The sign above the door reads
Those who enter have chosen whom they will serve
The tired white house sits on a corner lot of the Holden highway and a forgotten alleyway. The aging farm house has seen better days. The exterior paint peeled revealing blue and grey stripes. What was once a yard shrank to brown mud. A collection of trucks squeeze together much like a child’s attempt at organization. Most have seen better days, a few new ones labeled for work.
Noises testify to a couple dozen people inside. Collection of jeans and black leather clad white men pass beers and smokes. Tension is absent. Terse smiles and roaring laughter mix freely. Two men wait on the wide front stairs.
Greg wears his black leather vest and has fifty years loosely. Just enough salt mixed into his black hair. His five o’ clock shadow approaching 10 o’clock. His cheek scarred by a hard life via broken glass. His presence outside whispers nervousness. Rare trait. His eyes search for a needed change.
Roger is clad in red checked flannel, jeans, and a ball cap faded with a “G” where a patch once was. He’s a chunk of man with little hair and needing a purpose. He is there for support. He flips open and closed a lighter. He knows this night is important but not why.
Roger answers “yep” to everything said. But little talking is happening. Greg hopes his oversized friend
A tan minivan pulls in and parks partially on the alleyway, clear of the rest. Inside a bespectacled young man looks around. His face looks for something. On the stairs, two men stare out at him. People like him don’t fit here. Roger stands up. His shoulders pushed up. Arms hang out with a slight curl. Large hands curl to club like fists.
The stranger stares him down. He knows the angry white man type. The understand pushing things. Nothing about control.
“Piece of shit redneck” slips out of his mouth.
Greg slaps Roger on the back of his calf. “Down boy. He’s what we are waiting for.”
Roger holds the strangers stare. “He called me a piece of shit. Fuck it! Let me kill him, Greg ”
The stranger smirks and nods at him. He turns attention to a cell phone. He takes the phone apart placing the battery on the dash. He places the phone down next to it. He throws off a suit coat and removes a tie. Then rolls up his sleeves. He takes some more time to leave the minivan.
“Hell, I thought you were pissing in your pants boy!” Roger says loud enough to be heard thirty feet away without shouting. His chest full out, Roger flexes his arms.
“I’d save it for your shoes, if had to go…Boy!” Solomon locks eyes with a bulk twice his. “I don’t come for your humor. If you mind was a the size of that trap, I wouldn’t be here…now would I?”
“Greg, tell me this pussy ain’t who you invited? I’d love to see if he’ll fit in that little console with the cup holder in mommy’s grocery getter.” Roger is chomping a the bit. Right fist finding left hand. Mindless repetition into a dance beat.
“Solomon, Greg…..Roger, you apparently seem to have met.” Greg pushes his hand foward. “We got a houseful. They need to know what’s happening. I tried passing your book..”
“Neanderthals died interbreeding with us. They had limited symbol writing. Don’t expect the last ones to learn reading soon.. ” Solomon shakes hands with Greg talks at Roger.
“Have the units organized in phase two yet?! I was hoping we would be available to join in with something down here. We aren’t a militia but a country boy can survive, if you know what I mean…” Greg smiles and waits for an answer.
Greg’s face resembles a boy meeting a hero. The ages are greatly reversed here. Solomon fresh clean cut, college kid.
“We are days away. You couldn’t ramp up and be timely. Every action must be exactly timed. GM doesn’t roll out the LE model and wait to do the XL model. They coordinate them…”. Solomon pauses finally finding Greg’s face.
“The next round. We can work you in, if you pitch a good plan to me. Not amateur hour boys! Death to change life. Restoration of American ways. Don’t forget it’s above a movement, not getting hits on your social media.”
The house has slowly caught sight of the stranger. Faces press against the glass, all lack a smile. A garage door opener comes to life. Folding metal chairs line in neat rows. Banquet table loaded with coolers of beer, next to aluminum tins filled with what the BBQ grill threw up. White board easels frame a wooden plywood podium with an eagle banner nailed in place.
“They’ll be working their way to the garage. Let’s get to it. I know you ain’t got all night. It’s great we found you. They want to learn. They want to act.” Greg stops but not Solomon
Greg’s hands rise up and open as if holding something. “We got plans. Two tankers. We pin a semi between they. On a high level bridge. They catch fire. The roadway covered by thousands of gallons of fuel. It burns asphalt and weakens the bridge. The city is cut off on one side. Three bridges and we strangle it.”
Solomon stops dead in his tracks turning back to Greg. “Why two tankers and a semi?”
“You need extra fuel. You need to block first responders. The bridge doesn’t need to fall. Just need to be useless and a reminder.” Greg responds with his left hand on Solomon right shoulder.
“How are you starting the fire? Tankers have safety valving. Explosions don’t cause fires all the time. Can’t half ass shit.” Solomon brushes the hand off
“Cables tie vents partially open. Low level fireworks and delayed TNT under the wheels. Once a flame is established. We need to break open the tank. If we catch semi on fire, we guarantee completion of plan.” Greg finishes the sentence as they reach the garage and crowd.
Solomon smiles like a teacher executing a lesson. “You simplify things. Get blueprints. You need more than one opening. You burning vapor, not liquid. It has to breath to burn. You explosion could kill the fire. You set the semi on fire and explode the charges afterward, maybe?”
“Let’s get started.” Greg walks up to the podium
People grab at the chairs. The stranger is the focus. The stranger looks at his watch.
“Alrighty, y’all behave we have a guest. First off, next month, the cookout. Sign up with something. Thirty cases of beer is nice, but we need food too. Not hamburgers and hot dogs. It’s your party. We might have something to celebrate. That’s why we have a visitor. I tried to get some of you to read the book. Solomon’s Sojourns.” Greg pauses to survey the crowd.
“Ya know, the gulf wars…made the US the number one oil exporter. We killed all those Arab spies of ours. Bin Laden fingered for the towers. Remember, dude in a cave without power! The banking collapse…we paid those rich fuckers! They lost our money and the government gives them the rest of our money! The bankers are in the cabinet of the Reformer. They took our healthcare, our overtime pay, our private jobs, our privacy. Well, friends…. the Revolution is here. Solomon is NSA operative turned patriot.” Greg fires himself up and yields as Solomon steps forward.
The crowd is not sure about this. They love the plans but this dressed guy ain’t their kind of fighter.
Solomon stands quiet looking over the crowd. He adjust his glasses and pulls back a piece of paper from his pocket. Then glances at his watch.
“You need to be careful. You all have phones, they listen and read your texts. The used truck lot out there….if I had known none of you could slap mud on your plates to cover the numbers. I can’t be caught here people.” Solomon stares at the ceiling
He waits a full minute to continue “I stopped at a beauty salon. I took that minivan, Melissa Fresnel had a 5pm appointment. The website of the salon said they were scheduled for two and a half hours at 5. I have half hour to get it back. The government can’t track you if they don’t know it’s you. My phone… disassembled and prepaid. This is what we do.”
Solomon leaves the podium and walks across the front of his audience “Fires in communication centers are coming. The water does the damage. We will put the business down for a few hours. When it starts back up, we may get inside the right places. The unseen hand. Patriots don’t need a drum corp.” His hands mimic beating a drum and reverses course.
“We will change things. Not by show of force. We need that too. Liberation is an omelette, break enough eggs add the right things and put it to the heat and it comes out! I have a few minutes. Train, Devo, Hector, and Brick… I’ll see you in back right now.” Solomon speaks slow and monotone with few flashes. His watch was looked at more than the crowd. He walks away
Four men looking like quadruplets get up. Black leather vests, white tshirts and faded jeans attached to linemen frames. Greg joins them.