Then They Closed The Schools…

Listen to this story narrated by master storyteller Otis Jiry468-Zigeuner-Muellberge

2025 USA

All schools, upper and lower, were closed per the dictator’s orders in 2022. It was the final blow in dumbing down the nation by the ruling Patriot Party.

Ever since the Patriot Party became the first third-party to win a presidential election they systematically took away freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. Without a Congress, and no checks and balances, the Patriot Party was able to name a dictator for life.

No more messy elections. No more safeguards for the poor. No protests allowed. Americans were told that there was no need to read, as they could learn about everything that they needed to know on TV, and or, on government websites.

The new regime sent teams of senior propagandists to all 50 states. It was their job to hold “town meetings” daily to keep the masses from complaining about their new realities. It was hardest for seniors, who grew up in an entirely different America where people were free.

For that reason, the government offered bounties on anyone over 65 years-old. The only way to completely erase American history was to rewrite it. For years now seniors were hunted down and turned over to the regime by brainwashed youth seeking monetary awards.

Still, there were plenty of people willing to hide seniors knowing what an important link to the past they were. With the regime’s ongoing book purge, it became all the more important that seniors live to pass on what they learned and witnessed in their lifetimes.

In the early morning hours when the city was still asleep, Ross had to go back inside the crumbling building that was his home. Deep in a secret cellar, disguised by debris, it was the only safe place for him.

Once he was a renowned professor at a prestigious eastern college. But when the purge began he had to keep moving and hiding, unable to trust anyone knowing there was a bounty on his head because of his apparent age.

Not because he was a vampire.

He foraged for food at night through the city ruins looking for human prey. Only the poor lived there anymore. There were no cars or public transportation. No police department, or city government functioning in this once proud city. It was left to die by itself from neglect.

The regime was centered hundreds of miles away in New Washington DC. The city there had all the modern conveniences available. There were cars, trains, helicopters, and subways. Businesses of all kind flourished in the renamed capital.

The rest of the country’s infrastructure was gradually breaking down as people began fighting over the lack of supplies available. A nationwide black market provided some desperate people with basic needs, if they had money.

Ross still remembered the day when the vampire caught him in a deserted alley foraging for food. Instead of draining him dry however, the vampire cut his wrist and let the blood flow into his semiconscious mouth.

When he became conscious again, the vampire was waiting for him. Standing nearby.

“It was the only way professor,” the vampire began, “I was one of your students and know how brilliant you are. This nation needs you to be around with your wisdom. It’s more valuable than gold. You’ll be immortal.

“The day will come, when good Americans will rise and chase this regime into the bowels of hell, and you’ll be there to guide them,” he explained.

Ross fell asleep in the darkness of the hidden cellar and dreamt about giving a lecture to eager young students thirsting for knowledge.

The next night he woke up and went outside. Hunger pangs drove him to quickly search out a blood source. There were no more dogs or cats in the city. That just left humans. He learned not to feel guilty when he drank their blood.

He was, after all, a repository of knowledge. A walking library.

“It’s for the greater good,” he reasoned to himself, whenever the thought entered his head while draining a victim’s life away.

As It Stands, there’s an old African proverb that goes, “When an old man dies, a library burns down.”

Fear

They met during the night like thieves planning a robbery.

But they weren’t thieves. They were some of the most prominent people in Elsdale’s population of 1,623. Community leaders led by the small town’s mayor, Jasper Corning, a corpulent man who found walking difficult.

Ever since the family of strangers moved in, people talked about how different they were. Of particular concern, they were Muslims. The two women wore hijabs that covered their head, hair, and necks.

The three men wore traditional Taqiyahs (round caps) and had long dark beards. To the white majority of Elsdale it was like being invaded by a foreign country. They spoke another language and lived by Sharia Law, which the townspeople feared would somehow take over the American system of justice someday.

The two women, Manahil and Eshal, went to the general store, and the post office, once a week. Every purchase they made at the store was scrutinized by the owners who shared their observations at the VFW bar every evening.

The postmaster worried every time a package came for the Muslims that it might have bomb-making materials inside. They got lots of letters in their post office box. It was always packed tight by the time the women came by for their weekly visit.

