NEW Story: Drip
By November 2059, America was in an uneasy peace. The lease of nuclear sites “essential for continental strategic security” had been secured by Washington the previous month, and the June ceasefire was still in place despite a border skirmish that killed half a dozen GIs not far from where Tzipora was, in Southwest Utah.
The Dallas Administration, which was at this point calling itself the American War Government, was using the ceasefire to lick its wounds and negotiate with state militias to form a central command. The romance of a grassroots revolt, risen in a frenzy of rage and opportunity, had worn off. Now, the secessionist regions were digging in for serious fighting.
The quality of life varied between states. In Texas, things were better, but the borders had been closed. In Utah, things were collapsing. There was not much money around and the government in Salt Lake had lost control over their army. In towns like Cherry, police and soldiers worked together to maintain order or murder and rob; whichever took their fancy that day.
Tzipora knew she was at risk, but her options were limited. She lived and worked at Hotel Cairo (formerly Hotel Zion), which was a ways out of town. Most of the other girls had gone home or fled the state months ago, so there was plenty of work. No one else would employ aliens. She did not yet have enough money to make it to the East Coast, which would require bribing pretty much everyone she met along the way. The journey was dangerous, too – the busses had stopped and the trains weren’t running, so you had to walk. There were a lot of violent drifters just moving through these days.
Come November 2059, it was obvious her time was running out. Posters had gone up announcing all ‘Hispanics’ – a term here meaning people that looked like they came from Mexico or further south, not just spanish-speakers – were to be evacuated from the border. Neighbouring Nevada was a Washington-controlled state, and there would certainly be fighting in Utah. Ostensibly they were worried Latinos had more allegiance to the United States than to Dallas. More likely they just wanted them gone.
The posters said they would be evacuated to Colorado City, but Tzipora figured that was a crock of shit. That was a free city; they wouldn’t take foreigners, and especially not people like her. She didn’t know where they would send her but she didn’t like it. It was not just rumours; Tzipora knew foreigners were being picked off the streets. Dallas was talking about saving the “free states” from “Despotism & Outsider Agitants,” and Tzipora looked like an Outsider Agitant.
Hotel Cairo was outside of the evacuation zone, but she would have to carry her work-residence papers everywhere she went now. She just needed to save her cash; the US Dollar was a magical thing. In times like these, it bought comfort, security and opportunity. Staying was a gamble, but what choice did someone like her have? The Dollar was the great equaliser; it was life itself.