Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Written and owned by Greg Miller 2011
Chapter XIX: Fall of the Free Worlds Champion
There are a lot of hurt people near the street as Fred and Kyle leave the Smithsonian; the masses seem to be migrating towards the Presidential Park and the White house. They follow the crowd, Fred silently muses it’s like being part of a slowly moving blob that lacks dimension and order. Hundreds of injured adults and a few children cry from various emotional or physical trauma, they become thousands within minutes. The ones who aren’t crying try to help others but its to no avail. There isn’t any violence but a few individuals scream their frustrations to those who will listen, others redirect their anger to the National Guard and military personnel who don’t really know what to do. The National Guards in turn tell people to not sit on the lawn and to keep moving. Most people are in shock and look dazed. He sees a lot of visitors and city workers. Many of the visitors are children who are part of school groups, the children look like they want their parents. The mass is near the front gates of the white house.
It’s smaller then what Fred thought it would look like. A small black gate meets him. Cast iron bars show sixteen stars, lamps once adorned the tips of the fences lay shattered in the inside lawn. A road twines to a large white building, a tree is in the middle of the road. Police officers are in the process of moving it. The white house sits in the distance. The front pillars have collapsed, Fred can’t distinguish where the entrance would have been. There are dozens of military helicopters in the lawn.
People ask for the President but no one has any answers. They need their symbolic leader. Some tourists from Texas say they should knock on the front door but others do not take them serious. One of the older men in the Texan group shakes as one of his wounds hemorrhage. His son tries to stop the blood from pouring on the street but the wound is too deep or maybe it hit an artery. Fred watches as the man gasps his final breaths.
Would Kyle hold and comfort me if I was dying?
Better to not ask questions if you don’t want the answers. He tries to stop and help but the crowd pushes him along.
There’s nothing I can do. Please Jesus, be with these people in our greatest time of need.
There is a large medical tent near the entrance of the Presidential Park. A child mistakenly brushes shoulders with Kyle which disturbs the backpack on his back. He twirls around and looks like he is about the hit the kid. Fred wonders what kinds of drugs must be in that bag to make Kyle hold it so tightly. No one cares about his sons bag, all they want is for the President to open the front gates and safe them.
Kyle isn’t acting slowly, it can’t be a downer. Maybe he is involved with cocaine?
Fred knows he has to deal with the subject later but it still wasn’t the time. His son starts acting paranoid and beckons his dad to follow him as soldiers with K9’s open the front gates to the White House. A limousine with Presidential flags roars down the street, many in the crowd murmur it’s the President. Kyle directs Fred away from the White House which looks more like a mini fortress. There are many soldiers dressed in battle gear, they look tough. Military choppers are coming and going, but mostly going. People are saying President Stephen J. Andrews is still inside but things don’t make sense as the limousine drops someone off and just as quickly leaves. Whoever is in the limo is quickly ushered into a waiting military chopper which takes off, the man or woman has a jacket draped over their head. It’s not air force one.
They are on a street right in front of the gates overlooking a very large semi empty lawn when a large congregation of staff workers and officials come out a side entrance. They head towards the Air Force One helicopter.
Guards menacingly threaten civilians not to come any closer to the gate; many of them are on other side of the fence. A lone helicopter appears to be dysfunctional as the inhabitants quickly board another. Technicians are not having a good day as all electricity is cut off. Fred doesn’t understand why back up generators are not running.
Someone asks why no one is saying anything in the White house but no one has any answers. These guards and security personnel do not want to help the civilians; it's their job to protect the people in the White house. For the first time Fred wonders if their government is going to do anything to help them? It doesn’t take much effort from Kyle to get him moving towards the reflection pool. Thousands of people push them back into the crowd but they are close to the medical tent. Fred sees the International Red Cross logo boldly imprinted on the side of the large tent.
It’s good to see nonprofit organizations on the ball! Go Red Cross!
The limousine stalls at the front gates as a new aftershock tears the road apart. Hundreds of people fall but no one is hurt as the street takes on new cracks. The front gate hinges creak and won’t budge any further. A spot on the road buckles up, leaving the limo tires spinning in the air. People in the luxury car get out of the vehicle and head back towards the white house by exiting through the roof. None of the civilians are stupid enough to try to get past the guards. A half a dozen cops take up posts and block civilians from entering the South Lawn.
Fred stops following Kyle as he sees something he didn’t want to see. The president’s daughter runs to the Lawn and throws herself at a body bag which a few military officers are carrying to the waiting Air Force One chopper. Half a dozen soldiers salute the body bag. A officer drags her kicking and screaming into the Air Force One’s helicopter. Someone in the masses screams the president is dead. None of the soldiers or cops refute the claim. Within moments Fred feels a drain as he realizes he’s seeing the President’s body bag.