The Muslims lived in an old two-story house just outside the city limits. When they purchased the house – with cash – word quickly got around town. Very few people had actually talked with the Muslims. Mostly Manahil and Eshal when they were on their weekly errands.

Hector St. George, the towns only banker, talked with the three brothers, Aaban, Rayyan, and Zayan Azimi, while handling the transaction. The bank had repossessed the house years ago, and no one seemed interested in buying it.

Until then the Azima brothers appeared with lot’s of money. They even opened a bank account, which secretly thrilled St. George (he didn’t want the others thinking he was getting chummy with them) who worshipped money more than any god.

The towns sheriff, Roscoe Winters, a Vietnam veteran with undiagnosed PTSD, spends most of his time on a computer reading about conspiracies in America, and drinking too much at the VFW bar.

As the weeks turned to months, the rumors surrounding the Muslims grew like a malignant cancer. They held orgies; the men were secret ISIS members; there was a stockpile of weapons in the old house, and on it went.

Fear replaced curiosity in the little community after six months. When the women came to town they could feel the tension, as accusing eyes followed their every move. As the stares seemed to grow more malignant they told the men what was going on.

The three brothers were dismayed, but not surprised. They seen this kind of thing before when they bought their first house in upstate New York after immigrating to America five years ago.

When their parents were murdered by extremists in Iraq they took the family fortune and fled. Two of the brothers, Zayan and Aaban, were married to Manahil and Eshal. The eldest brother Rayyan never got married, because his childhood sweetheart was viciously murdered by thugs before they could.

Fear finally materialized into action.

That’s why the community leaders were gathered at night in the mayor’s house. The rumors had some of them fearing for their lives. The sense that one day they would attack the town with automatic weapons shouting “Allah Akbar!” swirled among the group, sending shivers down some spines.

“Okay boys…settle down. What are we here for?”

“Because you asked us too Jasper,” Larry Henderson, the general store owner, replied.

“Thanks Larry. Now that that’s established, what are we going to do about the Muslims?”

“I think we ought to search their house and see what they’re up to,” John Baker, the postmaster said.

“There’s one problem with that Johnny, it’s called a search warrant. I don’t have one,” Sheriff Winter said, after downing a shot of 20 year-old Scotch.

The group broke out into a babble of suggestions that were going nowhere when the mayor shouted, “Enough! We ain’t getting a damn thing done here crowing like a bunch of roosters with no hen in sight!”

The room settled down to inaudible grumbles.

“Here’s what we can do. Larry, you can say you overheard the two women talking about making bombs. The sheriff can go to the county judge tomorrow and get a warrant to search their house. How’s that sound?”

Murmurs of agreement echoed around the room.

“I’ll leave before noon tomorrow to go see Henry (the county judge) and get that warrant. Right now I’m going to have a few beers. Anyone with me?”

Everyone in the room, except the mayor who was sitting in his favorite office swivel chair, followed the sheriff out the door and into the night.

The next day.

Sally Yates, a waitress at the only restaurant in town, “Chuck’s,” was the first to hear the roar of motorcycles. The noon crowd had thinned down to two old customers who were known to spend most of the day there drinking coffee and talking.

The loud intrusive roar made her look out the window. Her pulse quickened in fear as the riders of six motorcycles dismounted from their Harley’s. They were all members of the Mongols, one of the most feared motorcycle groups in America!

Sheriff  Winters had a shot of bourbon with Judge Henry Goodnight in the judge’s library. The judge had signed the warrant without question.

Back in town.

The bikers took over the restaurant and chased the two old men away. They were having fun baiting Sally who gamely tried to pretend everything was all right while taking their orders. The fun and games finally stopped, and their leader assaulted Sally!

Later the bikers roamed around town looking for more trouble. They went into the general store, and when Larry tried to stop them from helping themselves to whatever they fancied, they beat him and left him for dead!

Then they helped themselves to the hand guns behind the counter in locked cabinets. They broke the lock off with ease, and the leader passed them out to the others. He located the ammunition and gave each a box.

Armed, they went back out and headed for the VFW Hall. By now, people had seen them and were running for cover. The main street was deserted by the time they reached the VFW Hall.

