T on watching and charging the batteries and checking the acid levels. Joe had his corn bread and pintos and a few days later they had chili. Clark took the 22 and sighted it in, grabbed his rucksack after morning chores and went squirrel hunting. Effie had told him where the hickory and nut trees were at the end of the property and there were probably 2 or 300 squirrels there. He shot 7 squirrels in the head and a 20 some pound big tom turkey in the head. She said good, dere is our Thanksgiving dinner. She had to show Clark and Joe how to skin a squirrel the correct way. The turkey she said can be dry plucked or the easy way is ta take da big heavy copper bottomed stock pot and boil some water on the BBQ grill and pull em out and drop em in the pit, da feathers burn up good when ya start a good fire in pit. Just gotta make sure ya gettem all in pit, cuz they make a mess if ya lettem blow all over yard. The turkey was dipped in the boiling water and Joe and Clark plucked it. Effie had to show them how to get the guts out without ruining the bird. She told all of them I don’t like gizzards and only liver I like is a mess of chicken ones. The gizzards went in a bucket to be disposed of with the squirrel skins and guts. The turkey was washed out and hung outside to drip dry before it would be vac packed and put in freezer.

The next evening after chores, Clark had the best gravy he had ever eaten. The squirrel meat covered in the gravy with home made bread right out of the oven with real butter was an extravagant meal. He wished he could make gravy like that, because he would eat it 24 hours a day till he burst. For dessert he grinned as he emptied the pint jar that had blackberry jam in it on to a thick slice of still steaming bread with melting butter on it. He said next one I am going to try is strawberry jam.

just another story #2 Part 27
At lunch on a single digit really cold day, Effie told Clark and Joe to bring in the planters on the porch. She had them set on the metal brackets under the 2 south facing windows. She sprayed a little water on the dirt and said now we gonna watch to see if any bugs hatch out. This here gonna be my herb garden for da winter. Iffen any bugs hatch out I gonna pour some boiling vinegar water on da dirt and you n’s set it back on porch to freeze da hatched bugs under da dirt. After 2 days we bring it back in an I plant my herbs.

Another week before we meet these survivalists or preppers Clark thought. They must really be stocked up to not have to go into town. I am going to recon those 3 towns before it snows. He asked his dad to do his chores for him for a couple of days. He told him what he was going to do. His dad said, be really careful. Clark took the super quiet scooter 14 miles to the last turn off before he would be visible from the main road and parked it 10 yards back in the woods. It was one of those painted in a camouflage pattern and was extremely difficult to see. He took to the woods like a phantom. The weather was really cold, but he was dressed for it. He took the M-16 because of the massive amount of automatic firepower it had instead of the slower shooting AK. He had 5 magazines loaded with 19 rounds in each. The 357 rode smoothly on his hip. He had his night vision with him. The Alice pack had eveything in it he would need for 3 days. He was in combat mode and on the hunt.

just another story #2 Part 28
He knew the 1st 2 towns intimately and it didn’t take long to see that they were deserted. The 3rd town he knew about half of it fairly well. He set up an observation post about a mile back from the town on a knoll and looked for smoke, steam or some heat waves going up in the air. A normal human needed heat and shelter at least 12 hours of the day to survive in weather this cold, unless they were on the move or dressed properly. He glassed the town and there it was, a white mist of smoke coming from 2 house chimneys. He continued his looking and said to himself, lookee here, there was a man like figure about 800 yards away in a small grove of trees moving around trying to keep warm. Clark figured this was the 1 or more look out people; now if I was smart and knew about combat tactics, where would I put the other 1 or 2 watchers? He glassed for a long time across the road from the houses and saw a little movement in a 2nd story window that over looked the heated houses and the main road. OK, gotcha, that’s number 2, now if this guy leading this crew is any good there should be another one on the 3rd leg of the triangle. He glassed for another hour but did not spot anyone. So he remained where he was and would see where the relief went to when the changing of the guard occurred. Right at dark 3 men left the 2 houses and headed out – he wasn’t worried about the 2 that were headed to the known positions. He almost lost the third man when he turned a corner, but he showed back up and went into a house about 500 yards from where Clark had figured the man was supposed to be. The 3rd man went into a single story house and another one departed soon thereafter. Well, well, well there is a combat team of what looks like Arabs in this town, he mentally patted himself on the back. Now what am I going to do about it. He thought a while and said, I ain’t going to do anything. It looks like there are too many for me to take on single handed. I ain’t got a silenced sniper rifle or I could take out the 3, but that’s just wishful thinking, I would have to get a lot closer unless I had a .50 caliber sniper rifle. I ain’t got that either, so I’ll just keep a watch till I get cold or run out of supplies. He got cold about 130 am. He eased back to the next town and started a small fire in the back of a garage that had the windows missing from it, he left the pull up door open about 4 inches so there would be a cross draft. The floor was concrete so he wasn’t worried about burning the town down. He just needed some heat to get through what had to be below zero weather. He lay down about 4 feet from the fire on his rolled up ground pad, which was a short one and 3 inches thick. He got warm for 5 hours, had some coffee in his GI canteen and heated up some beanie weenies for a protein breakfast. The fire was left to die out at day light.

He eased back into the woods and travelled to his original observation post. He must have missed the shift change because nothing happened all day. He decided to go home and check on this team in a few days if it didn’t snow. He could be tracked back to the cottage in the snow. He got to the scooter when those large flakes started falling. The temperature had risen into the 20’s and the clouds overhead looked ominous. He parked the scooter in the barn, warmed some water up, took a bath and told everyone he was going to sleep for 5 or 6 hours and he would then tell them all about his trip.

just another story #2 Part 29
When Clark woke up everyone else was asleep. He chuckled and went back to bed, the many miles of running between towns and the extreme cold had taken a little out of him. He woke up about an hour before daybreak and started a fire in the kitchen stove. He then stoked up the wood stove in the living room. Effie came in to a warm kitchen, gave him a big toothless grin and made herself a cup of tea. Clark decided to have a cup of coffee and he made some hobo coffee, dumped in 4 or 5 tblspns of grounds into a pot of boiling water, let it boil for a minute or more. Took the pot off the stove and dropped a few drops of cold water in it to settle the grounds. Effie handed him a muslin cloth and said pour yourself a cup through that. Clark added a little milk to the cup, leaned back in the rocker sipped on the strong coffee and was at peace with the world. He and Effie watched the snow covered land light up as the day brightened. There were about 6 or so inches of snow on the ground, this made what he was looking at through the kitchen window look exactly like a winter wonderland. Effie eventually tore her gaze from the spectacular outdoor scene and made some biscuits. Soon the kitchen smelled just like a bakery. They had eggs, biscuits and Effie surprised him with a large bowl of squirrel gravy she had made last night while he was asleep and kept in the fridge. He ate like he had never eaten before. Then he finally opened that strawberry jam up and put it on a melting butter covered biscuit. Clark thought this is a good life until he remembered he had chores to do. Effie looked at him and said, farm life is hard, da work never stops, it just slows down a little in da wintertime.

Clark milked the cow for his mom, mucked the stall and made sure the cow could get to the pasture. He had looked and there was enough browse above the snow for the cow to graze on. He remembered what Effie had said about 4 or 5 feet of snow. He guessed the cow would stay in the barn then, he would ask her. He had checked the fridge and today was a day to rotate the contents of the curing box. He did that and scooped the cure on the bottom of the boxes back up onto the meat. That brown sugar made the boxes smell really good. He sat there on one box just inhaling the ham sugar odor for a few minutes. He refilled the kerosene lamps, checked the curing room thermometer for the temperature, 39 degrees F. Now what to do next, he thought; he remembered Effie’s words, the work just slows down a little in the winter. He decided to do nothing then, just relax and think about those guys in town and wonder about the new people he was going to meet in a couple of days.

just another story #2 Part 30
It started snowing again about 11am and dropped another 5 inches on top of the 6 that was already there. Clark told Effie it is getting to be a pain in the legs to get to the barn with all that snow. Ain’t no way I am going to remove a hundred yards of snow with that snow shovel. Effie said next time ya go ta barn in curing room, look over door about 6 feet above door, there are 3 sets of metal snow shoes with nylon strings on em. Ah ha Clark thought. Effie said takes a cupla hours ta learn ta walk and run in em. Clark mushed himself to the barn and brought the snow shoes back to the porch. About 2 hours before supper, Clark started on his self training program to learn how to use the snow shoes. It took the 2 hours to find out it was going to take another 2 hours tomorrow morning to get around on them.

It snowed some more that night and the snow was about 17 inches deep when he made his trip to the barn on the snow shoes. Effie had told him to use the right side of the double barn door, it opened both ways. She looked at the snow and said, it’s ok ta let da cow out to pasture, she cn get dere. We will have ta keep her in da barn when da snow gets another foot deeper. That answered the question he was going to ask her. Then she said you n’s gonna have ta muck da barn 3 times a day when she in da stall. Just shovel it in da wheelbarrow till it full and ya can wheelbarrow it out the side door and dump it in dat big hole by da barn, dat be our compost pile for next fall. Clark wondered how he was going to get it out of the hole when it came time to spread it next fall. He was sure he would find out when the time came.

The 15 terrorists were stuck in the large town. The leader said all of you people will have to search every house for food; this is going to be a bad time for us. We will cut the watches down to one man in the 2 story building across the street. No one is going to be moving around in this snow unless they have tracked machines and we will hear them coming from a long way off. The leader was only partially right. Clark wasn’t through with them yet.

just another story #2 Part 31
There were 6 of the 14 families at the designated site. 1st mailbox on right going east, Clark chuckled at those directions; wouldn’t mean much to anybody unless they were extremely familiar with this area. The thought the postman would probably know where it was and he grinned. 15 minutes after the meeting started, Clark was ready to go home. 2 of the families were religious fanatics, not just bible thumpers, they were rabid holier than thou people. The cute girl that shyly looked at him several times was with the rabid fanatics. Not much of a chance going that route he thought. The other 4 families were so closed mouth that Clark wondered if they talked in their houses. Effie struck up some kind of a trade deal on some cured hams and some processed flour and made another meeting scheduled for the 4th of January. Right before Clark and family rode the 2 snow mobiles home the girl edged towards him and said these people I am staying with are not my parents. She sidled back to her group and everyone went home. On the way home Clark locked into his memory every feature of the girl; blonde, sky blue eyes, 5 ft 8 or 9 inches tall, maybe 135 lb; couldn’t tell much about the body because it was bundled in winter clothes. The rest of his thinking was, well I can dream about her and scheme how we can get together. Clark could be a ninja thinking person when he wanted to.

He asked Effie why the trading for flour, we have 200 pounds ready to grind. She said I know, but ya gotta start a trade system up with sum tradin and barterin. She continued, dem people grow some things we un’s ain’t got and dey got da seeds I want. Clark just told her to wait till they planted them and he would go steal the grown plant and she would have the seeds she needed. She said it may come to dat. And young Clark, just what did dat yello haired girl say to ya? He didn’t answer for a few minutes, but he finally told her what the girl had said. Effie said that is the best news I heard in a month of Sundays. Clark didn’t reply to that comment.

The Clark family fell into that farm routine and Clark had to do his running exercises on snow shoes which he finally mastered after a week. He talked it over with the family about what he wanted to do. Effie said ya cn do it when it starts snowin. Just ride da snow machine to where ya parked da scooter and use da snow shoes to get to em; ya cn do some damage to em while it snowin. Da snow fall cover your tracks up when ya come home. Clark lay on the couch that night and ran some scenarios through his head. I can burn them out with some Molotov cocktails and probably pick off 4 or 5 before running to another location. I have the night vision and I bet they don’t. He grinned again and thought about them trying to chase him through 3 feet of snow without snow shoes. I’ll make some more plans before I do anything. First thing I have to do is wait for an evening of snow.

Effie was looking at the schedule of turning the bacon on the fridge door when clark came in from outside. She said it time to bring da bakin here and slice it. She told him to fill the big stock pot with warm water and set it on da porch. When ya got da slabs here, rinse em off in stock pot and lay em beside da slicer, when da water drained off em, slice em up and bring da slices in house beside vac packer.on table. Joe and clark made short work of rinsing and slicing about 70 pounds of bacon. They had to change the stock pot water once, but Effie had already thought of that and had some hot water ready to mix in with the cold. Effie and Pearl were vac packing them in 1 and 1 and a half pound packages. Effie said we un’s gonna have fried potatoes, bakin sandwiches, and my famous egg cheese omelet with our home made cheese this evening. Clark got to slice the potatoes. Effie strained and saved the bacon grease into a large ceramic bowl and put it in the fridge. Joe said, I ain’t never ate bacon that good. Clark chimed in right behind him with a ditto. Clark really had not eaten properly home cured bacon before and it was, he wanted to say out of this world, but he just said ditto. The potatoes were perfectly fried and Effie had put some bell pepper slices she had rehydrated in them, they were perfect, the egg cheese omelet was another perfect strike to Effie’s cooking. The cooking utensils and dishes finally cleaned up they argued like a good natured family over which movie they were going to watch.

just another story #2 Part 32

After doing his chores Clark came in and looked at the 3 of them looking at him. Clark said what? Joe started the conversation off about him eventually finding a woman; Clark said that would be nice. Well we have been talking about it and made some plans you may have not thought about. This is going to be a lot of work to. We want you to move a large trailer here and park it on the north side of the house and place it on blocks for a permanent parking. There is enough electricity for you to have a fridge and if we notify each other you could run a small microwave in the trailer. The heat would have to be a wood stove placed in the center of the trailer living room. Effie tells us that the hook up and clean out entryway to the septic system is right beside where the trailer would be parked. We haven’t quite figured out the water situation yet, but we have some ideas on that; this all being contingent on what you do about those Arabs in the city. It will be another month and a half before the next meeting, so we have plenty of time to make plans and do things. Clark said, dad you know you are 100 % right and I am glad you brought it up. Just some more plans to go along with what I am planning. Joe said Effie tells me about the middle of December the snow usually melts away until the next big blizzards come along.

That night Clark solidified his attack plans on bad people in a place he needed to go to often. 2 days later about 3pm it started snowing. Effie told him its time if you are going to the city. The only extra things he took on this trip were 4 pint mason jars full of gasoline with new lids and duct tape around the lids to insure no leakage. The 4 lids with wicks inserted through them were in his Alice pack. It would not do to have a leak in his Alice pack ruining everything and the main reason, leaking and catching his back on fire. He shuddered at that thought. The other thing he had was a zeroed in vari 3 Leupold 4 X 10 50 mm scope on one of the Fednand boys 30-06. He had run 50 rounds through this gun and it shot super fine out to 500 yards. The scope had extreme low light gathering capability. He was depending on that. The 06 was strapped crosswise over his shoulder on his back and the M-16 slung on his shoulder butt stock hanging straight down. He took a chance and drove the snow machine through the woods to the edge of the 1st city. Snow was falling heavily and the noise the snow machine made could not be heard over 20 yards away. This cut off 7 miles of him tramping through the deep snow on snow shoes. It wouldn’t do him any good to go to his original scouting post. The visibility was about 50 to 75 yards. He scouted the 1st single story building for an observer. There were no foot prints around the building, so the leader had pulled this post. He went to the woods where the 1st man he observed was. No tracks in this area either. That left the 2nd story house overlooking the road and the 2 houses the terrorists were in. He could smell the wood smoke coming from the chimneys of the 2 occupied houses. He came in from behind the 2 story house and looked at the front door. Yes, a deep trail from across the street to this house was visible.

