Short Story - Surrounded By Idiots
Rex was in his workshop working on his new tool organization system when his stupid wife knocked quietly on the door.
"Dear? The president is on TV. He about to make an announcement about something.."
Rex let out an extra big sigh to indicate his lack of patience with the bag of hammers he shared marital bliss with. That was how Rex communicated with his wife, the volume of the sigh measured only by the level of stupity of the question.
"Busy. Leave me alone", Rex muttered.
Rex went back to his project rearranging his sockets by inches rather than the New World Order metric system. If the UN invaded, they weren't going to find his tools ready to use but rather, in an American inch based confused manner. As he worked, he reached over and switched on his multi band AM/FM/Shortwave/Scanner set on the shelf above.
"...clearly, this has profound implications on the security of the United States and the rest of the democratic and free world. Therefore, I have decided to impose unilateral sanctions on the Peoples Islamic Caliphate until they have demonstrated the desire and conviction to return to the civilized way of life share by the majority of peoples on this planet. Make no mistake, the United States has nothing but the up most respect for the Muslim faith and for the people of the historic and traditional region of the middle east, but their leaders have led them astray and for this, I must take action...."
Rex sighed again, muttered "twit" under his breath and switched off the radio.
A few moments later, the Box Of Rocks knocked on the door again,
"Rex, honey? The television just went out. Could you take a look at it when you are not too busy, please?"
"Leave a man alone, woman." Rex replied without turning from his work bench.
Rex did reach over to the keyboard on his PC which was also on the workbench handy in the event he had to look something important up. He opened a browser and went to the only site with real news and information, "Detonator2012" The browser timed out after 30 seconds of trying and ended up on "404 Page Not Found".
"Swell. What did that dummy do to the Internet?" thought Rex.
Hauling his butt off his Craftsman stool, Rex went to the shop door, unlocked the three locks, swept the door open, his rage growing by the moment.
"Woman! What did you do to the internet? I have work to do out here!" Rex growled as he strode from the shop into the kitchen.
Darla looked up from the cinnamon rolls she was rolling out on the kitchen counter and then quickly looked down at the floor.
"I didn't touch the internet connection, dear. I was waiting for you to come and check the TV set. I mean, when you weren't busy, darling" she quickly added.
Rex let out an extra louder than normal sigh, "Surrounded by idiots." he muttered and stomped into the family room to check the internet connection.
Family room was a misnomer as he and Darla had no children to speak of. Darla, that quack of a doctor said, was healthy as a horse and as fertile as a Kansas wheat field. It was Rex, he claimed, that had some "reproductive issues". BS thought Rex, and he refused to see another so called doctor again after that day seven years ago.
"I want a son" he demanded of his wife. "Why can't you get that through your fat head?"
Clearly it was her fault that Rex was heirless and was forced to fish and hunt alone each weekend.
Rex went to the corner next to the television and saw that the power light on the cable/internet box was lit, but everything else was dark. "What the...?" he thought.
Rex than tore back the curtains on the window and for the first time in as long as anyone could remember, was speechless.
A pall of black smoke was hanging over the area in the direction of downtown. It was then Rex noticed the sound of sirens warbling in the air. His repose was interrupted when the emergency weather siren down the street sprang to life and let out its loud deep moan.
"The Schumer has hit the fan!" Rex yelled. Excitement built in Rex's stomach much in the way a younger man would feel when he saw the woman he was going to marry for the first time or scratched off the winning number on a Lotto card.
Rex bolted for his gun safe which was in the back of the walk in closet in the bedroom "What will I take? The AR? The SKS? The WASR? What about the Mossie? Got to have some firepower, but the need for multiple man stopping rounds is too important to neglect" he mumbled to himself.
In the background, Darla was babbling something about the sirens and smoke, but Rex tuned her out as he was so adept at after many years of practice. Rex ripped open the closet door and went for the safe. His fingers were fumbling with the combination lock and he had to stop for a moment, take a deep breath before starting again.
"This was going to be great" beamed Rex inside.
Rex was sitting on the foot of his bed, (well actually Darla's bed as Rex had a habit of sleeping on the couch or a fold out cot in his workshop), loading magazines for his AR15. It had been a tough decision, but he decided to go with the AR after carefully considering a number of factors.
Rex also had out his Para-Ordinance .45, his Mossberg 12 gauge and his Kel-Tec .380 for a backup piece. He was going through The Big Plan in his head, but Darla kept buzzing into the room like an annoying horsefly sharing news from the radio.
"gas lines are forming.. government says to stock up on bottled water... the ball game was cancelled tonight.. looting reported downtown.."
Looting. That word stood out to Rex like a neon sign in the desert. Looting meant looters to be dealt with and that was OK with Rex. Looting also meant "strategic reallocation" which literally made Rex's mouth water. He could not wait to get downtown.
But for now, there magazines to be loaded. Rex had six down and fourteen more to do before he could even consider heading out the door.
"Rex, I really think I need to go by the market and pick up a few things. I know you are busy and all, but if you could drive me in the truck, I could be in and out in just a few minutes..." Darla said quietly.
"First, it is not THE truck, it is MY truck. Second, your inability to plan for an emergency does not make it a priority in my schedule. YOU should have listened when I told you to purchase extra food and stuff. But NO, you dilly dallyed around the house doing NOTHING while I planned, I prepared, and I did the heavy lifting. You can thank me later for having the foresight to purchase long term storage food some time ago. We will be able to eat well, but its NO THANKS to you, you ... dimwit." Rex growled.
"What long term storage food?" asked Darla. "What are you talking about...?"
Rex sighed. "The food I purchased online. Buckets of food. Freeze dried, dehydrated, MRE's. Real food we can eat when the poop hits the ocillator and our neighbors are eating their beloved cats and dogs. You are as dense as Jupiter, woman."
"How much did you spend, Rex? Where did you get the money from?" asked Darla, her eyebrows drawing together.
"Woman, MY finances are none of your business. Now you listen to me and listen good. The thin veneer of civilization is coming off the world right now. We can sit here and have a nice little conversation or you can get out of my hair and let me get to work!" Rex roared.
Darla stood for one moment staring at Rex and then turned and left the bedroom shutting the door quietly behind her.
Rex continued loading magazines for the next 45 minutes before carefully putting all of them in the load bearing gear he had purchased at a surplus store. Then he changed into the outfit he had laid out on the bed. A pair of 5 in 1 khakis with matching shirt, suspenders, steel toed boots and a black authentic SEAL stocking cap. He imagined he looked like an intrepid explorer or post-apocalyptic action hero, when in actuality, he looked more like an overweight janitor with a head cold.
Picking up the two long guns, Rex opened the bedroom door and went with purpose to the garage where his truck waited. He said nothing to Darla, got in the truck, punched the garage door opener and drove out in what he imagined would be the urban wastelands of America. The adventure begins!
Rex had wanted to join the military as a boy. But as high school ended and manhood approached, he had second thoughts and instead took a job at a local factory working the floor. In his mind, he rationalized that he could always join some branch of the service at a future date, and for the time being, he could earn money which would allow him to get out of the house and away from his doting, but simple minded mother. In reality and subconsciously, the thought of military training and undressing in front of other men mortified Rex.
As for now, Rex was barreling through his neighborhood in the direction of downtown. The Big Plan, as he called it, was downloading its way through his buzzing brain. There were looters to deal with, resources to be located and missing pieces in his master prep list to be filled. Rex was sure this would be the best day in his life.
Approaching the big intersection closest to his neighborhood, Rex was pleasantly surprised to see the long line at the gas station and the burst of activity in front of the super market. People were grabbing grabbing carts and actually yelling at each other in the parking lot. At the gasoline station, two men were fighting over the pump while a woman tried to separate them from a full blown fist fight.
