Dan and the Bottle Ch. 02bydisableddan©
Thanks for reading, and commenting.... that's always appreciated. I will warn you, I am not politically correct, and have been told that I'm VERY opinionated. This is the second of what will, most likely, be many installments. Constructive criticism is always appreciated, and I welcome any suggestions for further developments 'down the road', so to speak. Enjoy.
DJ came walking up out of the darkness. "How was your trip, Dan?"
Dan smiled at the Djinn; "Not too bad... ran into a bit of a slow down in Illinois, but other than that, it was pretty much smooth sailing."
As he spoke, he projected his thoughts towards the Djinn. 'Can you do something about this sheriff? Just put the thought in his head that any man wealthy enough to buy this much land might be better left alone.'
DJ mentally nodded. 'No problem.... he won't bother you again... I'll make him wonder what would happen if such a man turned against him during an election.' he thought, into Dan's mind.
Tom, meanwhile, was looking at Marlene and Charlene like a starving man at a buffet. He'd been a bit jealous of Dan, when he'd introduced Barb as his fiance. He'd been tempted to ask if there were any more like her at home, but had not wanted the boss thinking he was flirting with his woman.
"So, have you ladies come to live with us?"
Marlene looked around. "Where? I don't see any houses."
Tom shot a look at Dan and Barb. "You didn't tell them, did you?"
Barb smiled and shook her head. "We wanted it to be a surprise."
Dan grinned back at him. "Can you drive the cube van inside? I know that tunnel mouth can be a bit intimidating the first time. I'll lead, Barb can follow me, then Marlene can follow in the pick up, and you can bring up the rear."
"You got it, boss."
They went to their vehicles, Charlene jumping into the passenger seat of the rented cube van, and Dan led them around to the backside of the hill, pushing the recently added button in his dashboard as they came around. The camoflaged outer door rolled up, revealing the tunnel mouth, the lights coming on at the same time. Up ahead, the more substantial blast doors rumbled open to either side, and they progressed another hundred yards before the tunnel opened into the motor pool chamber. Dan drove his Chevy on over to the area where he parked his cars, Barb following suit in her Focus, while Tom edged past Marlene, stopping long enough to tell her to follow him. The two trucks were soon parked over in an area close to the freight elevator.
Marlene looked around as she got out of the truck. "Wow.... is this whole place underground?"
Tom nodded. "You might call us a 'survivor's community'... Dan had the place built, then recruited all of the rest of us to fill the place out. Most of the people here are former military."
"Ain't y'all afraid of being buried in here?"
Dan chuckled as he and Barb walked up. "Hun, the walls here are fifteen feet thick, steel reinforced concrete, with an outer coating of three inches of lead, and the roofs are twenty feet thick, supported by three inch thick steel beams, supporting four inch thick steel sheets, topped off with twenty feet of steel reinforced concrete. Aside from that, the rooftops are under forty feet of rock, gravel, and topsoil. The only weak link is the doors to the outside, and those are blast doors made of three feet of laminate steel, coated inside and out with a lead coating half a foot thick. A nuclear bomb could go off a quarter mile away and we probably wouldn't even notice it. This place is safer than any military bunker."
"But.... why? Why go to all this trouble?"
"Well, consider the world you left behind when you drove through those doors. War all over the world, a crazy man in Iran doing his level best to get nukes, another headcase in North Korea, who may already have them, Muslim terrorists targeting us at every turn, and I haven't even mentioned the shape this country is in.... Nor have I mentioned the minor detail that there are, literally, around a thousand 'suitcase nukes' missing from old Soviet arsenals all over Eastern Europe.... and keep in mind, Middle Eastern oil money can buy quite a bit."
Marlene cut in. "Wait a minute.... what are you talking about, 'suitcase nukes'?"
"Imagine a small nuclear weapon, big enough to take out, say, twenty square city blocks... small enough to fit in a medium-large suitcase."
"And you think they're here?"
"No, hun.... I KNOW they're here. The border patrol has intercepted over a dozen, coming in across the Mexican border with Middle Eastern types, over the past six months or so. If they've stopped that many, how many have gotten through? Once they get past the border, where could they go? More importantly, where could they NOT go? This country is on the brink, and what could follow, I don't even like to contemplate."