This could not be this easy he thought. He sat down and to himself said do not get overconfident. There may be 25 armed people in those 2 houses. The only problem he had was what the man in the 2 story house was going to do when he pitched the 4 Molotov cocktails through the windows of the 2 houses. If he looked out the window Clark was going to take him out and run down the street across the road and take out any people running into the street. Then he was going to wait and start sniping on any movement with his night vision. He figured he could get 10 or more before the leader if he was a good combat technician tried to either surround him or rush him. He had no plans of staying in one spot over 5 seconds. He could move through the deep snow, they couldn’t. he wished and wished for 2 grenades, they didn’t appear so he tossed the lit gas bottles through the 4 windows beside the chimneys. The M-16 stuttered 5 rounds at the mans face in the 2nd story window. He was on the move now. 50 yards away across the road, down from the 2 story building, he could see a large group of men bunched up outside the house on the roadway. He got all of them and moved behind the building and back up to where he was 50 yards away on the other side of the 2 story building. Some gunfire roared at where he had last been. He noticed where it came from and unstrapped the 30-06. He could see the mans shoulder behind a wooden corner fence planking. He shot him and that gunfire stopped, He moved 10 yards closer to the side of the 2 story building. Some more gunfire came from beside the burning building. He waited and re-slung the 06. He could hear the foreign language and men moving around beside the burning building. He left where he was ran behind the building down the road a hundred yards. The visibility cut him off from anyone in that area. He ran across the road and went 2 hundred yards into the woods and slowly moved back towards the burning buildings. He was in extreme combat mode now. 10 yards more he could hear some people forcing their way through the deep snow. He turned on his night vision and there they were 5 men in a file with weapons pointing outwards. Well if I can do it once maybe twice is a charm. The 06 was pointed at the 1st man, they were all in a line. He fired. 3 men fell the other 2 started firing blindly at where his muzzle blast was. He was 15 feet to the side and had the M-16. He made short work of those 2. He gathered his 06 up and re-slung it.

He wasn’t sure how many people he had killed, but he thought it was 12. He back tracked the 5 men he had just shot. He heard 2 men talking in Farsi about 10 or so yards away. He eased up behind a large (what he thought was an oak) tree and lay on the ground. He eventually got situated enough to where he could peer around the bottom of the trunk. There were 3 men, one was on the ground and another was wrapping something around his head. He could see through his night vision the scorched clothes. He eased the M-16 around the tree and shot all of them. He didn’t know it yet, but he had wiped out the entire terrorist team and burned 2 nice houses down to the ground. Good thing it was snowing heavily or others would have caught on fire. He went on a, what he called a stealth patrol, he made a 300 yard circle of the 2 houses he had burnt down. There were no tracks except the snow shoe tracks. OK he thought, no one has left the immediate area. He closed the circle down to 200 yards. No tracks yet. He took another gamble and cut it to about 75 yards. He stayed right where he was for an hour not moving, just listening, nothing, not a sound. He moved in closer and started running into dead bodies he had shot. He continued to search. He found no human tracks made today anywhere outside of those 2 houses. Well I guess I got all of them. He went to the 2 story building across the street, went upstairs, drug the face shot man to a corner and watched the area for 3 more hours.

No sense in me freezing my butt off out here, he went home.

just another story #2 Part 33
OK dad the Arab problem has been taken care of. On the way back I thought about parking a trailer on cinder blocks and it ain;t a very good idea. Need a footer to keep the trailer from sinking into the ground on a corner or the middle and causing the thing to crack in places, maybe even crack the outer shell. Joe said well let’s think about it. We ain’t got no heavy equipment, probably could get a small back hoe or something if we plan it out. I noticed there were diesel pumps at that station we been getting our gas, might be some left in them tanks like the gasoline. Clark said those 2 pick ups we got won’t even come close to towing an 80 foot long 14 foot wide trailer up here. We done thought about that, we seen 4 or 5 one ton trucks, older ones look like diesel engine ones in several places. Clark knew this was just a planning stage meeting and Pearl was taking notes. Effie was drinking tea taking in every word. Effie finally broke into the conversation. Iffen you could get eight 20 foot steel beams up here and bury em in da ground after ya weld em together. You n’s wouldn’t have ta worry about da trailer sinkin in ta da ground. You n’s could then put da cinder blocks on da beams and dat would take care of da sinkin problem. Clark said we still going to need some cement to cement the blocks together. Effie said won’t need much, go check da hardware stores in da ware rooms out. Pearl said where you going to get the steel beam. Effie said at da steel beam place. She continued on by saying ya could get one of dem steel buildings and fix da inside up like ya want it. Dat be a whole lotta work. You n’s can get on dem snow machines tomorry and look da 3 towns over. That’s when the 1st planning meeting broke up, everyone headed out to do their chores.

The next morning Clark and his dad were in the excavation pit parked beside the white truck from which they had taken the CB and antenna. Parked next to the bridge footer was a small diesel backhoe, an older model. Joe said I bet that one will start if we jumper the battery. Clark said probably. They went to each town and went through the yellow pages. There was a cement plant about 4 miles out of town. They looked it over and there were enough bags of ready mix to do a footer and cement for the cinder blocks which were stacked up on pallets for about 500 yards; could build a big, big house with that many blocks, Joe said. Clark said now to get all this stuff to the property when the roads clear. They found a tilt flat bed that would handle the block, cement and back hoe. They continued their search of the cement plant an found a manual cement mixer, Clark said this should work for just the one job that I am going to be a brick layer, Joe laughed.
They checked the diesel tank at the gas station and the hose came up showing a wet spot about 26 inches on the hose. Clark said we should look for some Pri-D, the thought that we may use diesel equipment never entered my mind when all this started. A large supply of Pri-D and the stuff that stops bacteria from growing in diesel fuel was thrown into the back of the diesel flat bed they were going to try to get started when the roads cleared. The trailer sales park had a diesel truck that was set up for towing the behemoth trailers. Clark went trailer shopping and found a fully loaded 14 X 80 that was set up for the colder regions of WV. It had 2 X 6’s in the walls that had 6 inches of insulation in the walls. He kept on looking and found all kinds of doo dads and plugs that he did not know what they were. He sat down and read the brochure about the trailer and he said, I’ll be danged, there are eight 4 X 8 height and direction adjustable solar panels on the roof of this thing. They found a charge controller ready to be attached to batteries in a large empty battery compartment. Clark told his dad, this one will do.

They still had not figured out the water situation yet. Clark thought about putting a 2 or 300 gallon pressurized tank beside the trailer. Joe said the water will freeze into a solid block of ice in the winter. Ah ha Clark said, we will have a back hoe, we can bury the tank to keep it from freezing. Joe said yes and I just wonder who is going to pump on that well pump long enough to fill that tank. Clark got a kind of dejected look on his face. Dang dad we got power, we should be able to figure some way out to pump the well water to both places. Lets go to that plumbing shop in the big city and browse around the equipment; you’re going to need some sewer pipe and some ½ inch pipe and fittings to do this job that we haven’t figured out to do yet. Joe said I have no earthly idea how to dig a well. Clark said me neither. They spent 2 hours in that cold building and stacked a bunch of stuff by the door to be picked up later. They had 6 different kinds of electric water pumps with all kinds of fittings to try and drop one of them down beside the pump. Joe said I got it. OK, Clark said lets hear the solution. We take the kitchen well pump out and drop the electric one down, Effie said its only about 28 feet to the bottom of the water in her well. We can just put an electric pump down in the well and hook it all up under the sink and she will have a Fawcett to turn on and that eliminates one problem. We can tee off the top of the pipe coming out of the well and run your water pipe to the trailer underground and you will have water. Glad you got that figured out dad. Now we can go home and make some fancy measurements before we destroy Effies water supply. His dad looked at him in an odd manner. They couldn’t carry much back with them since they were on snow machines. They had the pumps and the plastic fittings and some pipe glue they hoped was still good after freezing, they were going to glue some parts together and see if they could pull them apart before gluing up an entire system.

Clark came out of the root cellar with a jar of canned green beans. He asked Effie how come the basement didn’t have ground water or dampness on the dirt floor. She said let me tell ya a story. Bout 30 some year ago, I let a man sleep on my screened in front porch and fed him 2 or 3 meals. He tole me ta follow him an bring pen and paper. Well he got dem 2 limber sticks he had with him a quiverin like snakes as we walked over da property. He was a water witch man an I show ya da map I drew following him around da property where all da underground water is. Da kitchen well is at da edge of one of dem underground streams. And iffen ya go ta da root cellar You will see da well is on da outside of da house wall right over top of da stream runnin down towards da woods over dere. Ain’t no water under dis house unless it 10000 feet down. The Clark family was amazed at this story. Da man dat had dis house built musta knowed it too.

just another story #2 Part 34
The thanksgiving dinner was a feast for a billionaire. Effie even let Clark open a pint of apple butter. Joe cut the turkey and juices sprayed up to his arm. Clark thought to himself I hope that bird is as juicy as what I saw squirt out, it was. The bird had been soaked in a brine for 3 days and everyone had to take turns bringing the soup stock pot with the turkey in and the thermometer in the water was checked, when the temperature got back to 42 it was placed outside for several more hours. Effie did not tell him, even after he asked what kind of spices she had put in the brine. She said Pearl knows and it is in one of my hand wrote cook and preparation books. The light smoke taste that was barely hinted at in each bite, Clark knew about. He had dumped some wet hickory shavings on the smoldering fire in the BBQ pit and the turkey was placed on the grill. The stock pot went over the top of the turkey while Effie supervised Clark in how much wet chips for him to throw on the smoldering fire. The turkey was placed in the oven at 9am to finish off. The mashed potatoes were smothered in butter and if anyone desired any gravy, they had to add some brown gravy from a large steaming bowl in the center of the table. 3 large loaves of French type bread were cut thickly and melted butter was drizzled over them. The 2 loaves not being eaten were placed beside an open burner cover on the kitchen stove to stay warm. Of course green beans, but these were a tad different; they were really wide, cut about 1 an a half inches long and plump. Effie said dem beans are Italian ones and I really likem. The super bacon flavor was barely tasteable, but it was there. Sorry we ain’t got no fresh salad makins. Dat be a while yet. There were a few other things – some stuffing and he remembered everyone got a really small bowl of corn floating in cow butter. What topped it off was home made vanilla ice cream with pieces of hickory nuts and some chocolate homemade syrup. When Clark finished eating he did not think he would be able to get up, he knew he weighed at least 10 more pounds then he did this morning. 2 hours later he did the last chore of the day. He told his mom he would milk the cow for her. Joe fed the chickens and cleaned the coop. Right at dark the snow started, Clark and his mom sat on the screened in cold front porch and watched the flakes slowly do there little fluttery dance to the ground. Effie told Clark the next morning, can’t let cow out today. He looked and it had been a huge snowfall. He checked the solar panels, most of the snow had slid off and he still had about 2 and a half more feet before it got to the bottom of the panels.

Not much to do on a day like this after chores was done. Eat left over’s, read a little and sit around the kitchen and talk.

10 days later the snow was gone and the temperature was about 45 degrees F and sunny. Effie told Joe and Clark, if you got things ta do in da city, now is da time. Dis weather ain’t gonna last long.

They took 2 empty 5 gallon cans and pumped some diesel out of the gas station tank. Jump started the back hoe which of course would not start till Clark poured a lot of Pri-D in the tank and stirred it around. He had a can of ether from the gas station and sprayed it into the system. It started. Clark told his dad don’t look at me, they let me drive a tank around for 50 feet and familiarized me with the controls and then my buddy didn’t feel good one day so I got to drive a 5 ton crawler around. It took Joe 30 minutes to get the shovel and the stabilizers up. They drove it up out of the pit onto the side of the road. The ton and a half tilt bed truck was next. It was easy. They drove it to the back hoe, dropped the bed down and drove the back hoe and truck to the gas station and filled them up, Clark added Pri-D to them. Joe took it home and Clark started the big fork lift they had at the cement plant. They loaded the cement mixer on first, tied it down and Joe started putting pallets of cinder blocks on the ton and a half. Clark had calculated how many they would need using a simple system – 80 feet X 4 for 1 side = 320 X2 = 640 and 4 X 12 = 48 for each end X 2 = 96 and total was 736 cinder blocks He was going to take 1000. Clark stopped his dad when he had 400 blocks on the bed. He told him the truck is getting down to the over load springs. Joe looked at him and asked a simple question, how we going to get these blocks off the truck when I get home? Every thing came to a screeching halt. A dirty 4 letter word was what Clark said. It is simple really, Joe said, we need another fork lift. They scoured the cinder block plant yard, nothing there; they went inside and found a twin to the one loading the truck. Lucky us, Joe said. So they took all the block off and Joe drove the extra fork lift to the gas station after they started it and filled it with treated diesel and then drove it off the tilt bed at home. It was a little after noon by the time they started loading cement on the truck. It took 3 trips to get all the block home. The cement was dropped off on a heavy duty new plastic drop cloth and covered with another new one. The rebar was picked up on the last trip, the hydraulic rebar cutting machine, a small one less then a hundred pounds was un bolted from the shelf it was on at the cement plant and borrowed for an indefinite period of time. A spool of wire to tie the rebar together was loaded alongside the rebar cutter. They stopped at the plumbing shop and took enough pipe to plumb a new 2 story house and left for home.

They went back to town about 4 pm, got the trailer towing truck started, filled it with diesel and treated it. There was a little more to do then just tow it home; all the tires were flat when they lowered it to the ground off the jacks it was on. They searched for an air pump, the kind that plugs into a lighter or hooks onto a battery with alligator lips. There was one in a small maintenance shed behind the main trailer sales office. They pumped the tires up and headed for home, deciding to tow it home in the morning. Clark asked his dad, where they may find some golf cart batteries or solar panel batteries. Joe said a golf course. They stopped the truck and looked in the yellow pages, sure enough about 20 some miles past the large city there was a golf course beside the New River. We will go there 1st in the morning Clark said. They did in fact this time go home.

They did their chores and left about 7am – Clark was glad the cow was back in the pasture, he surely did not like mucking that stall 3 times a day. 8 batteries would fit in the trailer compartment, his dad told him to take 20 from the golf machines. Why? You are going to need some replacements years from now and some of those batteries we just absconded with may not be any good. Clark decided to drive the trailer home. His dad stopped and filled the truck up and the slow 5 to 10 mph trip home wound through the mountains. Clark said where should I park it? His dad said how about where you got it sitting there in the roadway. If a herd of buffalo come down the road they can surely get past you. Clark laughed for a good minute. They planned a little more that day and finally went out and staked out the ground where they were going to dig the footer. The distance to the septic tank pipe was measured out and marked well with a 4 foot red painted stake. Clark told his dad to practice digging the water pipe trench, they had to go out to the trailer and find out where the water hook ups and drain was, that caused another problem. They had to move the stakes and reset them. All kinds of problems can occur if you ain’t got the experience or a good plan with contingencies built in. They were beginning to find that out. Clark’s dad only dug a trench about 3 feet long, he decided to get the footer in before risking tripping in a ditch. He would figure it out before they poured the cement that the trench for the water from the house had to go under the footer as did the sewer pipe. Before Clark fell asleep he thought long and hard about what he was doing. This was virgin territory for him. He had a dream the trailer with him and his new woman slid down a hill and over a cliff because it fell off the cinder blocks.

After an hour Joe got a handle on this trenching business for the footer. The width of the digging blade was 16 inches which was going to use a lot more graveled cement. He and Clark had measured between the beams on the trailer before they started that morning and found out they would have been off if they had dug the footer using the current lines. They moved them again and re measured where the beams were. 2 trenches for a footer were dug 1st across the middle to let the trailer mid section beams set on. Joe checked his work when he was done and gave himself a silent yahoo, it was good work for a first time. Short sections of pipe for the water and sewage were placed in the trenches covered and temporarily capped off. The rebar was sat on half bricks which were staggered and tied with the bailing wire. They were ready to mix cement. Effie was sitting on the porch in the 45 degree weather with a sweater on keeping a close eye on things. The next evening the 8 inch deep footer was finished, they leveled it off with the string line as they poured. Joe had watched many construction jobs in his youth and knew the importance of having things square and level. He used a 4 foot concrete level from the cement plant to make a final check when they were smoothing the concrete off. Clark said wow dad both my arms need a break, turning that concrete machine and heaving those 80 pound bags into the hopper will put a hurt on you. Joe just grinned, Clark was only 22 years old and would recover from sore arm muscles quickly, he ran 8 or 9 miles a day when they finished, Joe thought if he could have used those leg muscles they would have already been done.

