Beamo’s Gold part 5
Beamo has a bizarre close encounter with politicians.
“Sure,” I said. I turned and walked into the great room and there was Fank Journ standing right next to Tee. The electriky lighting inside made me doubt my eyes. On the other side of balding Fank stood none other than our newly elected Crans County Board Chairwoman, Illay Lina. If you read the newspaper this rather wide old lady in lavender pantsuit was Fank’s number one political enemy. Next to her standing in a blue suit and dark shades over his eyes was the head of the Secret Service Goon Squad for the wealthy Big Men, Major Fender Kaim. Major Kaim had been my commander in the militia. He was ten years my senior and rarely left a clue on his pasty face.
“Waat th’phuuuuk?” Bonehead blurted out. Another blank-face Secret Service goon slammed the door shut behind us. He was one of a dozen other buzz-cuts lining the wall to guard the door.
“Nice to see you again, Warrant Officer Roamer,” Major Fank Kaim said. No acknowledgement of this brainsick grouping of enemies. Beautiful workmanship on the hand-carved, teardrop-shaped conference table ringed with ploosh chairs but nobody offered anybody a seat. No hiya to Bonehead or Sass either.
Fank went right to it: “You got a good look at the map, correct?”
“Yes I did.” It was easy to not say ‘sir’ at the end of my reply.
“I know you are one of our best salvagemen,” Illay said with her campaign smile. “Can you say for certain that it was authentic?”
“I’m a scavenge man and I don’t mind being called a scavenge man. My crew and me are a team. We are the best. Yeah, the map was the readea. It was a topo map and had script with the same style as what they wrote in their military papers. Maybe the last thing anybody wrote on this continent before the eight hundred years of Doomtime.”
“We know about the written script you say was on the map. Were you able to completely cipher what was scripted?” Major Kaim’s mouth moved but the rest of his gaunt frame stayed stiff.
“It told a little story and it gave a code on how to disable the secret tech goblins put there to guard the gold. They had two kinds: ‘land-based drones’ and ‘air-based drones.’ After thirty-one years of guarding this treasure and waiting on the missing President, the last two Air Force troopers at this hidden base decided they had to try for another military base. They needed to get supplies and find out where the President was since their ray-dey-o could only pick up dead air. Because a couple feet of toxic ash fell on them all of a sudden from the sky, they didn’t make it anywhere. Right before they were going to croak, they wrote out the info on that military topo map, thinking other military officers would find it. The code has to be punched in every four hours otherwise nasty booby-trap drone-goblins wake up and come after the trespassers. If they don’t get us then nuuk missiles circling up in outta space will flame down and scorch that canyon. Tons of gold and platinum and silver will be nuuk poisoned for thousands of years, according to the map.”
“How could any machine or weapon still be functional after over a thousand years? It’s out of the realm of possibility.” Major Kaim didn’t believe in tech goblins.
“They wrote about something they called sing-gu-lar-it-ee, some kind of supremo tech that gave their drones and outta space missiles the means to repair themselves for thousands of years without any people needed.” After I said that, Madam Chairwoman Lina laughed and the rest just scorned the idea any tech could harm anybody after all that time.
I was still up in the air about whether tech-goblins existed. I never saw one, but other people who spent a lot of time out in the bush claimed they saw metallic creatures with glowing red eyes that looked like giant insects. My foreman, Old Tone, swore he saw one that looked like a seven-feet-tall praying mantis creeping along a dry creek bed one time when we were south of the Ark River.
“These Lost Fort Knox precious metals are a vitally important resource that will reshape the future of this continent. If we can secure this vast wealth, economic growth will take off at an exponential pace. The slow, anemic development we’ve had since the re-learning of literacy two-hundred-fifty years ago will be in the past.” Fank smiled and then said the most brainsick shi I ever heard: “We will unify this land from sea to sea and make it great again! The U-nited States of A-merica will be reborn!”
I started laughing. Bonehead snapped out of his hangdog look at thinking he was under arrest and he lit into them. Fank’s mug turned robin red breast and Major Kaim looked like he wanted to shoot Bonehead down right there.
“Thas shi-talk! Damn lowiq, rum-numb dumb! Merica still killin’ us mo an thowsan yer afta it went doewn! Phuuk Merica! Poisin water, poisin fish, shi, the daum tar still leakin in the Carib Sea from all hem abanon wells and every fi or ten yer some spark hits it an it lits the intir sea on fire. Allat smoke blowks out the sun and then we starvin cauz ain’t no growin season. Worm crawl in yer brain?”
“We will have to learn from past mistakes. We can’t afford small-think. This is all about our Grand Vista Plan for Tomorrow.” Madam Chairwoman Lina still had her posure.
