These are short stories put up each Friday that you can read for free. By the next Friday the post will be taken down and a new one will go up.
Some might argue over how it started, but I remember pretty clearly because I followed the news. It was the corruption scandal involving Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey. After he was found guilty the whole house of cards just collapsed. Probes found more bribery and corruption and then the vast network that funded it all. By May nearly half of Congress had resigned or was under investigation, and in their place came a bunch of Tea Party politicians from the various states. They proceeded to gut the federal government’s budget in the form of tax cuts and model ALEC legislation. That set up the next stage of the disaster.
Around the time that Menendez was under investigation, Governor Jerry Brown in California had mandated water rationing. What he didn’t say a whole lot about, however, was that the state had just one year of water left. And what he didn’t tell anyone was that this wasn’t true – the state had six months left.
Around the time the Tea Partiers in Washington were putting out their first tax breaks in time for the summer driving season, the California wildfire season had begun. It was the worst that anyone could remember, and that was brought home real quick in June when the city of Palm Springs burned down. No one thought it could happen in 2015, but it did, and 46,000 were burned alive in a matter of hours.
Unprecedented levels of water were used to fight the fire and keep it away from the city of San Bernardino. They succeeded in thwarting it, though it was the wind more than anything that spared the 200,000 people there. Unfortunately it blew right to the west, up into and then over the mountains. A wind shift threw it north across the bread basket of the state. With a one-two punch, California was left without both food and water. That’s when the exodus began.
It was the rich and unemployed first, and they left in droves. Estimates for late-June put the number that left the state at 10 million. They went to Oregon and Nevada and Idaho and Washington, and just about every other state as well. The $2 trillion economy of the state collapsed. After a week every single supermarket in California had run out of food and that’s when the gunfights began. In a matter of days more than 5 million were killed, saving them the slow death from starvation. More left and by July the population of the state was estimated at just 8 million, a 485% decrease from just three months before.
Neighboring states were quickly overwhelmed. Nevada and its shaky economy was the first domino to fall. They’d been stretched on water as well, and Las Vegas wasn’t giving the state’s coffers enough money. Whatever reserves the federal government had had leftover from the Tea Party spending spree were then used up fighting the fires and the exodus in California. There was no money to prop up the same problem in Nevada, or Oregon when it spread there. By mid-July the federal government was $24.2 trillion in debt, an increase of nearly $8 trillion in just one financial quarter, and most of that from the Chinese. At the end of July they called their notes in, and when America couldn’t pay, backroom deals were worked out between the Saudis and the Russians – America would have no oil.
The country went into a panic and the economy went into a tailspin. All resources that were left to the federal government were put into two things – domestic oil production and FEMA. Large camps that had been secretly constructed over the years began to fill up, secretly at first, but then out in the open as the numbers increased into the millions. In early-August both Idaho and Montana broke away from the union, seeing the writing on the wall. They declared themselves independent states and closed their borders to the rest of the country. Vast citizen militias appeared at all highway entrances to the states, and the pitched battles that took place were some of the bloodiest in the nation’s history. Without the resources, however, the federal government could do little. They couldn’t even pay their own troops anymore, at least not with anything that was worth anything – they didn’t even have enough food reserves, and at that point currency was worthless. Inflation at the end of July had increased by more than 5,000% it was estimated, and many people were burning money instead of spending it. Increasingly, there was nowhere to spend it.
The last day came on August 8. What happened I can’t be sure, but that’s the day the power went out, the grid went down. It could have been an EMP, it could have been a sunspot. Most likely it was a nuclear attack, probably in New York or somewhere else, maybe even overseas somewhere…who knows?
Here in Montana we’re safe, for now. The militias are keeping the borders closed and citizen councils are rising up to organize farming and resources. There’s even talk of getting some of the dams running again…though that’s just talk at this point.
I’m not really sure who I’m writing to, but I hope you don’t have to go through what we did. Good luck.