NO, this can’t be happening!
Tears threaten to run freely. People near him howl like mad men. People start pushing and punching each other without mercy, within a minute it subsides. A man next to him laments, “Who is going to order an emergency declaration?” Other hysterical American’s say America fell and the terrorists won. Needless to say it appears his son is the only happy person. Air Force One picks up from the ground and zips into the horizon. Within minutes half the military personal and cops who are stationed on the South Lawn get into the waiting helicopters and leave. There are two military units left and a couple of dozen officers. Enough to make sure no civilians try to get to the white house. One military unit packs up their guns and proceed to head towards the second to last chopper.
Fred can’t handle the implications, is there a point anymore? Jesus I can’t do this alone.
Kyle takes his hand; Fred is directed towards the Park, his mind refuses to process anymore information but stops as someone screeches, “The president is dead and we are doomed!” The masses begin a new frenzy based on desperation.
A man takes out a bullhorn and screeches insanely, “Repent before it’s too late, the president is dead! God is coming to reclaim what is rightfully his! Repent for your sins!”
Someone throws a rock which knocks the doomsayer senseless. He drops the bullhorn; it doesn’t reach the street before someone else has it and booms, “DING DONG THE EVIL WITCH IS DEAD!” The Americans around him turn on him like a pack of wild dogs; he disappears in a storm of punches and kicks.
Fred and Kyle are near the edge of the crowd as people began to fight for the horn. A liberal female who must have been in her early 20’s gets a hold of it and yells, “People, stop this insanity, we need order! It’s all about peace!”
Someone can be heard yelling, “It doesn’t matter, the President is dead!”
Others scream their heated opinions but Fred can’t tell what they are saying. It looks as if thousands of people are jammed into one very small space. The last of the military helicopters take off as a few soldiers gather near the entrance. One of the soldiers whips out a military bull horn and breaks the civilians banter, “Cease and disperse. This is an executive order.
Precede to your nearest evacuation center and await further information. I repeat. Cease and disperse.”
There‘s only a unit of soldiers left and a couple of dozen officers. The masses are getting braver and feeling abandoned. Fred finally is free of the congregation but remains in the outskirts. He understood what his fellow American’s were feeling and wants to be protected.
The civilian who has the bullhorn strikes fear into the masses as he yells, “It was a magnitude 9 earthquake! What are we going to do if a Tsunami comes?”
Thousands of people begin to shake and yell uncontrollably, Fred sees a very large group of people react negatively to the suggestion of a possible Tsunami. The civilian continues in righteous fury, “Even though we don’t live in a subduction zone we just got hit by magnitude 9! What’s to stop a tsunami from coming and who is going to safe us now that the president is dead? Where is the vice president?”
The military soldier with the bullhorn makes the mistake as he replies, “The vice-president is missing in action and the earthquake wiped out most of the people in command in the white house. Please cease and disperse immediately.”
The civilian will not ease up, “No, we have rights and we demand protection! Do your job and protect us! We are American citizens!” Both groups continue to repeat themselves, Fred decides it’s time for a smoke break.
This is insane! What are we going to do? How could the President be dead?
Even though the sun glares down at him he doesn’t think it’s a good day. He is very hot as he wipes sweat from his brow. There is a breeze but its very warm.
Damn it’s hot!
He only has three cigarettes left; his hands shake as he horridly drags on the cigarette. He feels comfort with the weight on his hips with the new tool belt he found at the Smithsonian.
Whatever happened to the family I saved?
It wasn’t like he would ever get the answer he sought. Tensions continue to rise between the civilians and the officers, a couple dozen cops exit the White house and join their peers. They distribute rubber bullets swiftly. Large water tanks rolls up from behind the building. It is tragically sad when the vehicles falter as the ground now has fissures in the lawn.
The vehicles look like they are from the Atari Tank game back in the 80’s that shoots things. What’s its name? Funny how smoking a cigarette chills the mind.
The officer with the bullhorn commands the civilians, “Disperse now.”
The civilian responds, “You have a responsibility to us, help us!” Masses begin to push forward. Psychologically it was if they sub consciously knew they were not going to get seriously hurt. The officers load rubber bullets and the water cannons.
Fred believes he sees a shift in the way the masses behave as they feel the need to express themselves. As a group they surge forward and rattle the gate between them and lawn. They are not calling for murder or revenge, but as a whole they plead with their government for security.
It’s not just about property and liberty. Today it’s about security and the right to exist!
Fred forgets his cigarette as he crushes it between his fingers. There is a charge in the air and it radiates from the masses. It pulls at Fred’s awareness.
Was this nationalism or the need to survive?
