THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 704, January 6, 2013
"It is perhaps a bit late, but individuals
who value civilization are beginning to act."
Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise
[I had a nightmare the other day, and in trying to describe it to someone, this short story came to be. It's not prophesy, and it's not history... yet. MamaLiberty]
Someone was banging on the door upstairs, hard. Mostly deaf, Molly usually had to trust the dog to bark to know someone was at the back door facing the driveway, but this time there was no question about it. And it didn't sound good at all.
Taking the time to put the little dog in his crate, just so he would remain safe, she grabbed the 20 gauge shotgun from beside the bed and started upstairs. The steel core door was making an awful racket with their pounding, so she didn't bother asking who they were or what they wanted.
She had a pretty good idea already.
Picking up the phone, she wasn't surprised to find the line dead. They would cut that first. The only hope would be if her neighbor saw the commotion, but he was probably sound asleep in bed himself, as she had been.
Now she had to decide what to do about this. If she fired at the men about to break in, she would have little chance of survival. Was there some further purpose to her life after 66 years? Would allowing these goons to arrest her produce anything good? How could she know... and how long did she have to consider it?
The banging had started on the front door, meaning they'd cut the lock on the gate. She was glad she hadn't tried putting the wee dog out there. He would surely have been killed.
Both doors crashed in at the same time, and black clad strangers made fools of themselves trying to rush in all at once, screaming obscenities and with guns drawn. She was just waiting for one of them to start shooting, hoping they wouldn't hit her or each other.
Molly had stashed the shotgun in the office and was calmly sitting on the couch in her coat and warm, tall slippers. She had no desire to be dragged through the snow in her nightgown, but she'd not had any opportunity to change. She hopped they'd leave her coat on anyway.
The screaming continued as the goons untangled themselves from the crush at the door, but the ones in front of the crowd seemed to look puzzled behind their masks... well, Molly thought their eyes showed the beginning of it anyway -- and they stopped yelling.
In a few seconds, they were all standing around pointing their rifles at her, some making nasty or snide remarks to a companion, but they were strangely still otherwise. Molly sat quietly, relaxed as much as she could manage with guns pointed at her, and waited for what came next.
The cold was coming in fast through the open doors, and Molly wished she'd thought to turn off the heater. Her electric bill next time was going to be a monster...
Then another man entered, dressed very differently from the goons and obviously their superior. His uniform was black, but he had no mask or armor, and only a simple sidearm on his belt. Molly was surprised a big brass hat like that would carry a lowly 9mm, but figured that might be all he could qualify with... as if that made any difference, of course. It was obviously only symbolic anyway.
He waved the goons aside and most of them dropped their gun muzzles to the floor as he advanced and stood with his arms crossed as if he were confronting some recalcitrant underling. "What is your name?" he demanded in a gruff and very bluff voice.
Molly could tell that he was very much impressed with himself, and was used to everyone being terrified of his pronouncements. She smiled at him and said, "I suspect that's a rhetorical question. What do you want besides answers you already have?" The funny thing was, she thought, that she really could not have told him anything he didn't already know -- at least anything he was interested in hearing.
"Let's go," he said, pointing at two of the goons, and then at Molly.
She didn't resist, and she didn't waste any time or breath asking about being detained, what the charges were, or anything else. They were all just rhetorical questions these days. The goons, and especially their bosses, did just exactly what they wanted to do and there was zero recourse... at least officially.
They were rough, and the handcuffs hurt abominably, but at least the big SUV was warm inside, and they had let her keep her coat after going through it carefully, even cutting the seams on the collar and the cuffs. She wondered how long it would take until they cut up her slippers and only hopped there would be no body cavity search. But she figured she'd bought into all of it when she decided not to shoot, so she just gritted her teeth and said nothing.
The ride to the local police department only took a few moments, though she did wish they'd slow down on the icy roads. The young man at the wheel seemed completely flummoxed about how to drive on the ice. Molly figured he must have come from somewhere down south... way down south.
Molly had visited the building the city police shared with the sheriff's department a good number of times in the past. As a certified firearms instructor, she had done the CCW classes for the county sheriff for years, and had become friends with him, as she had his predecessor. The current sheriff had vowed that he was an "Oathkeeper" and would most certainly maintain the constitutional rights of the people who were in his jurisdiction. She wondered how that was going to work out now.
Going through the back door of the city police area was a new and disagreeable experience for her. The smell alone told her that it hadn't been cleaned good back there for some time. Not that anyone actually expects a jail to smell nice, of course, but clean should be possible. They had to carry her from the SUV because the rough treatment and handcuffs had made it almost impossible for her to stand alone, but they were certainly not nice about it, stuffing her into a cracked plastic chair in what appeared to be an interrogation room. No windows, no clock, no features except the scarred table and rickety chairs. The chair she was in was too far from the table for her to lean on it, so she did her best to sit quietly where she was in spite of the pain in her arms and back. At least the handcuffs had been removed.
Mr. big shot boss swaggered into the room and stood before her, legs spread and arms crossed against his chest as before. "What is your name?" he demanded again, eyes hot and mouth grim.
"I have nothing to say to you or anyone else here," Molly said quietly. Then, closing her mouth, she vowed not to speak again until they let her go... or she died, whichever came first.
She had no idea after that how long the "interrogation" lasted. She did ask to use the bathroom, and then eventually had to let her urine go into the chair through her clothing when she couldn't hold it any longer. She was only slightly amused to see that some of the young men were at least a little embarrassed then, and glad that the smell seemed to keep "big shot" a few feet farther back than before. Thirsty, hungry and very tired, she gritted her teeth again at the pain in her arms and, increasingly in her back and rear end... while the men alternately threatened and cajoled her with their foolish questions.
She had no idea how long all this had gone on, and the slow tears had seeped out for so long that her eyes were red and irritated. She couldn't blow her nose properly with no tissues, and that was a torment almost as bad as the pain. Her back ached miserably and she knew that she would eventually fall to the floor when she could no longer maintain her balance on the old chair.
The door opened then, and she saw the sheriff look in. His face was a study of horror and something like fear, but she had to ask him. "Are you still an oathkeeper?"
He looked around, almost in a panic, and backed out quickly, banging the door shut.
That seemed to answer the question, but she was puzzled at the distress in his eyes. "What's up with that?" she thought.
Ignoring everything said and done to her got harder and harder, but sheer exhaustion finally won and she fell out of the chair onto the hard floor, rolling to her her side and falling asleep almost immediately.
A new and very annoying sound woke her, and Molly was too disoriented to understand where she was when she first opened her eyes. The sound struck a chord of old memory, and she realized it was the siren of an ambulance. Looking around, she saw that she was actually riding in one, strapped to a gurney and covered with a wonderfully warm blanket. She didn't like the look of the IV stuck in her arm, but the face of the EMT that drifted into range just then was reassuring. He was someone she knew...
"Don't try to talk, Molly," he said, patting her shoulder. "You are going to be ok. Bill and some of the guys got your doors fixed and Jerry took the dog home. He's going to be spoiled rotten after a day or two with his kids. Lulu is staying at your house to clean up and keep the heat going so things don't freeze. You don't need to worry about anything. Oh, and the sheriff got your guns and computer back too. He'll bring them -- says he needs to talk to you."
"But, but... how did I get here and were are all the goons?" she sputtered.
"You'll know all about it soon enough, I suspect. Fifteen western states finally seceded from the union yesterday after all these months of talking about it, and the 'goons' here are now all under arrest. No telling what that will mean in the long run, of course.
We do live in "interesting times," Molly said, and drifted off to sleep again.
Was that worth reading?