h e never was big on authority, of either the corporate or
law enforcement kind. For that matter, he cared little
for politicians and thought we already had enough laws we
America is a free country, and as long as he wasn’t
infringing on someone else’s rights, he didn’t want to be told
what he could or could not do.
In his opinion, power was not something to be wielded at
the whim of those who possessed it. Individual rights were far
more important than frivolous laws.
So, he was a rebel by society’s standards. Being enslaved
to the bottom line was not something that appealed to him,
especially when the bottom line was unreal revenue projections.
Over the years, he had seen decent people put out of work by
“budget restraints” dictated by corporate demigods who had
promised impossible returns to investors. The big corporations
had taken over everything. They had bought and sold the
lawmakers, so that everything worked for the big corporations,
while the mom-and-pop businesses got squeezed out.
He’d had it with all that society considered good. It was
all just greed, and greed was something he loathed.
Even in his personal life, he was tired of being a consumer.
It’s just what they all wanted him to be. It was the “more is
better” mentality, and he felt he was drowning in things. If
he bought more stuﬀ, he had to buy more to hold it. Bigger
houses, bigger cars—where does it all end? His thoughts were
beginning to turn revolutionary.
Gun control was a big issue. The have-nots were taking
from the haves. The country was going to hell in a handbasket.
It was 2013, and the gangs were worse than they had been in
the 1920s and 1930s. The writing was on the wall.
He thought long and hard about a new movement,
but that just seemed to spawn a whole new set of problems
regarding power, acquisition, and authority. Who was he to
write up the rules for a new society? How could he stop the
train alone? Or, if he got a group of like minds together, could
there be agreement? The insanity of the world, and to what its
evolution had given birth, seemed an insurmountable obstacle
to any sort of sane and productive society.
As a nationally recognized talk show host, he had held
many interviews and conversations on the subject of where
the country was headed. Some were very ﬁery and some were
very controversial. He had many friends in high places who
were in agreement with his ideas but were afraid to come on
his radio show for fear of losing their positions or oﬀending
their constituents. He had taken ﬂak from many sides
when espousing his opinions and philosophy about life and
patriotism. One of his pet peeves was the abuse of the Social
Security system. Many hours of his radio commentary were
devoted to it, and he made contacts around the country on
a daily basis who supported his ideals. Some very inﬂuential
people were pushing him to really do something about it and
to use his position as a member of the media to continue to
draw attention to the problems. Those closest to him, including
his barber, were always talking about a revolution. His bosses
were watching him like hawks and threatening to censor his
show. He had ﬁnally had it with the corporate attorneys and
greedy management mentality. He was never one to sit quietly
by when an injustice was being perpetrated on anyone. He
exercised his constitutional rights as a patriot. He was the guy
in the crowd who would stand up and speak the truth on a
controversial subject without thinking about the consequences
to himself. He was not afraid to voice the unpopular viewpoint,
and it had gotten him into trouble on several occasions.
He saw his own childhood friends being taken in by what
he thought was a broken system. He felt they just went along
with the current. It really disturbed him that the same people
he grew up with, the ones who had once espoused freedom
from materialistic pursuits, had fallen victim to the very
mentality they had opposed in the 1960s. They all bought
stock in the major corporations that were controlling them
with false promises of wealth and prosperity. The privileged
few at the top were reaping their rewards, while the rest
followed along like lambs to the slaughter.
The legislators had raped the Social Security system
to the point that it had been reeling for years. The illegal
immigrants—and many of the legal ones, too, it seemed—
were taking advantage of the system and living oﬀ of what
was left. And why not? The government was either too lazy
or too corrupt to stop them. That’s what had brought him to
the Capitol steps with this group of radicals, guns loaded, and
poised to take over the Capitol of a once great nation.
t he standoﬀ had been going on now for over a month. Five
hundred thousand people had gathered, some armed,
vowing they would get back the money they had put into
the Social Security system. The military had been called into
action, and there had been some bloodshed. It all reminded me
of the protests at Kent State, but I was here now, and I was their
leader in a movement that could only lead to more bloodshed.
I knew the constitution stated that the country’s militia
could not ﬁre on its own people. I also knew the people had
a right to bear arms and the right to free assembly. I knew
that this motivated, sign-carrying, gun-toting, cross-section
of America’s elderly, concerned citizens, and their sons and
daughters, had ﬁnally gotten to the point at which serious
action was the only means of demonstrating their resolve
to get what they believed was rightly theirs. This civil
disobedience seemed to be unnatural for them, but it was their
only remaining option if they were to get the attention of a
government that seemed to be indiﬀerent to their concerns.