"So what are we supposed to do here? I mean, we've got to do something to keep busy, earn a livin'."
"Anything you like.... there's farmwork, there're kids to teach, we've got a shop where we build wooden furniture, there's an auto shop where we restore old cars, there are animals to take care of, I think a couple of the bars need waitresses, I know for a fact that some of the restaurants do... pick your poison."
The twins moved in to the apartment next door to Dan and Barb, and soon, things settled into a routine. Marlene, after being shown around to the local towns by Tom, took up the task of runner/shopper, going out several times a week to check on the mail at the local package shipper's store, picking up orders at numerous local specialty stores, and doing general pick-up work, filling her time at the food dehydrators, bakeries, and canning rooms. Charlene got hired in at one of the daycare centers, taking care of the kids while their parents were working in the farms and various shops around the complex.
Father Tony D'agastino looked fondly at the couple before him. Dan, he knew, was a good man, and Barb was an excellent match for him. He'd joined the young couple at their apartment for dinner several times and had seen how deeply they loved each other. This marriage would definitely last. They'd exchanged rings, and spoken their vows, and now.... "You may kiss your bride."
They held the small reception in Mama Maria's restaurant, which had, among other things, a live Jazz band and a dance floor, and the couple danced for the first time as man and wife.
Dan kissed his new bride as they swirled across the dance floor, and she smiled back at him. "My sisters seem to be getting used to this place a lot better than I did."
He nodded. "You know Charlene's already cut Tom out of the herd."
She grinned back at him... "Then she's going to get more than she bargained for... I was talking to Cindy Truman, down at one of the grocery storage rooms the other day. She used to go out with him; said he was packing quite a piece of meat."
He nodded. "You betcha... I saw him, once, down at the bar.... he's probably got me by a couple of inches."
"They're well matched, then... she's always been a bit of a 'size queen'. Her favorite 'toy' looks like something they'd use to inseminate cattle."
Her timing was a bit off.... he almost dropped her, barely recovering at the last second as he tried to keep from bursting out laughing.
"Good Lord, Woman... you could have saved that one."
She gave him an impish grin."I know... but your reaction was priceless."
He kissed her lightly again, saying "Let's cut out of here a bit early.... I've got something special for you tonight."
"OOOH.... does it involve whipped cream and handcuffs?"
"Nope... just some things I ordered off the internet."
She lifted an eyebrow, wondering what he had up his sleeve this time. She'd done her share of web surfing, and knew that you could get some truly bizarre stuff off the 'net.
Marlene came into the room, where Barb couldn't see her, but Dan could, and gave him a quick thumbs up. He winked back at her, and as the song ended, took his bride by the hand and said, "Let's go, babe."
In their apartment, the lights were down low, there were half a dozen tall stick candles burning, a bottle of French Champagne was chilling in an ice bucket, on the coffee table there was a small bowl of Beluga Caviar sitting in the middle of a plate full of imported English soda crackers, another plate sat beside it, with a small bowl of Swiss Brie, surrounded by Club crackers, and a small plate of smoked oysters with tiny, two pronged forks set at either side. The plasma screen tv was running a live Beyonce concert, and the couch had been folded out into a bed. Five cigarette sized joints of her favorite Jamaican Marijuana sat ready in the ashtray.
She turned to face him, grinning... "You've been talking to Marlene."
He nodded. "She helped set it up tonight. I asked her to get the concert DVD's for you.... she knew what you liked better than I do. I also bought two pounds of the Jamaican, two pounds of Thai, five more pounds of the Hawaiian, and two pounds of Phillipino.... and one of the small garden chambers are currently growing about fifty plants of each one, so we're not going to run out, anytime soon. How's that for a wedding gift?"
She gave him a long, slow, intense kiss. "Beats the hell out of a toaster!" she replied with a smile. "But... is this going to be our honeymoon?"
He chuckled... "No, dear.... tomorrow, we're taking the Chevelle out for a little ride. Our first stop will be in Scottsdale, Arizona. There's a classic car auction there, starting the day after tomorrow.... I'm going to buy a few cars, then we'll move on to Vegas for a few weeks of gambling and shows."
"You know that's going to be expensive."
