Caught in the Draft
With last year’s Really Bad Flu getting people to take a real close look at the junta, they needed a spectacle to distract everyone… so naturally they jumped into another oil war. The Saudis have asked the junta flat-out to defend against an Iranian invasion, and the junta is only too willing. The Wahabbi yahoos have issued a fatwa to the effect that “all men, even the infidel, willing to defend the Holy Land from invaders may enter, only that non-Muslims must not enter the holiest cities” (Mecca and I think Medina). I suppose it was a matter of time, what with the two largest population centers having broken off (and the Midwest seriously considering it), until they ran out of willing cannon fodder. But the neocon way of thinking has always been, “We just start the wars, let someone else do the fighting.” So the next logical step was a draft. They may have held the Midwest by promising them priority shipments of heating fuel, although I wonder if it will stick.
Kim and Serena are known residents, so there really wasn’t any question about their registering… in fact, a Pat-Troll paid what they deemed a “courtesy call to help them fill out the paperwork.” They gave Kim the big stink-eye when he checked “M” on the Marital Status line; I confirmed that he’d been married nearly a year (first anniversary next month!) and they rolled their eyes and got on with things. But the junta threw in a little wrinkle for Rene: they’re offering amnesty for any “fugitive Latino” volunteering who’s not wanted for violent crime. Even bigger is the promise of immediate citizenship upon honorable discharge (or KIA) and residence permits for family members while serving. Of course, a citizen’s family gets to stay in country permanently. We tried to talk Rene out of the idea, but (as he writes):
Holá, y’all. If you’re breathing, Uncle Sam needs you. And he’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse. Not only that, Sammy says the junta is actually keeping their word about amnesty for us fugitives. All the adults think I’m crazy, but I’m doing this for my family — I mean, we all like living at FAR Manor (especially Christina, jejeje), but it would be nice if we didn’t have to hide. Besides, I got it in writing that Farf-Dad gets the amnesty for helping us too, so he or Farf-Mom won’t get in trouble either.
I’m also doing it for Kim. He’s probably going to get drafted soon; if Christina has a residence permit, they can get married for real and maybe they won’t put him in the combat zone. Farf-Dad thinks that’s where they’ll send everyone like me first thing, though. But I’ll make sure they have all the papers for everyone before I sign. I don’t totally trust these guys, even if they need to be trustworthy this time.
And that’s that. Rene is going to sign up tomorrow and they won’t wait to ship him to boot camp, even if his sister is going to be married. But we’re not going to waste time getting Kim and Christina hitched “for real,” either. In fact, we’re making the arrangements, and we might be able to take Rene to sign up, go to the church to attend the wedding, then he can leave in the morning. I guess there are advantages to being the go-to guy in a church; when you really need something done you can call in a lot of favors.
Guillermo and Maria are proud of Rene, of course, but very worried that they’ll never see him again. But they’re also excited about being able to move around freely (not that there’s much moving around these days). Their existence and location have been more or less an open secret for a long time now, but as long as we didn’t openly flaunt it…. Anyway, all that’s going to be over with soon. 'Course, if the war drags on for a while, which neocon wars always do, Christina will likely get drafted as well. I don’t know how the Army deals with biochemistry geniuses; they’ll probably put her in some bio-warfare research unit.
Christina, of course, is really excited about the wedding. Kim, too, from the way he’s been acting. Serena and Rene will stand with them tomorrow, and we’ll keep the ceremony short and low-key. I know it will be easier for her to do her biochem research when she doesn’t have to hide, but she’s done a lot of work here at the manor — she’s been compiling a set of school textbooks, and a publisher has expressed interest in what she’s put together so far. I helped her out a little with the layout and formatting, but the coup de grace is the illustrations she’s including in the lessons. The publishers thought they were great, especially since they didn’t have to pay someone else to do that work.
Kim and Serena both dread seeing the mail come in on Fridays; they know that they’ll be getting the “report for duty” notice soon or sooner. Serena was pretty upset about Rene leaving, even though they never got past the “friends” stage (that I’m aware of). She said her next play is going to really rip the junta a new one for this.
Dean’s in a bit of a quandry though: he hasn’t registered for the draft (not being a junta subject), but if he and Daughter Dearest get married then there will be questions about citizenship and the like. I suspect that, even with his papers, trying to return to Pacifica would just get him diverted into boot camp. So… Guillermo’s family will soon be free to move around, but our newest guest won’t. One thing after another at FAR Manor, huh?