Rex was giddy with excitement as the world crumbled around him. The sheeple would be strayed and lost and men like him would step up to the plate ready to take charge. Finally things would be made right and he could feel the back slaps and see the welcoming grins as men who heretofore had more possessions and stature than he had would now be forced to see him in a new adoring light. It would be magnificent.
The only drag was Darla and her worthlessness. More than once in the past hour Rex had considered inviting her along under the pretense she could load magazines or hand him weapons as he needed them. Secretly, however, he hoped that a stray bullet would take her out in all the action finally allowing him the freedom he needed to find the Perfect Mate for the strange new world coming. His fevered imagination created a woman who looked like Pamela Anderson but spoke as much as Clint Eastwood and could shoot like him too.
Putting his fantasies out his mind, Rex got on the interstate and headed towards downtown. The first order of business was some target practice on the looters running rampant. Then a side trip to a couple of gun stores to "relieve" their overstock and then a quick run through Walmart to stock up on some essentials. All told, Rex figured he had a couple of hours to kill, then would head home to get his house in order. He cursed himself for not telling Darla to fill the bathtubs as they would need the water. She was so dumb, she was probably eating bon-bons and trying to get the TV to work.
Downtown was approaching and Rex' excitement built. He would finally get to see his AR in action. For real.
Rex exited the interstate into downtown off the ramp which led to the retail part of town. He knew there were some high dollar jewelry and electronics stores down there which would attract the kind of people he had a high desire to put down before they made their way, as they eventually would, to where his house was.
Rex was stunned when he saw the phalanx of several dozen uniformed and armed police officers forming a skirmish line off the main avenue. "Why aren't they abandoning their posts and heading home to protect their families?" Rex wondered aloud. Something wasn't right so Rex continued driving further down the boulevard.
Persistance paid off when he spied a line of "disadvantaged youths" walking out of the broken glass doors of a big box electronic store carrying televisions and game consoles. "What a bunch of idiots." thought Rex. "All those electronics are going to be worthless in a few hours. Time to relieve the gene pool" he figured.
Rolling to a stop a few hundred yards away, Rex lifted his AR from the passenger seat and checked the magazine in the rifle. He opened the truck door and stepped out onto the pavement. His heart was beating a hundred miles an hour, his mouth was dry but his palms were sweating profusely. Rex shook his head and lifted the AR to his shoulder.
Allowing his eyes to focus on the steady line of young people streaming out of the store, Rex sighted in one particullarly large man wearing a bright red tank top. He appeared to be directing the others and encouraging them on in their looting.
Rex drew a bead on Red Shirt and squeezed the trigger. Everything happened fast after that. Red Shirt fell back onto the pavement and everyone else froze holding their boxes and loot in the middle of the street. Then one cried out and the whole mob began to flee in every direction including towards Rex.
Rex tried to draw a target but looking through the scope at so many moving people up close was too difficult, so he just pulled the trigger in their general direction. That only made things more chaotic as people ran in circles with many getting closer to him.
Panicking, Rex jumped back in his truck but momentarily forgot how to start or drive the thing. Something primordial clicked in the back of his head and he managed to turn the key and kick the engine to life just as the vanguard of the mob reached his truck. Dropping the truck in reverse, he screamed when a huge woman landed on his hood and started shouting the foulest curse words through the windshield.
Another man grabbed the drivers door and actually got it opened as Rex floored the vehicle backwards down the street. For a moment, the man got his hand on the barrel of Rex's beloved AR, but the increased speed of the truck caused him to lose his step and fall to the street and roll against the curb.
Rex turned the steering wheel to the right and managed to toss the big woman off his truck hood where she too landed and rolled across the empty street. The rest of the mob by this time was picking up anything they could get their hands on and started throwing things at Rex's rapidly retreating truck. Bottles, cans and a few pieces of asphault bounced off the roof and bed of the truck as Rex peeled down the side street.
Rex looked back in the rear view mirror as the mob fell behind him, his hands shaking and barely able to keep the truck steady on the road. Rex turned back onto the main boulevard and he sped down the opposite direction from the interstate entrance which led home.
