110 comments

Fiction

                                           Making It Work

                                         By James M. Vines

The Sun came up too early or I had stayed up too late. I reached for the remote control, the station was still on the same news channel I had it on when I went to bed. Not that it matters much, nothing seems to change, the pandemic has past but pockets of the virus still pop up occasionally in different parts of the globe. World governments are either in tatters or barely functional. Despite having several viable vaccines, people are only cautiously optimistic . The dam virus seems to keep mutating into this strain or that strain causing localized problems. Like I said ,not much has changed!

   Well I won’t get anything done sitting around in my pajamas, I need to get at it. I turn off the news and hit the shower. Hygiene is apparently more important than ever these days. Not that it wasn’t always important to me, people just emphasize it more now. So I get my daily routine started, coffee and eggs after my bathing ritual. I really need to clean the bathtub and shower, but not today too much to do. I open the door to a brisk Easterly wind, March is in like a lion and out like a lamb I guess. On to the garage to get my tools, repairs won’t make themselves. I have to keep at my new trade if I am going to pay the bills. Had to go back to work with the state of the government now days. Hope I can hold out until things get resolved, not sure when that will be.

   Under a sink replacing a water valve, I bump my head and curse. I didn’t used to have to do this myself. I used to just collect rent and pay someone to make these sort of repairs. Ever since the U.S. government and the rest of the world had a financial collapse, my pension from being a federal officer isn’t worth a crap. When the collapse came of the world monetary system, I was as shocked as anyone. The government moved to austerity measures, so I lost 25 percent of my retirement. If I hadn’t owned my own home and had a rental business, I would be under a bridge somewhere. So I make do with the money I get and have fallen back on skills I learned in the military and as a young man farming. Basic welding, electrical repair and plumbing have come in handy. This tenant keeps having trouble with their bathroom, I am about to replace the whole thing, one piece at a time. Unfortunately I must mitigate repairs as best as I can, money is tight and it seems even the rich are feeling the pinch. A new wealth tax of 40 percent was recently implemented and now those with money are running for the hills, not that there is anywhere to go. Millions are dead world wide and smaller weaker countries are beset worse than the United States, I don’t know why I am thinking about this under a sink, I cannot do much about it. Well that is finished, I should gather my stuff and go. Just as I get packed up, my cell phone rings, I don’t want to answer, but I recognize the number. I have to take it, I just don’t care to.

   I answer my phone and it’s the sheriff’s office, I tell them that I am not in a position to come in right now, the deputy on the other end says to get in as soon as I can. Ever since the collapse of the economy, local governments have gone back to Sheriff’s posses. Since I am former military and retired law enforcement I must serve on it 3 months out of the year. It is like a form of endless jury duty. You show up with your own gun and they give you a badge, you then do your best to enforce the law. Though given the current climate around law enforcement, it is not a very desirable duty. I have 15 days left on this term, then I go off rotation for 9 months unless there is an emergency. No one wants to put on a badge anymore, they are either too scared or have just given up on government and simply take care of themselves . I hope it is nothing too serious, I am not in the mood to spend hours doing paperwork because I had to round up some knot head at the end of a barrel of a gun. Hopefully it will be resolved by the time I get there.

   It is 1 am and boy am I exhausted. I spent a few hours fixing my renters sink, then had to go shower again and put on my uniform. I spent the rest of the day and part of the night doing security outside of the jail with my shotgun. All of the regular officers, the sheriff included were out breaking up a civil disturbance. If not for the sight of people outside the county detention facility with a loaded gun, the prisoners inside would likely have rioted again as well. I feel for the guards inside that place. On top of what they already had, the sheriff brought in 50 more people and booked them. They will have to sit until morning when the court opens up. I think I will need something to help me sleep tonight. I decide on two over the counter pills. It is not as harsh as whiskey, but will get the job done. I ache and hurt from standing and sitting in sequential rotation for hours. There were only 4 of us guarding 700 prisoners, but when you have the guns and they do not, it does make it kind of easier to keep the peace. Time to turn in, I hope that things are better in the morning.

   My phone is ringing off the hook. This makes 3 times someone has called me in the past hour. I keep hitting ignore, but I look at the clock and it’s 9:45 am, so I had better answer it or at least check my messages. I get up and go to the bathroom, I do my daily routine just like clock work. I hear the chickens clucking outside my window, so I will need to collect the eggs I didn’t get yesterday. If you let them go more than 4 days, they will begin to sit and raise chicks, not what I am looking for now. I have to eat, and I’m not getting anymore money until the 1st of the month. I finish up and go to my phone, there have been two more calls since I got cleaned up and put on some regular clothes. It is my sister, but why would she be calling so incessantly? I listen to the first voice mail, she says for me to call her. Then a second and a third, in the third one she tells me to turn on the TV. I switch it on and find it on the same cable news channel I had it on yesterday. I go and get a cup of coffee as I try to watch the TV and call her back. Just as she picks up, I see the talking head come on. They are reporting from Brussels, it appears that there is breaking news. I get her on the phone and she ask have I heard. I said no I have been asleep, I was working late. I say hold on let me listen, in the background I can hear her TV over the phone. In a resounding announcement, I hear the reporter say that moments ago, the United Nations announced that a group of negotiators has finalized an agreement. With the accord, world peace has been reached and all borders are now officially nullified and a new world governing body has been established. I reach for the remote control and turn off the TV. I can here my sister waiting with bated breath. She tells me did you hear, I said yeah, it is great. Now instead of my own bureaucrats telling me what to do, now I will have to listen to ones I can’t understand. I tell her thanks for the good news as I hang up the phone put the coffee down and get out a bottle of whiskey. This morning is going to require something stronger than coffee with all of the good news I have just received .

March 12, 2021 03:01

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110 comments

Cole Lane
12:58 Mar 18, 2021

I really like the perspective, his day starts out normal, but the condition of the world unfolds (almost dystopian from his view). I get the sense he is older, life is pretty set for him, especially financially. Now the new world is pushing him to change, but he is handling it pretty well. Although the last bit of news is going to take a couple shots to deal with. :)

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James Mckinley
18:36 Mar 18, 2021

Yeah, change doesn't come easy for some people. Sometimes it takes medicine to accept it.

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Ava <('.'<)
21:07 Mar 18, 2021

Your story has a nice flow. Especially when we learn about the character's past experiences, while we learn about present experiences at the same time. ( sorry my 'critique circle' skills are bad. I rarely evaluate other people's writings, but something I know how to do is enjoy a good story. And I know that I enjoyed yours )

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James Mckinley
22:29 Mar 26, 2021

I am glad you liked the story. A true honest perspective on a story is not always easy to articulate, but honest heartfelt words are better than a million insincere platitudes.

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James Mckinley
22:30 Mar 26, 2021

I am glad you liked the story. A true honest perspective on a story is not always easy to articulate, but honest heartfelt words are better than a million insincere platitudes.

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James Mckinley
22:30 Mar 26, 2021

I am glad you liked the story. A true honest perspective on a story is not always easy to articulate, but honest heartfelt words are better than a million insincere platitudes.

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