If you don't like the Weather Chapter 2


If You Don’t Like The Weather… - Chapter 2

When he got up the next morning, he had a light breakfast in the apartment and then went straight to the office at the station. The checks were just being printed. When he had the checks in hand, he slipped a stack of the gold and silver coins into the envelopes, after he’d signed the check and put it in first.

Brian added the bonus money to the envelopes of the two payroll personnel out of his wallet, in addition to the coins, and handed them their checks. Both looked startled at the weight of the envelopes, but said nothing. “Thank you for doing this,” Brian told them. Both left without another word. The rumors had started to spread around the employees that something big was wrong.

Brian called a courier service and sent out the rest of the checks for delivery. He leaned back in his chair for a few minutes. The telephone rang while Brian was thinking about the future. It was the same courier service. They had a package for him. The entrance of the station was locked.

It took only a few moments for Brian to go to the main entrance of the station and unlock it. Apparently, with no one else there, the two payroll clerks had locked it behind them. He signed for the package and went back to his office. When he opened the package it was the money that he’d asked Charlie to send to the office. All five-million of it. Brian shook his head. It was much more compact than silver and gold. Maybe he was making a mistake.

There were eight other deliveries that morning. Each of them was much heavier than the first. Charlie called shortly after the eighth delivery arrived. He confirmed there were eight gold dealers that were supposed to deliver the coins bought with the money from Brian’s liquidated stock and bond portfolio.

“That’s it, Brian,” Charlie said. “Everything. Something over twenty-one million in gold and silver. Over twenty-five thousand ounces of gold and the same of silver. All mixed coins, like you asked.”

“Thank you, Charlie. And way ahead of schedule.”

“If I was going to do it, I had to do it quick. The markets were falling and gold was climbing. Unfortunately for you, that will reverse in the near future.”

Brian had the feeling that if that was the case, Charlie probably wouldn’t want to be his broker. “Come by the apartment tomorrow and I’ll have a hundred thousand for you. In cash.”

“Decidedly not! A check will be fine. In the mail.”

Brian shook his head. “As you wish.” Brian hung up. He didn’t have the heart to tell Charlie he’d wanted equal dollar amounts of gold and silver, not equal quantities. “Of course,” Brian muttered to himself, “it might be for the best.” He hadn’t really taken into account the actual weights of the precious metals. Troy ounce had just been a measurement to him. He looked at the forty heavy bags that had been delivered. They held nearly a hundred pounds apiece. There was a ton and three-quarters of the metals.

He wrote the check for Charlie, put it in an envelope, added a stamp, and mailed it on his way out of the building. Before he left, however Brian stashed the bags all around the offices and studio in out of the way places. He wasn’t worried about someone stealing the money or gold. No one knew it was here. But he didn’t want to take any chances.

When he stepped outside he was surprised. The temperature certainly was not in eighties. No more than the high seventies. Brian felt a chill. And it wasn’t from the temperature. He looked up at the sky. Still clear.

Just as he was getting into the car, his cell phone rang. It was the bulk plant where Jake’s driver was going to pick up the load of fuel. Brian gave them his credit card number. For such an unusual transaction, the bulk plant manager had Brian stay on the line until the credit card cleared.

After closing the phone, Brian drove down to the Chevrolet dealer to check on the Suburban and pickup. The dealer accessories were still being installed. Brian was disappointed, but not upset. He still didn’t have a way to transport the vehicles to the hunting camp. He checked the yellow pages and found a wrecking yard that had a three car auto-hauler available. Brian went to the wrecking yard and made a prepaid deal to deliver the two Chevrolet vehicles and his Mercedes-Benz R320, to be picked up first thing the next morning at the Chevy dealership. Both vehicles would be ready by then, he was assured.

Next, Brian found a Motorola radio dealer, and using the TV station’s existing two-way radio license, bought four dozen CP 200 VHF 5 watt, 16 channel handheld radios with spare batteries and accessories, and twelve CM 300 mobile radios with antennas. The clerk, very pleased with the sale, loaded them all into the back of the R320.