Pearl said I want to put the cement on the cinder blocks. Joe said lot of work, if you get tired of it let me or Clark know. She was the one who should have been a brick layer, she had the touch and every sling of the mud onto a cinderblock was perfect in the right height and thickness. She became super proficient on reading the level and using the end of the cement trowel to square a block off. With 3 of them laying block and waiting 1 day between courses, they laid the last block on the 4th day. The grunt work of just mixing cement and filling the center hole of each block where a stick of rebar was sticking up level with the block began. That took one more day. Joe told all of them he hoped they didn’t get mad at him when he busted some blocks out. They stared at him. He just told them, you have to have 1 or 2 entrances to get under the place. One of the across the middle block sections has to be knocked out so you can move from one end to the other. I recommend we only knock the far end of the middle block out and leave this end solid and have 2 side entry ways. He finished explaining before they could ask any questions. The water pipe comes in here and the stove sets here right close to where the water comes in. We do not want a draft under the trailer so this end across the middle will be solid as it is closest to the wood burner which is where the forced air vent is (he had looked) and if we remove the air vent from where it hooks up to the floor register, there will be some warm air going into this walled off section under the trailer. This will keep the water pipe from freezing. Everybody just stared at him and Clark said, great thinking dad. I wondered why you wouldn’t let us put any rebar in that interior end middle section and the two 48 inch outside sections. I forgot to mention the trailer was on jack stands over top of the cinderblocks and just had to be jacked down. It was easy to get it in that position; a new trailer had 6 plum bob locations to center a trailer on a new foundation. Before the center cinder blocks were laid, the trailer was driven in between the 1st course of block and the plum bobs dropped. The trailer was then jacked up 6 or 7 feet where it was perfectly centered over its foundation. The tires could then be removed or left on, most people removed them and either stored them or sold them back to the trailer dealer. When the trailer was dropped onto the foundation there were metal tie down straps already attached to the beams on the trailer. These were bolted into the cinder block assuring a wind or hurricane steady house.

Effie told them on the 6th day that the barometer showed bad weather coming. They finished up the under the trailer hook ups and the water line to the cottage. Dang Clark said we didn’t put a wood stove in the place. Effie told them that they had better find a good one because they didn’t want any smoke in that new house. Clark told Effie he hadn’t really been looking for wood stoves, but he surely would have written one down in his log book if he had seen one. Da man dat delivered my new stainless steel chimney pipe worked in dat Ace Hardware in dat 2nd town, Dat store is on a back street and is kinda outta da way. It was only 1 pm so they decided to take the truck to town and look around. Dang Clark said how did we miss this store. Don’t know came the reply. They had to break in the place. They found one that had a glass window and one that had no window. Joe said I would not like to have a stove in my house without a window on it. Now some of the places I worked at it would be OK. Let’s take that pretty pale green one that says air tight on the label, Clark said. The name on it was Heritage – soapstone collection. The price sputtered out of his mouth when he looked at the price tag, 3700 dollars. Take a few minutes to see if this one can go out the side of your trailer, you cannot use a top vent stove because of the solar panels. May as well look for some type of stone floor thing to put it on Joe said. Clark said this one goes out the back. OK now you need some pipe and some stuff to put logs in and a brush and heck just all kinds of things. Clark said Effie don’t have all that stuff. Yes she does, Joe said, you just never paid any attention. Clark thought back to an image of the stove in the living room, yes there was a little log holder and a brush, shovel and a little thermometer on top of the corner of the stove; how on earth could he have forgotten that as many logs as he had carried in and placed in the log holder. The thought hit his mind, is this the way you get when you get old.

Fortunately they had thrown the dolly in the truck. They found a heavy 1 or 2 inch thick piece of larger then half heart shape slate or some kind of material to set the stove on to keep from catching the floor on fire. The stainless steel chimney gave them fits, there were tons of 8 inch but he needed 6 inch diameter. Finally Joe hollowed out from a back corner, here it is. Enough of those sections went in to raise it 15 feet in the air. You need a 90 degree elbow to take it straight up when you get through the wall. Half an hour later it was found. Joe said now if I remember correctly there is some kind of special pipe that comes out of the stove before it is hooked into this double wall stainless. They finally sat down and read the directions in the box. Ah ha Joe said a thimble to take it through the wall to keep the pipe from catching the walls on fire. Now we need to find some of that fireproof cement to cover the 3 holes you are going to drill in this special pipe and seal the connection permanently. I have no idea how to connect the chimney to the side of the trailer. Let’s read some more. Clark thought his dad was attacking this logically whereas he was stampeding headlong into a mess without analyzing things like a normal educated or common sense person would. They finally found some wall connectors and some extensions that would allow him to keep an 18 inch outside distance from the outside trailer wall. They left after picking up a few more neat things; one was a couple of cases of miniature fire logs to start a fire. These were worth there weight in gold on a cold morning when you would want a fire started quickly.

Since it was late when they got back they left everything in the truck, ate supper and did their chores. They got another fair day but the temperature dropped down into the mid 30F range. They disassembled the manual well pump and studied and scratched their heads, shined a light down and sat around and talked for a bit before doing anything mechanically different to the working system. We will never know if we don’t try, Effie said I sure would like ta be able ta turn a Fawcett on and have water. They hooked up half inch pipe to the 110 pump, lowered it all down to where it hit bottom and raised it a foot. They held their breath when they plugged it in; a steady stream of water with a pretty good pressure behind it streamed into the sink. My goodness was all Effie said. They spent the rest of that day and part of the next plumbing it all in. A shut off valve to Clark’s trailer had been installed and no water had yet been sent to the trailer. Joe told him he was going to have to make sure the hot water tank, the hot water valve to his washer and the rest of the hot water valves in the trailer were turned off. But before any water was sent to his trailer, he would have to be living there in the winter time to make sure the pipes did not freeze and burst.

They had 32F weather the next day and started installing the stove into the trailer. They liked to never got the 500 pound thing in the door. They had to disassemble the thing partially to slide it up the steps. They had run electric to the trailer, but nothing was turned on except for whatever power tools they were going to use that day. They had taken all the screw in florescent 100 watt bulbs from the hardware and squirreled them away. There would only be incandescent lights used in the chicken coop in the winter and three 100 watt bulbs in glass wire mesh cages in the barn close to the cow to generate a teeny amount of heat on those sub zero frigid nights. They would make a note to put florescent bulbs in during the summer in the coop and the cow barn. They did some fancy metal cutting with the reciprocating saw to get through the trailer wall. It took them all day to get the stove installed. Since there was such a small amount of cold particulate matter coming from this premium stove, the solar panels would not be affected. Effies stove belched out the smoke and particulates. But the cottage solar panels were out of the wind stream from her stove.

It snowed 2 days later and Christmas was fast coming. The next meeting was a few weeks away and Clark was getting anxious. He had made note on top of note with messages to give her on how to surreptitiously meet.

That ain’t at all how the girl meets boy meeting went down.

just another story #2 Part 35

At breakfast one morning, Joe told Clark you should build another storage room, we have some block and I know where to get some more, he grinned when he said that. Clark asked what do you have in mind. Clark didn’t hear him the first time clearly. He did the 2nd time, and blurted out no absolutely not, it would take months to build something that big. Joe said we haven’t got anything but time and chores. What Joe had proposed was a 24 by 48 foot concrete building with a 4 inch thick concrete floor. Joe said we have the equipment and the wherewithal to do it even if it takes a few summers. Clark said no way am I going to manually mix that much cement up. Joe countered with there is a diesel motored mixer at the plant. But who is going to lift that thousand bags of cement into the mixer. Joe said a forklift. We can leave it on the pallet and cut it open over the hopper and push it in. Well Effie what do you think about it. She said a mouse proof storage area built inside that big building would be a life saver. Clark thought a concrete room within a concrete building. Well Pearl, Clark asked what do you think. She said it will give us something to do in our dead time. That settled it. Clark said, OK lets draw up some plans and talk it out before we do anything.

Clark had shot 2 more turkeys and 8 or 10 more squirrels which had been cleaned and frozen. Effie told them ham for Christmas with baked potatoes, asparagus, hot rolls and some corn, may also make some pudding for dessert. Clark started salivating like the dog in Pavlov’s experiment.

Christmas came and the food was again beyond superb. The plans for the building were rehashed many times and this time they had thought out in minute detail how they were going to do this big project. Of course they couldn’t do anything with a foot of snow on the ground. Clark asked Effie if she wanted a deer for some deer steaks or roasts. She gave him that you are an idiot look again. She then said what would you really want to eat in the dead of winter, a juicy cow steak or a dried up piece of deer meat. He again shut up. She said next month when we get through eating a few things we have in the freezer, you can shoot some pheasants and some grouse.

The meeting was the next day.

just another story #2 Part 36
Joe asked Clark if he was ready to go, Clark came back with I don’t think I’ll go. Clark heard that double negative again, yeah right his dad said. Effie had 5 pounds of sliced bacon and a small ham in a sack. They got there as the other people showed up. He looked around and immediately saw that golden hair glistening in the sunlight. Effie as usual had to start the talking, this time 3 more families had showed up to see these 3 new additions to Effies household. A lot more conversation went on about long range planning and what had happened to the residents of the cities. Clark got involved in one of these conversations and was asked what happened to the armed Arabs. He didn’t want to flat out lie so he was careful in his response. He just said Allah must have called them because I can’t find a living soul in those cities. The conversation then went on to gardening and Effie joined in. Clark eased back and bumped into the yellow haired girl. They talked for a bit and she said the people I am living with are my kin on my dad’s side of the family. He and mom were supposed to come get me when all this started. I don’t want to talk ill of the people that have been housing me, but it is definitely time for me to move on. I just cannot live in that much hullabaloo any longer. Clark never one to miss an opportunity, said why don’t you come stay with us for a bit and see if you like it. I do not think you can make it in the empty cities by yourself. There is hardly any food and no power to do anything. They talked for 10 more minutes and she told him, I don’t have much could you come get me tomorrow. Clark asked her if she could get it on both snow machines. She said yes. Clark floated home, he felt like he was about 6 inches above the machine he was riding. All he saw were little golden beams of sunlight bouncing from the snow.

Then reality hit him when he walked in the cottage. Another softly spoken dirty word slipped from his lips. There is no place for her to sleep here unless I get the trailer stocked up. It was noon and they were eating and talking about the mess Clark had gotten himself into and they were all laughing except Clark. Come on people help me out. Dad if I remember correctly it was your idea to get me a trailer in case I found a woman. They all quit and he said I know son, we have a small plan and we are going to implement it right now. They went to town to get some new sheets, blankets, pillows, silverware, plates, cast iron cookware to cook on top of the wood burner. They had turned the power on to the trailer before they left. Pearl stocked the fridge with eggs, milk, meats and put some of Effies canned goods in a cabinet. The bread and anything requiring baking would have to be done in the cottage until Clark built a porch and installed an outdoor cook stove. Effie baked 2 loaves of bread and would have Clark take them to the trailer this evening when he got back from town. A 1 gallon tub of lard was put in the fridge along with about a quart of strained bacon grease. They got back about 5 pm and Pearl helped Clark and Joe make the beds. Effie took the cast iron goods they had brought back and began to season them in the oven. Clark had earlier stocked some shelf stable items like soaps for the washer, bathing and dishes. He brought back towels, wash cloths, some disposable razors, feminine pads and what not things for women. The trailer was as minimally ready as it was ever going to get for occupancy. Clark had fired the wood stove up and was going to spend the night. He sure was taking a chance on all this preparation. He shut that thought out and went to sleep.

just another story #2 Part 36A
Clark woke up and was chilly; I have never been chilly before. Oh! I am in the trailer and I can see now this place is not as warm as the cottage and then again maybe not, he opened the bedroom door that had been left open only about an inch and the main part of the living room was still warm; going to have to leave that door open more if I want to stay warm. He was surprised when he opened the stove door to still see live coals. This is a better stove then Effie has. He put some water on top of the stove to warm up for tea or coffee. He looked around and didn’t find any. OK, a trip to the cottage is in order for some thing hot to drink. He and Effie talked and sipped hot tea. Effie said to him, I ain’t gotta talk ta dat girl, but sumtimes, ya just know when a person is good. Clark pondered that for a bit and asked her if she wanted some breakfast. Yep, came the reply. He cooked her 2 over easy eggs in bacon grease and made some toast on the little wire grill she had to place over the open top port of the stove. He fixed himself 5 scrambled and 2 pieces of buttered toast. He saved the used grease after straining it into a cup she kept on the stove. The 2 dishes and cups were washed nd put away, a quick wipe with the clean grease rag and the cast iron skillet was hung over top the stove. She said yore mama and daddy can fix dere own breakfast. I goin ta take a little nap.

At 9am Clark and Joe went to get the yellow haired girl. He had to laugh he never asked her, her name. His dad chided him unmercifully on that one.

She was walking up the snow covered road when they met her. She had 1 box and 1 suitcase. Not much Clark thought, until he remembered she was just visiting. Very little talking went on, on the way back. He showed her, her bedroom and asked her if there was anything special she wanted to do today. He figured she would talk about the religious people when she got around to it. She opened the fridge poured herself some milk and said OMG you have real milk. Yes Clark said for another couple of months until the cow dries up. Is that bacon I see there and a ham and cow steaks? She just said thank you lord for rescuing me from the rabbit eaters. They talked till noon and Joe came and knocked on the door and said come over to Effies, Pearl and her fixed up a nice lunch. And what a lunch it was, A beef stew with chunks of beef and at least 3 quart jars of different vegetables Effie had canned. The girl, her name was Annie, yes, Annie, ate like a normal human but Clark had the feeling that if no one were around she would have used both hands shoveling it down her throat. The reason he thought like that is because it was often what he wanted to do. Annie said I can’t remember when or if I have ever eaten anything so scrumptious. She actually used that word. Effie beamed with that toothless grin. Pearl said you can thank Effie for that delicious lunch time meal. The talk revolved around food and what she had eaten at her kin folks during the past several months.

just another story #2 Part 37
Clark asked Effie how she was holding out on tea and then he asked his dad about coffee. Both said very little left, maybe a couple weeks before its all gone. Annie said why don’t you go to McDonalds and take there supply. You could hear Clark, his dad, and Pearl’s brain working. All 3 tried to say it at the same time, thank you Annie, because none of the grocery stores had any. They had planned to go through houses to find some. Since Clark didn’t have any in the trailer and it was just past 1 pm. Clark and Annie got on one machine and Joe and Effie took the other. They went to the 1st town and went through the McDonalds there and found enough tea and coffee to last them a year or more. Joe told Clark as soon as the snow goes away; we are going to have to get it. Clark wrote it in his book. Annie said she wanted one of the coffee pots and was shot down, Joe said not enough room on machines to carry it back. Oh, she murmured. Clark said we will get one when we can drive the truck here. She was relieved. Clark asked her why she wanted a coffee machine; she told him I used to work at Mickey D’s and got hooked on the freshly brewed stuff. As a matter of fact I haven’t had a cup of coffee since about the 1st of July last year. Clark grinned and told her I bet I can make a better cup then comes out of that machine. She grinned and said I’ll believe it when I taste it. He said I hope you like milk in it because it will need a little. She looked thoughtful at that remark. They took a small bag of ketchup, mustard, black pepper, and hot pepper samplers. Clark squeezed a large roll of Reynolds wrap foil onto his machine. Joe said that’s it folks, I am cold and we need to get home.

Instead of Clark and Anne cooking anything that evening, they ate the stew for supper. Annie followed Clark down to the barn and watched while he milked the cow. She said will you teach me to do that. Clark said yes. This is normally my mom’s job and I am 100% sure she would like some help on this job. While he was milking the cow he told her if they didn’t get the cow serviced this spring when she dries up, there would be no more milk. She playfully asked and how you going to get her serviced. Clark turned red and said; well you know find a bull. She kept on and said, I see. Clark kept on milking with his head down. Annie just giggled.

Clark said, well here it is and he handed her a cup of hobo coffee made on the wood burner in the trailer. She said more milk puuleasse . She sat there after drinking a cup of it and said if you had strained the grounds out of it, it would have been great. He smiled and said next time we’ll do just that. He opened the lap top up and laid 20 or 30 movies out for her to choose from. OMG, you have movies. I am not leaving this place, never, never, never. Clark said I was hoping it would be for something other then a movie. She said we will see. He at least got his hopes up.

He got up long before Annie did and placed the tin foil on the top of the wood burner to keep the grease off and to keep from scratching the stove up. He had told her about leaving the door open and she again teased him, not gonna jump in bed with me and take advantage of me, are you. He turned red again and said no, but you will freeze that pretty rear end of yours off if you do shut the door all the way. Things settled down, he told her what time he got up and the chores he had to do. She said if you need help wake me, if not, I get up at 615am every morning unless an atom bomb goes off near the house. At 6am he fried some bacon and sat it on the side of the stove to keep warm. He waited till she came out of the bathroom and said smells good in here, he handed her a cup of strained coffee and she said now this is good stuff. He handed her a plate with 3 scrambled eggs and some bread that he just lay on the stove an let it brown a littlee and slathered some butter he had set out to soften up near the fire. She ate like she hadn’t eaten in a week or so. You do know that I have not had an egg in 6 months or bacon. This is amazing what you all have here. I ate rabbit cooked every which way it could be cooked. I never did like rabbit but if its rabbit or starving. You know what you will do. He said eat rabbit.

