Wednesday, July 16, 2008
fiction by my son - read this!
A Midnight Drive
By Andy Zask
Based on “Paul Revere’s Ride” by Henry Longfellow
No truly democratic and free people would allow
themselves to go from freedom and democracy to tyranny
and subjugation without a fight. The first time the
United States had an election of theirs rigged, miscounted,
poorly judged and robbed, they should have fought. They
should have risen. Instead, they were complacent.
They accepted their fates as being out of their control.
Maybe a tenth of the population knew and recognized
what had happened.
The second election was more of the same.
This time, however, they had seen the trickery before.
More people came to see the rigging, the bad counting
machines, and the corrupt judges. By the end of the
second election, over a third of the people knew and
recognized that their government had been stolen.
They knew that their officials had not been elected
and that their democracy had become a fascist state.
Still, they didn’t fight. They waited. They can’t do it
again, they thought.
When the third election was robbed, the dissenters
had had enough. Their numbers had grown, and they began
to unite. They began to communicate and organize. The
backlash against the government’s corruption became so
wide spread that the people no longer mumbled and groaned.
Now they yelled and spoke loudly. More and more people came
to realize that their fear of losing their way of life to a
corrupt government was greater than the fear of what that
government could do to them. The early revolution began to
go public. The government sought to stem their efforts
with the 2009 Sedition and Betrayal Act, which essentially
suspended the Fourth Amendment. The growing rebel coalition
laughed at the name. Sedition was what they were fighting.
The government had their laws and their wire taps
and satellite communication interceptors. The NSA nearly
doubled in size as they were forced to bring on new recruits
to process the massive amounts of intelligence gathered on
American citizens. Rebels added to their woes, distributing
flyers advising citizens to interject suspicious phrases
such as, “overthrow the government” or “bomb the white house”
into their everyday phone conversations.
That was really a ploy within a ploy. The rebels
weren’t worried about cell phone taps. That was just
another way to get the corrupt government to waste and
misplace resources. The real important communications
took place over the Internet. They set up secret chat
rooms that the government couldn’t access, tens of thousands
of them, most filled with computer bots that carried on mindless
conversations about war and terrorism and political corruption
for the benefit of any intelligence officers who could access them.
They set up elaborate e-mail programs, where every e-mail sent
would go out with tens, hundreds, or even thousands of other
messages to dummy accounts carrying misinformation. The
correspondence put out by these tactics filled a massive
volume. Every dummy message, every fake chat room
carried suspicious and dangerous potential leads.
Every day, the thousands of intelligence officers
attempting to analyze the data fell behind by several years.
In July of 2009, the final protest was staged.
In every major city, thousands of men and women dressed
in blue jeans, blue jackets, and ski masks despite the
heat. They marched, in orderly fashion, to the city
hall, state capital, or in DC, the national capital.
The protest signs all had one word: Surrender. In
each city, the thousands of protesters stood still
and quiet, rank and file, in front of the buildings.
One member of each protest group stood ahead with a
bullhorn and read a list of charges, indicting the
federal government. At the end of the charges, the
man or woman said, “You have 24 hours to respond.
If the government does not abdicate its power, we
will remove it by force.”
Just north of Palm Springs, at a rest stop
on the westbound side of I-10, Simon Williamson
waited anxiously in a blue Corvette with a walkie
talkie in his hand. The response to the day’s
protest had begun. FM and AM radio were out,
as were all cell phone communications. They
had even shut down the Internet Service Providers.
The government had recognized that they were at war.
Their first response had been to shut off all communication
for the enemy. That means us, Simon thought.
We’re the enemy. Although the Corvette’s engine was off,
Simon gripped the steering wheel tightly. He found he
couldn’t keep his feet still, and they played drum beats on
the pedals. Every time a car drove by the freeway behind
him, he held the walkie talkie up to his ear, afraid that
he might miss his signal. Simon, a welder by trade,
wasn’t perturbed by the lack of phone and Internet
service. He’d been active in the New Revolution since
the third election results had been forged. He had
known his role for months, since all these plans had
been laid down.
While this emergency communication system had been
set up, the government had been busy investigating
false reports that insurgents were building forces
in Canada, Mexico and Cuba, or that there was a
conspiracy to take control of the nation’s nuclear
arsenal, or any of a few hundred other horrible
stories that had been disseminated en masse over
the Internet. Millions of form messages had
paralyzed the government. They would have
overlooked simple messages about walkie talkies
and Morse code, and someone’s brand new Corvette.
Stuff like that doesn’t seem so dangerous compared
to the threat of a neutron bomb going off at the
Lincoln Memorial or a plan to poison the water
supplies of every major military base.
