Ever and Always
Chapter 26: Didn't Expect This - April 2024

Copyright© 2015 by Banadin

In the meantime, Rick got a phone call from the Fire Chief. He asked if he could stop by and talk to Rick. Of course, Rick said yes. Rick and Marsha talked it over and figured that the Chief would be hitting them up for more money. They would listen. They invited him out for coffee late Saturday morning.

When Chief Johnson got to their house, they went out on the veranda where Marsha had set up a coffee service with some rolls on the side. They were very surprised when Chief Matt Johnson had an entirely different agenda.

"Folks we have the equipment on order, and most of it will be here in the next month. I must tell you, while you want to remain anonymous people have figured it out, and the word has spread. Telling Mary ended any chance of being unknown.

That being said, everyone will be pretending they don't know it's you. You have a lot of good will built up around here. That is all except one fellow, and that's what I want to talk about."

"Who do you mean," asked Rick?

"That Major Watkins isn't very happy with you; it seems you asked the FBI about him."

Rick and Marsha were both disconcerted to hear this. "Where did you hear that," Rick questioned?

"As I said word gets around out here. One of the fellows who works at The Farm dates a local girl and he told her and it went from there. Now don't get me wrong, that Major guy scares all of us. That is what I want to talk about."

Rick and Marsha exchanged looks.

"Go ahead," said Rick.

"We are concerned first with the country. Any fool can see we have gone too far down the debt path, and have over half the country on some sort of welfare. This can't have a good end. I know it has been said for the last fifteen years, but someday it will collapse. That's when our second fear comes into play.

It's the Major and his announced plans to take over the area once the country collapses. You aren't the only one who has gone to the authorities and been rebuffed. They say he has broken no laws yet, and if he does after the country is gone, it isn't their problem. Damn fools."

"What are you proposing, putting together your own armed force," asked Marsha?

"That is part of the plan but only a small part. We have a small working group right now, the Sheriff, a Judge, a County Commissioner and me.

Rick we would like you to join us."

"Doing what?"

"We are a Disaster Planning group. If all outside help was cut off what would it take for this area to survive? We know that there is FMEA and the State Agencies with their County extensions. However, they only look at short-term problems. Like a month-long power outage. We are thinking of no power available from the outside, ever. Along with that is food, health care and yes local defense."

"We figure we need to have on hand almost a year's worth of food for the valley. There are around nine thousand people living here. We know families will return home if they can so it will be more like fifteen thousand, we will need to feed before crops come in. Now this is a worse case, but that is what we are looking at."

Marsha said, "That sounds like a lot of food."

"It is, we have to plan on two hundred fifty pounds of flour per person. That works out to almost two thousand tons! Meat fifteen hundred tons, sugar or honey four hundred and fifty tons, salt, thirty tons, vegetables and fruits over five thousand tons. The only problem we don't have is water. That is based on FDA numbers."

"Have any idea of the costs involved," asked Rick?

"Yeah, I have nightmares about it. The flour alone at two dollars a pound is seven and half-million dollars. Cattle at eleven hundred pounds would yield seven hundred fifteen pounds average meat. One cow would feed three people. That means five thousand head. We could buy them as weaned calves at six hundred dollars each. That would be three million dollars. You get the idea, just on food alone we figure it will take fifteen million dollars to feed everyone.

Then there is the infrastructure to support it. Also things like health care; we don't have a Doctor or a Dentist in the valley. This looks like a seventy-five million dollar project."

"Matt I hope you don't think we can pay for all this."

"Oh no, we think we can finagle most of it with state and federal grants. We just need some help with coming up with a plan. Like we buy five thousand head of cattle, who is going to raise them, feed them, take care of veterinary issues."

"Then we will need a slaughter house. We won't want all cattle; there will be hogs, chickens and sheep. Where will we store the grain, where we will grind the flour, bake the bread? We need someone to help develop the big picture, so we can fill in the details. We figured with your army back ground you could at least point us in the right directions."

Rick got a very concerned look, "My army back ground?"

"You don't think we check out everyone who lives around here?"

"Never occurred to me, I have always been a private person, and I'm a little taken aback by this."

"No harm meant Rick, just with all these government data bases it is easy to get a quick background check on anyone."

Marsha inquired, "What do you know of Major Watkins?"

"Well to start he never made Major, best he did was Captain in the reserves, and that looks like a political promotion. Literally a political promotion, he was a gofer for that nitwit that was our Governor ten years ago."

"The Governor only lasted one term, but that is when Watkins got his promotion. He had joined the regular forces, but was let go before he made first lieutenant. Don't know why, but when he went over to the reserves, they took him as a first lieutenant, but it took him eight years and the Governor to get to Captain."

From the look on Rick's face, he was thinking hard, "I would like to talk this over with Marsha, can I let you know later?"

"Sure no real hurry, but we really want you on board."

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