I knew I had to keep them united in the one thought
that their very presence in Washington, DC, in such large
numbers, would force oﬃcials to respond. My real concern,
in this nearly uncontrollable mass, was the fear of a mob
mentality taking over while emotions ran high.
I knew that, at the moment, something really ﬁshy was
happening. I had a feeling there had been a long-running covert
recruitment program of gang members and immigrants for
just the purposes of putting down an uprising of this nature.
There seemed to be a majority of racially diverse soldiers who
kept instigating little ﬁghts along the perimeter.
Suddenly, there was a major commotion at the gates of
the Capitol grounds that seemed to be working its way toward
us at the front. Through the crowd burst Digger, Joe, and my
“They’ve done it now,” Digger said quietly. “We’ve got to
get you outta here now.”
“I can’t leave!” I said loudly.
In the immediate crowd around us, all eyes were on me,
searching for a clue to what was happening.
My brother Kyle, a man nearly twice my size, grabbed me
by both arms and nearly shook my teeth out. “Now!” he said.
“There’s no time to explain!”
I hadn’t seen Kyle, Digger, or Joe for six years. Kyle
boasted a formidable six-foot, ﬁve-inch frame of nearly three
hundred pounds. He hadn’t gotten any smaller since I’d last
seen him, and his clean-shaven appearance and army fatigues,
along with his quick, decisive movements, reminded me of a
ﬁlm character I’d seen in a documentary on the training of a
special ops unit. His rugged features were relatively wrinkle-
free for his age of ﬁfty-eight.
Even though I’m six two and weigh two hundred
pounds, Kyle always loomed larger than life in my mind’s
eye. Of course, my bad posture, white hair, and full beard
probably made me appear even smaller and a lot older next
Digger and Joe were tough-looking guys, too—stocky,
broad-shouldered, and graying around the edges. As a
foursome, we would be formidable looking, wherever we were
We moved through the crowd to a gap in the fence and
were in a van before I knew what was happening. Joe, Kyle,
and Digger immediately began putting on riot gear, including
gas masks, as fast as they could.
“Here, put this on quick!” Digger threw an outﬁt toward
me. At that moment, the explosions were deafening, and
adrenaline shot through me and put me into a frenzy.
“We had to get you out—it’s the only way,” Joe screamed
over the noise. “They’ve called in the Chinese!”
“The Chinese?” I questioned, fumbling with the mask.
“It’s a mock invasion just like we expected,” Digger
shouted. It was then that I noticed the Chinese insignia on his
riot gear. The outﬁts might buy us time if we were approached
by the Chinese.
“Follow me,” Kyle said, motioning, “and put on that
mask! They’re using gas grenades.”
We were out of the van and into the side street, down a
subway entrance and onto the tracks, running at full tilt, with
the sounds of Armageddon on our heels. It was all happening
so fast, and I was amazed at how we moved as one. I was being
swept along by a well-oiled machine that knew exactly what
was coming next. My heart was pounding in my ears, and my
breath was coming in gasps, but for a group of guys in our
ﬁfties and sixties, we were holding up pretty well.
Suddenly, we stopped about two hundred yards down
the tracks. Digger was feeling along the wall of the tunnel.
A welcome respite for me. I was out of shape and out of
“Here it is.” He pulled a small piece of rebar out of the
wall and then pulled a chain that had been concealed behind
A three-foot block of the tunnel wall slid inward, giving
us an opening to slip through into total darkness. Once we’d
all scrambled into this rabbit hole, Kyle lit a match, and Joe
pulled another chain that slid the block back into place.
“Hydraulics,” Kyle said to me, and then, “Oh shit!” as the
match burned down to his ﬁngers.
Digger switched on his ﬂashlight and revealed a long, dark,
forgotten tunnel leading oﬀ into the darkness. The others were
taking oﬀ their masks, so I followed suit, and we proceeded
down the tunnel. I’m not wild about dark, claustrophobic
holes with furry little critters skittering around, but then I
wasn’t the only one. With the butt of his gun, Joe clubbed
a rat that had jumped down on him from a crossbeam and
evidently startled the bejesus out of him.
“Damn vermin!” he said, and moved on.
Digger was in the lead when we came to a ladder leading
upward. He stopped and took oﬀ a backpack he’d been
carrying. Kyle and Joe did the same. They each pulled out a
wet suit, ﬁns, swim mask, and snorkel. Kyle threw an extra set
of gear at me.
“Put this on and hurry!” he said.
“What are we doing now?” I asked.
“We’ll explain later,” said Joe. “You can swim, can’t you?”
Before I could answer, Digger, already in his suit, with
goggles, ﬁns, and snorkel slung around his neck, was out of
sight up the ladder.
