Waking early, Jimmy had decided to let Ellen sleep in for
a few extra hours, as the stores werent going to be
open for a while where she was going to start gathering
the items that he had written down the previous evening.
As he had predicted to his daughter, Ellen had not wanted
to accept the gravity of the situation at first, but as
she finally realized the fact that denial wasnt an
option, she eventually came around, and he knew as he
left the house, shed do her part to prepare for the
wave, and do it well.
Pulling into a fast food joint, he got a large coffee,
and a couple of those breakfast sandwiches. It really
wasnt his idea of morning food, but he had so much
to do, and he hadnt wanted to cook anything, or
take the time to go to a regular restaurant, so he choked
it down, as he headed for the big park and swap down at
the old racetrack on the east side of the city.
Starting up the first long aisle, Jimmy spotted a real
treasure. It was a homemade garden cart, with wide
pneumatic tires, so it wouldnt sink into soft soil.
The builder had used three quarter inch marine plywood
for the sides, so it should never deteriorate in bad
weather, or break under heavy stress. Yes! It was a real
find, one that would be used for many years. When the
owner said, fifty bucks, Jimmy didnt
bat an eye. He just reached into his pocket and paid the
man...cash. Squinting into the rising sun, he spotted
several garden tools leaning against the bed of a pickup
truck, where a man was just setting up for the day.
Parking his cart by the stand he walked over to the
tools, and a cursory examination showed they were all
new, or in new condition. Glancing over to the owner,
Jimmy saw him watching his appraisal them.
How much do you want for these tools?
Three bucks apiece, if youll take the lot of
A few minutes later, Jimmy had handed the guy thirty
bucks, and loaded ten good tools into his cart.
Back in the booth, the vendor was mentally kicking
himself. He knew that Jimmy would have been willing to
pay four, or even five bucks apiece for those tools, but
he hadnt asked, and visions of a twenty dollar
bill, flying off on a breeze crossed his mind. His
unvoiced, Damn! was a mini-wave spreading out
among the crowd of would be bargain hunters.
By nine-o-clock the cart was full to the point of
overflowing. He had buckets of nuts, bolts, and washers.
Several boxes of nails, in dozens of different sizes, and
countless different sizes and types of; fasteners,
hinges, tubing, hoses, belts, and even a couple of small
conventional ignition, gasoline powered lawnmower
engines. He also found a thirty-six inch bow saw with a
box of twelve new blades for ten dollars. He figured that
if all else failed, they could do it the old fashioned
way, work for it! The cart was definitely getting a
workout, and so was he, for that matter! Just as he had
suspected, it would carry as much as he cared to push. He
figured he must have bought nearly fifty differ-ent tools
that would literally be worth their weight in gold, in
the very near future. He had purchased two, meter long
machetes, with their own scabbards that had stones in
them that sharpened the blades every time you extracted
or replaced it or withdrew it. What a buy! Only fifteen
bucks each. He didnt have any idea why he bought
them they just seemed like something that would be good
to have in his uncertain future.
Pushing the overburdened cart towards the exit that was
closest to where he had parked, he stopped to listen to a
huckster who was peddling a water purification device. It
was identical to the one that hed seen on his
favorite outdoor show a couple of weekends ago. The gizmo
required quite a bit of pumping on the handle, but with a
little patience, and a liberal dose of some elbow grease,
you could convert salt, or even swamp water into drinking
water at the rate of a quart per half hour. Not even
waiting for the spiel to end, he set sixty bucks on the
counter, picked up two of the units, set them in the
cart, and continued on his way to the gate. He was
starting to breathe heavily by the time he parked the
overloaded cart next to his truck.
Loading the carts contents onto the two year old
F-250 4X4 was a sobering experience. The truck was his
pride and joy, and the thought that it would soon be
nothing but high tech junk, when the wave washed over it,
did not make him a happy camper. Pulling out
into the morning traffic, he did manage to smile, just a
little, when he remembered that the payment coupon book
was going too die at exactly the same time that the truck
became useless to anyone.
Three blocks down, he saw a convenience mart on the
right, and pulled in for a hot cup of coffee, and to
purchase a, Truck Trader, type magazine and a
copy of that days newspaper. He went through them both
while sipping his hot coffee in the parking lot. Using
his cell phone, he contacted the owner of the first item
of interest. It was a vintage pick-up truck that claimed
to be in nearly new condition, and the location was not
to far from his position. Two rings later, he got an
answer and made an appointment to see it during that
days lunch hour, just a couple of hours from then.
