Author: Travis Gregg

Jeff had to crank the handwheel for ages till the bolt reluctantly slid back and the 3″ thick steel door finally swung free.

His stores were empty, the larder was bare. He’d been saving the one last meal and had made a little feast of it last night. He probably shouldn’t have cut it so close, right up until he was out of food, but partly he was scared and partly he wanted to live out this vacation just a little while longer.

That’s what he’d been thinking of it as, a two-year holiday from the grind.

He’d had books stacked to the ceiling, and time enough to read. He’d good food, fine wine, all the shows and movies he’d meant to catch up on. Everything in redundancy too, even three pairs of reading glasses because he’d see that Twilight Zone episode.

All that was over now. He still had water and the generator still had some juice but things were breaking down in his bunker while outside things were being put back together. The short wave had started picking up signals three months ago and from what he could tell there were survivors who were not just getting by but were actually thriving.

He’d still have shelter too but his real dream was to finally cash in on his foresight. Besides food and water, he’d also stored up gold and jewels and enough cryptocurrency that he should be king of the whole damn place in no time.

Leaving his shelter, and careful to conceal the entrance, he headed off towards town. In the distance, he saw promising signs of activity, some smoke from what must have been cooking fires, and even some repaired buildings.

“What’s a bitcoin?” That was the third time Jeff had been asked that. The first two people he’d run into were happy to trade, and clearly had abundant food, but couldn’t understand what it was Jeff was trying to give them. Wary of a stranger, and the novelty wearing off quickly, the first two had sent him away. The third person though was tending what must have started out as a soccer complex but was now the largest vegetable garden he’d ever seen. Jeff tried his best to explain about crypto but about halfway through the man waved him off.

“Don’t care about that, makes no sense. What about those boots?”

“But I need these boots.”

“Well, I need these tomatoes. That’s how it works. You have something I want more than these tomatoes and then we trade.”

“What about gold?” he asked reluctantly.

Jeff had been holding that back. He also had some diamonds but there was no way he was parting with those for a few measly tomatoes.

“I can’t eat gold. I can’t sleep on gold. Gold won’t keep the rains out or keep me warm at night. Won’t keep my kids from getting sick.”

“But… it’s gold.”

“Yeah yeah. Go start knocking down doors over on the west side. Plenty of houses still. You’ll find all the gold you can carry and then some. If you do go over there though, and you find some honey or a sealed package of coffee, even that instant shit, you come see me. Then we can talk.”