I was out of my street clothes and into the suit just in
time to bring up the rear. Following Kyle oﬀ the ladder, we
slipped into a slightly smaller tunnel pipe and were all on
hands and knees going in a direction I thought was parallel to
the larger tunnel below. But for the most part, I’d lost all sense
of direction by now and was just following their lead.
Kyle stopped short, and I ran into him. He was fumbling
with his mask and said, “You’d better put on your gear. We’re
goin’ to get wet.” He disappeared abruptly, and I heard a
splash. I followed.
As I emerged from the pipe, for a second I saw the lights
reﬂecting oﬀ what I guessed to be the Potomac River, and after
a fall of about twenty feet, I came up, gasping to get the water
out of my lungs. I’d gulped water in through the snorkel. I felt
someone lift me out of the water a bit and take oﬀ my mask.
“Ya gonna live?” Kyle asked.
“Yeah, I guess,” I gurgled.
“Put on your mask, stay low, and follow me.” Kyle ﬂipped
on a small pen light on his belt, and I put on my mask and
swam, following the light for about ten minutes through the
dark water. Fatigue was catching up with me. Occasionally,
I could see some lights up ahead of us, and we ﬁnally came
to some sort of vessel. It was wide and low in the water and
smelled like it may have been harvested from a landﬁll. I
followed Kyle up a steel ladder onto a metal deck. Digger
and Joe were already rid of their goggles, and we threw ours
oﬀ as well. We all lay there for a moment, gasping for air. The
quick pace was taking its toll on all of us, and the rest was
welcomed. Kyle and the others seemed to be in much better
shape, and I wondered if I was going to be able to keep this
pace for long.
Suddenly, we jerked into motion and were moving. I could
feel the droning engines and see the lights of Washington
moving past us slowly. I had no idea if I’d ever see those lights
We gained speed and were churning along on what
seemed to be a relatively peaceful night. I ﬁnally caught my
breath and realized what had just happened.
“What the hell is going on here?” I asked.
“Now, Johnny,” said Joe. “Just take it easy. We needed to
save your ass for obvious reasons.”
“But I was needed on the steps,” I argued.
“Dead?” Kyle questioned, with his face close to mine.
I could see that questioning smirk on his face that he’d
always had when he knew he was right. I pulled at my wet
suit like I was about to take it oﬀ, and Digger said, “We’re not
done swimming yet. As a matter of fact, it’s time. Come on,
this is it.”
Everyone slipped into the water again. It was surreal. We’d
caught a ride on a garbage barge, seen no one, and not been
seen. We had managed to be there at just the right moment,
and now we were in the water, swimming toward what seemed
to be an old, decrepit dock.
As I crawled out of the water, I saw an old ’58 Pontiac
Chieftain parked under a streetlight near some trees at the
edge of the end of the dock.
“There’s our ride,” said Joe quietly.
I hadn’t seen a ’58 Pontiac since my high school years in
my hometown. I had the same model then. Mine was a rust-
and-cream two-tone and as big as a boat, the way cars were
back then. It had a 389 GTO engine that a friend of mine
and I built up to 450 horsepower. I had ripped out the seats
and anything else I could to make it lighter, and put some big
cheater slicks on the rear wheels. There wasn’t much else to do
in the small Montana town besides build up your car, chase
the girls, cruise the gut, and go to the drive-in theater. My
“pony,” as I called it, was equipped with a high-rise manifold,
two Holley three barrels, ISKY 500 cam, and some other
trick stuﬀ that made it go like greased lightning. We used to
drag on the old highway, and nobody could beat me. I’d been
looking for the same model all my life, but I had never seen
another, until now.
We were scrambling up the shoreline when I heard a
short whistle. Kyle whistled back and motioned us forward.
We piled into the car, which already had a driver, and were
moving through a wooded area as we got out of our wet suits.
It was awkward in the backseat with the three of us trying
to get undressed and dressed in clothes Kyle was handing us
from the front seat.
“This is Gene,” Kyle commented during the confusion.
“That’s my brother Johnny,” he said to Gene.
“I’ve heard of you,” he said. “Glad to ﬁnally meet you.”
“Nice car. I used to have one of these. Where did you
“In Mexico,” Gene replied. “It was in really bad shape,
but I got her ﬁxed up last year.”
“Jesus, Joe, I think you’ve got your arm in my shirt,” I
“It’s crowded in here,” Joe said.
“You’ll soon have plenty of room.” Gene looked in the
mirror at the chaos in the backseat. “The plane is waiting.”
“What plane?” I asked.
“That one,” Kyle said, pointing out the windshield as we
came to a stop.