Switching to the classifieds in the newspaper, he went to
the trailer section, and located an advertisement that
seemed to have what he was looking for. When the man
answered and told him that he still had the trailer, and
could see it anytime between twelve and one o clock, he
marked the address, and saw that it was less than a mile
from where the truck was located. He wouldnt have
any trouble making both appointments with any luck at
Nearly depleted in the cash department, he pulled into a
branch of his bank, and wrote a check to himself for a
hefty re-supply of greenbacks. Heading west on main, he
figured that the next stop would have to be at his
favorite outdoor store where he anticipated that he would
abuse his plastic, to the maximum, one of them, anyway.
Cold! The thought sent a shiver up his spine.
Danielle had told him that she figured that the,
Mother of all winters, was headed their way.
If a regularly spaced wave could make things colder, this
delayed event could be very bad indeed, even in the
southern part of the country where they were headed. He
didnt think theyd need snow- mobiles, but the
clothes for riding them wouldnt be a bad idea.
Pulling into the, Outdoor Worlds,
parking lot, he had a list in his hand, and another list
that was still growing in his head. Grabbing a cart, he
headed for the outdoor wear, which was very abundant on
the shelves. Contrary to popular knowledge, Arizona could
be very cold and snowy. There were a couple of ski
resorts in the mountains, and snowmobiling was also quite
popular. Snowmobile suits, boots, gloves and other
accessories soon filled the cart. The heavy duty sleeping
bags had six pounds of fiberfill each, and were rated at
twenty degrees below zero. He had to carry one in his
arms as he maneuvered the cart to the registers. After
paying for the load with his credit card, he took it to
the truck, and soon returned to the aisles for another
Hey Jimmy! Where you going, to the North Pole or
something? I saw you pushing that cart full of cold
weather things, and was wondering what you were up
Looking up, he saw his friend Stan, standing behind the
guns and ammo counter, with a big smile on his face.
No Stan, just a winter camping trip to the high
country close to the New Mexico borderline. Its our
first time up there in the winter.
What else can I get for you today?
Well, Ive got a list of things that I need
for you to fill for me, while I get some stuff
thats not behind the counter.
Taking the list, Stan whistled softly, Have you
declared war on someone, or something? This is quite a
You know me, I just dont like to run low on
supplies. Dont you have all that stuff in
Sure Jimmy, weve got it. Ill work on it
while you do the rest of your shopping.
OK Stan, Ill see you when I finish picking up
the items on my other list in a few minutes.
Working his way up the fishing supplies aisle, he put
four new ultra-light rods and reels into the cart, and
started on some basic supplies. Everything he bought was
for small sized fish. Many tiny jigs, hand-tied flies,
hooks, lures, and spools of light line went into the
cart. Heavier duty items werent even looked at.
Jimmy knew that they might have to rely on some fish as a
part of their diet, and he also knew that large fish that
were in the waters where his daughter lived were so
contaminated with mercury and other poisons that they
just werent safe for human consumption. The last
time that he was at his daughters house she showed
him an advisory from the state fish and game department
that stated that the pollution levels were now so high in
most of the waterways that some types of fish were too
poisonous to eat. When the large fish ate the little
ones, they also took in the small amount of poisons that
the smaller fish had ingested. Over a period of time they
built up to a point in these predators, until they were
totally inedible. On the other hand, the small fish like
crappie, bream, and bluegills, were not so full of
contaminants as to be unpalatable, as long as a little
prudence was used. Bottom feeding fish were also ruled
out, as they spent to much time grubbing around in the
contaminated mud. This wasnt a problem that was
confined to the area where industries like paper
manufacturing and gas well drilling were common, most of
the country was in the same shape. Jimmy knew all to well
that his favorite mountain trout streams were sometimes
poisoned with mercury from the old style placer mining
that took place wherever a little gold could be found. As
an occasional, weekend gold panner, he knew that the more
modern methods prevented any further contamination by
heavy metals, but what had already been done, could not
be rectified economically with the technology that was
Walking slowly down the aisle he added an item here, and
an item there, until he once again had his cart on the
very full side of too full. As he came around the end cap
display, he spotted a small Hawaiian cast net that was
used for catching baitfish, and threw it on top of the
load. He figured that they could eat minnows if they had
to. Muttering to himself, he commented, What are
Pulling up to the same register with the second load, he
smiled at the clerk, and commented, My family just
loves the outdoors!
She didnt say a word, but gave him a silly grin,
and rang the items up as if she was making a percentage
on the sale. Once again he handed her his credit card,
and when the transaction was complete, took the load out
to his truck, which was also showing signs of having a
full load. Very full!
Stan had his list completed by the time he returned to
the back register, and had the same silly grin on his
face. Signing the credit slip, Jimmy began to wonder if
these folks didnt get a commission. His silent,
Does it really matter? went through his mind,
as he bid Stan goodbye, and pushed the cart out to his
truck for the third, and what would have to be, the final
Taking a right to go with the flow of traffic, he went
down a couple of blocks to the first street that would
take him as far south as the junkyard. This was where he
usually bought the scrap lead,he used to cast his bullets
for the muzzleloaders, and his cap and ball pistol.
