[For some reason, nothing makes the assorted liberal and Hebraic jackasses who buzz around this blog like blowflies scream and scream and scream more hysterically than when I show our own people what the world we can have for ourselves if we will ever find within ourselves the courage to get rid of them. Enjoy, schmucks! - HAC]
XXV. – The Living Record
(32 years, seven months and one day after Longview)
When wasteful war shall statutes overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
Nor Mars his sword nor war's quick fire shall burn
The living record of thy memory.
William Shakespeare - Sonnet LV
the Revolution, the Chancellors of the University of Montana
lived for many years in a modest red brick ranch-style dwelling on the western
edge of campus. Jason and Jenny Stockdale had brought that tradition to an end,
not out of any desire for ostentation, but because their family of eight children
had become too large for the old official residence. Some years before,
Stockdale had transferred his and Jenny’s growing brood to a large colonnaded
two-story home on Fifth Street,
his own property and bought without any university money with an interest-free
NVA veteran’s home loan. Their new house had a huge yard, many bedrooms, and
there was Toole Park nearby for the children to run and
play in. Stockdale then split the old Chancellor’s residence into a double
house, and now it was used as quarters for financially strapped married
students on scholarships.
It was a
sunny spring morning in May. Jenny Stockdale was 51 years old now but looked
not a day over 40; the strands of silver in the honey brown of her hair seemed
to sparkle rather than age her. She was clearing the table of the detritus from
the huge breakfast she customarily served every day for her husband, the two
children who remained at home, and frequent overnight guests, which included
Stockdale children and grandchildren as well as visitors on university business
and old comrades from both wars.
The first of the eight Stockdale offspring was Jason Junior,
who had arrived a year after Longview.
The youngest was daughter Melanie, a pretty girl aged thirteen who resembled
her mother at that age, named after the Revolutionary heroine Melanie Young,
who Jenny had met once or twice in the NVA before she was killed at the
Ravenhill ambush. Melanie Stockdale had just graduated from primary school, and
she would be starting as a freshman at Samuel Johnson High
School in the fall. Her older brother Whittaker,
a tall and good-humored young man who’d been named after Whittaker Chambers in
one of his father’s impish moods, was sixteen years old and set to graduate
from Sam Johnson in a few days. Like a hundred thousand other young men, he
would begin his adult life by entering the National Labor Service in late June.
The Republic had eliminated the whole middle school or junior high school
concept as unnecessary, as well as the twelfth grade. The legal age of manhood
and womanhood in the Republic was sixteen years, and thanks to a superb
educational system and a stable, all-white society that taught responsibility
and maturity from the cradle, at sixteen the youth of the Northwest were pretty
much adults. These young people were living proof: the NAR way worked. America’s way did not; the many states and
municipalities in the fragmented remains of the United States had recently been
forced to raise the legal voting and drinking and toking age to 25 years. All
sexual age of consent laws in the U.S. had been abolished years
before as being “impossible to enforce.”
youngest kids were still in the dining room area, along with Chancellor Jason
Stockdale and four-year-old Clancy Campbell, who was called Little C., as
opposed to his septuagenarian great-grandfather Big C., who still lived in
retirement out on Daly Avenue. Jenny dressed Little C. in shorts and a straw
sun hat, then dispatched him out into the back yard to play off his breakfast
with the dogs. Parents and grandparents in the NAR could do that—send their
young children out into the yard and around the neighborhood to play, secure in
the knowledge that they would not be seized and abducted by a pervert for
sodomy, or murdered by a nigger gang who felt like killing something white that
day. Analysts from the Bureau of Race and Resettlement had reported that of the
many factors which still drew tens of thousands of white immigrants to run the
McCurtain every year in hope of getting into the Northwest Republic,
this simple factor of a physically safe environment for children was the most
psychologically important. In the mid-21st century, no other land in the world
offered Caucasian people protection from casual infanticide by strangers.
