The two vehicle convoy went south to Nye Highway, a minor east-west dirt road. The convoy turned west and went seven miles to Cochran, then south again to Butterfield Highway which became M-78 after crossing the freeway.
The tractor pulling the gravity wagon and the pickup truck pulling a second, smaller wagon with three boys and the gassifier in the back drew attention as they paraded through the village of Bellevue. Just before the river the two vehicles turned left onto Sand Road.
Milo brought a labor crew in case they had to load the wagons by hand.
There they waited, motors idling.
It did not take long for the manager of the quarry to show up. “We ain’t open.” he said.
“We can pay real money.” Milo said.
“We ain’t open.” the man repeated.
Milo wasn’t taking “No” for an answer.
“We can do this two ways.” Milo said. “We can break in and load our vehicles or you can open the gates and let us pay you.”
The man was just as stubborn. “That is stealing. Cash ain’t good for nuthin’ round here ‘sept wiping your ass.”
“I didn’t say I was going to pay with dollar bills.” Milo said. He had, in fact, brought paper money just in case the quarry would take it.
“I can pay with silver coins.” Milo said.
That finally got the manager’s attention. “The price is $30 a ton or $50 a yard for ground ag-lime and $10 a ton or $17 a yard for ungraded limestone gravel.”
Milo and the manager got to dickering about the exchange rate. Finally they settled on twenty-times face which was to the manager’s advantage but then he offered to use the front end loader to load the gravity wagons. He had no problems burning a little bit of precious diesel when customers were paying with silver.
The manager watched Milo restart the gassifiers. “Don’t suppose you would consider installing one of them on one of my trucks?” the manager asked.
“I thought you were shut down?” Milo said.
“I am for now. Its winter and winter is always slow. Farmers, they ain’t spending any money but I think, come spring, a lot of people are going to start gardening and a lot of those gardens are going to need lime.” the manager said.
“I will talk to my partner and we will put you on the list.” Milo promised.
The two vehicles made it back to the Shaw homestead shortly after midnight as they could not go much faster than five miles an hour with the loaded wagons.
The smaller wagon had three yards of finely ground ag-lime in it. The larger wagon had ten yards of crushed limestone varying between 3/4” and dust.
The manager also gave them a sheet certifying that the limestone was 98% calcium carbonate.
Carson was about to get some competition.
Luke’s supervisor caught up with Luke while he was in the cooler where he was picking carrots for shipment to the Oscar’s store in Traverse City.
Oscar's was a large, regional department store that sold groceries.
“Time for you to go home.” the supervisor said.
The crew had been told at the start of the shift that the warehouse was going to suspend operation when the security situation became too difficult. Rioters had breached the interior fences at the other end of the warehouse complex where electronics were stored the day before.
Skeleton crews had been working and there was enough room inside the complex, proper, for them to park.
Luke pulled the mule over to the trailer and dropped the load.
Then he punched out.
He drove to this apartment, kissed his roommate good-bye, picked up his cat and drove to Eaton Rapids. His roommate would join him later.
Gabriella taught 6th graders at a private school east of Memphis. Her principal called all staff to the gymnasium after the kids bused out on Friday. There, he pink-slipped them en masse. In the past week the school had three diagnosed cases of Ebola. It was time to pull the plug.
When they asked where to apply for unemployment, he informed him that there would be no benefits, that everything was being handled through FEMA. He would contact them when there was more news or a change of circumstances.
Bill, Gabby’s husband had been laid off two weeks ago.
They had 20 gallons of gas in the small, streamlined trailer they pulled behind their small SUV. They packed up their Jack Russell terrier, warm clothing and a few sentimental items and headed north. They stayed away from Indy and Fort Wayne by jogging east.
The first documented cases of riots occurred in Cleveland. The FEMA food distribution system was going through growing pains. The temperature was in the twenties and a fierce wind was blowing in off Lake Erie. Most of the people waiting in line were not dressed for the weather.
After waiting two hours to get to the front of the line, Ahsatan D’Yram Johnson was handed a small, heavy package of commodities. Ahsatan said, “What is this shit?” as she dumped it out on the floor
The video recorders on the smart phones started recording.
“This ain’t food.” She said. “Where are the Hot Pockets? Where are the popcorn chicken? Where be the Coco Puffs? Where be my chock-lic milk? I have babies at home to feed!” With each question her voice got louder.
“I know my rights. You can’t make me to eat this shit.” She yelled. It is safe to assume that the common-core curriculum she was taught from never covered the Siege of Leningrad.
One of the bags split after she kicked it to show her disgust. Split peas scattered across the floor. Then she started kicking the others and dried rice and beans scattered
The Ohio Department of Transportation had been tasked with administering this particular food distribution center. They had not anticipated any issues. They dealt with tens of thousands of citizens every business day. What they failed to anticipate was that people can live (and drive) without a driver's license. The stakes are much higher when you are talking about the food you need to live.
“You be racist.” She said repeatedly as she started turning over tables. Like many grossly overweight people, she carried a lot of muscle.
In the past this had always resulted in the store bending over backwards to mollify her. This time, guards with TASERS started toward her to drag her out.
Other people waiting in line, hearing the ruckus and seeing the kinds of food that were being distributed, became enraged. They hadn’t frozen their asses off for two hours to get pig food.
Social media platforms could not stay ahead of the video of the riots being posted and emailed. In time they stopped trying. They had their own issues with Ebola.