December 19, 8:25 PM Eastern
Jim took a sip of coffee and walked toward the roadblock at the end of his street. His neighbors to either side of him, Henry and Gloria, had parked their SUV’s across the road leading into the neighborhood, and he had positioned his truck alongside both of them to block anyone from driving in without talking their way through.
As Jim sat down on his tailgate, he poured hot cups of coffee from his thermos and handed them to the others who had kept watch while he had run home to fetch it. Like Jim, they all carried at least one gun, and were dressed in warm clothes against the damp chill of a Kentucky December.
“Any news?” Bob, Henry’s son, asked before blowing on the coffee to cool it. The group had been trying to check news websites regularly ever since they had decided to block traffic and patrol the neighborhood, but even when they could get a stable network connection, the sites were overwhelmed with other worried people trying to find out what was going on.
“Still some shooting going on down in Arizona,” Jim replied. He had taken a few minutes to watch television while the coffee brewed. “and the president’s going to address the nation sometime tonight.”
Gloria sniffed as she took her first sip. “I’ll feel much better, I’m sure,” she muttered.
“How’s Jeanine?” Henry asked. The old veteran was sitting in the bed of the truck, wrapped in a wool blanket, an antique rifle resting across his knees. He had insisted on pulling a shift at the roadblock, although he had been talked out of joining the younger men and women who were patrolling around and through the neighborhood on foot.
“She’s shook up pretty bad,” Jim replied, “Don’t think she’s ever had a gun pointed at her, and the news isn’t helping.”
“Ought to just shut that stuff off,” Gloria said, “They’re probably just repeating the same things over and over anyway.”
“She’ll be all right,” Henry said, “I remember how Gertie was on December 7th, with everyone scared the Japanese were going to start bombing the cities any minute. Couple days later, she walked into a Red Cross office and volunteered to give out donuts and coffee out at Fort Knox.”
“Think they’ll broadcast the president’s speech on the radio?” Bob asked.
“Probably,” Jim said, “Lord knows they’ll want as many people as possible to hear it.” He got into the truck’s cab and turned on the radio. Opening the windows on the sides and back allowed everyone else to hear it. After a few minutes, the rambling discussion of the day’s events was interrupted by an announcer.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States…”