Monday, October 15, 2012

Freedom's Sons, Section IV, Chapter 35





XXXV. Drunkards, Fools, And Children

(40 Years, ten months and 14 days after Longview)

The good Lord looks out for drunkards, fools, and children. – Old Folk Saying

Danny was now firmly in the Tolliver family doghouse. She spent an entire day being hauled around the American side of Jefferson County by her grandfather, to the site of every atrocity committed by the NVA during the War of Independence. There Elwood regaled her with explicit blood-and-gore recountings of every bullet fired, every bomb detonated, every brutal punishment beating, and every family run out of the county never to return. When they got home that night, she was confronted by both her parents. Her father Wendell seemed more concerned for her than angry, but he and Alice were of one accord that her whatever-this-was had to stop. With Elwood acting as the third member of the inquisitorial tribunal, they demanded that she foreswear ever to see, speak to, or think about John Selkirk again, on pain of boarding school in North Dakota.

To her own surprise, she balked and refused to be browbeaten or intimidated. Rather than screaming and shouting, or otherwise engaging in teenaged girl-hysterics, she had gone stubborn and quiet and largely mute, except to say, “Mom, Dad, I’m not going to make you any promises I may not be able to keep. Yes, I lied to you about Johnny and me. That was wrong, and I’m sorry. All I can promise you is that I won’t lie to you any more, and I won’t do anything without telling you first. If you’re going to send me away, then I guess you’re going to do it, but it won’t change anything, and I think you should consider that decision very carefully, because it would be something I will never forget, or forgive. Yes, I get it, this is a problem and I may be in over my head. But it’s my problem, and punishing me won’t help.” Her calm and quiet deliberation chilled the three adults’ blood. She didn’t realize it, but there was nothing she could have done that might have frightened them more.

The result was that Danny was permanently grounded. No outside activities except church or someplace else where she was in plain sight of a family member at all times. (Her younger brother Wade didn’t count.) Her phone and computer privileges were taken away, as well as her driving and horseback privileges. Wade’s phone was also taken away as a precaution “so your sister doesn’t talk you into doing something you shouldn’t,” which made Danielle really popular with her brother. She was not even to go out onto the property to work unless one of the three adults accompanied her to whatever field or barn required something done. “You can’t keep me under house arrest forever!” she snapped once at her grandfather, who was about to drive her out to help him run the hay-baler. “Do you think Johnny will just give up on me without a word of explanation?”

“No,” agreed Elwood. “I wish he would. I hope he does, because then you’d see he isn’t the young Lancelot you think he is. But I’m sorry to say, no, most likely he won’t give up. When that Selkirk kid doesn’t hear from you for a while, if he’s really as stuck on you as you think, then he’s going to come sniffing around here looking for you.” Elwood opened a box he had placed on the kitchen table and drew out a gun belt and holster containing an old-fashioned custom stainless steel .357 Magnum with a five-inch barrel, Pachmayr grips and two speed-loaders Velcroed on the back of the belt, which he buckled on.

“What, you’re going to shoot Johnny?” she demanded incredulously.

“Do you think I’m strapping this on as a joke, girl?” growled the old man. “Guess you didn’t learn anything at all from our little talk the other day. Guns aren’t funny, they’re not props, and they’re not for dramatic gestures. Yes, I will quite happily shoot anyone who threatens my family, especially one of those murdering beasts from Over the Road!” Elwood’s face seemed to twist with rage, but he kept a grip on himself. He drew the .357 from its holster and broke the cylinder. “I carried this gun in the PATUs, although even back then it was outdated. You know it’s almost a hundred years old? That’s the good thing about guns. You maintain ‘em right, keep the rust and verdigris off them, keep the moving parts lightly oiled to seal out the air, and they’ll still work for a century or more. Killed two racist spucky bastards with this gun. I reckon I’m good for a third if need be. You still don’t understand how serious this is, do you?” He looked up at her. “I hope you don’t have to find out, honey. Now let’s go.”

There were a few tense days wherein the details and logistics of enrolling Danielle in Fallbrook Academy were seriously examined, and the conclusion Alice and Wendell reached matched that of old Elwood. It could be done, but it would be a serious strain on the family’s finances and on the operation of the ranch that would be better avoided, if there were some way to do so without Danny being carried off over the border by her lusty Aryan swain to be used as breeding stock for the next generation of Selkirks. Finally, her father and mother told her that she would be allowed to begin her senior year at Jefferson High, but when school started she would be driven there and picked up by either themselves or her grandfather. Then, to her horror, they invoked an almost-forgotten state law from 50 years before which allowed parents to place tracking bracelets on the ankles of “problem” minors. They applied to the family court judge in American Butte for an order to that effect, and got one, but the project fell through when it turned out that no one in Montana had any of the archaic bracelets left in stock, and the sheriff’s department had long ago lost track of the necessary equipment to monitor such devices, nor did they any longer have personnel trained to operate such devices even if they could find it in the courthouse sub-basement, or wherever it had been gathering dust since before the Seven Weeks’ War.

It was a bad week for everyone.

* * *

          Over the border, Johnny Selkirk wasn’t having nearly as rough a time of it from his own family, but things were a bit tense. He wasn’t too worried about Danny’s immediate welfare, since in a small town like Boulder a family drama such as the Tollivers’ was meat and drink to the local gossips. This meant that enterprising vendors of informational services in Jefferson County picked up on it, which in turn meant that Civil Guard Lieutenant Bobby Campbell in Basin with his freshly replenished snitch fund of New American dollars knew almost as soon as Danny herself did that while she would remain grounded, she wasn’t headed for educational exile in Fargo. Bobby passed it on as a courtesy to John when they met one day in town, with a polite suggestion that he might want to let matters lie fallow for a while in the interest of not getting Danny into any more trouble. “You sneak over there and see her anyway, they might decide to re-assess that North Dakota option.”
          