“Not a word on my work assignment yet,” Whittaker was
“The NLS tries to keep young people close to home, unless
they volunteer for a station assignment elsewhere,” said Jason, still reading
his morning newspaper, which was another thing the Republic had which no one
else did any more. The last physical newspaper in the United States had vanished ten years before, and
the last one in Europe only a year ago. “Consistent
with the needs of the service and the national economy, of course. Some
youngsters want to leave home at sixteen, and some don’t. You can choose to
live in the barracks even if you stay in Missoula,
you know. Of course, it cuts both ways. Some parents want to boot their
sixteen-year-olds out the door.”
“I’ll stick around here, if it’s okay with you,” said Whit
with a smile. “How much will you rent me my room for?”
“Yes, with that first paycheck comes responsibility,” agreed
Jason judiciously. “Hmm, what do you think his room is worth, Jen? Fifty Cs a
“Don’t be silly,” said Jenny briskly, coming in from the
kitchen, out the back door of which she had just shooed little Clancy. “We’re
not going to charge our son rent in his own home while he does his national
service. He’ll be leaving home soon enough when he goes into the Luftwaffe.”
“Well, what would you like to do, Whit?” asked Jason.
“I aced all my aptitude tests, especially the aircraft
mechanics and engineering exams, which means that logically I should be put out
to apprentice at the airport or the government motor pool, or hired out to a
private contractor doing aerospace research for our new moon colony. I’d like
something that will help me get into the Air Academy
with a technical major after my first year in the Luftwaffe, because that’s the
fast track to space training, which means they’ll probably stick me on some kind of shovel
detail,” said Whittaker with rueful humor. “I don’t mind digging in the dirt,
but if that’s what I’ll be doing, I’m hoping that Ally can get me assigned out
at Lost Creek, since you won’t help.”
“No can do,” explained Jason patiently, yet again. “I told
you, I cannot be seen to be intervening in my son’s Labor Service commitment or
trying to get you any special favors or assignments. I didn’t for any of my
other kids and I won’t do it for Mel, so don’t feel bad. That’s the beginning
of corruption, and it’s wrong. Not to mention that NVA veteran or not, in my
position as university chancellor, if the Party got wind of it I’d have the
Control Commission on my neck. Senior Party people have to be above suspicion,
like Caesar’s wife.”
“Ally says she’s willing to have a word with the district
administrator, and she’s a Party member,” White told him.
“Yes, well, nobody’s going to say anything to Allura, since
if it weren’t for her mother none of us would be here and the entire nation
owes her one big favor, but it’s still the thin edge of the wedge,” grumbled
Jason, frowning. Like most older people grown ever more conservative as the
years went by, he had his doubts about the younger generation and was seriously
concerned they would end up screwing the pooch. There was little reason for
this view in the Republic. The Northwest was raising a new generation of white
men and women of a kind that had not been seen on the planet for two hundred
years, but ageing revolutionary vets who remembered the bad old days were never
quite convinced they would never come again, and so they were still prone to
know you were interested in archaeology, Whit,” said Jenny.
so much, but it would be a lot more interesting and fun than driving a garbage
truck or planting seedlings a hundred miles out in the woods someplace,” said
what the Labor Service is for,” his father reminded him. “Someone in society
has to do the manual labor. No matter how many robots we make and how well they
function, there will always be jobs that can only be done by a man with a pick
and a shovel and a strong back. Under ZOG they brought in millions of Mexicans
and other Third Worlders to do the work that white people, especially white
males, had become too weak and lazy and unfocused to do. One of the things that
nearly destroyed our race in those days was our unwillingness to get our hands
dirty, literally. White men didn’t want to stoop and dig and heft and tote and
sweat and work out under the hot sun.”
women didn’t want to change diapers or stay home and raise their own children,”
put in Jenny. “They wanted to wear yuppie Power Womyn suits and work in
cubicles and have these wonderful fulfilling careers like they saw on
television and heard about on Oprah. So Americans farmed both tasks out to mud
people, letting in more and more of them until they almost drowned us.”
yuppie?” asked Whittaker.