The patrons inside didn’t have a chance. They were caught unawares and herded over into a corner of the room, while other gang members looted the bar. The group settled in for some serious drinking.

Unfortunately, Sheriff Winters didn’t even notice the main street was deserted. It was getting near dark and his first thought was to go to the VFW Hall for a quick drink, or two.

The room went silent when the sheriff walked in. Someone dropped a bottle on the floor and the shooting began! Rosco was hit immediately in the left arm, but he manged to draw his service revolver and return fire!

One of the biker’s spun around and fell to the floor, bleeding from a chest wound. Bullets sprayed the room like angry bees as everyone tied to get out of the line of fire. Rosco was hit again in the right side of his chest but kept moving and somehow got out the door and into the street.

A lone biker followed him and popped off two misses. Rosco turned and calmly fired back at him. One of the bullets found its mark and the biker staggered back inside the VFW Hall, leaving a trail of blood behind him.

Rosco summoned up the last of his strength and headed towards the nearby general store. Larry lay near the doorway, battered beyond recognition and barely alive. Rosco went to him and looked for a pulse. He was alive. Rosco’s wounds weakened him so much that he passed out.

Manahil and Eshal felt more uneasy than usual when they got to town. The streets were deserted. They went inside the general store and found Larry and Rosco passed out on the floor. Larry’s wounds soaked his shirt with blood.

The women quickly checked them out and found gauze, band aids, and tape, and treated them both right there. Eshal was looking at Larry’s wounds and easily recognized them as bullet holes. She had seen her share in war-torn Iraq.

Manahil went to the phone on the counter but only got a buzzing. Someone had cut the phone lines. Making a bold decision she told Eshal that she was going for the men. She knew Rayyan would know what to do.

He had fought in the Iraqi armed forces until Saddam Hussein took over, and he had to run from the purge that followed. He was a captain in the special forces. The other two brothers had no military experience, but grew up in hard times when they had to use weapons to survive the government’s attacks.

Rayyan listened calmly as Eshal told him what she found. Nodding he turned to his brothers and said, “We cannot let these people be slaughtered by those men. Allah would never forgive us.”

The brothers both nodded, and the three of them headed for town.

When they got to the general store they found Manahil listening to the sheriff’s heart. She looked at Rayyan and said, “He’s barely alive. We must get a doctor.”

Meanwhile Zayan and Aaban were behind the counter picking a lock on a chain that covered a row of rifles. There were repeating Winchesters, hunting rifles, and two AR 15’s. They took the two AR 15’s and asked Rayyan what he wanted.

“The Winchester is fine,” he said as they rummaged for ammunition.

As the three men set out to find the bikers Rosco woke briefly, “The VFW building,” he croaked and passed back out again.

The biker’s Harley’s were still parked in front of the restaurant. Rayyan started one up and gunned the engine! He drove it down the street and sat outside the VFW Hall. Zayan and Aaban both pulled up next to him, and they all three revved their engines.

Inside, the sound immediately caught the biker’s attention. One of them was dead, and another was badly wounded. Three innocent hostages were killed by errant bullets. The remaining four Mongols roared in anger and charged out the front door…into a hail of gunfire!

The next day.

Sheriff Winter’s got help in time by the town doctor, who was able to stabilize him and have him transported to the country hospital in nearby Turnsville. County police and the FBI were all over the town talking to witnesses and processing the crime scenes.

Mayor Corning was visiting Rosco when he handed him a piece of paper. It was the warrant.

“What about this,” he asked.

Rosco took it, and tore it in half.

“It’s about time we quit letting fear rule our lives,” he said.

As It Stands, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said, “There’s nothing to fear, but fear itself.”

Night Missions

I hate it when people interrupt me.

It makes me crazy sometimes.

I live alone in a small one-bedroom house in east Los Angeles. I’m retired Marine Gunny Sgt. Alan Todd Singleton. I try like hell to lead a quiet life. I go to the VFW Hall every afternoon for a beer…or two.

Sometimes the language gets salty when too many beers are consumed and a fight breaks out during these afternoon outings. I’ve lost track of how many morons have interrupted my conversations in the last year, and how many tough guys I punched out for the offense.

