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Tuesday, June 30, 2009 9 comments

Happy Horse…

Since I was working at home today, Mrs. Fetched’s mom invited me down to help scarf some leftovers for lunch. DoubleRed was invited too, but decided she wasn’t hungry and stayed at the manor. While I was eating, DoubleRed called my phone and I got dead air when I answered.

“The cell phones don’t work in the house,” Mrs. Fetched said. “Call her on the house phone.”

I had one bar, which on my iPhone is always enough to hold up the call, but the signal fluctuates (as I’ve learned) and could drop out at any given moment. I shrugged and called.

“There’s horses in the yard, eating the flowers,” DoubleRed said.

This has been happening fairly often lately. Big V tries to take care of her horses, but she bit off way more than she could ever hope to chew trying to start a business with it… then her hosing her foot back in January didn’t help matters any. Her other habits, like just dropping her horses in our pasture without asking (indeed, after being told not to do it), don’t help either. But eventually, the horses get hungry and start taking matters into their own hooves… and go off looking for chow on their own.

Of course, Cosmic Law #1 of the free-range insane asylum is: when in doubt, call on FAR Manor. So when I got home from lunch, I was greeted with:

Horses eating the lawn

After pushing one horse (its head, actually) out of a flower bed, it contentedly munched on weeds. With things more or less under control, I called Big V to let her know she would need halters or something. (The darker of the two horses above came to visit on Saturday as well, but was wearing a halter so I simply led it to the path home and it took the hint… no halters on either one this time.) She said she’d stop and grab a couple of leads. Meanwhile, the horses continued to wander around the front yard, munching at random and (mostly) staying clear of the flower beds. DoubleRed came out to watch as well, and did stop an attempted flower bed incursion.

Horseā€¦ exhaustThen one of them left us some right-wing talking points.

That didn’t bother me much… for one, I was expecting it. Two, as I live deep in crazy-arse right-wing territory, I’m mostly surrounded by that anyway.

Finally, Big V came up the driveway. She kept the leads behind her back, but the horses were wise to her and started backing up. She gimped forward, in her funky boot, and they continued to shy away. Finally, they went “OK, OK, we got the message,” and took the back way down to Big V’s, with herself in slow pursuit. I did managed to suggest that she stake them in her front yard from time to time, it would cut down on the mowing.

The Hoofdinis were gone, but I’m sure they’ll be back. I’m pretty sure they come up to eat our grass through the night, given all the noise the stupidogs make.

Monday, June 29, 2009 2 comments

FAR Future, Episode 94: Interlude

So begins the final sub-series.

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

After disruption, a new equilibrium.

The new sea level worked its way around the edges of continents, swamping low-lying islands and erasing entire nations, in less than two years. The changes it wrought on humanity were no less profound than the changes to the coastlines and the weather — there were attempts to count the dead and displaced, but even the best estimates are only estimates. Very few casualties were the direct result of the incoming tide, of course — but the wars, riots, and accidents it triggered are another story.

Few countries, even landlocked countries, escape the effects of the “Little Great Flood,” but some nations are better able to react than others. The Netherlands simply raise their dikes. Cuba and Japan use their time wisely, conducting orderly evacuations and salvaging what they can from their coasts. Bangladesh and Somalia collapse under the weight of their own refugees and the ensuing civil wars. The Maldives and Vanuatu are inundated completely, becoming the first nations in exile. Wars, ethnic cleansing, famine, and starvation rock the globe, overwhelming even the augmented charities and NGOs that step in to alleviate the suffering. But every nation has stories to tell: tragic and heroic; venal and honorable; avaricious and selfless.

Rumors spread about the Greenland ice slide, that it was no act of nature. Depending on who’s telling the story, the culprits include terrorist bands of every religion and ideology, the Great Zionist Conspiracy, the Bilderbergers (or other vehicles of the wealthiest of the wealthy), communists, fascists, China, Japan, Russia, the USA, and even Greenlanders (often described as an attempt to clear some land for farming that went horribly wrong). Some of the stories contradict themselves — for example, one eco-terrorist story claims that the culprits were trying to both kill all humans and save the biosphere — and few are even plausible. But all are investigated, and come to nothing.

Weather patterns continue to change around the world. In some places, deserts bloom; in others, wetlands dry up. Most places change little. But with more water evaporating from an enlarged ocean, more rain falls overall. Temperatures drop, recover, level off, begin to creep up again. The moving averages show a small blip down, then perhaps the beginning of a plateau.