Oprah?” asked Melanie.
important,” Jenny told them. “Just some silly words for silly people, from a
very sick and silly time.”
any woman not want to care for her own children?” asked Melanie curiously. “I
just can’t imagine that.”
just that they didn’t want to care for the children, they didn’t want to bring
them into the world at all,” Jenny told her.
nobody has any babies, then how will the human race go on existing?” asked
Melanie. “I mean, us, of course, not niggers and gooks.”
any race of people want their own kind to die out?” asked Whit in puzzlement. “I
never did get that. Okay, yeah, we got History and Moral Philosophy classes at
Sam Johnson, you have to in order to graduate, so I know all the standard
explanations, but I still can’t wrap my mind around what it must have been like
actually to live on a daily basis in a society where your own people wanted you
dead, and wanted to die themselves and hand over the world to monkeys. How
could anyone hate themselves that bad? It’s insane!”
“You got it, son,” agreed his father. “It was just that.
Literally insane. They were cuckoo for cocoa puffs.”
“What’s a cocoa puff?” asked Melanie.
“Just another word from the Dark Time, now meaningless,”
“Yeah, Dad, you always say that, and you never explain what
those words did mean!” complained his daughter. “You guys remember those days.
You could probably do a lot better teaching the H&MP course than Mr.
“Not necessarily,” said Jason. “Paul
Ballard was too young for the NVA, but I happen to know he
had a sterling combat record during the Seven Weeks, he’s a first class citizen
and a Party member, and I consider him eminently qualified to teach H&MP.”
“But he doesn’t actually remember anything before the
Revolution himself. He was three years old on the day Coeur d’Alene went up. I know you guys don’t
like to talk about it, but why not?” persisted Whittaker. “You talk about the
Dark Time like it was ancient history, and I suppose since it all happened
before Mel and me were born, to us it is ancient history, but we’re talking
less than forty years since the Sixteen Days in Coeur d’Alene. How can you
explain an entire race of people deciding that it not only deserved to die, but
bringing in whole other races of savages to kill them and then worshipping
their own destroyers like gods? At least that sounds like what happened, from
what I learned in school and what I’ve read for myself.”
“Not a bad description of it,” agreed Jason with a nod.
“Is it?” asked Whittaker. “I wouldn’t know, but you guys
would. You actually saw it happen. Mr. Ballard didn’t.”
“We don’t talk much about the Dark Time because nothing we
could say about it is very nice,” explained Jenny. “We always took the same
attitude with you two kids that we took with your brothers and sisters, and
that was that your father and I spent our own youth doing horrible things so
that you would never have to understand why we did them,”
“You know the old saying about those who can’t remember the
mistakes of the past being doomed to repeat them?” asked Whittaker.
“Yes, dear, but today we have created a whole new society
specifically designed to avoid repeating those mistakes, so you won’t have to
worry about it,” replied Jenny.
“You might say we’ve tried to build an idiot-proofed
society,” said Jason. “There have only been two such attempts made in history,
one in Germany in the last century which the kikes were able to destroy, and
now here in the Northwest, which the Jews keep trying to destroy but haven’t
“So what was it really like?” persisted Whittaker. “Back
“I can’t imagine going to school with those things,” said
Melanie. “I’ve never seen a real nigger, only in pictures.”
“Lucky you! That was kind of the idea behind the Revolution,
sweetie, so you wouldn’t ever have to see one.” said Jenny.
“What do they smell like?” asked Melanie, curious.
“About like you’d expect from their pictures,” said Jason. “Why
do you want to know, anyway, son? It’s not like your mom and I have any really
big secrets you can’t learn in school or in the Montana War
Museum. What do you think
we’ve left out? All your lives you’ve seen your mother and me in our uniforms
and marching with the Old Fighters in the parade every Independence Day. You
know we were Volunteers, and then we were in the Battle of Portland, and then
during the Seven Weeks War I was on General Drones’ staff and spent most of my
time riding around in a Heep doing basic housekeeping jobs and keeping A.J.
from being buried alive in pieces of paper so he could fight the war. I wasn’t
any big hero, although in point of fact you know some real ones.”
“Who?” asked Whittaker.
