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The refuge.

Uncle Al's farm was an ideal place for a small group. They took the opportunity to catch their breath and to get settled. Whig Highway rose uphill, and Uncle Al's place was situated at the top of the hill. His house was not far off the road. The back yard rose even more uphill from the house, and the outbuildings stood along the crest of that hill. There was a well up there with an old fashioned hand pump. Beyond that, stood an old, traditional outhouse.

Uncle Al - Well you folks get settled in the best you can. I've been cooking on the woodstove, and even in the fireplace. We'll need more wood though. There's all kinds of dead logs and limbs in that woods across the road.

Jerry - Hey, where does that county railroad end up? Do you know?

Uncle Al - It ends right up the road a ways. Whig runs north to M34, and then on to US223. I always wondered why they didn't take the railroad all the way to the county line.

Mark - That railroad might be our ticket right back to our subdivision. We can travel that without being seen.

Manuel - Hey! I was just up in the outhouse. What are we using for toilet paper?

Jerry - I guess we'll have to make a list of things to scrounge up.

Mark - Maybe we can send Timmy into the brush to gather some up. He claims to know the best kind. (chuckles).

Ginnylou - Timmy! Git over ta those woods. Git some dry wood, and look for some soft leaves.

Timmy - Okay.

Towards the end of the day, it was cooling down, and they had a small campfire in the back yard out behind the barn, where they gathered. Dinner had been eggs, sausage, and beans.

Timmy - Ma. When are we gonna git goin' north?

Ginnylou - We just got here. We gotta git rested up a bit.

Mark - I hate to tell you, but you probably should have stayed with the trucker. He'd be well on his way to the border by now.

Timmy - Pa said to go straight north.

Mark - I don't think they want us in Canada. They'll have the bridges blocked. As far as I know, the only way to Canada from Michigan is over the Detroit bridges, or across the Soo Locks. They're not just going to let a whole bunch of refugees into Canada. Especially since Rumpf pissed them off with tariffs.

Abby - Not to change the subject, but we've got a lot of work to do in order to make this a permanent camp. Or semi-permanent?

Jerry - And what about a defense scheme?

Dan - And what about any people left behind at home?

Emma - I can organize some defense. But frankly, I don't think we stand much of a chance.

Mark - Yeah. We don't number many. We're light on weapons.

Dan - About all we can do is station people behind heavy cover from bullets. A lot depends on when they come around, and how many of them.

Abby - There's barely enough here for us to get by for very long. You guys will have to go out and get stuff. If we're here very long, that is.

Jim - Maybe when cold weather sets in, they'll stay in town.

Jerry - Yeah. Maybe we can outlast them.

Mark - To be honest with you, I don't see how we can count on surviving this. It's something you can never plan for. It's not totally unexpected. It just unfolded so quickly. It was all so ridiculous and unreal, that nobody could believe it was really happening.

Carl - We can thank Rumpf, the Russians, and the Goppers for all this.

Jerry - And the Goppers stood by and let it all happen. They threw us under the bus.

Mark - Our whole system of government failed us. There was something wrong with it. It never should have happened.

Abby - Well it happens all around the world. And it always has. Look at us. We're right back to living like cavemen. We haven't learned a damned thing after thousands of years.

Mark - Maybe it's still "the survival of the fittest" after all.

Timmy- My Pa said only the strong survive.

Mark - Was your Pa ever wrong?

Timmy - Me and my Ma didn't like everything my Pa said. I had a little brother. His

name was Billy.

Ginnylou - Timmy! Shut the hell up!

Timmy - Little Billy was born weak and lame. Me and my Ma did things for 'im. We didn't mind none. Pa said for us to leave him be, or he'd never git stronger. And he did git stronger fer a while. But then he got a cough, and he died. I never felt right about that. And neither did my Ma.

Ginnylou - Dammit Timmy! I'll do my own talkin'.

Emma - Are we gonna sit here and listen to this kid, or are we going to make defense plans?

Timmy - How come you act like a boss?

Emma - Well, I'm not forcing you to do anything am I? It just happens that I've had military training and I can use it to help you survive. You can take it or leave it. Don't you have any respect for women? Is that your problem?

Timmy - My Pa said...

Emma - Oh here we go again.

Timmy - If ya treat a woman rough, ya can expect a good hard kick in the jeans. And I don't fancy that none.

