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James Wesley Rawles

Founders

James Wesley Rawles Founders A Novel Of The Coming Collapse
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Excerpt from book:


1

Hammer Time

“Liberty must at all hazards be supported. We have a right to it, derived from our Maker. But if we had not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us, at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their blood.”

—John Adams, A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, 1765

Nashville, Tennessee
Eight Years Before the Crunch


Adrian Evans had asked Ben to meet him at the bar after work. This was a meeting that wasn’t in Ben’s comfort zone. Ben Fielding only rarely set foot in a bar, and the only drinking that he did was tiny little communion cups of wine. But since he was about to move his family and he probably wouldn’t see Adrian again for many months, he reluctantly agreed.

Ben had just seen Adrian three days before, at a Sunday afternoon farewell barbeque. Nearly everyone from the law firm, and a couple of Ben and Rebecca’s neighbors, came over for the party. Because Ben was moving his family to the country, the get-together had been organized by Ben’s secretary as a theme party. Many of the guests wore colorful cowboy shirts or coveralls and straw hats. Most of the gifts were back-to-the-land tools. These included a push cultivator, various hand tools, a scythe, several shovels, and a hay fork. The latter, as everyone insisted, became a prop for Ben to hold for clichéd portraits of Ben and Rebecca standing together, looking like the stern-faced couple in the Grant Wood painting American Gothic.

When Ben Fielding arrived at the Full Moon Saloon, he found that Adrian was already there, nursing a gin and tonic. They sat briefly at the bar while Ben ordered a glass of Sprite. Then they moved to a booth to talk. Adrian carried over a paper bag that was gathered at the top. It looked like it held a bottle of liquor for a goodbye gift. Ben was hoping that he wouldn’t have to come up with a “Thanks but no thanks” speech, to explain again that he was a nondrinker.

Their conversation started out essentially as a repeat of what they’d talked about at the farewell barbeque. Adrian wished Ben the best for his move to the largely Mennonite community of Muddy Pond. “I’m really jealous of you, Ben,” he said. “I’d love to move out to the country, and have a place to shoot my guns without having to pay to go to a range.”

Then their conversation moved on to expectations of what things would be like at the law firm after Ben left, and a bit about Adrian’s failed marriage.

Adrian noticed Ben glancing at the paper bag on the table and said, “After the party last weekend, I found a couple of more tools that I’d like to give you. Sorry that I didn’t wrap them or anything.”

He slid the bag over to Ben. Opening it, Ben found that it held a hammer and screwdriver.

Adrian explained, “I hope you like these. The screwdriver is pretty cool. It’s an original Winchester brand, from back when they had a chain of hardware stores, in the 1920s and 1930s. The Winchester-marked tools and signage are quite collectible, especially with gun enthusiasts looking to branch out. I already put together a full set of their screwdrivers for my collection, but this one was a duplicate, so it’s yours.”

“Thanks, so much. This is great.”

Adrian pointed to the well-worn hammer and said, “Now, that belonged to my grandfather. It was supposedly handmade by a blacksmith that he knew in Hartsville. The handle is hickory, and is just as stout today as the day it was made back in the 1930s.”

Ben hefted the short-handled hammer, which had a head that must have weighed a pound and a half. He said again, “Thanks, Adrian. You’ve been very generous. I appreciate the socket set and the gardening tools that you gave us at the party, too. They’ll all come in handy.”

Their conversation wandered into politics, then sports, and finally back to Adrian’s mTHE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT IS GONE.

It’s the near future, and thanks to a perfect storm of reckless banking practices, hyperinflation, a stock market gone mad, and the negligence of our elected officials, the entire social, political, and economic infrastructure of America has collapsed. Chaos reigns in the streets, medical treatment is no longer available, and a silent coup has placed a dangerous group of men at the helm of a false government. America’s fate is in the hands of those few individuals who have the survival skills, the faith, and the forethought to return this country to the state its founding fathers intended.

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