The Basement Files

A record of recent events

Chris Hamble

Chris Hamble

The following is a transcript of a personal voice recorder found in the home of one Christopher Hamble. The only other items found were a pile of empty soda bottles and a single pair of pants. The following transcription may be disturbing to some sensitive readers, and should not be taken seriously. Reader discretion is advised.

Day 1

Well, it happened. The federal government shut down. If what I’ve heard is true, I don’t have much time. The electricity won’t last long, so I have to gather all I can before it goes out.

OK, I’ve got a change of pants, a couple of bags of chips and cereal, warm bottles of pop and water and a butcher knife. If the news is true, and why wouldn’t it be, they said people will be rioting in the streets because apparently people in Washington, D.C., want children and the elderly to starve. This could be rough.

But enough talking, I can’t take any chances tonight, so I’m going to turn off the lights and stop talking, I don’t want people to think I have provisions here. It’s time to shelter in place until the chaos stops. Thank you basement, you’ve always treated me right.

Day 2

The shutdown continues, I think. I haven’t gotten news now for more than 12 hours. But prior to the shutdown, they made it perfectly clear, civilization is over.
Oh, why did I make fun of those Armageddon preppers? I took some time today to disassemble my easy chair. We had many good memories, but I need the wood frame, should I have to make a fire if winter arrives before things are resolved. That, and I used my butcher knife to whittle away at some of the larger planks to make a couple of make-shift spears, should I need to hunt small game. I’ve played enough video games to know how to kill small animals, or so the news has told me, and again, why would they lie to me?

But I must be careful to save my strength, and ration my food. Because I’ve been lead to believe that since the government is shut down, road travel has closed, I think. What’s that? Something is moving outside, got to keep quiet.

Day 3

My rationing skills have surrendered to my midnight-snacking habit. I am now out of food, out of pop and I really, really have to pee. Since the water has supposedly been turned off, I have to save my flush. Fortunately it was yellow, so I let it mellow. Time however, has started to crawl. With no TV or video games to keep me busy, there is nothing to do but sleep and wait. Wait for what? I do not know.

Now that society has collapsed, do I even want to know? What kinds of horrors were perpetrated, what kind of atrocities happened, what kind of rebuilding is needed?
Would I want to know? Yes, I have to know. It’s my responsibility to know. There may not be clean water, and all the old people may have already starved, but I can’t let a little thing like the complete collapse of the world economy keep me down. But it is late, and dark, and there are supposedly hoodlums and ne’er-do-wells afoot.

Day 4

Today is the day. This may be my last entry as I have no idea what kind of shape the world is in. If the news prior to the shutdown was anywhere near accurate, it should be something along the lines of “The Road Warrior.” Good thing I fueled up over the weekend.

OK, so here goes. What? What is this? People are walking around? The sun is shining? People are driving. But I was told, it can’t be. Let me check the lights. My God, they work. The shutdown must be over. Let me check the TV.

Wait, it’s still going on? But, nothing has changed. The world didn’t end, society didn’t collapse, so why are all the television news sources acting like it has? Pandering for ratings? Pandering to their so-called non-existent political base? No, they wouldn’t do that, would they?

I’ve been had it seems. Could it be this whole thing has just been a minor inconvenience? It would appear that way. So, why are people freaking out about something that I’d bet they wouldn’t even notice if they hadn’t been told about it every day for the past week? Guess I overreacted then.

So, it’s time for a burrito. Where did I put my keys? Here they are. Well, I’m off, but I can’t help but think I’m forgetting something. It’s kind of drafty outside today. (Recording ends)

Chris Hamble is a freelance writer and humor columnist serving newspapers in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and is a lifelong Stillwater resident.

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