    “You cops giving advice to the lovelorn now, Lieutenant?” asked Johnny.
           
   “All part of the service, citizen,” replied Campbell. “Seriously, it’s not in anybody’s interest for this to get out of hand. Her grandfather and maybe some others will probably pull down on you if they see you Over There, and somebody will get shot. That’s a call I don’t want to get from Sheriff Lomax on our little hotline. Add to that the fact that there’s some strangers over there in Boulder with hidden agendas who might want to stir up trouble in aid of whatever the hell they’re doing, which we haven’t figured out yet. Plus there’s the fact that if you really do like this girl, you could mess up her life real bad, John.”
           
      “I know it,” Johnny replied with a sigh. “My dad and my grandfather have already given me stern talking-tos about my wicked and impolitic ways. For your information, Lieutenant, I think the wildest thing Danny and I ever did together was race my Pegasus in the stock car air show in Butte back in July. The way people talk, you’d think I’d descended on her farm with horse and foot, carried her off to my robber’s den and chained her in a dungeon or something.”

          “Which would make her feel even worse, if trouble comes out of something genuinely innocent, when you two really haven’t been doing anything wrong,” replied Campbell soberly.

       “Oh, I wouldn’t say innocent,” said Johnny, shaking his head. “Let’s just say open and aboveboard.”

          John’s grandfather, former NVA Captain Ray Selkirk, put it to him even more directly after dinner that night, out on the porch of the Selkirk ranch house six miles or so west of Wickes. Selkirk, a thin and wiry white-haired man with a permanent scowl and a nicotine-stained moustache who looked like he’d been weaned on a pickle, came out onto the porch with a bottle of Jack Daniels in his hand; Johnny and Hatch always made sure to replenish his supply when they were on their contraband-smuggling trips. “Here, take a slug of this,” the old man ordered his grandson, handing him the bottle and lighting up one of his own long black cheroots. “You and me need to have a word or two or three, young man. You gonna marry that Tolliver girl?”

          “Probably not,” replied Johnny, drinking from the bottle.

    “What do you mean, probably not?” demanded his grandfather.

          “Meaning I haven’t asked her yet, and even if I was so inclined, in order to ask her I’d have to be able to meet her and talk to her, and folks around here seem to have decided there’s something wrong with that!” replied John with exasperation. “Her grandfather is threatening to shoot me if he sees me anywhere near her, or as near as I can figure if he sees me anywhere Over The Road. Ben Lomax is threatening to arrest me for traffic violations if I go Over There, that Guard lieutenant in Basin is giving me friendly advice not to try to see her which might not be so friendly next time, if it threatens to cause him bother, and you and Dad keep trying to ship me off to college. By the by, Danny’s family is threatening to send her off to school too, in North Dakota.”

          “Do you want to marry her?” demanded Ray.

          “I think I might, yeah,” Johnny sighed. “If we could ever just spend some time together and concentrate on seeing if there’s anything there, and not have to worry about who’s gone see us, and whether there’s gone be any political repercussions because of the fact that there’s this strip of asphalt running through the ten miles between us.”

          “It’s more than just a strip of asphalt, boy.”

          “Yes sir, I know, and I meant no disrespect,” said Johnny. “But the Republic is supposed to be a Homeland for all white people, right? So why does that not include Danny Tolliver?”

       “I understood what you meant,” said old man Ray, swigging from the bottle. “One of the reasons we went through all that hell back then was to simplify life. Make things black and white, right and wrong again. I think we succeeded to a large degree, but them damned exceptions and shades of gray just keep on creeping into life no matter what.”

          “The Old Man used to say that shades of gray are where the Jew lies in wait to do harm,” Johnny reminded.

          “Good, you paid attention in school. So why not go pay attention in Kennewick A & M for two years and come back with a degree you can use to run this place better, or join the Engineers instead of just being a rifleman on your  reserve call-ups? Something you can use to get your second-class citizenship?”

          “And you figure two years in Kennewick will be enough to make me forget about Danny, or make her forget about me?” asked John.

          “I don’t know. Would it?” the old man asked.

         “What have you got against her?” demanded Johnny. “She wasn’t the one who sent Carol and the children to Nevada, that was that old bastard Elwood Tolliver! She wasn’t even born when all that happened, and neither was I. Pop, you were a hero. I understand that, and I would never disparage what you and your men did for us all, any more than what Dad did in the Seven Weeks’ War. I just got out of the army myself, and if it happens again and needs to be done, I’ll go over to Boulder in my gear with my X-4, although I hope and pray that day never comes. But this thing between you and Elwood Tolliver was forty years ago, Pop. Not my war. It has to end sometime. Why not now, with me and Danny!”

          “Does Danielle feel the same way?” asked Ray morosely. “Does she want to marry you?”

          “I don’t know. Like I said, we’ve never really had the chance to sit down and talk calmly about it without somebody worrying at us or pressuring us.”

          “To answer your question, boy, I haven’t got anything against her personally, although in view of who she’s grown up around and that tub-thumping hoot-and-holler religion her family are into, I’m not expecting to be impressed.”

          “Not all Christians worship Jews,” said Johnny.

          “Well, we won’t get into that,” said the old man. “But there is one thing I want to make crystal clear to you. When you are with her, you damned well will remember who you are and who you represent, not just in the eyes of Danielle’s family but in the eyes of everybody on the eastern side of that highway! You will treat that girl with the respect, courtesy, and gallantry that marks a real man. If you want her, then you stand up by her side and take her as your wife, like a real man does. If not, then you break it off clean and go find yourself a Northwest girl, or let your mom and dad or a matchmaker find one for you. You do not just play with her for a while and dump her. Elwood Tolliver’s girl or not, Union or not, she is a white girl, and you were raised better than that. There’s most likely going to be trouble over this, and when it comes I will not have it said that it happened because a grandson of mine comported himself in the manner of a nigger!”

