Sunday, April 24, 2011

And The Runaway

What Gurr saw when he heard the assent to come in was an abstracted, balding, grey-haired and grey-beaded man in upscale casual clothes. Having double-checked the address, confirmed by the name of the door, he knew that this was McKinley. Sometimes he was nicknamed “President McKinley” even though he disclaimed both it and any relation to the man who had preceded Theodore Roosevelt to the Presidency.

Gurr knew that the man in front of him was a left-wing socialist. He hardly needed that New Democratic Party election poster behind the man’s desk to confirm it. Professor McKinley had been a long-standing participant in several goldbug forums, and was well-tolerated despite that political clash. Except, sometimes, by his fellow Canadians; other than with them, he got along fine.

Still, Gurr knew he was taking a big risk. Had George W. Bush still been President, had John McCain won, there wouldn’t have been. Professor McKinley had been well liked when Bush was still in the saddle. His particular spin on Franz Oppenheimer was more than tolerable when he liked gold and showed worthy disdain for “Shrub.”

With Obama in the saddle, things were different. The prof liked Obama and looked up to him. That affiliality meant that Gurr was taking a big chance in asking the favour he had come to ask. Tom-Ridge- and Michael-Chertoff-headed Homeland Security, the professor would have fended off with a conspiratorial wink. A Napolitano-headed one? That made for a question mark.

Still, Morris Gurr had no other place to go. He realized he was about to trust another man, who he had never met personally, with his very freedom.

He had made his escape on a bus, rightly assuming that there were no metal detectors at entrance or egress. Nor were there any at the border crossing – as yet, anyways.

His escape had been damned lucky. Gurr had wired up a home-security vidcam doodad that bleeped his smart phone and transmitted the grainy image of whatever crook busted in. Only, the crooks in this case were cops. They burst in with a no-knock warrant, for whatever reason they had in their heads. Most likely, they thought he was a drug dealer. What their rationale had been didn’t matter now.

His apartment was small and economical; he made his living off the Internet hawking survival goods and blogging about the coming collapse. Since he looked small-change, the neighbours saw him as small-change. He acted like a Social Security disability case, and was laughed at because he acted ashamed of himself. Although some were good enough to consider it to be part of his “disability.”

In retrospect, he should have drowned his morals and taken the food stamps even though doing so would have involved welfare fraud. It would have meant him sticking out less. There were no shady characters living next door to him, so he was sure that the neighbourhood snitch was responsible for his home being broken into. Luckily, he was off checking the sales at the discount grocers to see if he could stock up on anything. That’s when his cell phone showed the police bursting into his home. Although he only had motion-activated cameras by the door and in the main living area, he was sure the cops had spent some time ploughing through his goods. Rice and flour by the twenty-pound sack; spaghetti, macaroni and two other kinds of noodles by the twelve-pouch case. His clothes closet was packed with that food, necessitating him putting in one of those porta-closets in his living room. The bed in his modest bedroom was moved away from the wall, making his sleeping space even more modest. On the far side of the bed, stacked by the far wall, were tins of spaghetti sauce bought in bulk and on sale. Twenty-four packs of ramen noodles were beside them. Both stacks went far above bed level. Some four-pound jars of peanut butter were stacked by the foot of the bed.

Yep, his entire lifestyle said “survivalist.” No need to look at the few magazines left on his desk and books stuck in his above-desk shelf, supplemented by the much richer collection of e-books on his hard drive. Morris Gurr was a survivalist, and thus a presumptive criminal to the minions of the State. He had heard of stories about prepper parents, merely motivated by “The End Of The Sale As We Know It,” who had their kids grabbed by Child Services. He had put up several hollers to that effect on his blog, which he was sure was popular enough to be monitored by the powers that arrest.

Thankfully, he had been smart enough to sequester the fruits of his labour in a long-term-storage locker. Although less secure than a safety-deposit box, it was less obvious. For camouflage, he had surrounded it with survivalist books and magazines. For even more camouflage, he had put a 1000-watt generator in the locker too. It appeared to be the valuable of the locker, which a thief would assume was the only thing worth stealing.

After seeing the cops bust in, he went on the lam and rescued his treasure. As for their takings, all they would get were several hundred plain meals’ worth of grub. He was sure he was marked as some kind of a “domestic terrorist,” with charges trumped up accordingly, so he had hoofed it off from the States entirely. It would have been more rational to try for Mexico, not high-tax, gun-grabbing, speech-squelching Canada, but for one datum: he didn’t know anyone down in Mexico. Although they were only E-mail buds, though of long standing, he did know Professor McKinley up in Canada.

Luckily, he had no sweetheart and no kids. His parents, he hardly visited. He was getting along in life, but he didn’t settle down because his stand-up-to-the-State lifestyle was too high-risk. He had no prior settled lifestyle to fall back on. To be honest, he hadn’t put a lot of effort into looking for a significant other.

Now standing in front of the professor, he unveiled his big gamble. Unwrapping the gold bar stuck in a sweat sock, he placed it on the professor’s desk. Four inches long by two and a half wide, it weighed 100 troy ounces - almost seven pounds. It was surprisingly heavy for its size.

“This bar is all that I have now, Professor. I got rousted, and I really need your help”.

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