This is a guest post by M Dotson and entry for our non-fiction writing contest.
We are in the post SHTF era, current timeframe, late spring/early summer. Electricity and water are still available and flowing for now. Stores have been picked clean and the population is beginning to get hungry. Most people aren’t working, but looking for food. The inner city population have begun the exodus out of their normal haunts in search of food. Their population is thinning due to the few police and determined resistance from homeowners, but they still present a huge danger. I don’t know how close I am to being right in this, but I’ve been thinking about it for a while now. Pick this scenario apart so we all learn from it.
From your perspective…You and yours have managed to escape the immediate danger. You have bugged in with your food, weapons and knowledge in Suburbia, USA. Your kid and spouse has shown up at your door with their kids and the spouses parents wanting refuge. The kids in-laws cannot stay. You tell them they can stay the night, but they have to move on in the morning.
Next morning the electricity goes out. No problem for now, but how long will that last? You pick up your cell phone to call the problem in to the electric company. Great! They’re working on it, but there are issues everywhere you’re told. It may be a while before service is restored. After breakfast, the in laws of your kid make their teary goodbyes and leave.
Break out the handy-dandy solar cell phone recharger and set it outside in the sun. Check the landline phone and it’s still working. Starting to get warm so let’s get a drink of water… uh oh, no water now. No problem, you break out a jug of water from your stores to quench your thirst.
Curious, you move up and down your street, knocking on doors trying to find out if this water outage is local to you, or the immediate area, or the suburb, or the town. You don’t know all your neighbors, just the ones next door, a few doors down or across the street. Most people have left by now searching for food. Very few people come to answer the door. The few who do don’t know you and demand you leave their property immediately.
Returning to the house you enter a heated argument between the kid and their spouse. It has escalated to your spouse, as well. Why did the in laws get sent away? They have no place to go. That’s why they came here. You didn’t have to do that, there’s plenty of food. You’ve been preparing for years!! Wonderful!
It’s starting to get hot. The AC is off and everyone is cranky and sweating like crazy. Your bodies, used to the wonder of AC, has difficulties adjusting your core temperature and is trying to find balance. You’re hot and the only thing the body knows to do is sweat. AC is also the same thing that drove people inside so they didn’t get to know their neighbors on those warm summer nights. Folks used to sit on their front porch, go for walks or visit friends who had some cool lemonade. AC took care of that.
You have plenty of water, but with all the sweating, it’s going at an alarming rate. The toilets got flushed early in the day and now are not functional other than a container. Lid down, door closed and a towel at the bottom of the bathroom door to keep the smell down. You plan to use the water from the hot water tank to flush once a day. Urinate in the back yard. Girls over there behind the tarp, boys over there by the tree. There’s about 40 gallons of water in the tank. Takes about 3 or 4 gallons to flush the commode so you have ten days or so. Surely the water will be flowing again by then.
You call to find out when the water will be coming back on. You’re told that the electric water pumps will return to service when the electricity comes back on. When will that be? When the lights come on at your house you may get water then. The person hangs up on you angrily. They’re in worse shape than you. They didn’t prepare for this. Their kids are hungry, too, and they are only at work on promises of overtime pay when all this stuff settles down in the next day or two.
Several days go by and still no water or electricity. You have to make plans for the sake of your family. Flushing water from the hot water tank is low. You decide to raid the homes next to you, if the occupants are gone. You don’t consider it stealing, per se. The occupants aren’t going to use it, the only damage you’ll do is to break a window to gain entry and you’ll pay for that in silver or food. By now the water in the tanks is cooled off enough to supplement your drinking water supply. It’s going to rain so everyone is ready with a bar of soap, boys on one side of the house, girls on the other. You set out buckets and pans to catch as much as possible. You use suspended tarps to channel rainwater into anything that will hold water. You get to flush the toilets early today.
‘You gave up calling anyone because no one is manning the phones. The cell phone don’t work now – no service. The only service available to you is the landline and it’s worthless. It’s beginning to smell terrible in the house. The trash is piling up. You don’t want to waste water cleaning out all those empty #10 cans of food. You really don’t want to pile them outside to give away the fact you have food, so you put them in the garage. You have some solar ovens to cook with, but they don’t work so well on cloudy days. So, you make some rocket stoves out of the cans and use cardboard for fuel. Takes care of some of the smell and most of the combustible trash. You have to open windows to let the smoke out.
