“Your call.” Chad Izzo repeated.
To say that Hydy Amarilla was deeply conflicted would be a massive understatement.
Few things approach infinity. Human’s ability to rationalize behavior is one of them.
Amarilla had risen to ascendancy in a society that cursed middle-aged, cis-male, white men. Men were bumbling fools. They were the butt of every joke. And cis-male, white men were the worst of the lot. They would need fifty points added to their IQ before they qualified for Special Olympics.
The fact that older, cis-male, white men controlled the vast majority of California’s (before the exit) wealth made it imperative that they be “othered” if those who displaced them were to sequester that wealth and use it as spoils of war to reward loyal minions. It is a simple fact that theft must be dressed up with righteousness. That dressing was the narrative that men were boobs, knobs, cretins and dolts.
That left the inconvenient, inarguable fact that older, white men DID have wealth and a fiction had to be written to explain that fact.
The consensus opinion of what was originally “the resistance” was that white men were idiot savants. Ass-clowns of the highest order, they became mythical killing machines when any kind of weapon was placed in their hands. Weapons were lightening rods that CHANNELED the universe's full potential for evil through the moral and intellectual vacuum of white, cis-males.
Simply touching a weapon transformed a white, cis-male, man from a clueless sub-cretin into a fell werewolf. It was only by means of this magical transformation that white man had managed to subdue the true creators and rulers of humanity, the wymen and people of color.
Perforce, men in Cali had been stripped of their weapons and any displays of aggression or "ideation" had placed them under the watch of people like Hydy Amarrilla.
The white man standing in front of Hydy Amarilla had not wilted at her Hard-Women-Death-Stare. Clearly, he was an apex predator and not concerned about Amarilla’s Tasers and pepper spray and fire hoses and cold rooms and sleep deprivation and…..
He had a modern, military rifle. He held it with the familiar ease one points an index finger. There he was, standing in front of her, the arch-type, weaponized white man. None of her people had weapons. The Cali bureaucracy which had never before failed her had done nothing, NOTHING, to stop him from entering her domain.
Amarilla looked into his eyes and she saw the same resolve she saw in prison guards just before they broke teeth and jaws and ribs with their billy-clubs. It was not malice or anger. It was nothing more than part of a day’s work. She could see that Izzo saw her potential opposition as little more than a speed-bump to the completion of his mission.
It was a bitter pill to swallow. Another woman might have been angry. Another woman might have been hurt. Another woman might have let it go. Hydy said, “What can you do to make it worth our while?”
Chad was in conference with Kenny and the core group. “Amarilla says that 3% of Cali’s population is incarcerated. I need an ass-load of support if we hope to pull them out before shit happens.”
Kenny said, “Three percent doesn’t mean shit to me. Give me some perspective.”
Dilip, who had magic, flying fingers when it came to pulling information from the internet responded “The old United States had about 0.7% incarcerated. Back in the day they were considered the most repressive of the developed countries. Cali has four times as many, as a percentage, incarcerated.”
“What the fuck!” Kenny said. “They can’t have that many more murders and thieves, can they?”
Chad said, dryly, “I think most of them are in prison for political reasons. Sure, they have murders and such. They probably have more theft than we do….but what are you going to do if your child is starving. But most of the people in Cali prison committed the crime of saying what was on their mind.”
“And that is a crime?” Kenny queried, rhetorically.
“Considering the consequences,” Pitoitua said, “speaking your mind is a clear sign of mental illness. That is why they call their prisons ‘mental health’ hospitals.”
“So break it down for me.” Kenny said. “How many people do we have to move and how long do we have to do it?”
Dilip responded, “Three percent of twenty-five million is 750,000 prisoners. At the outside we have two, maybe three days to move them out of Cali.”
“Piece of cake.” Kenny said.
“Umm. Do you have any idea how hard it is to organize moving that number of people, much less doing it within that time frame?” one of the members of the core team asked.
“I will tell you what I do know.” Kenny responded. “We were moving 250,000 people a day from Tijuana-to-Mexico City just a few months ago. That is four times farther than Paradise-to-LA. We offer the same payoff per nose for one-quarter the turn-around time and we will have more hardware showing up than we can use.”
Chad piped up, “We can buy more time if we can ship food and other logistical support to the prisons. The reason they are getting hinky is because things blow up when people are hungry. We can buy a lot more operational flexibility if we can get a few semi-loads of supplies to the prisons while we are draining them.”
Kenny said, “I hear you. I got people who can work on that.”
Aaron Ducat was still in his office when Kenny called him. “I need to have you call in some of your favors.” Kenny said. He sounded apologetic. Kenny knew the value of favors-owed.
“Whaddya need?” Aaron asked.
“I need food shipped up to Cali. I will shoot you the geo coordinates in a minute.” Kenny said.
“How much and when?” Aaron asked.
“Enough to keep fifteen thousand men alive at each coordinate. First load hitting their dock within twelve hours and ongoing for the duration.” Kenny said. “Plan on foods that need no cooking to be edible. Pay whatever premium you think is reasonable.”
“I am on it like a duck on a Junebug.” Aaron said. “Anything else?”
“Not now. Let you know if something comes up.” Kenny said.
After hanging up, Aaron called Clay Atkins in Arkansas. Clay was the head legal beagle for a large retailer based in Arkansas. It was well after business hours in Arkansas.
A months earlier Aaron Ducat drilled through the many levels of flak and scheduled a meeting with Atkins. They had spent ninety minutes in conference that resulted in Atkins’ company saving $100 million a year. Mr Atkins was looking at a VERY healthy bonus this year based on that $100 million a year savings into perpetuity.
Mr Atkins would have answered a phone call from Ducat on his death bed. A call at eight in the evening was nothing.