A.N.: Have you read Indian Country by Kurt Schlichter? I did. My cousin recommended it.
It takes place in a world where the United States has split between Red and Blue states, leaving some Red states (like Indiana) in Blue territory. The Blue states have reformed to call themselves the People’s Republic (get it?), and members of the Red state armed forces are trying to liberate these hapless, geographically challenged citizens.
This snippet focuses on the trials of the Chalmers family in Southern Indiana.
BTW, this is a Derivative Work.
Dale Chalmers kept his shower short for two reasons. First, long showers were an unnecessary waste of money. Only cucks living in the cities wasted money on that kind of bullshit. He wasn’t some metrosexual, getting his nails done and his hair highlighted and whatnot that took long showers.
The second–and more valid– reason was that the hot water heater was broken and the water was cold as shit. New hot water heaters were running upwards of $2,000, thanks to the aftermath of the Trade Wars, and if he had an extra $2,000… well, he didn’t have an extra $2,000.
“I thought trade wars were supposed to be easy to win,” he muttered and felt immediately guilty. He was a good American. A patriotic American. He could sacrifice with the best of them.
Shivering, he rinsed off the last of his knockoff Old Spice bodywash Liz had found down at the Dollar Store and hopped out of the shower, splatting water on the electric space heater sitting on the toilet. Setting the thermostat at 60 degrees kept the Duke bills down, but damn, he was cold.
He dried himself off, put on his long johns, and checked to make sure there weren’t any embarrassing tears in his work suit. This one had to last. Kids were in school, the house was falling apart, and he didn’t need to spend money on a new suit. He shoved his feet into a worn pair of Johnston & Murphy’s he’d gotten for his graduation from Southern Indiana University nearly fifteen years ago.
Fifteen years ago. A lifetime ago. When the future had promise, his wife had her looks, and they had… hope? He licked his finger and wiped off a scuff. They were good shoes. Tough shoes. They would probably last him all his life.
“If money is all you love, you’ll never have enough,” he mumbled as he straightened his tie. That was his mantra. Between his mortgage, his children, the cost of living, and his student loans, he had no savings or retirement, but it’s like he told his kids. Behold the lilies of the field. They don’t do any work, but Bill Gates’ house is nothing compared to their beauty.
His kids would laugh and laugh.
His kids. God, how he loved them. They were his miracles. Nothing he had done in his life matched what God gave him in his daughter and his son.
He sat heavily down on the bed and picked up the picture. You’re supposed to do better for your kids than what was done for you, but somehow, somewhere, he had failed.
He’d done everything right, and his family was a month away from losing everything.
It wasn’t fair. Where had he sinned? How had he sinned? Why was God’s judgment on him?
He put the portrait back. In the drawer underneath was the family firearm. When the state went Blue, everyone was given a grace period to turn in their unregistered firearms; to his knowledge, no one did.
“State’s not going to take away my firearm,” he’d said on the lawn of the town hall. “You want my gun? You come and get it.”
Secretly, he wished he had turned it in. It would alleviate the temptation he fought every morning. The temptation to end it, to go into that darkness, to either start over, or go to hell, one or the other, because this life…
Dale took the gun out of the drawer, held it in his hand. It felt cold. He wrapped his finger around the trigger… no. “Not today,” he said out loud. “Not today.” He put the firearm back, got up, and fastened his company seniority pin to the center of his tie.
He was fine. Everything was fine. God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.
He went downstairs to find his family had started eating breakfast without him.
“Good morning, everyone!” Dale pulled out the chair next to her and only to found Liz’s study bible on top of the new Beth Moore workbook Just Jump! Swimming in God’s Deep End.
He frowned at her. “Liz, we talked about this.” The workbook alone was $30; the entire study course $150. They didn’t have the money. She knew that. He moved it to the kitchen counter and sat down.
She got up and made his breakfast plate, more to avoid facing him then out of a sense of wifely duty. “I know, I know, but my women’s group is using it for our Bible study. I’ve learned so much. Beth Moore is an angel from God.”
“Beth Moore’s mouthy,” he replied as she set a plate down in front of him. “She’s forgotten her place.”
“Dale, she’s been forgiven–“
“Shouldn’t have said what she said in the first place. Now pour me some coffee.” He turned to his children as Liz poured his cup. “Let us pray,” he said. “Lord, bless this food to our use and us to thy keeping. Amen.”
His family resumed eating. “Mom, could we try some Count Chocula?” Jimmy asked. “We had it when we stayed over at DeWayne’s house.”
Liz turned to him, eyes wide. “Jimmy, are you saying DeWayne’s mother served you Count Chocula?”
Jimmy nodded, his cheeks flushing a deep red. “It was good.”
Liz’s eyes narrowed. “That woman… I told her. We all told her. We’re boycotting Count… that because it’s a gateway influence. Vampires aren’t funny and cute. Vampires are evil.” She paused. “I wonder if the other mothers know?”
