Disclaimer: This article is a piece of speculative fiction written from the perspective of the “bad guy.” It is in no way intended to inform, encourage or incite any criminal or malicious activity under any circumstances. It is intended to be used as a thought-provoking exercise so you can shore up any weaknesses in your own survival plan and skill set.
Am I what? Ready for the end? The end of what? Oh, The End, with a capital ‘E’. Yeah, sure, I guess. I tell you what I am ready for: shopping. I’ll tell you one thing, young gun; these people are gonna wake up to a whole new way a life when the big machine breaks down.
Things will be bad for them. For you and me, they’ll just get a dose of the way things were, and always have been.
Law of the Jungle. Survival of the fittest. Hell, I’ve been surviving the concrete jungle since I was barely old enough to stand up and take a leak. Peppers? Who or what is ‘Peppers’? Oh, preppers.
Yeah, yeah. I have seen the shows. Even known a couple of legit ones. No, I didn’t rob ‘em. I figured the long con play was best, like an investment. I ever need to make a quick withdrawal- guns, food, vehicles, you know, real loot- I know my buddy Tim will just have it waiting for me as ready as you please.
What’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is also mine.
Okay, listen young gun; I know things are hairy out there. A child like you can feel it. Heh, animals always know when a storm’s comin’. Don’t take a genius weather watcher, if you get my drift. But you’ve gotta be ready.
Gotta be smart, and fast, and mean. The jungle doesn’t care who you are; you can’t deceive it. But lucky for us these busybody nerds have done the hard part for us. They worked hard so we can prosper.
All you need to do is keep your eyes and ears open. Opportunity is on the wind, my boy. People yabber. They yabber on social media. Gab away on forums. Hell, they’ll give away the keys to the kingdom to some total stranger they don’t even know.
So eager to make friends, to be cool and interesting. And secrets got a way of walking off on you. You tell your niece what’s up with your cabin on the side of a mountain topped to the brim with guns, food and water, and next thing you know some young con like you overhears her blabbin’ to her friend about what a great place for a party it is while you are trying to get her to come home with ya.
Something like that, ask the right questions, feign interest in the ditz for 30 seconds and you’ll know just about where to look. See, folks talk too much. They are far too trusting, lad. Preppers are just people, no different. No different except they got more to lose when the chips are down.
Don’t mind me, I’ll just help myself.
Oh, yeah, you best believe we’ll hit it and every other numbskull’s little bolt-hole when things get froggy. Tell you what, form what I see, it won’t be any tough job to roll them even if they live there.
Can do it real quick and clean, pick the lock, pop a window, jimmy the attic louvers, whatever. Hell, we can kick the door in easier than you can kick that trashcan over. Half a dozen ways to let ourselves in, no problem.
Trust me, I did a dime for burgling’ some homes while the owners were home. That was the only one I got caught on in my long and preeminent career, and I can tell you there isn’t one in a hundred homes that has any kind of reinforced doors or windows.
The ones that do, they omit to harden the next obvious ways to get in, like sliding glass doors, second story windows and those little basement windows that little guys like you can wriggle into.
Push, meet Shove.
If going quiet fails, or I don’t want to pussyfoot around I’ll just toss that propane tank off the grill or a concrete pot right through the sliding glass door and walk in.
Now, listen, going loud like that is a sure way to draw heat in normal times, but the way I see it it won’t be normal times when we go shopping. I’m banking on things being so Jay-Zus jumped up bonkers that the Lice won’t even waste time on a “disturbance” call when the world is brewing up around them.
That’s assuming the neighbors even think to call it; they’ll be dealing with their own problems. Heh, that’s assuming the call will even go through. Point is, we won’t be worried about anyone riding to the rescue.
What? You scared of a dog now, young gun?! You turning chickenshit on me, boah?! Look, five will get you ten it’s only some little yappy mop-dog. It might wakeup master dearest just in time to get shushed, but that’s no concern if you time it right. Now, bigger dog can give you a good chomp, but these ain’t police dogs, kiddo.