As human populations continue to decline in most places, and those left pour less pollutants into the atmosphere, some say the earth is enjoying a healing rest. To sleep, perchance to dream… what dreams may come?


Friday, June 26, 2009 2 comments

Flowery Friday

Summer is hitting Planet Georgia with both barrels… as I’ve said before, the weather here has attitude. But it’s not stopping the flowers…

A tall pink rose in front of the manor, across the driveway.

pink rose

A little ways behind it, among the trees, a hydrangea alerts us to its presence with a big bright splash of blue.


I presume both of these plants have deep roots; we’ve had no more than a couple spits of rain in the last couple of weeks, despite 40%–60% chances of rain on several occasions. Smaller trees are starting to show signs of stress, but these flowers (and my tomato plants) are doing well.

Monday, June 22, 2009 2 comments

FAR Future, Episode 93: Homecoming

The last first episode of summer… we’re about to start the home stretch.

Thursday, November 20, 2036

And almost exactly a year after he left, The Boy has returned. He says, this time, to stay (although “stay” might mean in town or in Atlanta, rather than at the manor). He’s said that so many times in the past that I gave up trying to keep count a long time ago, but there’s a new look in his eyes. His side trip to the shale pits might have done him some good… given him some closure, exorcised his demons, put his ghosts to rest, however you like to say it. Just being out on the road, playing his music to crowds, did the rest… even if most of the venues were makeshift or pressed into service on the spur of the moment.

He took more time than strictly needed to get from Washington to LA and then back here, of course… he put on a couple of concerts in each major city, and spent a few more days in a couple of places. He admitted to being tempted by the offer to join the Chicago Corporation, but decided in the end that they probably wouldn’t have been interested in him if not for his celebrity status. He did spend a week in Chicago though, playing various venues and seeing what there was to see before moving on.

A month in California is still quite an experience, according to The Boy, even if the beaches are getting eaten away by the permanently risen tide. During the junta years, when the west coast was first known as Pacifica and then became part of the Rebel Alliance, there was a lot of development aimed at coping without oil. Drive motors, batteries, and aerogel were all improved; then a company called LSO (Los Santos Occidental, but some people say it really means Life Sans Oil) put them all together on a bicycle. The sucker’s not cheap, but it does make life easier for people who need to get around. He brought one home with him; Rene tried it out and said it was an easy half-hour ride to town. Good thing we have the Heehaw, because I expect The Boy will be using the LSO himself to get around before long.

I asked him when he realized he’d put the past behind him finally. “I guess it was an evening in Santa Monica,” he said. “I was sitting there, watching the sun set, picking out a tune, and it was like… like everything just drained out of me. I’m glad I was alone, because I started crying. Everything I’d hoped for when I was younger — going on tour, people lining up to hear my music — it finally happened, after I’d given up hope on even having a normal life.” He paused for a long moment. “And going back to the shale pits. When I was there before, I dreamed about getting even with the assholes who put me there. When I got there, I didn’t know what I was going to do. They make you go with a guard, and they tell you the guard is there to keep you from going after them, just as much as them going after you. But you can go in there and tell them whatever you have to say.”

“So what happened? You never told us.”

He chugged down what was left of his homebrew. “Damn. You gotta go to a bar to get cold beer now, and sometimes that’s a crap shoot. ’Least this is good warm.

“Anyway. I was in Denver, and I was going back and forth about it: gonna go, not gonna go, that kind of crap. I already had the ticket though, so I figured I might as well go. I figured I didn’t have to say anything, I could just have a look and get back on the train. But I checked out of the hotel, so I had to carry all my gear. They said that wasn’t a problem, so I went ahead. I had to take it all with me off the train, because I’d have to take a different train back to Denver and Cal was doing his own sightseeing tour. No big deal, I had a bag of clothes, my guitar, and amp is all, and I carried that around pretty well before.

“So I got there and looked. All it was, was a bunch of old crooks shuffling around the work site. A couple other people came, and yelled a few things at them. Me, I just stood there a long time, just watching. Some of them looked at me and then turned around.” He grinned. “So I plugged in the guitar, turned on the amp, and played them some songs. I Opted Out Today, and that one from the 60s that Bob Dylan did…”

How Does It Feel?”

“Yeah, that one. Then I made up one on the spot, just for them. I called it What You Deserve, and it was about all the shit they deserved to get, a lot worse than pretending to mine shale. They didn’t like it too much, a couple of them started throwing rocks and pieces of shale at me. I was too far away, but it got the guards down there by the time I finished. Then my guard said no more, it’s time to go, so I turned off the amp and left. I guess he liked it though, because he carried the amp back; I had to carry everything there myself. He told me ‘Good one’ when we got back to the station.”