“Maybe you should invest in your own county’s poor before you go resurrecting dinosaurs,” I said. “Half the kids in Payday Metro never seen a doctor; don’t get out of third grade. Way worse out in the sticks away from the metros. Not to mention MA attacks hitting the poor the hardest. Truth is, we haven’t all the way gotten rid of the old feudal laws from Doomtime.”
“Again, this is bigger than our tiny county nation, Citizen Romer.” She had a tighter mug now, teeth grinding together. “Our Grand Vista Plan quires us to invest all over this continent. Use this gold to bring the Mutant Angels and other versaries into our political system with offers of financial aide and re-velopment.”
“Ious can jus see tha billboard for the first new Merica lection.”Sass spread her arms: “This bawss skull-face tortured an killed ma daddy, snatched ma sis to add to his raap’n stable a womins, but Ious gonna still vote fo’m fo Prezydenty ‘cause he gots the best politiky promises!” Sass was well known for great satire and this was one of her best–but they all ignored her.
“Your position in the Community depends on your cooperation, Roamer.” Fank came at me straight on now. “Completing this mission is your only chance to make up the financial shortfall that put your Heights Bluff estate development in limbo.”
It was Bonehead’s turn to stare me down and make me hang my head in shame. Now he knew I was a Heights Bluff sellout. Those slick Big Men bled and outright cheated me out of so much silver that I couldn’t even get halfway done with my new chateau. Made me out to be a fool. I looked back up and Tee was glinting at me with a smirk I didn’t like.
“Well Fank, I guess you got me. The same cutthroats that snatched your only daughter snatched me. I was beaten, tortured, about had my brains griddled like pancake batter. Held hostage by some of the worst black-flaggers in the Midwest country and now I’ve got you Big Men pointing a barrel at me too. I got no choice; I’ll take the Sawbird Gang out there but not many will be coming back. I know what you want to do. If we find it, the Sawbird Gang could never move all that gold if every one of ‘em worked twenty-four-seven for a hundred years. You want us to secure it, somehow signal you, and then you’ll be leading out a giant combined army of Zark and Apalash county nations. An in-vasion isn’t going to bring the Mutant Angels into your political process. That’s their territory; there are over nine hundred thousand of them on wheels. It’s gonna drive them more batshi brainsick and united to kill all of us than they’ve ever been before. They wouldn’t give two rat phuuks for your ‘Big Vista Economic Development Plan.’ Your high-minded self-dulgence is going to get a lot of citizens killed for nothing.”
“I lost my daughter a long time before the Sawbird Gang took her,” Fank said. He looked away from everyone so they would feel sorry for him. I studied the blue eyes in his pudgy mug closer and it made me sick to my stomach.
“Lucky for our Community we have leaders with intellect and courage, not small-thinkers like scavenge men.” Major Kaim held his face high, his hazel eyes bulging with low esteem for me, Beamo Roamer.
“Well, you did it, Fender. You refuted me point by point. I stand corrected and I take it all back what I just said.” I pulled off my leather flap-cap and slapped my right leg then pointed it at him. “A veteran should know better than to buy into this stinking, worm-ridden pig shi!”
“Do we have an order, sir?” the lead goon guarding the door spouted out. He was alarmed by my raised voice and gesticulations.
All the Big Men glowered hard at me and Bonehead and Sass. Politicians and other big shots a lot of times look like harmless buffoons out in public but behind closed doors they project timidation power from somewhere. It wasn’t just the armed goons standing there either. If I weren’t running hot their combined stink eyes probably would have even got to me.
“No need, lieutenant. Roamer runs his mouth but he always does what he’s told.” Major Kaim kept eyeballing me. I slowly put my flap-cap back on as I eyeballed him back.
“He wouldn’t be here if he didn’t,” Tee had to put in.
“What do you get out of this, Tee Sal?” I asked. “Looking at your new partners I’d say building up treasure to fund your revolution doesn’t seem to be the goal any more.”
“That’s my business,” Tee replied. He shrugged it off but now Bonehead and Sass were both looking at their gang leader like he had two heads.
The meeting was adjourned. As I followed Tee out, Major Kaim grabbed my arm.
“I hope you don’t mind but five of my handpicked men, along with myself, will be joining the pedition.”
I looked down at his hand on my arm. He let go when he saw my look.
“Personally, I think you coming with us is a good thing, Fender. I’ve always been for the wildlife. The buzzards out west need to eat too.”
A nightfall squall caught us and the sailship tossed and turned coming back across the pitch-black great lake. This trip nearly made me puke. All of us were so disgusted with each other there was little talk. We only huddled together to keep away from the other gangs and especially the three MA I had the run-in with.
After landing we all got busy changing our cycle tires and then loading up the ammo and other supplies. A dozen or so Mutant Angels, including my three new buds, watched us ride off into the night drizzle with our six new goon additions. Maybe those extra men kept us from getting in a fight right there. I knew one or more of those skull-faces would be following us though.