Bryant hated his brother-in-law from
the day his wife first introduced him. A successful real estate
developer, Richard Carter was the ugly epitome of arrogance and
overindulgence. Just minutes after sitting down with Richard in the
lobby of the Miami hotel where he was staying, Bryant desperately
wanted to escape the man's presence. He oozed a sickly sweet and
condescending confidence that would rivaled medieval kings or Roman
“So Elaine says you teach high school
history.” Richard said after the two sat down across from each
other in the available overstuffed chairs. “Got to admire a man
attempting to teach those animals the finer points of the liberal
arts.” He continued with a thinly veiled snide smile.
Bryant's stomach turned instantly sour
trying to decide if Richard's remark was aimed at the poor, mostly
black and Hispanic kids he taught or at his profession. Commonsense
suggested that Richard was probably aiming at both given how the man
had expressed his disdain of anything involving government on the Fox
News business shows he periodically appeared. Richard was one of the
standard issue talking heads Fox News pulled out whenever they wanted
to decry the abuses of wasteful spending and how the poor middle
class taxpayers were being taken advantage of by the evil liberals.
Richard's main qualification for his
television appearances, beside his good looks and expensive wardrobe
to show off his wealth, was his ability to propagandize free-market
capitalism. His rants about how America was great because of hard
working but often abused businessmen almost always sent Fox's
assortment of blonde bimbo female hosts into orgasm. Richard always
finished his appearances by claiming anyone could be a success in
America if they only worked hard.
Something Bryant knew from his students
was unfortunately not the case. He understood systemic poverty was like
oily tar, if you were born into it or through misfortune found yourself
engulfed by the condition, escaping was damn near impossible.
It was a testament to the ignorance of
Fox viewers that they could ever believe people like Richard gave a
damn about their well being. Richard's primary concern was his own
advancement in both money and prestige. This meant cost cutting
measures like hiring as many illegal immigrants he could get away
with on his construction worksites. Such violations also meant that
if anyone got hurt they either left on their own accord or were run
out of town by one of his security guards.
While there were rich men and women who
cared about their workers and community, those like Richard existed
just to taken advantage of the system to their benefit. That they
occasionally had to work the ignorant masses from time to time was
just par for the course.
“Yeah, all the way from the birth of
civilization to the fall of Rome. The whole range of assholes from
deluded god-kings to decadent, inbred aristocrats who didn't know
their ass from a hole in the ground.” Bryant responded while
looking Richard straight in the eyes.
Richard slightly laughed at the remark
while he lifted the sparkling glass containing two shots of expensive
bourbon to his mouth. After consuming the golden brown liquid he
sighed deeply as if he was dealing with an impaired child. “Yet
those god-kings and aristocrats pushed mankind forward.” He said
obviously satisfied with his cleverness.
It was only the arrival of Elaine and
Richard's wife, Maria, that stopped Bryant from answering. The trip
to Miami was part of Bryant and Elaine's honeymoon. The fact that
Richard was paying for a shopping spree for the two women was the
only reason Bryant was giving the egotistical ass the time of day.
Richard's one human trait was his love of his wife and sister, for
that reason alone he was willing to attempt to be civil. Bryant sat
in the chair listening to the two women talk about their adventures
while hoping he would have little to do with Richard in the years to
On one wall of the lobby was a huge
television screen showing another real estate bastard descending an
escalator with the caption saying he was going to run for president.
Richard noticed the broadcast as well and broke into a huge grin. To
Bryant, his wife's brother looked like he had just seen Jesus.
“Son of a bitch,” Bryant whispered
to himself before waving down a waiter and ordering a stiff drink.
Several Years Later...
The bus caravan had finally reached the
southern border. Bryant, squeezed in the middle of a too small seat
situated on the left side of the bus held his wife and daughter
tightly watching the activities outside. Several of the militia
guards had dismounted from their former U.S. Army humvees running
ahead of the convoy. It was early morning with the sun just beginning
to rise in the east but to Bryant the night was just beginning.
The years following his first meeting
with Richard while personally satisfying had been on long series of
disasters for the country. The election of Donald Trump quickly
eroded the already decayed structure of American political life.
Trump and his minions systematically cut away the checks and
balances of the Constitution leaving chaos and an extremely weaken
United States government.
Matters were made worse by the
incompetence of the Democratic Party, namely several of its 2020
presidential candidates who ran independently or on third party
ballots once they failed to secure the nomination. They drew enough
votes away to secure another electoral college victory for Trump.
The years of Trump's second term were
even worse than the first. His erratic behavior damaged everything
from the economy, to the judicial system, along with the functioning
of agencies like FEMA. By this time political gerrymandering and
voter suppression supported by rigged courts had all but removed any
effective opposition. Trump's successor, a former governor of South
Carolina and United Nations ambassador rode into office promising to
continue his policies. That's when the hammer finally fell.
After eight years toying with tariffs
and altering the Federal Reserve system the economy finally collapsed
a year into the new president's term. Bryant, who by this time had
changed occupations since the education system was pulled apart,
watched the small protests around the country evolve into riots, then
scattered uprisings. With already starved local governments cut to
the bone, the militias that had grown under Trump began to take up
positions to enforce their versions of the law.
Abused inner cities residents rebelled
eventually forcing the federal government to send in the army in an
attempt to restore order. That was when the West Coast was hit with a
massive earthquake which ravaged everything from San Diego to San
Francisco. Throw in an ongoing drought in the farm belt and two
category five hurricanes making landfall on the southeast coast the
fabric of society disintegrated. By 2026 the government of the United
States had been replaced with a scattering of already failed states
governed by various warlords. But Richard Carter somehow stayed above
With the country dissolving, Bryant and
Elaine sought refuge at Richard's compound in Texas, a relatively
peaceful area. But Richard and other members of the rich and powerful
knew the violence would soon overwhelm their location so he made
plans to get his family, including Bryant, Elaine, and their daughter
out of the country.
The caravan was an assortment of travel
buses whose main advantage was that they had running engines and
fuel. Richard and his friends paid heavily for militia protection with
their destination being the border where Mexican guards had taken
positions on Trump's now completed wall preventing scared Americans
from sneaking out of the former country. A few bribes here and there
would assure the Americans entry into the safety of Mexico.
The only problem was that wasn't what
happened. After arriving at the checkpoint, Mexican Army soldiers
escorted the bus passengers into the very camps that U.S. Immigration
and Customs Agents once held Mexicans and Central Americans fleeing
the poverty and chaos of their countries.
“Wait a goddamn minute,” Richard
screamed as a Mexican soldier pushed him back into the line leading
into the camp filled with rows and columns of dilapidated tents. “I'm
Richard Carter, you can't treat me like this. I'm a human being
seeking refuge from violence and militias.”
A Mexican Army colonel heard the
commotion and came over. “Yes, I know of you Mr. Carter,” he said
in flawless English suggesting he spent some time in the former
“Finally,” Richard exclaimed,
“someone with a little bearing and intelligence.” Richard was
giving his usual smile and in the few seconds he had instantly
regained the imperial bearing he displayed on the now defunct Fox
Richard's recovery was short lived. The
Mexican colonel grabbed the soldier's rifle and used the butt of the
weapon to slam Richard's head. The stunned real estate developer fell
to the ground, barely conscious.
“Now get into the fine concentration
camp your former president built for my people.” The colonel said
with his voice oozing with revenge. It took several more impacts with
the rifle before Richard finally got the message and crawled into the
camp on his hands and knees.
Bryant couldn't help but laugh at the
karmic justice that had befallen his brother-in-law and his once great nation.