There were no blueberries during the last summer. Blueberries that typically came in drooping clusters too large for a single household to make use of refused to produce even a single fruit, the flowers drying and falling off the bush. Also absent were cucumbers, pears, citrus, apples, and dozens of others. Only the self-pollinators were available in any quantity, and we all lived on tomatoes, beans and grain. In typical fashion we told ourselves this was a temporary setback, everything would be normal next year, but we all had the metallic taste of shock in our mouths. The delicate system we survived on was broken. The bees were gone.
This was when the sense of impending doom began to rise in our guts, but we must have mistaken it for hunger.
On August 4th, Washington DC exploded.
Ground zero was about a mile from the White House, and for a split second the ever-present media on the lawn broadcast a breathtaking image of a mushroom cloud rising as the backdrop to the capitol. Then their stories about pending legislation, naked PETA demonstrators - and, ironically, an environmental summit focusing on pollinating insects - vanished in a flash of white light, or television static, or graphics apologizing for technical difficulties.
The President and Secretary of State were on a well-publicized trip to the Sudan. They were not the target. Congress was in session but at a low attendance during the summer months, and not the target. All the residents of some of the poorest neighborhoods in the nation were wiped out, but again, they were not the end target. That bomb on Washington was aimed, first and foremost, at any right to life and liberty you ever thought you had.
Who dropped it? Not the "environmental terrorist" organizations that were blamed, I am quite certain. But that's who they punished first. Starting with the groups that had actually blown up or vandalized corporate farms and smoke-belching factories, then on to those merely accused of it, finally to organizations like Greenpeace and their small time donors. FEMA immediately began rounding up anyone suspicious. On August 6th we began to hear about arrests and shootouts. By August 12th, most of us had witnessed them ourselves. By August 19th the creaking and rumbling of freight trains through town had taken on a new, human element to their sound.
The bomb, the urgency of protecting the homeland, and the fact that the first ones arrested really were dangerous people lulled many into complacency. If you were stupid enough to buy that the roundup was in your best interest, you are probably dead now, carried off on a prisoner train to a "refugee camp." I've never considered YouTube an accurate and unbiased new source, but I could hear video loops running in my head: C-List will be killed primarily by starvation. Even the bees were not an accident.
My neighbors and I, we hid. We lived in an older apartment complex, outfitted with a subtly placed communal bomb shelter. I doubt very much it would have protected us from another bomb, but it did manage to keep us unnoticed by the panicked and murderous peace forces outside. On October 11th, out of food and stir crazy, we came up for air.
All things were quiet. The rest of the world was either dead or underground, it seemed. There were no cars on the streets, no crying babies heard through kitchen windows, no cell phone reception and no cashiers at the market. Just us and the self-pollinators.
I'm on the C-List and it's like those Left Behind books I hate so much, except God has nothing to do with it and it's a hell of a lot better than being taken.