Friday, December 20, 2013

Chapter 8: At a Standstill

Irritated. That was the only word that could describe how I was feeling. As I had suspected, martial law had not been lifted in a week's time, like they had promised. It had been one month, and we were still under military control. No one came to return my gun, as I had also suspected.

I got up and looked out the window, seeing the steam from the air filtration system the military had built shoot straight up into the sky. It was one thing I would give them credit for, they had started to make the air safe to breathe again. Some people still wore gas masks if they went outside, but most people just remained inside. The nation had become a ghost town.

There really wasn't any reason to go outside, to be honest. The looters had hit the stores hard, stealing pretty much everything in them, turning them into empty shells. Homeless people took advantage of the buildings and began living in them. Since there was nothing to buy, what people had was it. If anything in their house broke, they couldn't buy a new one to replace it. With the military restricting us from going anywhere like movie theaters, art galleries, or anywhere else that could potentially be fun, people pretty much just went to work and then back home.

My stomach growled and I rolled my eyes. I looked around my kitchen, which was decreasing in food much quicker than I wanted. The uneasy feeling I had when the soldiers invaded my home that night was still there, and even though they were doing some things that were helping, I felt like they caused more problems for themselves with the way they were doing most things, such as the fire department closing at the same time as the police department had. It irritated me that the two most potentially helpful public service departments were shut down so quickly after the disaster. Finding a box of cereal in my cabinet, I poured it into a bowl along with my remaining milk. I had opted for the cereal because it was the last of my food I had bought from the store before it was looted dry. The cereal was not going to tide me over for very long and I knew I'd just be hungry again, but I needed it at the moment.

While eating my cereal, I looked over at my sad, pathetic looking stove. It had become dusty from a month's worth of neglect. Since there weren't any fresh ingredients available anywhere, people no longer had anything to cook. The rations that were mailed weekly to everyone's houses were all ready to eat meals that just needed to be opened and microwaved. How exciting. The only job I could find since I'd been "relieved of duty" was at the local diner, which had been turned into one of the military's Food Production Facilities. I had started work there the week after they instated the mailing of the food rations. It was my job to sort the boxes of rations for shipping. Surprisingly, the military had divided the food properly, giving more food to larger families. They seemed to be really good at being borderline helpful and equally obnoxious at the same time.

Every week with my paycheck, I was given my box of rations. Since I worked at the place where the rations originated, it just made sense. I cleaned up my cereal bowl and wandered into my bedroom, pondering whether I should take a nap. As I walked past my dresser, I spotted my new uniform, the uniform which was a lot less exciting than my police uniform. It was all white, with no decorative anything anywhere. Plain and boring, much like what life in this world had become. I had a name tag that was issued to me as well. FRANCIS BELCOURT. It was printed in boring text and it hung off my shirt looking just as pathetic as the entire uniform itself. I looked at my police badge, which I had put with my police uniform after I had been effectively let go and reminisced about the days when I used to be Officer Francis Belcourt. I loved my job. I loved seeing the look on someone's face when hope was restored to their life.


The hard banging on my door made me jump, adding further to my irritation of this stupid day. Why the fuck couldn't whoever was on the other side of it knock like a civilized human being instead of trying so hard to punch the shit out of my fucking front door?! I stomped out of my bedroom and pulled the front door open forcefully.


A fat man with sunglasses and a receding hair line was standing in front of me. I didn't know why he needed sunglasses, the sun hadn't shone since the attack. He had his arms crossed and a smug look on his face. My outburst hadn't phased him at all and I guessed it was because he got yelled at all the time with the way he rudely knocked on people's doors. He just as rudely stepped inside the threshold of the door and shut it behind him.

"Mr. Belcourt. Taxes are due today."

"What? What the fuck are you talking about?"

"You have a job right? At one of the Food Production Facilities? So... therefore, you have a job, you pay taxes. Really, Mr. Belcourt. This should be common sense."

I was resisting the urge to punch this idiot in the face, with the way he was condescending to me. Of course I knew about the concept of paying taxes, but no one had ever come door to door to collect it. I felt like I was living in the medieval ages. I should have known tax collection would be the only thing that survived the chemical attack. There was always someone in charge who wanted money. Since everything broke down, taxes weren't being taken out of paychecks anymore, yet of course, I had to find this out the hard way.

"Mr. Belcourt, you owe $87."

"Yeah, yeah, I'll be right back."