After referring to his written notes again, Brian headed for an Amateur Radio dealer. Though he didn’t have an Amateur license himself, he told the clerk he was buying the equipment to set up a network through the TV station. The owner of the shop thought about it for a few moments, but when Brian gave him a list of what he wanted, the man quickly told his clerk to take care of it for Brian.

Brian was running out of cash. He stopped by the bank and wrote a cash check for another eight thousand. With great reluctance on the part of the teller he got it and continued on his buying jag. But first he went to a truck rental place and rented their largest box truck and largest box trailer, along with handling equipment. He paid one of the clerks to drive it over the Chevrolet dealership, where he transferred everything from the R320 to the rental truck.

He locked the R320 and told the floor manager of the dealership that he had a truck coming for his three vehicles the next morning. Brian dropped the rental clerk off, and headed for his apartment building. It was almost 6:00 PM. After parking the truck and trailer out of the way, he went up to his apartment and waited for Herbert’s call.

It wasn’t long in coming. Herbert wasted no time. “Now see here, Lanigan, I don’t like being pressured like this.”

“Take it or leave it. Right now. I’m sure I can sell to Stevenson tomorrow if you don’t want it today at that price.”

There was a long silence. Herbert finally spoke. “Okay. Five million. I’ll cut a check tomo…”

“No checks. I told you it had to be cash.”

Herbert blustered, but finally agreed to meet Brian at Herbert’s bank the following morning at 11:00 AM. Brian hung up with a smile on his face. This might all be for nothing, but Brian was getting a kick out of doing what he was doing. He went out for dinner and enjoyed a filet minon and lobster tail, feeling better than he had in months.

Just before he turned in, Brian had another thought and wrote it down in his notes so he would not forget it in the morning.

He was up early, and went out for breakfast, driving the rental. He checked at the Chevy dealership. His vehicles were being loaded on the transport truck. Brian wrote out the directions of the hunting camp and gave it to the driver. “If I don’t show up within an hour of your arrival, just unload the vehicles and take off.”

“Mister, that could be dangerous. What if someone steals them?”

“There is a caretaker there. Just give him the keys. He’ll watch after them. I tried to call him, to let him know, but long distance is down.”

“Okay. The customer is always right.”

Brian headed to Herbert’s bank to make the deal. He carried in a small overnight bag he’d brought from the apartment. Herbert constantly groused at the situation, but signed the necessary papers. The assistant manager of the bank put the five million dollars in the bag himself and handed it to Brian with a grim smile. “Take care. That is a large sum of money.”

Brian nodded, got up, and walked out of the bank jauntily. He set the bag in the floorboard on the passenger side of the rental truck, climbed in behind the wheel, and started up the truck. Back at the station he used the rental trolley to move the bags of gold and silver to the truck, putting them all well forward. He added the first bag of five million to the gold and silver, but left the one in the front of the truck.

Using a lock he’d purchased when he rented the truck, he locked up the back of the truck. Using a second lock he locked the trailer, though there was nothing in it yet. Brian contacted a temp service and arranged for three laborers for late the next morning. He gave the address but didn’t give the name of the place.

Brian ate a late lunch at the cafeteria, before going up to the station one last time. He cleaned out his personal things and took them down to the rental. He spent the afternoon going from one big box store to the next, as well as the occasional specialty store, filling the rental trailer with his purchases. It was late when he finished and he went to bed tired, without supper.

He slept in late the next morning and took his time getting dressed and having breakfast. He cleaned out the refrigerator and threw everything in the trash dump chute. The rest of the food he boxed and took down to the rental trailer. Two more hours and he had everything he wanted from the apartment in the trailer.

He was almost ten minutes late getting to the gun store, but still had to wait on the laborers another fifteen minutes before they showed up. George was astonished when he handed over the keys to the store to see the rental truck and trailer. “I thought… I just thought you wanted to continue the business here.”