"I know.... I'm going to take about twenty million with us, but I'll take along the number for Banc Suisse, too, just in case."
Barb was stunned. 'Did he just say twenty million dollars?' she thought.
He grinned at her reaction. "I got a look at the auction catalogue a few days ago.... there's a '68 Ferrari Daytona I want to get, and two Corvettes.... a '53 and a '63. The '53 is the first year they were built.... very rare car. The '63, well, I've always wanted one.... the only year for the split rear glass, and it's a 283 Fuelie, four speed car. All numbers matched and unrestored. If the world goes to hell, I want to be sure that car gets preserved. There are a few others, too... a nice Hemi 'Cuda, and a '70 Shelby Mustang, GT500 KR."
She smiled and replied "You DO realize I have no clue what any of that means?"
"It's okay, hun.... I do.... they're all cars I want to add to my collection. After I'm finished buying, I'll call back here, have Mike assemble a team of drivers to drive them all back here to the cave, and fly them out to Scottsdale in the jet."
"Why don't you just get one of those car carriers to bring them here?"
"I could, but then I have to trust a complete stranger with a few million bucks worth of classic automobiles... I'd rather have people I trust drive them back. Besides, the fewer people who know the location of our home, the better. Why do you think the drivers who bring in all those truckloads of supplies are dropping them off in a rented warehouse in town? I'd rather have thirty pickup loads of toilet paper hauled out here by our own people, rather than have them dropped off here by some trucker who's going to be telling everybody on the CB radio about the crazy underground shelter he just dropped his load at."
"Oh, that reminds me.... there's coffee at the warehouse right now.... four truckloads of it. We'll need to get the pickups and vans busy tomorrow..... it'll probably take a few days to get that all transferred and situated."
"I know.... and I'm having a few fields prepared, too.... I bought a few hundred small coffee plants from Hawaii, Africa, Columbia, and Peru... I figure we can grow some to supplement our stored supplies. Brad Mitchell and Dave Hughes and their wives flew down to Hawaii last week to train with Hawaiian coffee growers to tell when they're perfectly ripe, how to roast them properly, and all of that."
"My God, Dan! You're really trying to make this place completely self contained, aren't you? Do you really think we're going to need it?" Dan hesitated, thinking long and hard before answering. "Babe, this country has been in a downward spiral for a good thirty years now. We're on the verge of financial collapse, we've got a national debt that we can't even pay the interest on, we've got cities like Chicago and Detroit and LA that are virtual war zones.... We've got new diseases turning up, seems like every few months.... this is a disaster in the making. I want to build a real community, that can look out for it's own, and be completely safe no matter what happens. I want our kids to grow up in a place where they don't have to walk through gang territory to get to a school where they'll be brainwashed with liberal bullshit about the fruits of their labors belonging to everybody but themselves."
He stopped for a moment, dipping a cracker in the caviar and washing it down with a sip of champagne before lighting up a doobie, taking a deep hit and passing it to her.
"Look at what we've built here.... yes, everyone pays a small sales tax, myself included... it goes into the fund that buys things like truckloads of toilet paper and coffee. Our tax is less than a tenth of what we'd be paying out in the world. Our laws are simple and straight forward; and if any punishment is called for, it will be tailored to fit the crime, and what's more, it'll make sense. We have our own defense forces, as well equipped as any in the world, and everyone who wants to can train with them... and our force is all former US military, everything from Army Special Forces to Navy SEALS to Recon Marines. Don Miller's twins are training with them right now."
"Dan! I know those kids! They're only ten years old!"
"Honey, right now they're just learning to be safe with guns... something I learned by the time I was eight. They're being taught by their dad, who was a Navy SEAL team leader for seven years. He's also teaching them to stalk Deer and small game, and to move silently, and to take care of themselves. Right now, both of then know how to start a campfire with sticks. They both know how to build a shelter that will keep them warm and dry in all but the most violent of storms. Their mom is teaching them to identify plants they can eat or use as medicine. They're both good, responsible kids. We just have to trust Don's judgement.... and so far, I'd say he's doing everything right."
"Ok, but what is it all for? I mean, if the world does wind up in a war, won't it be unsafe to go outside? Won't it be too radioactive for us to come out?"