But, I have to be careful these days because the management is threatening to ban me if I get in another fight. I’ve taken to drinking at the bar now, and not at a table with others. I banter with the old Marine bartender, but avoid getting into any lengthy conversations with him.

The only reason I go to the VFW is to remind myself that I can be sociable. A normal guy. It’s a way to keep in touch with the human race without getting too intimate with anyone. I have too many secrets. Too many things that burden my conscience.

It’s the nights that are really bad for me.

Things happen. Violent things. My memories of my night excursions are almost always vague the next day. A convoluted series of snapshots and conversations. Sometimes I have to clean blood off my arms, face, and clothing – which I usually just burn.

One thing is terrifyingly clear; I hunt humans at night. I never stopped after coming back from my third tour-of-duty in the Nam. That was in 1970, and this is 2018. I’ve lived all over the United States these last few decades.

You can see why I would have to keep moving. Too many deaths in one area over a period of time attracts too much heat. The cops set up taskforces and the pickings get slim. Then it’s time to move.

I’ve managed to last a year here in east LA, but I suspect my time is coming to an end. Maybe forever. Skill and dumb luck will only take a man so far. I’ve beaten the odds thus far. I know that.

Especially after last night. The weird thing is I remember almost everything that happened.

I was walking aimlessly on North Eastern Avenue near the Santa Ana freeway, when three home-boys stepped out of a front-yard and blocked my path on the sidewalk. They laughed and flashed gang signs at me.

I couldn’t understand what they were saying. I never took Spanish in high school.

The volume of their curses rose and they all three pulled out their switchblades – slowly swaying them in front of me. I grabbed the first wrist, twisted it, took the knife, and slashed the gangster’s throat!

It wasn’t like I moved that fast, but I never wasted a move, and immediately grabbed the arm and wrist of the second assailant, twisting and breaking it like a twig. The third attacker lunged, as I threw the second down one down with a judo move.

I moved sidewise and let his momentum carry him by me…off balance. Then I tripped him and watched him hit the concrete sidewalk with a thick thud. His neck was twisted at an odd angle and partly hanging off the curb, when I turned my attention back onto the last remaining attacker.

He was crying and holding his broken arm, and didn’t put up any resistance when I put him in a chokehold and snapped his neck like a dry branch. No one came out of the houses. I was alone with three dead men, and thinking, “Mission accomplished.”

I think it’s time to go. The media is blasting about last night’s murders. Cops are as thick as fleas in my neighborhood this morning. Groups of  angry, and probably scared, gangsters are patrolling the hood…looking for answers. Looking for me.

A week later. Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

It was easy finding a VFW chapter with it’s own hall here. Lots of old military farts like me come to retire. Ex-Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force. We all like living in the sun. Keeps our old bones warm.

I wonder if there are any others like me out there that still carry out night missions?

I’ll tell right now…I wouldn’t be surprised if there were. I haven’t met one yet, but it seems like I can’t be the only trained killer in America that continued his craft after leaving the military.

I don’t mean by going to work as a mercenary or glamor bodyguard. I mean regular guys like me that chose to stay out of the limelight…and hunt. Guys who don’t need an audience when they slay their prey.

True hunters, like myself. Think about it.

As It Stands, as a veteran, I’m always exploring issues that deal with the military.

Trouble In No Hope

Folks in No Hope, Kansas, were clannish.

Like many small rural towns across America, everyone knew everyone else’s business. The population had been on a decline for years, and now, in 1933, there was only 1236 residents on the county books.

It was a tough year for everyone. For the second year in a row the U.S. mint didn’t bother making nickels because circulation was so low. Strangers were always passing through town. Most were on their way to California, hoping to get jobs there.

The town mayor, who had gout so bad he sat most of the time, was “Big Bob” Carmody. He knew everyone, and where their skeletons were hidden. He always made a point of having the sheriff urge people to move on when they passed through.

No Hope, unlike other towns, discouraged visitors. It made no attempt at beautification and never held celebrations, regardless of the time of year. There were no children. Most of the people there were “getting on” in age.