Brian shook his head. “I’m moving things to… somewhere else.”

George suddenly grinned. “I’ve got the money. No skin off my nose.” He turned to the door to the back of the shop. “Let’s go, boy. Time for the new owner to do his stuff.”

With George and his son gone, Brian directed the laborers to start loading the inventory from the gun store to the rental truck. Brian had jackknifed the truck and trailer near the back door to make it easier to get to the back of the truck. Brian directed the loading, a holstered pistol in full evidence.

It was late in the afternoon when the task was done. Brian tipped the three men a few bucks and then called the temp agency to pay for their work with his credit card. He locked the gun store, pocketed the keys, and looked up at the sky. There were some high clouds. And it felt cooler than it had the day before. Brian climbed up into the cab of the truck and headed out of town.

He didn’t take the direct route. He made a few stops, again, mostly big box stores. When he finally got on I-44 out of St. Louis the truck and trailer were both stuffed to the gills. He turned on the radio and found an all news station. Much to his surprise, they were talking about the anomalies in the weather pattern.

The temperature had been dropping steadily since Tuesday afternoon. This was Friday and the temperature at the St. Louis International airport was fifty-six degrees Farenhight and still slowly dropping. The next topic was the total breakdown of the weather satellite system, the Internet, satellite TV links, and long distance.

As he traveled, Brian tried several other all news stations. Rumors were running rampant. One rumor voiced was that many important people in Washington, D. C. were disappearing. To Brian, it just meant he was probably right about what was going on. He couldn’t keep from smiling when he thought of the reaction Sue would have when she showed up to get her gold. She would be livid.

Brian took his time, driving carefully. He didn’t want to get stopped for a traffic violation, much less have an accident. Despite there being plenty of other goods on top of the weapons and ammunition, and gold and silver, he didn’t want anyone finding them. Too many questions to answer, despite, he thought, being within the law.

He stopped at a well lighted motel just off the Interstate shortly after dark and checked in, still using his credit card. But the clerk gave him a hand written receipt. There was a restaurant just down the street and Brian went there to have his supper. It was the same there. A hand written credit card receipt.

It seemed everyone was talking about the strange situations that were getting worse by the day. Brian’s ears perked up when he heard one man say he’d come from Northern Wisconsin and they were getting snow as of the day before.

Brian went back to the motel after his meal and turned in. He kept the TV on for a while, but only the local channel was active. Just more speculation. He turned off the TV, turned on his side and went to sleep.

When Brian got up the next morning and went to the restaurant, they wouldn’t take his credit card for breakfast. When he asked for an explanation, he was told, “Long distance has been down for over a day, now. We’ve been issuing handwritten receipts.”

Brian nodded. “I got one last night. Why not this morning?”

The young woman looked a bit frightened. “The boss says he doesn’t know when it might be back up. He could lose a bundle.”

Both turned to watch as a man put up a hand written sign on the front door. Cash Only. “That’s the boss,” the woman whispered.

“What about checks?” Brian asked.

“We’ve been taking them just like always, but the boss said no more. He doesn’t know when they might clear with the long distance down.” She looked at Brian and asked, “Do they do that over the telephone?”

“I think computers, on the internet.”

“Oh. It’s down, too.”

Brian paid with cash. When he got back to the room at the motel, he distributed more cash in several pockets. He put on a light windbreaker and added cash to each pocket. It had been downright chilly when he walked to the restaurant.

On the road again, Brian checked the radio stations again, being extra careful when he tuned the radio not to swerve. He still didn’t want to be stopped or have an accident. He kept an easy pace, drinking only a bottle of water for his lunch. When he got to Springfield, Missouri he left I-44 and turned south, taking state and county roads, and then the track that was the final road to the hunting camp. It was getting dark, but the temperature was higher than it had been back up the road.

