Jingling Our Change – New Book

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    Bloom
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    Hi. This is my first post. I’ve been lurking around checking things out here and around several other sites. I’ve also been reading a bunch of good prepper fiction from Joe Nobody, Glen Tate, Jeff Brackett and John Grit to name just a few. I had a little something to add through a different perspective than these guys so I decided to have a go.

    My proofreaders are all friends and family. They’ve adamantly argued that my book was ‘the best they ever read’! :glare: Which, of course, leads me to believe that they are not being 100% impartial. :blush: So I’m going to post the first chapter in hopes of receiving some honest constructive criticism. The book is titled, “Jingling Our Change.” It is the Book One of the ‘Liberty Dying’ Series. Here is a picture of the cover:

    Monday, October 6th 2014
    Uncle
    The President assassinated another American family last night. This time it was in the Gulf of Mexico, off the Eastern coast of Texas. The press conference was low-key and short. It was the same tone as the other announcements, except this time there were five bodies. That was abnormal. Recently, the hits had been clean with only one death. The standard press-release video distributed by the white house was shared on the internet and broadcast by television networks.
    The President stood behind his ornate podium with a tapestry of the official emblem hanging down the front. His perfectly manicured hands grasped the sides of the polished wooden podium top as he began to speak with the eloquence of a practiced orator. After a few minutes of droning on about the successes of the war on terror and the mandatory ‘thank-you’ to the citizens for their continued support and cooperation, he began the new part of the, by now, standardized speech.
    “Another homegrown American terrorist is no longer a threat to our country. We located him on his yacht off the coast of Texas in the Gulf of Mexico. Many people know this man as the founder of Freedom News Network or FNN, Axel Thomas. He has been under investigation for many years. We confirmed that he was deeply involved with Al Qaida planning an attack on American soil, in addition to financially supporting a myriad of other terrorist activities. The details are, of course, classified, for the sake of national security. A precisely aimed weaponized drone killed him. Regrettably, his wife, teenage daughter, and infant twin sons were also found dead aboard the yacht. We suspect that terrorist associates of Mr. Thomas killed the family members. The US Government agencies of homeland Security, CIA, ATF and, FBI have once again heroically saved the American people from severe suffering. These groups worked night and day to foil the plot planned by these terrorists, of which Mr. Thomas was a high ranking member. Understandably, the death of an evil terrorist so close to our homeland is unsettling to many Americans. Take a moment to thank your God that we were given the strength to intervene in time to save thousands of lives. It is unfortunate that these terrorists repeatedly cause the death of unarmed women and children. We are committed to the war on terror for the sake of our precious American freedoms. And once again, please report any suspicious activity you may see or hear. It could save lives. God bless.”
    He looked into the camera with a somber yet firm expression, his American flag lapel pin sparkling, as the video faded him out, to be replaced by an image of the American flag waving and the anthem playing softly in the background. The ‘play again’ arrow appeared over the video on Davis’ laptop screen.
    When the music played out, the silence in the room was deafening. Bloom stared wide-eyed her mind reeling. Davis started watching the announcement over again on his laptop. Kay didn’t handle stress well, so she snatched up the coffee cups to refill and started for the coffee pot. The President droned on in the background from Davis’s tinny old laptop speakers. Bloom caught herself holding her breath. The three were gathered in Bloom’s kitchen to discuss loaning Davis money. It was another ‘sure thing’ ‘get rich quick’ scheme but he was Bloom’s only living relative. She was mostly concerned with getting her best friend, Kay mixed up with Davis. He was a good person, mostly, except when it came to money. She couldn’t recall how she let this situation get so far out of control. She wished Kay hadn’t brought that check with her today.
    “Holy crap,” Bloom exhaled softly as she put her short fingernail between her teeth. She didn’t actually bite them off anymore. It was more of a habit just having them in her mouth. Davis told her she was inviting a host of bacteria and germs every time she put one in her mouth but she couldn’t help it. Her hands had to stay busy.
    As he stared at the still screen, Davis asked, “Well, do you think anyone cares?” And started watching it again.
    Kay returned with the steaming hot coffee and sat down at the old oak table between Bloom and Davis. “I’m sure there is more to the story.” Kay muttered as she started blowing her coffee.