“You’ve met a lot of our friends from that earlier time in
our lives who did a lot more than we did, including President Morgan, and
General Randall and his wife Erica, and General Drones, on down to old Pete the
caretaker down at Sam Johnson High. And from the Seven Weeks, you know your
Uncle Tommy who won the Iron Cross with his dad, and your Uncle Bob, who was offered Iron but is a genuinely modest
man as well as a brave one, so he turned it down. Plus Jace and Katie are old
enough to remember going on that long camping trip with your mom during the
Seven Weeks, although Annabel doesn’t remember anything since she was just a
“Jace and Katie used to talk about the long summer at the
lake and the funny noises coming from the sky, yeah,” confirmed Whit. “Although
it didn’t make much sense to Mel and me growing up.”
“We thought ZOG was this big monster,” said Melanie.
“It was, honey. Anyway, I need to get going,” said Jason,
rising from the table and folding his newspaper. “Bob
and Tom want to meet with me about something concerning the Lost Creek
excavation. You’re out with the Pioneers this weekend, right, Whit?”
“Yes, sir,” replied Whittaker. “Three days camp up at Glacier Lake. I don’t see why they won’t let us
go right into the service for four years instead of two, or at least do it
first. This way I’ll forget all my military training by the time I get into the
“Because there are ditches to be dug and there’s garbage to
be hauled and there’s fruit to be picked, and we seem to have mislaid all our
Mexicans,” said Jason. “Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up, son. You’ve got
four years of service ahead of you, and then the world will be your oyster.
College or trade or technical school or whatever’s right for you, or if you’ve
still got nothing but space between your ears, outer space that is, you can go
to the Air Academy if that’s still what you want, and become a Lunatic if you like,
although we do hope you can stay closer to home.”
“I think our lunar pioneers prefer to be called Selenites,
Dad,” Whittaker reminded him.
“I know what I said. Anybody who wants to live for years on
end in an air-conditioned coffin has got a few screws loose, and besides, your
mother and I want to try to get every one of you back here every Christmas if
“But what about your responsibilities here on earth?” asked
Melanie. “Once you’re out of the army in four years you can also get your housing
loan and buy a place for you and Susan and your prom baby.”
“What are you, still seven years old?” said Whittaker,
scowling at her.
frowned. “That would be Susan … ?”
said Jenny. “You know her, Jace, we’ve had her over for dinner a few times. She’s
in Whit’s graduating class.”
have a prom baby coming?” Jason asked.
since prom isn’t until weekend after next!” said Whittaker.
that’s right,” said Jason with a nod. “Here we do ours a couple of weeks after
graduation, not a couple of months before. I keep forgetting.”
you guys have your proms?” asked Melanie.
said her father. “I was banned from mine for racism, and your mother was on the
bounce with the NVA at sweet seventeen. Not that I could have taken your mother
to mine, anyway, since I’m older than she is. We weren’t even in Hellgate High
asked Melanie, laughing.
God, that’s what Samuel Johnson
High School used to be
called!” he father assured her. “It was a gate of hell, too. Anyway, Whit, if
that’s the way the wind is blowing with you and this Purdue girl, you and I
need to have a word beforehand, and probably I need to speak to the girl’s
parents as well. Not that I can see anyone having any objection to you or our
family, unless—her people weren’t Unionists during the first war, were they?"
know, I never asked,” said Whittaker in exasperation.
“It hasn’t seemed
important. It was long ago, no offense, Dad.”
taken, son,” said Jason with a smile. “To kids your age it was long ago, and
that’s the way I hope it stays, which is one reason I never sat my children
down and told you a string of horror stories that would just give you
nightmares to no good purpose. But getting back to this young lady, if her
family is Christian and they don’t approve on religious grounds, then I would
expect both of you to respect their wishes. If you don’t want to marry the
girl, then look elsewhere. If you’re too busy, your mother and I can start
looking for you."
“Hire a matchmaker?” suggested Melanie mischievously.
“Not for me,” said Whittaker. “They’ll have to hire one to
find some poor slob to dump you on, though.”