“Hi, Cap!” Brian called to the man standing in the open door of one of the hunting cabins. Brian saw his three vehicles parked neatly near the main cabin. As he walked over to Cap, he said, “I see the transporter made it.”

“Sure did. Caught me all by surprise.” Cap sounded a bit put out about that, Brian thought.

“Yeah. I’m sorry about that, Cap. By the time I decided to come, the long distance was out.”

“Oh, yeah? It’s not back on?”

Brian shook his head. “You can try, but unless it’s come back up in the last couple of hours.”

“Nah, not if you say so. I went ahead and got your regular cabin ready.”

“Excellent. I knew I could count on you. I expect some more people. Tomorrow we’ll need to open up all the smaller cabins, plus the main cabin.”

“Whatever you say, Brian. But what’s this all about? More people coming? This ain’t deer season.”

“I know. I’ll fill you in first thing tomorrow morning. Right now I’m tired and hungry and want to go to bed.”

“Got a pot of venison stew on. Thought you might be showing up, after the trucks did.”

Brian smiled slight as he followed Cap into his cabin. Cap really was annoyed about the sudden visit. “Man, that smells good, Cap!”

“Same as ever. You know where everything is. Help yourself. I’ll be a reading by the stove.”

Brian lost no time in getting a plate and bowl down from the shelf and filling the bowl with stew, which was simmering on the kitchen woodstove. A spoon in his hand he sat down at the small kitchen table.

“There’s raised rolls in the warmer,” Brian heard from behind him. He got up and two of the rolls out of the warming oven on the side of the kitchen stove. Brian had resumed his seat when Cap said, “Milk in the cooler.”

Again Brian got up. This time to get a glass of milk from the evaporation cooler. He didn’t dare not, the mood Cap was in. When he was full, he washed up everything and went back to the main room of the cabin. “You know where the facilities are.”

Brian made his way out to the outhouse behind Cap’s cabin. Each cabin had one. Only the main cabin had indoor plumbing. When he returned to the cabin, Cap was still reading quietly. “Cap,” Brian said, “I’m going to my cabin. Thanks for putting up with me.”

“You are the boss. Got to.”

Brian shook his head as he walked to his cabin, stopping at the rental truck to get his suitcase. He lit one of the many bayberry candles in the main room of the cabin. One of Caps many hobbies was the making of the candles from the wax myrtle he’d transplanted from his native haunts on the east coast.

Brian undressed and crawled into bed, wondering what the next day would bring.

He found out fairly early. He was up before sunrise, enjoying a cup of coffee down by the lake when he heard the growl of a big truck in low gear, just as the sun began to rise. Brian hurried up the path from the lake to the camp. He waved when he saw Jake at the wheel of a semi rig. He was surprised when a second fifty-three foot trailer came into sight behind the first as Jake mad a loop in the open area of the camp, stopping with the rig headed back toward the track in to the camp.

“Jake!” Brian called, walking up to the rig. Jake climbed down out of the cab of the truck and stretched before reaching out to shake Brian’s hand enthusiastically. “You made it, I see.”

“Yep. Callie and I traded off, stopping only for fuel and food. She is still asleep in the sleeper.”

The two men walked away from the truck. “I didn’t know you were pulling doubles,” Brian said.

“No. Not before. But when I was in Montana after I talked to you, picking up your order at the food place, with what you said about bad times, and the weather suddenly getting cold, and no internet I decided to the same thing you were doing. Buy supplies for a long time for me and my family. So I stopped at the first trailer dealer I could find and bought a second reefer trailer.”

Jake fell silent for a moment, a disturbed look on his face. “Buddy you said this is very important. I told the rest of my family to come, too. I sure hope that is okay?”

“Of course, Jake. I meant for you to do that. I know how close your family is to one another. I’m sorry I didn’t make it clear.”

Jake breathed a sigh of relief. “Thank you, Brian. And be sure, they’re bringing things, too. I told them what you told me. And gave them the directions to get here.” He looked around the camp. “We need a place to put trailers.”