Thirty miles east of Simon, a friend of his sat
in the dirt overlooking the road leading out of
29 Palms Marine Base. It was a clear night, and
the man had a good vantage point. He watched the
road and the sky above it. His job, so simple and
yet so important, was to watch for movement and,
if he saw it, to press the buttons on the side of
his walkie talkie in a certain combination based on
what he saw. At 11:58 pm, he saw headlights on the
road. He lifted his binoculars and saw that the
lights belonged to a camouflaged green jeep.
Behind it, another jeep, and then a large tented
truck. He saw more lights behind the truck, and
when he strained his eyes, he made out the dark
hulking outlines that he knew to be tanks. The
time had come for his task. He sent out a simple
If he had seen planes and helicopters instead of
tanks and trucks, he would have hit the “dash”
button, then the “dot” button three times to
make the letter “B.” “A” if by land, “B” if
by air. His radio guaranteed a signal range
of 15 miles. The rebel coalition had agreed
that radio relayers would stay 10 miles apart
from each other. If the military had sent out
an air strike first, the message would have been
relayed quickly west to the San Bernardino Mountains,
north and east to the Sierra Nevadas, and along the
Central Valley, warning the people to uncover and
arm their hidden antiaircraft guns. Spreading
the word in the middle and eastern part of California
was fairly easy. Going west was more difficult.
As the radios entered heavily populated areas,
their signals tended to falter as they were overridden .
by ambulance and police services and thousands of
truckers. For reliable radio communication in the
western cities, someone would have to bring radios
close to the people. That was Simon’s job.
As Simon’s friend outside 29 Palms saw the
trucks and tanks, he hit the two buttons on the
side of his radio – “dot” followed by “dash” – the
letter “A.” These were simple walkie talkies with
no sort of encryption or way of hiding the signal.
Certainly the men in the tanks below picked it up,
as did the communications specialists back on the
base. The beauty of the code was in its simplicity.
The letter “A” in Morse code came through the air,
perhaps signaling that a child with a new toy was
learning about radio communications. Certainly the
letter “B” would follow soon. And when it didn’t,
that was okay too. Within seconds Simon’s friend
heard a response from the next man in the relay
chain: “dot – dash.” At 11:59 Simon’s radio
received the message. As he heard the letter
“A,” Simon fired up the engine. He peeled onto
the I-10 and made his way for Los Angeles at the
turn of midnight.
It was midnight on a weekday, and I-10 was mostly
deserted. Simon pushed the Corvette, reaching 140
mph. By 1:00 am he had passed Riverside and was
crossing I-15. As he passed overhead he hit his
radio’s side buttons, passing the word to another
young man in a car at a rest stop, so that that
driver could drive the word south to San Diego.
At 2:00 am, Simon left I-10 in favor of the 101
heading north. Since entering Riverside, his
fingers had been working non stop, “dot-dash,
dot-dash, dot-dash.” As his message spread, the local
factions left their houses and took to the streets.
They began to construct previously conceived fortifications,
to place arms and supplies and to evacuate civilians from
the areas they had designated as combat zones. In a few
short minutes most of Los Angeles had transformed into a
military base. Simon drove on.
By 3:00 am, Simon had reached Oxnard, and the smell of
cattle in the summer heat. A few minutes later, he
passed through Ventura. Constantly his fingers moved,
transmitting that single letter that would mobilize
his people. At 4:00 am he passed through Santa Barbara.
This was the last of his responsibilities. All other
routes and lines of communications had been taken care of.
At 4:15 am, Simon pulled into a gas station near Lompoc.
The Corvette was dangerously low on fuel. Simon filled
it up, shrugged at the $65 price tag, and went into the
store to pick up some Red Bull and pay the cashier.
“What’s up, man?” the cashier asked.
“War,” Simon replied.
“We’re at war. It started today.”
The cashier looked at Simon quizzically, looking for a
sign of humor. He found none. Guess we’re at war, he
thought, and gave Simon his change. Simon walked out
and got into the Corvette. Its owner was in Oakland.
Simon had agreed to run the message from 29 Palms to
Santa Barbara, but now his mission was to get to Oakland
and rejoin the militia.
He headed north as he had been. At 4:20 am, the road
was deserted. Simon checked his rear view, and all he
saw reflected was the darkened road, glowing red beyond
his taillights. The enemy is back there, he thought, but
wasn’t afraid. With grim satisfaction he thought of the
hornets’ nests he’d passed and that they were now awake
and angry. All over the country this had happened.
Tens of thousands of troops erupted from their posts
and bases, ready to crush and destroy the rebels. In
response, a few hundred young men and women drove
their sports cars down the freeways and highways,
hitting buttons on their radios and mobilizing the
resistance. His gaze steely and determined, Simon
drove through the night and the morning to reach San
Francisco and Oakland to end his drive and make his
Who am i, what am i
A picture's worth
I stand on the sand, and I'm rocking grief to sleep in my arms.
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