They visited with Effie for a while before returning to the trailer. Today, if you help me a little bit, I will install the batteries for the trailer solar panels and in a day or 2 or 3 we will have a micro wave. Holy cow, she said. They had a little teeny solar panel and a boat battery and all it would run is a small 15 watt florescent bulb in that dark log cabin. I should be thankful though the place was warm and he has at least 10 years of wood cut for the stove. I don’t think they have any more gasoline for the chain saws. But 10 years is a lot of time for things to either get better or worse. He asked her how she was set up for clothes and shoes. She said what you see is what you get big boy. He laughed and told her I know where a department store is that has just oodles of clothes for you. She said the jacket I wear belongs to Ellie and I told her I would get it back to her. OK, Clark said it takes a lot of gas to run the snow machines to the city, but I think this trip will be OK. Make you a list and after we eat lunch we will go clothes hunting. She said that is wonderful. Joe said to Clark, we really don’t want to make a trip today. Why don’t you and Annie take both machines so you will have a lot of room to bring some things back?
It took him 3 minutes to show her how to ride the machine. He also told her we do not go fast or act like teenagers on them because this is all we have and we ride them very carefully and always stay on the snow, so as not to wear the tracks out. She said – Got it.

She was a no nonsense girl when it came to gathering up rugged clothes that would last a while and some good winter, summer boots, walking and running tennis shoes. She spotted some house shoes and took 2 comfortable looking pair. Took her about 45 minutes to get her clothes. She went in the make up department and filled a small bag. She said how are you set for toe nail clips. He said mine are just about worn out get me a couple sets. She went to the sock department and looked at him, he said I got a few pair when I picked my boots up, plus I still have my good ones from Uncle Sam. She looked at some lamps and asked for his pen, he had anticipated this and gave her a small spiral book and a pen and a pencil with a small pocket knife. She looked at the knife, he said for sharpening the pencil. She giggled and said OK, Robinson Crusoe, what do we look at next. He said there is not much we can pick up till the roads clear. But we can look around town and the drug store has only had the narcotics stolen from it. They went to the drug store. She went to the pharmacy and came out with a large quart or half gallon sized plastic jug. He looked at her; she said I’ll tell you later. It hit him, birth control pills. The dirty little part of Clark’s mind was jumping for joy. They wandered in and out of businesses for about an hour. She had made a copious amount of notes. He was dying to know what she had written down.

just another story #2 Part 38
They parked the 2 machines in the shed, refilled the gas tanks, turned the gas tank switch off and let the engine run the carburetor dry. She asked him can I wash clothes yet, he had to look at the gage and it showed an 80% charge on the 8 batteries. He said let me check with what dad is running in the cottage. He unplugged both freezers on the porch and opened the doors since it was 3 degree F. He told her we have plenty of power to wash clothes and if we had something to microwave, we could do that too. She washed all the colored clothes together with no soap. He had hung the clothesline up straight down the dining room across from the fireplace. She had used a gentle short cycle and in 15 minutes they were hanging clothes up with a big bag of wooden clothes pins. The white things were done the same way and she giggled at him and said – no touch my undies, he again turned red. They talked for a while and it was bed time. He asked her what she wanted for breakfast, eggs and bacon or bacon and eggs. She laughed at him and said I want 4 eggs over medium tomorrow morning, 4 pieces of bacon and 3 buttered toast. He said you are going to get fat and she said nope, I am going o work tomorrow and burn all those calories off. He just said OK, see ya in tha morning.

Annie asked Effie when she thought the cow would quit producing milk. Effie said I hope no earlier than April. I have a plan for us to save 60 or so gallons of milk. Annie said ugh, you are not going to make milk powder. Effie said nope, we are going ta town and get a large freezer and some gallon jugs and freeze da milk. That means we will be down ta using 1 gallon or so a week. Unless we find another cow with 2 month old calves. Cows have same birth period as human. Ya really need 2 cows ta be in milk all year long. Da cow give milk for 300 days an then it dry off for 2 month and get serviced again. 9 month later plus 2 months to feed the calves with da milk and da cycle keeps on goin till cow wore out. It never stops unless ya can’t find a bull. Ya really gotta have 2 cows with one dropping calves about 240 days before da other cow run dry plus da time ya gottta wait. Did I make myself clear. Clark got it and went back over it in plain English for everyone else. So Joe said we need to find a bull and another cow and get the times for different birthing dates in synch. Dats it Effie said. Clark said I hope we don’t have to get 2 freezers. Da cow is now givin about 4 or 5 an a half gallons a day, when it is in full production it give about 9 gallons a day, so mommy cow is on down hill end of producing milk.

Clark and Annie went to town again on both machines and did a complete search for freezers in the stores and gallon milk jugs. They found both. The problem now was they needed a little more power and they had to run the big generator every now and then to get the batteries back in synch. They never let them go below 70%, And when the sun did shine they had enough solar panels to charge them back to the 99% level. They brought some coffee and tea back just as insurance and Annie got Effie a nice flannel night gown and some new house shoes. No one else had thought of this and proud Effie never mentioned anything she personally wanted. But Annie had talked with her many tmes and found out some things she never told any one else. There were many bottles of Motrin for Effies aches and pains and some Murine (it does not freeze) with the lubricants in it. Effie beamed all the time now. Clark found a whole case of geriatric vitamins in the kitchen cabinet for Effie.

Effie told Clark one morning when they were alone that if Annie left, she was going to use her polk stalk and shoot him and then she was packin up and leavin with Annie. Clark pondered on getting shot with a 12 guage shotgun. The thought was not a nice one. He thought he was getting along fine and making some sort of romantic progress with Annie. He asked her about their possibilities of having a romance. She said soon. I am thinking other things right now, but don’t you dare quit being sweet on me. I will explain it all in a while just hang in there. Got lots of things on my mind. She asked him the next day to take her back to the log cabin. Clark’s heart dropped almost to the floor. She said I want to take Ellie’s jacket back to her and some gloves I picked up for the kids. I also want to take a gallon of milk to them and a pound of bacon to make that nasty rabbit taste better when they fry it. Clark said OK. Clark didn’t go in the cabin, and she wasn’t there but 4 or 5 minutes. Ellie hugged her on the porch. Clark noticed Annie’s eyes were misted over. She said I didn’t ask you all for what I gave them, but since I picked up the spices in McDonalds, I thought they were mine. I gave them 20 packages of mustard, 20 packages of hot spices, 20 packages of ketchup and about 200 of those little pepper packets and sugar packets. They have salt. Clark said that’s great, I wish we could share more. When we can get the truck to town we can bring back lots of things except food. There isn’t any. You must remember Annie they never mentioned on the CB that they needed anything. I thought most of them were survivalists and preppers living out here on the mountain. She said that’s OK I feel a lot better now knowing that the rabbit will taste better. She laughed then and said rabbit really is nasty and every time I ate it, I wanted to puke, but the need to survive was greater then puking it up. He hugged her a little and got a hug back.

They became a couple that night after returning from the log cabin.

just another story #2 Part 39
Early March, the snow was gone but it was a brisk windy day. The 2 pickups made the 1st trip to town to bring back lots of stuff. They had prioritized their trips during the long cold snowy months of January and February. The gasoline cans were refilled, the coffee and tea retrieved from the 1st McDonalds. The trailer diesel truck was brought back to get it out of the way on the farm. The ton and a half tilt flat bed was parked at the cement plant to be reloaded again. The Vespa scooters were brought out and the countryside scoured for live beef. Joe found a bull. The bull had been on a farm with haystacks everywhere and Joe saw a covered shed with one door gone that the bull must have stayed in during the cold time. Some of the hay stacks were only half size when he looked the place over, so the bull was a smart one and had survived. He made a circuit of the rather large ranch and found 3 cows with small calves. How could this be? He kept on searching and found another covered over shed on a section with haystacks that the cows were on; Lucky cows. The bull had broken the fence down and got to the cows. This solved the milk problem, and the service problem for years to come. They would just bring momma cow here about 2 months after she dried up and nature would take its course. He continued to look the farm over and some of the haystacks had been covered. Enough hay to feed 2 cows and a bull for many years. He would look in the barn for other feed later. Effie was ecstatic.

All of the materials to build a concrete shed were finally assembled at the location. Construction would not start for several weeks.

Another meeting was held and the religious fanatics were shouted down and some real bartering began. Items that the people on the other places did not have were talked about. Clark asked why no one else had gone to town and scavenged. They had no gas and their vehicles would not run. Clark told them if they were really ready to become a community, he would bring a diesel bus out here and show them where to get fuel for it and they could all plan and make trips to the empty cities.

Effie got her seeds.

The concrete shed was finished during the 2nd summer.

An Army Hummer with some National Guard and remaining Federal Military troops came through town that 2nd summer and the information on what had happened to the occupants finally came out. The Commander of the military base that had been attacked with one of the 60 millimeter mortar shells releasing the cocktail of virus had sent a squad of infected Soldiers and Airmen out to warn the communities to move to a protected base that had also been attacked and was not known by anyone till the damage had been done. The fleeing citizens died from some type of infection on their way to what they thought were safe havens.

The population of the US was down to about 25 million.

The Nuclear submarines were still on patrol on both coasts of the US and were short of rations. The West Coast submariners had made contact with some farmers near Port Hueneme Navy Base in CA and were going to be restocked with some vegetables and fresh corn. They were told to come back in 60 days and some Corn flour and deer meat, fresh and dried would be available. Fresh fish was caught by the submariners which supplemented their diet. The East coast Submariners were not as lucky as their brethren on the West Coast and had to send out hunting/scavenging parties and eventually a third of its crew to farm some land for fresh food for the submarine. The submarine commanders had SEAL teams on board and were planning on sending them to the military bases that housed the Nuclear weapons to secure or destroy them and determine the status of the in ground nuclear missiles. Neither the President nor any ranked US elected officials could be contacted. The Submarine Commanders were on their own.

The major cities in the US had imploded; surviving gang members and gang warfare over turf and food had reduced the populations to just about zero.

Some forms of agricultural communities began to appear all across the US.

There were no cattle alive west of Missouri and some smart people had figured out what the terrorists had done and just decided to let the virus die off before bringing cattle westward again.

Small militias in and around Maine had intercepted the remaining terrorists and executed them by hanging; One brilliant or evil minded militia member paraded a pig in front of them before their execution and told each one of them that he was going to place part of this pig in their mouth after they were hung and that would stop their ascent to the 72 virgin program and they would all rot in a pig sty haven for eternity.

Effie was as healthy as a young horse on her 92nd birthday and still giving out instructions to the Clark family, which would soon increase by one. Clark eventually found out Effie had no plan for removing the composted cow manure from that 25 foot deep hole that they were dumping the waste from the cow in. But they did dig a ramp down to the hole using the back hoe and used the compost every fall.

AND the reason Clark’s mom was called Pearl was she had eaten a whole string of pearls when she was 4 years old out of a bowl on the kitchen table that Effie was going to restring after the string they were on had broken. They took her to the doctor and the doctor just said let nature take its course.

Small amounts of oil would eventually begin to flow to the remaining refineries in the US and life of the greatly US reduced population would regain some normalcy in the future.

Just another story #2 - Ending. Thanks for reading…

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holy shit. i need a weekend off to read all these

Edited by 97Jetta1637
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Lol, that's only 2, the guy writing them is up into the 30's I think. He was in the mid 20's when he first started posting them back in '11 or '12.

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Clark Story #3 - The Trip

Just another story #3 - The trip

The year was 1832; Andrew Jackson was the President of the US. He was the 7th President of this growing great country. This didn’t mean squat to or help Robert Clark one bit. He had just buried the last remaining member of his family, his mom. The man his dad had bought the farm from was riding a chestnut mare down the dusty road for his payment. Clark had 32 large pennies and 1 dime to his name and they were in the only pant pocket that did not have a hole. The payment due for this month was three dollars and fifty cents. He told Lester, the now again owner of this property, that he would be gone by sundown. He had loaded 2 burlap potato sacks and 2 flour sacks with his personal possessions and placed them on the only animal that would move on the farm. The large horse was swaybacked and about 10 to 15 years old; Clark couldn’t remember when his dad had brought the horse home.

The 36 caliber Kentucky flintlock rifle had a small rope on it as a sling; it was badly pitted from removed rust. His dad had gone hunting one day and shot something. He then leaned the rifle against a tree and when he got home he couldn’t remember where he had left it. Clark found it 4 months later. Since it was the only rifle the family had, they scraped and scratched it as clean as they could and soaked the action in some coal oil for several days. They were amazed it worked. The trigger was really creaky and stiff. His dad took it apart and they poured some melted axle grease from a wagon wheel into the trigger mechanism, that loosened and smoothed it up and the rifle was now functional.

Their pig had died giving birth to the last litter that resulted in the death of the new born litter. Someone had stolen their milk cow about a month before the pig died. Times were really hard around the Clark farm. His mom had died a horrible death of some kind of whooping cough. She just coughed herself to death. Clark was totally alone in the world. Some passersby had told him several months ago about the opportunities in a place called Kaleefornia, free land, great year round weather and no government to hassle him about taxes and such. He took a long last look at the Virginia country side and the worn out farmland they had barely been scraping out a living on. The roof on the main cabin needed a lot of repair before it would be water tight again. The barn side boards were rotting from the bottom up and it would probably fall down in a year or so. The root cellar was the only good thing left here. It was large and cool and the root vegetables they did grow would last a long time stored in it. He laughed a bit at the next thought; the outhouse hole was about full and a new one needed to be dug.

He had told a lie to Lester, He didn’t leave till day light the next morning.

just another story #3 - The trip - Part 2
Clark was a fair to middlin hunter, a superb trapper and a silent woodsman. He wasn’t worried about going hungry on this trip. He knew most of the wild plants around here and which were edible. What he did not know was there were a whole slew of edible plants that he knew nothing about the further west he travelled and a lot of the ones he knew about did not grow where he was headed. He had never been more then 35 miles away from the area he was born in. That was a 2 or 3 day one way trip at the time and was not to be taken lightly.

He had everything he could carry without over loading the horse. He patted what he really wanted to take with him one last time, the 200 pound iron anvil, got on his horse and headed west. He did not look back.

It was the 1st week of April, not super hot and humid yet. He rode the horse a while and walked beside it for a while. He was in no hurry. He would get to where he was going when he got there. Those passersby had given him the information and the most important part he did not hear. They said it was around a 120 or more day wagon trip. He just stuck that part in the little travel part of his brain. The part he didn’t hear was that was from Missouri. He mentally figured it out 120 days at 10 to 15 mile a day in a wagon and he could do that many miles easy on horseback.

He followed the winding farm roads that were generally headed west. But for the most part he stayed on the game trails which kept him away from the sparse civilization. He was not in a mood for companionship; he was still having a little grief over losing his best girl friend, his mom. He used to visit a chubby girl, but the chubby girl was everybody’s girl friend. Girls were in short supply where he lived and she could pick and choose and she did pick someone who had a little more than Clark. He turned off the thoughts of those hot and sweaty nights they spent in her dad’s hayloft.

just another story #3 - The trip - Part 3
Camp for the evening was set up by a crystal clear spring right off the deer trail he had been on for a few hours. This was the part of day he enjoyed, he used a small 7 foot by 7 foot piece of tarp to make a lean to and set a few traps out to either catch supper or breakfast. He had taken some time and dried out some squirrel and rabbit meat for jerky and had several handfuls in one of his bags. The gun powder he had was too precious to use and he would have to get a job mucking stalls or some dirty hard manual labor job to earn money to buy more. His total wealth of 42 cents would buy a little, but he wasn’t planning on spending any for a long time. The woods had everything he wanted available for free. He watched a few birds and tracked back to where they were going in and out. He robbed the nest of the tiny eggs and said well it will be a morning egg breakfast. He checked his traps before he lay down for the nights sleep.

Morning netted him a fat cotton tail. He was in a hurry and instead of taking his time like he usually did to clean a rabbit. He stepped on its head and firmly holding onto its back legs pulled the head off. He gave a quick sling of his wrist and slung most of the guts out into the woods. He then pulled the fur off, chopped the legs off at the 1st joint and washed it in the spring. He roasted it while a small cast iron pot hard boiled the bird eggs. He peeled the eggs and used some precious salt to spice the eggs up and made sure he took one bite before swallowing each one. He ate one rabbit leg and wrapped up the other 3 for a walking along snack.