“They aren’t in the way here,” Brian replied.

Jake grinned. “Don’t forget, there are more coming, buddy.”

“Oh. Yeah.” Brian saw Cap come out of the main cabin. “Hey, Cap!”

When Cap walked over, Brian asked him, “Where do you think we should park the trailers? Got a few more coming.”

“What you do, buy out Wal-Mart?”

“Something like that,” Brian said. “The trailers?”

“Well… About the only place is along the tree line down by the lake. Sure wouldn’t take doubles down there, though.”

“No problem,” Jake said. “Pretty easy to break down.

“We need to unload, first?” Brian asked.

Cap was shaking his head. “Not even what the two of you have, if you’re both full up, is going to fit. Some things… Most things… are going to have to be stored in the trailers. Hope you don’t have a bunch of fresh stuff.”

“No. I don’t, anyway,” Brian said. He and Cap looked at Jake.

“Nope. The insulation in the trailers should help. Don’t want to run the reefers. Waste too much diesel. I know there isn’t much refrigeration. All I brought will keep if kept dry and not too hot.”

“I don’t think that is going to be a problem,” Brian said, rather sardonically.

They began to break down the doubles so Jake could move them one at a time. The activity woke Callie and Cap took her to the main cabin to freshen up. As he was walking back to join Brian and Jake as they were walking back from the shore of the lake, his cell phone rang.

He stopped and talked for a moment, then called out to Brian, “Brian! Got two deliveries in town. Should I give them directions to get out here?”

Brian thought about it, suddenly concerned about security of the camp. “No. Tell them we’ll have someone there in a couple of hours or less. We’ll pay waiting time.”

Cap spoke for a few moments more and then closed his phone. He joined Brian and Jake. “What do you want to do?”

“It has to be the items from east of the Mississippi. I’ll take the pickup in and get the stuff. See you guys in a while.”

Brian headed for the Chevy pickup, after getting the keys from Cap. When he got to town he was greeted by a less than happy hotshot truck driver at the small grocery store that was used as the contact point and physical address for the hunting camp.

In normal circumstances, Brian would not have given the man any sort of tip, but he felt bad about bringing the man so far from home. He gave him a hundred, despite the fact he wouldn’t help transfer the load from his trailer to the pickup. It calmed him down, slightly. At least he quit cussing. Brian was glad to see him leave.

It had been a couple of years since he’d had a chance to come down to hunt, so he went into the store and kibitzed for a few minutes with the owner, a long time acquaintance. He’d met Mr. Johnson when he’d first started scouting for property for the camp and they had become friends. Johnson used the camp without charge for acting as mail and delivery drop for the Brian.

“Brian, you’re in from the big city, and run a TV station, to boot. What’s going on?”

“Well, I don’t own or run the station anymore,” he told Johnson. “Sold it. And I think some bad things are going to happen real soon. I don’t know what to tell you, but watch yourself. I wouldn’t take anything but cash, gold, and silver for payment, if I was you.

“Gold and silver! What do you think is going to happen? A total economic failure?”

“Eventually. But I have no proof. Mr. Johnson, all I can really recommend is for you to just watch yourself and get ready for some hard times.”

“I will. Bet on it,” Johnson said. The two men shook hands and Brian left the store. As he turned onto the track that led from the county gravel road to the camp, Brian caught a glimpse of a semi behind him. He stopped and waited. Sure enough, it was one of Jake’s, for it turned onto the track, too.

As it made the turn, Brian could see that it was the double tankers with diesel and gasoline. Brian waved, put the pickup in gear and led the way to the camp. Jake was outside and guided the truck to a spot where the trailers could easily be broken down and moved one at a time near the others.

Jake introduced his driver to Brian and Cap. “This is my brother, Jeb.”

There were handshakes all around. When a woman came around the front of the truck from the passenger side, Jeb introduced her to Brian and Cap. “My girlfriend, Brenda.” Jeb put his arm around her waist as she nodded at the two men.

