Monday, January 7, 2019

Fourteen cows 1.0: Prelude

 And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed: and, behold, he stood by the river. And, behold, there came up out of the river seven well favoured kine and fatfleshed; and they fed in a meadow. And, behold, seven other kine came up after them out of the river, ill favoured and leanfleshed; and stood by the other kine upon the brink of the river. And the ill favoured and leanfleshed kine did eat up the seven well favoured and fat kine. So Pharaoh awoke.  Genesis Chapter 41

The bulletin boards and forums were on fire with rumors of Ebola having made land-fall in the continental US.

The original posts cited videos that had been quickly yanked off the internet. A typical video was of a middle school basketball game where one of the players  suddenly collapsed and started vomiting bloody fluid.

The CDC felt compelled to issue a statement that the seasonal flu sometimes exhibited those symptoms and to not panic. The CDC claimed to have everything under control.

Rick Salazar had plenty of time to track the progress of the phantom epidemic. He worked the gig economy and was currently in a lull. Also, the middle of January was a slow time on the farm. On nice days he might cut a little bit of firewood but other than that all he did was walk the dogs.

What was distressing to him was that the videos seemed to all originate in San Diego, California and St. Paul, Minnesota. If the CDC’s story was true then the videos should be originating in a semi-random fashion that was roughly proportional to population density.

It only took a few minutes of internet research to learn that San Diego and St. Paul were epicenters for refugees from Uganda and its neighboring countries. IF Ebola was going to show up in the US then it was more likely to show up in those two cities than just about anywhere else.

Rick logged off his computer and took a stroll around the property. He did not like what he saw.

There was nothing wrong with the forty acres. It was fifteen miles from “the city” of 200,000 and roughly five miles from two cities of five thousand each. Nope, the problem was not the property. It was the house and its proximity to the roads.

The house was a scant 150 feet from the road and another road pretty much “T”ed into the front yard. The house was indefensible.

Then Rick rode his mountain bike around the two square miles that contained his forty acres. After that he rode a couple of miles up the road that “T”ed into the road he lived on.

What he saw was that the landscape undulated and there was a high point about every quarter mile. He also saw the reason why the road department decided to end the one road at the T. The two square miles were bisected the long way by extensive muck bottomed marshes. Rick had heard one neighbor say that some of those muck deposits went down thirty feet. Not a desirable roadbed by any stretch of the imagination.

The only conceivable defense against the Golden Horde involved posting sentries on the road at the hill tops and to have a means of communication. That was going to take some thinking.

Rick also counted mailboxes. The pieces he rode varied between thirty mail boxes per mile down to two mailboxes per mile. Figuring three people per house he passed 360 people and he did not see a single soul who was not in a motorized vehicle.

Getting back to his study he did a quick study of passive, infrared sensors. He ordered twenty of them from an online vendor. Even if this plague were just a hoax he would have a lot of fun playing with them. Who knows, maybe it would help him get his next gig.

After placing the order Rick started organizing his junk. He had once been an avid prepper but his interests had changed.

Hand tools went into one outbuilding. “Chemicals”, motor oil and such went into another. Motors, pumps and the like were moved into the yard where it would be convenient to cover them with a tarp. Building supplies and fencing were assembled into piles.

Rick was totally whipped when Kate came home from her volunteer work.

Next installment

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