Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Orphan Openings: Apocalypse Edition

For nearly twenty years, Chris Mortimer had been predicting that civilization would collapse, and so it was a with a certain grim satisfaction that he watched as it did -- after a fashion. When the peak oil theory surprised even its own firmest proponents by being true beyond their wildest dreams, Chris watched the rioting crowds after the collapse of the Saudi monarchy, the Russian federation and Hugo Chavez's Venezuela, and wondered how much longer television would be broadcasting.

When gas prices jumped from $3 to $20/gallon over the course of a month, and the electric company announced that it would only be providing power from 10am to 4pm, he got his hand-cranking grain mill and solar oven out of the spare bedroom and took inventory of the canned goods and bottled water. He was prepared. They were not. Survival of the fittest.

Somewhere along the way, however, the event he had long anticipated deviated from the mental script he had crafted for it. Where he had pictured a need for rugged individualists who knew how to hunt and gather and perhaps eventually farm and ranch, others with skills he had despised were, maddeningly, well equipped to thrive in the new world.

Most maddening of all was that his boss, whom he had at first envisioned begging at his door for canned goods and solar battery chargers, had turned a penchant for "networking" into a trading empire that encompassed control of key aqueducts, solar trading schooners, and the southern overland trade route to California. That this short, nervous-looking man who doubtless did not know three different ways of starting a fire without matches could, in this new world, say grandly to people, "Would you step into my office? I have air conditioning," made Chris feel as if the collapse of civilization was simply not all it was cracked up to be.


Mrs. Crankycon said...

Thank you for the Monday morning chuckle.

TS said...

Ha I love it. You're on a roll between this and your last post (any post with the name "Festus" in it has to be good; I'm only sorry that book doesn't appear to be in the public domain since I can't afford to buy a used copy (I'm saving for the coming apocalypse)).

Anyway, it's gotten so that I'm pavlovian-conditioned to smile at a DC title that begins "Orphan Openings".

Brandon said...

That is awesome; and it would actually make a plot summary for a good story in itself.

mrsdarwin said...

Brandon, we were actually working up side characters and scenarios for this little world. Maybe some of them will show up in Orphan Openings in the future.

Amber said...

I really liked this one - I showed it to my husband (he likes to write first lines occasionally and I thought this would be right up his alley) and he enjoyed it too. We both thought that the boss character reminded us a lot of my husband's boss. And I think we'd both probably feel a lot like the main character in such a situation... as we get ready to live on our 10 acres with lots of garden space, room for animals, a wood burning stove for heat and our own well. *grin*