“I’ll take her in to the main cabin,” Cap said, motioning with his head for her to follow.

“Main cabin?” asked Brenda as they approached the structure in the middle of the line of log structures. “Looks like a lodge. Small one, though, I guess. But a lot bigger than the others.”

“Kinda what it is. We just call it the main cabin. Got a big kitchen and dining room. Big common room, too. Nine bedrooms. The regular cabins don’t have bathrooms. Only outhouses. The main cabin has a large communal bathroom for the guys, and another one for the few ladies we get out here, like yourselves. Both with showers. There’s even a clothes washer. Use a clothes line for drying. Have to run the genny for the washer. Lights, water pump, and such are on a PV system.”

They reached the wrap around porch of the cabin and Callie met them at the door. Callie and Brenda shared a hug, and then Callie took Brenda inside to show her around, as Cap headed back outside. He had the sudden feeling he was no longer in charge when it came to the main cabin.

The four men had just come back into the camp clearing when another truck edged into it rather hesitatingly. “It’s Gloria,” Jake said. “I wasn’t expecting her until later.” They heard the sound of the air brakes as Gloria brought the rig to a stop. Both doors of the truck opened and a veritable parade of people began to emerge. Obviously, most had been in the sleeper.

Jake introduced them as they came out. There was Gloria, her husband Thomas, their ten year old daughter, Samantha, Thomas’ sister Alexandra, and Alexandra’s fourteen year old son, Anthony. The last one, or rather two, out of the truck were Jake’s other sister, Helen and her babe in arms, Steven.

Cap had a rather sour look on his face. The main cabin was definitely no longer his jurisdiction. Not with this many women in the camp. Most there’d ever been before was three and he’d almost lost his authority then.

Callie and Brenda came out and there was quite the family reunion. Callie seemed to be the mother hen of the bunch and soon had the rest of the women and the children in the main cabin, and getting a breakfast prepared from the items Thomas brought in from the truck. Jake climbed up and moved the truck and trailer down with the others.

Cap headed for the garden patch, which was a short distance from the camp itself, in a clearing that had been cut in the heavy forest. The garden didn’t really need the work, but Cap was at loose ends at the moment and needed something to do.

The chatter was pretty much normal as everyone, except Cap, sat around the dining table and had their breakfast. Just family that hadn’t seen one another in a while catching up, and filling in an old friend of what had been going on since last seen.

It was only when the men were ushered out of the way that the talk turned to the current situation. “Fill us in, Jake,” said Thomas, as the men gathered around the large, rough hewn table and benches near one side of the clearing.

“Actually,” Jake said, “It’s Brian here that knows the most. Brian?”

“I don’t actually know that much. It’s just my meteorologist at the station found an anomalous weather system in the arctic that shouldn’t be there, or grow as fast as it is.”

“You got us all down here in a panic over a spring storm?” Thomas seemed extremely upset. “This is nuts. I’m getting Gloria and Samantha and we’re getting out of here. I spent every dime we had on the supplies Jake said to bring. How am I supposed to get my money back?”

“I told Jake I would foot the bill…”

“No, Brian,” Jake said. “Thomas! Cool down, will you? Brian isn’t one to act on a mere whim.”

“Well, Jake,” Brian said, as Thomas glared at him, “It’s not much more than that. But the Internet went down, and the weather satellite feeds were cut off to the station. Long distance is dead and it’s dependent on satellites too. Some one I know… that knows important people… basically said they were leaving the States. Permanently.

“Other things… The stock market. Gold going up rapidly. I received a threat telling me not to try to run national weather. The station got shut down by the FCC for no stated reason. But we had run a story on the gold situation.

“And the theories about HAARP and weather modification…”

Thomas cut Brian off when he mentioned HAARP. “Don’t tell me you’re one of those fruitcakes that think everything is a big conspiracy. I saw a documentary on it. It’s nonsense!”

