War and History Fiction posted July 10, 2019


Excellent
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Beach life in the midst of war times

Fallout Strand

by E.M Fielding

No one saw it coming. Neither did I, and by God I wished I did. Kitsilano used to be a place where locals brought their families, swam in the water, rode their boats, played volleyball, and ate specially-made food from food trucks. Kitsilano was "the" place to be in not only the summer time but all-year round. Living across the street had its perks, where I'd invite over friends from afternoon classes and we'd walk on over to hangout; the beach became our backyard. Now, it was a refugee camp -- for us. Up and down the beach, numerously patched-up tents, short-staffed soup kitchens, and makeshift classrooms for children, including high schoolers and university students, sat side by side. My tent -- nothing more than a tarp and a few rugs -- sat between an infirmary and a women's portable toilet. Not exactly the fanciest or cleanest place to call home, but an anti-bacterial mask helped me sleep through a few restless nights.

Two months in, life on the Kits wasn't great at the start. The Cardinal Company, a government-funded militia formed as a result of the French-Brit attacks in Quebec, took control of the beach and allowed only a maximum of five-hundred residents; three-hundred were approved. Those who weren't approved -- a few elderly non-military veterans, American expatriates, and children with certain disabled conditions -- started riots at the entrance gate. Of course, there was violence, a death or two, but we insiders couldn't do much about it. We wanted to stay, so we kept our mouths shut -- except for my parents. They called the militia's inhumane treatment towards the exiles as "unjust" and "unconstitutional," and rightfully so. Yet, their activist-like rhetoric separated them from me; it's been two years.

A week or two after J.T became the new Canadian prime minister, the French-Brit forces had already reclaimed the provinces of Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba. Their prime ministers called it "rightful" and "just." The day the provinces were taken over was the main gossip of the day, and it was all too clear of a memory. It was half past eight o'clock in the morning, the strong, somewhat welcoming stench of piss mingled with blood trickled through the tent's poorly-done "repaired" patches. By that point in time, I'd given up on getting a new tent because I ran out of caps to go to commissary. Luckily, Jonesy, a former newspaper boy-turned-beach guard, offered me some of his caps he got from patrolling the shoreline, but I politely declined. At eight-years-old, he should've been saving his caps, not giving them away. Then again, what value did bottle caps have? Most likely, nothing.

"Who's hoggin' the damn porter toilet?!" An impatient woman shouted on the bathroom line next to the tent. Quite honestly, if the horrid stench didn't wake-me-up, then it must've been that woman's early-morning, negative energy. So much for sleeping like a beauty.

Gradually, I got myself up and unzipped the tent's semi-ripped hatch as the world bared witness to my unmatched, worn military fatigues some militia personnel had handed out as "pajamas." Even though it seemed unfit to wear such an outfit to bed, it did come useful in colder temperatures, so no complaints came. Jonesy, his dark-brown-frizzled hair and crusted eyes shone by the sun, stood alongside his rigid Auntie Janice--the woman who'd shouted.

"Marcy! Marcy!" Jonesy cheered as he ran over and gave me a few fake punches to the right arm. His pearly white smile and happy-go-lucky attitude often swooped me away from the madhouse just beyond the beach's borders. We were practically siblings. "Did you eat breakfast yet?"

Before I could respond to Jonesy, Janice sternly instructed us to head over to the canteen and save a spot for her; we didn't. At a large picnic table with others, a Cardinal militia fella handed us plates filled with our never-tiring breakfast favorites. We chomped down on sausage, broke egg yolks with freshly-washed forks, and clinked near-burnt toast in rejoice. A jazz band -- they'd been originally displaced from Toronto -- played popular tunes from Oscar Peterson to Charlie Biddle. You could've called us a "commune", or a camp filled with "hippies," but at least we knew how enjoy ourselves. Without warning, the morning had quickly turned sour. A few militia personnel stood atop a picnic table, their boots' bottoms by people's plates, and turned on a loudspeaker.

"People of Kits!" one shouted as they took out a long piece of paper. "The Brits and French have taken over Quebec, Manitoba, and Ontario! However, many lives have been lost..." They started announcing the names of innocents, who'd been killed by the enemy or by friendly fire.

My parents were mercilessly butchered by the former.


At the Beach contest entry


References and Side Notes:
(1) We find out the narrator's name is "Marcy" through an eight-year-old boy named Jonesy

(2) This takes place at Kitsilano Beach (AKA "Kits" or "Kits Beach") in British Columbia, Canada

(3) The year is roughly around 2015 because the narrator mentions "A week or two after J.T became the new Canadian prime minister...." --> "J.T" is a direct reference to current Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, who became P.M of the country in 2015

(4) Even though the British are another component as "enemy forces," the French (minus Brits) attacks in Quebec is a small reference to the "October Crisis" (October 5th-December 28th, 1970)

(5) Due to the crisis/fallout, currency and paper bills are useless. So, most people use "caps" or bottle caps as a way of currency. This is reference to the "Fallout" video game series, where bottle caps are used as currency after nuclear fallout

(6) To be clear, even though "fallout" (the term) is often associated with nuclear war or armageddon, any kind of nuclear attack hasn't occurred in this story's plot (at least not yet!)
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