          “Don’t worry, Pop, Danny’s religious and I respect her faith more than you seem to. We’ve already settled that the hot and heavy stuff is on hold. I won’t embarrass you,” replied Johnny in a surly voice.

          “That’s not what I’m worried about,” said the old man. “I’m worried that Elwood Tolliver may carry out his threat to kill you, and I’m going to have to go in there to that living room and tell your mother and your father that their son is dead, because forty years ago I started a job I didn’t finish.”

          “Why didn’t you?” asked Johnny. “Finish the job, I mean? Why did you just kneecap Tolliver?”

          “Long story,” said Ray.

* * *
         
          On the afternoon of September the fifth, Ms. Gabrielle Martine of the Economic Recovery Administration decided that she was bored, so she would go visiting. She decided to visit Lieutenant Robert Campbell the Third in the Civil Guard Station in Basin, just drop in and say hello to the man she had come to view as her “opposite number.” 

Why she decided to do this was difficult for anyone to understand. It might have been described as hubris in a white person, but in a black it was not so complex as that: simple, childish stubbornness which demanded that Gabi do something she had been told not to do, precisely because she had been told not to do it, by white people. Repeatedly told, in fact. The big mystery was why she never understood that she would almost certainly be shot on sight the moment she set foot anywhere on the western side of Interstate 15. “I thought all American kids were taught in school that the Northmen are marauding ghouls who eat little black babies for breakfast?” commented Monty Sanderson later, when he heard what happened. “Hell, they probably would do, if there were any little black babies Over There to eat. What in God’s name was she thinking of?” 

The subject had resurfaced on numerous occasions since the meeting where Gabi had first brought it up. Virtually everyone around her had attempted to explain, with varying degrees of politically correct circumlocution, that what she proposed to do was impossible, not to say insane. Brandon Blackwell told her, “In the first place, Gabrielle, I have to remind you that it is illegal for a United States citizen to enter the Northwest Republic under any circumstances without a travel permit. It has been illegal for forty years, and even today is still a serious offense that could have adverse effects on your career. To take even so much as a step towards that highway, you have to get authorization from the Office of Northwest Recovery or the Justice Department.” (Thus the American government stubbornly maintained four decades of pretense that the NAR was a criminal matter, and not a political issue, certainly not a foreign policy one.) 

“So I’ll get a permit,” said Gabi brightly. “You can take care of that for me, Brandon. Call Ayesha Jones at the ONR in Burlington, or if you can’t get hold of Ayesha see if you can track down Julie Chan, I think she’ll be in D.C. for the formal opening of Congress before she flies back to Burlington.”

“If you insist, ma’am,” said Blackwell, with a formal show of resignation. He then disregarded Gabi’s command to try and obtain a permit, hoping her short attention span would kick in and she would forget about it. She didn’t. For two days she pestered him on the subject of the permit, until Blackwell changed tack and did, in fact, submit a formal request on her behalf to the Office of Northwest Recovery for a Northwest Exclusion Zone Entry and Travel Permit. (When the United States bureaucracy absolutely had to refer to the NAR in any formal way, it was either as “the racist entity” or the “exclusion zone.”) Under “purpose of proposed visit” in the long form he had to fill out, he put “confer with Northwest police and military officers regarding future of region,” which he figured would cause all kinds of bells and whistles to go off back in Burlington. That comment alone should be enough to get her recalled to Burlington and himself along with her. Maybe even get her sent to a punishment posting in Mississippi, where she would be forced to live only among her own kind, with no white servants. That was fine with Brandon Blackwell, so long as he didn’t get transferred to the bizarre, all African-American “prosperity zone” in the deadly malarial Delta swamps along with her. 

Gabi e-signed the application without a murmur and he duly sent it off, hoping that either the request would simply disappear into the bowels of the bureaucracy back in Burlington and no more would be heard of it, or else it would generate such consternation along the power corridors and in the cubbyholes of the ERA that even if Gabrielle weren’t relieved and ordered home, she would at least be called on the carpet and commanded to stop rattling cages Across The Road before she woke up the animals. Either way, it should have been an end to this Meet-The-Gestapo madness. 

Instead, after another two days, Blackwell came into the conference room in the Boulder Hot Springs Inn and Spa, an elegant hotel dating back to 1881 when it had been a watering hole for newly-wealthy silver rush millionaires, where the team had set up their headquarters. On the teleprinter he found a hard copy of Gabrielle Martine’s duly signed and stamped travel permit into the Northwest Republic, good for six months and “multiple entries.” There was no cover letter or accompanying comment of any kind, no acknowledgement of the fact that due to Ms. Martine’s negritude there would be no multiple entries, only the first one, from which she would not return. 

Blackwell was startled. It didn’t make sense to him, and like all bureaucrats, when confronted with something that didn’t make sense or looked dangerous, his first instinct was to kick the can on down the road and wash his hands of it. Knowing full well who was really in charge, he went to find FBI Agent Mona James. He found her in one of the rooms hunched over a computer going over something on the screen with the British officer, Colonel Malcolm Hart, while Agent Hornbuckle sat at the round table between the bed and the rumbling air conditioner, reading the Bible. The two of them turned off the computer and closed the cover as Blackwell entered the room. He did not know what they were doing together, nor did he care. He tossed the permit to Mona. “Agent James, you’re pretty well connected back in Burlington. Any idea who wants our boss dead?”

“Wait a minute, they approved it?” said Mona, stunned.

