Oh, yeah, I knew I was forgetting something

All right, all right, listen up. This here site? Under new management. This is your boy Johnny Despair, Esq. lettin' you know that things gonna be different now. Not alla this complacent shit we had goin' on. Folks been sittin' around, munchin' on chips and whatnot. Hell na. We doin' work around here now. And you? Sittin' out there readin'? You gotta put in your part, too. That means: no puttin' us on follow, right, then only checkin' in every couple of months. That ain't cool. That's lazy, right. You gotta try harder'n that, okay?

All right all right all right, I forgot, okay. Introductions. Like I said, this is me, Johnny Despair, Esq.

"Who are you then?" I'm some friggin' alien lifeform sent to crush humanity, but won over by your plucky spirits and for the love of an Earthling, whadda ya think? All right, okay, no, I'm some guy, all right? I go to school, I (infrequently) work, I make a blog now, you know, I do stuff. Nothing special there. I mean, you know, I'm special as hell, don't get me wrong. I ain't just some yahoo sittin' here yellin', all "I GOTS OPINIONS GET YA'LL ASSES OVER HERE AND AGREE WITH 'EM DAMNIT". Nah. I got thoughts, and methods, and plans. Secret friggin' plans. I'm talking 'bout insidious designs, all right? Evil schemes and whatnot.

"Why are you doing this?" Well, cuz it seemed like a laugh, man. No, honestly though, this is something I really feel strongly about, you know? A lotta people out there, they say shit all the time, like, "Man, if I just had the time, I'd write such a book," or, you know, "Oh I'd draw stuff if anyone would look at it," or whatnot. And I'm all like, "Daaaaaaamn! We got the internet now! Anyone'll look at anything, make 'em look at your thing!" But not like, you know, your unit. Your art.

Plus, since I'm not allowed to, you know, perform my friggin' art in public anymore, I mean I'm seriously on like "shoot on sight" status at most art galleries and open-mic nights, I figured the Internets is better than nothin'.

So, all of youse out there must be lookin' at this thing here and sayin', "What's the deal? A friggin' year goes by without anybody posting anything?" Yeah, I know. Here's the thing: I been busy, OK? I had my own crap going on. And not like, "Oh, I was just busy at work" kind of busy. Hell no. I had things going on, understand? No, you don't, do you. Alright, well, I'm working on a book deal for the whole shebang, but I think I can give ya'll a little taste. If the publishers don't like it, screw 'em, somebody'll still buy it. Alright, here ya go:

"Election years are always turbulent, dramatic, and noisy. But this election year was different. 2008 had a nasty little surprise waiting for us: a big, fat recession. Now, this isn't really the sort of thing that should be a "surprise," exactly, but when everyone in charge is either lying through their teeth or putting their heads in the goddamn sand, what can you do, right?

Anyway, the economy got bad, fast. Much faster than anyone would have thought. All of the sudden, there were empty homes and abandoned shops not just in hidden away little neighborhoods, but lining up Main street. Everywhere I looked, I saw boarded up buildings and vacant, rundown lots. A lot of people take a look at all that unused real estate and see "the end of the world." I won't lie; I'm one of them. But I saw something else loitering in those foreclosed properties other than just vagrants. The future was hiding there, somewhere behind all those gummy, grimed-up windows, past some door hanging half of its hinges, among the rat turds and shattered dreams.

It started simply. Fliers hung up on corkboard; barely-legible marks scrawled on the walls at bus-stops and coffee shops and thrift stores and every other damn place I went around town. Not a lot of info: just a place, a time, and no instructions further than "as much as you can carry with you and keep from looters; no firearms." That first night, there was only a handful of them. All guys, college-age, with heaping full Hefty bags on their backs and khaki pants. They were nervous, looking around for someone in charge, talking about the TV they were watching and comparing the weights they managed. I watched them all wait for ten, twenty, thirty minutes. All but one of them stayed, set their bags down, began to go through them, re-packing, re-organizing, making sense of what they had in their hands, if nothing else. Finally, I made myself known to them. I didn't answer questions, or bother with introductions. I told them exactly how it was going to be.

"This building was not abandoned by over-eager young homebuyers with poor financial advice, but by desperate everyday nobodies running in fear of the inescapable. We sit in the dark not because of a delinquent utilities bill, but because service has been interrupted due to inconceivable catastrophic breakdown of society. Global warming; World War III; pandemic; dirty bombs. It doesn't matter what did this, all that matters is that it's done. The world is over. There is nothing else to go back to, just this sprawling tribute to a world that never saw it coming. You may follow me if you wish, but understand that I will tolerate no questioning of my laws." With those words, we began to work, in earnest, as Post-Apocalyptic Pre-Enactors.

More came in time, which was fortunate. Our initial group were, to the last, useless from a practical, "how do we live now" angle. Eventually, there was a guy who could fix most simple, consumer-grade machinery; he went by "Oz" for some reason he would never disclose. Linda showed up a few weeks in with knowledge of how to grow a discreet, yet surprisingly bountiful garden. As Leader, I lead scavenging parties. We stole most of what we had from dumpsters and kitchens, but did trade goods from time to time with local shops. People grew intensely curious about us, our filthy clothes yet clear sense of purpose that set us apart from the community's homeless population. We never spoke of where we came from, for fear of compromising our security.

We continued to grow, and before the midsummer's end, we had grown from a handful of bored white guys with nothing better to do to a community of hundreds. It was far larger than I could manage by then. Their were other Leaders, now, elected for their charisma, or their knowledge, or their strength, or whatever other reason people fall in line behind some brighter burning star. Some of these Leaders worked along side me; human nature being what it is, however, most of them were at war with my ever-dwindling tribe. I did not wish to lead my people to war with their brothers. While bloodshed is undoubtedly a reality of the post-civilized world, it had no place in my vision. We were meant to be united, to be as one, to somehow find some other way, some other truth, not just to scrabble in the dirt and shank each other. But I realized, even back on that first night, that it was all doomed from the very beginning. If mankind was wired to truly work together, there would be no apocalypse to pre-enact.

It was falling apart around me then, sure. I'm sure that I wouldn't have been able to stay for much longer. But it wasn't the self-styled warlords that kicked me out; it wasn't the police that shut us down. There'd still be bozos eating out of cans and jerry-rigging radios out in those empty townhomes if it wasn't for those bastards. Those fucking interlopers. Makes me sick, even to this day, just to think of it.

I don't know where those pricks heard of us. They just showed up one day, like any new meat, except for that look in their eyes. Said they wanted to join, where could they put their things, who did they report to, all of that jazz. I told them they could put their shit right back where they came from unless they told me why it was they were creeping out my people. They just looked at each other all confused, then one managed to spit out, "Well...we're Hubologists, if that's what you mean."

Now, from this point, my lawyer advises me to stress that I allegedly told those rat-bastards that they were going to be the first ones up against the wall, and that there was no way in hell I was letting them sign on. I think that if my lawyer's legal advice counted for shit, I wouldn't have lost that defamation and discrimination lawsuit those dirty Hubologists saddled me with. But they do have them a damn mean team of lawyers, I'll say that for them. Blew me right out of the water. Got the whole "commune" shut down. Bought up all of those houses with the damages, just to spite us."

...And all of that ain't even one full chapter! So ya see, boys and girls, I wasn't just bullshittin' ya when I said I'd been busy. But all of that nonsense is behind me, now, so I'm looking to give this site the attention it deserves. Keep an eye on this space, kiddos, because stuff's gonna be going on all over the damn place.

At least, that's the word on the street,
from one Mr. Johnny Despair, Esq.

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