“We think they are a parody site run by Right-wing agitators” Ratchet’s aide said.
Ratchet’s aide was briefing the Governor on the letter they had received claiming responsibility for the attacks on the energy system.
Actually, it was more of a manifesto than a letter.
Ratchet sped-read through the document. The header claimed it was from the Gaia Liberation Front and it was clearly printed on post-consumer paper.
Ratchet was not only a fast reader, she was a high-functioning sociopath whose “values” had a VERY high degree of flexibility when ends aligned. So it was notable when she exclaimed “It has to be a parody. What a bunch of whack-o-doodles.”
Looking at the list of demands, she saw things she could work with. "But there is a slight chance they are for real. So I am going to throw them a few bones"
“Draft an Executive Order stating that we are going to convert the Camp Grayling National Guard facility and Freeway medians and cloverleafs into solar farms. Put up webcams so the public can see the progress.”
“Draft another Executive Order establishing a new Michigan Conservation Corps.”
Ratchet’s third-ranked aide was the one tasked with Environment and Renewable Energy. “But we don’t have solar panels or racking! There is an 18 month lead time on those.”
Ratchet looked at her aid like something she had just scraped off the bottom of her shoe. “Then tell them to dig damned holes. Make it LOOK like we have them on the way.”
Really! Many of Ratchet's most generous donors were in the construction industry. One hand washes the other and the big move toward solar would play well with the public as they shivered in the dark.
Jarrell was quick to grasp the implications of the two-hour on and two-hour off power. The up-time for Elsie’s Pizza to bake crusts just shrank to 12 hours per day...actually less as there would be period while the ovens were warming up when the power came back on.
“Leslie, can you cover for me for a few hours?” Jarrell asked.
“Of course” Leslie said ‘just like I managed before you showed up.”
Then Jarrell poked his head into Elsie’s. “I have a special project. Can I borrow Junior?”
seeing how the power had just dropped out and it would be out for a two hours, nobody had any objection to Jarrell borrowing Junior, except for Junior.
“Its warm in here. You aren’t taking me out in the cold, are you?” Junior asked.
“Is there someplace warm we can talk?” Jarrell asked.
“We can go over to my motel room” Junior said. “It is just the other side of the parking lot.”
“How old are you?” Jarrell asked after they were settled in to Junior’s easy chairs. They left their coats on.
“I will be 82 next month” Junior said in his gravelly voice. Junior had been a big fan of dirt-track racing and many seasons of shouting to be heard left his vocal cords scaly with scar tissue.
“I am going to be asking you a big favor. Is there something you miss...maybe a bottle of whiskey or something?” Jarrell asked.
“Whiskey, never had much use for it. I will tell you what I miss, chocolate milk. What I wouldn’t give for a half-gallon of chocolate milk” Junior admitted.
“I will be right back” Jarrell said. The dollar store across the street still carried dairy and, sure enough, they had chocolate milk.
“This must be some pretty-big favor you are going to ask” as Junior poured a glass half full of the thick, creamy, sweet liquid dessert.
“I think it is” Jarrell said.
“The last time I tried to make a change somewhere, well, let’s just say it didn’t turn out well” Jarrell said.
“I have been thinking on what I could have done differently. One of the big things would have been to consult older, wiser minds than me before I jumped head-long into shaking things up.”
“I guess that is why you were asking how old I am, to make sure I am older” and then Junior broke into a wheezy laugh. “Not so sure about wiser, though.”
“I see that you do a lot of watching and don’t talk much” Jarrell said.
Junior nodded in agreement.
“I also noticed that when you do talk everybody listens” Jarrell said.
“That’s ‘cause I don’t talk just to hear my own voice. I only say something when I have something worth saying” Junior said.
“Thats what I mean” Jarrell said. “that sounds like a functional definition of ‘Wisdom’ to me.”
“Well, sonny, what is on your mind...”