2 days later he picked a 4 or 5 pound turtle up and stuck it away to make some soup with turtle meat tonight, he kept a close eye out for some early cat tails and wild onions along side the creek he was travelling. Camp was set up and he smashed the shell off the turtle with the small hatchet and carefully sliced the meat from the inside carcass. He looked and saw he had about a pound and a half of good meat. The onions and meat went into the next size pot that the smaller one was nested in. He checked the cat tails and decided they didn’t need to boil for an hour or more. He slipped his clothes off and slid into a 3 or 4 foot deep section of the creek and scrubbed himself down with some soap bush. He checked the position of the sun and decided it was early enough for him to wash his clothes. He spread them out over some bushes and added the cat tails to the pot. He tasted the soup and decided to use a pinch of salt. Later he thought that was a mighty fine supper.

just another story #3 - The trip - Part 4
He thought this kind of travelling was really easy, sun in the morning behind you, sun in the evening in front of you. Even an idiot could do this he said to himself. He talked to himself out loud a lot. Sometimes he even answered himself.

Every 3rd day he gave the horse 2 handfuls of the grain that the horse was conveniently lugging around on it back. He figured he had about a 90 day supply of grain in the 20 pound sack for the horse. He stopped at really dense clover pastures and abandoned farms that wheat was growing and let the horse browse to its heart content. When he did that the horse didn’t get any grain. He never pushed the horse and neither he nor the horse ever got tired out.

He had a craving for a little fat in his diet so he watched the stream for fish. He found a pool with some rather large trout snapping up the flies and bugs on the waters surface. He took his little pouch with the twine and hooks in it and attached it to a stout 7 or 8 foot long springy 2 inch round sapling. It was baited with grubs he dug out of a dead rotting log. He ate about 3 pounds of trout that night. He filleted and cut up the other rather large fish, smoked it over a hickory fire and put it in his travelling food pouch.

He and the horse travelled along content with their gathered up foods for about a month. He made camp near a large pond and made himself a long pole that he attached to the little tri pointed metal spear that had barbs on the points. He was going frog hunting this evening. He used about 3 ounces of flour and 7 bird eggs to make a batter for the frog legs. They were fried in less than an oz of cooking oil that was in a quart whiskey bottle. He was content that night and felt the 8 frog legs he had eaten were just a little too much. But he had been watching his belt line and knew that the fat in the legs would plump him back up. He learned from his mom that a strict wild game diet did not have much fat if any in it. So lard or pressed vegetable cooking oil was required for homesteaders who mostly subsisted on wild game.

just another story #3 - The trip - Part 5
Figuring on roughly 12 to 18 miles a day he thought he was about 450 to 500 miles from his old home place. Lots more travelling to do he thought. This is all new country to me and some of it sure is pretty. He hadn’t seen another human in about 11 or so days, but had found lots of tracks of people going this way and that. He was going to have to find a town somewhere and spend 5 cents on some coffee or tea. He was running low. If they have an eating place or a saloon, I’ll empty several wooden salt shakers into my supply to top it off. But I will probably have to spend 2 pennies to buy a cup of coffee or a beer. That’s OK because a bag of salt would probably cost me 8 or 9 cents.

He had actually travelled 500 miles. He was somewhere in either southern Ohio or Eastern Kentucky in a vast uncluttered wilderness. His trip so far had taken him through Virginia into the northern section of North Carolina and back into Eastern Virginia which in a little more then 30 some years would become West Virginia. The place he thought was really pretty was in the Kanawha Valley region of West virginia, this was close to where the capitol of the state would be placed. If he could have removed 10000 trees and made a flat area suitable for farming he would have stayed in this area beside the stream that would eventually become the Kanawha River. He really liked this area and the mountains that towered above the large stream, but with no help and no people within a hundred or so miles he forgot about the place. A lot of the streams or large creeks he had been travelling alongside of would become rivers in the future when dams and locks were built to move boat traffic. He had found a well travelled rutted trail when he came out of the woods and it was meandering in a westerly direction. He decided to travel along on it until game became scarce and if it did he would move back into the forest and follow the game trails.

just another story #3 - The trip - Part 6
A good size farm with a pasture that had a few cows in it, another with 5 or 6 nice looking horseflesh in it and a rather large garden came into view on his left side. He noted the beans growing and knew he only had about 5 pounds left. He helloed the house and a skinny bearded fellow with a corn cob pipe stuck out of his mouth came out. What can I do for ya the man asked? Clark said I am travelling through and wanted to know if you had dried any beans last season. The man said shore did. I wonder if there are any jobs you may want done for 4 or 5 pounds of dried beans for a travelling man. Man said what can you do. This wasn’t going the way Clark thought it should go. He told the farmer I can shoe a horse and do a lot of skilled carpenter work and I apprenticed with a black smith down around Richmond. Man said good, I need 2 horses re shoed and I have a small foundry in that large building that you can use because one of the horses has an odd back hoof and has to be fitted with a made up shoe. The man said would 5 pounds of beans be enough. Clark knew this was a lot of work for 20 cents worth of beans and he said a small sack of salt, a cup of cooking oil and a pound or so of flour and we got a deal. They shook hands on it and Clark did the job. The man told him, he could spend the night in the barn and grain his horse down if he would like. Clark took him up on the offer. He was gone before daylight. He had a feeling the man wanted a lot more work done for cheap wages. It all worked out though. He refilled his grain sack for the horse, took a bar of scrubbing soap from beside the horse stall and had a warm bath from water that was in a rain barrel by the door of the barn. He took the bar of soap. He did find out he was about a good 3 day slow ride on a horse to Louisville Kentucky. He would by pass that place by going north when he was about 10 miles from town.

He was about 15 miles from the farmer’s house when he started giving himself down the country and a few choice swear words. He could have put 4 new shoes on his own horse and been set for a long time. Well he told his horse I guess we going to have to go into that there big town and find some work because I think it costs around 40 or 50 cents a shoe to have a black smith do it. Horse I don’t think you would like walking around on one new shoe because if I had to pay for it, that would be all we could get. We just don’t have that kind of money. He decided to stop at another big farm with horses and appeal to the owner. The 3rd farm gave him a job shoeing horses and he would be able to do his after he finished up what the farmer had for him to do. He didn’t get away from that place till after lunch the next day. At least this farmer fed him something, and gave him 25 cents for a job well done. Clark was rolling in the money now; he had 67 cents and a few more supplies than he had started out with and 4 new shoes on his horse, things were really looking up, he thought.

A few more months of riding westwards through the vast uncharted wilderness of the early US had gone by when he came on a sign that said – MISS SOUR I – dang if that aint a funny name for a place. Clark could cipher and read, he had finished the 4th grade before his dad told him he had enough book larnin. So he at a very young age worked the farm alongside his dad and mom. He was thinking he should be pretty close to that ocean by now unless somehow the sun had been moved and he was going north or south. The thought never entered his mind to ask directions because those passersby had given explicit directions. When you reach the ocean turn around and come back inland a 2 or 3 day ride until you found good water and build you a new life, sounded real good to him.

just another story #3 - The trip - Part 7
He bypassed Joplin Missouri and decided he would go a little north west from here. He was getting to think he had made a big mistake when he came to the flat rolling plains of the Kansas grasslands. He headed due west from where he sat, the only thing in that group that was happy was the horse and his feet. He had walked barefoot since he started and only put his boots on when he approached the farms looking for work. The boots he had were fitted for him and made in a saddle/boot making store, they were made from top grain tanned cow hide and a double stitched hard sole was triple stitched to the uppers. They fit him perfectly; they were one of the best things his dad had bought him. Clark knew they were expensive and more then a few pigs had to be butchered and sold to pay for them. He only wore them during cold weather. The horse browsed like there would be no tomorrow on that lush grassland. Clark got tired of eating prairie chickens and stalked what he thought was a small deer, which was in fact an antelope. He looked it over carefully and thought it must be some sort of in-bred animal. He ate the back straps and smoked up some jerky with a little extra salt.

The time was getting late in the year and he had no idea what kind of winters were to be unleashed on him when he met what he assumed those city people back east would call a mountain man. They sat and talked for several hours and Clark learned what a truly bad mistake he had made by not getting some good information. He was around Pueblo Colorado and it was late September and snow would fly in a week or so. The mountain man whose name was Henry told Clark I know a cabin you can hole up in for the winter. You gonna lose the horse though. Why Clark asked. No food when the snow gets 6 foot deep. The young couple who lived there either pulled out or got killed by injuns. How you fixed for supplies. Clark told him. Not good for you Clark. There is about 3/4 gallon of coal oil in the shed and a lantern, didn’t see no wick in it so you gonna have to make you one. Gonna have to start cutting a whole bunch of firewood. Clark showed him he had a double bladed axe head. Oh, and shoot 2 of them big deer (elk) and hang them in the shed. Grizzlies done holed up for the winter. If you got time between doing what I told you to do, catch a mess of them trout and store them in that there underground freeze place that couple had. Clark had never heard of such a thing. Ah yes don’t forget to gather what dried greens you can find. It gonna be a really tough winter for you to survive, but you will be alive come spring if you can get done what I told you to do. Where are you going Clark asked. My partner and I have a cabin about 10 days south of here. I should make it before any big snows come. He told Clark what to expect from the winter and how to make sure he always kept enough water inside to melt more snow and ice. Clark sucked up enough survival knowledge in that short period of time as he had over his entire life. Henry said I’ll be back in the spring and help you trap a couple of wild horses if you decide to continue on to Kaleefornia, with those last few words said, Henry strode off due south with a long legged gait as if he were in a hurry.

just another story #3 - The trip - Part 8
Clark found the log cabin about an hour after he started looking for it. It was nestled in a small valley on the side of a small rise of the land and there was a creek about 25 yards down the slope behind it. The place was tidy, the outhouse was about 15 paces from the front door of the cabin and he noticed a couple of things, the cabin door opened inwards as did the outhouse door and the large shed. He also noticed you had to step up 3 steps to get into any building. He thought about that and it hit him – Ah the snow gets really deep. There was an overhang over each door of 4 feet on the 3 buildings and they were sturdy as he looked at them. Probably about 3 inch round logs holding the over hangs up; the snow again. He got the lantern, fixed a wick from some material he had. Looked around in the forest and found a dead 4 inch around oak tree that tapered down to about the size he could carve out a handle for his double bladed axe, used his hand axe to cut the oak down. And cut off about 40 inches near the top where it was tapering down so he would not have to do much carving. He was going to do this in a somewhat orderly way. Shoot the 2 big deer 1st thing, clean and quarter them and hang them in shed, cut some dead wood up till his arms got tired, then go fishing. He almost forgot about that underground box that froze things. He looked around for it and found a heavy trapdoor in the corner that had 5 steps leading under the cabin. It really wasn’t under the cabin – the steps went down and out from the cabin about 5 more paces. Dang it was cold down here. He put his hand against the far end of the wall and it was frozen. Wow, this would have made a great root cellar and a place to keep the milk and eggs. The word perma-frost had not yet been coined.

The almost freezing weather lasted 23 days. Then the 1st snow storm blanketed the cabin area with about 2 inches of snow. But those 2 inches would not go away till late March or early April of next year. And there would be many feet piled on top of it. He took stock of what he had gathered, enough wood cut and stacked to last, he hoped. 2 sacks of greens that Henry had shown him were edible and could be mixed in with any soups. He was lucky he found the 4 or 5 small un-dug hills of potatoes before snow covered them, a sack of wild onions, abouit 800 pounds of meat and 67 cleaned and frozen trout. He brought out the copper canisters that his mom used daily, they were12 inches tall, 8 inches wide and 4 inches deep, they fit in a 26 X 14 inch saddle bag perfectly. One had the salt, one had tea and coffee separated by a divider, 1 held sugar, 1 flour, and the last one had 6 divided sections in it for spices. The quart bottle of vegetable oil was placed in a low open cabinet along with the 9 pounds of dried beans..

just another story #3 - The trip - Part 9
He had inspected the double bed, it was serviceable, a good carpenter and someone who worked with hides had made the framework. The support was latticed deer hide. He had hung the bear skin that was the covering over the latticed hide, and left it to air out in the freezing shed for 2 days. He brought it back in for 2 days and hung it back out in the shed again; he did this for 14 days until he was sure he had gotten through the hatching out cycle of fleas, ticks and bed bugs, he wasn’t sure the bear skin had any critters in or on it, but it paid to take care when you were going to sleep on it for 5 or so months.

The homemade water casks had to be taken to the creek and soaked to close the gaps that had opened when they dried out, he also had to use a little of that soap from that farm to wash out some type of green growth in one of them. The chimney was checked and double checked. Again some one who knew what they were doing had built this stone chimney. Instead of where you would expect to see that heavy flat iron that closed off the chimney – there was a sliding piece of glass smooth stone, he didn’t know what kind of stone it was, but he would be willing to bet his 67 cents it would not explode or crack when it got hot like sandstone that had absorbed a little water would.

There was one large cast iron pot with a lid in the place and it was hung on a swinging iron bar on the fire place. He had inspected it and decided a little scrubbing with some sand in the creek and it would make a good stewing pot. After he got it cleaned and dried out over the fire he took his finger, which had a little cooking oil on it and rubbed it down inside to keep it from rusting. It looked like it had a good cure but he had removed some when he scrubbed it out with his hands and some sand. It would build back up if he kept rubbing a little oil back inside it. He had also noticed there was only one bear rug for the bed in the cabin.

He had used the brains and tanned both of the elk skins. He had no earthly idea whether they would tan out with just the brains. He surely wasn’t going to use the salt he had. He would rather sleep under a rigid board like elk hide then not have any salt to season his food. He had to build a fire ring in the shed and build a small hot fire to thaw the hides out before he washed them in the still flowing creek. He hung them back in the shed and square cut them and stayed there till they were almost dry, he smelled them before taking them to the cabin, no smell. He brought them to the main cabin and found where the young couple had a rolled up clothes line that ran from one corner to the next in front of the fire place. They were dry the next morning and just a teeny bit stiff. He thought if he rolled them up several times they would soften up. He was getting tired of sleeping in his clothes. He massaged and rolled them several times and they ended up as nice blankets.

He kept some of the elk skin he had cut off the hide blankets he had made and sewed a couple of pair of moccasins together to wear around the inside of the cabin. He surely could not have sold the foot wear he made unless it was to a blind no handed person that could see or feel what he had made.

The cabin was a pretty good one, he could feel no drafty spots and it was warm. There was enough stone mass around the fireplace to have lingering residual heat many hours after the fire went out. There was a rather over large wooden bucket, he would call it and he guessed it was used for laundry and in a pinch could be used as a partial bath tub to stand in and take a type of sponge bath. He knew it was perfect for setting on the cabinet and washing his hair. It was time he whacked some of it off.

He had kept somewhat of a schedule shaving. The straight razor he had was another present from his dad and was made from fine steel. It was stored in a chamois type lightly oiled cloth. There was a 2 inch by 3 inch mirror wrapped in a stiffer double pocket leather container that contained the 3 inch wide, 1 inch thick, 5 inch long flat fine stone that was used to put a razor edge on all his cutting equipment that needed that sharp of an edge. He usually picked up a sand stone to do any heavy duty sharpening before using the fine stone. His heavy leather belt was used to strop his razor and belt knife.

He almost had a panic attack after he had gotten the axe handle carved. He knew he had packed the 5 inch long piece of thin saw blade. His dad had made both of them one and sharpened them up. They were cut from a broken saw and made into 5 inch long 1 inch wide hand manipulated mini saws. He had told Clark this is a fine tool for putting the slit in the end of the handle that goes in ax, hammer, or hatchet head so you can drive a wedge in to expand the handle against the tool. He kept one and gave Clark the other.

just another story #3 - The trip - Part 10
The roof had been shingled with some 18 to 20 inch wide ½ inch thick cedar wood shakes and would last for more years then he cared to think about. He found the wooden carved snow shovel in the out house. With another wooden bucket that had ashes in it and another large bucket that he had no idea what it was for. He assumed one was used for hauling out the fireplace ashes. He thought about the other bucket, maybe an indoor night time privy. It was just a thought, the bucket looked clean. He hung his 5 butt cleaning rags on the bar that was inside the wall in the 1 hole outhouse. He wished he had more soap to clean them or some cider vinegar. No sense in thinking about that now. He would rinse them in the creek and boil some soapy water and clean them again and rinse them again in the creek, he would always have 1 or 2 clean ones dried by the cabin fire.

