Larry’s Small Farm in New Hampshire, Saturday, August 31, 2019, 9:04 AM…
Bert watched his mother and his sisters ease down the long driveway to the road. He listened until the hum of the Sequoia’s V8 faded away. Then he ran down to the barn, finding “Little” Larry (all six-foot, three inches of him) digging around under the F-250 bed cover.
‘Lar! They’re off. Bet they won’t be back until the mall closes.’
‘Kay, Bubba. I got everything we need. Let’s go find dad.’
Larry, Jr., recently turned eighteen, and his younger-by-three-years brother rolled gently into the back field, headed towards the distant clump of firs and junipers in the far corner above the woods and just uphill from the creek.
‘They changed the story about the Texas shooter. Again.’ Bert read headlines from his phone. ‘Now, they say it wasn’t random and he spoke to the FBI first. No white supremacy links either.’
‘Yeah. They do that. They’ll change it again. Next, he’ll be a black zionist working for the FBI. Then, they’ll move on to the next one. Dad says they need better scriptwriters.’
‘Is that a red flag or a false flag?’
‘False. But, one leads to the other. Or, it will. That’s why we’re doing our um, fence work today.’
Larry, Jr. slowed as he passed a row of newly dug post holes and a stack of heavy timbers. Behind a large cedar, the boys caught a glimpse of their father, already at work. Big Larry, Larry, Sr., was raising the auger out of a new hole when he noticed the truck approaching. After carefully clearing the PTO assembly, he pulled the John Deere 4052M out of the way and shut it off. He met his boys at the tailgate.
‘I take it the women are off and shopping?’
Junior answered, ‘Yes, sir. They left about five minutes ago.’
‘Good. We’ll have plenty of time. We can even get another section of actual fence up.’
Bert was still a little puzzled about the logistics and the secrecy. ‘Dad, why can’t we tell mom or Brooke or Liv? Kind of feels like we’re sneaking around.’
‘Well, son, we are. For this operation, the fewer who know anything, the better. Women have a way of … talking about things. We’re not asking for permission or forgiveness. We’re men. We do what we have to without resort to pointless discussion. Especially with something as critical as this.’ He paused as Larry, Jr. pulled the bed cover back. ‘Well, men. Let’s see here. Larry, for your brother’s benefit, why don’t you walk us through what we have? Kind of explain as you load ‘er up’
‘Okay, dad.’ Junior lowered a large black plastic tube to the ground, standing it upright. He unscrewed and removed the lid. ‘This is the Mono Vault. The big one. Now, all we do is fill it with goodies. Start passing me those long flat bags, Bubba.’
‘Are these the new guns we just shot last week?’
‘Why are they sealed up now?’
‘We cycled ‘em to make sure they work. Then, I cleaned the heck out of ‘em. Dad and I soaked ‘em in Cosmoline and vacuum-sealed them last night while you distracted the women. Wicked good job, I’d say.’
Junior lowered the arsenal into the tube - an H&K 416 A5 chambered in 5.56mm, a 417 A2 in 7.62 x 51 NATO, and a Benelli M4 tactical 12-gauge shotgun.
‘The bags keep them dry?’
‘The vault should do that. The grease and the vacuum will keep them from rusting. Thanks, brother, those smaller bags too, now.’
Two H&K pistols, both in .45ACP and both similarly protected, were added. Then came the ammunition - 1,000 rounds of 5.56, 400 rounds of 7.62, 100 rounds of buckshot, and 400 rounds of .45ACP - all neatly packaged. Everything fit perfectly with room to spare.
‘Where’d all this stuff come from? And, whose idea was this?’
Larry laughed. ‘Same answer for both questions - your uncle Thomas. He says that with all that’s happening, it’s time to start caching. He provided the Mono Vault and the guns. Amazon sells the tubes in all sizes and… PVC pipe will work too if they start banning more than guns. And the guns, any good store has. Uh… Tom kindly provided all these, sans any contact or paper trail. He says it’s best not to have any trace of the purchase or ownership. Period.’
‘Well, how’d he get them?’