I went to my bedroom and got the money to give to him. I placed it in his hand, and he gave me a sheet of paper to sign, acknowledging that he had stopped by my house to collect. He wrote the date down next to my signature.

"Until next month, Mr. Belcourt. Have a good day."

With that, he turned and left. It annoyed me that he could be so polite, addressing me as Mister, yet be so rude, with the way he was pounding on my front door. Nothing could make this day any better, and of course, I had to go to work later that afternoon, which I was not looking forward to. Thankfully, I only had to work for six hours. At least that's what I told myself because the six hours often felt like an eternity. Luckily for me, my television still had some life in it, I didn't know what I was going to do when it decided to die, as I was unsure how confident I would be at fixing an electronic device. Pushing those thoughts away, I turned it on to try to pass the time before work. Sighing loudly because I knew the only thing available to watch was the news, I made myself comfortable in my chair and sucked it up.

At a standstill, that's how everything was now. I watched as the news spewed off bullshit about how things were getting better after the attack because looters had pretty much become nonexistent. Oh yeah? So what are you doing to fix the economic impact of the attack? Oh right, nothing. That's why homeless people are living in the former shopping mall, right? My mind continued to think bitter thoughts about much of what the news said. Jobs were scarce, and there wasn't really any place to work other than things the military set up. I sighed again as I continued watching, and soon I found myself spacing off, thinking about starting a revolution against the powers that be.

Author's Notes:
***Microwaves will be used in this story because the reason for the apocalypse in my story had nothing to do with radiation.***


  1. Man, if they sent microwave meals around here then I'd be so sick of them, I wouldn't eat... Dumb, fat, stupid tax collector. Dumb rules. Ughh this pisses me off .-.

    1. LOL, this is true. Microwave meals everyday for the forseeable future... icky, death might be a better option. LMAO.
      Sounds like you're just as pissed off as Francis is. Extremely appropriate reaction.

      Thanks for reading, parabee! :D

  2. Ugh.. I can only imagine starring at the stove covered in dust.. That gave me chills a little. I like, pictured myself where he was and how I'd feel seeing the dust.. Knowing I hadn't made a decent meal in a month.

    Sigh. I'm doing the thing where I read a portion and scroll REALLY fast down to comment about it.. LOL
    *goes back up*

    LOLL the guy with the receding hairline came off as like, those people from the bank that come to collect your house and belongings when you haven't paid your taxes. It reminded me of Happy Gilmore, but less funny and less.. Happy.. XD ... *cries* *scrolls back up*

    omfg "taxes are due today" I FELT IT LOLL it was subconscious. XD
    Ugh.. Everything about this just points to the government, or whatever the hell it turned into, making a profit out of a horrible situation.. But then again, **COUGHHH** our own real government.. Nvm. Won't go into that.. LOL

    Ahh yes, the shit on the news.. Sigh. Talking about how "good" it's getting because of the info they're receiving, but then again, they have no idea what the real people are going through.. UGH! Hahaha They're playing it off like some kind of "new becoming" and I don't even know how they're seeing the good out of this whole mess.. *screams*
    Can't wait for more!

    1. Ooh I gave you chills? That's, wow, haha, I feel so flattered, because you are the one always giving me chills. XD That is a depressing thought though, not being able to cook because there's NOTHING to cook... *cries* LOL.

      Happy Gilmore... LOL, I haven't seen that in a while. Also I think I saw some other Adam Sandler movie around the same time, Billy Madison, and so I get those two movies confused... XD *is blonde*

      I wanted to make the uhh, "tax collector" give off the "tax collector douche" vibe. ROFL. Glad you picked up on it, even more glad that you felt it. o.O

      LOL, much like Francis, you caught the "the world goes to shit yet somehow people taking my money away still survive..." *growls* IKR? our government... *clenches fists, walks away*

      The news omg, lol, I wrote how I felt when I watch the news. I don't do it much because I'm tired of all the lies. LOL. That is exactly it, they don't know how the citizens who have to go through this crap everyday feel. Granted, the news reporter is probably a citizen dealing with shit, but they have to say what the fucking teleprompter scrolls across its screen. Haha, "new becoming" that's a good way to put it. They're not fixing the problems... which there are an astronomical amount of, Francis didn't even mention all the problems, instead they're just attempting to get people to settle for shit. LOL.

      Glad you're enjoying the story so far, omg I have so many ideas. LOL.