Trust me, I’m sure every one of these slobs thought their untrained family pooch was going to save the day, and they don’t; they just bark. Even so, some risks ain’t worth it when there is an easier score right around the bend a few streets over.
Any of these joints even smells like a hard job we pick a new one. It’s about getting paid, young gun, not proving anything, you get me? The one time the master of the house is up and alert with gun in hand and itching’ to use it is one time you pay the butcher’s bill.
Well, so what if the dog’s outside? What, you think he’s walking the perimeter, searchlights and all? Give me a break! Listen, if everything else looks green, we can deal with the dog. A juicy cut of meat, some pepper spray or a rat poison pepperoni will deal with the damn dog.
Soft as soft can be.
Now, if one of these fat nerds is home, we’ll do what we need to to get ‘em compliant. The full sturm und drang usually does it. Sound and fury, whatever.
Blow in there, screaming your head off, rough ‘em up and shove a gun in their face and they wilt pretty quick. Then you just corral the rubes while your buddy does the digging. Now, any of them gets outta line, they need an education about following directions.
Naw, man, not worried about a fight, no way no how. Look at these dorks: pick out two of these camo-wearing fools that looks like they could outrun Grammy on her walker without having a coronary.
If that’s too hard pick one. If they think they can go mano-y-mano with your uncle here, they’re dreaming, and if they are dreaming they better wake up and apologize.
Kiddo, your uncle here spent 10 long years pushing iron on that rusty pile in the yard and walking the wall. I was doing 500 pushups a day out of boredom. I could probably pull your little arms off and pick my teeth with ‘em.
And I sure learned how to fight, really fight. You had to, you had to or you were dead. Only the strong got out of Washington C.I. with all their teeth. Well, most of them…
Yeah, they may have guns, may have lots of ‘em. In fact, I’m counting on it. Listen, these cats are always swimming in gear, dripping in it, but they don’t know how to use it. None of ‘em do. All show, no go.
Last one pulled a gun on me on some ass end of nowhere road in LaRue county, thing wasn’t even loaded. No shit, the turd didn’t have a round in the pipe. I stuck him good and left him to die. Kept the gun though for a time before I sold it.
They read plenty of fantasy camp bullshit about this and that, old Army manuals about camo and concealment and some “hi-ya!” fighting style, eat up all this fiction about the end of the world.
Yeah, they think themselves is going to be kings of this ruined earth. Heh, gonna be sad little kings with no crown and no kingdom on a sad little hill of empty shelves when I get done with them.
You’ll know the zebra by its stripes.
Another way you can spot these walking loot boxes: the brand. No, not REI, you idiot. I mean their M.O., the way they dress. It’s like a tribal thing. You ever see those paramilitary cats hanging in the background in all that war correspondence?
The guys wearing the ball caps, the button-downs and the khaki cargos? Yeah, that’s it. Long odds you see someone dorked-up like that in public they are either a cop or one of these prepper bozos.
That, or they dress so frickin’ blah and plain they look like they are trying to blend into the scenery. Right, okay, Colombo. You sure fooled me. They call it “gray man attire.” I know, I know!
Apparently they think it’s your clothes and not your demeanor that makes you blend into a place. Like any amount of gray and tan will hide who they are. There’s only a few kinds of people who dress like that. You see some cat looks either way, you start taking notes.
Another thing, peep the cars in the lots, especially at gun shops, outdoor stores, that kind of thing. You see a truck or SUV bedazzled with stickers, slogans and all that, big lifted suspension, bars on the front and back, chances are you found the mythical “tactical lifestyle” prepper.
I know, don’t make it too hard on me! They deserve what they get, some people act so damn cartoonish you don’t feel bad no matter what you do to them.
All you need to do is trail that thing home, and I promise you you’ll have the mother of all gun caches inside. Wait till the owner is away one day and you can help yourself.
It is crazy, a bit, at least if you want to keep what’s yours, kiddo. But, human nature. People want to identify with something, and broadcast that identity to the world, friend and foe alike.
It’s like a baby seal that clubs itself, see? I mean, sure, why not dare, just dare, someone like me to relieve you of what you have since you want to advertise it. Happy to oblige, nerd.