“Well, we’ll talk about that later. Whit, I’m sorry if I don’t
seem overly forthcoming about the past. Maybe it’s because I don’t want to cast
a shadow on your own lives by unnecessarily bringing up things which are now
dead and gone, thank God.” Jason leaned over and kissed his wife. “I’ll see you
had gone, Mel said, “Dad killed people back then, didn’t he?”
and so did I,” Jenny told her. “And that is all that either he or I will ever
have to say on that subject, Mel. But beyond that I’m not totally in agreement
with your father here. In some sense, what we are is a part of you two in much
more than the biological sense, and you need to understand us to understand
your own nature, and there are some things that you do have a right to know, in
a general way. You have a right to know where and when and what you come from,
what brought you here. But your dad is right about the nightmares. That’s why
we made sure that none of our children were ever exposed to any of this when
you were really young, although ZOG left us no choice with Junior or Katie when
they came calling that summer twenty years ago.”
“Mom, if it
really bothers you, you know you don’t have to talk about it,” said Whittaker.
certain things that I will never discuss with you, but to be honest I’m still
not exactly sure what it is you’re looking for, dear,” said Jenny.
when you and Dad first met, back in the day as you call it?” asked Melanie.
you already know that story,” said Jenny in good-humored exasperation. “We told
you often enough. Jason’s family and mine both lost their homes to foreclosure
during the Second Depression, and we ended up in Brookgreen Gardens Apartments,
or tenements would be a better word. That’s where we were living when I was
born. You remember. We took you kids out there once a few years ago, and we
showed you the apartments your father and I both lived in when we were
they were full of Russians and Afrikaners when we visited that day,” said Whit.
the Revolution the government turned them into new immigrant housing, and
believe me they’re a lot nicer place now than they were back then,” said Jenny.
“In those days there were two kinds of tenants who lived there, dispossessed
white people like us and illegal Mexicans, and both groups were jammed like
sardines into a few ticky-tacky firetrap rooms. There was a lot of crime and
violence and drugs and break-ins, because the Mexicans preyed on us like we
were livestock. The police used to come through on sweeps, searching all the
white people’s apartments for Party literature and guns, which were illegal
under the Schumer Act, but they never bothered the beaners. The place was run
by a residents’ council which in turn reported to the Missoula Human Relations
Commission, and that was run by liberals and Jews from the university, so we
didn’t have much say in our lives. If a white family was evicted for so-called
anti-social behavior, meaning anything racial, then you were blacklisted. Even
if you were lucky enough to have a job, no one else in town would rent to you
for fear of the media and the HRC,
so the next step down was a hobo jungle under a highway underpass somewhere. Or
if it was winter the family had to load up whatever motor vehicle they had and
head south for California or Arizona, where at least they wouldn’t freeze
to death. A lot of those people never came back.
“Anyway,” she went on, “Through luck or bribery or
finagling, a number of white families managed to get housed together on the
same street in the complex, and there was a little playground there where it
was more or less safe for the children to play in during the daytime, so long
as we stayed in groups and we had adults to watch us. Your father first saw me
when he was twelve and I was three. My own father had gotten hold of an old
panel truck, and he was running an off-the-books moving and hauling service.”
“Off what books?” asked Whittaker.
“I mean the business was technically illegal. No business
license, no sales tax records, no withholding tax records, no medical
contributions, no government safety inspections, so forth and so on. The
government in those days wanted everybody dependent on some kind of paycheck
they could threaten to cut off. They didn’t like white people being
economically independent, owning or running their own businesses, and so they
tried to tax and regulate them out of business. Anyway, one day my dad needed
an extra hand to do a moving job and he hired Jason for the day, and he came up
to our apartment. Dad was on child-watching duty out in the playground. I was
sitting in the sandbox wearing old clothes from the Salvation Army. I was
eating a plastic bowl of god-awful microwave spaghetti my mother had gotten
from a food bank, with a plastic spoon, and according to Jason I had red goo
all over my face. I’ll take his word for it.”
“And he sang the worm song!” said Mel, giggling.
“Nobody loves me, everybody hates me,
I’m going to eat some worms!