      Thanks for reading and commenting! :D

  3. Damn. Francis is HOT. I found myself staring at him for quite awhile. Seems like the situation in the world is getting very bleak, and the government is really taking over. Seems like they are making the newscasters Lie to keep the public calm. Sucks he still has to pay taxes when the world is going to shit. Damn tax collectors! (Scowls) I really love this story!

    1. LOL. Francis makes it so hard for me to proof. I'll stare at him and suddenly forget where I am or what I was doing. XD

      Society is falling apart pretty quickly and it's definitely not recovering much... probably because the military isn't helping as much as they really could have. -__- LOL, the news does lie because it thinks the people will believe it. Hehe the tax collector, he's a retard, of course, that's the only thing that properly functions. *rolls eyes* Hahaha.

      Thanks for reading, amandra! :D

  4. "I should have known tax collection would be the only thing that survived the chemical attack." <--- I had to laugh at that. Those damn tax collectors are stronger than cockroaches, LOL.

    1. LOL! That's good. The little bits of humor that I throw in this story. I'm glad you found it... it's a bit of bitter humor as well XD

      Seems like there's always people that want your money... -__- even when you're poor or unfortunate and have no money to give.. *rolls eyes*.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. :)

  5. Of course they didn't return firearms, or reinstate the police, or stop collecting taxes. . .Once taken away, it never comes back. My brother-in-law works for the military and he just said that very thing to me about a month ago. "Once the government takes something away, it won't be given back."

    So he's thinking about a revolution. . .I'm in! Feel like we need to put our hands into the middle of a circle and yell "Break!" Lol!

    1. I know, right? Ugh. We have to be really careful of what we let them take away. o.O

      Yes! LOL, Francis would love your help. I adore your circle idea. :)

  6. So I have no rights, but I still gotta pay taxes? Get outta here with all that mess! They might as well declare the state a monarchy. I will tell you one thing, Francis is gonna get shot like everybody else if he keeps playing games. ijs

    1. Hahaha, :) Stupid taxes. *grumbles* Francis is super irritated, as he said many times, and sadly, there is always some fucker who wants your money, even when the world falls apart. This society is definitely moving in the wrong direction towards bad things like dictators, fascism, and other disgusting things... >:[
      There's always some greedy shit who takes advantage of things like society falling apart and works it to their advantage, while making the citizens suffer. Francis will need to tread carefully so that he doesn't get shot. XD

  7. It looks like the government have messed with the wrong man! The downtrodden citizens need a warrior to fight for their cause but I hope Francis goes about it the right way. I would hate to see innocent people get caught in the line of fire!

    Surely the whole point of paying taxes is to maintain essential public services? If people have no rights and there are no public services left to maintain then surely they shouldn't have to pay?!

    1. Haha, Francis is a conspiracy theorist, he's always been to some extent, and now some of his theories don't seem to be that far off... He's smart, having been a police officer, he knows what will get him into trouble and what won't, so no worries there.
      Ahh, yes, the tax system you have described is what a tax system should be if it is working correctly and not being run by corrupt individuals.

      This society, however, is not using their tax system for the public good, like they should, instead using it for their own selfish needs, and it is being run by corrupt individuals. They have some things they're maintaining, like the air filtration system they built to clear the air, and the rations they're giving to people. Francis was mad about it because he sees through them, sort of like you did, what is the point if there isn't anything they are truly fixing. Sadly, the majority of society just sucks it up and believes the lies, so the taxes continue, even if their distribution doesn't make any sense. What it boils down to is what Francis said "Some asshole somewhere always wants my money." LOL.

      I'm happy you noticed the discrepancy, that was the point of this chapter. :)

  8. Geeze laweeeze this is chapter is scary! Just...people barging into the home you live in...? That's not right?

    1. Haha, no it's not right. When a large enough disaster happens, and the structure of society disintegrates so much that the government or military, in this case, steps in to "fix" things, they most often always fuck things up for the citizens. It's all about power, and who holds more of it. Sadly, the citizens always lose, mainly because most people are too blind and think that they have to adapt to it, usually out of fear.

      Thanks for reading and commenting! :)

  9. Great's like Francis has the same brain as me lol. I hate watching the news because they bs about everything lol but he should totally rebel against the government and start a revolution. The government is dare they think they can tax people when they're recovering from a chemical attack?

    1. Thank you. LOL, Francis is a conspiracy theorist. He's not one of the crazy ones, but one of the people who actually thinks for himself and doesn't just believe everything the news says. Agreed, I hate the news too. XD The government is abusing the citizens with the taxes, they think that because people are desperate, they'll just listen to everything the government says.