Dale cleared his throat. DeWayne’s father was his supervisor, for God’s sake. If DeWayne’s mother wanted to serve Count Chocula and carve 666 into everyone’s forehead, she damn well could. You don’t bite the hand that feeds you. “Liz… I’m sure it was unintentional, dear. What’s done is done.”
“Can we…” Jimmy began.
“No!” Liz’s chins quivered in indignation. “The answer is no, Jimmy. There won’t be any of that devil cereal in this house.”
Disappointment crossed his face, but Jimmy knew better than to whine about it. Instead, he cast his eyes down and nibbled on a piece of bacon.
For a moment, there was silence. Then his daughter touched his arm.
“Daddy… have you thought about me visiting I.U.? I need you to sign the permission slip.”
Lord have mercy. This again? Lisa had been the picture of obedience until Liz talked him into letting her go to the public high school instead of finishing up with home schooling.
“Absolutely not,” Dale snapped. “There’s no need for you to visit I.U. That liberal den of iniquity will do nothing but lead you to the gates of hell.”
“But it has an excellent nursing school,” Lisa persisted, her voice cracking a little. “I would really like to see it.”
“Nursing? What do you need to go to IU to be a nurse for?” Dale dropped his fork and stared at her. “All women got that nurturing nurse thing in ’em. You don’t need to go to IU to learn that.”
Lisa fixed her eyes on Liz, who gave a brief shake of her head.
So the two were conspiring. Figures. Unsupervised women get themselves into all kinds of trouble.
He picked up his fork and resumed eating. “How’s Josh, by the way? We haven’t seen him in a while.”
Josh was Lisa’s long term boyfriend. He made excellent money as a heating and air specialist, more than enough to take care of Lisa and any children they might have. Not to mention he was active in their church. A true man after God’s own heart.
Sure, some raised an eyebrow about the age difference. Josh was nearly 23 years old when he first asked permission to court his 13 year old daughter, but Dale knew him from church and that was enough for him. Josh was fine boy, a hard worker. Real devoted to the Word. And sometimes girls like Lisa need an older man to curb that rebellious streak all women seem to have.
Now Josh was 27, a homeowner, and completely settled down. He would take good care of Lisa. Get her married off, out of the house, and somebody else’s debt. One less mouth to feed. Dale finished his coffee and motioned for Liz to pour him another. Besides, education was wasted on a woman.
Not that he’d ever say that out loud, of course. It upsets the ladies.
“Daddy, J-josh… and I got in a fight,” Lisa mumbled, wiping her eyes. “He… he hit me.”
Dale stopped eating. “What was that?”
“He hit me.” Lisa’s voice grew stronger. “He hit me, so I broke up with him.”
“Oh, Lisa, why didn’t you tell me?” Liz reached for her hand and squeezed it. “I’m so sorry.”
Dale stared at her. Josh didn’t strike him as a wife beater. “What did you do to make him hit you?”
Lisa’s mouth dropped open as Liz cried, “Oh, Dale!”
“I’m just saying. You probably got smart with him, didn’t you? I’ve seen the way you treat him. You think you’re smarter than he is. Well, I have news for you, missy. It’s not respectful. You aren’t respectful.” Dale slammed his napkin down on the table. “Whatever it was, you need to apologize.”
Lisa jumped. “Daddy! He hit me because I told him I didn’t… I didn’t…” She burst into tears.
“You didn’t what?” Dale stared at her, fists clenched. “You know what does Paul say about men and women and our roles in this world He created?”
“Daddy…” Lisa sobbed. “He hit me!”
“Maybe he was instructing you?” Dale was tempted to whack her one himself. “You’re proud and arrogant! Remember what Paul wrote? Man is the glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. Lisa, rebelliousness in a woman is so ugly.”
“Dale, um, maybe we should hear Lisa’s side,” Liz ventured. “I know you like Josh, but Lisa is your daughter–“
“Who is nearly a grown woman.” Dale stood up and buttoned his suit jacket. “It’s time to put away your childish things, Lisa.”
The angry eyes of his family remained glued to him, but Dale didn’t care. Being the spiritual head of a family meant making unpopular decisions. Pastor Tom’s voice rang in his head. Are you a follower of man, or a follower of God?
Dale pointed a finger at his daughter. “I want you to stay home this week. And I want you to apologize to Josh.”
“Daddy!” Lisa cried. “No!”
“Yes. Stay home and devote yourself to the word of God. Fasting and prayer will help you see that Josh’s actions were a result of your behavior.” Anger raged so hot in him he could feel his eye twitching. “You change your behavior, and you’ll change Josh.”
His phone buzzed a text. It was from his boss. The notice came from home office. The total number is 483 permanent layoffs. Better call law enforcement. We’re going to need security down here.
Could this day get any worse? Dale stormed out the door without bothering to say goodbye. “Siri, call the sheriff. “