Walking into the lot, he told the attendant that he
needed four of the rectangular twenty-five pound ingots,
and while the man was loading them onto the dolly, he
paid the bill with his much abused, plastic,
once again. Placing them on the front floor of the truck
in the spot he had reserved for them, an idle thought
passed through his head. Lord! If that wave
doesnt make it, Ill be an old man before I
get all these bills paid off. The worst part of
that thought was the fact that he wasnt even
stopping to figure what his wife was sup-posed to buy
that day with her credit cards!
He still had an hour and a half before he was supposed to
meet the guy with the vintage pickup truck, so he headed
towards his favorite place to eat in the whole city.
Famous for home style barbecued beef, as well as their,
homemade, deep dish, hot apple pie. He loved it with a
scoop or two of vanilla ice cream on top. As he walked
into the door, he calculated that it would likely be the
last time, or at least nearly so, so he sat down and
ordered as if there wasnt going to be a tomorrow. A
sixteen ounce T-bone with all the trimmings, and when he
finished with all of that, he had his smoking hot, apple
pie, with two scoops of ice cream on top, and another cup
of the hot black coffee, with mocha cream, to wash it all
Where do put all that chow? I could live for a week
on that much food.
Glancing up, he saw Jenny, his anorexic looking waitress
standing behind him with her hands on her hips.
Im just a growing boy. Dont you
Ha! If you keep eating like that, youll be
growing all right. Growing round, that is!
Dont worry about my waistline Jenny, Im
going to be on a diet, real soon!
Leaving a couple of ones under the edge of his coffee
cup, he took out his card, again, and paid for his meal.
As he climbed into the truck, he knew for sure that he
had truly overdone it in the chow department. He was as
full as when he was a teen-ager eating Thanksgiving
dinner at his grandmothers house. Miserable, to
tell the truth!
It was less that a mile to the address where the truck
was located, and he arrived just a couple of minutes
before the scheduled time of the appointment. While he
was waiting, he scanned the classifieds to see if he
could find some other items that would be useful, in his
soon to be, much changed lifestyle. Going through the,
Estate Sale, notices, he spotted an item that
would surely fit that description. He read it out loud.
Ham radio, older model, tube type. Has all
accessories including beam type antenna, and power mike.
$100 firm. Just as he was marking the ad with his
pen, he saw the truck pulling into the drive.
Jimmy couldnt help but grin as he saw the truck for
the first time. The body looked as fine as the day it was
built, at least the side that he could see, sure did.
Getting out, he walked up the drive and introduced
himself to the young man who was just getting out of the
Hi, Im Jimmy. I called you about the truck
this morning. You must be Jack.
Thats me. You want to check her out?
You bet. Its sure pretty enough. Youve
obviously put lots of work into the body. If the running
gear is as fine as it is, Ill bet well work
Ten minutes later, they took off for a quick ride to
check out the items that can only be done in a road test,
and not long after that, returned to the drive. Receipts
for a complete overhaul, that had been done just a few
thousand miles before, was the clincher for Jimmy. This
was definitely going to be his new, old, truck! No matter
what it took to get the title into his name.
Trying to contain his enthusiasm, he asked, What do
you want for it Jack?
Well Jimmy, Ive got to get enough for a good
down payment on a new one. The dealers dont want to
give me much, as they use that book value, and I know
its worth more than that, thats for
A sudden inspiration hit Jimmy like a heavyweight
prizefighter. How new does this truck you want,
have to be, Jack?
Just new enough to make my girlfriend happy. She
wants one with air con-ditioning, and powered
accessories, so her hairdo wont go limp in my truck
during hot weather. She wont even ride with me in
the summer, and I wanted to keep my truck,
stock, like when it was built.
Why dont you take a look at mine, and see
what you think. Maybe we can make a deal and eliminate
the middle man with his, book values, in the
Looking more than a little bit skeptical, Jack walked
over, and was very impressed by the big four by four, and
that was certainly an understatement!
Whats the catch? This trucks worth a
lot more than mine is, Jimmy.
Youre right on that score Jack, but its
got a payment book with it. As it sits right here,
Ive put over fifteen grand into it, if you include
my down payment and the payments Ive made so far. I
still owe about thirteen grand or so. What did you figure
yours was worth, and I dont mean the book value,
Nowhere near fifteen big ones. I know that much,
Making up a little fib, Jimmy told him, Im
afraid I might get laid off in the near future, and I
dont want those payments hanging over my head.
