Sunday, September 1, 2019

In the beginning...A Baron Kendal story

Hindsight is 20:20. Every one of them should have seen it coming but they were all blinded by ego and the sheer joy of finding they were not alone.

Preempting legislation, the major players in the information economy formed a consortium called SMANGS. Incumbent politicians coffers were filled. Bureaucrats were given tools beyond their wildest dreams. Big data and the government were revealed to be Siamese-twins, co-joined at the wallet.

There was some push-back from conservatives and a few other gadflies who valued liberty over a smooth running society.

In a response to mollify the doubters, SMANGS commissioned a massive, integrated effort to be performed by the 100 largest Universities in the United States.

Kendal was nominated by his boss and was one of the first to be on-boarded.

The stated goal of the project was to create a parallel Social Credit score for conservatives with special emphasis on predicting the propensity toward violence.

Kendal learned that there were many thousands of kindred spirits in Academia. As the project progressed he found himself conversing with others who practiced full-contact martial arts, who practiced with firearms and reveled in learning archaic skills like forging edged instruments and flying their own airplanes.

Every University employee had to sign away return rights to their respective University. Nobody gave it a second thought. Even the janitors at SMANGS were wealthy.

The bottom dropped out on a Wednesday eight months after the project started.

Every employee was pink-slipped and given two months severance pay.

Looking for employment the next day, Kendal learned that he was untouchable. He learned that the code they had written and perfected was to populate the lowest caste in society, a caste so low that they could not even sign contracts.

The conservatives with the highest propensity for violence simply disappeared.

He learned just how low of a caste when he went to have an infected sliver cared for. His wife’s insurance did not cover it. In fact, he no longer had a wife. Marriage is a contract, you see.

He also found out that simply sharing an address with the woman he still considered his wife and with his children slagged their social credit scores. After all, they were co-habitating with an untouchable.

Kendal did the manly thing. He moved out. He found a place in the desert to clear his head. He connected, discretely, with some of his former coworkers on the project. They met at fast food places on windy days and ate outside.

SMANGS, in their arrogance, violated Niccolò Machiavelli's advice to keep your friends close and to keep your enemies closer. That was going to cost them.

Kendal spent forty months plotting the message he was going to send back to SMANGS.

Kendal was getting bounced around inside the cab of the thirty-year-old pickup truck he was driving to Palm Springs. The pickup truck was a tri-tone: mostly sun-faded blue with a white hood and left fender. It was the color of caliche from the door moldings down.

Hogs get vocal when they are hungry and the hogs were screaming their heads off. The squeals and grunts from the back of the truck were not as disturbing as the smell. But he was getting used to the smell. It smelled like justice to him.

The two scions of the dominant members of SMANGS were to be wed that day.

Kendal and his allies had carefully crafted their attacks. Kendal's was the opening salvo. Follow-up attacks were to be launched at weekly intervals.

First, Kendal told the SMANGS when and where he was to attack them via the time honored method of letters composed of words cut from magazines. Kendal had bums mail the letters from different locations. He hoped security would be tight. In fact, it would be on-par with a Papal visit or a Royal wedding, which it was in a way.

A successful attack, in spite of their best efforts would send a message.

Kendal was forced to learn the fundamentals of high society parties, a topic that had never interested him before. What kind of music. The hors d'oeuvre of choice. The "in" cocktails. Chamber music. The works.

If SMANGS had been watching, they would have seen that Kendal’s interest in the bride’s attire rivaled the most star-struck royalty watchers. He visited the local library almost daily.

Six months before the wedding, Kendal paid a visit to a Texas patriot who trapped hogs. There, Kendal purchased eight, young, fifty-pound feral boars.

By the time Kendal was done training them, two of the boars were dead and all the boars were marked by bites and slashes from the others.

Kendal saw training the pigs as just another exercise in programming. Kendal was very, very good at programming.

Kendal repeatedly starved them for two days and then released them into a very large enclosed area with food. There was never enough food for all eight. First, they had to race the others to be the first to the food. Then they had to fight for it.

Kendal started hiding the food. At first, he left it beneath a tree with a speaker playing Vivaldi.

Then he hid it beneath buckets but placed slices of shiitake mushrooms and bacon-wrapped shrimp atop the buckets.

Sometimes he was able to pick cake out of the trash dumpster behind the grocery store. He used the ones with white frosting to train his fleshy cruise missiles.

Sometimes he placed the food behind flimsy structures made of pallets that the hogs had to crash through to get to the food.

In parallel with training them to find food, he also outfitted them with pack saddles. The saddles draped over their backs and were secured with webbing. Half of the hogs were fitted with saddles that were sandwiches of 5mm steel plate and a stiff, clay-like substance. The other half were fitted with saddles that resembled canteens.

One of the most unusual features of the saddles, however, is that they were outfitted with suitcase handles. There were multiple places where somebody could grab one of the handles if they were compelled to tackle one of the hogs.

The final stage of training involved Kendal fabricating a 5’-6” teepee of poles and wrapping it with paper toweling. It had cost him a great deal of money, but he had purchased a quarter ounce of the bride’s and the groom's favorite fragrances. Kendal spent the final week putting the food atop the tepee and a scarecrow adorned with the bride-and-groom's scents, respectively. The final day, Kendal placed the food beneath the paper towel teepee.

These were the hogs Kendal was driving in the back of the pick-up truck. Six boar hogs at 200-to-250 pounds each. Old enough to have tusks. In boar years, they were the equivalent of college football players.  Kendal did not feed the hogs on the long drive back to California but every half hour he ran a sprayer he had rigged up. The cap on the truck was as battered as the truck itself. Plenty of air blew through the hog pen as he drove the mandatory 55.

The exclusive golf course had been closed down for the ceremony. The reception was to follow immediately afterward. There were hundreds of security deployed around the perimeter of the golf course.

It even looked like they had banks of Patriot Missiles stationed to defend against attack from the air. Perhaps they had taken Kendal's letters seriously. He had taunted them unmercifully that he WAS going to be successful and they would be the laughing stock of the world.

Kendal parked a half-klick downwind of the golf course's perimeter fence.

Traffic was muted. Kendal approached from the desert rather than the civilized side.

The sound of the string quartet was clearly audible.

Kendal pulled the dirt bike off the rack on the front of the pickup and started it up.

Then, walking to the rear of the pickup, he stuck an ice pick into the bottom of the water-filled bucket that kept the dogs of the tailgate latch engaged on the rickety, old truck.

Pulling out the ice-pick, Kendal was not pleased with the feeble flow.

He reinserted the ice-pick and wiggled it around to ream out the hole until he was satisfied with the flow.

Then he hopped aboard the bike and went roaring off, east into the desert.

With any luck, the hogs would join the party at the daddy-daughter dance.


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