“As you see.”

“Who signed it?” asked Mona, holding up the paper and examining it. “Simonetta Toledano from the ONR. She’s an assistant director, so this comes from the top. She wouldn’t sign it without Director Goldblum’s okay.”

“The chaps at ONR are presumably aware of the Republic’s shoot-on-sight policy regarding dark pigmentation?” asked Hart. Like most real soldiers, he disdained the use of politically correct terminology.

“Of course,” replied Mona.

“Then Brandon is quite right,” replied the Colonel in his imperturbable Empire Club manner. “This has to be deliberate. Someone in Burlington wants Ms. Martine killed by Northmen, almost certainly in public when she tries to stretch out her hand in peace and good will, all that rot.”

“Why?” asked Hornbuckle from across the room.

“Who knows?” replied Blackwell with a shrug. “I can’t say I’m surprised. Nobody seems able to figure out why they sent a black woman on this assignment at all, other than to provoke the fascists into doing something violent.”

“They’re racists, not fascists,” said Mona absently, looking at the paper in her hand and trying to think. “Not necessarily the same thing.”

“Whatever,” said Brandon with a shrug. “Maybe she’s just a sacrificial lamb of some kind. Maybe she got inconvenient for somebody back in Burlington and they put this asinine constructive engagement idea in her head so she’d stick her head in the lion’s mouth and get it bitten off. Having the goots do it would give whoever it is plenty of plausible deniability.” He carefully avoided looking at Hart, since he wasn’t sure he understood why the Brit was along, either. “The question is, what do we do about it?” He looked pointedly at Mona.

“Uh, we don’t have any secret orders to whack Gabi, do we?” asked Agent Hornbuckle. He understood that any such orders would have been given to Mona and not to him.

“We do not,” said Mona firmly. “So far as I know, we really are here to protect her as well as assess the security and intelligence situation.”

“Maybe somebody in Burlington is setting us up as well,” said Hornbuckle with a frown. “A couple of FBI agents who die defending a woman of color from Nazi murderers would be great propaganda.”

“If it were twenty-eight years ago and Hunter Wallace were still in power, I’d agree with you,” said Mona thoughtfully. “I hear he tried something similar once with his own CIA director. But it’s not. To the best of my knowledge, the government is quite serious about the constructive engagement thing. I think they want to make sure the Northwesters don’t help themselves to any more land in North America when the major urban upheavals begin and the mass migrations from the city overwhelm much of what’s left of the American infrastructure.”

“So what do we do?” asked Blackwell again.

“Can you hide this document somewhere she can’t get hold of it, until I can make some calls?” asked Mona.

“Sure, but she’s going to get an email notification as well,” replied Blackwell. “She may already know about it.”

“You’ve got her password, don’t you?” asked Mona. “Can’t you get into her account and delete it?”

“I can try,” said Blackwell. “Let me use that laptop.” He sat down and in about thirty seconds he was into Gabrielle Martine’s email folder. “Crap!” he exclaimed. “She’s already opened it! She’s probably heading for the office now to get the hard copy off the printer!”

“Okay, give it to her,” said Mona with a sigh. “Tell her you were on your way to find her, but don’t mention you stopped here first. We’ll have to stall her while I make those calls to Burlington. We need to think up some kind of make-work for her to occupy herself with for a couple of days while I try to find out what the hell is going on.”

Once she got the travel permit, Gabi wanted to immediately arrange an official visit to the Northwest Republic, joyfully conscious that she would be the first American official ever to do so, and a Womyn of Color at that. Blackwell called in Sheriff Ben Lomax to the ERA office for backup. When he heard what Gabi wanted to do, he pulled his .45 Peacemaker out of the holster and handed it to her. “Tell you what, ma’am, let’s save everybody a lot of time. Take this. Cock the hammer back, then stick the barrel in your mouth, right up against your top palate, and pull the trigger. Yeah, it will make a mess for us to clean up, but this way at least we’ll have a body to ship back to your family in Vermont or wherever. The Northmen will simply leave you out in some canyon for the buzzards.”

“Sheriff, I appreciate your concern, but I really think it’s misplaced,” Gabi told him. “I know that the people in the Northwest racist entity have some very retrograde attitudes toward people of color, but how are we ever to change that if we never even sit down to discuss our differences? I’m not naïve. I don’t expect to be welcomed with open arms, and I expect hostility. This Lieutenant Campbell may well refuse to meet me … ”

“I told you, he already did,” said Lomax. “In no uncertain terms.” He had not thought it politic to repeat Bobby’s Doctor Doolittle remark verbatim.

“Then if he won’t come to me, I will have to go to him,” explained Gabi patiently. “Yes, he may refuse to see me even when I go right up and knock on his door. I’m prepared for that. I know he has to follow his superiors’ orders and his government’s official policies, just like I do. I’m not asking him to sign a treaty or negotiate any kind of agreement, even an unofficial one. But that may come one day if people of good will on both sides of this terrible and artificial border can at least start treating one another like human beings. Is this Campbell fellow really so unrealistic? After all, he’s willing to meet with you to resolve mutual problems, as you recently proved. Is he really so bigoted or restricted by his upbringing that he won’t even meet with me at all or exchange a civil word?”

“Jesus Christ!” whispered Lomax, staring at her in amazement. “You really don’t know, do you?” He looked at Blackwell. “How is this possible?” Blackwell just shrugged. Lomax turned back to Gabi. 