Big Bob and the local sheriff, Orville Landletter, were the youngest people in town. Both were in their early 30s. They were the sons of lifetime residents who could trace their family history back to the town’s founding in 1833.

The two men were like brothers, having grown up together in No Hope. Orville’s tall and willowy frame stood in stark contrast to Big Bob’s girth and height. Some folks in town kidded them and said they looked a lot like Laura and Hardy.

There was nothing funny about a recent development in town that shook everyone to the core today however.

Murder. Old man Swenson was found with his neck slashed from ear-to-ear, in a rocking chair in his apartment.

Orville, who never had to deal with anything nearly this bad in his life, stumbled around the apartment looking for clues after the body was taken away. He was having trouble pushing that picture of the terrible wound from his mind. It looked like a hideous mockery of a smile.

There was a well-attended town hall meeting that night. Big Bob did his best to ease people’s fears while Orville stood silently at his side trying to look positive. Not counting himself and Big Bob, that left 1234 suspects.

The meeting lasted long into the night. It was daylight by the time everyone left. Grumbling and afraid.

Two days later, Mary Jane Watkins and her husband James were discovered hanging from the bell tower of the church. Their chests were cut open and still sticky blood soaked their clothing, congealing on the floor below.

Folks pulled out their old revolvers and shotguns and took to carrying them around town after that. Sheriff Orville deputized a half-dozen men and tasked them with finding the killer…or killers.

Three days later when Orville went to the saloon to grab an early stiffening shot of whiskey for the day, he found Sam the bartender laid out on the bar. His eyes were missing and his head was barely connected to his neck!

After that Big Bob warned everyone to travel in pairs and avoid being alone until the killer was caught. County marshals offered their help in investigating the case, but Sheriff Orville politely declined. He could take care of it, but appreciated their offer.

Privately, Big Bob and Orville were baffled. The murders were random. No clues were left behind. No citizen was able to provide any help in solving the senseless slaughters. Doors that were already locked, got padlocks added to them.

For most of his life Benjamin Bottoms was ignored by children and adults. He was born “slow,” folks said to strangers when they asked why he stood there drooling outside the barber shop. Benny was never quite right. He was short, on the stout side, moody, but generally sociable.

Who knows what goes through the mind of a man like Benny? What motivates them? What causes them to act violently? Maybe it was the death of his mother six months ago by natural causes. He was left alone because his father died many years ago when he was younger.

Folks came by to see if he needed anything since her passing. Benny was always grateful, but become reclusive. The visits had slowed down to a stop last month.

A powerful underflow of anger was coursing through Benny’s veins, and the neurons in his brain. Who knows how many days it took before Benny started acting out violently or when he began going into murderous trances?

One thing was for sure; Benny became another person who could kill and then cover it up, before reverting back to his normally placid self.

The murders might have gone on for years, but for a lucky break one night.

While on patrol, Orville saw Benny in the back alley of the general store and called out to him. Benny ignored him, and went inside the back door of the store. Something connected in Orville’s head and he ran toward the open door.

When Orville burst inside he saw the store owner Grant Livingston struggling with Benny who had a hunting knife in his hand! It was apparent old man Livingston was going to lose that battle, and Mrs. Livingston was on the floor unconscious.

Orville pulled out his service revolver, the one that once belonged to his grandfather, and shot Benny in the back twice. Old man Livingston sunk to the floor. Benny turned around and looked at Orville with surprise in his eyes.

He took a step towards Orville, who fired again.

The next day the townsfolk got together and agreed to bury Benny by his parents, even though he was a murderer. He was, after all, one of their own.

As It Stands, call it a case of tribalism gone bad.

Sharky’s Story: A Tale Of Catch and Don’t Release

I’m real. I could be your neighbor.

The streets of New York are rivers stocked with fish/pedestrians from all over the planet.

They flow north and south during certain times of the day. The rivers going east and west are the busiest and best for hunting.

I am a fresh water shark stalking my prey every day. I know every little outlet and cove where my prey tries to hide. My predator blood boils when I sense fear. It’s like an intoxicant.

I see red. Then I drink the red. Then I go home and sleep soundly until my hunger awakens me again.

