Prelude to the apocalypse – Rick

Dallas, USA

Rick Castle was once again fielding calls from the great unwashed. As cynical as his old bones were, he still loved his country, and he was furious. Those bastard terrorists had managed to break into his radio network’s channel and broadcast their vile filth over the airways.

The radio network he worked for wasn’t alone in that affliction. Some of the biggest names in TV and radio broadcasting had also been hacked.

“I say it’s a game changer,” his present caller said. “If they have active terrorist cells in our country threatening nukes, then we should return the favour. Just nuke them and send them to whatever God they believe in.” If the caller had been in the studio, no doubt Rick would be covered in spit, given the fervour with which the man was speaking.

“What about the argument that there are innocent people over there. Children.” Rick wasn’t here to give his own views on such matters. That wasn’t his style. He was here to give others a voice, so long as they kept it clean and stayed away from those whacky conspiracy theories. There were other channels on the network for that.

“I can’t really say what I truly think of that, because I know you would ban me from your show,” the caller admitted. “But a quote does spring to mind. Kill ‘em all and let God sort them out.”

“Thanks for your point of view. Our next caller is on the line. Bob, what have you got for me today?”

“I live just out of Houston, Rick, and I’m a proud American.”

“Glad to hear that, Bob. Too many damned commie liberals in this country, if you ask me.”

“I do feel Iran was emboldened by previous governments. I mean, that nuclear deal we signed was a travesty.”

“Agreed,” Rick said, although he knew little about the details of said agreement. Likely, the caller didn’t, either. “Pandering to terrorists never works. Good to see we are still bombing them back to the stone age.” News had come in that Saudi ground forces had passed into Iran, backed up by massive US air support. Rick was very pleased to see his government wasn’t committing ground troops. Let the Saudis spill some blood for a change.

“So, I’m in agreement with your last caller.”

“And you’re not alone. I’ve got a Fox News poll here that states sixty per cent of Americans are in favour of the use of nuclear weapons against Iran.”

“I reckon the other forty per cent are communists or godless heathens,” Bob replied. “We need our President to be strong. We need him to act.”

“Maybe he’s listening in. Going over to Steve in Las Vegas now. Steve, tell me your truth.”

“Hi Rick. Tell me, have you ever read the book, 1984.”

“Can’t say I have, Steve. I’ve read the King James Bible and the Constitution. That’s pretty much it.” Actually, Rick had read it and thoroughly digested its message. He wasn’t going to admit that though, especially not live.

“The book is set in a dystopian future where a communist-style government controls everything, including people’s thoughts.”

“Sounds like a living hell, Steve.”

“Yeah, well, this Mohammed bloke, the one who broke into your network?”

“What about him, Steve?” For God’s sake, man, spit it out.

“He reminds me of a character in 1984, a man called Goldstein. Goldstein was the leader of an anti-government terrorist network.”

“What are you saying, Steve? Let’s jump to it with both feet. The calls are piling up.” Rick liked to get through as many calls as he could. Long, in-depth reflections on the day’s events weren’t what his callers wanted. They called his show to vent their spleens.

“The thing is, Goldstein was a fiction, made up by the state to deflect their anger. He…” Rick cut him off.

“Had to say goodbye to Steve there as he was venturing into woo-woo land. Chloe, tell me how to fix the world.”

“Nukes are the only way, Rick. What are we doing risking our soldiers’ lives? We have the missiles. I say we use them.”

“Sounds like a plan, Chloe. Bret, you’re on the air.”

“I’m worried, Rick.”

“What are you worried about, Bret?”

“About what I’ve found.”

“Well, are you going to leave us in suspense or share your revelation?” Rick tried to keep his voice light-hearted.

“I live north of Allentown, Pennsylvania.”

“Nice part of the world.”

“Rick, there’s a field here with thousands of plastic coffins.”

“Are you spinning me a yarn, boy?”

“No sir. I didn’t believe it myself until I saw it. The things are stacked ten feet high, and there’s row after row of them. What’s worse is they all have the FEMA logo on them.”

“How do you know they are coffins, Bret?”

“Because they all have instructions etched into the side of them, Rick. These coffins can take four people each. What the hell are FEMA expecting?”

Rick was about to disconnect the caller, only for a video to appear on his monitor. Rick’s editor had found it and it added weight to what the caller was saying.

So yeah, what was FEMA getting ready for? Rick went to a commercial break so he could watch the video. They were definitely coffins, and there weren’t thousands. There were hundreds of thousands.

Should he be pleased the government was prepared for the worst? Or should he be angry they couldn’t prevent it?


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