“Let me spell this out for you, ma’am. I live here. You do not. I know these men from a lifetime of living beside them. You do not. This Northwest Civil Guard officer met with me, reluctantly, because I am white. It is not something either of us want to make a habit of. Campbell will not meet with you, not under any circumstances, nor will any of them ever address a word to you, civil or otherwise, because you are not white. You are black, and in their eyes you are an animal. They will not treat you like a human being, not ever. What part about they will shoot you dead is it that you do not understand? If you set foot across that road into their country, you will not stand a chance with those men, nor will anyone who goes with you. If you must commit suicide in this bizarre manner, please don’t take anybody else with you. Your FBI agents are almost as badly hated as you are Over There, I’m sure your English mercenary friend has better sense, and nobody local here will go with you, not even crazy bitter-ender coots like Elwood Tolliver.”

Gabi sat there stupefied at his outburst. Never before in her life had a white person ever spoken to her like this. The rules in America were clear: black and brown people alone could speak of race. Whites were allowed only to maintain a respectful silence, and then agree. Lomax had some hope he might finally have gotten through to her, and he decided to quit while he was ahead. He stood up and addressed Brandon Blackwell. “When she’s gone, who takes over the ERA mission?” he asked. “You?”

“Not senior enough,” said Blackwell. “They’ll have to send somebody else out from Burlington.”

“If you can’t talk her out of it, go ahead and make the call,” said Lomax. “This town still needs all that money and all those jobs. I think between myself and the other local community leaders we can convince the Northmen this wasn’t anything we had a hand in. Just some crazy black lady trying to prove some kind of point nobody will ever understand.” Lomax considered saying “nigger” but decided against it; the hatespeech laws were still on the books even if they were never enforced any longer, so no sense in completely wrong-footing himself.  He turned and stalked out the door.

“Well, Gabi?” said Blackwell. “Should I make the call?”

“He’s talking bullshit! The kind of virulent knee-jerk racism he’s describing hasn’t existed in this country for two hundred years!” she protested feebly.

“Over The Road is not this country any more, Gabi, and the kind of white men who live there haven’t existed for two hundred years, either,” Blackwell told her. “Extinct Tasmanian tigers aren’t the only species the Northwest Republic has brought back from the dead.”

* * *

          Everyone thought they had talked Gabrielle Martine down from the ledge, but they were wrong. The more Gabi brooded over it all, the angrier and more stubborn and sullen she became. How dare they? Brandon, Lomax, the Northwest racists, they were all white, so how dare they tell her what to do? That wasn’t supposed to happen. Did they not realize that she had come a long way, baby, that she was Moving On Up? The very idea that there was any place on earth reserved for white people and white people alone, someplace where she was not allowed to show her black face, began to obsess her even more than was usual with the “African-American managerial class,” one of the many euphemisms used for several generations to describe the small handful of negroes who through some genetic quirk and generous dollops of affirmative action and preferential treatment, were of sufficient intelligence to be trainable to function on a nearly-white level. 

Her whole attitude was a complete anachronism that had nothing to do with anything in the real world as it had existed for the past forty years, but it was by no means uncommon. Like many of her kind, and indeed like most of the American ruling élite, Gabi Martine was like a fly stuck in amber. In the Twilight Zone through which most of the shell-shocked American governing class staggered, the Northwest American Republic did not exist. 

It could not exist. It was unthinkable, and whatever kind of tortuous doublethink that was required to work around the fact that the NAR did exist was embraced and practiced without hesitation. America consisted of fifty states, from sea to shining sea. It was all one, yet diverse (e pluribus unum). The President of the United States was the Leader of the Free World and the most powerful leader on the planet, even the one who had been stabbed through the eye with a pencil in the Oval Office just before he was about to destroy the continent in a fit of insanity. America’s cities were not festering slums jammed tight with primitive savages about to explode if their EBT cards missed a payment. Oh, no, no, no, not at all. America’s Designated Urban Zones were grand and glorious showcases of multicultural diversity which proved once and for all that all men and women were equal, for sure, for sure. There was no white country in the Pacific Northwest, ripped by force from the benevolent hands of the federal government by undefeated and indomitable armed force and courage. Oh, no, no, no, whatever gave anyone that idea? Such a thing would be an abomination, a paradox, a cosmic contradiction that would tear apart the very fabric of space and time and cause bloody rain and plagues of frogs. It could not be, so it was not.

Although seldom articulated, this was the thinking that had guided and dominated American policy for the past forty years, a manic refusal to accept the reality of what had happened at Longview. It permeated every aspect of American upper class society, where Gabrielle Martine had been raised as a dark child of privilege, she and her kind being required to maintain the all-important fiction of racial equality which was the central premise of all liberalism. She also absorbed and internalized the comforting delusion that Longview, the Seven Weeks’ War, the Northwest space program and planetary colonies, the Northwest cancer cures, the return of the Tasmanian tiger, the imminent implosion of the old America when the non-white cities overflowed their razor wire perimeters and could no longer be contained—none of it was really happening. This was the glorious age when Hillary Clinton received her first presidential nomination from the Democratic convention, to the thunderous cheers and the mindless chanting and dancing of the Macarena. Time had stopped on that night.

It therefore followed that no white racist would ever dare to actually do anything to Gabrielle Martine because her skin was black and she was in the wrong place. That sort of thing simply didn’t happen any more. The idea was absurd. White folks knew better these days, in the United States, and as to these people in the Northwest, they weren’t real. Something one saw on television as stereotype villains. They were some kind of cartoon characters. 

So on the afternoon of September the fifth, brimming with self-confidence and three lunchtime martinis, tired of her FBI bodyguards’ constant argument and refusal to accompany her on a sight-seeing tour of the NAR Border District, Gabi Martine hopped in her long and luxurious government-issue Lexus Model Twelve and rolled westward down Second Avenue, out of Boulder. She crossed under the Interstate Fifteen underpass where she noted the special trailer by the side of the road without realizing what it was. Since there was no formal border post, nor even a sign or a line painted on the asphalt, it took her a moment or two to realize that she was now in the racist entity itself. The GPS in her vehicle was not programmed to direct her to Basin, since such programming would have required an admission that Basin and the Northwest American Republic existed. But Gabi had a copy of an old map donated by the Jefferson County commissioners hanging on the wall of the office in the hotel, and she had memorized the route, so she barreled down what was still known as Old Depot Hill Road heading for her appointment with destiny. Imagine, the McCurtain finally breached by an African-American Womyn! She could see the opening credits of the movie that would be made about her rolling in her head as she drove.

