When a tsunami takes out most of the coastal cities on the west coast, a “white-only” town is faced with a swarm of refugees at their front gates. But between a car bomb, a kidnapping and an assassination, being ‘tolerant’ just might be a little too much to ask…
Written by Gregory Patrick Travers
For as long as I lived in The Grid, I rarely ever thought about my life before it. Living there was my world and in it I was happy. To me, the outside didn’t even exist. It wasn’t until I stood lined up among my brothers in arms, holding a loaded AK-47 and preparing to defend our borders, to the death if need be, that I stopped to reflect back on how it all began.
I was twenty-eight and living in a place called Surrey, British Columbia when I heard about John O’Heren and The Grid. I didn’t believe it at first, I mean, a city for only white people? It sounded absurd, especially in the midst of what looked to be the death of our people and our culture. I suppose though, the brown people deserved a little credit for how they took over so sneakily. They started by piling three families in a house and working the “shitty” jobs that no one wanted. See, back then no one was threatened by the brown people because they almost felt sorry for these guys who were working at gas stations and driving cabs and were really quiet outnumbered by the whites and central Europeans. But they saved their pennies and before we knew it, they were buying up rental properties and starting to build wealth. More immigrants came, and the ones who had been here already, making money from their properties, hired them on to work for them. Construction companies, Electricians, Basement renovators—all brown owners who employed other brown workers so they could pay them less and by paying them less, charge less for their services and get more business.
It worked. I even remember my mom hiring them to replace the windows on the house.
“It can’t hurt to save a few extra dollars,” she said.
If only she knew how incredibly fucking wrong she was.
By the time I was twenty, our whole neighborhood was flooded with hijabs and turbans. All the Irish pubs and Italian restaurants turned to middle eastern cuisine restaurants that didn’t serve alcohol because Muslims don’t drink. That was the first time I realized things had gone too far. Before that I tolerated the broken English, the smell, the hijabs, and the paki dots because we lived in Canada and that is what Canada is all about; allowing people to be free to act, believe, dress and basically do whatever they want. But it wasn’t like that anymore. Now I couldn’t even go for a fucking beer anywhere close to home because all these fucking Muslim restaurants didn’t serve alcohol. So how am I free to do what I want? A Muslim person can go to a restaurant and choose not to drink. I, however, had no choice. My freedoms were slowly being taken away from me.
By the time I was twenty-eight; every municipal government was headed and staffed by middle easterners. Laws against Christian decorations at Christmas came into effect. Bus drivers were allowed to stop their buses during prayer time or whatever the fuck they do four times a day, so getting anywhere took fucking forever. The grocery stores were filled with fucked up foods and that stink was everywhere you went.
Everywhere I went, the brown way of life was shoved down my throat and all my values and traditions that my mom had left to me were being shunned and pushed out the door.
It was then that a friend of mine had told me about this guy named John O’Heren, a millionaire entrepreneur who bought a shit ton of land and created a small city for white people—exclusively. He claimed it was to maintain the survival of the race and no one really made too much of a deal about it. It was far enough up north that not too many people in the city knew about it and the brown people, even if they heard about it, didn’t really care about what some rich guy was doing a thousand miles away.
But I did care. I decided I couldn’t take Surrey anymore and I left. I said goodbye to my mom and then me and my girlfriend Lisa Kim got in my car and headed north.
When we got there, we found out that Lisa wasn’t eligible to find sanctuary because her grandfather was Chinese. A person had to have had at least 3 generations of western European ancestry to be allowed inside The Grid. So what I did, despite what you may think of me afterward, is I said goodbye to her and sent her on her way back home. I did give her my car though and told her she could leave it back at my mom’s place until I had time to come pick it up. I felt bad because I really did like Lisa, but there was no way I was turning back after I made it all the way to the front gates.
After she left, not very happy with me I might add, I was taken in and driven to a camp on the edge of the compound. I waited with twelve other new arrivals to be interviewed and orientated by none other than the millionaire entrepreneur himself, John O’Heren.
Right off the bat, I knew I was going to love it there. John was a hopeful, blue-eyed Irishman with a kind personality and a pure smile. Some people smile and you can see right through the bullshit, but he smiled because he knew he was doing something worthwhile and something worth every penny that had been put into it.
I learned that The Grid was a resource based economy, which means there was no money. All new arrivals had to choose to work in the field of cultivation, construction, technology, customer service or police and fire. Once a profession is chosen the new arrival works two years of general training and then after that is allowed to apply for one of the many sub-occupations in their field. For example, if someone chose construction, they could choose to build houses or make roads. If someone worked in technology, they could work with computers or become an electrician or a mechanic. If service, one could be a bartender or work in the many clothing or supermarket stores. I had always admired my uncle for becoming a farmer, so I chose cultivation.
John chuckled when I chose what I chose and I didn’t know why…until I started my training. Being a farmer is fucking hard. The start times were absurdly early, the labour was intense and working outside meant dealing with extreme weather conditions ten hours a day, five days a week, twelve months a year. I’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t kicking myself for weeks afterward.