You should know that I’m not a vampire. That’s a supernatural being. I’m real. I could be your neighbor. I could be a greeter at Walmart. Or, your neighborhood Postman.

I like to play billiards. You’ll never guess what my nickname is at Al’s Pool Emporium. Give up?

It’s Sharky!

I use to be a sailor in the US Navy. That was years ago when I was still growing my shark teeth. They got sharper in every dream I had, until the day came when I got my first kill. It was swift and savage!

One moment I was talking to one of the ship’s cooks on the fantail, and the next I was choking him to death. What came next surprised even me. I bit his neck. Once, twice, three times, trying to pierce the skin to draw his still pumping blood.

But my teeth weren’t sharp enough. So I used the cook’s own pocketknife to slit his throat. I’ll never forget the awesome surge that coursed through my body when I sucked that thick hot blood from the open wound.

Afterwards, I tossed the body overboard.

That’s really when I became Sharky. The billiards thing came later.

I became a land shark when I got out of the Navy. I returned to my native waters in Manhattan and set up shop as a computer repair wiz. There turned out to be so much business, that I had to hire an assistant to keep up with it. Then another person.

Before I knew it, I had a nice office building with a dozen employees and was making a million dollars in my first year of business. It was all too easy. I grew bored with my success and hired someone to manage the business for me.

I was free to pursue other activities. Like swimming in the streets of New York in search of tasty fish.

I prepared for my prey this time by sharpening my front teeth – upper and lower – until they came to sharp little points. I disguised them with a set of false teeth that fitted tightly over them.

Sometimes I pick my victims at the pool hall. I never know who the catch will be. That’s the thrill of it. I could play pool with a dozen different people without knowing which one’s blood I get to taste that night.

When I feel more adventuresome, I silently swim through the schools of pedestrians on their way home from work, or towards those night-owls seeking entertainment in the theatre district.

It’s been like this for thirteen years. Right up until a clever group of cops caught me red-handed. Literally. So I’m sitting here in jail waiting to see what happens. It’s really boring.

That’s why I’m telling you my story.

Who knows what these fisherman of evil souls will do? As a shark, I expect no mercy. As a man, I’ll act crazy and see if that’ll save me.

As It Stands, this tale of  catch and don’t release, is a reminder that the mentally ill in America today need help…before horrible things like the shootings at Parkland High School in Florida happen again.

Stolen Souls

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During the American Civil War photography was still in its infancy.

The men who photo-documented it would forever be assured a place in photography history.

Men like Mathew Brady, Alexander Gardner, Timothy O’Sullivan, James Gibson, George Barnard, James Gardner and William Pywell, covered all of the war’s struggles and camp life.

There was one photographer however, Weldon Wall, whose works during the war between the states were all destroyed just after the war in 1866.

He sometimes shared his photos of dead bodies during the war with amorphous beings rising from them.

His peers thought it was trickery and blasted him for re-touching the images which they suspected he was going to sell to their grieving relatives. Actually, it was much worse than that.

Wall, a loner, didn’t have an assistant, so it took him even longer to process the images, feeding the rumors. His wagon was always well away from the others and he never associated with them, despite numerous invitations.

These intrepid men with their traveling labs recorded the bloody fields of Antietam to Gettysburg. Their daguerreotypes, unlike Wall’s, were destined to be viewed for generations.

Wall, a physic vampire, never attempted to sell his collection. Each of the photos represented stolen souls. They were caught at just the right time escaping the bodies. His work was more diabolical than anyone could have guessed.

He kept the photos locked up in a steamer chest. His plan was to capture as many souls as possible before the carnage was over in order to make a deal with the devil. He wanted immortality, something a physic vampire could only achieve by making a deal with the Great Deceiver.

After the Union victory, Wall went back to his hometown of New York with his collection of over 3,000 photos. He kept them in the bedroom of his rented apartment. The moans of the trapped souls were a lullaby to his ears.

He waited patiently for the devil to contact him after performing the rituals required to summon him. He repeated the ritual every day. The soul’s groans would also help attract the Dark Lord.

The night finally came when the devil appeared in Wall’s apartment.

At first, the devil was amused at Wall’s sheer audacity and listened to his proposal. By the time he was done speaking the devil had heard enough. The fool really thought he could dictate terms to him!