Big fat juicy ones, long thin skinny ones,
Chomp them while they squirm!
Nobody loves me, everybody hates me,
I’m going to eat some worms!
First one’s easy, goes down greasy,
Second one sticks to my tongue!”
“Yes, he did,” said Jenny primly. “He was as silly at twelve
as you are at thirteen, and at that age he thought it was funny to tease small
children. I didn’t appreciate his humor and I threw a toy of some kind at him,
I can’t remember what. So that’s how I met your father.”
“Mom, you know that’s not what she meant,” said Whittaker.
means later, in the NVA. Look, really, if it was in some horrible way in the
middle of a murder and you don’t want to talk about it, really, we get it.”
“No, although you didn’t really meet people as such in the
Volunteers,” said Jenny. “We both had code names, several apiece, it just
happened that we knew who each other was. I didn’t end up with the Army until about
eighteen months after 10/22, and once I
was involved I didn’t meet Jason again right away.”
“Well, how did one go about becoming a Volunteer in those
days?” her son asked. “One of the things we hear sometimes is that a lot of
people wanted to join the NVA, but they never did because they couldn’t find
the Army and had no way to contact them.”
“Yes, that was true,” agreed Jenny. “There were Volunteers
assigned to recruiting duty in every community where the Army operated, and it
was actually one of the most dangerous assignments going. If a recruiter made a
mistake and approached the wrong person, they risked being betrayed and
arrested. I had a cousin, Jared Wardlaw, who was about my age back then, and he
was a Volunteer. To tell the truth, I can’t remember how he got involved
himself, but he was. One of my uncles had died and left my mother enough of an
inheritance so we were finally able to get out of Brookgreen Gardens
and rent a proper house, the one on Connell
Avenue where your grandparents used to live,
remember? That’s where we were on 10/22. That’s where we met the Myers family
and I started baby-sitting Georgia.
Her mother was a patronizing liberal bitch who made a big deal out of paying me
above the going rate to show her noblesse oblige, but money was money in those
days. Anyway, back then you had to have an actual state-issued license to drive
a car, but you could get one very young in Montana because all the kids out on
ranches needed to be able to drive, and so I had a provisional license when I
was fifteen. Jared started using me to carry messages and sometimes packages to
various comrades around town. I had no record, my dad’s car was clean, and I
could giggle like a fool at cops and Fatties, which meant I could get through
“Guns and explosives?” asked Whit, fascinated.
“I don’t know. I never asked, which impressed Jared and
convinced him I had the right stuff, as people used to say back in those days.”
“Didn’t you know what you were involved in?” asked her son.
“I guessed pretty quick, yes,” said Jenny with a chuckle. “I
can’t remember when I figured out that Jared was with the NVA, but I do
remember I told him one night that I knew what he was doing and if he needed
help with anything else he just had to ask. A few days later he took me to see
A.J. Drones, who was the Missoula Commandant. A.J. and I had a long talk and he
liked what he saw, so he gave Jared the nod to bring me into his crew, and I
started doing other stuff. Proactive, as we used to say. Anyway, that’s how I
became a gun bunny. When my father found out he asked me to leave home.”
“Grandpa threw you out of the house because you were a
Volunteer?” asked Melanie, scandalized.
“No, honey, he didn’t throw me out of the house, at least
not like you mean. He simply said to me, ‘Jenny, I’m sorry you’ve had to grow
up this fast, but in this filthy world we live in I suppose it was inevitable.
I won’t say what you’re doing is wrong, but right or wrong, it’s a done deal.
If it was just me involved I’d say to hell with it, but you’re endangering your
mother and your brother and sister if you stay here. You have the right to put
your own life at risk, but not theirs.’ So I left. He was right, and I’ve never
held it against him.”
“Were you scared?” asked Melanie, wide-eyed.