Brian felt his back getting stiff. He was beginning not to like Thomas. Sure there were questions, but Thomas was making Brian out to be a fool. That didn’t sit well.

“Well, I told Jake I’d pay for what he brought. That goes for his family, too.” Brian took out his wallet and began counting out hundred dollar bills. He looked at Thomas. “A thousand? Two? Three?”

“Four, actually,” Thomas said coldly. “All our working capital.”

Brian handed the Thomas the four thousand dollars.

“Come on, Thomas,” Jake coaxed. “Don’t be like this! So what if we’re just take a short vacation in the woods? What’s the harm?”

“What’s the harm? I’ll tell you what the harm is! Lost revenue! We’re just starting to make it big and you want to shut down? On the word of some playboy millionaire? He can afford to do anything he wants. We can’t.”


Thomas cut Jake off. “You may be the head of this whole family, but you aren’t the head of my family. I’m getting them and we’re going.” Thomas stormed toward the main cabin. He came out a few moments later, literally dragging Gloria and Samantha by the arms. He was headed for the semi rig. Alexandra followed, with Anthony.

Gloria suddenly broke loose of his hold and when he turned to grab her again, she fought him off and managed to get Samantha loose, too. The other men were running up and Brian and Jake grabbed Thomas before he could do anything else as Jeb stepped between Gloria and Samantha and Thomas, ready to protect his sister and niece if need be.

“That’s it, Thomas,” Jake said, holding his brother-in-law’s right arm behind him. Brian had his other arm in a tight grasp. “I warned you before about manhandling Gloria and Samantha. Now, the truck is worth a lot more than what you invested in the company. Take it and go.”

Brian turned Thomas’ arm loose when Jake gave Thomas a slight shove and released his other arm.

Thomas took a couple of quick steps away from the group. “The trailer is detached.”

“You don’t get the trailer. Just the truck. You can always rent a trailer. You’ve got the money from Brian, so count things even.”

“Come on, Gloria,” Thomas said, staring at her, half hidden behind Jeb. “Bring Samantha and let’s get away from these loony toons. Come on, Alexandra. You and Anthony.”

Samantha was cowering behind her mother. “No, Thomas,” Gloria said. “We’re not going with you. I’m tired of your abuse. Get out and leave us alone.”

“Abuse?” Jake asked, a bit bewildered, as he looked at his sister. Suddenly he turned around and took a step toward Thomas. “You’d better get out of here before I take it in my head to teach you some respect.” His voice was low, and Thomas took the menace in Jake’s voice for exactly what it was. He mumbled something the others couldn’t hear, and then motioned for Alexandra and Anthony.

Both looked at Gloria, pleadingly. “You can stay,” Gloria said when Brian nodded. Thomas turned and stalked off to the semi truck.

Brian had to jump out of the way when Thomas gunned the engine of the truck and took off, straight for him. All turned and watched as he drove away. Suddenly Thomas was sounding the air horn on the truck as he met another semi pulling in to the camp.

“That should be our cousin Alvin. He was going to pick up that shipment for you after he dropped the load in Sacramento.”

Jeb took Gloria and Samantha back to the main cabin. The other women quickly hustled them inside and Jeb went back to join the other men.

This time three people got out of the cab of the semi. A man and two women. Jake introduced Alvin, and then Alvin introduced the two women. “This is my girlfriend, Suzy, and her sister, Bianca.”

Jeb and Jake exchanged a look when Alvin introduced Suzy. Brian decided there was some sort of story there. He’d find out later. Jake took Alvin and the two women to the main cabin. Jeb moved the truck and trailer. Brian noticed that the trailer was another reefer. The cooling unit wasn’t running and Brian noticed the inspection hatch was open in the rear doors. The trailer was being used as a dry box trailer, too. But the reefer capability might come in handy.

As Brian and Jeb walked back to the main cabin, Jake stepped out onto the porch and yelled to them, “Brian! Jeb! Come see this! The satellite TV is back on!”