“Heh. You remember the words?”

He did, and said to post them here:
You treated me and America like shit,
And now you’re here, stuck in your own pit.
Life has thrown us all a curve,
But you didn't get what you deserve.

You look down on me as I look down at you,
I was always something to scrape off your shoe.
You wanted to rule, and us to serve,
So you haven’t got what you deserve.

You should be a display at the county fair,
For us to laugh at, and spit in your hair!
Slapped and punched when we get the nerve —
That’s only the start of what you deserve!

You thought General K was so very brave.
But he’s long gone, and I pissed on his grave.
Throw you in a hole, deep down in the turf,
Buried alive — it’s what you deserve.

Buried alive — it’s what you deserve!

He cut his album in California, at one of the old studios out there, and put that song on there too. It’s been a roaring success, as such things are measured nowadays — a good 10,000 downloads (and that’s just the paid version), topping the Retro Rage charts. Enough for him to live comfortably on for a good while, even if he’s paying rent. He’s not sure what he’ll do, but I suspect that he’ll try to find a place in Atlanta. I’ve already asked Kim to keep an eye out for something halfway decent.

The important thing is, he’s healed.


Friday, June 19, 2009 3 comments

Flowery Friday

The daylilies are gone, but the tiger lilies are out now:

Tiger lilies

A couple of them near this pair may have cross-pollinated with the daylilies; they’re yellow and slightly larger than the others, but still the same shape as the tiger lilies and maybe just slightly over half the size of the daylilies.

Oh, and the allium is a little bigger now, and looks like it might open up soon. There were bees on it when I didn’t have a camera handy (grumble)… onion-flavored honey, anyone?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009 2 comments

You think FAR Future is taking a long time?

Opium Magazine has printed a story on the cover that takes 1000 years to read. (Yes, I had to leave a comment plugging a certain novel that could be read in 1/500 of that.)

Two things leap to mind here:
  1. I’ve heard of a story “making the cover,” but this puts a whole new spin on it. Leave the magazine in sunlight for 1000 years, and the masking deteriorates long enough to read it (all nine words).

  2. If you thought FAR Future was taking a long time… this kind of puts it in perspective.

No, I won’t be blogging a nine-word story over nine episodes any time soon. I’ve almost decided to do a novella (20-30 ep’s) next.

Monday, June 15, 2009 4 comments

FAR Future, Episode 92: The Boy Goes to Washington

Wednesday, September 3, 2036
The Boy Goes to Washington (and Beyond)

Anybody who watched the President’s special address last night probably saw The Boy in the gallery. It’s up on the video sites, the tag is [media.video.gov.DCSpecAddr20360902] if you’re like us and have to get media overnight.

I wish Mrs. Fetched would have been here with me to see it… “two musicians not only defused a potential riot Sunday night, but they may have uncovered a plot to divide the American people — and the word that often follows ‘divide’ is ‘conquer.’” The Boy nodded and waved at the camera as Congress began applauding; Cal just grinned. They were both wearing dress shirts (what I used to call polo shirts) and jeans… dressed up pretty well by today’s standards, especially for musicians. I’m sure Mrs. Fetched tuned in from heaven, just as proud as possible up there, but like I said I wish she could have been here physically.

A couple of things stand out… one was how the President vowed to have this “incident” investigated and follow the trail all the way to the end. That’s something I remember just wasn’t done back before the blackouts or even during the Restoration, no matter how many of us wanted it to happen. At least they found Palmer “Swamp Thing” Lanois in a house outside Baton Rouge, along with a handful of co-conspirators, so I suppose that’s a start. It might have been a different world now if we had really gone after the junta’s ultimate backers… or not. We may not have had the junta, but historians are saying that was just a detour. Things now might have been pretty much the same had the putsch never happened.

But I think this was the central part of the speech: “About 250 years ago, Thomas Jefferson wrote, ‘the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.’ It has always been true, but perhaps we have only this week learned just how true it is. 22 years ago, we allowed a coalition of extremist militias and Dominionists to seize the levers of power in this country. As Fate would have it, they were not capable of governance, but the people were not vigilant and the junta clung to power for nine long years — years that we will never recover as a nation. The phrase coup d’etat literally means ‘a blow against the state,’ and America suffered a tremendous blow, one whose echoes still reverberate around us, because we were not vigilant.