Wall had opened the steamer trunk and was standing beside it expectantly as he waited for a response.

The crude fire brigade did their best to save the apartment building but it was engulfed in such intense flames they could only retreat and stand back and watch.

The next day the newspaper had a short story on the front page about the mysterious fire and speculated that a photographer might have accidently started it when developing a photo.

As It Stands, the devil will always get his due.

The ‘Thrill Pill’ Man’s Gamble

 

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2194 – New York City

For the first time in mankind’s history, there were no wars on earth.

Peace reigned, thanks to technological advances and genetics. Poverty no longer existed. There was enough food and housing for all. There was one worldwide government led by a president who served a 10-year term.

Crime was non-existent. The factors that led to crime were eliminated from the collective DNA of most of the people on earth through 100 years of genetic engineering. But not all of them.

There were the unaffected, whose DNA was post 100-years ago pure Homo sapiens. They experienced emotional ups and downs, unlike the rest of the sedated world population. These outcasts lived in the fringes of the cities.

In the sewer systems and old subway tunnels mostly, but also in the massive landfills.

Above ground, as each person drove or walked to work, there was strict order. Routines ingrained in each brain. No road rage. No late trains. No violent crime. No guns or weapons of any kind.

Romance was gone, replaced by a passionless urge to procreate. There were no sports teams. There was no competition anywhere in the new global society. Conversations were casual and without complaints. Everyone had a place in the new world order.

Everyone but the outcasts, of course.

Despite being outcasts, they had a functioning society of their own. It wasn’t always pretty, but was crudely effective. In it, there were scientists who managed to operate in temporary labs located in the long abandoned subway tunnels.

The New York outcasts had no way of knowing if there were others like them hiding in cities around the world. Their world was defined by underground tunnels and landfills. If they were caught above ground they’d be gently restrained, their DNA tested, and then executing by lethal injection.

Among those scientists was a man named, Abraham Orlins, who was considered the most intelligent and creative among them. After years of experimenting, Abraham came up with a “thrill pill.”

It was part of his, and his colleagues master plan, to regain their place above ground once more. The pills, that only worked on humans missing certain DNA markers, were a one-hour realistic, exciting, experience that left the taker forever changed.

The emotional charge was addicting. Just like he knew it would be.

The pills were water-soluble allowing them to be used two ways; swallowed whole, or dissolved in a liquid.

After discussing the pill’s properties, the small group of scientists decided to put the first batch into the city’s water system. The complex system relied on a combination of tunnels, aqueducts, and reservoirs to meet the city’s daily needs.

Abraham and one of his colleagues, Clive Warner, were picked to deliver “Abe’s Thrill Pills” as they were darkly dubbed, to the nearest reservoir. As soon as it was dark outside they surfaced and headed for the reservoir.

Just before the sun rose, the two men returned, tired but triumphant.

It took longer than they thought. They observed the daily traffic above for several days before the first incident happened.

A speeding car slammed into the rear end of a delivery truck. Both drivers got out of their vehicles and fought like two honey-badgers to the horror of the onlookers!

By the next day, traffic was no longer flowing. The streets were clogged with abandoned vehicles. Arguments and fights broke out in the boardrooms of the skyscrapers and in the grocery stores.

As visitors came to New York and were exposed to the water, they didn’t want to leave. A growing awareness among the residents that it was the water which gave them their thrills resulted in entrepreneurs bottling it and selling it worldwide.

No one knew how to stop the spread of growing violence. Armed groups of angry men were seen beating and robbing innocent people. On the other hand, passion and romance attracted everyone – angry or not.

Abraham continued to pour his Thrill Pills into the waterways, and even managed to get them to people who were happy to sell them for profit. One entrepreneur passed them out as party favors during a government function for members of the new world order and the President.

Excitement grew among the underground community of New York. Abraham and the scientists had come forward and told them what was happening.

“Soon, my brothers and sisters, we’ll be welcomed with open arms and will assume our place above ground, the way it was intended to be,” Abraham assured the underground community.

Six months later the first nuke hit New York City.

As It Stands, my cynicism about humanity often creeps into these short narratives.