A Civil War Christmas

Joe Andrews woke disoriented. His head throbbed. But this was no hangover. Where was he? What day was it?

Oh, that’s right. It was December 25th, and he was on an army cot in an upstairs bedroom at the Robinson’s house. He guessed this had been their son David’s room before he went off to college. Colorful posters of star NFL football players hung on the paneled walls.

Somehow Bob and Tammy’s house had been the only house on the block not seriously damaged by the rioting and fires from the night before. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured. The Greens were at church. A few others probably were as well. And the Nelsons were away visiting relatives. However, all were shaken up.

The stench of acrid smoke was still in the air. Dust and smoke particles danced on the sunbeams coming in through the cracked window glass.

The man in the cot next to him went into a coughing fit. Was that Bill Peterson? He had been the one last night to suggest they turn the Robinson’s into a safe haven and makeshift hospital.

Bill had also been the one to preach preparedness to everybody in the neighborhood long before things started falling apart months ago. Only a few listened and took heed. Most laughed.

The sounds of clinking plates mingled with women’s laughter drifted in from downstairs. His wife Sherry must be helping with breakfast.

Joe would have thought the women would have been wailing with grief after all that had happened the night before. But maybe women were so good at focusing on the practical side of things that they couldn’t help but try to resurrect some kind of normal routine.

He reflected for a few minutes on how it had come to this.

Between the devastating fallout from Obamacare and the second multi-trillion dollar bank bailouts, people had had enough. Though the official unemployment number was still around 8%, almost everybody on the street figured it had to be closer to 35%.

And things were getting worse.

Inflation topped 40%. Never mind the government’s idiotically low numbers. Gas at $10 a gallon and climbing told people all they needed to know.

Three years of extreme drought had caused food shortages. Food banks were helpless to meet the ever growing need.

The secessionist movement that started after Obama’s re-election in 2012 took breathtaking strides forward. Some wanted to create a new country and call it the Constitutional States of America. But the letters CSA didn’t sit well with quite a few in the movement.

The government’s initial actions to keep the nation unified were a farce. Many clung to a thread of hope that the politicians could work things out. For the first time in U.S. history, all 50 states called for a constitutional convention. What a mess that turned out to be.

But the bombings of the Federal Reserve buildings around the country kick started the turmoil. April 19th, wasn’t it? Uncle Sam was caught flat footed because the perpetrators weren’t FBI-entrapped terrorist wannabes.

Then whole sections of cities started going dark. The media said it was cyber terrorists hacking the grid. Some said the Chinese were doing it. Utility customers with Smart Meters believed in a more sinister cause. Still others suspected drones were zapping certain areas with targeted EMP’s.

But the sporadic dirty bomb attacks caught everyone by surprise. Once again terrorists got the blame. Joe wanted to believe it was the truth, but something just didn’t add up.

Oh, sure, sales of firearms and ammunition blasted through the roof for another consecutive year. But that’s because antigun legislation threatened to create a virtual ban on all firearms, tightening the noose on average Americans. Meanwhile crime rates rose exponentially. And people weren’t afraid to defend themselves when the roving gangs came around. Who could blame them for that?

There hadn’t been much talk of militias since the ’90’s. The secessionists were made of different stuff than that.

Joe’s friends warned him he was becoming cynical these days. But it was still hard for him to think of his own government carrying out atrocities and accusing terrorists. Or were the 9/11 “truthers” on to something? It all seemed so monstrous.

yet he realized good people had been fingered as domestic terrorists. For all he knew, Bill Peterson was considered one because of his ideas about preparedness and self reliance.

This sure wasn’t the America he’d been taught it was back in school. Was this government really his government any more? What happened to “we the people” and a representative republic? Joe was beginning to think anybody who still claimed the government as their own deserved what they got. Or didn’t get, as the case may be.

People started calling this the Second American Revolution. Others thought it was more like a civil war–Civil War 2, like the book by the same name written by soldier and author Thomas Chittum.

But at the heart of it all, who really started it? Could it have been provoked? Could it have been staged? Americans didn’t want this, did they? It was such a confusing time. And truth was so hard to come by.

Someone downstairs turned on the radio. Syrupy Christmas music aggravated Joe’s headache.

That’s the last thing he needed. He was sick to death of Christmas. Joe and Sherry had stopped celebrating it when their children were little. Too much paganism and materialism to celebrate the birthday of Someone who wasn’t born on December 25th to begin with.

Then the novelty song from the ’60’s about Snoopy and the Red Baron began playing. It hurt his head to smile, but he’d liked that song since he was a kid. That’s the one where the Red Baron takes Snoopy behind enemy lines, and they drink a toast to one another. Peace ruled for that short night. But they both knew they’d fight another day.

And that brought him back to the present. Things appeared to be peaceful this morning. If only that peace wasn’t superficial just because it was Christmas.


Editor’s Note: The above is a work of fiction and should not be interpreted as anything other than an imaginary scenario.


Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.