Rex felt his breakfast coming up and he did not even make it to a full stop before a half digested mess of instant coffee, Pop Tarts and scrambled eggs launched itself all over the console, his lap and the floor of the truck cab.
Rex just kept his head down as the contents of his stomach emptied into the truck and did not cease until it was done.
"Oh lord," muttered Rex, "I gotta get out of here" as he wiped his chin with the back of his hand. Rex looked down at the AR which was partially covered in vomit on the receiver and stock and pushed it with disgust to the passenger floor.
Rex looked around to make sure he was alone and then took his foot off the break and drove on. He was going to hit a gunstore and then get home. This was not the way it was supposed to be.
Moments later, Rex's truck came to a stop in front of Masterson's Gun and Sporting World. Masterson's was on the edge of downtown in a semi industrial area featuring contractor supply stores, pawn shops, and a few "buy here, pay here" car dealerships.
Rex did not frequent Masterson's as the prices were too high for his blood, but he assumed that the owners had probably abandoned the place knowing the rioters and mobs would be descending shortly. Rex grabbed his Mossberg from behind the truck seat and did not give the AR a second look. He had a feeling that he would not be touching that particular rifle for some time.
Rex went to the front door and expected it to be open, but was surprised to find it locked. He pulled on the door a few times before putting his face upon the barred glass door and cupping his hands over his eyes looked inside. He found himself starting, through the glass, at the barrel of a very large shotgun.
"Place is closed! Get back in your truck and go! Got nothing to sell today!" shouted the voice behind the shotgun.
"Are you the owner? Are you clearing the place out? Got anything you can't take away?" shouted back Rex. Suddenly he felt stupid. This wasn't like it was Christmas and he was trying to buy the last Nintendo thingie for his brat kids at the last minute. It was the freaking end of the world and this old toad looking man was pointing a shotgun at Rex!
Rex stepped back and racked a shell into the Mossberg and leveled it at the store window. "Stand back old man, I'm coming in!" Rex yelled.
Click. Nothing happened. Rex looked down and saw he had the safety on. By the time that dawned on him, the window of the shop blew outwards towards Rex.
Rex instinctively shielded his face with his left hand and in doing so lowered the Mossberg when a second shot came out the now missing window. It went wide, fortunately for Rex who was standing directly in front of the store, and instead took out Rex's truck windshield.
Shaking from his stupor, Rex dropped the Mossie and stumbled backwards towards his truck and promptly tripped over a low concrete parking barrier. He wasted no time and rolled over to his right and then crawled to the drivers door as another shotgun blast struck the hood of his truck.
Climbing into the front seat, Rex struggled to get his keys out of his front pocket as tears of frustration and pain poured out. "Please don't shoot me!" he could hear his voice pleading as he pulled the keys out and fumbled with them while lying across the front seat, his fat butt hanging out the front door.
Getting the keys free, he shoved them in the ignition and turned the motor over. Pulling down the shift he managed to pull his body into the truck, get his foot on the accelerator and jerk the vehicle back into the street. Dropping into drive. Rex floored the truck as a final shot took out his rear window.
Bawling like a baby, Rex barrelled back down the street towards the interstate. It dawned on him then he had left his Mossberg in the parking lot in front of the gun store. Oh carp! They will trace it back to him and put him in jail. They are going to come for him and stick him in a cell with a bunch of murdering rapists who would do awful things to him. "I gotta get out of here!" Rex screamed out loud.
Rex pulled onto the interstate and slammed on the breaks. Two police cars were blocking the entrance from traffic and there were at least four officers standing behind the roadblock. One put a megaphone to his mouth and shouted, "You! In the truck! Shut down the engine and step out of the vehicle with your hands in the air. This area is under lockdown! Step out of the vehice!"
Rex slammed the truck in reverse and floored it back down the entrance ramp. He was lucky as there was not another car behind him, but in his haste hit the guard rail and bent the bed at a terrible angle and flattened the rear passenger tire.