All I need now is one of them store bought stogies (cigar), a good looking woman, a big bathtub, amongst a lot of other things and I believe I would really enjoy this winter.

Before the snow started to fall he made a quick and thorough circuit of the area gathering up dried greens, nuts and some more dried blueberries. A crab apple tree had about 30 of the dried up apples still hanging, he took them and figured he would experiment with them till he found something he could make that would be edible. He cut down 25 more 30 or 40 foot tall 4 to 6 inch thick half dried out hard woods, de-limbed them and had horse drag them back to where he had done most of his wood cutting and stacked them off the ground on 3 of the logs horse had drug in, they were ready to be cut to length if necessary. He had measured the width of the fire place and had cut every log two inches smaller then the opening. He had a 1 inch round stick that was about 32 inches long and after a while he got good on cutting everything to that length. Clark had cut a lot of wood on the farm but, he had never cut and stacked wood for 23 days straight. Most of the wood was 4 to 6 inch hardwood and he hoped he would not have to split any of it; half of it was dead, so he knew he was ok with that. He planned to start all fires with the dead wood and use the new cut wood to pile on top of the hot coals. He eyeballed the stack under the eave and around the shed and even around the outhouse. He wasn’t sure that was enough that’s why he had taken the horse and gathered some more. It would be bad if he had to try to chop down trees and cut them up in 0 degree weather. At night under the lamp light he had made 3 fairly large wicker type baskets and filled them with the dry wood chips and kindling. He took the snow shovel and stacked another 5 or 6 foot pile of chips in the shed. He had a good flint and steel to start fires with that’s why he wanted some good dry chips to hurry the process along.

The snow was about 8 inches deep the next morning, he gave horse the last of the grain, hugged him around the neck, started to say something and got choked up. He slapped him hard on the flank and horse walked off through the snow into the wilderness. Clark had the feeling that horse knew there was no more food. He had thought about shooting him, but there was that one in a million chance he would be accepted into a wild horse herd somewhere, Henry had said there were wild horses out there, that was his justification for not shooting his only friend of 10 or more years. It was a sad night and even sadder morning when he looked and horse was not in the shed.

just another story #3 - The trip - Part 10
Clark lay on the bed for many days only slipping out in the frigid windy weather to use the cold outhouse; and travelling to the still running creek to get water. Keeping a path to the creek, the shed and the outhouse shoveled free of snow was a full time job. The snow came and went then the wind came and then the temperature plummeted and the cabin got chilly and he threw more wood in the fireplace till the heat fought back the cold that was trying to get in. He had mentally made out menu after menu for the next several months, He had poached fish, baked fish, stewed fish, fried fish but that was for only one meal 3 times a week, He really let his mind run wild with the meat cooking. He had decided he would have 4 ounces of beans for 36 different evening meals and the spices he had would be put in each 4 ounces for a stomach burner as he called it.

Dang I wish there was something to read in here or even some pictures to look at. Cabin fever was starting to set in. He had been there for 50 some days. The little 6 inch square of glass in the door did not let in enough light to offset winter time doldrums. When the sun came out even though it was blistering cold; Clark was going out even if it wasn’t far away. The wind had cleared the snow off in many spots to where you could almost see the ground. He found some bird tracks and wondered what they were and decided to set some traps for a different food if for nothing else.

just another story #3 - The trip - Part 11
The tea he was drinking perked him up quite a bit. He had foraged several cups of dried blueberries and a large bag of pine needles that Henry said had some kind of food value to it. The pine needle teas were nasty but he drank them in between meals to save on his real tea and coffee. He had spent 3 days blanching tannin out of some acorns from a white oak tree. He let the nuts dry out and chopped them up on to the 2 small bird legs and breast he was having for this evening meal. Well it wasn’t bad, but I know next time to blanch the acorns out for 4 or even more days. Just a hint of bitterness remained.

He told himself; never ever spend a winter holed up without a bunch of good eating supplies, especially a lot of flour to make breads and biscuits; and something to read. To offset the craving for bread shortage, Clark had taken a teaspoon or sometimes more of flour, a little salt and mixed it in with the scrapings of meat he had fried in a ¼ teaspoon of oil. A little water added and he had some kind of thick gravy, it wasn’t much but it sure made him think he was in one of them fancy restaurants he had heard about from his mom. Several nights he dreamed of milk, butter, biscuits with a huge platter of fried potatoes and 4 or 5 eggs cooked over easy.

just another story #3 - The trip - Part 12
He had gone out many times during sunny cold days and cut some of the wood up just to have something to do. He still was not absolutely sure that what he had cut during that marathon 23 ten hour days of cutting wood would be enough to get him through the long cold Colorado winter.

On one sunny day when the temperature got up to at least 20 degrees F he was on top of the shed just looking over the valley and the woods behind him, He saw what he thought was a bobcat (it was a lynx) and watched it stealthily sneak up on the birds that hung near the edge of the woods. The reason he was on the shed was it was about 20 degrees warmer there then on the ground with the sun striking the darkened wood shingles.

If his marks on the wall he had made with his knife were anywhere close to being accurate. It was about the end of February.

March he looked at his meat and he was down to about 60 pounds of frozen deer meat (elk) and 6 or more frozen trout in that freeze box. The dried greens were just about gone and he had about 2 pounds of flour and 3 pounds of salt. The spices, he looked in the partitioned off sections and he would be surprised if he could get a tablespoon out of each one. Sugar 6 or 8 tablespoons, beans he laughed when he opened it up one more 4 ounce meal. He knew the weather had to break soon and he was hoping Henry would come and help him find some wild horses, location to Clark unknown. He was raring to go west to his new life.

Henry and another man named Cork rode small ponies in to Clark’s yard about the middle of April. Clark said, that’s a small horse. Henry said yep and you will be glad if we get you 2 this size for you to continue your trip. Clark said I will need 2 to carry what that last horse I had, carried.

It was May before Clark got the 2 horses gentled, that they had run into a ravine where brambles had been placed close by to close it up. Henry and Cork stayed with Clark all this time and explained the Colorado game and plant life to him. They had spent a couple of years in the middle section of Kaleefornia and gave him an in depth briefing on what to expect there. Under no circumstances was he to go straight west from here. He was told to go at least 8 days in a north westerly direction before heading due west again.. Of course he had to ask why. He got the response, desert, no water, hot. When he ran into any mountain range he could not see a pass through go north 6 or 8 days and you will find one. Do not go south until you hit the big red wood trees. How big. Henry walked 15 paces and said this big. Clark said Ain’t no trees that big. They both grinned at him and Cork said Henry never lie.

It was sometime in August when Clark turned south after spending 2 days just leaning his head back and staring into the heavens and counting paces around these behemoth trees. Several days later he read another sign SAC## MEN TOE and Clark said it again, funny name to name a place.

The End

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Clark Story #4 - The Pilot

When Clark resigned his commission from the Air Force, he was 27 years old. He had graduated from the AF Academy and spent the obligatory 6 years flying cargo, people and things from one place in the US to another. His one year in the war zone he only got shot at 34 times, or rather to say his airplane only got shot at and not less then a few of those 34 times the plane was hit. When 3 of the 4 engines on his C-130 were damaged by ground fire, he had crash landed in the desert several miles from the runway. The plane received even more ground fire after it was down. Clark ever the optimist had leaped from the plane in case it did explode or catch on fire and ran 4 or 500 yards away from the plane with the mighty 9mm semi-auto in his hand that the government had issued pilots flying in a combat zone. He realized the error of only having a pistol when other people had long barreled machine guns that could touch him from several hundred yards away. Several gunships from the military base arrived shortly and the bad guys disappeared into the desert or wherever they had came from. He had scratched his arm badly when leaping through the cargo door and a medic noted it and he was awarded a purple heart as receiving injuries from gun fire while crash landing his plane in enemy held territory. This would have been a real big deal and would have placed him, in that fancy terminology the military uses, below the zone for promotion to major and would have fast tracked his career; if he had decided to stay in the military. He even got several more hero awards as having defended his life and that of his crew while under heavy gunfire. He laughed at that one. He did shoot the pistol at spots he saw muzzle blasts. He laughed again at that, he wasn’t really sure if the 9mm pistol bullets would hurt anybody 4 or 500 yards away.

After he was released from the hospital and had been debriefed, he was given 2 weeks off to recuperate from his injuries. Clark didn’t mind that. He still had 9 more months to go in this hot desert. He went to the military firing range and found the range officer, a 1st lieutenant. They batted the hot air around for a bit and Clark told him what had happened and he wanted an AK-47 or 74 to carry in the cockpit with him. The Lt said it would probably be approved and if it was he would have to make a special trip to the armory and check it in until the next flight. Clark could live with that. The next question kind of got the Lt to laugh a little. Clark did not know very much about the Russian made rifle and would like to have a little range time and instruction. 2 days later Clark was going through a mini combat shooting course conducted by an army 4 striper. 3 days later he had an official looking document saying he was qualified as an expert on 4 different weapons. He got to shoot the M1, the 50 caliber, and the AK 47 and 74. He already had the piece of paper saying he was an expert shot with the M-4 and 9mm. Clark stayed at the range and picked up all kinds of knowledge from sniper teams and real expert shooters. He spent at least what his salary of a month would have cost him if he had to buy the ammunition.

He really got to like that AK and started scheming on ways to get it home with a crate or 2 of ammunition. The ammunition was easy. It was that paper he had signed pledging his life away for the gun. He sent 2 wooden crates of ammunition a month home with rotating back pilots in their cargo planes. He got his chance, a chance he really didn’t want. His plane was again shot down and he crash landed about 2 miles from the end of the runway near a locally travelled road. This time the plane burned up to a slag pile of junk. He buried the taken apart AK close to the road with his generation 5 issue night vision goggles and rode back to the base for a debriefing. The appropriate papers were filled out and the AK and night vision was officially written off the military roles.

The next weekend he had the taken apart AK wrapped up in a real military issue OD (olive drab) blanket. His pilot friend put the parts behind an easily removable aluminum panel in the cargo hold and it left the country. All smart rotating pilots had a pop rivet gun a portable drill with the appropriate bit to drill out pop rivets and a can of OD spray paint to spray the newly installed pop rivets. This was not a big deal with the pilot’s, they took home things that they shouldn’t have, like RPG’s, misplaced M1’s, M4’s, grenades, generation 5 night vision and thousands upon thousands of rounds .223 and .308 ammunition. Clark thought about one of those M1’s but decided against it, some ground pounder would probably lose his stripes if he lost his weapon. He did send home several cases of .308 and 500 rounds of mixed .50 caliber. He had no idea what he would use the .50 caliber ammunition for, but if he ever bought a used or new rifle, he could at least shoot it without breaking his bank account.

His mostly tax free military pay, due to being in a combat zone was substantial for a Captain with over 4 year’s service time, he drew combat and flight pay; There was no place to spend any money except for maybe a digital camera or some big guy toy at the military PX (post exchange). So when he rotated out he had basically a year’s salary banked. He had a fairly new diesel 4 cylinder 4 wheel drive small pickup that the Air Force was storing free for him at his base he would soon be returning to. The pickup was one he personally brought back from Germany on his empty C-130. Talk about a hard time getting it registered and titled in the US. He jumped through all kinds of hoops to get that done.

One of the pilots that were soon to rotate back knew Clark really well and knew his desire to own some military firearms. He asked Clark in private, if he would like to have a new M1 still in the original package from the manufacturer and a new 50 caliber sniper rifle with the new day night scope. Clark said really. I hate to tell you this but I heard there were 2 crates that got lost either here or back in the states. Oh, and I happen to know where they are. This drew out a long Reaaalllly from Clark. One other thing, it will cost you 3000 dollars. Clark knew the other pilot knew those 2 guns would probably sell for 15 or more thousand dollars. Clark just said check or cash. The 2 guns went back to the states with the pilot and Clark’s 3000 bucks. Clark added another 500 rounds of 50 caliber mixed ammunition and sent it home. He was thinking the little concrete building and steel roll up door storage area that he sent his 60 bucks a month rent to the owner was getting full.

just another story #4 - The Pilot - Part 2
He had been back from overseas a month and still had 10 months left before he could drive out the main gate of this military base for the last time. Time was slowly passing for Clark while he made his check flights and trips to other bases around the US delivering goods. One day he was the last to leave the plane when he noticed another plane next to his being loaded with pallets of MRE’s. The idea hit him like a flash. His plane was down for the next 4 days and no maintenance was scheduled. He lowered the ramp on his plane and told the fork lift driver that he could take 8 pallet loads. The forklift driver, a 2 striped Air Force member, just loaded up Clark’s plane and continued loading several more beside his plane. Clark got a worried grin on his face, raised the ramp on his plane and left the area. When he got back to the bachelor officer quarters he pondered on why he had done such a stupid thing. He thought long and hard all night on how to unload the plane and get the MRE’s to his off base storage area. He figured out he needed help and solicited his fellow officers that he could trust his life with. One Captain told Clark, It’s simple; we all have an AF pick up truck that we have access to after hours. Let’s take 2 to the plane and take the MRE’s out of their boxes, throw them in the back of the pick-up and bring them here. Have the other 2 officers unload the trucks and we will take the other 2 pick-ups and fill them up till we empty the 8 pallet loads. Another Lt said where on earth are we going to put 8 pallet loads of MRE’s in our tiny 2 rooms. 2 evenings later the 4 officer’s rooms were cram packed full of MRE packages. They had already figured out that they were going to have to make at least 10 trips to the party area where fires were allowed on the base in large pits. The empty boxes were all dumped into the pits and the evidence went up in smoke, which was part of the evidence.

It took 9 days and an untold amount of trips for Clark to casually take load after load of MRE packages to his rental storage. He used 4 different exit gates to keep the security force gate guards from getting wise and searching the covered over supplies in the back of his pick up. He went to the commissary on base and talked to the ware room manager and got 200 or more empty grocery boxes that the contents had been placed on the store shelves. He did divvy up a portion of the supplies especially after the 4 cohorts had to come help him put it in grocery store cardboard boxes and label what was in each box. Forgot to mention the pallets on the plane were also burned up.

He told himself – I will commit no more crimes while I am in the Air Force that I can be sent to Leavenworth Prison for.

just another story #4 - The Pilot - Part 3
Before he would officially be released from the military, he started to really pay attention to the economy and goings on in other parts of the world. He almost changed his mind but, big mistake, he didn’t.

He arrived back at his dad’s 3 bedroom stone and brick house in the middle of West Virginia, driving a Ryder truck towing his pick up. His dad just looked at him and said what Clark had thought 3 months before he got out. Big mistake you made getting outta the military boy.

Clark found that to be true 4 months later, he couldn’t even get a job flying a crop-duster. It really didn’t make much difference, the SHTF in an almost EOTWAWKI event(s).

It was the 1st of May a Monday morning and Clark was helping his dad paint the living room. The satellite TV was droning on and steadily repeating over and over all the bad events that were happening in the world.

The TV went off first and about 3 or 4 seconds later the power went off. His dad started cussing. I told them yaehoos down at the power company if they didn’t upgrade that power station down at Stoney Rock Junction, Us people that lived out here would have nothing but trouble. Earl, Clark’s dad picked up the land line phone and punched a series of numbers in and listened to nothing but dead air silence for 10 seconds or so. Somebody done hit one of our power poles and took out the phone line too, he told Clark. Clark just put the paint away and washed his hands. His dad meanwhile was trying to start his Chevy pick up and the starter would grind but wouldn’t catch. He was going down to the junction about 3 miles away and see who the idiot was that had crashed into a power pole this fine May morning. He said some cuss words when it wouldn’t start and here came his mom telling his dad to calm down, the power would come back on when it did and not because he was cussing everybody in the country. No more was thought of the power being off because it happened fairly often to the rural residents because of one reason or another.