But I got used to it and things quickly became routine. To be honest, I was so happy that I had found such a place that even the hard work and early starts were a small price to pay for the debt I owed John O’Heren and The Grid. I didn’t even care that there was mandatory military training for two straight weeks in the coldest of winter…It was all a labour of love to keep our dream alive– To have a place that would be ours forever with no chance that a turban, a hijab or even a pair of fucking chopsticks would ever be seen inside our city’s walls.
The years passed easily and happily. I made a good group of friends on the farm and after my two years of training ended, I applied to herbal remedies and I was accepted. Amongst other things, I grew weed for a living. It was literally a dream come true. I met a beautiful girl who bartended at one of the pubs I frequented and we got married. In a year I had a son and I was a father. I was proud to be able to raise him in a place like The Grid. As far as I was concerned, the outside was for savages.
But then in 2019, there was a massive tsunami that hit the coast of British Columbia and completely took out Vancouver and the coastal cities around it. Many people had gotten out before it hit but, that being said, all those people were now homeless and looking for a place to settle. Of course, the government pressured John, who at this point was an old man and passed his glory days, to open his doors to the people in need. But the old man refused and we stood behind him. I had grown very close with John over the years; he was like a father to me…to us all. If there’s one thing he taught me it’s that the government is not to be trusted.
“They don’t see people,” he said. “They see votes and tax money. That’s why they’ve been letting in 250,000 immigrants a year since 1990 and haven’t let up since. They care for votes and taxes. They don’t give a fuck about us.”
I agreed with him one hundred percent. They never did anything for me except give away our neighborhood and label us as racists when we spoke up about it. The government’s next move was to send in a fancy lawyer who went on about how The Grid was breaking the law by denying the “victims” sanctuary. Still, John refused. He was taken to court and the judges, who were in the pockets of the politicians, demanded he open his gates to the many brown and Asian refugees who lost their home in the tsunami. Still, John refused.
“You can come,” he said. “But we’ll be waiting for you, gun in hand.”
And so just like that, the years of military training in The Grid found themselves use as the whole compound went on high alert and the citizens of The Grid prepared to fight as hard as necessary to prevent our home from being taken like all the others. As I stood at the front gates holding the cool steel of my AK-47, I too was prepared to lay down and die for our cause, our home, our sanctuary…or at the very least, I was prepared to put a bullet in any sand nigger or towel head that tried stepping foot on to The Grid.
I hadn’t been in the waiting room long before John’s daughter called me into his office. I hadn’t been told why he wanted to see me when they got me from my post, so naturally, I was concerned. John stood by the window gazing down onto the city. He dazed off a lot now that he was getting older. It was hard to tell what was going on in that head, if anything. He held a newspaper in his hand, which I noticed right away to be odd. We stayed out of the loop around The Grid; papers and media, they were just lies told to make dollars. It’s one of the many things wrong with capitalism; you have to always be selling people something… Even the news.
I cleared my throat to make myself known, “You wanted to see me, sir?”
John turned from turned from the window and smiled. “Hello, Deacon. How are you today? You looked nervous in the waiting room.”
“Fine, sir. Just trying to stay on my toes out there. How did you know I looked nervous in the waiting room?”
“Oh, I have secret cameras installed throughout all my office. I have never been one for spying on the public, but I like to know everything that’s going on in this building. I’m sure you’re doing just fine, son. The people respect you, look to you for leadership. How’s Beth?”
“She’s good. Still at the bar at nights during the week, but we get to be together on the weekend. Since lockdown, we’ve had more time together…it’s been nice, considering.”
He smiled and nodded, “And your son, Michael?”
“Turning seven in a week.”
He put his hand to his forehead, “Seven! My heavens! How the years pass so quickly.”
“Too fast, sir. I believe there was something you wished to discuss with me?”
He stared down at the paper in his hand, dazing off once again. He began to speak, almost as if to himself, like I wasn’t even there, “They wrote about me in the paper today…the call The Grid a ‘white-supremacy’ group. Never, never…This has been about survival, not supremacy…Now, all the country will think me a monster. Am I not entitled to use my fortunes for my own wishes and desires? The court claims that in time of disaster the federal government has the power to commandeer resources…hijack our food and fresh water and completely shatter our economy…our way of life…Is this what I worked so hard for? To be called a Hitler? We gave them everything; all we asked was to be left alone….it wasn’t enough.”
“Our military is strong, sir. You saw to that and we are grateful to you, for everything you’ve done, you have been like a father to us. Whatever happens, we’ll stand and fight till the last of us falls.”
“Am I wrong to fight? To put the lives of my people in jeopardy for some ideal?”
“I believe so. I believe our ideals are stronger than the individual. Any man on these grounds would lay down gladly for those ideals, sir.”
John rested the paper on his desk and looked back up at me, “Deacon, there is a convoy on the way here containing some military and RCMP, along with some lawyers and politicians and the press behind them. They are going to try to enter the grounds…I want you to speak to them. I want you to tell them that we will use force if need be and if indeed they do try to force their way in, I want you to lead the troops on guard in full defense of The Grid. I pulled you from your post so you could take the next hour to spend with your family.”