His fellow Americans now has one heart, one pulse. He doesn’t care about Kyle for the moment as his feet propel him forward. He needs to be one with the masses. His mind becomes irrational in his fervor as the civilian with the bullhorn screams, “Let us on the helicopter! Take us with you!”
The other side of the lawn can put us in a helicopter and take us to the baby! Maybe there are more helicopters on the other side of the building!
The remaining soldiers and officers have no choice but to rain rubber bullets upon the American people. Water follows, the velocity rips through large sections of the masses as people hit the rolling earth. The road buckles from the aftershock but it’s a rubber bullet grazing Fred’s left shoulder that knocks him down.
Sharp pain stabs into his left upper arm leaving him feeling like he just got branded.
His crucifix lifts upon his nose and he fears he is going to lose it as his body hits the pavement. Nothing else matters as he grasps the cross with his left hand. Pain continues to radiate down his arm but he chooses to pray instead of becoming its victim. He stands back up.
Jesus, please stop this madness. I promise if you save us I will go to church every Sunday and weekly readings on Wednesdays instead of fishing. Please save us and stop this madness.
He feels something hit his right foot. Looking down he sees the bullhorn the civilian used.
He must have dropped it or maybe the water cannon took him out.
It felt as if Jesus answered him. His crucifix has a passage from the Old Testament on the reverse side. His mother is Jewish but his dad was raised a Christian. He was raised Christian and converted as a catholic.
If faith helps me then maybe it will help my fellow Americans.
He reaches for the bullhorn. He doesn’t know how to use it but it seems simple enough. He knew the man who had it previously would have not turned it off.
He says the only thing that comes to mind. It’s what’s on the reverse side of his cross.
Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wide man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches. But let him that glorieth in this, that he understandeth and kwoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judgement, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.
His son snorts and laughs, Fred feels ridicules.
Why did I do that? Oh my God, they think I’m crazy!
But nobody else laughs. The sirens still wail but thousands of people have stopped the violence, the vibration in the air has changed. Fred no longer feels a pull to rush to the fence and realizes it’s stupid to think there are more helicopters on the other side of the lawn.
What got into me?
The officer with the bullhorn orders his people to stop. He doesn’t have to because they did on their own. Everyone looks at Fred.
Fred says the next thing coming to his mind, “I’m scared. Can we please stop fighting?”
It’s eerily quiet outside of the noises of Washington DC being destroyed. The officer with the bullhorn responds, “We are sorry, we don’t know what to do. We are on your side. Shit, let them in. No one is left and the President is gone. Let them in.” He lowers his bullhorn and the solders around him step aside. Thousands of people remain quiet as hundreds flood the lawn. The last helicopter does not work.
The officer says one last thing, “We are sorry. Technically we are supposed to nuke and destroy ourselves before ever giving up the white house or any American soil.”
Fred can’t help but ask, “Why is that?”
The officer sadly replies, “Because domestic policies declare it law that we would destroy our own buildings and kill our own people before giving anything to the enemy.”
Fred doesn’t think of the consequences as he replies, “Well, it’s a good thing that we are all Americans and not the enemy.”
The officer laughs, “True enough. I give up. Have free access to the White house and do whatever you want. We want to go home and be with our families. God bless.” He drops the bullhorn, Fred does likewise.
He turns around and sees his Son look at him in bewilderment. He grimaces as he takes out his third to last cigarette. His hands can’t stop shaking as he asks his son, “Where is the hospital?” His son points back in the direction they came.
Figures, I can’t believe that just happened. Thanks Jesus. I suppose I could have used a better biblical passage?
Kyle grips his back pack tightly as they begins to walk back the way they came. They don’t make it ten feet before someone picks up the bullhorn Fred dropped.
The new person with the horn urgently informs everyone, “The River is gone and the bay is receding!” A new urgency hits the people. People start screaming a tsunami is coming. To make things worse the wailing of the earthquake siren changes its message. Kyle’s face goes pale as he tells his dad, “That’s the tsunami warning. I heard it during their yearly testings and drills at the Smithsonian. We need to get out of Washington DC now!”
Fred looks at him and says, “Not without my grandson.”
At this moment a chorus of cell phones could be heard. Fred’s cell phone isn’t working but then he’s from Minnesota and has a different provider.
Kyle gasps as he reads the message. He turns the phone around and in bold words Fred reads:
ALERT DC ALERT DC ALERT DC ALERT DC ALERT DC ALERT DC ALERT
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IS UNDER FULL TSUSAMI ALERT. PROCEED TO EVACUATE.
Kyle finally looks scared. He tells his dad, “The hospital junior is at has over a dozen stories and a helicopter on the roof. Let’s go.” Thousands of people disperse in all directions urgently but very peacefully.