Clark turned his dad’s short wave radio battery powered radio on the top of the fireplace mantle. All he got was a hiss and some static. A not so long ago briefing he had on nuclear air burst effects jingled some old memory cells. He tried to start his diesel pick up – It ran. The generator was started and the satellite TV was turned on – Nothing… UH OH – Clark said. He was real cool when he asked his dad did the well water go to the basement. His dad had done a lot of remodeling when he left for the AF Academy and that was one of the fixes. His dad, not a dumb person said yes. Clark said I think we should put some things in the basement. The basement was not really a bomb shelter, but the upper floor was 10 or so inches of stone work laid on gravel over a 2 foot layer of sand which rested on some 12 X 12 beams covered over by 5/8 inch road way steel that his dad had put down before he built the rest of the house. The stone for the upper floor was free for the taking; it just had to be chipped to fit and cemented in place. The walls of the basement were just some 3 or 4 inch pre fab concrete dropped in and tied together. There was a wooden door with the porch hung out over it to keep the water from going down the steps into the basement.

He told his dad I do not know how much time we have, but let’s give it our best shot. Earl told Edna what Clark thought and she just said, let’s do some moving Earl, I ain’t ready to cash in my chips just yet.

The basement was about 24 X 36 foot and was mostly empty except for what Clark had brought home. There was a shower, a sink, a commode, several 4 foot fluorescents, TV, couch, chairs, a rough made 2 X 4 table about 4 foot long and various other things. A typical basement.

just another story #4 - The Pilot - Part 4
Clark told his dad I am more worried about water then anything else. Earl said the well runs off them two 4 X 8 solar panels and those 2 batteries I got from Ms Pearl’s place when she died, she told me I could have them. Also got the 2 she had on her roof to run those LED lights and that one battery. I hooked them up upstairs, 1 in the kitchen and the other in the hallway that lights up bathroom and bedroom. Clark asked him if he had enough wire to run the lights to the basement. Yes I do. Dad why don’t you move them down here and hook those lights up; now how much gasoline you got to run that generator, about 35 gallons came the reply. Good, we need something to cook on; Earl said there is that Coleman stove in your closet and a couple cans of that Coleman fuel. Clark remembered back when he went camping, and thought hot dog, that’s a dual fuel one. Where are the furnace filters? In the closet by the furnace vent in the hallway. The next thing Clark got were about 40 cinder blocks from beside a shed his dad was building to store all of Clark’s stuff. The cot and another single bed from upstairs were brought to the basement for them to sleep on.

He told his mom and dad, we have enough food to eat for a long, long time in those boxes in the corner. Now all we need is some information. The shortwave portable battery radio produced nothing. They had no idea if radiation was seeping through their bodies. Clark remembered an experiment on how to detect radiation in one of his Academy classes and proceeded to make the thing. The furnace filters were placed against the crack around the doorway and the cinder blocks pushed up against them. Now we wait is all Clark could tell the 2 older people until I find out if there is any radiation.

The next morning they heard a knock on the basement door and it was one of the sheriff deputies making his rounds to give out some information. The detector Clark had made detected no radiation.

The deputy one of Clark’s dad’s friends from when Clark’s dad was a reserve deputy told them what he had learned from the National Guard. There had been an EMP blast, several of them had blanketed the entire US and too many other countries to name. The only communications were coming from shielded military radios and that was it as far as the deputy knew. He said the US is not at war yet.

just another story #4 - The Pilot - Part 5
Clark perfected his radiation detector the next afternoon, well one that he was sure to work. He then set out to buy one. He was kind of lucky because he had a vehicle that would run and when he got to the big city, he found several at a Geology laboratory. Of course he bought them. They were expensive and he had to pay cash. He looked around for what was missing from the house and decided to buy toilet paper and bounty as much as would fit in the truck. Everything to keep a human alive for an extended period was in the MRE’s, but he figured if this escalated into global thermal nuclear war, they were going to need some things way down the road that was not available to him or his dad and mom. He made 5 more trips until his and his dad’s available cash was gone. The banks had not opened yet. He found it odd that rationing had not been put into effect. After being in overseas 3rd world countries, he figured the US was going to take a big axe stroke and the axe was going to chop into all segments of American society.

The deputy stopped by 3 days later and told them the banks were open and everything was back to as normal as things could be with no electricity. Clark and his dad took off to the city and got an infusion of cash. They bought a steel door and hepa filter lining strips to cover the inside of the door cracks amongst 3000 dollars of other things.

Clark told his dad it sure would be nice if they had about 4 or 6 more solar panels and some batteries to run a small DC fridge. His dad said I know where the panels are, but as for batteries, I have no idea unless we go buy some. They went 6 miles down a bad road to another one of Earls deceased friends and took the six 4 X 8 older panels from his friend’s empty house. His friend had no kin folk and the house had just sat there because the property taxes were paid for another 2 years and it was really a house that you would think after looking at it there would be nothing to steal. The 4 batteries were corroded with no acid in them and had begun to come apart at the seams.

Clark went to a battery shop and paid 900 dollars for 4 batteries and then stopped at a solar place and spent another 800 dollars for a quality charge controller. He told his dad, I sure hope something happens because I am going to spend all my greenbacks and will be broke. He was only joking, but he did hit 3 coin shops and bought some pre 1964 silver and a teeny amount of small denomination gold.

Clark and his dad were talking one afternoon about the damage the EMP had caused, his dad just told him, they will never get it (the electrical grid) back up. Before all this computer technology there was manual shut off and on levers that a person could shut the grid down with. Those old switches were scrapped and sold for junk. You would have to go to an old shut down mines that hadn’t had the copper stolen from to even find one of those switches. There are probably 10 or more million relays, off and on switches running the US, and that’s not counting other technologically advanced countries that have went to the computer system. In other words son, 5 or 10 years from now, you may see some electricity in the US with manual on and off switches. But right now it is what is called you are SOL.

just another story #4 - The Pilot - Part 6
They had bought another chain saw, 3 chains and parts, extra gas cans and some gasoline preservative to put in the the gasoline for the generator and chain saws. They looked at his dad’s wood/coal burner, the stainless steel chimney and said it should last another 40 years. They agreed and went to a coal mines that sold coal to locals and bought 6 truck loads of coal to heat the house. The coal was dumped close to the side door and a ramp for the wheel barrow made to bring the coal into the house. A solid spare wheel barrow wheel and tire was bought for later on. This was in addition to the 4 or so cords of wood that were under the eaves. 2 weeks had gone by and no news of why or who had done this.

They kept the basement stocked with everything for a 6 month stay. Clark liked milk and had to go to a farm 8 miles away and buy 10 gallons at a time. No more buying 1 gallon at a time. He kept 1 gallon frozen and another in another small DC fridge they had bought that the additional solar panels would run. The milk was cheap at fifty cents a gallon, so Clark said nothing because the farmer was not gouging him. He wondered about next year when the diesel fuel and hay ran out. Well he told himself enjoy yourself now with everything you can get.

Clark was fortunate that he had always been an avid reader and wondered about long term storage items and knew about beans, rice and buckets. He stored about four 5 gallon and 10 one gallon buckets with powdered milk he picked up in the grocery stores, now that was expensive. The stores were running completely out of everything, But Clark and his dad had went early with cash and bought a lot of stuff including heirloom seeds, salt, sugar, coffee, tea, canning jars and large 1 and 2 pound jars of spices. They looked at a small diesel generator and a small system to make bio-diesel and bought both. Cash was king, little did the people know, greenbacks would not even make good toilet paper in the coming times. Clark’s dad had always had a small garden and now it got really big. They kept the new heirloom seeds in the basement and planted all the 1 shot seeds they could find. Clark told his dad, we are wasting time, because I believe we are going to be nuked and probably some nasty germs will be released. Clark was a good prognosticator, because he was right on both counts. They drove all through their area where they lived and looked for items farmers had for sale. The 1st thing they looked at was a fairly new small diesel tractor that had all the attachments. The farmer wanted a small amount down and Clark was to take over the payments, they found out how many more payments were left and decided this was a steal. They drove to the tractor supply place where the tractor had been bought and bought a bunch of replacement parts. They also talked to the tractor mechanic and got a bunch of good information. There would be no more replacement parts,

just another story #4 - The Pilot - Part 7
The well on the property was not very deep and a small 110 volt pump ran it. They found 2 more pumps and stored them away. Clark’s laptop categorizing items was running full blast and they stopped and bought one that had already been activated by Microsoft that was on display. His dad had a really old computer that had hardly been used that was running Windows 98 and they looked around the computer store for some compatible inventory software and actually found some. They now had 3 working computers just for inventory. Clark bought another one with a 300 gig hard drive really cheap and told his dad – I am going to put movies and music on it just to have it ready for a long winter night. They spent 700 dollars on movies, music CD’s and paperback books.

They went back by the battery store and bought 6 more batteries, without the acid in them. They had to go to NAPA to buy the acid in a cardboard box which had a plastic like interior sack holding the acid. The last stop was at the liquor store, they still had several thousand dollars cash. A small deal was made with the proprietor and several cases of Crown Royal, cheaper whiskies, and bourbons were loaded up. Clark told his dad I am shopped out. They went home.

Clark looked at the river on the way home and said are we fixed for fishing supplies. His dad said we could use some new trot lines, minnow seines and maybe one more minnow trap. They emptied everything from the truck and headed for Wal-Mart 39 miles away. They got it and Clark looked at his and his mom’s and dad’s list and started home. His dad said stop at Lowes, I see something we forgot and we will need. They bought 10 rolls of 20 X 100 six mill black plastic, 12 rolls of 6 mill clear plastic and a bunch of 3/4 inch plastic pipe, fittings and glue. Clark asked him why, and his dad said greenhouse and no weed gardening with the black plastic. They knew there were some things they had forgotten, but that’s life. Plus they had spent most of the cash the bank would let them have. They were almost out of greenbacks, but they still had the small amount of silver and gold Clark had bought.

just another story #4 - The Pilot - Part 8
There were still no radio transmissions on any bands. Clark had attached a small buzzer sounder to the radiation detector and placed it on the cabinet by the kitchen screen door. There was someone always near the kitchen that could hear the alarm. 18 days after the EMP the buzzer sounded. Pearl hollowed for them to come quickly as the needle was rising rapidly. The detector and what they could grab handily went with them to the basement, now hopefully a bomb shelter.

The door was shut the hepa filter taped to the seams and the cinder blocks pushed against the doorway. Clark had not been idle during all this time and had punched an 8 inch hole through the upper basement wall that was under the corner of the house, ran an 8 inch pipe out of it with a 90 degree elbow on it, keeping the elbow about 4 inches off the ground. He then placed a triple coating of the hepa filter over the interior pipe opening. This pipe hopefully would bring in enough fresh air from under the house to keep 3 people alive. He stacked up some cinder block in front of the filter and left a 2 inch gap for air flow and hoped like Hades it would work.

He placed one of the detectors on top of the blocks where the pipe came through the wall and waited. The other detector went on top of the block right next to the new steel door they had hung. So far both detectors were hanging in that grey area of under 1 R. He moved both of them back 3 feet and the needle rested on the peg. Well he told his parents the S has really hit the fan and some big countries are shooting nukes at each other and hitting the US. All we can do is wait. He looked at his dad and said we better hope and pray there are not any weaponized virus or bacteria germs loosed on us. I really do not know if these little hepa filters I stuck there will help us. If they don’t – I’ll see you in the next world.

The radiation died down after 7 weeks to less then 1 R. Clark said let’s wait another 3 or 4 weeks in case they did loose biological material on us. That little decision saved the Clark family – Several rain storms and some hot and dry weather rendered the biologicals impotent.

11 weeks after they locked the door they left the basement.

Everything looked the same except it was later in the summer and the garden was doing fine except for those few plants that needed more water then was available.

just another story #4 - The Pilot - Part 9
The US navy was not remiss in its duties, they were outfoxed. They knew the Chinese had 36 really silent subs with sonar absorption material on them and they tried their best to keep track of them. What they did not know is the Chinese had made a super battery break through. They did not have to start their diesels to recharge for 800 miles. They had been really slick on their plan to attack the US and Russia. 16 submarines would attack the US with biologicals and 32 nuclear multiple war headed missiles. They were kind of blatant about it. All 32 subs left the Chinese port under diesel power on the surface, 1600 miles out after being refueled twice by a tanker they sank to the bottom and went silent. The US subs knew or thought knew they could not stay submerged for more then 3 days, so they just waited. 11 days later the US submarines moved back to the Chinese port to look for them. The Chinese knew they were being stalked, but they had nothing but time on their side and a really neat trick they were going to use to foil the US subs from finding them. The Chinese submarines had added a really large oxygen tank and another air tank to keep them from sounding like Mickey Mouse when they talked. The tanks were good enough for a 16 day air supply for the Chinese submariners.

The US submarines also shadowed any large Chinese ship headed for the US and monitored their radio traffic. Well the Chinese had set up transmissions to tell the large ships to idle in the ocean or circle to kill the 11 day early delivery. The US submarines monitored these transmissions and left for other missions when the large ships started to circle or become almost dead in the water. In the meantime the Chinese submarines slowly rose to where suited divers could leave the submarine. A large plastic coated line was dropped into the ocean200 feet down that had electric and new air. The Chinese subs were good for another 800 miles of super silent running. This went on all across the Pacific and the US never caught on. The 8 Chinese subs were poised to strike about 600 feet down off the lower California and middle Washington Coast. The 8 US East Coast Chinese Submarines had left earlier from the Pacific and had to go around the horn to arrive off the US east coast at about the same time the west coast Chinese subs drifted to the bottom to wait for strike day. Russia’s population center was going to be destroyed by 16 submarines and air borne missiles. The crazy Middle Easterns were going to be attacked by 4 submarines that were going to do annihilating damage to the Muslims. The Chinese knew there would be retaliatory attacks but had planned to save 400,000 of their most important people, scientists and couples who would repopulate the devastated country. Big, big mistake on their thinking; they had forgotten about bunker buster nukes.

just another story #4 - The Pilot - Part 10
Clark had looked around the local area and found no one alive, just bodies, which he left alone to dry out in the summer heat and then he would take them out onto the soil to let the weather and bugs finish them off. There was no way he could bury this many bodies.

There were other survivors, not nice ones as he would soon find out. Many of the shelters had had their doors torn down by gang members and the good people killed. There were smart gang members that were well aware of radiation and even some of them knew about biologicals. That’s why a lot of them survived; they sent new members out and waited for them to return no earlier then 4 days. None of them returned. The gang leaders almost had a revolt when some of the new members refused to exit. The leaders figured out they could wait a few more weeks. They did and the new member that was thrown out came back 4 days later healthy.

Clark thought to himself, this is just dandy, no more woman chasing, no more parties to go to, no more fast food. ARGGHHH – What is a soon to be 28 year old to do. Things would eventually fall into place.

The detector was placed on and near the surviving plants, there was no radiation detectable. The plants were allowed to grow and most were pressure canned on an outdoor wood fire hanging on a home made metal tripod. The canned hamburger they had made was not very good, but they ate it. Life went on slowly.

Since they were semi prepared for long term survival, they did not do much scavenging right away. They found out the small amount of movies and CD music they had got old quickly. Clark and Earl went to the city to get more entertainment and check the place out. The truck was loaded with new music and movies when they came under fire. Clark was kind of ready for this since he had the M1, the AK and the 50 caliber, his dad had a shotgun for close in support and an AR-15 for a little distance shooting, both had old timey 7 shot 45 caliber 1911’s. They got out of distance in the truck from the gunfire; there were several bullet holes in the hood and side of his truck. This made him madder then anything he could have thought of. He loaded the 50 caliber with anti personnel rounds and began to search for the bad guy that had done this to his automobile. The 6 X 24 scope picked up a man standing behind a street sign. The range was 800 yards. He was in a prone position the bi-pod holding the big gun was steady and there was no wind. The compensator on the scope was magical and showed him where to hold for a correct aim point. The bad guy exploded, with body parts flying everywhere. All Clark said was neat. They watched the area for an hour; they could not be flanked unless someone had a 105mm to shoot at them from several miles away. There was no activity in the town after the 1st flurry of gunfire and the single booming noise from the 50 caliber. They left and went home.

The gang leaders name was Sergo and he was told that Phillipi had blown himself up with a grenade. Sergo thought this quite impossible, since they had no grenades. He went to look at Phillipi’s body and saw the1/2 inch round hole through the stop sign close to where most of Phillipi’s body parts were. He got scared and ran back to the shelter. He thought somebody had a big gun and was out to take over his little turf. He decided to get drunk and think about this problem when he woke up.

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just another story #4 - The Pilot - Part 10
Clark had looked around the local area and found no one alive, just bodies, which he left alone to dry out in the summer heat and then he would take them out onto the soil to let the weather and bugs finish them off. There was no way he could bury this many bodies.