“I appreciate that, sir. But what about Alex? He is the superior officer of our battalion; shouldn’t he speak for The Grid?”
“As of an hour ago, Alex Greenley has deserted his position and The Grid. He is scared of the government’s retaliation and unable to perform his duties. He is a coward and will be remembered as such. But you, Deacon, you have never been a coward. You are a brave man and a strong worker, you know just as much about this facility as I. It is time for you to lead.”
“Thank you very much, sir. I won’t let you down.”
“Okay, son, get to it. We’re all counting on you.”
I left the building and headed back to the residence, where Beth was starting supper and Michael was playing with his blocks in the sitting room. They were both too preoccupied to notice me coming in. I slowly stepped into the kitchen and wrapped my arms around her waist. She jolted back, turned and saw me.
She let out a huge sigh of relief. “Jesus, Deacon! Ae you trying to give me a heart attack?”
“Just wanted to surprise you,” I said, planting a kiss on her still bewildered lips.
“Well now that I know that I’m not being kidnapped, I suppose it is a nice change to have you home so early. What is the reason for this blessing on our home? Is the standoff over? Did we win?”
“I wish it were that easy,” I laughed as I picked up Michael and swung him in my arms.
“Dad, no!” he whined. He didn’t like me picking him up anymore. He thought he was too old for that. I put him back to the ground and he raced back to his blocks. He was only seven and it was too early to tell what he would pick when the time came to choose a career, but I swear, with the way he played with those blocks, this guy was heading straight for construction. He was a thicker build, not like his old man. It took me forever to gain weight and no time at all to lose it.
I proceeded to tell Beth about the convoy on its way and about John asking me to be the spokesman of the resistance. Like me, she had mixed emotions. Pride, of course, for being entrusted with such a key role and yet, fear that if it all went as bad as it could go, it would be I who was the first to hang. I had managed to subdue that fear with accepting that this was the price of freedom, but seeing Beth look at me the way she did, well, it broke my heart.
“I need you to be with me on this one, babe,” I said, placing my palm in hers.
She submitted, resting her head on my chest, “Of course we are. We have to fight back. Not for us, but for Michael…If anyone is going to lead the charge, I’m glad it’s you.”
“What do you think Michael, you love your daddy?”
“Dad!” he groaned, “I’m not a baby!”
Beth laughed, “You’ll always be our little baby no matter how big you get!”
I stayed long enough to eat some dinner and kiss my family goodbye. Then I was gone, back to the gates where the rest of the soldiers stood stiff and still as the sun lowered beneath the mountains on the horizon. From our position, we could see the convoy in the far distance slowly making its way up the zigzagging roads.
“What did O’ Heren want?” asked Ben, as I settled back to my post.
Ben was a good friend and a fellow soldier. His views on white survival were a little more extreme than others. Like while John and I believed we could find peace by segregating ourselves, Ben would talk about just taking them out one by one until there was no one but us left. But in his defense, he had more issues with them in the past than I did. His wife was sexually assaulted by a cab driver back in 2003. We had grown close over the years and our wives were probably even closer than we were, so even though he had a violent streak about him, and even though O’Heren had warned me about him on several occasions, we accepted him. He was family.
“Greenly pussied out,” I said. “I just got promoted.”
“Are you serious?” he snorted. “Fucking Greenly, that pussy.”
“You’re looking at your new superior officer. He wants to me to speak to the convoy.”
He put his hand up to his head to salute, “Congratulations, sir. Don’t take no shit from those outsiders.”
When the cars finally pulled up I tried to keep Ben’s advice, “Don’t take no shit,” at heart. I put on my mean mug and walked over to the black Cadillac where an old suit was making his exit.
“I sincerely hope these men have licenses for their firearms,” said the suit.
A fucking lawyer no doubt. I watched as two policemen got out of their cars with their hands on their guns. The army troopers had gotten out of their jeep as well, pointing their automatic weapons right back at ours. One was black and one was brown. It was the first time I had seen their types in years.
“Every one of these men is a licensed bodyguard for John O’Heren who is the owner of this private property you are trespassing on. I advise you and your men to get back in your cars and leave.”
The old suit handed me a paper.
“This is a warrant granted by the federal courts allowing us access to this facility with the purpose of conducting an inventory of all possible resources that may help Canadian citizens survive through this recent disaster.”
“Yes, we have been told this before and just like before our answer remains the same. John O’Heren does not recognize the authority of the court who released these documents. Under section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, we are given immunity from illegal search and seizure of private property and also search without cause. Your presence is an infringement on his rights as a Canadian citizen and you, nor the officers by your side, nor the press hiding in the background over there, will be granted entrance into this private facility. So, please…fuck off, sir.”
I could hear Ben chuckle behind me.
At that point, one of the RCMP officers came and ushered the old suit to the side, while the other officer approached me. I called out to the old man as he left, “You should be on our side of the fence. We don’t push our elderly aside. Here at the Grid, our elderly are teachers, judges, and counsel to our founder John O’Heren!”
