Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Seven Fat Cows 3.5: Milo gets laid off

A week after Nyssa bailed out, the Washington Fence Newspaper ran an article about a woman whose body had been fished out of the Anacostia River.

The cause-of-death was reported to be Ebola.

What was not reported is that the woman had a record for soliciting. The other unusual thing was that she was dressed in traditional, Somali burial robes. Those details were omitted to avoid backlash against the immigrant community.

The difference between this story and the other stories that had been written over the last six months is that the Deep State allowed this one to be published.

The Deep State had no choice. Ebola cases had erupted in a score of communities, like embers dropping into drifts of dry pine needles miles from the main forest fire. By allowing the story to print they hoped to control the message.

The hopes were ill-founded.

In quick succession, the developed nations of the world prohibited US originated vessels and aircraft from docking or landing. Ships bringing critical, high value components from over-seas anchored off-shore waiting instruction from HQ. Planes destined for the US diverted to land in Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean. Hotel rooms in Halifax were going for $1000 per night.

Planes originating from the US were turned back or if they were past the point of no-return landed and were refueled without allowing passengers to unboard. Minimum maintenance was performed and volunteer pilots who wanted to return to the States were allowed to board. Then the planes flew back.

Within minutes of the stock exchanges opening the circuit breakers popped. They were reopened after buy orders had accumulated. The circuit breakers promptly popped again as sell orders swamped buyers. The ride down was both bumpy and violent.

Three days later Milo was pink-slipped with an “indefinite” layoff. They said they would call him if business picked up. Milo was not holding his breath.

After a few hours of weighing his options, Milo called Nyssa and asked her for Rick’s phone number.

Milo did not beat around the bush. “Hello Mr. Salazar, I want to rent your camper.”

Rick could not resist playing Milo a little bit. “Planning on going camping?” Rick knew perfectly well what was happening to the economy.

“No, actually I want to leave it on your property and live in it.” Milo said. He knew what he was asking was presumptuous and it caused him to swallow, hard.

“Why don’t you drive out here so we can talk about it, face-to-face.” Rick suggested.

A few hours later, Milo’s F-150 pulled into the Salazar’s drive.

“Let’s take a walk, Junior.” Rick suggested.

The standard walk was around the block, a distance of four miles. It took almost an hour-and-a-half if you were not in a hurry and it was the perfect amount of time for a long conversation with no interuptions.

“Why don’t you start by telling me the picture in your head.” Rick started out.

“The grand-slam home-run would be if you would let me leave it behind the barn and run a power cord out to it to run the fridge, a fan and maybe a TV.” Milo said.

“Renting usually means paying rent. Have you given any thought regarding what you would pay me.” Rick said. He had too many buddies who let shirt-tail relatives “rent” trailers and they never saw a penny of rent. That, and the people living in the trailer beat the hell out of it.

“Yessir. I gave that a lot of thought. I am paying $900 a month for my house in Sterling Heights. Utilities cost another $200 a month. I figured I would pay you $1100 a month.” Milo said.

“Thats a lot of money for a trailer.” Rick responded, quite taken aback. The trailer had cost $3000 when he bought it used.

“The way I see it,” Milo said “the trailer comes with lots of advantages. It will make it easy for me to see Nyssa and I can’t think of a better place to be if this Ebola takes off.”

“Location, location, location.” Rick mumbled under his breath.

“How are you going to afford $1100 a month if you aren’t working?” Rick asked.

“Putting in seawalls paid well. I have $40k in the bank. I am not bragging, just saying that I didn’t spend every penny I earned as soon as I got it. That should be good for three years I am pretty sure I will pick up work in the mean time.” Milo said confidently.

“Let me tell you what my home-run scenario is.” Rick said.

“You give me ten hours of work a week. Log it on a calendar, when you start each day and when you end.” Rick said.

“Just doing some rough figuring in my head, that works out to about $30 an hour, after taxes.” Rick said. “That is pretty good wages around here.”

“You brought up this being a good place to hunker down if Ebola takes off.” Rick continued. “I have been looking at that. We have some major shortcomings.”

“What would that be?” Milo asked.

“We are going to have a severe labor shortage.” Rick said.

Milo looked at him quizzically. “How do you figure?” he asked.

“We have a lot of retired folks in the neighborhood. Some of them struggle to walk the length of their driveways to get the mail.” Rick said, ticking off the age groups on his fingers.

“Most of the people in their prime working years will do OK. We have a lot of folks in the building trades, so you will fit right in. But we also have a fair number of people who picked Eaton Rapids because they are on disability and it doesn’t cost a lot of money to live here.” Rick said.

“Then there are the kids. Most of them are really good at working a TV remote or a Gameboy Controller but don’t ask them to push a lawn mower or even walk fifty yards.” Rick said.

“If Ebola interrupts fuel deliveries, it is going to get ugly. Real fast. Everywhere, even here.” Rick said.

Next Installment


  1. Excellent story line. Enjoying the read. Please continue.

  2. Excellent story line. Enjoying the read. Please continue.

  3. It is getting interesting. Have you thought about fleshing out your stories into books and publishing them?

    1. I thought about it but I am too lazy.

      I write most of these pieces while doing elder care. I have an hour between "Breakfast" and "Lunch" when I bang them out.

      One reason that publishing in installments works so well is that YOUR imagination is the mortar that makes the story hang together. Read back-to-back the story is rough and disjointed.

      I figure banging out the first draft, which is what these stories are, is fifteen percent of the total effort needed to make a salable product.

      So you guys get a stream of first-drafts and you think it is GREAT because you have great minds and great imaginations and 24 hours to chew on them before the next installment comes out.

      And thanks for the compliment! It is much appreciated.

  4. But how long will there be electricity???

    1. My guess is that the electricity will crap out a month, their time, into Seven Skinny Cows.

  5. I am really enjoying your creation. Thank you!