UNDERGROUND VOICES: FICTION
When Republican hordes invaded California, we fled to the hills. "What are we to do?"
my terrified wife asked. I said, "I know it looks bad. But we'll think of something."
We lived on the east side of the city, on the very edge. Across the street from our house
was a vacant lot, and beyond that rose the East Bay hills. The next day, we were standing
on top, panting from our labors. We had been up and down all day. We had transported
our pets and our supplies. Fortunately, we were prepared for emergencies. In California,
we live in fear of earthquakes, and my wife and I had set aside everything we would
need. We had a tent, sleeping bags, food, and water.
That night by our campfire we plotted our next move. "Look, it's not like they're terribly
frightening," I said. "After all, they're only Republicans. Fat little men with glasses,
most of them. And women with funny hairdos. And they're not very bright. They won't
search up here."
My wife shuddered. "They're creepy," she said. "Don't worry," I said. "We have
nothing to fear."
The next few days, we kept track of what was going on by listening to a hand-cranked
emergency radio. It seemed that the invader's vanguard had penetrated inland to the
capital, Sacramento, stormed the governor's mansion and trashed the governor's Hummer,
which was parked outside. The governor had fled, reportedly yelling, "I'll be back!"
"But he's a Republican!" my wife exclaimed. "The beasts! They're turning on their
own!" "Not really," I said.
In the days that followed, the invaders spread out, beating up on gays and Mexican
illegals as they went. They burned abortion clinics and sacked stem-cell research
facilities. Their leader, Reichsmarschall Dub and his second in command,
Obergruppenfuhrer "Little Dicky," gleefully claimed victory from their suite in the Ritz
Carlton in Los Angeles.
"That'll show those blue staters that we can win a war!" snarled Dicky, and he discharged
his shotgun into the air, reportedly peppering with buckshot a GOP lawyer in the room
Meanwhile, CBS reported that everywhere brown-shirted Republicans were burning
effigies of Bill Clinton in the streets, and in Modesto a statue of Franklin Roosevelt was
toppled into the street.
An interim government was named. Duke Cunningham was released from jail to become
the interim governor. Cunningham said that he looked forward to working with Godless
heathens in the state such as abortion clinic nurses, research scientists, teachers who
taught evolution, and Hollywood actors. He said that no funny business would be
tolerated, however. He also said that it was true that an insurgency was in the making,
funded and directed by Islamic terrorists, but he was sure that the majority of the people
of the state would greet the liberators with flowers.
In the days that followed, we foraged for food. We slipped in and out of grocery stores
by chanting "We Like Ike" or lip-synching hymns that we played on our i-Pod. By night,
we left our hilltop sanctuary and joined our fellow conspirators in lobbing stink bombs at
Republican patrols and mining the streets with whoopee cushions.
And we listened to the news. It seemed as though things were not going as well as
expected for the invading hordes. As a matter of fact, they were being frustrated at every
turn. Sickened by the sight of hybrid automobiles on the streets and solar panels on the
roofs of houses, the troops were idled or deserted by the thousands.
Then one day early in the New Year, the President went on television to announce a
"surge" in the number of troops that had been dispatched to the maverick state. "Oh, no!
What are we going to do now?" my wife said. "Relax," I said. "I know the resolve of my
fellow Californians. The only question is whether the new troops will be the cavalry to
the rescue or lambs to slaughter. I know which I'd bet on. How about you?"
Jack Swenson is a former teacher reborn as a chronicler of the drama and absurdity
of life after recovery. More than three dozen of his stories have appeared in
online magazines. He and his wife reside in Northern California.
© 2007 Underground Voices