“That’s enough,” said the officer standing in front of me. “Now, I get it. No one wants to see their neighbourhood full of minorities, taking all your food and shelter, I get it. I moved out to the Okanagan strictly to get away from the “types” in the big cities. But these people are Canadians and many of them are starving without basic necessities like food and water. Now, it seems you people here at The Grid are doing well for yourselves. I heard you guys have your own water system and your own electric grid, is that true?”
“Yes, sir. We are independently owned and operated. Your leaders didn’t help build this city; they won’t be stealing it either.”
He laughed, “Yes, well unfortunately for you, my leaders are just that…leaders. And you still reside within the borders that are being led by my leaders. And right now my leaders say that I have the right to come in here with these fine military operatives and conduct an inventory of your resources. If you refuse, more men with tanks and guns will be sent on their way here and we will force our way in, do you understand?”
I took a step closer and looked him dead in the eye so he knew I was serious, “We have lots of guns too…and we’re trained better than you are. Do you understand?”
“So you’re willing to take on the whole of the Canadian Armed Forces?”
“If you ask me, those forces should be out there trying to help the Canadian victims you’re speaking about. But if they think their time would be better served starting a civil war to steal some resources, then yes, that is what we are willing to do.”
Behind us, some commotion began. Some reporters were angry that another car had pulled in to the property, passing the press line and coming in our direction.
“I told you to keep the press back!” yelled the RCMP officer.
The car stopped about fifteen or twenty feet away and sat without movement. Seconds later, it exploded into a massive fireball. I remember an intense flash of light and heat, the force of the explosion lifted me from my feet and sent me crashing into the front gates. My ears rang and I couldn’t move, my body was in shock.
Slowly, everything went black and I lost consciousness.
I woke up tied to a chair in an empty barn. I didn’t know where I was, nor who was with me and how long I had been out. The air was hot and dry. I was thirsty and throbbing with pain. My ears still rang from the explosion. Soon after I woke, the barn door chugged open and a muscular black man walked in. The first thing he did was wind back and clock me one hard on the side of my face.
Oh, how I missed getting beat up by black guys.
He leaned close to me, “You’re in a lot of trouble, white boy.”
“What do you want from me? Who are you?”
“We’re the people that are dying of starvation while you eat with full plates. We’re the people you built walls to keep out. The things you want to keep for yourself, we are here to distribute the wealth to the people who need it. And if our demands are not met, I’m going to personally put a bullet in your cracker bitch head.”
“You’re a terrorist…”
He pounded on his chest, “I am a patriot! The government doesn’t give a fuck about us. They used this whole disaster as nothing but a PR campaign. The news brags about how they’ve come to our rescue, but they don’t show the camps! The filth that we live in! The lack of food and water! If I left my fate to the politicians, my kids will have starved by their hand. But—that would make a white boy like you happy, wouldn’t it? One less nigger, huh?”
“Oh, go fuck yourself, buddy. You’re not going to pull that guilt trip shit on me; that’s all you blacks ever do, “life is so rough and everybody is against me”—eat shit. Life’s rough for everyone, you cocksucker. If I’m not mistaken, I’m the one tied to a fucking chair here! Maybe people wouldn’t be so against you if you didn’t always stink eye people like you’re about to whip a piece out, or if you constantly didn’t use racism as a scapegoat for every confrontation you find yourself in, or if you took action and control of your life instead of standing in a welfare line talking about how you got fucked. I did my absolute best to get far enough from you blacks to never have to even be in a room with one of you ever again, and look! You come to my home and kidnap me!”
“Well, now you know how it feels having a race come to your home and steal you away.”
“Wow, a slavery reference from a black person, what a surprise. Meanwhile, you guys all call each other nigger, holding on to the memory of slavery for dear life, because if you ever let it go, then you would just be a normal person and you’d have nobody to blame and point the finger at anymore for the reason your life sucks. Tell me, why aren’t you on a plane back to Africa then? If we’re so fucking bad, please, go back to the motherland! You won’t be missed! No, you won’t go, because that would involve you having to actually do something other than flap those big ass fucking lips of yours.”
He wound up and gave me a hard right, just under my eye. I felt like he cracked my skull but I held in the pain. I wasn’t going to let this asshole see me weep.
“I am doing something about it,” he snarled.
Then he walked out of the barn and shut the door behind him, leaving me alone with my thirst and my pain.
More time went by and I wondered if they were going to let me die of thirst in this barn. I was sure I wouldn’t last much longer without any food or water. When the barn door opened again, it was a woman. I blinked, I didn’t believe who I was seeing was truly there. I thought it for sure a hallucination brought on by dehydration. But it was her. Though age had taken much of the innocence from her eyes, replacing it will a cold, calculating stare, Lisa Kim hadn’t changed much. I wasn’t sure if seeing her was a good thing or a bad thing, considering how we parted ways.
She spoke first, “Do you remember me?”
“Of course I do…Lisa, why are you with these people? What’s going on?”