You’re beginning to see activity in your neighborhood. Men are roaming the streets picking over the remains hoping to find some food. They’re kicking in doors in the middle of the night and taking what they can. Your house has been approached several times, but your faithful dog has alerted you every time. You met force with force. You’ve shot at a few and even hit one pretty hard judging by the blood trail you found the next morning. Makes you feel kinda queasy knowing you may have just killed a man, but it was him or you and you were protecting your family.
Late one night you hear your dog howl in pain. Running outside you see men have used a fishing rod and treble hook with a piece of meat. The dog ate the meat, they set the hook and had reeled the animal where they could club him to death. He was going to be several meals, otherwise they would have just used antifreeze or some other poison. You fire several shots to scare the men off.
You wait til morning to bury your friend. While digging the grave a shot rings out and a bullet misses you by mere inches. Retreating to the house, you post your family to have a 360 degree view of the outside of the house and surrounding area. A window is smashed in with a brick and the glass has lacerated your wife pretty badly. She’s bleeding profusely so you have to stitch her up. You break out the first aid kit, clean and dress the wound. You worry about infection. She’s in a great deal of pain and lost a lot of blood so all the self-defense training she has with guns, knives and clubs is pretty much useless for the time being.
More bricks come into the house through the windows. You see a man and open up on him, dropping him in the street. A shot is fired in your direction and ricochets off your homes’ brick siding. You holler out to the assailants that there are children in the house, you have no food and to leave you alone. You’re told to come out with your hands up, get into your vehicle and leave, now. You won’t be harmed.
From my perspective….I’m hungry. I’ve been hungry before so used to it. I grew up poor and got mean quick. I was in a gang for a while but they’re mostly gone now. Only a few of us left. The only food we’ve been able to find is when we kick in doors out in the suburbs. Even then food is scarce. We caught a cat once and cooked him. Tasted like crap, but it filled the belly. One of the guys’ grandmothers used to live on a farm so she told us how to do it.
One night while ‘shopping’ at a house one of my guys got shot pretty bad. He died a few days later. We knew where the shot came from so we got to watching the place. Two men, two women, and a couple kids…piece of cake. They also have a dog, a big sucker. Gotta get rid of him before anything else. Hey, I know! I watched Swamp People once where they catch alligators with a big fishing hook. I bet it’d work on a stupid dog.
Went to Wal-Mart and got a big fishing pole. I found out they make some fishing hooks with three points called treble hooks. Then we found an old dead rat and chopped some meat off him for bait, just like in the show. I threw the bait into the backyard. That stupid dog found it and ate it whole. I reeled him in like a fish. He howled a couple of times, but we clubbed him good to shut him up. The old man of the house came running out shooting and yelling at us. We had to run. I didn’t think the dog would howl…the alligators didn’t.
Next morning I was on the roof of a house so I could see into their back yard. The old man came out with a shovel to bury the dog. I shot at him, but missed. My crew was watching the house from the street so we pretty much had the place surrounded. One guy threw a brick into a window. He heard a woman scream in pain. He didn’t know if had hit her or cut her with the broken glass, but everyone grabbed bricks and started throwing them into the windows.
Some shots came from the house and one of my guys went down. He didn’t move again. The old man is a pretty good shot so I open up on him, but miss again. I guess I should have practiced more. I ain’t too good a shot, but he has to be lucky all the time, I only have to be lucky once.
The old man yells out the window he ain’t got any food, but I know he’s lying. I can smell cooking food coming from his house now. I’ve smelled the odor of his cooking fire and seen the smoke coming out of his windows. Let’s see what happens if I offer him a deal….
Prizes for this round in our non fiction writing contest include…
- First place winner will receive – A Volcano Grill courtesy of LPC Survival a $134.99 value, a $150 gift certificate for Remington ammunition courtesy of LuckyGunner, a 60 serving bucket of Wise Freeze Dried Food courtesy of EmergencyFoodWarehouse.com and a Wonder Junior Deluxe grain meal a $219.95 value courtesy of Kitchen Neads and a USB Portable VPN courtesy of unspyable a $275 value. Total prize value of $899.99.
- Second place winner will receive – A Sopakco Sure – Pak MRE – 12 Meals courtesy of Campingsurvival.com, a $98.95 value, a Tatsu360 Tenkara Rod a $72.00 value courtesy of Dragontail Tenkara and a one year subscription to Personal VPN service, a $100 value, courtesy of unspyable. Total prize value of $270.95.
- Third place winner will receive – a copy of my book ”31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness“ courtesy of TheSurvivalistBlog.net and a copy of “The Survival Medicine Handbook” courtesy of www.doomandbloom.net.
Be sure to read the rules before entering… This contest will end on November 10 2013