Brian and Jeb ran inside and stood with the others watching the TV screen in one corner of the common room. The camp had a satellite dish, but the TV was seldom used. The news network anchor, looking somewhat the worse for wear, was speaking again after a commercial ended.

“We still have no official information as to what is going on, but since several important information systems have again become operational, we have discovered an Arctic weather system currently passing through Canada that is larger than anything in the record books.”

The picture cut to the networks weather information center. Everyone watched as the meteorologist described the system and showed satellite views of it. There were murmurs when the extent of the system became obvious.

“We expect the storm system to continue to grow and move to the south-east, into the United States. Expect extremely low temperatures in your area as the system moves through.”

The anchor was back on screen. There was some discussion with several different experts about the Internet, long distance, communications and weather satellites all coming back on line, after all going down one after the other.

The group watched the news for most of the day, but learned little. What seemed to have happened was word from ‘higher up’ had shut down the systems. Now the ‘higher ups’ seemed to all be missing and mid-level employees were anxious to do their jobs, in order to get paid, and brought everything back on-line. And none of the ‘higher ups’ seemed to be around anywhere.

Twice, Brian noticed, the idea of a self-sustaining super storm was mentioned, and then dismissed out of hand. Basically nothing definite was established, other than that the storm existed and was still growing and moving.

After watching all the networks over and over, the group finally broke up and the women began preparations for supper and the men went outside to discuss the situation. Anthony was left in charge of Samantha and the baby, with instructions to get an adult if anything changed on the news.

Cap joined the other men sitting around the picnic table. “So. What do we do, Brian?” Asked Jake.

“I think all we can do is get organized and wait to see what happens. Maybe get all the supplies we’ve bought sorted, inventoried, and repacked in the trailers to make getting out what we need, when we need it, easier.”

“That sounds like a plan to me,” Jeb said. “What about the cabins and sleeping arrangements?”

“Well, Cap and I have our own cabins,” Brian said. “That leaves five cabins. There are nine bedrooms in the house. Not real big. You’re all family. I think you guys should use the main cabin. Cap and I’ll stay where we are.”

Jake and Jeb both nodded. So did Cap.

Jake then said, “Callie and the other ladies will be glad to take over the cooking and things. Cap I know you normally do that for the camp…”

Cap shrugged. “Got other things to keep me busy.”

“There are some things I don’t want to keep in the trailers. Do any of you have any objections if I use one of the cabins for storage?” Brian asked.

“Hey, Brian, buddy,” Jake said, putting a hand on Brian’s shoulder. “This is your place. I think you can pretty much do what you want.”

“Hey, guys. We’re in this together. I might pull rank on some things, but mostly this needs to be a cooperative matter. That should probably include the women.”

“Definitely,” Jake said. “Callie… Well… Callie…”

“Is a forceful woman and knows her own mind,” Cap said softly. “My Isabel was like that.”

“Good way of putting it, Cap,” Jake replied. “Yeah.”

Brian looked at Jake and Jeb. “Should we be worried about Thomas coming back here in the night to get Gloria and the others?”

“I don’t think so,” Jeb said slowly. “He’s always been something of a prima donna. Let’s Gloria do most of the driving. Doesn’t help with Samantha, much, either. I don’t think he’s got the gumption to do anything.”

“I don’t know,” Jake said, thoughtfully. “He’s got a mean streak in him I’ve seen before. Good thing I didn’t know he’s been abusing Gloria. I can’t believe she hasn’t said or done something.”

“Common syndrome,” Brian said. “All you can do about it, I think, is let her know you support her and are there to help if she wants it.”

Callie called them in for supper then. Brian and Cap left as soon as they finished, to give Jake and his family the time and privacy to get settled in the main cabin.

Cap went to his cabin, and Brian walked down to the lake. Brian stood there for a long time, looking at the lake, but seeing nothing, as he thought about what the future might bring.

If you don't like the Weather Chapter 3