Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Fuel Wars – A Vignette

“And the last flame has gone out.” The announcer spoke the words that the world had been waiting for.
Smith turned off the television and stared blankly at the screen. That was it then. It was quieter than he imagined. It was the final death rattle of an industry that had changed the world for over 200 years.

And then the sirens sounded. He casually switched on the television again to see the same announcer wearing a flak jacket and military helmet over her tailored suit and coiffeured hair, looking as though she was reporting from a distant warzone and not a very very safe studio.

“We are at war,” she announced solemnly. “The fuel wars have begun.” Smith turned off the television again, stood up, walked to the fridge, took out a cold beer can and in one fluid motion opened it, drained it and crushed it, before reaching for another.

Slowly, he walked to his window, put on a pair of black rimmed sunglass and pulled open the blackout blinds that had been keeping the intense midday sun out of his apartment. From the 85th floor of his tower block he could see for miles. That’s why the Company had given it to him. It was why the Company had built the edifice and bought the freehold to the surrounding two kilometers of city. The Company gave its employees all the floors from the 40th to the 86th, and executives like Smith were given the highest, above him was a conference room. From his circular penthouse, he had a 365 degree view to way beyond the city limits, and out into the desert. Right now he could see the bright orange flames and black smoke of explosions at the Company oil fields. He spoke softly.
“Dial.” A telephone’s dial toned filled the air. “Jones,” he said, and the artificial sound of a phone being dialed replaced the dial tone.
“Jones here,” came a voice through the ether.
“Jones, its Smith. You watching the fireworks?”
“What’s the situation on the ground?”
“All staff evacuated last night, surface level fuel depots empty and fuel stored two k's below. No collateral damage.”
“Excellent. Do we know who started this?”
“Missile sigs suggest a government.”
“Do we know which one?”
“Yup” Jones replied as though he was chewing a corn stalk.
“Fucking hayseeds” thought Smith.
“Call Davis and initiate retaliation. Hang up.” and the room fell silent again.  

Smith closed the blind, and with his beer, returned to his seat in front of the television and switched it on.
“We have been attacked,” came the voice of the now quivering presenter from somewhere beneath a desk as the scenery behind her shook violently.
“Dial. Jones. Jones, Smith. Good job. Hang up.”
“I’ve never could stand that bitch.” He said to an empty room as he sipped his gently warming beer.

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