It was a little after dawn and Abby was in her best Chester Chimp t-shirt and sitting behind the wheel of a packed to the gills car, blaring on the horn to get her daughter’s attention. “Paige! Let’s go!”
Ignoring her mother, Paige parsed her lips into a duck-billed smooch and snapped a selfie.
“Come on, Paige,” Abby said. “We’re burning daylight.”
“Just a minute,” Paige said as she uploaded her selfie onto Lifebox. “Hashtag get this party started. Okay.”
Paige hopped into the passenger’s seat. “Can I drive?”
“Maybe when we get to Georgia,” Abby said. “They’ve got those nice roads that go in a straight line forever so it’ll be less likely that you’ll kill us all.”
“Hashtag I’ll never get my license,” Paige said.
“Hashtag its your own fault if you end up walking everywhere,” Abby said.
Dylan popped his ear buds out and poked his head up. “Is Uncle Mack really not coming?”
“Afraid not,” Abby said.
“Hashtag lame,” Paige said.
“Maybe you guys can each send him a nice post card when you get there,” Abby said.
“Can I try one more time?” Dylan asked.
Abby shrugged her shoulders. “I guess it couldn’t hurt.
Dylan jumped out of the car.
“Dill,” Abby said.
“Yeah?” her son replied.
“Don’t be a nudge,” Abby said. “If he says no then say goodbye and that’s the end of it.”
Dylan walked into the house and found his uncle counting his sit-ups on the floor while watching the news on television.
“Nine hundred ninety eight, nine hundred ninety nine….one thousand.”
Mack wiped the sweat from his brow, guzzled a glass of water, then noticed his nephew.
“Hey,” Mack said. “You forget something?”
“No,” Dylan said. “What are you watching?”
“Ahh,” Mack said. “Just the news. Always some bad shit going down somewhere.”
The screen cut to an ample bosomed blonde reporter sitting behind an anchor’s desk.
“Good morning, Americans. I’m a Hot Ass Blonde Chick with Big Titties reporting for Network News One. Our top story today, the anonymous underworld criminal known simply as, “The Heretic” has issued a new communique regarding the Day Zero Cult’s activities.
Next up on the screen was a shadowy figure of a man who spoke using an electronic voice changer. It made his voice sound deep, dark and sinister.
“People of the world,” the Heretic said. “Know that I have given your leaders an important ultimatum, one that they must obey if you are all to survive. I have no desire to start unnecessary panic, so I will not reveal the details of my demands to the public at this time. However, I implore all of you to urge your leaders to do my bidding or else my wrath will be swift and severe. Heretic, out.”
Back at the studio, a mustached man with graying hair joined the female reporter.
“Homeland Security officials refused to answer any questions on this matter,” the reporter said. “But here to shed some light on this story is Network News One Terrorism Analyst Carl Baxter. Carl.”
“Thank you for having me, Hot Ass Blonde Chick,” Carl said.
“No problem,” the reporter replied. “Carl, this is tougher talk than we’re used to hearing from the Heretic, isn’t it?”
“It is,” Carl said. “His typical modus operandi is to mobilize his Day Zero hackers to engage in some type of computerized malfeasance. You remember the time they shut down the stock market for three hours…”
“Or the time they turned off all the lights in Times Square,” the Hot Ass Blonde Chick said.
“Right,” Carl said. “Usually the Heretic will command his tech savvy minions to pull off some misdeed and only after does he release a video to the press taunting law enforcement. This current situation is very different.”
“How so?” the Hot Ass Blonde Chick asked.
“Here, he’s warning something bad is going to happen first,” Carl said. “And you can tell he’s trying to put pressure on the masses to lean on world leaders to do something. What it is, your guess is good as mine.”
“That’s not helpful at all, Carl,” the Hot Ass Blonde Chick said. “Keep talking to fill up this block, will you?”
“Sure,” Carl said. “Now the Day Zero cult, they’re anarchists. They do not believe in law and order. They do not believe in government of any kind. They don’t believe in capitalism or communism or any kind of economic system. The Heretic has been quite clear in his previous videos that he and his followers want the world to regress to the so-called days of Adam and Eve.”
“Adam and Eve?” the Hot Ass Blonde Chick asked.
“Right,” Carl said. “No buildings. No houses. No schools. No factories. No hospitals. No businesses. No order of any kind. They simply want the world to regress to its natural grassy state and for all of mankind to frolic naked amongst the trees as our ancient ancestors did.”
“Sounds fun,” the Hot Ass Blonde Chick said.
“In many ways it would be great,” Carl said. “No more nuclear weapons. No more war. Certainly no more lawyers.”
“I sense a catch,” the Hot Ass Blonde Chick said.
“No more art,” Carl said. “No more music. No more books or movies. No more science or technology. No medicine.”
“We’ll end all threats to life but be left with no reason to live,” the Hot Ass Blonde Chick said.
“That’s a very profound observation, Hot Ass Blonde Chick,” Carl said.
“Should we be worried?” the Hot Ass Blonde Chick asked.
“All the law enforcement sources I’ve spoken to refer to these people as kooks,” Carl said. “Occasionally, they manage to cause the world some grief with their hacking skills, but they’ve yet to graduate to more sinister, physical forms of terrorism.”
“That’s a relief,” the reporter said before turning to the camera. “We’ll stay with this story as it develops. After this commercial break, our Hot Ass Asian Chick with Big Titties will be reporting live from Capitol Hill, where Congress is currently debating House Resolution Seventeen, a bill so complex and complicated no one can understand it, but it will most certainly lead to you contracting anal warts. And later, there’s one item in your refrigerator that can cause you to drop dead if you eat it. Stick with Network News One and we’ll tell you what it is at some point in the next three hours.”
The Network News One logo popped onto the screen, followed by a rugged, manly sounding announcer. “Network News One: The hottest chicks. The biggest titties. Oh yeah, and occasionally we report the news and shit.”
Mack grabbed the remote and shut the TV off, then looked to his nephew. “Shouldn’t you be going?”
Dylan looked down at his uncle and stretched out his hand. “Never leave a soldier behind.”
Mack wasn’t one to cry, but he felt a little choked up by the boy’s gesture. He nodded, then took Dylan’s hand and stood up.
“T-minus five minutes for me to pack my gear, soldier,” Mack said. “Report to the transport.”
Dylan nodded. “Sir, yes sir!”