Prepared (or not)

4 comments
A Story, Love God Love People, opinion, Praise & Prep, writing

* scenario 1:

Joe slammed the door shut while Sally stood at the sink and tried not to cry. She swiped at her eyes and watched the truck’s rear lights as they bobbed red down the dirt road and disappeared into the darkness of the trees. Joe had a one-hour drive from their rural home to work and Sally hoped he’d call and set things straight before he got there. He never did, but she always hoped. Dawn hadn’t even broke forth yet and they were at it again. What happened to us? Why can’t we even talk without arguing? And why can’t he understand that I’m just worried about my doctor appointment and want him there with me when I see the specialist?

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Later that day she sat on the couch with their daughter, Emily, and read “Goodnight Moon” for the fourth time straight. With bleary eyes and waning energy, Sally finished reading the story to her four-year-old daughter and then poured herself another cup of coffee. That’s weird, the coffee pot doesn’t feel hot. Sally pressed the red button. Nothing happened. Oh great, it’s broke. We can’t afford a new one right now. How am I going to make Joe’s coffee in the morning?

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“Mommy, let’s listen to some music and dance like princesses, okay? Can we, can we, mommy?”

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Sally nodded her head and Emily ran to her room to get her princess dress and shoes. “Mommy, the light is all broken. I can’t make the dark go away in my closet so’s I can find my princess stuff! Mommy!”

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At the same time, Sally tried to open the CD player on the stereo but the little metal flap wouldn’t open. She pressed the power button but nothing happened.

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“Hey, Emily, I think the power is off. Use your little pink flashlight to find your princess stuff, okay?” Ah, that’s why the coffee pot didn’t work, the power is off. This is sorta weird because all we have is fog today, after a slight drizzle yesterday, but there’s no storm; it must be damage from last night’s thunder and lightning. I bet a branch broke loose and it just now fell across a powerline down the road.

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Sally picked up the landline telephone to report the outage, but there was no dial tone. She dug her cell phone outta her purse and tried it, but it didn’t work either. She tried to swallow the bitter taste of panic that rose in her throat. Is this what my friend Jennifer was talking about? Some sort of attack where all electric things are fried? What’d she say? Oh yeah, cars wouldn’t work either, least not ones made after the 1980’s or something.

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“Emily, did you find your princess stuff?”

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“Yes, mommy! Oh, this is fun. Look at how my flashlight glows. Hey, where are you going?”
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“You come watch from the porch, I’m going to grab something out of the car and check the radio out there.”

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Oh how she loved living in the country. Even though both she and her sister were raised on a farm, Sally had no idea how her sister could be so opposite and actually thrive at her life in the middle of the bright lights and big city. The peace and quiet and constant array of wildlife gave Sally reassurance as she walked to the car. She turned the key and nothing happened. She tried again. And again. Still, nothing. From the back of the car, Sally grabbed the dog food bag that she’d forgotten to take inside yesterday. She wrangled the 20-pound sack to her hip and slammed the back hatch door shut, herded her daughter through the door, and then put the dog food in the utility room. Sally then searched high and low for that wacky emergency preparedness book that her sister, Alexa, had given her for Christmas.

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.* scenario 2:

Someone rammed into her side with their shopping cart just as the store’s lights flickered and went out, leaving the customers and employees in complete darkness. Huh, this isn’t right, their back-up generator didn’t even kick on; it’s pitch black and the exit signs aren’t even glowing.

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Alexa pulled her SureFire light out of her cargo pants pocket, depressed the tactical end button twice and pushed hard to secure it in a low lumen setting. She shined it onto the offender, careful not to startle him by shining it in his face. The man that she saw at the helm of the careening cart wore khaki slacks, shiny leather shoes, an ironed button-up shirt, and a contrasting tie. “Uh, sorry I ran into you, miss. I was looking at my iPhone and pushing my cart and then the power flicked off. I was distracted,” he said.

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“It’s okay, I’m not hurt or anything. Hey, does your iPhone still have service?”

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“Um. Nope. That’s weird. I know it was fully charged. Now I’m going to have to buy the brand of diapers I think my wife uses for our baby – and you can be sure I won’t end up with the ones she actually uses. My bad. This will probably mean trouble at the ole homestead tonight!”

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“Uh-huh,” Alexa said as she pulled out her cell phone. With a quick flip she determined that it didn’t work either. “Okay, you have a nice afternoon. And sir, be careful today. I’m not saying I know what any of this means, but if you go outside and find that the world is upside-down, don’t panic. Do the thing that needs doing in that moment, okay?
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“Whaddaya mean? Upside-down? What’s going on here? Do you know something?”