“The junta was eventually pushed out, first from Washington and then from Dallas, but many people thought the job was done with the success of the Reunification. The opposition was largely transformed to a loyal opposition, something required for a healthy democracy. We followed the trail from the militias to religious extremists, to at least some of the shadowy figures behind it all… but then we declared the work to be finished, the breach sealed, the Great American Experiment back on track.

“We were wrong. The work half-done was nearly undone again. The breach half-sealed began to open anew. Those who desire power, but can never find it in the ballot box, made their plans and waited for an opportunity. While we slumbered, they prepared. Late last summer, the opportunity they awaited finally came. A new division — refugees and those living near the camps — started perhaps with a small tear, but they meant to rip it open as wide as they possibly could. And only by chance, or what an earlier generation called Providence, were they thwarted at the very beginning. If our friends here tonight had not been in the right place at the right time, their plans may well have succeeded.”

She went on to a series of initiatives that should get refugees out of camps and settled into new homes — setting a really ambitious goal of closing the last camp on the East Coast by March of next year. But I was kind of surprised at even the hint of a mention of faith in her speech. I know the Association of Penitent Churches has been trying to ramp up a program to get people re-settled; I don’t know if we’ll get help or be absorbed into a more official effort, but as long as the work gets done I really don’t care.

But The Boy and Cal are now on the westbound train. Given the usual delays with waiting for a train to fill up, it might be a while before he gets to California — which is fine with him; he’s already planning to fill layover time playing at whatever venues seem convenient. He told me he drew a pretty decent crowd just sitting on the steps on the Lincoln Memorial and playing some tunes, and wound up with a hat full of cash. He says he plans to just find a likely place and start playing, maybe it will buy him better accommodations and chow as he works his way cross-country. In a post-powerout, left-handed kind of way, he’s finally going on tour. Cal is coming with him to provide percussion, and they’ll watch each other’s backs when necessary. Their temporary celebrity and National Hero status should help with drawing crowds.

He might be back around New Year’s. What happens after that… I guess we’ll find out.


Thursday, June 11, 2009 13 comments

[EDITED] Ch-ch-ch-change

Note: the comments link is now at the TOP of the posts. I've been fiddling with stuff but haven't figured out how to move it to the bottom yet. Just look up instead of down, you’ll see it.

I was recently mulling giving TFM a makeover, then Blogger Buzz helpfully posted an article to Spruce Up Your Blog.

After devoting a whole ten minutes to it, two styles jumped out at me:

Abrasive, by btemplates.com

Inove, a converted WordPress template from deluxetemplates.net

For anyone who’s interested, I was using Thisaway Blue, one of Blogger’s standard templates.

Thoughts? iNove is a nice clean look, while Abrasive does a good job of representing the general deterioration of an older house that I must constantly combat, and I like the way lists look. If anyone has other suggestions, I’m all eyes.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009 7 comments


A fitting name for this guy; it shoots straight up about 5 feet:


The sheer height, plus the poofy looking ball on the end, means that you really can’t do this plant justice with a single photo. The one I had last year did some really weird loops with its long stalk before heading straight up. The ball smells like an onion and is a bit smaller than a baseball this time.

Monday, June 08, 2009 4 comments

FAR Future, Episode 91: The Boy Saves the Day

Monday, September 1, 2036
The Boy Saves the Day

The power went down right on schedule. It wasn’t long before people began streaming into the assembly area, lighting the way with wind-up flashlights, grumbling among themselves. As most of the people streamed in, Slim slipped up onto the stage. He flipped on a bullhorn and started haranguing the crowd:

“Fellow citizens! I stand before you tonight to speak of injustice!

“Through no fault of your own, you were forced out of your homes. Sure, the government told you that they would resettle you — but is this what you were promised? Life cramped in a tiny trailer, pathways that turn to mud in the rain — and the unearned hatred of those who still have their homes?

“This is no regular power outage, my friends: it was cut off! And who do you think cut it off? The so-called ‘good citizens’ of Suffolk! They have resented your presence outside their comfortable little town, reminding them that there are American people out here, even if they have no intent to welcome you onto their streets, let alone their homes!” He paused to let the crowd murmur and growl a little.

“You’ve heard the stories. Some of you have lived them. If you walk into town — the glares, the stares, the rudeness from people who are supposed to be serving you?” More growling.

“So why do you think they cut off the power? It’s likely that their little citizens’ militia is on the way right now to sow terror and blood, when all any of us ever wanted was a home!