It had never occurred to Agent Mona James that her ostensible boss would actually be so stupid as to simply get in a car and drive across the border on her own—what black person possibly could be so brainless?—but as a precaution Mona had tapped into the GPS trackers on all four staff vehicles and programmed them to send her an alarm on her phone if one of them crossed the interstate. She had just finished an afternoon quickie with Colonel Hart when her phone bleeped. She reached over, grabbed the phone from the nightstand, and swore. “Fuck! That crazy woman has crossed into the Exclusion Zone!”

“Gone walkabout, has she?” said Hart, sitting up and pulling on his underwear. “Well, that’s going to be a sticky wicket. I suppose they really will kill her? Yes, of course they will. What do you plan to do about it?”

“I don’t know what the hell I can do about it!” she snarled, leaping up and pulling on her clothes. “I can’t go after her, because I’m almost as dark as she is. None of the locals will. You and Hornbuckle could try.”

“Hornbuckle is an FBI agent, who is also therefore on these barbarians’ shoot-on-sight list, white or not. I am an officer in the United States Army, or rather one of its subcontracting components. None of us, including you, is supposed to even be this close to the border. If any of us is killed or captured on their side of the Road, then there will be a barney almost as big as Madam Gabrielle getting it will cause. You’re sure Burlington really wants to set up this industrial and economic zone here?”

“Yes, again, to the best of my knowledge,” said Mona.

“Obviously somebody back there in maple syrup country doesn’t want that to happen,” said Hart crisply, buttoning his tunic and settling his beret jauntily on his head. “Hence the fact that this delegation has been led by a black nanny with cobblers for brains, whom the people who sent her had to know would do something exactly like this and get herself done in, thus causing enough hanna-hanna to scuttle the project. Who would want that?”

“The ONR itself was never happy with the idea,” said Mona. “The current director, Goldblum, is a Jew and he gets apoplectic at anything even remotely suggesting normalization of relations. The ONR as a whole was enraged when they got demoted down from full cabinet status at the time of the move to Burlington, and they’ve been trying to get back up there ever since.”

“I suspect that was because the American government was finally forced to admit that the Northwest isn’t going to be recovered, and one doesn’t need a full cabinet ministry to go through the empty motions and keep up appearances,” commented Hart dryly. “At any rate, I think we can assume Gabi has gone the way of all dusky flesh west of here, or she’s about to. What are you going to do? Go back to Burlington? I need at least a few more days here.”

“Speaking of going through the motions, we need to at least look like we’re doing so,” replied Mona. She looked in the mirror to pin on her earrings, then  flipped open her phone. “Hello, may I speak with Sheriff Lomax, please? Agent Mona James. I need to speak to him right away. We have a problem.”

Ten minutes later, while Mona, Hart, and Brandon Blackwell were in Lomax’s office listening to the sheriff rant and curse, Gabi roared by a Northwest pickup truck going the other way coming out of Basin. In the truck were Basin town manager Leland Hauser and his wife. “That was an American car we just passed,” said Hauser.

“How do you know?” asked Mrs. Hauser.

“It had license plates on it. We gave those up forty years ago,” replied Hauser. “I could have sworn there was a female nigger driving it.”

“Yeah, right,” said his wife. “If you won’t get corrective surgery, Lee, will you at least wear your glasses? Looks like you need ‘em.”

It  was right at four o’clock in the afternoon when Gabrielle Martine pulled up in front of the Civil Guard station on Basin’s one major street, appropriately enough called Main Street. She got out of the car and looked up at the flagpole on top of the old fire station, flying the Northwest Tricolor and the green and white Civil Guard flag beneath it. She was thrilled with a sense of history, history of her own making. 

There was no one on the street; Basin was a tiny place, and it was a work day. Across the street and down a ways George Bassett, the bartender at the Four Deuces, opened the front doors of his establishment and hooked them back, leaving the traditional bat-wing doors swinging freely. He walked out with a push-broom to give the boardwalk a brush-down, then looked up and saw what appeared to be a tall black woman wearing an American-style business suit and skirt, standing in high heels in front of the Guard station. The suit was almost as unusual as the woman’s skin color. Northwest women in this part of Montana wore the same long skirts and calico blouses and practical hats, bonnets, and boots as their great-great-grandmothers had worn, although the material was better and lighter. When they were riding or working they wore the same jeans and plaid shirts as men; the Ministry of Culture had long recognized that sartorial and fashion manipulation had limits. Bassett had only seen a woman in high heels on a few prior occasions; they weren’t really infra dig for the mountains of Montana.

He stared for a moment, then pulled his phone from his pocket and dialed 999. “Civil Guard, Sergeant Boardman speaking,” came the desk sergeant’s voice.

“Hey, Joe. This is George. I’m out in front of the Deuces opening up. You got a nigger outside your station.”

“Huh?” replied Sergeant Boardman.

“There’s a big car with American plates parked outside your station, and there’s a she-boon dressed like some kind of department-store dummy from Jew York at your door,” said George. “Now she’s coming inside.”

Sergeant Joseph Boardman looked up and saw an elegant black woman striding confidently up to the duty desk. “Good afternoon, Sergeant,” she said, flashing him a smile from huge white teeth. “Is Lieutenant Campbell in? I’d like to see him if he has a moment.”