“No, dear, when you’re fifteen you usually don’t have sense
enough to be scared of stuff like that,” said Jenny. “If it were happening to
you today, you’d probably think it was some kind of big adventure. But mostly I
just didn’t care. It had been made clear to me all my life that America held no
future for me, unless I was prepared to conform and be somebody I wasn’t. Girls
could get into college a lot easier than white boys in those days, but the
family simply didn’t have the money, and I wasn’t good enough in school to get
any kind of scholarship. Math and science bored me, and I had no interest in
all the politically correct rubbish about Indians and evil white oppressors and
the joys of les—of so-called alternative lifestyles they used to peddle at
Hellgate High in those days. I refused to burn that pinch of incense that
everyone had to start burning in high school. As trite and un-romantic as it
may sound, my choice was take a chance and go with the NVA or end up living in
a trailer and working in a laundromat or waitressing in some greasy spoon,
assuming I didn’t give in to despair and go on meth or crack or something. A
lot of white kids did, back then. I decided I’d rather die young with a gun in
my hand than a few years later in some desolate wreck of a white trash life. I
think that’s what motivated a lot of us, although you won’t hear that in Mr.
Ballard’s H&MP class. Nor should you, I think. Don’t get me wrong, you two.
You’re not being lied to. The pride and the hope, the honor and the courage,
were all there. There was just a lot of other stuff as well that there’s
probably no need to mention. A lot of history is like that, I think. Then I met
Jason again, and he met me without the red microwave goo on my face, and we
both had a lot better motive than just having nothing better to do.”
“You fell in love with Dad?” asked Melanie. “How did that
happen? How did you know he was the one?”
“Here comes the mushy girl stuff!” said Whit in disgust.
“He came back for me,” said Jenny.
“Huh?” asked Whit.
“To make a long and complicated story short, in the fourth
year of the war we both ended up for a time with a Flying Column,” their mother
went on, refilling her coffee cup. “The Montana
Regulators, under Commandant Jack Smith. Jason and I knew each other, of
course, from around town in Missoula.
We’d met a few times down through the years, but because of the difference in
our ages, it was just casual acquaintance. I’d had a boyfriend for awhile with
the Missoula Brigade, but he was arrested and murdered by the FBI, and I’d
decided getting involved with a fellow Volunteer wasn’t a good emotional
investment. The way things worked out, Jason and I didn’t really have much to
do with each other NVA-wise in the Regulators. We were always scattered across
a couple of hundred square miles so the Americans couldn’t catch us all in one
fell swoop, we generally moved and hit in groups of about fifteen or twenty
people, and we only all came together for really big operations.
“Then one day in January the FATPO raided an NVA safe house
in Helena and
arrested four comrades, a married couple named John and Susan Morse and two
teenaged Volunteers, Greg Ennis and Joey
Cermak. They were taken to the FATPO barracks on Eleventh Avenue in Helena,
what used to be the Montana
Academy. The Fatties had
taken it over as their headquarters. Commandant Smith heard about it, and he
decided we’d go in and rescue them.”
Whit stared at his mother. “Mom … I know you and Dad were
NVA and I know Dad marched across the bridge in Portland, because he’s got the medal, but
neither of you ever said anything about the Helena Raid!”
“Doctors usually don’t discuss the patients they lose, dear,”
said Jenny with a wry smile. “Nor do armies give medals for lost battles. I
assume you had it in school? What did they teach you about it?”
“Well, frankly, Mom, Mr. Ballard said it was a screw-up.
Pardon my language,” said her son apologetically.
“A screw-up in spades. The Commandant was a very brave man,
we were all young and cocky and we were used to shooting from the hip, and we
had fought and beaten them time and again, always outnumbered and outgunned,
seldom with much of a plan. We pressed our luck once too often, and we came up very
“Mr. Ballard says that after the loss of the whole Olympic
Flying Column at Ravenhill, the Helena Raid was the worst NVA military disaster
during the whole War of Independence.”
