She thought it was an innocent decision made on one of those nights before the wind howled and blew in the changes. Changes are not bad but some are not good either.
Harriet finally broke down and bought one of those little laptops from the club store and learned how to get online. A whole new world opened up to her.
“Everyone is doing it.” She said. “They said social networking is how people communicate and stay in touch. People don’t talk on the phone anymore and most people did away with their home phones.”
“If people don’t use their phones anymore then tell me why everyone I follow or see in my rearview mirror is on the phone?” Roscoe shot back with laser sharp precision.
“Well all I’m saying is most if not all my friends are signed up and I want to keep up with what’s going on.”
“I heard of a guy down at the shop was on one of those network thing’ys and said something about a coworker and got reprimanded and two weeks later he was gone.”
Harriet got silent and Roscoe knew there was a land mine with his name on it if he kept going.
“Not to change the subject but I’m going on a fishing trip the third weekend of next month with the guys so you’ll have to fend for yourself around here.” He said.
“I hate when you do that, say not to change the subject when you are changing the subject. I can fend for myself just fine and I’m changing the subject back. I’m already signed up and have connected to three friends while you were telling me about that stupid fishing trip.”
He let out a big sigh, rolled over away from his wife and closed his eyes. In less then five minutes he was down and out for the count.
She chatted with one of her longtime friends from high school and read a couple of articles about the changes so and so would make if he were elected. Then she read about some of the atrocities affecting the society in a very negative way. On one article she made a strong comment about the number of young college graduates and the amount of debt they find themselves in after graduating.
The article went on to expose how these grads couldn’t even find a job and those that were lucky enough to land a job, didn’t make enough money to pay back the loans they saddled themselves with to get the degree, just to get the job.
The next morning with his face buried in the morning newspaper, he looked up and said, “be careful what you say out there to your friends, it’s easy to make enemies in an unfriendly world, especially when you don’t know who’s listening.”
“Oh you’re just paranoid, don’t worry about me, I know what I’m doing, it’s not Germany and it’s not 1939.”
He kissed her on the cheek and grabbed his lunch bag from the refrigerator and went out the back door.
“She never listens to anything I say,” he said in his ventriloquist voice as he started up the car and backed out of the driveway checking the mirror to see if his lips were moving. He couldn’t see his lips move and neither could the other drivers, he liked it that way.
Old Mrs. Sikes was the first. There were no witnesses, no trace of her disappearance and no one even noticed for maybe two or three weeks. Not much ever going on around her house in the last couple of years. She stayed to herself and was rarely seen outside. It was alarming though when her house burned almost to the ground. It was reported she was out of town when the incident occurred. That was a coverup, no one knew when she disappeared.
It was then Roscoe became suspicious and started a private investigation into the disappearing of certain people around the quiet little town. A fellow on the next street over was the next one to come up missing and he was one of those types that always got into those heated arguments down at the local hangout around the hardware pot belly wood stove. Always talking armchair politics. Stanch supporter of the NRA and as far Roscoe was concerned, just a general pain in the ass.
The new regime kicked in and the societal climate dipped to a frigid temperature almost overnight. Local government funds dried up and private sector layoffs were setting record highs every week or so.
On a regular basis three months after the new boss took over up on the hill more and more reports circulated, of people vanishing. Some on their way home from a family visit, some went to the grocery store and never returned. Teachers were being targeted and classes had to be suspended. In one case there were so many teachers taken the entire school had to close.
It’s been a week now that Harriet was reported missing. She said she was going to visit her sister maybe a half an hour drive from here. I called and her sister said she left an hour earlier. I waited and then reported her missing.” He told a neighbor standing in the driveway drinking a cold beer.
It was beginning to look like an alien abduction epidemic had been thrust upon society. He started acting in great secrecy and contacting individuals believed to be trustworthy to help with the investigation. The pieces were’nt yet fitting together and the puzzle wasn’t complete enough to see a clear picture.
The thread running through each of the missing ones though was their involvement on the social media web sites. It occurred to Roscoe while sifting back through his wife’s social network account that subjects such as the NRA, student loan corruption, Pharmaceutical companies, insurance scams, weapons transfer to the drug cartel kept cropping up. The list went on and on, those people missing were the highest contributors to those subject threads. It appeared these people that had spoken out about the atrocities being force fed to the masses of americans were the ones targeted for extinction or disappearance or whatever is happening to them.
An interesting video popped up that explained a phenomenon Roscoe had experienced for several years. Many people over the years have reported waking at 3AM or thereabouts and the video said after the shutdown of all the analog television stations and conversions to all digital transmitters, the signals now sent to living rooms and bedrooms all across the country carried an undetectable stream of information directed at the American people. Orwellian brainwashing is what they called it. A lesser form of this technology found it’s way into our homes through wifi it went on to say. Signals bouncing all over our households and we’re not even aware of it.
He started noticing what I call Orwellian marketing as well. Subjects of interest as he surfed the internet began showing up in the form of ads on almost every site visited.
One evening upon returning home from some errands he spotted a large black van parked in front of my house but on the other side of the street. No movement in or around the van as he looked through the windshield. Out of the corner of his eye he caught the movement from a half a block away. Two men wearing a black fedora hat a long black trench coat and black pants and shoes, all black and both of them dressed the same. It was like a scene from a Stephan King movie. He halfway expected the black sedan to come cruising around the corner any second to pick them up. It didn’t happen; he just stood on the porch pretending to be going through the mail and watched as they walked closer. The wind blew open one of the mens trench coat and revealed a large calibre semiautomatic weapon hanging in the holster on his side.
Roscoe turned quickly and went inside. It was maybe ten minutes later as the water was boiling for some tea. There was a light scratching at the front door. He peered out one of the side windows next to the door. Her bare legs and bare feet were visible and looked as like someone kneeling at the front door. Roscoe flipped the lock and opened the door to see her kneeling and looking up with tears in her eyes. Her hands were bandaged up into balls of white gauze and surgical tape. She tried to speak but couldn’t. She opened her mouth to try to explain what had happened but It appeared her tongue had been removed and he could see by the length from her wrists to the end of the bandage that her fingers were also removed down to the first knuckle.
Both were silent as he helped her into the house and to the living room. He led her to her favorite chair and eased her down.
The tea kettle began whistling so he closed the door. “I wonder if she would like a cup of tea?” He said in his ventriloquist voice.