Boardman put down the phone and began to laugh, and then laugh uproariously. He wasn’t sure who would be pulling a stunt like this or what it was in aid of. Presumably someone in the Guard pulling the leg of the new station boss. Maybe that Colonel from Missoula who was the Lieutenant’s father, or some of his buddies with a sense of humor. Whoever it was, it was a great makeup job. Probably an actress from one of the movie or TV outfits; they could make up a white person so you’d swear he or she was black as the ace of spades, and the camera would make you believe it. “Sure, I’ll call him!” the desk sergeant said, gasping with laughter. He picked up the phone and called up to Bobby’s office. “Hey, Lieutenant, there’s someone down here to see you!”

“Who?” asked Bobby upstairs.

Boardman could no longer resist. He started ooking and eeking and making monkey noises into the telephone, jumping up and down in his seat screaming like a chimpanzee. Gabi stared at him, not quite quick enough on the uptake to realize that the sergeant was describing her. Upstairs, Bobby stared at the phone in his hand with the monkey yells coming from it. “Boardman, are you drunk?” he snapped. He put down the phone and hurried downstairs. 

When he entered the lobby he took one look at Gabi Martine, who was still staring at the sergeant-turned chimp, and he understood what had happened. “GOD DAMN!” he roared. He leaped forward and as Gabi was turning toward him, before she could say a word, he grabbed her by her lacquered hair, pulled her off her feet, and slammed her face into the wall twice, hard, breaking several of her teeth and leaving smears of blood and mascara on the wall. He dragged her screaming and terrified down a small corridor, opened a maintenance closet, and threw her inside very hard. She went down with a crash of mop buckets and shelves. Bobby slammed the door and leaned over into the stairwell. “Sweeney!”

The corporal stuck his head over the balustrade. “Sir?
“Go to my desk, top right hand drawer, get my gun and bring it down here!” Sweeney’s face disappeared. 

Sergeant Boardman appeared at his side. “Sir, that—that was an actual nigger? For real?”

“Yes, it’s a real nigger!” shouted Bobby. “What the hell were you thinking, making a damned fool out of yourself?”

“I thought it was some kind of joke, sir,” protested Boardman. “How the hell was I supposed to know? I’ve never seen one before, not a real one!”

“Couldn’t you smell the damned thing under all that perfume?” Bobby heard moans and movement inside the closet. He went to the duty desk and pulled a long, heavy nightstick out from behind it. It was the only weapon the Basin Civil Guard ever actually used, and that only on rare occasions, to get the attention of rambunctious drunks who were too fuddled to understand what was being said to them. He walked back to the closet door just as it opened. He saw a bleeding black face looming in the darkness and he lashed at it savagely with the nightstick; it screamed and the door slammed shut again. Sweeney appeared breathlessly and handed Bobby his service pistol, a nine-millimeter chemical cartridge gun since smaller Guard detachments hadn’t been issued the new Wilkerson kinetic discharge plate weapons yet. “Oh, I got this phone off your desk as well, sir,” said the corporal. “It was ringing.”

Bobby looked at it and saw a missed call. “Yeah, I imagine it was,” he said. “That’s the hotline phone. Wonder what Sheriff Lomax wants to talk about?” He stood there with his two fellow officers staring at him for ten seconds. His legal and constitutional duty regarding the contamination was clear, but he went ahead and called Lomax back anyway, on the wild off-chance that there was some reasonable explanation. “Sheriff? Lieutenant Robert Campbell here.”

“Thank you for returning my call, Lieutenant,” said Lomax formally. “I’m afraid we have a problem.”

“I’m aware of the problem, yes. Some of your livestock broke out of the pen. I’ve got the animal contained in our broom closet as we speak.”

“Oh, Jesus!” muttered Lomax. “Is she alive?”

“Not for long.”

“What happened? Did you find her out on the road somewhere?”

“No, she walked right into the police station and asked for me,” said Bobby. “Is she on drugs, or is she just so bird-brained stupid she doesn’t know who or what she is, where she is, or who we are?”

“I don’t know about the drugs, but as to the rest, yeah, that pretty much says it all,” said Lomax with a sigh. “Look, Lieutenant, I have some government people here with me, who expect me to speak some razzle-dazzle or pull some magic beans out of my pocket and make everything all right. I have tried to explain to them that I have no such magic beans, and that there exists something called the real world, but I’m not sure they get it any more than that pathetic creature in your broom closet does. One of them is making signs that he wants to talk to you.”

“This is a human being we’re talking about, right?” asked Bobby.

“Yes, he’s white. Here he is.” 

A new voice came on the phone. “Hello, my name is Brandon Blackwell. Who am I speaking with?” 

“This is Lieutenant Robert Campbell of the Northwest Civil Guard,” said Bobby. There was a short but perceptible pause. 

“You’re the police officer who’s married to Allura Myers, the lady known in your country as the Daughter of the Nation?” he asked, to Bobby’s surprise.

“I’m used to my wife’s fame preceding me in this country, but I was unaware we were known Out There,” said Bobby. “Not sure I like the idea.”

“Nothing sinister intended, Lieutenant, just a routine intelligence workup as part of our assignment,” said Blackwell.

“Yeah, well, fair enough. I know who you are as well. You’re this monkoid’s white minder, right?” 

“My official title is Ms. Martine’s personal assistant, but yes, something like that. Sheriff Lomax had you on speaker, so I understand you have Gabrielle locked in a broom closet?”

“We don’t need locks on our broom closets in this country, because absent niggers and Mexicans, who’s going to steal janitorial supplies?” asked Bobby. “I have her in the closet, though, and I banged her nappy head a few times to settle her down.”

