Martialla and I have been driving around the wastes trying to drum up support for my fully prudent and justified war against the Invincible. At first, some Roadrunners and Road Hogs chaperones tagged along with us so they could feel important and in control of the situation but when they realized that it was just talking and not violence they lost interest quickly and went back to whatever it is they do. People in the future (present) must play a lot of video games because they have no attention span. See that’s a joke because there are no video games. Their games are of the non-video variety like lighting a lizard on fire or a worst smell contest. Spoiler alert everyone always wins that one.
It’s been tough sledding so far getting people on board with my war idea. Future people have little to no problem with murder on an individual basis, but they don’t seem be into the idea of doing it in an organized fashion on a large scale. Most of them, not all but most, are very afraid of the Invincible but they don’t want to do anything about it other than cower in their dirt-holes and wait for death. I find this violent yet cowardly attitude odd.
I got fired from a movie once that was going to be about “borderers”. According to the screenwriter, who quit being a doctor to write screenplays in what can only be considered a very poor move for society (although maybe not, maybe he was shitty doctor) and drank McDonald’s milkshakes like they were water, in the seventeen hundreds the people on the border of England and Scotland essentially gave up on society and turned into packs of raiders attacking anyone who was weak on either side because they were out for themselves. These were the “borderers”.
When a real war came though, as it often did, they generally made themselves scarce because they didn’t like the idea of fighting in a war even though they fought each other all the time. I don’t know how historically accurate he was, but regardless that’s what the future-present people remind me of. They don’t mind fussin’ an a fightin’ an a fuedin’ but they aren’t interested in structured military shenanigans. You and your buddies mounting up to go steal some goats and women (and men, seems like nobody cares much now) from your neighbors is one thing, but facing down a powerful enemy straight up? They’re not down with that.
Why did I get fired from Auld Wat of Harden? Good question, I’m glad that you asked. My character was supposed to be the motivation for the plot by being kidnapped back and forth between the two male leads. I kept agitating for her to have more agency in the story instead, and this annoyed the director enough that I got canned. Martialla likes to needle me about being a bad feminist, but I would have had a lot more work if I just kept my mouth shut, took my top off and smiled. Plus she’s the one who got married, so who’s the real gender traitor?
In our quest for peace through war, aside from all the piddly little nothing villages around we also went to the “big cities”. There was the place that had a bunch of onions. And I mean a bunch of onions. They’re onion farmers you see. Outside of the valley I guess pickled onions and chutney are a big part of a balanced diet, and now that the valley is open, everyone here can “enjoy” that bounty as well. The united council of onion farmers were more interested in their war on onion eelworms than the kind where you kill people.
We visited Gastown which – as you might have surmised – is where a lot of the fuel is made. Talk about a stink. It’s a lot like Bosstown, only bigger and worse. Instead of giant mud pits that people were digging through for the “good” mud, Gastown has vast fields of pits filled with rotting organic matter being stirred with long poles. The Gastowners were less chapped but they seemed even more miserable than the Bosstownies. The lord of Gastown, who had a snoot like Steve Martin in Roxanne and too far apart eyeballs, wasn’t too concerned about the Invincible. “Everybody needs fuel” he said. “They don’t need you though” I said, to little effect.
The highlight/lowlight of the journey was our visit to Defcon City, current home of the California Highway Patrol. We’d heard about it a few times, but I still didn’t really believe that CHiPs was a thing until we got there. Defcon City isn’t a city so much as it is a military base, one of those ones in another country where people have their families and there’s schools and stuff. They have a bank of four locomotive engines, the old timey ones with steam I mean, that they keep working to provide them with electricity. They had solar showers. I’m eighty-eight percent sure that the root of Defcon City is one of the old CalFire inmate camps.
Some of them were wearing California Highway Patrol uniforms, which honestly freaked me out, it’s too incongruous. But most of them were wearing park ranger outfits and everything else under the sun. It was a mishmash of any kind of uniform that looked official. A hundred years doesn’t seem long enough to lose your history, but I suppose those early days were pretty chaotic. My theory is that a bunch of different city and state and country officials gathered here to flee the cities and their descendants have just inherited whatever uniforms they had.
The other thing they have is guns. Lots of guns. They’re the crappy ones Martialla hates so much but they have them, which makes them better than most people. They make them, you see. Martialla was pretty interested in how but unlike everyone else, they’re too smart to give people tours of their critical facilities. They also make ammo for their plastic guns. And they have body armor. Looks like the Russian stuff that Martialla was grousing about at the swap meet. They have discipline, they have order, they’re a quasi-military organization with what they call “materiel” in the form of vehicles and radios and logistical support. Who better to form the core of my coalition of the willing against the Invincible? The strong spine on which the forces of the less well equipped and trained can rest?
Someone else apparently.
The dumpy fellow in charge, who I swear was wearing a post office uniform, expressed that the California Highway Patrol is dedicated to neutrality like the dirty dirty Swiss of old. Their mandate is to protect and maintain the remaining roads, which are the lifeblood of the new world after all, who drives on them and what they do isn’t their concern. They don’t dabble in politics. He said they were more likely to pursue military action against the Road Hogs and the Roadrunners because they blow up bridges and tear up roads in order to keep the Invincible out of their territory.
I argued on moral grounds. I begged. I flirted. I cried. I threatened. I employed every rhetorical strategy I knew. I used all of my considerable charms. The post master general was unmoved. I threw the sins of the Invincible in his face: slavery, murder, rape, torture, dogs and cats living together, the destruction of society as we know it. He shrugged. One society is as good as another, he said.
And check this shit out, even though we have some of their dumb currency (ill-gotten though it may be) they wouldn’t sell us any weapons or even let us use their showers or eat their non-maggoty food. The only services they offer are parts and repairs. I was mad enough to spit. So I did. Not on anyone, but I spit I tell you what.
Next stop Paradise.