Would you consider a title swap, with you taking over my
You just name the time and place, Ill be
After agreeing to meet at Jimmys bank the following
morning, he got back into his soon to be ex-truck, and
bid Jack goodbye as he headed for the address where the
utility trailer was located just a few blocks up the
Jimmys mental, Yes! and high-five to an
invisible hand was a good indication of what he thought
of the deal. The 1970 F-250 had a 351 V-8 engine with the
complete towing package, and lots of extras. The
automatic transmission had a heavy-duty oil cooler, and
the engine radiator was of the, desert
cooler, type with the extra cores. Someone had even
installed a non-computerized trailer brake controller
unit under the dash! Air shocks and overload springs were
also noted during his brief examination. As soon as the
title, plates, and insurance were taken care of the
following day, he would take it to the shop, and have the
brakes, wheel bearings, and other running gear items
lubed, replaced, or repaired as needed, from one bumper
to the other. Dave, his mechanic, was going to love the
classic truck. He knew that for a fact.
The trailer was located at a home that he found at the
end of a cul-de-sac. It was parked next to a dark green
lemon tree that had some of the biggest lemons that Jimmy
had ever set eyes on. They looked like those small sized,
soft foam footballs that the kids liked to play with!
Getting out of the truck, he ambled over to look at the
trailer, as well as the outsized fruit. Just as he
reached out to open the rear doors of the trailer, he
heard a masculine voice, Morning.
Can I help you with something?
A young man was standing just a few feet away wearing a
That would be me. Are you the one that called about
the add for the trailer thats in todays
Thats me. The names Jimmy Biedler,
pleased to meet you.
OK Jimmy, I see youve got a good start on
checking out the trailer, dont let me slow you
down. You seemed to be doing just fine without me
Walking slowly around the trailer, Jimmy noted that the
electrical plug was the same style as the one his new,
old truck, and even the ball was compatible. The tires
were totally worn out for sure. His dad would have called
those tires, Bologna skins. Referring to the
old style gut that was used as casing for sausages. It
was very thin to say the least, and so were those tires.
You sure got every available mile out of those
They werent much when I bought it, and I used
it for just one trip to move my moms stuff up
How long is it?
The title says its a twenty two footer, but
that includes the tongue.
You didnt have a price in your add. What do
you have to get for it?
Well...I gave eleven hundred, and didnt
really use it much...How about an even thousand?
I was considering offering you nine hundred, so I
could put some rubber on it, but Id be willing to
go nine fifty, if youd throw some of those lemons
into the deal.
Looking up at the tree, Terry laughed. Those things
end up on the ground every year. I cant eat any
citrus. The only reason I water them is for the shade,
and they dampen the noise of the traffic from out on the
main street. Nine fifty will do, and I dont care if
you take every lemon on the tree! Ill even help
pick them for you, if you want me to.
If youve got the title, and a notary
somewhere close, we can take care of this right here and
now. Im ready to pick some lemons.
Reaching into his front jeans pocket, Jimmy pulled out a
wad of cash, and counted nine one hundred dollar bills
and a single fifty into Jerrys waiting hand.
By one thirty, they had the paperwork done, several large
boxes that had been commandeered from a dumpster were in
the back of the truck, the trailer was hooked up, and two
ladders leaned against the lemon tree. Two large boxes of
lemons were in the trailer, and as soon as they had
filled a half a dozen more, Jimmy thanked Jerry for the
help, and headed for the nearest tire and mechanical
Once again his cash reserve was on the low side, but he
would use his plastic to get four new tires for the
tandem axle trailer, and to have the brakes and wheel
bearings done too. He was sure happy that citrus ripened
in the middle of the winter! Danielle loved lemons, and
as a matter of fact, he could drink a gallon of homemade
lemonade any time. As long as they were kept cool, and
not allowed to freeze, those lemons would keep for
Remembering the ad for the radio, he picked up the paper
from the seat, and headed for the address. He still had
the necessary one hundred dollars in cash, and it was one
item that he desperately wanted to have in the post-wave
era. Forty-five minutes later, he was
high-fiveing the same invisible hand that
hed used when he found the truck. The radio was a
real find. It was in great shape and included a
power-mike, and the directional antenna would home in on
a signal like a bird dog. The old lady had explained that
her husband used it for years, but had a stroke, and
could no longer operate it. It was a hell of a buy. There
was no doubt about it. The thought went through his mind.
With our generator and the directional beam type
antenna, we should be able to keep up with whats
going on in the rest of the country, and the world too,
for that matter. We will, as long as someone out there
can keep transmitting anyway. We dont have the
proper licensing from the FCC, but whos going to
give a damn in the post wave society anyway. Theyll
be as dead in the water, as the rest of the government is
going to be.