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“I’m not sure, but if all devices that run via computer don’t work, that means that something has damaged the power-grid system. The entire system.”

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“And?”

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“And, welcome to the 18th century, but actually in the 21st century. Electricity, cars, communication, you name it, they’re not gonna work. It won’t be pretty and folks are gonna lose it right quick. Impatience and panic are gonna collide.”

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“But how are people going to get home? What about their families?”

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“Mister, the best tool for survivability is the one right here,” Alexa said as she pointed to her baseball capped head. “You look like a smart man – just use what the good Lord gave ya, right there between the ole ears.”

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Since her phone was useless, she slipped it into her back pocket, pulled the Velcro tab through the loop, and secured it shut. With discreet motions, she checked the placement of her concealed double mag-pouch, fingered the grip of her also-hidden Kimber 1911 pistol, and unzipped her cover jacket. She wanted to be ready for whatever the rest of the day brought. Before Alexa made her way through the darkened store to one of the registers, she grabbed four chocolate candy bars, a large package of beef jerky, and when she searched the shelves, she found a lone box of .45 ammo at the very back, behind some .22 shells. She walked to the front, put all of it on the counter where the clerk shined his plastic flashlight on her face and then on the pile. He shook his head back and forth as he said, “Ma’am, the registers are down, I cannot get you a total. Plus, if I could, you’d have to pay the exact amount. In cash.”

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Alexa pulled a fifty out of her pants pocket and in a quick, discreet motions, she reached under her shirt and pulled another out of her bra. “Here, this will more than cover it. And you better just keep the change for yourself.” Alexa showed him the corner of the extra fifty and said, “Oh, and since all the front doors probably are triggered to lock in a power failure, this is yours if you can show me a back way out of here.”

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He bit his lower lip and smiled. “Oh, yes ma’am, I understand what it means when you say your blood sugar is low. Come with me to the break room and let’s get you some orange juice; we can’t have you passing out on us,” the young man said in a loud voice as he scooted out from behind the counter. Once beside her, he lowered his voice to a whisper and said, “Follow me.”

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Although the noontime sunlight was bright, Alexa was glad to be out of the confusion and darkness of the store. Sure enough, everywhere she looked she saw open hoods on cars and trucks; she watched for a moment as people bent over  their now-defunct engines. A lone sound broke the eery silence as an old guy whirred across the parking lot on a junky looking motorcycle. His grin stretched ear to ear and a braided, gray ponytail hung low from beneath a faded do-rag. Alexa walked to her pickup, unlocked the canopy, and pulled two things out: her mountain bike, complete with its puncture-resistant Specialized Armadillo tires; and her three-day emergency bug-out bag. She stuffed her new purchases in different pockets, and once the backpack was steadied on the lowered tailgate, she backed up to it, slipped her arms in, and connected all the clasps around her waist and across her chest.

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After Alexa fastened her helmet, she fingered the cross around her neck and prayed for strength, wisdom, guidance, and courage. The front doors of the store were now propped open with garbage cans, and as she pedaled out of the parking lot, she saw the man in khaki pants. He had three packages of diapers under one arm, a large first aid kit under the other, and he wore a new pair of hiking boots.

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~~~~~~~

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Zam!

Bam!

Smack!

Some emergency has landed in your lap, be it natural-made (like an earthquake, tornado or flood) or man-made (like an enemy attack, a widespread power outage, or even a further-failed economy). We’ve all seen the disparity between those who prepare for potential hazards and those who do not give a wild wink-nod-blink about it. 

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How can –

How will –

How must –

you prepare to help your own self, your children, your spouse, your elderly parents, your co-workers, your friends, and your neighbors if the puddin’ gets flung into the proverbial fan? And from what sort of mindset shall you proceed? That there is the only answer I know for sure and for certain:

The Lord is my Light

and my Salvation;

whom shall I fear?

~ Psalm 27:1

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* Lately I’ve been struggling with my non-fiction piece of writerly-ness; so, as a change-up, I wrote that bit of fiction up yonder. Maybe I’ll continue the story out here in Blogland every so often… Is it something you’d wanna read?

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4 thoughts on “Prepared (or not)”

  1. I saw this this morning and this is the first chance I’ve had to read it. This is great Darlene. I want more! I’ve thought about this a time or two. I can’t imagine the chaos. I need to do more to be prepared. Or else I’ll just come stay with you:)

  2. Yay! I second what Linda and Mama Kautz said….more, please? I love reading your fiction, you have a gift for bringing us right there into the story.

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