‘Son, I learned a long time ago that it’s better not to question Tom’s methods. Okay, let’s add the rest now.’
A few more bags and a coffee can rounded out most of the space. Junior continued the explanation. ‘That’s a cleaning kit, magazines, some spare parts, slings and holsters, and a few survival items. Knives and water tablets, etc. Not sure what was in that black bag. Dad?’
‘Another gift from your uncle. Probably auto sears or something for the rifles. A grenade? Better not to know sometimes. Oh! And, I have a few more little things to top it off!’
Larry proudly added a travel humidor full of Cuban Cohibas (also from Tom), a cutter, lighter, and matches, and a bottle of 18-year-old Oban Scotch Whisky. With everything in place, they closed the primary lid and carried the vault to the waiting hole. Larry explained it’s creation,
‘Boys, I’m glad I didn’t have to switch to the backhoe. No big rocks, luckily. I dug out five adjoining holes to match the diameter of the vault with some extra space on the sides. There’s a little dirt down at the bottom. If you could get that, Bert. Thanks.’ He watched as Bert manually lowered some post hole diggers into the ground. ‘Should be a perfect fit. The vault is forty-five inches deep, or tall, and my bit is forty-eight. I bumped it a little deeper with the hydraulics for a margin. Anyway, it all worked great.’
Bert finished routing out the hole and they lowered the vault into place. Next, they backfilled around the edges, adding several bags of gravel at Larry’s instruction.
‘It’s very important to keep good drainage. Water can cause these things to buoy up and float. It shouldn't be a problem with our good soil. Anyway, my going a little deeper will keep the frost away from the lid.’
With the fill added, they lowered and sealed the heavy outer shield lid. That, they covered with about two inches of dirt.
‘Scrap time, boys.’
The trio started scattering rusty scrap steel and iron in and around the hole. Over the lid, Larry placed a partially bent railroad track plate.
‘What’s all this for?’ Bert asked.
His brother answered, ‘To foil metal detectors.’
‘Yeah,’ added Larry, ‘Not that anyone’s going to be looking way back here. But, if they do, then this junk should throw them off. They’ll just figure it’s old trash and move on. They’d have a hard time finding it anyhow.’
‘How will we find it again in a few years, dad?’
‘Placement is everything. The tube is set equidistant between that large rock and the corner fence post. It’s exactly twenty-one feet between them, so it’s ten and a half feet from the rock to the tube. Remember that. I notched the rock on the right line just to be safe. No-one would ever notice that or understand what it means.’ He pointed to the granite boulder, jutting out of the ground amid the evergreens.
They worked a little more and covered the hole well, blending it with the surrounding ground. In a few weeks, it became undetectable. Later that day, a decent section of the new wooden fence was erected. That evening, while waiting on the women to return, the three lounged around just outside the barn doors. All three enjoyed a few beers, and the Larrys smoked two of the Cohibas, a pair saved from burial at the last moment.
‘And again, men,’ Larry expounded, ‘Who do we tell about this?’
‘Nobody.’ They answered in unison.
‘That’s right. Okay, I’ll tell Tom later. Show him, in person, rather. He said not to even mention this in code on the telephone.’
‘He’s really serious about all this, isn’t he?’
‘He really is. He expects some sort of gun ban before things get really bad. And he expects the bad part in a decade or so. He’s used the term civil war a few times. Hate to say I trust him, but he does know war. Says if it comes, it will be short, but very bad. Not much that common people can do for the duration. It’s surviving the getting there and the aftermath that matters.’
‘Our little cache will help if it comes to that, dad, Bubba. But, what about … you know, heavier weapons?’
‘Well. The advice from the pro is to stay out of the way while the big actors duke it out. But, he told me that maybe the next time we’re together - sometime soon - he’ll explain in detail how to go arms shopping, for free, courtesy of the government. Again, that’s another subject he’s extremely well versed in.’
‘Dad, speaking of shopping - I see headlights.’
‘Alright! Remember to act impressed by the shoes and purses and so forth.’
They all laughed. It felt good to start a Labor Day weekend with responsible preparedness. For the moment, it felt pretty good finishing those brews and smokes.