A Small New Wave

missile complex

Found at the University of Wyoming website

“I tell you Frank, it would be perfect. They took out all of the nukes in the 60s, but the silos, tunnels, living quarters…it’s got everything.”

“I think you’re exaggerating, Marvin. How will we get power and supplies down there?”

The five of them were looking at the photos, diagrams, and documents scattered on top of the kitchen table at the small rented house in West Boise. Marvin, who had done his research and was giving the presentation was standing alongside Frank, the de facto leader of their group.

Joe, the oldest member and “voice of reason” among them, Victoria, the weapons expert, and Sarah, who was just a very nice if lonely person who got involved only because she liked Frank, were sitting on the opposite side.

“Easy. We can hook up to the main power grid. We’d use so little current, the Air Force Base wouldn’t notice the difference. Sun lamps and hydroponics would take care of the food. I’ve done that back in Florida for years when I lived in the shelter.”

“Yeah, Marvin. You also hunted your gators for extra protein as I recall.” Victoria’s cultured British accent dripped with disdain.

“You’ll see, Vicki. When they come for you in the black helicopters, you’ll wish you hadn’t laughed at me.”

“What about medical facilities, Marvin? One of us is bound to get sick sooner or later.” Joe had been “playing tag” with cancer for years. He was currently in remission, but he’d seen too many friends succumb after “remission.”

“Disease, cancer, all of that…it comes from them.” Oddly enough, Marvin knew what he was talking about. Even Frank understood that the CIA had previously experimented on Marvin in mind control experiments, giving him small doses of LSD daily for eleven years.

“So, I’d never like, be able to go shopping again? I’d never even be able to go outside and get a tan?”

“Frank, who brought her into this again?” Marvin looked up incredulously at his friend.

“Just answer Sarah’s question, Marvin.”

“Oh alright, Frank.” Marvin rolled his eyes. “For your information Missy, tanning beds are just as good as the real thing, however it’s one of the ways of getting cancer that the government doesn’t control.”

“Wait a minute, Marvin.” Joe looked up from the photo he’d been examining. “I thought the government was responsible for everything.”

“Not all of it, Joe. If it’s not the government, it’s the corporations. Who’s getting rich from tanning beds, huh?”

The doorbell rang. Marvin looked panicked and hastily grabbed at all of the material in front of them, trying to think of the best place to hide it. “Damn it, Frank. I told you that your girlfriend shouldn’t have gone out for pizza yesterday. The damn satellites must have spotted her.”

“Relax, Marvin. Take all that to your room. I’ll get the door.”

Victoria quietly picked her handbag up from where it had been resting at her feet and set it on her lap. Sarah noticed her hand slip inside and partially pull out the butt of a gun.

Vicki whispered to Sarah, “Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mm, my dear. No girl should be without one.”

Frank opened the door. “William. What brings you to his neck of the woods?”

“Can I come in, Frank?”

Frank Moses chuckled. At least for once Cooper hadn’t called him “Grandpa.” Except for Sarah, William was the youngest person involved and he wasn’t even officially a member.

“Sure.” Frank moved aside and let the well-dressed dark-haired man enter the house. Just then, Marvin came back out of his room, closing the locking the door behind him.

“Oh damn it, Frank. I told you about the satellites. Now he’s here. Why did you let him in?”

“Because I have news, Boggs. You can kiss your little post-modernism conspiracy good-bye. No one gives a damn about you which includes satellites and black helicopters.”

“Frank, did you tell him about that?” Marvin seemed genuinely concerned that his private thoughts and fears were being mysteriously plucked from his head.

“He’s right, Marvin. I’ve been waiting for him, we all have.” Frank closed the door and escorted William across the foyer into the kitchen.

“You should listen to him.” Joe was looking up at Marvin as he came into the room from the opposite direction.

Victoria relaxed her hand and let the 9mm return to the bottom of her purse.

red

Promotional poster for the 2010 film “RED.”

Sarah looked from Frank to William to Marvin wondering what would happen next. She didn’t think Marvin was armed but he seemed to go magically from crazy harmless to crazy dangerous in an instant.