“Are you going to kill her?” asked Blackwell bluntly.

“I’m required to do so by the Constitution,” said Bobby. “Section One, Article Four, if memory serves.”

“Yes, well, the letter of the law can be a bitch sometimes, I know, but Lieutenant, before you proceed, I’d just like to offer this for your consideration. You are not the only one who is puzzled and disturbed that Gabrielle was chosen to head a mission of this sensitivity. She is singularly unqualified for it. In fact, you might say she was almost guaranteed to make a dog’s dinner of it.”

“So who chose her, and why?”

“The who I’m honestly not sure of,” Blackwell told him. “The why is I think because of the very reason that she is unqualified and so virtually certain to make a mess of things.” 

Behind the closet door, Gabi seemed to have recovered enough to realize she was being talked about on the phone. She began to pound on the door and scream incoherently to be released, with many muthafukkas. As with most of her kind, her quasi-white conditioning didn’t hold up well under stress, and her diction was the first to go. “Go get some pepper spray,” Bobby ordered Boardman. “Okay, so your government is run by idiots. We know this. Why should this cause me to be derelict in my duty to enforce the primary law of this country’s very existence?”

“Unfortunately, my government is not only run by idiots, Lieutenant,” said Blackwell. “It is run by some very nasty people who wish your country harm, some of whom don’t want this Community Prosperity Zone set up anywhere near you, when there might arise some genuine constructive engagement between people of the same race.” Boardman returned with a red canister. Bobby gestured towards the door. The sergeant shoved it open, leaned in, and let fly with a long squirt from the mouth of the can. Gabi Martine’s muthafukkas turned to screams. “After all, we might discover that neither of us are born with horns and pointed tails,” Blackwell went on. He could surely hear Gabi’s howls in the background, but he ignored them. “There are always those who profit by keeping hatred and mistrust alive, Lieutenant. I assume that they are responsible for this ghastly cock-up of sending Gabi out here, knowing full well that something like this would happen. Somebody wants you to kill her, Lieutenant, as part of some bizarre scheme or intrigue that might lead to something a lot worse than the death of one bureaucrat, or one monkoid if you prefer. I won’t quibble over terms. But you might want to think it through before playing into their hands.”

“Yeah, well, I’ll take it under advisement,” said Bobby. He closed the phone. He stared intently at the noisy door for a long moment. “Hell’s bells. All right, I will take responsibility for this. It’s a unique situation and I don’t like diving in until I know how deep it is. Sweeney, go get the paddy wagon and bring it around front.”

Thirty minutes later a green Civil Guard van rolled down Second Avenue toward Boulder, and pulled up beneath the old interstate underpass. Sheriff Ben Lomax and a washed-out looking middle-aged white man in a rumpled suit whom Bobby took to be Brandon Blackwell were waiting on the American side of the old trailer, a squad car with flashing lights behind them. Lieutenant Robert Campbell  and Corporal Mike Sweeney, both wearing sidearms just in case, got out of the van. Sweeney unlocked the rear doors, Bobby reached in and dragged a wailing and gibbering Gabrielle Martine out of the back, her hands cuffed behind her with a plastic tie. Her face was battered and still weeping from fear and the pepper spray, her Power Womyn suit was a bloody mess, and she had urinated and defecated on herself. He hauled her forward to the approximate location of the borderline between the two countries, shoved her forward at the waist, and with a mighty kick to her black buttocks launched her back into the United States. 

Bobby pointed his finger at the two Americans. “This only happens once, got that?” he told them in a steely voice. “The next time I find anything black or brown in my district I’m dressing it out like a deer, taking it out to the Forestry Service breeding and research station in Rimini, and feeding it to the thylacines!”

“What about the car she came in?” asked Brandon Blackwell mildly.

“We’re keeping that as a fine for trespassing and idiocy,” said Bobby. “I think Johnny Selkirk will buy it off us. He can soup it up and use it for his smuggling trips.”

          “Fair enough,” said Blackwell with a shrug.

9 Comments:

Blogger brian boru said...

Oh man, that was sweet!

12:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You racist!

Keep up the good work.

7:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bravo!
-Jules

7:53 AM  
Anonymous Red Green said...

You still got it, Harold.

9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent.

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Joe McGowan said...

This one looks definitely up to the standards of the rest of the Northwest series.

3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LMAO!!!!
-George Bassett’s sighting of negress Gabi Martine-

“He stared for a moment, then pulled his phone from his pocket and dialed 999. [nein-nein, nein, (no-no-no)]”

8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The future looks very bright for Whites once we destroy the Jewish counterfeiting and loansharking racket that props up their ruling Oligarchy. At 40 years after Longview, though, I would have expected a significant number of Whites in what was left of Amurrica to be as observant of the difference between the claims of anti-Northwest Republic propaganda and reality as Ben Lomax seems to be, and inspired by the success of the NVA to follow the example of the Northmen, exploit other areas of ZOG weakness, and to have established a few other liberated zones across North America.

I was half expecting the capture of Gabi Martine to end with her being spayed and placed in a 1906 Bronx Zoo style Primates Exhibit paired with a neutered buck captured elsewhere along the border.

11:27 PM  
Blogger brian boru said...

We could create such an incredible haven for whites completely free of sub-human vermin and that possibility must be a nightmare for the kikes. As I've said many times since I first read your NW novels Harold, you have created something unique and powerful here. As the kikes make conditions more intolerable for whites everywhere this possibility will resonate more with those who become aware of this work. I never cease to be amazed that the system hasn't crushed you and banned the books. I am convinced that there are potential Hatfields and Moorehouses and so on out there already who will someday act. Maybe that's why ZOG is already preparing by amassing weapons and ammunition and training their goons and shredding what remains of white rights.

4:01 AM  

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