I sure as hell didn’t see it coming. In California we get earthquakes. Tornadoes are so rare that some people think of them as an impossibility. I never saw one. No one I know…knew has ever seen one. So when the sky started to get dark I thought “storm,” as in one of those whoppers off the Pacific. But not what we got.
I ought to be glad the New Harmony Delivery Company was largely skipped with only a few broken windows from stuff blowing around. The stable downtown where all our horses stay was demolished. All the horses dead. Sam’s heartbroken and fit to spit nails. Charley was killed, too. It’s a blow to everyone’s confidence in the Zoës. I’m hearing talk I’ve not heard since I got here.
Eddy seems to relish it. He’s in his element. He says he can sense things are about to change.
“You’ll be able to profit by your labor,” he says.
“I thought you used to be a big union organizer.”
“The enemy of my enemy and all his cousins. You may have been a rich industrialist…”
“Just as bad. But you were an American for all that. We didn’t see eye to eye on what was good for America, but I fought for her just the same. Is this kingdom to your liking?”
“Fuck, man, you hate it. I can see it written all over you, your face, your posture. Everything. You’re like a pent up racehorse, Wayne, raring to get out there and build something. This Podunk business you run, I know you. You want to do more with it. Hell, Wayne, I’d fight you at the barricades to bring in the Teamsters, but before I can organize your workforce, ya gotta have a fuckin’ workforce worth organizing, not two wagons with sleeping drivers. The bigger your outfit, the bigger the union. We’re two peas in the same pod, Wayne, and you know it.”
I could see him trying to read my face, and it couldn’t be that hard. I didn’t like the limitations the Zoës put on everything. Soft socialism didn’t build anything, it only fed off what was already built. I could go places. There had to be more people like me, here, in 1819, in 2021, people ready to build a new world. Even guys like Eddy had a place in it, as long as they didn’t get too big about it.
“So what do we do?” I asked. I could see Eddy was brewing something.
“You need to have a word with Michael. I’m blacklisted, but you’ve still got his ear.”
“This tornado calls for a Town Hall event.”
“Oh.” I wasn’t sure what he meant.
“A public meeting. Get it?”
“Oh, I see.”
“No, I don’t suppose you do. But try to arrange one. And soon. You know how upset people are. Tell Michael he needs a Town Hall meeting to bring peace and order to things. Butter him up. Say anything you have to. Just get me, us, a meeting.”
“Don’t fail me, Wayne. Our freedom starts with this meeting.”