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Authors: Pete Thorsen

Calamity in America

BOOK: Calamity in America
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Calamity

in America

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Calamity in America

 

 

 

       Three complete stories from one of America’s most popular apocalyptic writers.

       Stormy Weather.  The story of a young man living in Nebraska on his now small family farm who fights for survival after America falls apart.

       After the 2
nd
Great Depression.  Eight years after the fall of our nation America is quite a different place.  It’s a place where every person must be hard and strong just to try and continue living.

       A Girl’s Gotta Survive.  A young girl learns to fight to live in the circumstances she finds life has dealt her.  Will her life ever get any better?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Released on Kindle & in Print

July 2016

 

All rights reserved.  No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher/author, except that brief selections may be quoted or copied for non-profit use without permission, provided that full credit is given.  This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and events are used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead is entirely accidental.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stormy Weather

Ahead

 

 

 

 

 

Pete Thorsen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally Released

on Kindle November 2015

 

 

All rights reserved.  No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher/author, except that brief selections may be quoted or copied for non-profit use without permission, provided that full credit is given.  This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and events are used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead is entirely accidental.

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 1

 

 

 

 

 

I’m Chip Harrison.  At least my folks picked the correct name for me.  I am certainly a chip off the ole block.  My folks were dirt poor and their only son is also dirt poor.  And I live on the original homestead that has been in my family for several generations.  Of course there is hardly any land left that I actually own.  My folks were just like their folks and both had been forced to sell some of the land they owned just to get by.

I can’t sell any more of the land very easy anymore though.  All the original land that could be farmed has now been sold to the neighbors to increase the size of their fields.  The just over ten acres that are all that is left with the house and out buildings on it is mostly wooded.  Except for the large garden plot which is what keeps me fed much of the time. 

And the wood on the land helps keep me warm in the winter months thanks to the old wood stove in the house.  I have certainly made many improvements to the old house though.  The house is still old and not all that big but it is much nicer and much easier to keep warm in the winter now with the many improvements that I have done to it. 

I can at least be proud of that even though almost everything I did to improve the house involved the use of salvaged items so there was no or very little cost.  Even when adding the second bathroom I incurred very little cost as far as cash outlay.  It was mostly all salvaged stuff from my work sites.

Living here near Lincoln Nebraska the winters get very cold and that wood stove is certainly needed.  The old wood stove has been in the family a long time, at least as far back as I can remember anyway.  It doesn’t really look like I will be handing down this place to my son like my family before me has always done.  Oh I would certainly like to give it to my son when the time comes but even though I am not all that old yet (only 29) to give the place to my son I would have to have a son.  And before I have a son I would have to have a wife.  I have neither.   Not even a candidate for a wife at this point.

Maybe I am not quite as poor as some of my family before me but not by much.  I am working as hard as I can to lift myself out of this lowest of income brackets.  On this Friday afternoon I am at home loading scrap steel and iron onto my old trailer.  I had not worked a full eight hours at my current job today but not by my choice. 

The small construction job I was on had run out of material and the boss had just sent everyone (all four of us) home early rather than pay us while he left to get the needed supplies to keep us working.  But the material would be there late this afternoon so we could work right away in the morning on Monday.

I had come straight home and started this project of loading my trailer with the scrap iron I had scavenged.  I happened to look up right then and I saw the buzzard circling high above me.   He and I were both scavengers I thought to myself. 

I brought home anything I thought I could sell or use here at home.  Today I was getting ready to sell this load of iron.  It would be the last load for quite some time if metal prices stayed way down like they were now.  I was only selling this now because I heard the prices were likely to keep going down and winter is coming so I wanted to get this pile of scrap cleaned out before winter sets in.

Because the price of steel was so low I was picking through my scrap pile and keeping anything that I thought I might possibly use at some point.  When I came to the cannon barrel I hesitated.  It was not old because I could see that it had been turned on a really big metal lathe and the pivot pegs (or whatever the correct name for them was) had been welded on.  The welding job was a good one but I knew they had never been made that way in the past. 

It was just the cannon barrel with no wood part or anything.  I think someone had made the barrel and was going to build the carriage for it as a display piece.  The barrel was maybe a little over three feet long and the hole in it looked to be around two and a half inches.  I decided to keep it but I don’t know why.  Maybe I would build the wood carriage and then be able to sell it.  As scrap it was worth very little right now.  As a cannon with a carriage it might make someone a really nice lawn ornament and maybe I could get some real money for it.