There were other survivors, not nice ones as he would soon find out. Many of the shelters had had their doors torn down by gang members and the good people killed. There were smart gang members that were well aware of radiation and even some of them knew about biologicals. That’s why a lot of them survived; they sent new members out and waited for them to return no earlier then 4 days. None of them returned. The gang leaders almost had a revolt when some of the new members refused to exit. The leaders figured out they could wait a few more weeks. They did and the new member that was thrown out came back 4 days later healthy.

Clark thought to himself, this is just dandy, no more woman chasing, no more parties to go to, no more fast food. ARGGHHH – What is a soon to be 28 year old to do. Things would eventually fall into place.

The detector was placed on and near the surviving plants, there was no radiation detectable. The plants were allowed to grow and most were pressure canned on an outdoor wood fire hanging on a home made metal tripod. The canned hamburger they had made was not very good, but they ate it. Life went on slowly.

Since they were semi prepared for long term survival, they did not do much scavenging right away. They found out the small amount of movies and CD music they had got old quickly. Clark and Earl went to the city to get more entertainment and check the place out. The truck was loaded with new music and movies when they came under fire. Clark was kind of ready for this since he had the M1, the AK and the 50 caliber, his dad had a shotgun for close in support and an AR-15 for a little distance shooting, both had old timey 7 shot 45 caliber 1911’s. They got out of distance in the truck from the gunfire; there were several bullet holes in the hood and side of his truck. This made him madder then anything he could have thought of. He loaded the 50 caliber with anti personnel rounds and began to search for the bad guy that had done this to his automobile. The 6 X 24 scope picked up a man standing behind a street sign. The range was 800 yards. He was in a prone position the bi-pod holding the big gun was steady and there was no wind. The compensator on the scope was magical and showed him where to hold for a correct aim point. The bad guy exploded, with body parts flying everywhere. All Clark said was neat. They watched the area for an hour; they could not be flanked unless someone had a 105mm to shoot at them from several miles away. There was no activity in the town after the 1st flurry of gunfire and the single booming noise from the 50 caliber. They left and went home.

The gang leaders name was Sergo and he was told that Phillipi had blown himself up with a grenade. Sergo thought this quite impossible, since they had no grenades. He went to look at Phillipi’s body and saw the1/2 inch round hole through the stop sign close to where most of Phillipi’s body parts were. He got scared and ran back to the shelter. He thought somebody had a big gun and was out to take over his little turf. He decided to get drunk and think about this problem when he woke up.

just another story #4 - The Pilot - Part 11
Sergo when he woke up decided to talk with several of his people; some had even been in the Army for a while before being dishonorably discharged. That made no difference to Sergo, they were trustworthy. They talked the situation over and one of the ex Army dishonorably discharged gang members that had been in the war zone said it looks like he was shot with a military sniper rifle in the 50 caliber area with those anti-personnel bullets the military uses.

Sergo thought this was bad, if there was a military unit operating in this town, even he could be killed. He told the 40 gang members, we go on watch with some binoculars from the tall buildings to see who is trying to drive us out of this town. Clark and his dad was home 43 mile away watching a new movie and enjoying the evening.

The big gun was cleaned and put away. They did not talk about what happened till the next day.

His dad told him, we gonna have to take those people out. His dad was a Viet Nam Vet and had spent some time running through the jungle. His dad was 58 years old and went in the service in 1968 and spent some bad times as a Marine in that long ago war. He was no stranger to violence or death. Clark asked him if he knew how to shoot the big gun. He told him it wouldn’t take him but a few shots to figure it out. He knew all about Ma Deuce, M14’s, M16’s and if the young Clark had any grenades, He could use them. That poodle shooter M-16 had an attachment that could shoot a 40mm grenade 450 or so yards. If we had one, would not be any problem for attacking some people. Clark was amazed, he knew his dad had been in the service, but he had never mentioned a word about his service time. Clark just thought he had a not important job and didn’t want to talk about it. WOW, his dad was a real ground pounding combat veteran and could probably teach him a thing or 2 about warfare. He thought back to when he and his dad went hunting, his dad always carried the 30-06 at a semi-port arms position where he could fire it instantaneously. Ah me, I should listen to the expert, even if I am an Academy graduate. He knows more about fighting, killing and guerilla combat tactics then they could teach me in a classroom. I am giving him the torch.

They did nothing but work the garden and look for beef and goats, they never found any. A week later about 16 miles in the opposite direction of the town they saw some chickens running in a farmer’s front yard. They grabbed the ones they could catch and Clark’s dad got a bad cut from the roosters spur. They had 14 chickens and a rooster. His dad told him we should have left them until we built a coop and gathered up some grain. But we may have lost them to cats, dogs, coyotes and on and on. Now we got some work to do boy. They built the coop and raided some farmer’s barns for feed and even a corn crib that was full of corn.

They noticed the next day 3 hens were missing from the fenced in yard. His dad told him there was probably a skunk that could get in the coop or any number of animals that could have done it, but the smell of skunk was prevalent in the coop.

Let’s tighten up the coop with some rabbit fencing his dad said. After we get that we will keep a close daytime watch on the chickens as they free range in the yard. We will keep a shotgun with bird shot and a 22 at the ready for prey animals. Why the shotgun Clark asked, chicken Hawks his dad said.

They lost no more chickens, Earl shot 2 chicken hawks and Clark shot a coyote and a skunk.

2 weeks had gone by and Earl asked Clark if he wanted to make a scout of the city. Clark grinned and said let’s do it in the night time, I have some upgraded night vision since you last looked through one.

just another story #4 - The Pilot - Part 12
Sergo had become relaxed after 2 weeks and nothing more had happened, he had one look out in the civic center building about 6 stories up during the day with binoculars and a spotting scope. The look out always came down after dark.

Clark and his dad looked out over the city at dark 2 weeks later and saw small lights and a fire in the town square. They both grinned. They had a big load of firearms and ammunition with them. They decided to get up close with these people. Clark carried the AK and his dad opted for the M-16 type rifle, plus he decided to drag a shotgun on the other shoulder with him. He just told Clark, you never know when you may need some heavy in close firepower.

They got to within 80 yards of the partying gang people. His dad said I will shoot from left to right you shoot from right to left. We should take out 20 or so. Then we de de the place, Clark asked what is de de – His dad said leave the area quickly, we can always come another day.

Clark’s dad was close to the body count. They killed 22 before they withdrew rapidly. They watched from ½ mile away as the remaining idiots fired every which way. They went home.

Sergo was one of the first gang members shot. His wound would be fatal in a few hours. Clark and his dad an hour and a half later were drinking a mixed drink of Crown Royal and Coke. They only had one drink apiece. The amount of liquor they had would last them 180 or more years the way they drank.

Sergo gasped to his lieutenant, Get out of this town before you all get killed. His Lt just said yes we will leave in a few minutes. The Lt was ignorant and was not going to give up this city. He would hide and watch for these people who were killing them. Clark and his dad had no intentions of going close to the city for several months. The thought of the remaining gang members looking over their shoulder for months on end tickled them.

just another story #4 - The Pilot - Part 13
The Lt looked out the 2nd story window from the room he had been sleeping in and heard the deep throated sound of the Harley motorcycles long before they came into view. He watched as about 90 or more cycles gathered around the town square. The thought came to his mind, if I can take over this gang, I will be ruler of the East Coast. He went out the 1st floor door with a big red flag waving. The leader of this gang watched the idiot approaching. When he was in talking distance, the Lt said I am so glad to see you and I need a little help. Rock just said where are the rest of your gang, call them out here and we can have a gab fest. The Lt hollowed for the rest of the gang to come out. There were 2 women captives that told their captor, I will bring Susan as soon as she gets through in the bathroom. The dumb watcher ran out to meet this new gang. The 2 ladies slipped out the back and ran as far as they could towards the only road they knew of out of town. They stayed about 300 yards off the road but just kept it in view.

The 2 women stopped at a house that hadn’t been looted by her former captors. Susan broke out the back kitchen door window and reached in and unlocked the door. Susan told Mary Lou to grab 4 pillow cases or better yet see if they have something a little heavier like a duffle bag, something we can load up with food and blankets and some belts. Susan found a bunch of canned goods, knives, can openers empty plastic bottles, a few small cooking utensils and a whole drawer full of lighters. Mary Lou came back and said I hope these will do. Susan could have kissed her. She had 2 back packs with the little roll out sleep pads attached to the bottom. She then told Mary Lou, we have to leave this area because there will be a big search for us and if we are caught. I don’t need to tell you what we will be used for. It will be 20 times worse then what the old gang did to us. Mary Lou shuddered and they made a really good and quick search of the house. A single shot 22 bolt action rifle and 3 boxes of shells for it were found. Susan looked under the kitchen sink and grabbed a large can of insect spray and 2 large cans of deep woods off with deet. In the bathroom cabinet a large jar of amoxicillin, aspirin, alka seltzer, murine, toe nail clips, tooth paste, tooth brushes, and dental floss was thrown into a bag and all the toilet paper, shampoos, soaps and feminine pads were loaded - Mary Lou just looked at the pile and asked Susan if we could carry all this. Susan said if we don’t we will die. The two blankets and two winter coats were put in large trash bags and tied onto the back packs. The remaining trash bags were stuffed into both of their packs. The stuff only weighed about 40 pounds and was easily carried by the 2 women. They slipped out the back door, the walking boots the gang had gathered for them making a slight clunking noise as they eased off the road into the woods.

Susan was the one that had the knowledge to survive for a good while in the woods, she had always went hunting, fishing, back packing and camping with her family of 2 brothers and mom and dad. Susan was a pretty girl with black hair and green eyes and was about 5 foot 8 inches tall, her weight was somewhere in the 130 pound range and her body was solid from years of outdoor activity. Mary Lou was a rangy long legged girl, about 5 foot 10 with brown hair and brown eyes that had the look of geek on her wide face. She weighed a solid 135 pounds. She was in good shape; she had always played volley ball and girls basketball.

just another story #4 - The Pilot - Part 14
They were about a half mile out of town when they heard gunfire, they did not slow down. Their quick exit from the city had saved their lives, because the Lt had told Rock they had 2 women. Rock had his gang to shoot them and go get the women. Susan said I want to get about 10 miles away before we stop for the night. They moved further from the roadway where they looked for a place to camp. They set up camp by a small stream in a grove of large trees. Susan said we can build a small fire behind this tree and boil some water to fill the bottles we have. They boiled water for about 10 minutes and set the bottom of the pan in the creek to cool it down quickly so it could be transferred to the 8 or so 16 ounce bottles they had. A can of spaghettios with meatballs was heated up and they both ate from the cooking pot. The pot was cleaned out in the stream and some more water was boiled in it to totally clean it. The next morning they had hot tea with a little sugar but they used their cups to slowly drink it. Susan said we should eat a good meal before we leave because I do not want to stop for lunch. They opened a small half can of spam and fried it in the pot and they each had 3 pieces. The journey of escape continued. That night they were about 25 miles from the city and had found a similar spot to camp. Susan told Mary Lou to start a small fire behind the big tree and to scrape all the leaves away to keep from starting a woods fire. She loaded the 22 and eased across the creek, she had not shot the 22 but it had open sights so there was no scope to be knocked out of alignment. She was going to shoot a squirrel or a rabbit if she was lucky enough to find one sitting still. She watched 3 small deer drink from the creek and drift back into the woods. She almost shot one in the eye but thought that was just a little too much meat for her and Mary Lou to eat at one sitting and she giggled softly under her breath.

Back in the city Rock had went nuts and stomped on the dead Lt’s head until it turned into mush. He told his men to find them 2 women because he hadn’t had one for going on 4 months. He looked at his 2nd in command and gave him the evil eye and told him if you ever kill another woman while I am around like you did the only one we had, I am going to do you just like I did that idiot laying there. The 2nd hung his head and said not a word. The search was fruitless. The city was large and it would take weeks to find the women if they were still here. Rock told the gang, this city hasn’t been looted too much so we will stay here for a few months. Maybe we will stumble onto some women. The only 3 women alive within 600 miles were the 2 that were camping 25 miles away and Clark’s mom.

The 2 women were lucky, it was nearing the end of August and the weather was perfect for camping. Susan had shot a rabbit and when she was cleaning it she noticed the worms under the skin, warbles, unhatched bot fly pupae that eat through the skin and finish their growing in the rotting leaves or underground she said to herself. They generally leave the rabbit before the 1st frost or close to it. That is why rabbit season in most of the colder states do not allow hunting rabbits till after the 1st frost. She was not squeamish and just cut them out. The 2 women roasted the rabbit on a long green stick. The salt shaker was used sparingly, just to make the dry roasted meat more palatable. They heard a vehicle that night on the road going towards the city. They ignored it and went to sleep under the trees with the stars twinkling brightly.

just another story #4 - The Pilot - Part 15
Earl and Clark decided it was time to do some more damage to the gang in the city. They were going to do it from long range tonight. Earl had practiced with the M1A and decided he liked the heavy thing. He practiced at night with the night vision goggles shooting the gun and found he could do a good job with it out to 400 yards. He decided a bi-pod and a good scope would make this easily an 800 or more yard day or night gun. He mentally noted to look for a bi-pod, a good scope and a mount that fit this gun.
They got to the same place where they had watched the city from before. Earl asked Clark if he saw the same thing, Clark said yes, I count 75 or more gang bikes. This looks like a new gang has taken over the city Earl said. They watched for a while and Clark asked his dad about a plan of attack. Let’s just get up to 350 or 375 yards where I can make really good shots and shoot as many as we can and de de. That is exactly what they did. 14 gang members lay dead in the park and they started receiving a few wild shots that were close. They pulled back to 900 yards and Clark started shooting motor cycles in the gas tank or engine. There was a raging fire coming from 30 or so bikes before Clark started to look for gang members. He shot 3 more with the 50 caliber and watched as their body exploded. They went home and Clark said they would do it again in about 3 weeks.

Rock went completely insane when he saw what was going on. He called for the ex army people and said lets do something. The army man who had been in combat snorted; and said just what do you want us to do. There are some people out there with sniper rifles and night vision. We couldn’t get close to them in the dark even if we all rushed them at once. They would probably open up with automatic weapons fire and kill all of us. Rock’s rage finally went to just a slow simmer from the boiling rage it was a minute ago. So we do nothing Rock said. The army man said yep, best thing for us to do is stay under cover until they leave. It looks to me that they want to use the night to their advantage and they doing a fine job of it. If I was them I would come back every week and kill a bunch and leave, eventually they would kill us all or if we were smart we would leave now. Rock said ain’t nobody ever gonna take something away from me and I am going to kill whoever did this. The army man did not reply to this. He had already figured out what he was going to do, and if his buddies went along, fine, if they didn’t he was high balling it out of here as soon as he had some supplies. He thought these people do not want us here and I am in complete agreement with them. I am not going to get killed by someone who can shoot me from a mile away in the day or night.

Mary Lou and Susan put their packs on and headed out for another day of putting distance between them and the city. They heard motor cycles on the Highway and lay down in the tall grass 400 yards from the roadway. Susan had raised up enough to see that it was about 14 or maybe 15 bikes that roared past them at a high rate of speed heading in the direction they were headed. Susan told Mary Lou we have to get away from this main road and a few miles further on they found a cross roads that said Stoney Junction on a sign. She flipped a penny and said heads left, tails right. It ended up tails.
They were going to run into Clark and family.

Rock was really in a rage this day; one of the deserters had stolen his bike. He looked around at what was left and said Red is this your bike? Red told him it was. He shot Red in the chest and said, no it ain’t. He took count of his gang and saw there were 57 including him left. He then counted the undamaged bikes, 45 left. We need 12 more bikes gang. Those of you that have bikes, scour the city for more. The bikes were found, Rock moved his gang into the center of the city and gave instructions, no more out door parties until we kill those people that hurt us. He had 3 more meetings and made his own tactical plan for ambushing these snipers. A watch was set up on the last position the snipers had shot from. The watchers all had scoped rifles and were good shots. Nothing happened for 2 weeks except boredom set in amongst the watchers. The watchers had their own meeting and decided to leave this crazy gang leader. They were missing out on all the drinking going on. The next night 18 more gang members departed for parts unknown; this left Rock with 39 gang members. These were the dumbest humans walking the face of the earth. All they knew how to do was fix and polish their bike, drink and fight. And follow the leader.

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