''For a while, yes... but that's why I'm thinking long term. I mean, look around.... what do we need down here, that we don't have within reach? Not much, that I can think of. What few things we don't have stockpiled we can grow, raise, or make for ourselves. We have doctors, dentists, plumbers, electricians, mechanics, gunsmiths, machinists. We could, if we have to, live underground long enough for the earth to heal itself from even the worst nuclear war. I hope to make this a sort of present day 'Noah's ark'. We've got a seed bank that could jump start even the most burned out environment, everything from Berries to grass seed to most every vegetable known in this part of the country. We've got exotic fruit trees, everything from six kinds of apples to bananas, lemons, oranges, and mangos, plus coffee and tea. Hell, we even grow our own sugar cane. We've even got a building, specially built, that grows rice. We've got a series of forest chambers, which all feed into the lake building, with everything from squirrels and rabbits to deer to a small herd of buffalo. If our worst fears are realized, we'll collapse the entry tunnels, close ourselves off from the world, and sit back, living our lives in complete safety until the world starts to heal itself.... then we'll come out, with our seeds and our saplings and our animals, and start over from scratch."
"You really think it'll happen, don't you?"
He thought long and hard for a few moments before answering. "Yes, dear, I do. We live under the constant threat of terrorist attack. Our country is perceived as weak by much of the world, thanks to a bunch of do nothing liberals who preach 'Live and let live' about terrorist nations, yet want to control every aspect of our lives, while taxing us all into the poorhouse in the process."
"You don't think much of democrats, do you?"
"No, babe, I don't. Liberal democrats have done nothing but cost this country for decades. When my dad was in Viet Nam, it was control freak liberal democrats who wouldn't let him and the guys he served with win. They won every battle, and liberal democrats restrained them from winning the war.... and made no effort to find the guys that were left behind."
"Liberal democrats set up a welfare system that rewards failure and mediocrity and locks people into a cycle of poverty. I went out with a woman, once, who had been brought up in a welfare household; her mother, it turned out, was urging her to get pregnant so she could get a check, and foodstamps, and every other subsidy under the sun. When I found out what she was doing, I told her our 'date' was over, and I refused to ever see her again. I will Not contribute to that cycle."
"Quite aside from all of that, if it were up to liberal democrats, I might not be here right now. You know I used to drive a cab.... I had two different crackhead carjackers try to take my cab and my cash. I fought back.... with a handgun. I didn't have any permit; I carried anyway, because I decided my life was worth more to me than obeying some tenth grade dropout chief of police who claimed I didn't 'need' to carry a gun. The second amendment guarantees that I have the right to, but liberal democrats have been ignoring that law for years."
"Well, ok, but.... what about all these school shootings and such? What about that Army base, down in Texas, and that Navy building, in Washington?"
"Honey, do you know the one thing all of those places have in common?"
She thought it over for a moment and shook her head.
"All of those places had strict rules, forbidding regular people from carrying weapons. Even the Army base... all soldiers were required to keep their guns locked up unless they were at the firing range. Slick Willie Clinton's bright idea. 'Gun free zones', they call them. I call them target ranges for criminals and maniacs. Why do you think Israel never has any school shootings?"
"It's because the teachers are allowed, and, for that matter, encouraged, to be armed."
"Nope.... go into any school in Israel, you'll find teachers with pistols in shoulder holsters and Uzi submachine guns in drawers.... and all of 'em cocked, locked, and ready to rock. The last time a bunch of Palistineans tried anything at an Israeli school, they were dead before they could harm a single child."
"Do you really think that would work here, though?"
He rubbed his chin in thought for a moment, then shook his head. "For the most part, no, I don't. The teachers in this country are, by and large, screaming liberals themselves. Most of them, the closest they've ever been to a pistol is watching cop shows on TV."
She gave him a mischievous grin and started unbuttoning the blouse she'd changed in to when they'd finished the Wedding ceremony, saying, "Is that all we're going to do on our wedding night? Talk about politics?"
He smiled back at her as she shimmied out of the gym shorts and panties, and replied, "Oh, I've got a few ideas...." as he reached for one of the bowls, scooping a bit of the creamy Brie onto two fingers and smearing it on her right breast.