“I joined after my daughter was trampled at the camps…She’s dead now.”
“I’m sorry,” I said. “That’s terrible.”
“Do you have kids?” she asked.
“I do. I have a son, Michael. I would like to see him again…if you aren’t going to kill me.”
“We’re not asking for much. The water and food rations we asked to be put up for your return have been fair. We are just trying to survive, Deacon. Please, understand that…If you could see past your racism—“
“Will you stop with the racism shit already? We’re not supposed to be around each other. It’s natural to have pride and comfort in your kind and be wary of the others. The New World was an experiment and it was the unnaturality, not the other way around. People had homes…they had countries. The Irish lived in Ireland, the Scottish lived in Scotland, the Italians lived in Italy, the Indians lived in India and the Africans lived in Africa. Now we’re all across the ocean getting fried in the same pot. Well, it’s not natural! And your government hasn’t owned up to the risks it has taken…Can’t even take care of all the people they’ve let in…Now you’re knocking on OUR DOOR?! And I’M THE VILLAIN HERE?!”
“You better hope they take our terms,” she said viciously. Then she left and again I was alone.
Later that night she came in once again, accompanied by my angry black friend, who pointed a gun at my head while she untied me so I could eat a little food and drink a little water. I can’t say I didn’t think about choking her to death the second I was free, but for Michael’s sake, I behaved. Besides, if I didn’t eat something soon I was going to die anyway.
When I finished my bread, fish, and water, they took my plates and tied me up once again. After they left it didn’t take long for me to fall asleep. I was satisfied by my small meal and felt I couldn’t do much but get into trouble being conscious.
I was woken up early the next morning by Lisa and the black man. The sun had just risen and the smell of damp grass still fueled the air. They freed me from my chair and ushered me outside to their camp, where another six people, mainly men, one other woman, were loading guns and getting ready for some kind of offensive. Practically every one of them was a different minority; Asians, Blacks, Browns, Spanish, Mexican, Filipino…Such a multicultural domestic terrorist cell.
Must be Canadian, I thought to myself. Ben would have had a good laugh at that.
They didn’t pay much attention to me as I was shoved in the back of a van and locked in, much like a dog on his way to the pound, not knowing if I was going home or out to the woods to be shot.
“Where are you taking me?” I asked as we started driving.
“We’ve negotiated a trade for you,” said Lisa from behind the air holes. “Looks like we won’t be killing you after all. Sit tight.”
I sat back down on the cold steel of the van and waited. I wondered what was happening back at The Grid and if anyone had been badly hurt in the explosion. I thought about my son and my wife, hoping they knew I was okay. It was actually a really calming feeling knowing that I was heading back to The Grid…that is until a thunderous crash sent us off the road and me, without a seatbelt, bouncing around the back of the van like a rubber ball. Moments later there were screams from the front, then I heard a door open and two shots go off. POP! POP!
I was disorientated from the crash and at that point, despite my suspicions, I didn’t really know what was going on. I sat there waiting for sounds to direct me…but there was nothing. Then, the back doors to the van swung open and I stared back at two armed men. White men.
“Come with us,” said one of them. “You’re safe now.”
I knew right away these were members of a white supremacist militia cell. Between the Nazi tattoos and the bald heads; you would be a fool to think anything but.
In The Grid, white supremacists were not welcome. We did not believe that we as white people were above anyone. We just had the foresight to see that people are happier when they are amongst their own race. Sure, we’ve been labeled as racists and that’s fine. People could say whatever they want till they’re blue in the face….just stay the fuck out of The Grid. John had been approached by many of these supremacist groups since The Grids inception, asking to be a part of it, to make The Grid like a Mecca for white people. John refused. Good on him. The only thing hate breeds is more hate
“Come on! Let’s go!” said the other one.
I did what they said and followed them out of the van. As we turned the corner, I saw Lisa on the ground, shot and dead. I pretended like I hadn’t noticed or cared. I didn’t want to put any doubts in the heads of my captors that I was anything but unsympathetic. But inside I felt my stomach twist and my head get dizzy. Just like that, she was dead…I couldn’t believe it. Yeah, she was in some risky business as of late because of the tsunami and the death of her daughter, but when things were good, she was the sweetest girl you could ever know. Hell, if she hadn’t had a Chinese grandfather it might have been her that I married and it would be her sitting at home waiting on my return instead of dead in a dirt road out in the middle of nowhere. She would be eaten or decomposed before someone ever discovered her.
I put it out of my mind and focused on the importance of the present. We got into a waiting jeep about fifty yards from the accident site and started driving. Once we had gotten far enough away my captors started to relax and introduced themselves.
They belonged to a cell called the “Underworld Saints”. I was no stranger to the Saints; they had gangs all across Canada and even into the United States. Most of the weed, cocaine, and guns that were used in the country touched their hands at one point or another. John O’Heren had many times been more worried of the Saints than of the RCMP, mainly because the RCMP had to do things by law, which was civil. There are far less casualties when a dispute is a civil one. The Underworld Saints, however, were a whole other story altogether. They killed without regret and that day Lisa Kim and the black man had to find that out first hand, unfortunately. So I listened to them and made them as comfortable as possible until I could get back to The Grid where I had an army and guns. The Saints don’t like to kill their own…but they will.
