"Excuse me miss, do you have change for a quarter?" the middle aged mildly overweight man with the beard asked.
"Is it for the parking meter?" I asked.
"Hello you must be Jo?" he asked changing his tone.
"Yes and who are you?" I asked.
"William, so Jo do you have a package for me?" William asked.
"Not here, I will leave it for you after 8AM at the number 3 drop site," I said.
"Good, there will be a pickup for you as well," he said. He turned and was quickly gone. Such was the conversations between terrorists. At least between terrorists, who lived more than a couple of weeks. I was operating as a cut out and as a sometimes foot soldier in the revolution. Well I did that when I wasn't working for the government we were trying to bring down. A lot of us, so called, domestic terrorists worked for the government. They were always having investigations to round us up.
I for one saw it as a government gone crazy. While I spent a year in Iran, dissidents started to disappear or go to jail. It became illegal to criticize the government in public or in the media. Lots of reporters were jailed, but a lot more went along, since it was the government they wanted all along. Most of the things this new government did would have been considered unconstitutional in my youth.
The president got around it by suspending the constitution in favor of martial law. It wasn't as hard as I would have thought to change the government from a democracy to a socialist nation run by a party of elitist. When I got home, I didn't know what to do. I wandered around lost for a while.
I knew that I had come home to a different country than the one I had left. I was home less than a week when the call from the new employment administration came.
"Jo Anne Adams?" the male voice asked.
"Yes that's me," I said.
"Ms Adams a position with the local emergency medical service has been arranged for you. If you wish to accept this position you will need to report to the center at 7AM Monday morning," the voice continued. Since I had been a combat medic in Iran, I supposed that it made sense. I could walk right into the job here at home.
I already knew that it was take their job, or try to find something else in a country where the government made most of the decisions for its people. I called around and found that the best advice came from my dad. Take the job and keep your mouth shut was his advice. So that's what I tried to do.
If one read between the lines, and everyone read between the lines in those days, it was easy to see that there was a rebel organization out there. I mean lots of things that were going on were just plain wrong. People tended to disappear right after they tried to criticize the system. Freedom of speech had been suspended until the revolution was secure. No one had any idea when that would be.
Three years on the job almost to the day, I went on a call to a man who had what I recognized immediately as a gunshot wound. "This is not too bad, but you need to go to the hospital. All kinds of nasty things can happen from a GSW," I informed him.
"Nothing as bad as what will happen, if I go to the hospital. I will just disappear. I was in that demonstration tonight," he said.
"If I help you, and you get caught, I'm in the same shit as you are," I said.
"I know but you know what is going on is wrong. Sometimes you have to do the right thing, just because it is the right thing," he said.
I nodded, "Get to the dollar store and buy some bandages and lots of triple antibiotic creme. Pack the wound with it and keep it clean. Do not drink alcohol to kill the pain, Take three aspirin, then two hours later take three Tylenol. After two more hours start over again but cut back to normal doses as soon as you can, that shit is hard on your liver and kidneys."
"Thanks Jo," he said pointing to my name tag.
"It's Jo Anne, and if I have to do it, I'll sell your ass out in a minute," I said.
"No you won't Jo. You might not know it yet, but you are one of us," he said smiling.
"Call in again, if it you get feverish," I said.
"If I do, I'll go somewhere else to call. I can try to keep you out of it," he promised.
"Fair enough," I said to him.
Of course, a week later, I got a call from a woman who said her name was Lois. She told me she knew about the GSW and said we needed to talk. What she actually did was recruit me. Lois was a reasonably attractive woman, but she was also hard as nails.
"So Jo here is the deal. Never talk to anyone on the phone period. If you get a phone call from someone who says they are with the movement, run. Do not pack a bag or take your cell phone, just run like hell."
"I understand, I think." I admitted.
"Don't think just follow the rules and you will survive a while at least." she said.
"So how is the guy with the GSW?" I asked.
"He is okay, forget him. This is a list of greeting codes and counter signs, memorize them and flush the whole thing down the toilet." she said.
"Fair enough," I said.
"So you have any questions?" she asked.
"Are you a lesbian," I asked smiling.
"Why, do you like to watch? You sure as hell wouldn't be my type," she said.
A week before the meeting with William someone named Roy left a package with me. He advised me that someone who needed change would call for it. I knew from the weight of the box it was most likely a pistol. What else would they need a cutout to pass along. Anyone with an unauthorized pistol was going to prison for two years no questions asked. Of course there would be lots of questions while you were in prison. At least that was what they said.
At eight in the morning I finished my shift. I drove to Hardee's restaurant for a biscuit, as I did almost every morning. I did it even though I was pretty sure that there was a healthy dose of sawdust in the biscuit flour to stretch it. I didn't even want to know what was in the cheese. There was never any meat in restaurants any more. I drove to the lake with the biscuits and a cup of coffee. I tossed the empty bag and the bag with what I was sure was a pistol of some kind into the trash can. I always ate a good distance from the office of the park so everything was the same that morning. Then I just drove away and forgot all about it.
A couple of times I met random people while I was out shopping or running in the park. Never the same person twice and I never did anything but pass along messages and parcels. It was dangerous as hell, but what wasn't dangerous in this new place I didn't recognize any more.
The poor, who were supposed to have been the backbone of the new America, got even less of the pie under the new government programs. They did get the satisfaction of seeing the people who had been super rich lose most everything they had. It was redistribute the wealth gone off the rails. Without the wealthy making more wealth, nothing happened. Nothing got done. No matter how they tried to fit America into the Chinese or German molds, none of them worked for us. I had a nice safe secure job, so I should not have been involved in the counter revolution, but there I was anyway. It wasn't that I didn't have enough stuff, it was that I could never hope to get all the stuff I wanted. I was regulated to be just what I was at that moment forever. When most of the people who supported the revolution realized that, they changed sides. Revolutions are built in hope and the promise of better things down the road. When the new leaders don't deliver, they can only hold power by force. Force and promising that things will get better.
"We just need one more year, so have patience." Then the next year it would be just one more year and it will be heaven again.
Lois, the hard woman, would have said that the government was the best recruiter for the counter revolution. I had been a minor operative for almost a year, when I finally got a real job in the movement.
My job was to hold the horses for the real operatives. I sat outside a bank in a stolen SUV with the motor running. I was wearing the trusty old hoodie and knit cap while I waited. The strike team came out of the bank and jumped into the SUV, which I drove carefully away. Ten miles from the bank I drove the SUV into a recently plowed field outside a smaller town. I found the large hole in the field with the dirt ramp leading down. I drove the SUV into the hole after everyone and everything was gone from the SUV.
I crawled out the rear just before the farmer buried the more or less new Chevy. We loaded everything and everyone into a small sedan with lots of trunk space then drove away. One of the men drove the sedan to a parking lot in yet another small town where I had left my heavily customized motor scooter in a church parking lot. Since churches were suspect in the new order, I probably should have chosen a night club parking lot.
When I arrived home that night, I slipped naked between the sheets and masturbated. It was exciting as hell to relive the day, but also it was exhausting to orgasm so hard. I fell into a stupor and then into a deep, restful sleep.
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