Day 6 without power… We’re gonna have to get the fuck out of here.
Last night while sleeping my wife elbows me hard.
“What was that?” She asked.
I lay still listening and then I hear it. It’s some kind of scuffle and it seems to be coming from my patio. I go across the hall from the master bedroom to the office. The balcony there overlooks the patio and my neighbor’s patios as well. The patios are separated by a 6 foot privacy fence. I grab my 12 volt camping lantern and fill the adjoining patio with the white harsh light that only Coleman can produce.
I had only meant to look for a second.
I had expected to see a raccoon or perhaps a fox. The wildlife is kind of reclaiming everything since the power has been off.
I was stunned to see my neighbor Darren standing over a stranger with a baseball bat.
“Hey Darren! What the fuck?” I shouted.
This seems to break the spell, at least it has stopped the down-swing of the bat.
“I found this fucker rooting around on my patio; obviously trying to steal.”
The homeless guy stands up and his arm just kind of wiggles in an odd way. I realize with a sickening certainty that his arm is broken. I am just shocked. What the hell is happening to us? This is a good upscale neighborhood. Crime is pretty much Zero here in Santee. The homeless guy is filthy and dressed in layers. He kind of stares into the light as does Darren. Using his good arm he opens Darrens gate and shuffles off into the night.
I flash the light on Darren.
“Did you bust his arm with that fricking bat?” I asked.
“Hell yea I did.” He replied.
“Dude, you can’t just beat people down with a fricking ball bat, you could have killed him. You were still swinging when I turned the light on.”
“Yea… I was pissed. What would you have done?”
“Man I don’t know; but probably not that.”
“I’m gonna tell you something as your neighbor and your friend. You need to wake the fuck up and see what’s going on here.” said, Darren.
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” I asked.
“It means we are fucked. The lights are out, and who knows when of if they are coming back on. Remember when you saw that cop that was recommending we don’t travel? Well I was up there yesterday and he’s gone. Guess what's there now? A fucking armored personnel carrier with a 50 cal mounted on top. And you know what else? I don’t think anyone is even inside of it. There’s a camera on the fucking gun. There is about 50 people camped around it; if you can call a 100 foot wide circle with an APC in the center, and a ring of people around that, around it.
I guess every other day a fuel truck filled with soldiers not wearing insignia shows up and pumps diesel in the APC, and then drives away. The soldiers don’t talk to anyone and if they even move a little closer shots are fired above their heads and a tape plays telling them these are the final warning shots.
Now if it’s still not clear to you all the resources in the world for us are in this circle that the military has created since the lights went out. Once they are gone people will start dying. So you’re worried about some thief getting his ass kicked for trying to steal? You better wake the fuck up. We need to band together, so someone can keep watch because as soon as people start getting hungry and thirsty they will start stealing.
I’m going to call a meeting tomorrow and see who’s in and who’s out; but I’ll ask you now. Are you in or out?”
“I guess I’ll let you know in the morning at the meeting.” I answered as I closed the patio door and turned out the light.
I stand looking at my wife, while she stares back at me, and mentally taking inventory. He’s right; everything has changed and I need to decide what I’m going to do.