October 1st, 2018
We had taken shelter in the broken wreckage of a ruined McMansion for the night—Me, Okie Pete and Skinny Bill Cox. Us three had taken up with each other back in Appaloosa after the bulls had busted up the Obamaville we’d set up and sent us packing. We were going West—heard there was still work out there for boys with knowledge of complex financial derivatives. Heard the same about Appaloosa too for that matter, but all I’d found was hard luck.
“Pete,” I said, poking at fire we’d made from scavenged iPods and old Lehman Bros. stock and staring up at the night sky, “You ever wonder how it all happened?”
Pete finished rolling his cigarette and struck a match to light it. ”How what happened?” he asked. “The Collapse?”
“I’ll tell you,” Bill growled, spooning cold beans into his mouth with wool-gloved fingers, his pockmarked cheeks chewing rhythmically. “It was that damned House of Representatives! If only they had listened to the Bush administration when they warned of apocalyptic financial catastrophe if we didn’t give unchecked power to the federal government.”
“Now hold on Skinny Bill,” silenced Okie Pete as he blew smoke rings out into the vastness, the dark uninterrupted for a hundred miles by electric light of any kind. “Sure, some Republicans voted against nationalizing the financial sector, but that ain’t no call for blaming the whole house. ‘Sides, even the ones that voted it down were probably just doing so out of a last ditch hope that panderin’ to their base might save them out from the desperate electoral straits they was in. Ain’t like any of ‘em was small-government conservatives.”
Skinny Bill laughed and sputtered beans through his toothless smile. ”That’s a notion! Ain’t been a small government conservative in office since afore we could get real meat!”
We all laughed. If there still was food that didn’t come out of a tin, none of us had seen it in 8 years. Skinny Bill threw his can of beans over his shoulder and licked his fingers clean of grease. We stared at the flames for a few minutes.
“Them constituents,” I asked again. “Those regular folk who were against the bailout. What was wrong with them? Did they hate America? Were they just stupid? Why didn’t they believe our dire warnings?”
“Who knows?” Pete scratched at the collar of his Brooks Brothers suit, worn from a half-decade on the road. “Hard to remember those days – back when we had running water and an economy not centered primarily around dirt farming. Maybe they were hesitant to unquestionably accept the solution of a government and financial sector which had created the problem through years of consistent mismanagement and corruption? Or, heck, maybe they had the crazy idea that there was somehow something immoral about bequeathing the economic failures of their generation in perpetuity to their descendants.”
“Yeah, maybe. Seems like kind of small potatoes now, what with most of the children crippled of Nu-Polio.”
“Yeah,” Okie Pete said. “Seems like a small deal now. Go to sleep—we got a long walk tomorrow and Johnny Law won’t be happy if they see us on the road.”
I rolled away from the fire. Pete was right—it was a long walk tomorrow. Did a lot of long walking back in those days.
-Daniel Polansky was born in 1984 and raised outside of Baltimore. He currently resides in Washington, DC.
Source: AFF Doublethink Online | Joseph Hammond
Source: AFF Doublethink Online | Emma Elliott Freire