When we pulled up to the front gates, which were still peppered with our soldiers and even a few militaries, Ben came over to the car to meet us. When he saw it was me and that I was accompanied by the two Saints, his serious face broke into a smile.
“Well looky fucking here,” he said. “They said you were coming in with a nigger. These boys don’t look like no niggers.”
“That nigger and the chink bitch won’t be coming round anytime time soon,” laughed the driver.
“They want to talk to John,” I said. “Can you let us through?”
“He’s in a meeting with that lawyer fuck dick right now, working on the terms to dip into our water supply, those cunt rats. After you got nabbed, John just broke, he barely even negotiated. One of those RCMP officers died in the explosion and the feds dropped the hammer. I guess the old man got scared. It’s fucking horrible; they are starting to set up a camp in the northeast sector to house about two hundred of these niggers and Muslims. Can you believe that shit?”
“It’s fucking disgusting,” said the one in the passenger seat.
I wasn’t really too happy with what Ben was telling me either, but I wasn’t about to start freaking out until I talked with John and got filled in personally.
“Can I see my wife and son now, please?” I asked impatiently.
Ben’s walky-talky went off and he stepped away for a moment. When he came back he said, “The Lawyer is coming out. Head up to O’Heren and get debriefed. Take these fine young gentlemen with you…It’s great to have you back, brother.”
“Thanks,” I said.
The gate opened and we coasted inside. It felt great passing through those gates into The Grid. I was a lot more relaxed now that we were back on my home turf. The Saints had a lot less power here. If anything it was now them who felt a little uneasy in their surroundings.
We drove through the strip, through the main market and down to headquarters, where more of our men and the military were on guard. Once we were cleared they sent us up to John.
His daughter, Ginger, welcomed us in. “Mr.O’Heren would like to see Deacon privately before he speaks with you gentlemen, okay? You can just have a seat while you wait.”
They sat down and Ginger ushered me into the office, closing the door behind her. John smiled and came over to me so he could give me a hug.
“I’m glad you’re okay, son,” he said. “Tell me everything.”
As he requested, I told him everything: From being kidnapped by Lisa Kim and her band of multicultural bandits, to their plans to exchange my well-being for resources, to the Underworld Saints crashing into the van, killing Lisa and the black man.
John stared out the window, a comforting sight I thought I might never see again.
“While I am grateful these men have returned you safely, I fear they may have started a chain of vengeance. Now, of all times, we need to distance ourselves from extremists and their ideologies. I would have gladly paid the ransom if it would have kept the peace. “
“Speaking of resources, sir, I can’t say that I am happy about the camps in the northeast.”
“I can’t say that I am either,” he replied, his eyes lost out the window. “But it’s only temporary. One has to learn when to attack and when to bide his time. We are outnumbered in our efforts. To go to war now would ruin the chance for our future. Do you understand?”
“Good. Now get back to your wife and son and let me deal with the thugs. They, no doubt, have ideas of how to cash in the favor we owe them after your safe return…I will have to let them down gently, I suppose. But I want you to take tomorrow off as well. Get some rest. Relax.”
“Are you sure you don’t want me to stay here? Just in case?”
“These boys wouldn’t dream of hurting me. They’re not that stupid. Go on…”
He didn’t have to tell me twice. I was already halfway out the door.
Beth and Michael were waiting by the front door of our place when I arrived. I’m not usually very out front with my emotions, but seeing them there at the front steps, smiling and waving, well…I just started to weep like a little girl.
I would be lying if I said that there weren’t moments when I was kidnapped that I thought I might never be making it home to see what I was seeing. I dropped to my knees and wrapped my arm around Beth’s waist, the other arm pulling my son in with us. He was sobbing too. It’s hard to tell your kid to be tough when you got the waterworks going just as bad as he does.
“I missed you, dad. I thought you were going to die…” he cried.
I squeezed him tight. “You don’t need to be scared anymore…it’s so good to see you.”
I got up to my knees and planted a long-awaited kiss on my wife’s cherry lips. “And mommy too.”
She smiled, trying to talk between the onslaught of kisses I was raining down on her.
“Mommy was scared too, y’know,” she said. “I’ve never stress cooked so much in my life. I hope you’re hungry.”
I was starving. We went inside and I ate like a dog and then, just like a dog, I curled up into a ball and fell asleep by the warm fire with my favorite blanket and the soft breath of my wife on the back of my neck.
I woke up the next morning feeling refreshed. Beth sat on top of me, ready to play. I winced, still sore from the beatings I took back in the barn.
“I don’t know, babe,” I said. “I’m pretty hurting over here…”
Her eyes widened as if she was hit with a brilliant idea. Then her head sunk below the covers and I heard her whisper, “Don’t worry…I’ll be gentle.”
