The morning sun looked smudged. It looked like it couldn’t cook. Smoke clung to the clearcut hills and drifted over the pastures and milk cows. The landscape was the filtered color of gray-orange. Even the slack summer river rippled with tinges of orange. Firewater.
We began to drift with the smoke…
Blame the orange on the smoke from forest fires set by the enemy. There was a war on, the Mini Civil War the media were calling it, somewhat derisively.
Clyde took point and Bonnie brought up the rear. We were an aging crack recon team put out to pasture patrolling a valued sector. We were moving through the high grass along the river. We skirted elk scat and beaver sticks. Our orders were to spot drones delivering pizzas to infiltrators, engage the infiltrators at close quarters, exterminate them with extreme prejudice, and eat their pizza.
I carried a war club, a thick green branch of alder wrapped in blackberry stalks, secured with duct tape. It was a formidable hand-to-hand weapon and struck fear in the enemy, or so social media reported.
The mini war had broken out when the President refused to leave the White House after being impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate. Federal Marshals had to remove him and he raged, shat himself and tweeted at the same time during his removal. He misspelled the word “democracy.” He misspelled his own last name.
It was a grand spectacle and the President’s die hard supporters refused to abide by the Constitution. Scattered militias in some of the Mountain and Western states took up arms and Instagram and decided to burn up California, Oregon and Washington as retribution. They sent thousands of men, women, children, washed-up Midwestern rock stars and drones into the despised Left Coast to implement their fiery sabotage.
Wineries and pot shops bore the brunt of their anger. Yoga studios, too.
It only got worse when two thirds of the states called for a Constitutional convention, it was hastily convened, and the delegates rewrote the process for electing a President during a crisis. Three fourths of the states ratified the changes and a month later, Michelle Obama was elected President. Dave Grohl was VP. Rock and Roll. Or better yet, Brown Sugar, and they played that song at the Inaugural Ball. Keith shredded on rhythm guitar. Mick wore a KKK hood, Confederate flag boxers, knee high tube socks and that was all. Bill Clinton played the sax solo. No cocaine. Michelle killed it in a macrame gown. Barack chain smoked Winstons the whole show.
Clyde halted and raised his snout to catch a scent. Bonnie turned around to check our exposed flanks.
We heard cracking in the elderberry and Bonnie and Clyde took off. I followed with the war club gripped tight. We were going into battle or pizza or both. I sure hope it wasn’t pepperoni.
A youngish man dressed in camo and a red baseball cap emerged from a makeshift shelter. His pants were down. I heard the squealing of nutria in the distance. He clutched a Bowie knife in his right hand. Clyde lunged for the man’s neck and Bonnie ripped into his groin. I heard the knife splash down in the river. His shit stank.
I delivered a few blows as he struggled on the ground. There were gurgling sounds coming from his chest; then there were none. I rolled his body over. Blackberry thorns leave the most interesting gruesome facial lacerations. The lacerations looked especially interesting lit up by the orange light.
Clyde nosed around the body for foodstuffs and then came over for treats. I fed him a couple, Bonnie, too. We rested a while, looking at the river. Swallows dipped and dived over the channel.
We mounted back up and continued our patrol. I picked and ate blackberries as I walked. The orange was getting more orange. Bonnie raced ahead, scouting for more infiltrators. She’d got an early taste of Red State blood and wanted more.
Clyde wanted pizza and not a goddamned vegetarian one.
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