    Bloom shoved her chair back loudly on the tile floor and pushed herself up with her cane. She kept herself in as good a shape as she could. Keeping fit helped with the pain. She was a practical woman and it carried over to her choice of attire. Comfort, function, and classic style she wore well on her conditioned frame. Bloom always felt big and gawky around Kay who was petite and well mannered with good fashion sense and always up to date styles.
    Davis was engrossed in the video and it took raising her voice to get his attention. “Davis, are you ok? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
    Bloom always liked her Uncle Davis even though he had a reputation as a loafer looking for a free ride. He was a nice guy, just lazy as hell. Davis became enamored with the Indian lifestyle after falling in love and marrying Aggie, a full blooded Shoshone. When they were both much younger, Davis used to tell Bloom such fantastic stories about the Indians and their ways before the white man swept like a plague across the continent wiping them out. Bloom was surprised to find out that they were brutal, extremely spiritual, superstitious, astounding astronomers, family oriented and completely different from tribe to tribe. It wasn’t at all like the television would have us believe.
    “I know that guy. He was no terrorist.” Davis adjusted his bulk in the chair and the wood groaned in protest. “I mean I KNOW the guy personally. I first met him years ago, when Aggie and I were still dating. He was a cousin or some such to Aggie.” A flicker of a smile crossed his features when he said her name. “He and I became pretty close after Aggie and me got married. He was my friend, damn it. He wasn’t a terrorist.”
    Bloom looked her uncle in his bloodshot eyes with matter building in the corners matching the dried spittle that had built up in the corners of his mouth. He’d really let himself go to hell after Aggie died. He seemed compelled to eat, drink, and smoke himself into the ground. He was doing a good job of it. Bloom’s Italian Mastiff, Perky was a good judge of character and steered clear of Davis. It was a mutual dislike.
    “I can’t do this today, guys.” Bloom ran her fingers through her short salt and pepper hair. “What the hell is going on in our country anyway? Since when can the President arbitrarily kill people? Oh I know the so-called legislation was passed, but isn’t there some rule that keeps the government from passing laws that grant it such horrific powers? They vote themselves immunity to laws that still stand for ‘the rest of us’ in addition to protecting their special perks and powers. America sure has changed. And people just go on their merry way, totally self absorbed because, as long as it’s happening to someone else – it’s not their problem. They just don’t get it. Makes me want to grab their smart phones and scream in their faces. I have learned to curb those tendencies but that doesn’t mean they’re gone.” She was ranting again. Kay was obviously not listening, staring at something a million miles away. “Freedom News Network is the only network that has a shred of credibility anymore. I guess that changes now.” She stood and walked over to the sink on the other side of the table. She poured her coffee down the drain and filled a glass with cold water. Maybe the caffeine was getting her worked up. Her nerves were suddenly raw. Perky sauntered over and leaned against her leg nudging for head rubs. She could always count on Perky to know her moods.
    “C’mon Bloom, just forget that political garbage for now. I rarely get time away from the clinic just to chat and relax.” Kay said as she blew on her coffee. “Now that we’ve finally been blessed with little JJ, my perspective has changed so much.” She added cryptically, staring into her mug of steaming brew.
    Bloom sighed loudly and stood looking around her kitchen. Facing Kay and Davis, Perky at her side, she said, “I’m really getting weirded-out with the power the government is giving themselves. If the power wasn’t bad enough, they’re using it and then lying to the people about it. Well, those people that give-a-shit. It seems that fewer and fewer people are getting it. They effectively use the divide and conquer strategy. The right-wingers hate the liberals, the environmentalists hate the big corporate destroyers and polluters, the working people hate the welfare recipients and the rich, it is an effective strategy, and they are managing it beautifully. They print money and bail out the big players but the homeowner’s stuck holding the bag continue to lose and have to pay the bill. The value of the dollar is being degraded into oblivion by ‘quantitative easing’ and the ignorant masses continue to walk around as if nothing is amiss. The wars are based on lies and nobody cares. Yet again, we are poised to start a fresh war on the heels of the last one. We are currently in five wars, declared or not. People have no idea that these wars are based on the dollar being used as the currency pricing for oil. When a country sees that the US is manufacturing dollars out of thin air via fractional reserve banking methods and the untouchable federal reserve racket, they say logically, ‘I think we should base oil on precious metals or another mechanism of sound value’ implying that the dollar’s soundness is flagging. Of course the US panics because hell, the dollar value would pop like the housing bubble and in a matter of days the US would be a third world country!” She had started to perspire and raise her voice until she was gesturing wildly while pacing in front of the table punctuating her points with a thump of her cane on the tile floor. Bloom looked up to see both Davis and Kay staring at her wide-eyed and stone still. Perky had a patient look on her face as she sat on the rug in front of the sink, waiting for the tirade to end.