When I finally came out of the bedroom, leaving Beth to get dressed, Michael was staring out the front window, his mouth drooped open.
“What is it, Mikey?” I asked as I put the kettle on. He didn’t answer so I walked over to see what had him so distracted.
It was trucks, four of them, kicking up dust as they came barreling through the residents carrying the first wave of refugees on their flatbeds to the northeast sector. Michael had never seen black people or brown people or Asian people before, so it was cute seeing him press his face against the glass like it was some kind of parade.
Some of the neighbours came out of their houses and watched the parade too, but they were a lot less entertained. I’m sure if the trucks hadn’t been followed by military personnel, some rocks or blunt objects would be getting tossed—at least. It seemed Michael was the only one on The Grid who was happy about our new visitors.
He looked up to me, “Dad, mom says that people have different skin because of where they come from. Is that true?”
“They think so. Because in places like Africa it is very hot and the sun is very strong, so in order to survive, god gave them darker skin that can handle the weather better.”
“But it gets really cold here,” he said. “Wouldn’t it be better if God gave them skin like ours?”
Kids, huh? They say the craziest shit.
“Maybe so, buddy,” I replied. “Maybe so.”
Beth came out soon after and we ate breakfast. I usually miss breakfast because I’m out in the fields before sun up. I was grateful to John for letting me take the day to spend with the family. Everything had been so tense lately; it was nice to be able to start being normal again.
The standoff with the government was over and though I wasn’t necessarily happy about our new residents in the northeast, at least it would only be temporary and they would be confined to the camps. It seemed to me like the worst of it all had passed.
The rest of the day was filled with laughter and games and finally, when the sun was starting to slip behind the horizon, we lit a fire and sat on the couch while I read a story aloud from Peter Miller, one of my favorite authors. It was a ghost story, Michael’s favorite. We must have been into it because we all jumped out of our seats and nearly screamed, when about halfway through we heard a loud bang at the front door.
Then another three followed quickly, bang! Bang! BANG!
A voice started to yell. It was Ben.
I wiggled out from underneath Beth and ran to the door. Ben looked hysterical.
“What’s wrong?” I asked. “What happened?”
“They killed him…” he sobbed.
“Who? Who killed who?”
“O’Heren, man! They shot John!”
By the time Ben and I pulled up to the headquarters, the army unit that had been guarding the building was bringing John’s body out to an ambulance. A perimeter had been sealed, though an angry crowd was already starting to gather around it. I pushed my way through and when I got to the front, one of my men let me passed the barricade and escorted me inside.
Ben had filled me in the best he could but he was pretty panicky and wasn’t making much sense. The officer for the RCMP that had responded, Zack Wesson, filled me in on the rest. He took me down the hallway to the elevator. Inside the elevator, there was a spray-painted emblem of a snake slithered around a triple-beam, which the detective said belonged to a refugee extremist group called the Third-Hand. The emblem looked familiar. It had been spray-painted inside the barn I was captive in and also tattooed on the big black guy’s forearm. I had a good view of it when he was punching me in the face.
It was quickly starting to look like John was killed as revenge for what happened to Lisa and the black man; the vengeance that he had warned me about. I couldn’t reveal what I knew to the police though. Not unless I wanted to get wrapped up in a double murder investigation. Besides, it was a rule in The Grid that we take our problems to John and the Elders. We didn’t need cops. I played it cool but inside my blood boiled with rage.
Those cock sucking motherfuckers are going to die slow for this, I thought to myself.
I found Ginger, who was now the owner of The Grid in her father’s absents, to find out my orders. She was still in shock but ordered a full lockdown of The Grid and every single refugee interrogated. I brought down the orders to my men, who immediately begun the lockdown whilst me and Ben headed to the northeast sector to begin interrogations, armed and ready to find some answers.
“This is what happens when we let the government in The Grid!” Ben yelled as we sped through the dark sandy roads. “First they let those towel-monkeys in and the next thing you know, John is dead. We should kill every last one of these pricks tonight!”
I told him about the symbol in the elevator and how the kidnappers used the same emblem.
“It was them!” he cried. “Those fucks! That’s it, this is fucking war! We gotta kill every last one of those cocksuckers!”
“If we do that, the army will come down on us,” I said. “The Grid will be shut down indefinitely and the future of this place will be lost.”
“So? Fuck the government! We’ll take them on too! It’s time to fight back! It’s time for a revolution! It’s time to take back our country!”
I laughed at the idea. “We don’t have the numbers, the guns, or the money to make that happen. I know you’re upset about O’Heren but you’re talking crazy.”
“It’s not crazy. Think about it, if we get the Saints on our side? You know they want in. They have massive numbers, an arsenal at the ready and all kinds of money.”
“Dirty money. Drug money and murder money,” I said. “O’Heren avoided being in their debt for a reason, Ben.”
“Well, maybe if O’Heren had been in their debt, he wouldn’t be fucking dead right now!”
“Watch your mouth,” I said. “Have some fucking respect.”
