Short story from Bruce Mundhenke

After the Change

He left his camp in the small clearing on the bluff overlooking the creek. He had been there for three months, ever since he had been forced to leave his small home in town and the life he had been living before the change. As he walked through the timber, he was aware of color up in the trees. The leaves were turning. It was getting a little cooler at night now. Soon it would be winter. That would be another thing to deal with.

After walking over a mile, he came to the bike trail that he would take into town. It was another two miles down the bike path before he would reach town. It was a hike he took often these days. Greg was in pretty good shape. That was fortunate, because his life had become a lot more difficult these days.

Craig Feldman, the richest man in town, had become the Coordinator. He saw that the bidding of the one called The Leader was done in these parts. It was a very lucrative position. He was not only the political leader of the area, he was also the chief of all law enforcement. It looked to Greg that those not willing to live by law these days would probably not live at all.

There had been a war in the middle east, involving several nations. There had been much death and destruction that resulted from it. There had also been other near wars between powerful nations. There had been at least one nuclear attack. From out of all this turmoil came The World Council. From  The World Council came many new treaties. Many agreements between nations took place. A new financial system was implemented and the one called The Leader emerged.

Every citizen that followed the law of The World Council was given a commo, a beautiful, mysterious design on their hand. Before they received it, however, they had to swear an oath of loyalty and obedience to The Leader. This commo enabled them to purchase goods and services. It also identified them as a unique citizen of the world. Without the commo, it was impossible to pay bills, buy groceries, or get medical services. It was common knowledge that many who had not sworn allegiance to The Leader had disappeared; it was said that they were put to death.

Greg had sworn no oath of loyalty or obedience to The Leader. The whole idea of it blew his mind. He cold have lived his life much the same as he had before the change, but something inside him would not allow him to be part of the World Council agenda.

Greg was on his way to Phil’s trailer. Phil lived in a mobile home park on the edge of town. Greg had hoarded silver for years, believing the value of it would one day increase dramatically. He currently had stashes of silver buried at several different places in the timber where he was staying. Greg had known Phil from talking with him at The Bucket, a bar they both went to sometimes. Phil drank in various bars, but he was not well liked in any of them. He was mentally ill and received disability payment. He often mumbled to himself and people at the various bars Phil drank at found him annoying.

Greg had befriended him. Phil was a nice guy. He was just sick. He lived by himself and had few friends. Over the course of a few years of talking with him at The Bucket, Greg and Phil had developed a sort of friendship. It was because of this friendship that Greg had been able to formulate a plan after the change came. He had stashed his silver, purchased a good backpack, a good tent, and some other quality camping gear.

Phil had received his commo and Greg often visited him. Phil would take a list to the store and buy whatever Greg needed. Each ounce of silver was valued at one hundred P’ s. Greg would give Phil the cost of the supplies, plus a little extra for his help.  While Greg was at Phil’s, he could take a shower, wash a few clothes, and get some drinking water, also. His pack was usually heavy on his way back to his camp.

Jennifer liked vodka. She also liked bars. She also liked the ocean. It was her dream to move to the west coast, live near the ocean, and own a bar. She had also befriended Phil, but at a different bar in town, called The Tap. Jennifer and Phil talked to each other frequently at The Tap. During one of these talks, Phil told her about the favors he was doing for Greg.

A couple days later, Jennifer saw Craig Feldman on the local news, talking about a substantial reward for anyone with information about anyone who was not in compliance with the policies and regulations of the World Council. When she met with Craig Feldman, he told her he could make her dreams come true.

Greg walked up the steps to the door of Phil’s trailer and knocked on the door. When the door opened, a police officer had his pistol pointed at Greg. Another officer handcuffed him.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *