Matt Regan stared at his TV in dismay as FOX News announced Johnny Chan’s victory. It’d be praised as a victory for civil rights. It’d be hailed as the change we all need. The left would stomp through DC with fanfare and confetti because not only did a Chinese man win the presidency, but a gall-dern gay Chinese man won the presidency. Matt didn’t need any more of that BS rhetoric from the lame-stream media; he knew what this meant. God, the lord all-mighty, would be striking down with wrath and brimstone any minute now. But Matt didn’t care because he was king of the preppers. It was time to bug out.

Matt ran to his computer, knocking over piles of ammo and canned beans, and logged on to his bank account to cancel all of his automatic payments. There’d be no use for currency in the coming months thanks to Armageddon, but it felt good every time he clicked “cancel”. Those frickin yuppies over at the bank were part of the problem anyway with their fancy suits and their liberal degrees from leftist colleges. Matt looked up at his framed GED stamped with Arkansas’s official seal. That was all the learnin’ a man needed.

Matt ran to the kitchen and gorged on anything he could grab. Pie and ice cream, cold bacon and leftover meatloaf; these things would be a luxury soon, but he’d still be living better than all the hippies stranded above ground cheek to cheek with god’s vengeance. He ran to his garage and coaxed his Bronco to life which was already loaded with food for the road and a hidden revolver in case any of the city folk got smart. He took one last look out at his neighborhood to bolster his courage. One in every four houses was for sale and their realty signs swayed in a warm breeze like the grim reaper’s cloak. Those damn Democrats had done it. Matt didn’t know how, but that lovely blonde on Fox News said it was true, and her sweet voice was like gospel.

The drive to Matt’s subterranean paradise, festering deep within the Arkansas wood, took four hours, and to Matt’s surprise, he missed all the carnage that was sure to come. He parked his Bronco so it blocked the secluded drive, popped the hood and disconnected the battery, and then buried his car in pre-cut brush so the looters would pass it by during their greed fueled free-for-all. Matt ran to the hidden trap door down into his bomb shelter with a revolver in one hand and a Twinkie in the other. His shaking hands protested as he dialed in the combo to his pad-lock and threw the door open. He hopped down into the confines like a french-fry into oil and let the door slam behind him. It wasn’t much really, Matt’s bomb shelter, but he had enough freeze dried food and MRE’s to last ten years and enough ammo to kill any number of hippies that came knocking.

And that’s how Matt stayed for close to four years. He slept with a gun and fantasized of wayward blondes that might need rescuing from the hell that was surely raining down from the skies. He ate fatty foods and pastries with infinite shelf lives. He brooded in how simply right he was, how divine his foresight had been. His only comfort was a composting toilet and a Coleman lantern; fear was his only companion. The days passed unnoticed in a sunless black with sweat and stench. He felt smugly sorry for the poor folk rotting above ground. Matt’s uncomfortable existence trumped their torture any day.

But then the pains came. Creeping little twitches crawled through his extremities. Feeling fled from his fingers and toes like woodland creatures from smoke. Surely it wasn’t something that couldn’t be fixed by a trip to the first aid cabinet. The stockpiled antibiotics and the pain pills from Mexico didn’t do a damn thing though. Matt turned to his medical books and thumbed through the pages with fingers thick as kielbasa looking for something that matched his symptoms. There it was. Shit. Fucking Diabetes. Matt’s Coleman lantern cast dark shadows on his greasy frown.

Fuck it. Matt needed insulin and the post apocalyptic landscape that he’d find above ground was the only place he could get it. Sure, he could try to extract it from a pig, at least that’s how he thought it was done, but they never covered that in any of his GED courses. Matt armed himself from head to toe with a panoply of semi-legal firearms and made his way to the trap door. He unbolted fifteen locks or so and took his first tentative look. It must’ve been around noon. Weird; it felt much later. The sky was robin’s egg blue instead of flaming red which came as a surprise but it boded well for Matt. He threw the trap door wide and ran to his buried Bronco. Matt was breathing harder than he could ever remember breathing by the time he made the twenty yard dash, and removing the now brown and wilted brush was nearly impossible in his trans-fat addled state. He reconnected the battery and fired up the old Bronco. Well hell yes it worked on the first try; this was some American made shit. He topped off the tank from a drum hidden near the bomb shelter and made his way back to town.

His little backwoods town was flourishing. Children walked the streets instead of zombies. Cars passed Matt on the road instead of UN tanks. What the hell? Had god forgiven these United States for electing a queer Chinese Democrat? No way in tarnation. He had probably been struck down by lightning or contracted small pox or some such. I guess that’s what Matt got for not turning on his emergency radio for fear that it’d give away his location to any communists listening in. Well it wouldn’t hurt to swing by the old homestead for a quick shower before stopping by the doctor’s. That’s probably all he needed anyway.

Matt turned east and drove into his old neighborhood. There was only one “for sale” sign. That clenched it. Johnny god-damn Chan must’ve got recalled or killed so a good old boy from the golden days could take the reins and steer this country back to where it belonged. Matt pulled into his driveway with a smile on his slack face and tried his key in the door. It didn’t work. What the shit? He heard voices from inside… Right; the automatic mortgage payments had been terminated. Matt rang the doorbell over and over again until an old Asian man opened it. His shirt clearly said “FOUR MORE YEARS FOR JOHNNY CHAN”.

Rage exploded inside Matt’s head, or at least that’s what he thought it was. His vision blurred and the cool grass of someone else’s yard cradled him as he fell. The sounds from his peaceful neighborhood seemed too distant to be real. Reality seemed too distant to be true. Death swept over Matt Regan like a solid truth.


Anyway, the guy that did the artwork for my first novel has finally started selling his stuff here: His work is frickin’ epic; take a look and buy something.

Cunningham Art

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