Emma - How would you know anything about women? You're just a kid.

Timmy - My Pa said...

Emma - Oh no!

Timmy - He told me not to be womanizin', cuz my manly parts ain't growed up yet.

Emma - Oh my God!

Timmy - I reckon some day I'll see they're takin' up more room in my drawers. But what my Ma done to me set me right.

Emma - How so?

Timmy - One day I was diddlin' mah twig, and Ma swang a hard kick up inta my fun, and said "Git outta here with that monkey bizness!"

Emma - And she was right!

Ginnylou - Damn you Timmy! I'm gonna kick ya in the mouth next.

Carl - Timmy, how do you even know which way is North?

Timmy - Accordin' to my Pa, ya keep the sunrise on your right side, and the sunset on the left. If ya do that, yer headed north.

Carl - Do you even know your right from your left?

Timmy - Not at first. But he smacked me on one 'a my big toes with a stick, and said "that hurts, right?" I says "Right". It hurt all day. And he says the other foot is the "Left" one, cuz he left that one be.

Ginnylou - Timmy, git yer ass over there and git some more wood.

Dan - How come there aren't any cops, or national guard?

Mark - Well, I think they quit getting paid, so they're out for themselves now, just like everyone else.

Jerry - They work better together as a group. That way, when they do their dirty business, and somebody gets killed or hurt, nobody knows which one of them to hold accountable. This scar on my forehead is from Chicago in '68. The cops love to work a crowd, just to show off their baton skills to one another. They learn all these skills, and jump at a chance to practice them. They know they can't be held responsible. The same with Kent State and the National Guard.

Jim - I heard the Russians launched a satellite killer. It was like a beehive full of drones. The drones went out and damaged everyone elses' satellites.

Carl - So that's how come we don't have any TV, radio, phone, computer, and so on. They even knocked out our utilities. Nobody knows what's going on any more.

Mark - It shows you how dependent we are now on technology.

Timmy - (Dropping a load of sticks), We didn't have none of that back home. And we got along okay.

Mark - Well, that works okay if you're living like pioneers. But now we're a whole bunch of people living close together. We're bumping up against one another, and we need sensible rules to keep the peace. Some people get real rich off of other people's needs, and they start making the rules by using their money. These days, People don't know how to get by like you did back in the Kentucky backwoods.

Timmy - We took care of ourselves, and we didn't go out looking for trouble.

Mark - Well, nowadays trouble comes looking for you.

Timmy - A revenuer came around lookin' fer trouble. He had two guys with him, but they didn't say nuthin'.

Ginnylou - Timmy! Ya damn big mouth!

Timmy - He says to my pa, "I see ya got five jugs o moonshine here. Ain't that a mite much fer one man? Plannin' on sellin' some are ya?" My Pa says, "Well I like my corn squeezins, and I like to lay some up fer later. The longer it sits, the better it gits." The revenuer says, "Well I'm gonna hafta have $2.50 fer the lot". Pa says, "Well I did all the work, and you didn't do nuthin' to earn it. We Hatfields been livin' on this section a land since there was still Indians and bears runnin' around on it - and we been makin' corn squeezins." The revenuer says "Well it ain't fer me. It's fer the gummermint. It's rules, now that we're 'civilized'. Besides, this here land belongs to the state of Kentucky, unless ya got papers filed with the county." My Pa says, " Kentucky took it from the Indians, who said no man can own land anyway. He can live on a piece of it, if he can protect it. I got a hunch that tax is goin' inta Jack Daniel's pocket. Besides, I don't know you from shit. You can be any damn robber. That badge don't mean shit here."

Timmy - I saw those other two guys stickin' their hands inta their coats. Now, my Ma was standing in the cabin with the door cracked, listenin'. She had the twelve gauge double-barrel. My Pa had always said when he reaches up to adjust his cap, that means we're in big trouble. That was his secret signal. They wouldn't think of it as reachin' fer a gun.

Ginnylou - Damn you Timmy!

Mark - No let him go on.

Timmy - Pa said he didn't have $2.50, and wouldn't give it up if he did. Then the revenuer said he was gonna have ta bust up the jugs. That's when Pa reached up fer his hat. And Ma spoke up, and I seen those guys were surprised. She told that revenuer guy that she'd shoot him in his fat ass if he moved towards those jugs. I could see he was scared. He said they'd be back, but Pa said he'd be waitin' for 'em.

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