This was exactly what I wanted at this point in my life. And during the end of the world to boot. I wanted to be caught up in drama and games, especially when the loss of my life would be the end result.
No, wait. No, I wanted the opposite of that! That’s right, I remember now.
I had listened to Mr Leader or rather General Leader and decided that I had no interest in who was right or wrong or who thought they had the best interest of the state at heart. I was content to let these lunatics slug it out between themselves and let the looters sort it out as they picked through the wreckage at the end.
“I’m going to do you a favor, Finn.” Mr Leader droned as he fiddled around with his pipe “I’m going to clue you into the big push, so when you’re talking to your friends over there in injun country, you have a semblance of a clue.”
“You know, actually, I don’t need to know–”
General Leader waved my objection aside “It’s all about Lansing. Detroit has been a statewide loss leader since before the turn of the century. There are manufacturing concerns there we’ll want to open when we start to rebuild, but for the most part we consider those locations to be hardened–more or less immune –to attacks from citizens. Lansing though, is where FedGov is setting up their defenses. Lansing is where they’ve massed a good deal of their troop strength, but more importantly their leadership and the head of their logistics and supply ops are contained within the city limits.”
General Leader stopped and eyed me curiously for a moment. I couldn’t remember having fallen asleep, but from the way he was eyeballing me, I figured I must have been snoring. I hoped to get out of this soon, so I prompted him with “Uh huh?”
The General nodded and continued “The MVDF wants to get in there to push out FedGov, but not to oust them, just assert that they are in control of the state. The PLM on the other hand wants them out period; once that’s accomplished, Michigan is going to cut ties and declare itself an independent republic with a constitution based on the founders work that spells things out in plain language.”
“Uh huh. And you’re just the person to lead the Sovereign Republic of Michigan into a bright and glorious future?”
The General, his finger templed at his lips, smiled and shrugged expansively. “At least until the state gets back on its feet.”
“Mm hmm. Well, you can run your government, your state and your war without me, thanks. I’ll be your message boy, but that’s it. I made a deal with the MVDF. I do this thing for them and I walk. I’m offering you the same thing; no more, no less.”
He regarded me for a moment then smiled and leaned his chair forward so it rested on two legs “You’re not in a position to be dictating terms. You will do as you’re told or you will regret it.”
I leaned forward in my own chair until we were close enough that our noses nearly touched. “Actually, I’m in a perfect position to set terms. You can keep me here as a prisoner wasting manpower to guard me and resources to keep me alive or you can kill me. Either way your mission dies on the board.”
General Leader stayed face to face with me, the stench of pipe smoke radiating up to me “Or option three, we torture you until you feel like cooperating.”
I laughed in his face. “You have time for that? And do you really want to entrust someone you’ve tortured to carry your interests forward after that?” I shook my head and leaned back. “No. I’ll do my part and then I’m out. Take it or leave it.”
I was so good at making friends and influencing people. I thought maybe I could write a book about it, but like taking prisoners writing just wasn’t something I wanted to do.
General Leader considered this for a while. Finally he stood and made a gesture to one of his lackeys who disappeared outside, opening one of the large service bay doors. Moments later I heard a familiar sound as my Jeep was brought into the service bay.
The lackey handed me the keys with a sadistic grin. “Sorry ’bout yer windows.” was all he said.
The front windshield of the Jeep was intact but that’s pretty much where it ended. The buckshot had eaten up parts of the door panels and all the windows on the driver’s side.
This was going to seriously effect my trade in value. I opened the door and got in, my revolvers and Ka-bar were on the passenger’s seat and my rifle was in the back. I put the keys in the ignition and the Jeep turned over without complaint.
The General appeared at the driver’s side door and leaned in. “You’re right in one respect. I can’t make you do what needs done and expect it not to rear up and bite me on the ass. I can tell you you really need to think about the future, your own and that of the state. Think about what role you want to play in that future. You can either get with the winning team and help us rebuild, or you can be part of the trash and vermin that we end up dealing with.”
I shifted into reverse and looked into the rear view mirror. I could see the big Ford dually sitting outside. I looked back to the General. “Thanks for the advice, comrade. I’m sure we’ll all do what we can to help the Party obtain its goals and drive the unbelievers into the ground beneath our heels.”
With that I let out on the clutch, the Jeep whining loudly as I backed it up, and aimed for the Ford. I hit the gas a little and slammed into the front of the grille crushing the skull and its glowing eyes. The ersatz owner of the truck ran outside in time to see me back and slam into the front of his ruined ride a second time.
He stood there gape mouthed as I put the Jeep into first and rolled up next to him. I gave him a wink and stuck my hand out forming my fingers into a gun and mimicked shooting him.
“Be seein’ ya.” I said as I pulled away.
I looked up in time to see the rear of the pick up truck I had destroyed. The erect nipples on the naked lady mudflaps would have glowed red with little LED’s just like the skull. I gave a shake of my head and accelerated toward the highway.