After I had loaded all the steel I had that I wanted to get rid of I put what scrap copper and brass I had in the back of my pickup.  I would sell all this scrap tomorrow at the salvage yard.  I would also swing by my bank and cash my paycheck then on to the grocery store to buy what little groceries I needed.  Even though the city was close I always lined up as many stops as possible for each trip in to save me from making any extra trips.  I always tried everything possible to save as much gas as I could.  Gas costs money.

I never buy too much for groceries.  I hunt in the fall and winter and then freeze whatever game I shoot to be used throughout the year.  I also fish when I have the chance for more meat.  My large garden usually produces quite a bit and I can much of it to use later throughout the year. 

Besides teaching me how to hunt and can stuff my folks also taught me about foraging for food in the surrounding country.  There is an amazing amount of wild things growing around here that are perfectly good to eat.  And free too.  When you are poor you do everything you can to save what little money you do have so any free food really helps.

Often on weekends I have handyman jobs lined up so I can make money on the weekends when I’m not working on my regular construction job.  This weekend I did not have any side jobs so I have the whole weekend off.  That’s why I am bringing in the salvage metal to sell tomorrow as long as I have the free time to do it.  I will also stop at the library.

I go to the library every chance I get.  It’s free.  I often borrow books and I always use the computers they have there.  I have learned many, many new things from the computers at the library.  I had never known anything about computers but when they offered free community classes on computers and using the internet I enrolled and never missed a class. 

I knew the only way I would ever get ahead in life was to learn more.  There was never a question about whether I would go to college.  College was for the rich not for the poor.  I was already working out when I was fifteen though I did stay in school until I graduated.

I admit there is another reason for me going to the library.  There is a very pretty girl who works in there.  She is not my girlfriend or anything but she is always nice to me.  And sometimes if it isn’t busy in there we will just talk.  I have never considered asking her out for a date. 

She is so pretty I know she must have a steady boyfriend.  And she is smart and is almost done with college. She is certainly way out of my league I know but she sure is nice to talk to and to just look at.  Her name is Beth.  I have never known anyone named Beth before.

In the morning on Saturday I left home pulling my trailer about a half hour before the scrap dealer would be open.  When I got there only one pickup was ahead of me waiting for them to open.  I sold all the metal I had brought in and they gave me two hundred eighty four dollars and thirty eight cents in cash.  For amounts under three hundred they always pay cash instead of paying with a check.  The iron did not add up to much but I did have that brass and copper too.

My next stop was at my bank to cash my payroll check.  I took most of it as cash.  I do not keep much money in my checking account.  Just enough to pay all the monthly bills and still have a little buffer. 

The extra cash I always keep at home.  My grandparents had lived through the Great Depression and had taught my folks to never trust the banks.  I have always thought that was still very sound advice even today, especially after we had to bail out all those big banks in 2008 when everything crashed.  Many people think we are going to have a much bigger crash very soon.  That is one of the things I sometimes research on the computers at the library.

I paid my electric bill because I was driving right past the place on my way to the library.  The bill was not due for another week and a half but I paid now while I was here.  I am never late on any of my bills. 

I did not realize that I had a smile on my face as I took up two parking spots at the library thanks to having the trailer behind my truck.  When I walked in I first looked up at the counter.  Right then Beth happened to look up and gave me a smile when she saw me.  She sure is a pretty girl and the smile looked genuine to me too.

The computers were all being used so I just went and looked at some of the current magazines while I was waiting.  There was an hour limit on the computers.  After I looked at magazines for awhile I remembered that I had to put my name down so I would be on the queue to get my turn on the computers.  It really did not matter to me because I was in no hurry today.  The library did close at noon and it was only just after ten now so I was sure I would get my full hour of computer use anyway.

From where I sat in the magazine section I could look over and watch Beth.  She was pretty busy today so I did not bother her.  I just read while waiting for my turn to come up on the computers.  I think it was maybe a half hour or so before my name came up and I could go serf the internet. 

One of the things I checked was commodity prices.  I discovered some time back that these prices were directly related to how much I got for selling metal at the scrap yard.  Commodity prices were all down more again this week.  It was a good thing I sold what I had this morning.

I spent more than my allotted hour on the computer because at the end of my time no one was waiting anymore.  Likely because the library would be closing very soon.  When it had quieted down some and was not so busy Beth had stepped over to the computer section and we talked for a few minutes.  Just idle chit chat.  When they announced the library was closing for the day I said good bye to Beth and then walked out to my truck.  Before starting it up and leaving I went over my grocery list which in today’s case turned out to be a good thing.

BOOK: Calamity in America
6.45Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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