“Why? The whole point of them turning our community into a refugee compound was so they could control our consumption.” And our behavior.
“Apparently they underestimated the need.” My mom walked over to the sink, which was now covered with a large piece of plywood, reminding us not to use it. “Or they let too many people in.”
“Why anyone thought the idiots in Washington could manage this disaster is beyond me,” I snapped.
“Zachary! Don’t speak ill of the government. They’re doing the best they can.”
“I’m only repeating what dad says.”
“Your father works for the government,” my mom added.
“Exactly! And even he can see how fucked up everything is.”
“Language!” She shook a finger at me, trying to be parental.
“Sorry, mom.” I walked around the counter and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek. “I have to go. Thanks for the food.”
“You driving today?”
Despite all of the crap going on in the world, I’d still managed to get my license a month ago. And since dad hopped on the government transport each morning and mom stayed home, I was able to borrow the Jeep and steal a few miles of freedom every day. The trip to and from school felt like my little piece of normalcy.
“Yeah. And I’m late. Vee’s not going to be happy.”
“Well, you both have a good day.”
My mom waved as I hustled out of the kitchen and through the front door. Throwing my bag in the back, I noticed my favorite guard staring at me from the end of the driveway. I saluted and said “At ease, soldier.”
He didn’t move.
I hated how our home had turned into a military state. It wasn’t more than a year or two ago that I remembered living a relatively simple life. Even though other countries were killing each other over the state of the environment, the United States had managed to stay somewhat civil. When several states out west were deemed uninhabitable, cities along the east coast made room for the displaced. The government built desalinization plants and designated compounds where clean drinking water would be delivered on a regular basis.
Our particular gated community outside of Philadelphia had become one of the refuge sites. Now we had armed guardsmen protecting our gates as the threats of national and international terrorism continued to grow. I’d heard that several of the upstream water sources had been hijacked by militia and the like. Most of the water had already been poisoned by industry years ago, but the few good sources left were now being targeted. I wondered if that’s why our rations had been reduced.
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