The Fracture: Pt 2
Dave slowly opens his eyes. His head is pounding, the last few months since California and Texas seceded have been a non-stop stress fest of news, meetings, planning, and whiskey.
The federal government insists the secessions are invalid. Cases were brought to court, but no one pays attention to the court cases. This isn’t going to be something won in a court or on a battlefield; this is a matter of everyday American citizens, and the world.
The real war isn’t being fought with guns and violence, instead the battle rages on in the Metaverse, on the old internet, and in daily conversations among friends and family.
The whole world watches, some gripped by the drama, others stirred to action. Cries of secession echoing in Catalonia, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, even parts of Japan.
“Ugghhh”, Dave groans, and rolls out of bed.
He stares at the tiny readout on the coffee machine, punches the buttons, then stares into space while waiting.
Work has been absolutely insane since The Split.
Dave thinks to himself, what a stupid name, why did that stick and not CalTexit or something?
Dave is senior management at a mid-sized tech company headquartered in San Francisco. Most of the employees are scattered across the country with a number of them across the world. No one knows what’s going to happen.
No actual work was being done, just constant meetings and researching similar cases in other countries that have split, like Czechoslovakia and Brexit, but that was a while ago.
Dave thinks to himself, maybe Brexit was the beginning of the cascade?
But Brexit was almost 10 years ago.
Right after Brexit, there was some California secession chatter, but it never went anywhere.
Ughh… when Biden lost to DeSantis, that really put California progressives into hysterics, but it wasn’t just the progressives. California has been drifting culturally away from the rest of the US for a while...
The coffee maker stops gurgling and the silence pulls Dave out of his thoughts. He pours a strong cup of coffee. He sits and stares out the window at his small slice of the Pacific.
As small ideas swirl around his head and coalesce into larger ideas, he accepts that life isn’t going to go back to how it was before. His identity as American disappears with the last swig of coffee. He pours a second cup, staring into the new mug.
His phone vibrates. He looks down - another emergency meeting. He adds a shot of whiskey to the coffee and heads upstairs to his office.
Chris is less directly affected by The Split. No one expects him to come up with plans to deal with it.
Not that any actual work is happening for him either. He has some extra time, so he mostly just reads the news.
He scrolls through the day’s breaking headlines:
- Florida officially moves forward with secession following CA and TX
- Stock market at record lows amid secession crisis
- President DeSantis sends more troops to the border of California
- EU leaders call for meeting on Catalonian Independence
- California governor to stop tax payments to federal government
He clicks on the last one.
He skims the article and then calls Dave.
“Yo, what’s up bro”, Dave answers.
“Hey man, did you see the latest? Apparently the governor has instructed California companies to stop paying federal taxes,” Chris blurts.
“Yeah, a colleague of mine forwarded that along. No one knows what to do man. We’re in seriously uncharted territory here,” Dave replies.
“I’m getting a little scared, man,” Chris murmurs.
“Nah, don’t worry bro. No one’s going to war. This just isn’t going down like that,” Dave assures.
“Yeah, but like… what should we do? I’m thinking about just heading back to mom and dad’s in Ohio, before it might get difficult to travel between California and home,” Chris frets.
“No way! Are you serious?” Dave yells.
Dave came out to California almost fifteen years ago, right after college, and Chris followed him here shortly after. California has been their home for years, but Dave travels a lot and is more comfortable around the world.
“Ye… yeah, I think so.” Even as the words come out of his mouth, Chris still can’t believe it. He is really freaking out. These last few months have been crazy and he wants some stability. Home sounds safe. At least it’s familiar. And if shit really goes down he’d be with family. “Dave, I think you should come,” Chris almost whispers.
“Hell no,” Dave blurts out. The words come out fast, almost surprising Dave. He knows he doesn’t want to go back to Ohio for sure. But he is less sure about staying in California. He feels uneasy, nervous. He has no idea what‘s going to happen. In work meetings, it’s non-stop crisis mode and bullshit meetings. His mind has been drifting toward the future, thinking about where this was all gonna go when the dust settled. What’s going to happen? How many countries will the US split into? What will happen to Europe? Asia? If this is the beginning of a mass secession movement what will the world look like in 5, even 10, 20 years?
“Chris, bro, going back to Ohio isn’t the answer man. You gotta think a few steps ahead. What happens next? How can we get ahead of this and come out on top?” Dave explains.
“I don’t know man, I’m just freaking out a bit," Chris knows he isn’t like his brother.
Doesn’t he get it, everyone’s freaking out, Dave thinks. You can’t let the fear get to you. Dave swallows and says, “I’ve been thinking about getting out too, not to Ohio, but somewhere next.”
“Next?” Chris asks.
“Yeah, like where’s the place that’s going to be in demand next? I’ve got some friends online that are chatting about pooling cash and making a commune somewhere,” Dave explains.
“A fucking commune? Don’t be stupid Dave! That sounds really risky and dangerous,” Chris chortles.
Maybe, Dave thinks, but he responds, “what’s risky is playing a losing game bro. You gotta anticipate what’s going to happen next. I’m honestly thinking about liquidating all my investments, 401k, Roth IRA, everything.”
“What!” Chris barks.
“Yeah, I want everything liquid. What’s the point of having tax-advantaged accounts when the US government won’t exist to tax me on it later,” Dave shoots back.
“But dude, the stock market is crazy down right now, plus you’d get hit with massive early withdrawal fees!” Chris asserts.
“Yeah, well who knows when it’s going to be up again, if ever,” Dave counters.
“What are you going to put it all in?” Chris asks.
“Some crypto, some real estate, maybe even some tangible assets like solar panels,” Dave responds.
“No way man!” Chris exclaims.
“Dude, Chris, if this is all real, if The Split is just the beginning, then the US dollar is worth nothing.
There’s going to be a lot of volatility in the stock market for a long time, and the tax-advantaged accounts are pointless.
At least crypto is decentralized and out of the reach of the US government. Real estate is always in demand, particularly in sunny places,” Dave lectures.
Chris listens, but he’s barely processing all of it. It’s too much to handle, he thinks. This is all so surreal. I just want to get on a plane and hug mom and dad. I’ve been here for 10 years with Dave, and I love him, but this is all too much.
“I don’t know man, I think I’m just going to ride it out with mom and dad,” Chris finally says.
“You’re making a mistake,” Dave scolds.
“Don’t act like you’re so fucking smart bro, your guess is as good as mine.” Chris snaps.
“We’ll see,” Dave replies, “we’ll see.”