Two of the officers had drawn their guns and were coming around the roadblock towards the truck. Rex opened the drivers door, hopped out and ran for his life down the ramp back towards the street.
As one of the officers shouted, Rex stumbled onto the main street just as a large group came down the street carrying something long between them. It was a door, with something red on it. A man. A man wearing red lying on the door. It was the people from the electronic store! One looked up, pointed and shouted something unintelligible at Rex.
Rex screamed and ran the other way straight past the two officers who had been behind him on the entrance ramp. For a moment the two entities converged before a handful of police officers appeared from somewhere, but Rex was already fifty yards away running the fastest he had in his life.
"Home! I gotta get home! Darla will hid me! She'll have too!" Rex wheezed. "Gotta get out of here! Where am I?"
Too late. An older model sedan blocked the road in front of him and an older man wearing spectacles stepped out of the passenger side. "Hold it right there buddy!" he said as he pointed a shotgun directly at Rex. It was the old toad from the gun store! Rex looked back and saw the police, with the mob coming behind him. The old man in front with the shotgun.
Rex, wheezing from lack of breath, released his bowels in a single dump into his pants and fainted to the ground.
Rex woke up slowly, his head, no, his whole body aching like it had been run over with a steamroller. He sat up gingerly and allowed his brain to slide with a crash back into place and carefully opened his eyes.
He was on a cot. In a cell. A jail cell. A holding tank or something, "Probably a FEMA camp", the little voice in his head said.
"Wake up morning glory" said a voice to his left. It belonged to a uniformed guard standing outside the bars. "Hope you had a nice nap. Time to read you your rights and get you processed".
The guard starting reading the standard Miranda warning while everything sank into Rex's mind. He needed to get out of here. He needed to call Darla. Get her down here. Identify him, pay bail. Get him home. Home, wonderful beautiful home.
"I need to make a phone call. I get one of those don't I?" shouted Rex.
"Sure, you get one. Get up" replied the guard as he opened the cell door.
Rex looked down and noticed that his clothes were missing and he was now wearing an orange jump suit and some sort of cardboard slippers.
"You made a mess of your old stuff. After we searched you and collected all those guns, we cleaned you up at the hospital and put you in that outfit. How do you like it?" the guard smirked.
As the guard led Rex down the hallway, there were other jail cells, all full of leering and taunting voices. Rex stared at the floor and tried to block out the horrible and disgusting things the other inmates were saying to him,
The phone was in the next hallway and the guard lifted the receiver and handed it to him. "One call, three minutes max, no redo's for wrong numbers. Got it?"
Rex nodded and slowly punched his home phone number. On the fourth ring, Darla answered.
"Darla? It's me Rex. I need you to listen to me. I need you to get downtown and arrange bail for me. I am being held downtown. I don't know why. All those other people were rioting and looting. I was only trying to help. Now I know you have questions, but you listen to me. Get down here. Bring your purse 'cause it's going to cost a few bucks to get me out. You hear me?"
There was a pause and then Darla slowly spoke.
"Rex. I am leaving right now for my mother's. I have taken half of the money from the bank account and am only taking my things with me. I will leave the keys to the front door on the kitchen counter. I am taking my car, the one you allowed me to drive. but will leave it for you to come get when I am done with it. Don't call me. I don't want to speak to you again. I hope things work out for you. Good bye".
The line went dead.
"All done cowboy?" said the guard, "Let's get you back to your cell, then"
"Wait. What happened. The riots. The announcement on TV. The looting. Gas lines. What happened?" pleaded Rex.
"Huh?" grunted the guard. "Oh downtown. They cancelled the ball game and some people started some trouble at the arena. Yeah, there was some looting and crime, but it's all under control now. Don't worry about that. You have plenty of other things to worry about. Lesse, attempted murder, discharging a weapon in public, disobeying an officer, resisting arrest, attempted armed robbery. Yep, you got a full dance card tonight cowboy".
The guard opened the cell door and guided Rex inside.
Turning away, the guard muttered under his breath, "What a world. Surrounded by idiots".
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