Weapon of opportunity.
Now, me, I don’t carry on the regular. Naw, man, nothing more than my little penknife. Hey, size don’t matter if you know what you are doing. Knock it off.
I already did extra time for packing a real blade on my last stint. Now I just make use of what I find laying around, tools, screwdrivers, stuff like that. I can make a shiv if I need to.
That’s something else that half cracks me up. These people leave the keys to their castles just lying around in sheds, in garages, on their back porches, everywhere!
Saws, ladders, crowbars, all the stuff I need to rob them blind, left out like cookies for Santa. I know, kid, signs and wonders. If they were smart, and they’re not, they’d keep it all under lock and key so I could not make use of it on my little expedition.
Now, when everything goes tits-up, I’ll have no compunction about packing again. Right now, it may not be worth it, but you need not think your trusty uncle here can’t take a weapon right off someone and put it to them.
Lots of people carry tools of the trade, but it is the rare disciple that really knows how to use one. See, they haven’t thought it through. They haven’t really thought about what it would mean for them to put a bullet in a body, or sink that blade home in a guy’s neck.
They freeze. “Oh, shit! What do I do now?!” Too late, dingus. Bap! Like that. They’re like dogs chasing cars, man. They catch it, and it destroys them. You can usually tell which ones are the real hard dudes; they have that easy confidence, like a big cat.
You can see it. They pull, they’ll shoot you. None of that stand-off business that gives you time to think. Just two to the chest and off to Hell with ya. Heh, you get there you tell him your uncle said hello, huh?
Of course it’s all, as the lofty would say, theo-retical: people are so checked out these days you can be on them before they react. You strike hard and no mercy, they’ll never have a chance to haul their burner out on you, or stick you with a knife.
That’s the other thing! The ones that do carry a gun, and know how to use it, take it from me, they can’t fist fight worth a damn.
Like, at all. Treating that bang-bang like a magic wand. You can tell, too, when you take it from them, the look on their face. Thinking like, “Damn, why didn’t he just run away?”
Well, he can ponder that while I pistol whip his ass with his own gun. Serves them right, thinking this is some kind of spaghetti western.
I see you. Can you see me?
Now, listen up, kid. When the big bang happens, things won’t be the same ever again, at least not for a long time. We won’t be able to buy what we want at the stop-n-rob, even with ill-gotten bills.
Nah, it might have to be this way for a while. Dog eat dog and all. You need to be able to pick these cats out of a crowd. It won’t be like it is today, where they practically advertise their pile of goodies in flashing neon.
You’ll need to be a bit canny, see? But a good hunter always goes where the food is. You shouldn’t think people are just going to button up in their homes like little moles in their burrows.
After the shock wears off they’ll peek out their heads. People will start meeting for wheeling and dealing. Bartering, like the old days. That’s where you nab them.
Pull the old confidence play. Act interested in something they have. Feel them out. Offer something you have, well, something you took, am I right?
You play your cards right, chat with them a bit, act like a good, upstanding survivor of the apocalypse and you can just about get their inventory off of them. Now, that done, you depart and have me or another pal trail them wee-wee-wee all the way home. Then you’ll know where the goods are.
Or, if you are feeling bold, you can try and nick what you need right there. Old fashioned, honest daylight robbery.
Another trick, pay attention in the weeks after, see who doesn’t look quite so skinny as all the other poor shmucks. Toil and rationing will see the baby fat melting off the population. But not some people. Oh, no.
You see, some cat looks like he is still pulling a few extra pounds, odds are that is one of your prepper potpies in the flesh. He might only have been hoarding food, the fat ass, but we’ll take food all day and twice on Sunday. Watch where they go.
You play your cards right, son, stick with your old Uncle Badger here, and when this thing kicks off we’ll have the time of our lives and be living high on the hog.
As stated in the beginning, this has been a theoretical work of fiction, intended to make you think about your vulnerabilities as the Opposing Force, or “bad guy” would see them. It is our hope you will use this exercise as motivation to improve your own state of readiness.