The Insignificance of Rivalries

February 27, 2017

Jerry was 25 years old today. He remembered all his birthdays prior.

The ones that stood out to him the most were the ones he had in high school. His parents didn’t throw any sort of party and he didn’t get any presents. During that time he kept the day a secret to his peers. Instead of going to school that day, he would go door to door selling various items he ordered online. He had grown up with little TV, and the little that he did see was solely commercials with Bill Mays selling all sorts of goodies. This is how he made money as a kid, and at first he didn’t think he would ever make a living at it. It was supposed to be something to take the edge off, but damn was Jerry good at it, he could sell anything to anyone. He ordered random things online, everything from car parts to ball point pens, in bulk of course. He found himself making much more money than he ever anticipated, and by the end of high school he had a hefty fund of money to expand his job. Jerry assembled several of his close friends and taught them the secrets of the trade. He drew up routes around the city that went to the most gullible people’s houses. Stock would come in on Monday and it would be emptied by Friday, sometimes they’d sell out earlier and have to order more.

Jerry was a simple man with simple competition, the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Although this competition didn’t compete with him on an economic level, they posed a much greater threat; door occupation. The less doors, the less money Jerry made, the less money he made, the more he hated the Witnesses. The Witnesses would spend more time at any given door, which made them the threat they are. Both groups used similar routes and thus were in constant competition. Once a door had been opened, it would be closed for days before an attempt at selling would ever be made. Unfortunately this meant they couldn’t stay in the area forever, so they moved, a lot. They never stayed in a city for than 6 months. The Witnesses group was significantly larger than the salesmen, so much so that they spread out over the entire country, covering all major cities. Everywhere Jerry and his crew went, there they were, the Witnesses. Eventually he would run out of cities as the Witnesses were cutting the salesmen’s time in half in each city. He knew he must take drastic measures to ensure that only his crew would survive the harsh door to door business.
. . .

Jerry was now 29, on the eve of his 30th birthday. It had been 11 years since he started his business and the end was near. There was only a few cities left, and the salesmen were on their way. They were cruising across the nevada desert on their way to California. His informants in the Jehovah’s Witnesses had told him that they were delivering more people to the state of California to drive out Jerry’s little business. He decided he would trip them up, he would head to the place that the Witnesses were at their weakest, Las Vegas. Jerry was saving this city for last, but he needed to build up his cash reserves, so they took the convoy south, towards Vegas.

. . .

Two months after their arrival on The Strip there was a terrorist attack in DC, and almost all of the government had been taken out. Jerry’s very way of life was at stake, and he wasn’t willing to sacrifice his business, his family, just because an apocalypse would diminish his clientele.  He used the large amount of cash he had been building up and started hiring beefy security for his associates. Soon after the attack, the government lost all control over the country. The country and much of the world was in anarchy and Jerry’s business went from being a successful venture in a capitalist system to one of the last organized groups in the country. Within months, the world's population dropped almost seventy percent, people killing people over food and water. It was a dog eat dog world and Jerry was a wolf. He set up his base of operations in Las Vegas, supplying shelter and food for his crew, which he now called The Eastside Salesmen. It was a close knit group of security contractors, salesmen, and their families. Jerry paid them in food and shelter, and in exchange they would continue working for him.

Luckily for Jerry, he still had some informants in the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The latest intel was that the Witnesses were still alive and were assimilating innocent survivors of the apocalypse. They had formed a huge coalition, taking people and other Witnesses from all over the country. They were brainwashing the innocent people and Jerry would not stand for this. Their HQ was relatively close to Jerry, based in Sacramento, Jerry could easily lash out at his enemy. The intel had the new name of his old foe, the Westside Witnesses. The two organizations attacked each other practically every day, seizing supply shipments, or doing hit and runs on each others outposts. This went on for months, the two were slowly amassing more and more people just to fight each other.

A turning point was coming for the group, one would have to secure victory to survive the armageddon that was consuming the world. Some rogue radical groups of survivors had taken over nuclear launch facilities and were planning on wiping the face of the earth clean and having everything start again. The land based launch sites were controlled by these radicals, but luckily for Jerry and his crew, they had programmed the nukes incorrectly and blew themselves up. But there was still one threat out there, a rogue submarine with 24 nuclear missiles. Jerry knew he must take control of this sub before the radicals could plunge the world into nuclear winter. He didn’t have the firepower required so he had to turn somewhere for help. Unfortunately this meant contacting the Westside Witnesses.

Jerry and a small security team met up with the witnesses to discuss a treaty to combine their power to take out the submarine. The witnesses had a diabolical plan to get the sub in a vulnerable position, but would not tell Jerry. He said he would accompany the raiding team aboard the sub, just to make sure the plan was carried out.

Everything was ready and they began their raid within hours. They attacked the sub with balloons that looked like torpedos and the sub to surface, the ingenious plan of the Westside Witnesses. They then boarded and took out all the radicals. Unfortunately, 23 of the nukes were set to launch in 30 seconds. Jerry quickly rushed to the computer to try and disarm them, but it was too late, they launched and within minutes their targets would be glass. Nevada, California, Washington, New York all devastated, not to mention the countless countries around the globe that would be obliterated.

The Westside Witnesses pulled up satellite imagery of their bases, all were leveled. Jerry wanted to see how his bases had survived. Unfortunately, all were leveled. That was it. The end of the world, as Jerry saw it. At least the two gangs had worked out their differences and worked together to at least try and stop nuclear devastation.

The remaining members of both gangs bonded together and were leaving the sub, suddenly the last nuke on the sub launched. Jerry pulled out his laptop and checked the target, it was the sub. They got in their boat and drove as fast as they could away from the sub.

Jerry looked up at the missile soaring towards the heavens. The bright blazing rocket booming past the sound barrier. He could see it getting smaller and smaller in the distance, all that was left was a column of smoke miles high, with a dim light at the end of it. He looked closer and concentrated and where the rocket had left his vision, the boat motor blurred away, the sound of the ocean ceased to be, even his own breathing had seemed to stop. He saw it. A glint in the clouds above, the sun glinting off of the rocket's nose. It was now pointing towards him. He felt weightless, the more the rocket came toward him the more he moved toward the rocket. All he could see was the rocket, nothing around him and nothing else in his mind but the beautiful shining rocket nose. Jerry reached for the rocket, he didn’t know if he was reaching to stop the rocket or to simply touch the beautiful shining nose.

The shine got brighter in an instant. The entire sky lit up like a flashlight under a blanket. A second later the flash was gone and Jerry felt the heat. He saw the water rise up and in a second there was nothing but blackness. The shock wave had killed Jerry and everyone in the boat.

The rivalries were dead. The gangs were dead. The two couldn’t fight anymore because there was no one left to fight.

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