Part I

Parker Jones couldn’t explain what it was, but something just was not feeling right. He stood at the balcony at the top of his house, which was situated on a hill on the outskirt of the Quinoba capital. As Prime Minister, Parker would stand every evening at his balcony overlooking the capital, just to soak it all in. He would always feel powerful when he did that, invincible almost, like a god looking down on his creation. He came into power after the people drove the last government, led by Tristan Woods, out of power. The Woods’ administration was plagued by corruption allegations, scandal and other political faux pas. The Jones’ administration, at first, juxtaposed the thieving Woods’ but then, it was back to the same thing. The status quo in Quinoba seemed to be a corrupt and incompetent government. Much like the Woods’ administration, the Jones’ became riddled with scandal. Life in Quinoba got progressively worse- crime was at an all-time high, people were losing jobs and the government could not seem to fix anything. Jones had heard rumours of an uprising, some kind of protest but his team was unable to confirm whether this was true, and if it were, exactly when it would happen. But tonight, the air was different. As he looked down on his city, he sensed the impending storm.

The next morning, Parker’s wife woke him up frantically. “The security detail, the maids, the driver, the gardener, everyone is gone!” his wife cried as she shook him. “What do you mean?” he replied. “Exactly what I said, go see for yourself,” she said. Parker walked through the house, not a single soul was there. None of his workers came up. He called the head of his security, there was no answer. He tried calling his driver, no answer. He desperately called his secretary-same result. He was so confused. Then, he got a call from the Minister of National Security. “Sir, we have a bit of a situation, come down to Parliament immediately,” the Minister ordered.

As Parker drove through his neighbourhood, he noticed that the cars were still in each house. It appeared that no one went to work. It was the strangest sight- a Monday morning but no hustle and bustle. No parents trying to get their children in the car. No one hurrying to get to work. The city was even stranger, a total ghost town- not a single place was open.

As he drove up to Parliament he noticed all his government ministers standing outside, even the opposition and their leader, Tristan Woods, was there. The building was locked. “What the hell is going on?” he asked. “The people, it’s the uprising we feared. Only, it’s not what we prepared for. The people… they’re not doing anything. No one went to work. No business is open. No one is doing anything. The people standing right here seem to be the only ones who went to work today,” the Minister of Security explained. Parker paused for a moment and processed what he was just told as he looked around the deserted city. “And the President?” Parker finally asked. “He’s doing what he always does- retreating and leaving it for us to sort out.”

Parker looked around again so that the other Ministers could not see his face. He was worried. He had no idea how to deal with the situation. Then, the huge screen that usually displays advertisements flickered on. A woman appeared on the screen. She was not particularly beautiful, nor was she exceptionally ugly. She was pretty average, the type of woman you’d walk by on the street every day and never notice. She began to speak-

Good morning, Mr. Prime Minister, Ministers, Opposition. I’m not going to tell you my name or who I am because that is not important. Let’s be honest, you don’t really care about that. All you need to know is that I represent the people now. And we have decided to take back our country. All of you standing there are supposed to serve us but instead you spend your time serving yourself. The citizens of Quinoba have decided enough is enough. We’re not going to do anything anymore. We will just sit back and watch you suffer, much like what you have done to us. Now keep in mind, we have been planning this for a while now. All the citizens are prepared to continue this action or rather inaction for quite some time. Are you? You are going to feel what a country really is without its people. The police, the military, even the business men who keep your pockets full are all on our side now. You may be wondering if there is a way to end this, and there is- confess your crimes and subject yourselves to the laws you refuse to uphold. Do that, and we’ll get back to work. Of course, you will no longer be in charge any more but you can take your time, we promise we won’t get violent. I hope you have enough food to last. A telephone number will be displayed on the screen when I’m done, use that to get in contact with me. The ball is in your court- your move.

The screen went black and displayed the telephone number as promised. There was murmuring and panic among the ministers and opposition. “What do we do now?” asked Tristan, the Leader of the Opposition. “We call their bluff,” replied Parker. Parker split up the government into groups and assigned each group an area of the country to inspect. There was no way that every single citizen was taking part. His plan was to recruit as many rebels to this revolution as possible.

The groups split up and went on their way while Parker manned the capital, awaiting the members of the government to report to him. Within fifteen minutes, he got the first report. One of his ministers informed that the highway is empty and the housing development that flanked the highway was barricaded. It was not open to anyone. He received a similar report from other ministers. Within hours he got several calls all with the same information- businesses including groceries, pharmacies, even little corner shops and convenient stores were all closed and access to any residential areas was blocked. Even the hospitals were locked, but they could still hear noise coming from inside, so they assumed the doctors were still attending to patients. Parker, although angry and worried, was immensely impressed with the people. They thought of everything. Somehow, in the time spent combing the country for rebels, the people managed to block off the areas that each government member lived. Now they could not return home. They were stranded in the capital.

By nightfall, most of the ministers returned to the Parliament building. Throughout the day, they tried to call their families but no one answered. They did not know if they were harmed or being held hostage. Parker tried to call someone from the military but the call was ignored, same result when he tried to call the Commissioner of Police. Parker even ordered all the government members to call their “business associates” who funded them, but they also ignored the call. They were totally abandoned.

“So, what’s the plan now? Do we call mystery woman?” inquired Tristan. “No!” Parker said firmly. He grabbed a stone laying at the side of the road, and broke one of the glass panes on the building. He shuffled everyone inside. They would stay there for the night. The battle lines had been drawn, it was time to prepare for war.

Posted by Hillary Muddeen