Friday the Thirteenth
Dear Future Historian,
I write to you on the thirteenth of April in 2018. Friday the Thirteenth. A day for bad luck. I don’t see how much my luck can get worse. I started the day rooting through years-old garbage for food stuffs (anything edible would suffice).
I live in the Los Angeles area, a WWII boomtown that went bust long ago. Now it’s filled with rats, cannibals, and folks like me who have nowhere else to go. This city is surrounded by deserts and ocean, locking in all those who could not afford to flee during the last two riots. I’m an old man now, sixty-three to be exact. I don’t know how much longer I will survive, hunger being an ever-present torture. I grow tired of the taste of rat meat, vegetables being a forgotten bliss, and I’m too weak to hunt down and kill another man to eat his meat (too old to be subject to such a fate myself). With this letter, I hope to communicate with future generations, to let them know how an empire can collapse, as they have done throughout history.
When I was five, I remember watching the first televised presidential debate. Our TV was fascinating to me, the smell of the plastics and metal, the bright glow of the black and white screen, the noise it made when you first clicked it on. I was glued to it every Sunday morning before church. But this time my parents were watching with close intent. I knew nothing about what they were talking (my understanding of Nixon’s attacks on Kennedy coming later as an adult), but I could tell my mom and dad were focused sharply on the conversation. I remember my mom saying something about Kennedy being handsome, to which my dad got into one of his tempers, yelling at her, eventually hitting her in the face.
Nixon narrowly beat Kennedy. His first term was an exciting time for America. We invaded Cuba, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, East Germany, all within his first year. Eisenhower’s disarmament policies were nixed; my hometown of Chatsworth became a nuclear production hub, churning out the things by the thousands. America expanded, and we were all grateful for Nixon. Our main export was military dominance, and we doled it out wherever we could. The Russians were shaking in their boots. It was a beautiful time.
When he was reelected, the chant was “Four more years.” Four more years of expansive military expeditions were a great idea, but it came at a cost to social reform, education, and community infrastructure. Eisenhower’s highways were collapsing, the negroes were growing restless, and major universities were closing. The private school, USC, was forced to close by eminent domain, becoming a military base (they converted the old Coliseum to a helicopter maintenance hangar).
During this time, the Russians focused on education and technology. They invested heavily in computers, with an entire city being created for engineers and electronics researchers (Chernobyl). They created the internet, this being the greatest invention of the twentieth century in retrospect. They ceded much of their eastern bloc countries to the US in the sixties, preferring to address domestic concerns and focus on the future, becoming a hegemony for peace and prosperity.
When 1968 came, I was thirteen years old. I knew little of politics, only that my dad adored Nixon, and my mom sheepishly followed his lead. When the president declared a restructuring of government, most people were happy. He would now be our supreme president, outlawing presidential elections and dissolving state governments. He set up an absolute monarchy, with public executions of the senators and representatives who opposed him. He used people’s fear of the Russian and Chinese communists, who threatened our new German, Indo-Chinese, and Asia Steppe provinces. Through televised propaganda, the nation became codependent on Nixon. We needed him, because the alternative was frightening.
Our only allies were England, Canada, Mexico, and Israel. The latter of these brought the ancient wrath of the Arabs, who fought a war of attrition against us in Europe and Asia Minor. The Turks soon took an outright opposition to American Imperialist policies, vowing to fight off any new attempted invasion. Nixon put them to the test in Afghanistan. This turned out to be a failure for the Americans. We were there for the entire decade of the seventies, and the early part of the eighties. I did two tours of duty myself, fighting the dug-in Taliban. The Turks eventually invaded East-Germany and liberated them to rejoin their western brothers. We left Afghanistan in 1985, the first war we lost.
The nineties saw a decline in both national pride and Nixon’s health. Our supreme president was showing signs of alcoholism, sometimes showing up for public appearances too intoxicated to remember why he was there. With no male heirs, he decided to make a successor out of CIA Director George Bush. He started making appearances with him at his side, soon letting Bush do all the talking. In 1994, Nixon joined his wife at Yorba Linda Cemetery. The nation mourned, not knowing what would happen next.
Bush I became a president of secrets, fighting clandestine wars all over the world. He enabled a military coup in Turkey, aiding the Armenian Invasion of ’96. He and the Israelis broke the House of Saud with assassinations of the top family members. His close friend, Sadam Hussein of Iraq, was let loose on Central Asia, fighting Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Syria. The new millennium came, and George Bush II came to power (by assassinating his own father).
Bush II was outwardly aggressive and quite ruthless. He turned our country into an absolute war machine. Citizens had no rights unless they served in the military. Over eighty percent of our young people joined the armed forces. We were bloodthirsty as a nation, soon annexing Canada and Mexico, invading all the Central American countries. He even fought battles in Antarctica. He started taking direct control over the countries in which his father installed puppet regimes. The sun did not set on Imperial America, until September 11th, 2008.
A contingent of Arab Freedom Fighters (they called themselves the Islamic State) let loose a devastating attack on New York, Los Angeles, and Washington DC. The attacks all followed the same strategic plan. A dirty bomb was detonated, suicide bombers would drive truck bombs into major government facilities, and sleeper cells would clean up the mess with foot patrols and technical they had hidden in their garages. Oddly enough, many of these sleeper cells were Americans, poisoned by propaganda on the internet. My own city was hit with two dirty bombs; one centered in downtown, and the other in the Port of Long Beach.
Though Bush survived, his empire was in shambles. Deserters fled posts in far flung colonies, leading to revolutions all over Central America, Indo-China, and the Middle East. Russia and China capitalized by helping these new nations set up utilities, infrastructure, and fiber optic networks. America was secluded to North America, and her people were demoralized. Mexicans and Canadians rioted. New Yorker Refugees flooded boats headed for France, who agreed to take asylum seekers. Los Angelinos were divided racially, causing massive riots, lasting up to a year in the case of Watts Riot of 2015-16. This presidency ended with a bang, when W put a 45-caliber pistol against his temple in the Oval Office, November 8, 2016.
A billionaire land developer from New York took office soon after (I don’t even want to say his name). DT was old, perhaps senile. He ceded too much to the Russians, having developed a close friendship with their president Putin. States like Alaska and Hawaii, used to autarky, seceded and formed the Central Pacific Confederation with the former colonies of Guam and the Philippines. The mainland continued to shrink as China took over Canada, and Russia took over Mexico. Which brings us to today.
I recently heard something about Texas and her fight with Russo-Mexico. It called for volunteers to fight to the death, resist the invasion at all costs, burn crops and poison water supplies so the commie bastards can’t use the land. I think I might try to find my way over there. It sure beats sitting around here, starving to death. If I can make my way to Pomona, they have a transport taking people every first of the month. I write this letter now, hoping to make it to El Paso by May. Maybe Friday the Thirteenth can be good luck for me. I’ll start my journey now, hoping this letter finds you in the future, and that I have a happy ending.