    When neither spoke, she tried to backpedal a little bit, “maybe it’s just me being paranoid about nothing.” She chuckled a little to try to ease the tension she had created.
    Bloom leaned on the table with both hands. “I sure am sorry Kay but I can’t do it. Not now.”
    “Look ladies, we’ve been down this road before. People get scared. I think this is a sweet investment; it’s the most foolproof moneymaker out there today. Like I told you before, if I had the money, I’d do it myself. I’m only asking for a loan to get started. You’ll get paid back within a year with an incredible return on your investment. If you ladies aren’t going to jump on this after all the work we’ve done, I might have to reconsider my offer. I’ve spent a lot of time working up the numbers and I know getting other investors won’t be a problem. I wanted to come to you first, you know, give my family the first opportunity at such a no-brainer.” Davis looked each one in the eye over his glasses before pushing them up with his pudgy index finger. “Getting back to business, I need a commitment today. Let’s say we get this contract signed and you gals each give me a check.” He made a point to examine his watch, “I have another appointment.”
    “I’m ready Davis. Here’s my check. Where do I sign?” Kay was getting anxious about Bloom backing out and Jasper at home alone with JJ. “I just want to get this done so I can get home.” She glanced nervously at Bloom and Bloom shook her head, no.
    Bloom pushed Kay’s check back toward her and started to say something but the sound of Davis slamming his laptop closed caused everyone to momentarily freeze. Shaking off the shock from the noise, Bloom went to Davis and stood over his chair. His polo shirt had pulled out from under his waistband and she could see his flab hanging over his belt. It disgusted her. Perky moved like lightening to stand between Davis and Bloom, hackles up, watching.
    “There’s no reason to be impolite, Davis. You can just take this deal to the people you told us about who are hoping we would back out.” Bloom was apologetic, “I’m really sorry it didn’t work out, but there is no reason to get rude.” She put her free hand on her hip and leaned on her cane with the other.
    “You’re just stupid, Bloom. Kay should go ahead without you. I can make a few changes in the contract and Kay can go it alone.” He reached out to grab the check but Bloom beat him to it. “Give me the check Bloom. That is between me and Kay.” He reached to take the check out of Bloom’s hand but she stepped back away from him putting her cane between them. Perky deliberately stepped between them, staring at Davis.
    “Davis, I can’t do this without Bloom. If she is backing out, I have to back out also.” Turning to Bloom she said, “Are you sure? We’ve been talking about this for weeks.” Davis heaved himself out of his chair and lunged for the check in Bloom’s hand. Perky snarled and brought Davis up just short of physically attacking Bloom. His face was red and he was panting from the effort of moving so quickly.
    “Look Uncle Davis I really appreciate you offering us this deal but it just doesn’t feel right to do it anymore. It’s not the new killing…” She trailed off not finishing the statement that shouldn’t have to be said about the President of the United States of America. She shook her head in disgust. “It’s more a feeling I have that nags me not to spend my life savings on this investment. I really truly am very sorry.” She implored apologetically. She was scared of this new aspect of her uncle’s personality. Perky was at a constant low rumble. It looked like Kay was going to crawl onto the tabletop.
    “I don’t think you understand Bloom. I’m taking that check.” He let out a high pitched cackle and then started coughing trying to catch his breath. Davis fell to his hands and knees still coughing hard, drool tinged with pink splattering on the white tile floor. He started to retch and his arms gave out. His head hit the ceramic tile with a sickening crunch. A gash opened up above his eye and blood was streaming down his face onto the floor. His breathing turned shallow and labored as he rolled onto his back. Perky let out a pitiful whine and took off out the dog door.