He huffed and turned away. We drove the rest of the way in silence. You should know that although I shot down the idea of becoming allies with the Saints, most of me did agree with what Ben was saying. If we didn’t fight back now it might mean the end of all the conservation efforts John worked so hard and spent so much money to create. The Saints could give us a fighting chance to sustain an actual revolution and, once the ball started rolling, who knows the kind of support we could get. We could really make a difference on immigration reform in this country. As Ben said, we could take our country back.
During interrogations, there was no mercy. Everyone we questioned was the potential key to finding the Third Hand and the murderer of the man who was the closest thing to a father I ever had. We pressured hard for information and didn’t spare the rod if we suspected dishonesty.
Just being in that small room with one brown person after another, it made me remember how much they sickened me. Their smell, how they blankly stare at you with their beady eyes, their droopy lips, flat noses, and dirty bushy eyebrows…I’d much rather they all had a bag over their head. In fact, if we thought anyone was holding back on their answers, they did get a bag over their head. A plastic one. And we suffocated them within an inch of their life until they told us everything. We went easier on the women but they got it too if we thought they were giving us the runaround. Most of them barely spoke English though had been living in the country for upwards of ten years. I had no sympathy for them. They understood exactly what I was saying after a few belt whips with my buckle.
After hours of this, we ascertained the location of one of the main camps for the Third-Hand. I brought the information up to Ginger who was still grieving, silent and alone in her father’s office—her office now.
I informed her on everything we had put together and advised strongly that we follow the lead to the Third-Hand camps.
She was on the fence, “I just don’t know why they would attack us after my father agreed to their terms…If only I could have been a fly on the wall when they came in here for him…”
Suddenly it hit me, “That’s it!”
“What’s it?” she asked.
“I was here a few days ago and John told me that there were secret cameras installed in this office! In the whole building! I can’t believe I didn’t think of this sooner!”
We immediately set forth through the office, rustling through papers and drawers, looking for where his playback monitors might be. We searched for about twenty minutes but eventually grew hopeless in our pursuit. We were about to give up when I went to the liquor cabinet to pour Ginger and I a drink, and the bottle I was tugging at tipped towards me and, like a secret lever in the movies, it triggered a painting to raise from its spot on the north wall, revealing a hidden compartment in which an intricate security monitoring system slid out on some kind of hydraulic device. It was like something out of Indiana Jones. Ginger and I looked at each other, our jaws flapped open. We found it.
It took a little time to figure out the system but when we finally did sync up the footage of John’s murder, the killer wasn’t at all who we had suspected. The gunmen were not part of the Third-Hand militia—they were the two Saints that had brought me back to the camp after the crash. They were the Saints who killed Lisa Kim and the black man. Suddenly it all made sense. They knew that if I thought the refugees had killed John, I would be likely to form a partnership with the supremacists. They thought they could trick me into joining them by framing the ones I was already suspicious of. The only thing I couldn’t figure out was how they got passed the gates. Someone had to have let them in.
“It was me,” said a familiar voice behind me, followed by the distinct sound of a safety being disarmed. Slowly and carefully I turned around. It was Ben.
He smiled, “Wasn’t counting on hidden cameras…woops.”
“Oh shut up, Deacon! Sorry, “superior officer” Deacon…what a crock of shit. He always liked you more than he liked me. I was different than you two. You both were weak, you let the government and the outsiders dictate your decisions –just like the cowards who gave this country away to the fucking animals. You bow down for these niggers and Muslims out of some false placed guilt or compassion. In your own self-loathing you have let them outsource our jobs, overpopulate our cities and pollute our bloodlines and our churches! Well, no more! I am the Archangel Michael here to smite down the enemies of our Lord and his son Jesus Christ!”
BANG! BANG! Two shots went off. But to my surprise, it was not his gun that fired. As he fell lifeless to the floor, I saw Beth standing behind him, shaking, with my .45 caliber pistol clenched in her hand, still smoking.
“Say hi to Jesus for me,” she said as she let the gun fall to her side.
I came over to her and held her close as she started to cry. It’s never easy to take a life, especially one that had been so close to you for so long…but if she hadn’t, well, it would have been me who caught the bullet. All I could do was hold her close and tell her everything was going to be okay.
After that night things slowly began to fall back into normalcy. We gave the footage of the Saints murdering John to the RCMP officer, Zack Wesson. He was appreciative. They still haven’t made any arrests, I don’t know if they ever will. The Saints’ arm of power stretches far and long. But I do know what will happen if they ever come around the Grid again. I think they do too.
The refugees were allowed to stay for one year and once a lot of the damage had been fixed from the tsunami, they slowly began to leave. After that, many of the rations on food and water were lifted and life went back to much like it was before the disaster.
If you want to know how I feel about being set up by my own people, well, not too good. Does it change how I feel about segregating myself and my family from the rest of the country? Not at all. The Grid is where I belong and I wouldn’t have it any other way. If that makes me a racist, well okay, I’m a racist; you can say it all you want. But if you come to my home and endanger the lives of my family, whether you’re black, brown, white, purple, red or green…you better start praying to whatever God you pray to—cuz you’re gonna need him.