“The Mountain Home Air Force Base Titan Missile Silos aren’t exactly a secret, Marvin.” William reached into his inside jacket pocket and everyone tensed up. Then he took out what looked like a brochure. “In fact, it’s a tourist attraction. They give tours Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from ten until three and every other Saturday from nine until six. Hardly the perfect hideout where you could wait out the apocalypse.” William opened up the pamphlet and dangled it in front of the rest of them.

“Really, Marvin. You should listen.” Victoria put her handbag back on the floor. “It’s time to give up your ideas of a new wave science fiction dystopia and join the rest of us in the world as it is.”

Marvin looked down at his shoes suddenly feeling embarrassed and muttered, “It was only a small new wave, Vicki.”

“Come on.” William walked over to Marvin and gave him an encouraging pat on the shoulder. “It’s still early. I’ve got a rented van out front. Wanna get pancakes?”

I wrote this for The Daily Post’s daily writing prompt. Today, the prompt is Undulate.

My first thought was of exotic dancing, but I set that aside and looked up various meanings of the word, which can include “a small wave or wave-like motion.” I kept looking and came up with “new wave” which in science fiction was a movement in the 1960s and 70s away from pure action/adventure tales to more creativity and “realism” sometimes involving darker dystopian tales. This movement was an effect of post-modernism which was especially popular in Europe following World War Two and gained momentum with the advent of the Cold War and the ever-looming possibility of nuclear war between the so-called superpowers.

Since that definition mentioned “ruins,” I thought of looking up noteworthy ruins or abandoned sites in my own state of Idaho and I hit pay dirt. Click the link I just provided and go to number 10 on the list: “Mountain Home Titan Missile Silo.”

Mountain Home is a community a little over an hour’s drive from where I live and hosts the Mountain Home Air Force Base. I guess the desert around that area used to have an entire complex of nuclear missile silos. The missiles were removed in the 60s, but the complex is still there (I made up the part about the tours). Read more and see a whole bunch of informative photos and drawings at the University of Wyoming website.

In doing my research, I also came across another list of 12 Abandoned Places in Idaho I may use for future stories. They’re pretty interesting.

Oh, I used character names (and personalities) from the 2010 movie RED starring Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, Karl Urban, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, and Helen Mirren for the people in my story just because the movie is so much fun.

One last thing. The comment about going out for pancakes is one Marvin (John Malkovich) delivers near the end of the film after all the bad guys have been dispatched. I thought it was funny.

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2 thoughts on “A Small New Wave

  1. So who owns the abandoned properties, and are any of them available for purchase? Are any of them worthy of commercial or residential re-development by competent entrepreneurs? I hear there is still quite a market for property in secure, gated, self-sufficient communities. Regrettably, all but one of the 12 abandoned places you cited were merely dilapidated individual properties, and would require complete demolition rather than restoration or re-development — and their potential value would depend on the existence of nearby resources and infrastructure into which they might be re-integrated. Even the tiny town of Notus would no doubt require similar evaluation to determine if it could be worthy of re-development into a self-sustaining community.

    It may be possible to plunk down a workable town like one might install an emergency shelter, but its planning would be critical to its potential for successful operation and would require thorough attention to details. Marvin’s plan in the above story sounded like he thought his little group could just waltz in and take over the decommissioned and abandoned missile facility, without considering that squatters on government-owned land and in government-owned facilities are not at all appreciated, and are quite likely to be evicted forcibly without notice. On the other hand, sometimes one can acquire a real bargain from the US government if one can offer some value for a property that seemed otherwise a total loss. With land and facilities, however, one must be careful to research title, because sometimes the government leased land from a private or corporate owner on an indeterminately long-term basis. Determining ultimate ownership and title may be complicated, but it is absolutely necessary if one hopes to attract investors who can supply development capital in speculation of ultimate return on their investment as the developed property increases in value. Similarly, one would need to formulate a development plan that offered a rationally justifiable potential to increase the value of the property in a manner that enabled dividends to be extracted within a reasonable period. But all of that depends on becoming embedded within the financial system far beyond what might fit within Marvin’s comfort zone.

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