    “He’s going to die!” screamed Kay as she dug in her purse for her phone, shoving it at Bloom. “Call 911.” She said trying to calm herself as she knelt next to Davis. She was a real doctor; a veterinarian, but biology was biology. “I need a towel to try to stop the bleeding.” She barked at Bloom.
    Bloom grabbed a dish towel and quickly handed it to her so she could start putting pressure on his cut. Bloom was speaking to the 911 operator.
    Kay talked to Davis with soothing tones. “Just relax. Try to breathe slower. You’ll be fine. Do you know what is happening? Do you have allergies? Asthma? What’s happening, Davis? Do you have a medical condition that might be causing this? High blood pressure? Cholesterol issues? Heart disease? Clots?” Kay drifted into the safety zone of doctor patient to avoid the emotions threatening to surface working on a human being. “Ok big guy, we’re gonna tilt your head back to help you breathe better.” She was using the relaxing tone she used every day at the clinic with her normal patients, which were mostly dogs and cats.
    Davis motioned to a medical bracelet on his wrist. Kay’s jaw dropped as she read it.
    Bloom was on the edge of panic trying to talk to the 911 operator who was reading from a set of flash cards because common sense didn’t exist anymore. “Get an ambulance here, NOW!” She screamed, feeling completely useless. After a pregnant pause and some deep breathing of her own, Bloom answered a million questions from the operator before finally getting to her address.
    “The ambulance is coming! I’m going out front to meet them!” Bloom shouted as her cane thudded across the floor and faded behind the slam of the screen door.
    “The gates! Get the gates open.” Bloom screamed at Kay. She had two gates into her property that would need to be opened to allow emergency services access. Kay’s heels clipped in cadence as she ran back to the den and initiated the openers for the gates. She was fast and very agile in those heels. Bloom thought many times that she must have been a professional dancer in a past life to command those shoes so well. It took her less than five seconds to open the gates and get back to Davis’ side.
    “Bloom listen,” Davis coughed once, swallowed, and continued with sweat now rolling off his arms and soaking his polo while blood ran down through his thinning hair to pool under his head. “I’m off to be with Aggie. I can feel it. Lord knows I’ve missed her. I’ve looked forward to this day for a long time.”
    Kay tried to tell him that she wasn’t Bloom but he was beyond listening. “Hush now and let me tell you something before I go.” He coughed again and his eyes rolled up into his head. He gasped for breath and forced his eyes open. “On a chain around my neck there is a key for a safe box at First State National Bank in downtown Springfield, Illinois. Take it off me now; put it in your pocket. NOW!” He coughed and bright red blood dribbled out the corner of his mouth. His breathing sounded bad. He closed his eyes.
    “The proof is there. Don’t tell a soul. What’s in there for you… for only you. A warning.” He grabbed Kay’s arm with a sudden burst of strength.
    “Be careful. If they know, they’ll come for you, too.” He let out a small sigh and relaxed. Kay waited for him to inhale. He had a peaceful look on his face. A tear slid down Kay’s cheek. She gently closed his eyes. He thought she was Bloom as he died. He was Bloom’s last living relative. Now, she had none.
    Kay had to slide her hand between the fat rolls to locate the chain and work the clasp to the front where she could open it and slip it off. Her hand slipped between the rolls effortlessly with his sweat providing lubrication. The simple stainless steel chain wire necklace had a screw clasp with a single key dangling from it. He certainly didn’t want it breaking or falling off by accident. Kay put Davis’ necklace in her pocket as the ambulance and police cars started to arrive.
    The EMTs burst into the kitchen finding Kay sitting in a chair sobbing.
    “Uncle Davis. UNCLE DAVIS! Oh God! No.” Tears ran freely down Bloom’s face as she grieved. The EMTs loaded Davis on a gurney. Bloom stood over her last relative left on earth and let her tears drip onto Davis’ bloody sweat soaked polo.
    Kay embraced Bloom as Davis silently left in the ambulance. She really didn’t know what to do. Kay took Bloom to the hospital and helped her finalize things. When she dropped her off later that evening she explained to Bloom that Davis had some parting words and gave her the key. Kay had written the message from Davis so she could accurately tell Bloom his last words. It was the least she could do. Bloom had suffered enough in this lifetime but some people are just destined to be on the receiving end of grief.

    Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed the first chapter.

    Kelli

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