“Are you going to stand for this?”

The crowd bellowed No! — and that’s when The Boy stood up on the stage overhang, flipped the switch on his amp, cranked the volume to 11, and hit a power chord — “just to get their attention,” he laughed. “You shoulda seen Slim jump; I thought he was gonna land up on the roof with us!”

He followed the attention-getter with an old familiar riff and a primal scream — the opening bars to the Beatles’ “Revolution.” Cal, one of the chautauqua drummers and The Boy’s best friend in the troupe, came in right on cue, and they started singing the old classic. Slim tried to recover, shouting into his bullhorn, but the old amp was more than adequate to drown him out. Then The Boy hit the break chord, pointed straight at Slim, and sang: But when you talk about destruction / Don’t you know that you can count me out! The crowd laughed and cheered — at this point, it was obvious to them that Slim was just the warm-up act for the real performance. “On the last verse,” he said, “I changed ‘Chairman Mao’ to ‘General K’ just so they could relate.” General Kimbrell, of course, was the front guy for the junta. Probably a good choice on The Boy’s part.

As for Slim, he threw the bullhorn at The Boy — it never reached the roof — and bolted off the back of the stage. Cops from town and the camp security people were waiting for him on the ground and grabbed him. One of them said they almost caught him out of the air.

The lights came back on just as he finished the opening number, and the cheers redoubled. But The Boy was just getting started — there was no way he was going to pass up this chance. He played for two hours straight, stopping only to drain a water bottle from time to time, working his way forward from the 1960s up to Minima Metal from the 2020s. Fans of each genre took to the stage and danced until he moved on to the next decade. At last, he finished up with a few tracks from “Optout Beach,” which is somewhat popular in the camp (and I suspect will be more popular now).

The interesting part this morning was the dueling headlines on the news sites, things like: “Riot in Suffolk Camp Spotlights Refugee Program Flaws” followed by “Chautauqua Performers Defuse Tense Situation with Music” and “Bomb Squad Saves Power Station.” Dozens — maybe hundreds — of op-ed pieces about a riot that never happened flooded the news sites, written ahead of time, targeted toward townie and refugee alike. Most of them have been pulled, but the Fibbies are already investigating the posters. It seems that Slim was part of a coordinated plan (the word “plot” or even “conspiracy” isn’t too strong here either) to provoke a riot then exploit it to further divide townie from refugee. It might not even be paranoid to consider the possibility that the rumors from both sides were part of this. But the West Coast is starting to have problems now, and there are a few million people just in the US who will be displaced before it’s over — the chaos abroad is at least as bad, and don’t even talk about the Charlie Foxtrot that Bangladesh is becoming even before the flooding starts. Like I’ve said before, it’s really a shame that more people aren’t opening their homes. John’s Creek was a welcome exception, but they took all they could and it was just a drop in the bucket.

Too bad The Boy never got into Crosby Stills and Nash. They did a great song back when, “It Won’t Go Away,” that spoke exactly to this situation: Somebody wants us divided / Someone of evil intent. But he got the job done. At least I was able to talk to him today; he took a little time in between newshound interviews to let me know what was going on.


Friday, June 05, 2009 5 comments

Flowery Friday

We've got these really gaudy lilies out front, that have been looking like this for a week or so now…

lily montage

Here’s to a bright, colorful — shall we say loud? — weekend.

Thursday, June 04, 2009 2 comments

Pollin', pollin', pollin'…

Time for a new poll, which of course means taking one last look at the old one:

Looks like most of you are realistically pessimistic… on Planet Georgia anyway, gas prices have already crept into the range that the vast majority of you picked. Nobody, at least nobody who voted, thought that prices would go down — neither do I, but I expected someone would pick it on a lark.

There are several paths to TFM, and any blog for that matter — the new poll asks what paths you like to take to get here. There's no right answer, but (depending on the answers) I might change some of the things I’m doing. If you check “other,” be sure to leave a comment to explain it.

Monday, June 01, 2009 10 comments

FAR Future, Episode 90: Dropbox

Things are supposed to be cooling off by September. No such luck for The Boy. Actually, in real life, things are fairly cool. We changed the brake pads on (my) Civic yesterday.

Monday, September 1, 2036

Dueling headlines this morning… and The Boy was right in the middle of it. I think I’ve managed to piece everything together, from what he told me and from what was on the news sites.

