August 5th, 1950, Phoenix, Arizona
"You load sixteen tons, what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt.
Saint Peter, don't you call me, 'cause I can't go;
I owe my soul to the company store... "
Joe Stevens moored his Mississippi Motorworks Southron Speeder car into his family's parking lot. "Hey, Pop, I'm home!" He turned off Tennessee Ernie Ford's Sixteen Tons song on his car radio. Joe put his baseball kepi on his greased hair and exited his car. He had gotten the cap for his 12th birthday, four years ago, and he still wore it. The Vicksburg Vultures was his favorite team, and the kepi had their logo emblazoned on the front. It was hot, as usual, in Phoenix, and the kepi's squared bill did very little to shade him from the scorching sun. He raced up the stairs and opened his front door. His father, Robert, was sitting on his recliner, as usual, listening to the radio.
The radio newsman read the international news. "In other news today, 91 year-old Kaiser Wilhelm II, of Germany, said in a speech at the Brandenburg Gate that Germany will resign the Germanic Alliance, firmly entrenching Wilhelm's German Empire with that of Charles I's Austro-Hungarian one. Thomas Wilkinson, our reporter in Berlin, sent us photos of the frail Wilhelm waving to the crowds. Wilkinson said the elderly potentate appeared to have trouble breathing and was constantly under the watch of his Imperial Grenadiers. Also today, Carlo-Napoleon, Napoleon V, Emperor of the French, announced a new attempt to wipe out resistance in French Indochina. Bonaparte's generals have reported 200 casualties in the last two months, the highest number since November of 1942. In matters closer to our hearts, rebels claiming to be servants of the United Pacific Republic, that island country we let become independent in 1934, pirated one of our own vessels, the CSS Baja, off the coast of Hawaii. President Shivers said in a briefing in Richmond that "The CSA will not stand for these acts of piracy." The Fleet of the South-Pacific has been mobilized and Admiral Fischer has stated that all pirates will receive the death penalty, i.e. execution by firing squad. He also said that pirate leader Hideki Toshiba has been seized and is under intense watch at our naval prison at Pearl Harbor, current location of the now-scrambling Fleet of the South-Pacific."
Pop grinned. "I hope your brother watches himself out there at Pearl Harbor. So many threats! Like gambling and booze." He chuckled lightly. Joe's brother Randy was in the CSA navy. Joe had thought about joining the Army of the West, but decided he would rather be a civilian and go to college.
Joe laughed. "Yeah! I remember when he said that one sailor was cheating at cards, and he got a black eye! I hope he learned his lesson. Old Willy is up and about, the radioman said. 91! Can you believe it! 91! He actually remembers the First Great War, back when the South pulverized his father. Why, he even remembers before the South was an independent country! I hope I live that long."
Pop snorted. "Heh, he has all the good doctors, you can count on that. Monarchs and leaders always do."
Joe nodded. He went into the kitchen and opened the chromed refrigerator. He grabbed a Coke and took a sip. "What makes this stuff taste so darn good?!" He had heard its inventor, John Pemberton of Atlanta, had put actual cocaine in his recipe. "Naw. That's a bunch of hooey. "Want a tonic, Pop?"
"Yeah! Okay." Joe brought him one and they sat around the radio listening.
The newsman was delivering national news. "In Mississippi today, a race riot erupted in Jackson. The police were soon on the scene, however, allowed peaceful protesters to deliver their message, and locked up rabble-rousers. President Shivers says he will uphold freedom of speech to the letter, black, white, or Hispanic. Today marked the 60th anniversary of the End of Slavery, August 5th, 1890. Also today, government officials announced their observations about the current situation for the CSA. They stated that France is now surpassing Great Britain in strength, which means if war broke out, God forbid, Napoleon V would unhesitatingly join us. Kaiser Wilhelm, as of late, has been trying to seemingly improve relations with our great country. However, his grandson, Wilhelm IV, has been openly antagonistic toward President Shivers. Last May he went into a lecture on monarchy when President Shivers refused to bow to him in public during the President's trip to Prussia. This is John Hutchinson reporting, Southern Radio News Corporation. Have a good afternoon!"
"I don't trust Wilhelm IV at all," said Joe. "He's only in his forties, and he seems really hostile to us. I hope he changes his tune when he becomes Kaiser."
Pop finished off his soda, or as Southerners called it, tonic. "Yeah. I don't like 'im either. Well, if you want to catch that movie, ya better get goin'!"
"See ya, Pop!" He rushed out the door again.
LEGO Builder, Writer, Video-Gamer, Greaser, History Professor, Swordsman, and Military Collector. I am the Most Interesting Man in the World. :p