“Disaster is the word,” agreed Jenny grimly. “Anyway, I won’t
spin this out until suppertime tonight. We assembled about fifty Volunteers and
we went into Helena
on the night of January twentieth, in six vehicles including two trucks. The
plan was for the first two sections to attack the front of the FATPO barracks
frontally as a diversion and to pin the enemy down with heavy fire, including
our one mortar, while Commandant Smith and the third section battered down one
of the steel gates at the rear, entered the jail section and extracted our
“Things were against us from the start. For one thing,
although we didn’t know it, all four of our comrades were already dead, and so
the whole operation was pointless from the start. It was a dark night, about
six degrees above zero, so cold the actions on a lot of our weapons froze up
and we had to wear gloves so the skin of our hands wouldn’t stick to the metal,
except some of us forgot to bring gloves. Snow began to fall heavily as we
drove in on Highway 15. Zero visibility. On top of that, someone along the way
saw us going by, somehow recognized who we were, and called it in to the
FATPOs. We never did find out who, but they had time to prepare. We never made
it into position to begin the attack.
The Fats were waiting for us and they ambushed us on North Main Street, all clumped together.
Most of the Volunteers were killed in their vehicles, riddled with bullets in
thirty seconds. I made it out into the snow and so did Jason and a few others.
I never even fired a shot myself. I ran into a doorway to try and take cover,
and I slipped on the icy steps and cracked my skull. By the time I came to, a
couple of niggers in body armor had cuffed my hands and legs with plastic ties
and were dragging me down a side street. They handed me over to some local cops
who threw me in the back of a squad car.
“Now, what you have to understand, kids, is that in the
context of that time and place, my life was over. At that point all I had to
look forward to was most likely torture, rape, and murder in some federal
holding facility, or at best a lifetime in prison. Congress had already passed a
law stating that no one arrested for NVA activity was ever to be released from
custody. Arrested, mind you, not convicted, although that didn’t really matter
since they weren’t even bothering with trials any more. There I was, seventeen
years old, and I was over. I sat there in the back of that car listening to the
sirens and occasional spurts of gunfire still going on somewhere out there in
the falling snow and I knew. There was no regret, just an overpowering despair
and sadness that I can’t even begin to describe to you and won’t even try. This
was the end. From now on there was only horror and pain and blackness. I think
that’s probably the worst part of a ZOG arrest, the first few moments, when you’re
sitting in the back of the squad car in cuffs and you can see the world going
by the window outside as they take you to your first cell. You can see the
people and the trees and grass and stores and the world, the world that you are
no longer part of and never will be, that you will never have anything to do
with any more. In my case it was just snow in the headlights, but already I
felt cut off from everything. My heart was still beating and I was still
breathing, but I was dead, a ghost. I know this doesn’t make any sense to you …”
She broke off for a moment, breathed deeply, and blinked
back a tear. “The two cops or sheriff’s deputies were standing outside and I
was all alone in the back. I don’t know for how long. Five minutes, ten, half
an hour? I remember wondering why they didn’t sit in the car with the heater
on, but I guess they were under orders to stay at the ready. Then I heard
muffled shots and saw several muzzle flashes in the snow outside, the car door
opened, and your father reached in and yanked me out. The two cops were lying
in the snow spurting blood; I remember how bright red it was under the street
light. He asked me if I could run, I said no, my legs were cuffed. He had a
knife and he cut the plastic ties and then he said, ‘Now run! Hold my hand so
we don’t get separated!’ So we ran, and we came to a house. We kicked in the
door and utterly terrorized a man and his wife inside, made them give us the
keys to his pickup truck, and Jason smashed through a roadblock and managed to
get us out. I guess they couldn’t use their satellites to track us at night and
under all the snow clouds.
“Later on Jace told me he’d seen me get captured. He circled
around through alleys and yards and saw them throw me in the squad car. The
last order that anyone in the Column gave over our phones was Go Eight, General
Order Number Eight, otherwise known as the Beat Feet Retreat. In other words,
every man for himself and get out any way you can. When that happens it means
everything has gone south, and your first responsibility is to break contact
with the scene and live to fight another day. Jason didn’t do that. He went
against orders and he came back for me. He gave me my life back, and since then
I’ve given it to him. And to you, and to our country. So now you know.”
“Now we know,” said Whittaker, shaking his head in wonder.
“I think that’s cool!” said Melanie in awe.
“Yes, it rather was, wasn’t it?” agreed Jenny.