The chautauqua charter is to bring art to the community — and the opt-outs are definitely a community. They have accepted The Boy, partly because he was close to joining them a few times and partly because he smokes too — they understand each other. He’ll take his acoustic guitar with him, play them some music, smoke with them, maybe play a few more tunes. The chautauqua approves of this, because he seems to have better luck reaching them than do their plays and on-stage concerts. He brings it to them, after all.

Yesterday afternoon, he was playing them a few tunes out behind a power distribution station when they heard gravel crunching. “Those guys can just melt into the brush, I’ve never figured it out,” he said. “They’re with you one minute, the next they’re just gone.” He put down the guitar and ducked down as best as he could, which turned out to be enough to stay hidden. He could see them, though: a Heehaw, electric-quiet, entering the station. Four men in coveralls dragged a large metal box off the back of the Heehaw and lugged it into the guts of the station. A fifth man, slim and dressed in denim, directed them and selected a spot for the box.

“Careful!” Slim hissed at the others. “Make sure you get it lined up.”

“What’s the big deal?” one of the carriers griped. “You said nobody was gonna find this anyway.”

“Yeah,” said another. “Easy enough to give the orders when you ain’t doing the work.”

“You’re getting paid for your work — the better lined up it is, the less likely anyone is to think it doesn’t belong. Besides, I do my part tonight. Now let me set the timer.” He knelt, lifted a hatch, and fiddled inside for a few seconds before closing the hatch. “And that’s that.” He stood and took a folded envelope from a back pocket, then counted out money to each of the big guys. “You won’t have any trouble getting back to Smithfield tonight?”

“Nah,” one of them said. “It’s only 20 kims, and I got a gallon of diesel if the cell goes out.”

“Good. I’d advise staying home tonight and keeping an eye on things. You shouldn’t have any trouble, but sometimes these things get away from you.”

“Yeah.” Slim climbed into the Heehaw’s shotgun seat; one of the big guys took the wheel and the other three raised the sides before climbing into the bed. They spun away, and The Boy waited for them to whirr up the road before climbing out and taking a look at what they’d left behind.

“It was like those boxes you see on street corners—”

“Pedestals,” I suggested.

“Yeah. Just like that. Brown, rounded corners, the only difference was this one had handles for the guys to donkey it in there.” He lifted the lid, and saw 4:37:53… 52… 51. He carefully closed the lid, tiptoed away, and grabbed his guitar. By then, some of the opt-outs had come back.

“What’s going on there?”

“I don’t know,” The Boy said, “but it sure as hell looks like they just left a bomb in the power station. If it is, you don’t want to be here around…” he pulled out his gadget, checked the time, and did some figuring: “20 after 9 tonight. You guys are camped a ways back from this thing, right?”

“Yeah,” one said. “Hey, wasn’t Gib in demolitions during the Oil War? Maybe he could defuse the thing.”

“Or he could set it off early,” another said. “I don’t think Gib would try it… and if he did, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near.”

“You guys move your stuff,” The Boy said. “I’ll call the sheriff and let the cops blow themselves up. I won’t bring you up so you don’t get involved.”

The opt-outs were amenable to that idea, and got right on it. The Boy shouldered his guitar and headed back to the camp, already punching up 911. Now you have to remember, The Boy has been highly suspicious of cops since he was a teenager — and the incident that sent him to Colorado did nothing to improve his attitude — so he obviously thought this was bad enough that he needed to interact with them. Not that he has much to worry about these days: his teen vice of choice (weed) is still technically illegal, but nobody ever enforces it. His appearance is pretty normal for a traveler, too. But old habits and attitudes are the hardest to shake.

The cops arrived in a two-seater Zap, modified for police use, and The Boy led them to the box. Seeing the timer was enough to convince them, and they called for a bomb squad (which comes out of Richmond in an emergency vehicle, burning fuel by the bucketful). They gave The Boy a lift to the camp, and consulted with the camp director about the situation — the power station served both the camp and Suffolk.

“Yeah,” The Boy told them, “the skinny guy said ‘my part is tonight.’ They’ve already planted a bomb that’ll knock out the power to the camp and town. So what else is he gonna do?”

“Good question,” the camp director said. “With these people spreading rumors and discord, perhaps he’ll incite a riot.”

“Here?” the cop said.

“Here or in town.”

“If he tries startin’ anything in town, we’ll be on him like grease on bacon.”

The Boy snorted.

“We’ll leave a couple of guys out here too, just in case he tries startin’ it here,” the cop continued. “You think you guys can handle things?”

“We might,” The Boy said. “I got an idea.”



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