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    Thread: Jason's Conundrum

    1. #1
      TXU Sr. Member kevin398's Avatar
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      Cool Jason's Conundrum

      Jason’s Conundrum


      Chapter 1: Changing a Time Line, for the Better


      Jason Hedges was a young man living ‘down under’ in the slums of the city. His Mother had been a single parent and even now she struggled to put food on the table and keep cloths on their backs.

      But she demanded he stay clean and made him go to school...a joke in itself since he had no real skills... or possibilities in the future. But she demanded he try, and as hard as she worked he felt he owed it to her, and he went every day and came home and worked part time at a store selling guns and ammo for the many Hunters and Gatherers that helped support the entire community.

      The History of this place told of massive cities, millions of people living close together and causing unrest because of it far too often. The Great War ended all that...and many of those massive cities even today were too dangerous to enter...radiation you know... and the number of smaller towns went up accordingly in the aftermath of the War.

      But the nearest city was a full days travel from here and no one went there anymore since even finding the treasures that might still be there wasn’t worth the painful death that many had gotten by trying.

      The last one to try was over a hundred years ago, and their pictures and stories were still talked about today when people asked when it might be safe to return , and scientists estimated another 200 years at least before the cities would be safe again, or what was left of them by then.

      The technology they had today was left over from that time. Radios and Phones the Leaders used and some vehicles, but only the rich could afford them or the fuel to run them for long. So for many of the 50,000 people in their city things weren’t good enough to brag about. But they got food and water and whatever passed as shelter for the many that huddled together for warmth on cold days. But Sara got them a tiny spot, barely 15x20 with a roof over their heads and two small rooms. One they used for living space and eating, and the other for sleeping, and they owned two old cots and some blankets, and Jason knew they were better off than some, but not by much.

      They ate dried noodles and bread, and some fruit when they could find it, and Jason went out looking sometimes and got credit for being a Hunter, by the few that he spoke to regularly. He didn’t own a gun of any kind, even though he sold them to others. His income helped keep the roof over them and Sara worked odd jobs all over to keep food on their table, and together they were just making it work.

      Today he was out in the country walking, and he found a few bushes with berries on them and picked some and put them into a small plastic bag he kept for such things. He then found a tree with small green apples on it and he gathered some that seemed at least a bit ripper than others and put them into his backpack.

      He was having a good day he decided and when he smelt smoke he wondered who might be way out here...some Hunter perhaps...and he went to see since he knew a few that worked this area.

      But as he walked up an old man, maybe 65 or so, was sitting there poking the fire and Jason asked if he could warm himself, and the man smiled and waved for him to sit.

      “Doing a little Hunting?” he asked as Jason laughed saying he wished he was, he was only gathering what little he could find. He wasn’t a Professional Hunter by a long shot.

      “Remember this...those that work at gathering are still Hunting...” the old man said as Jason seemed spellbound by his words.” So even gathering fruit or vegetables is Hunting if it helps someone, somewhere.” he added as Jason admitted that might be true.

      “If I knew more about what to actually Hunt it would help, but I don’t have a father and my mother doesn’t know a lot about it either.” Jason said and wondered why he bothered to unburden himself on this old man.

      “Libraries are filled with books, and you can read there for free.” He got told as he laughed saying he was in the wrong part of town for that, as the old man looked up and smiled.

      “All you need is a little bit of Luck.” The old man said as Jason almost laughed out loud at that one.” Here..take this...its a rare Good Luck Charm that I’ve carried for many years. Keep it hidden inside your shirt, and if anyone asks tell them I lent it to you. If I ever want it back you must give it to me, thats the only catch.” he said, as Jason looked at the green circle and agreed and put it on and dropped in inside his shirt like he was instructed.

      “You have a long walk home, better get going.” The old man said, as Jason thanked him for the gift and started walking back. But as he walked along something odd happened. He stopped to see some plants and instantly knew what they were and he picked a large bouquet, and it smelled great, and he took home enough wild tea for several days and Sara was impressed.


      Chapter 2: Stepping Up


      Jason was a new man by the next day. He felt great and he went out hunting for food and never came home empty handed. He was on one such trip when he heard a scream and ran to see several young men dragging a girl into the bushes. He was no prude but this just wasn’t right, and so he grabbed a large stick laying nearby and rushed in screaming and swinging it and one man went down screaming in pain, and several others turned and ran, knowing they were seen.

      She looked up helplessly from the spot they threw her and after a second he smiled and dropped the club and helped her to her feet. She was so relieved that she cried and hugged him, and he walked her back to the house and she sent for a ride to pick her up.

      She never said her name,and Jason didnt ask. She had been through a lot today and she thanked him for his help and left on foot saying she’d meet them halfway, and he made sure she was going to be alright, then went about his business.

      He found a whole patch of the wild tea after a while and so gathered a good amount and went back to the local neighborhood and offered to sell some to others he knew, and he made a few dollars today and it felt good having something in his empty pockets for a change.

      The word got around pretty quickly that Jason was becoming quite the Hunter and Gatherer and soon he got asked to watch for things and if he didn’t know what it was they took the time to explain it to him. So now every day was a learning experience and by the end of the month he had a full time job gathering things for people from the forests and fields nearby.

      He had cash for the first time and soon things got better for him all around. But when he came in one day he got the biggest surprise, as a police car was sitting by his house waiting, and he asked if he had done something wrong.

      “Dont worry you’ll be fine..” He got told as he handed over the bag to his sister and they placed him in the back and away they went. They drove through the middle of town, then out into the better neighborhoods and finally stopped by a large house with a huge garden in front and they walked him to the door and knocked and when a man opened it they all stepped in to see a rather fat man walking up all smiles, with a young lady right by his side.

      Jason recognized her as the girl from before and the big man shook his hand graciously smiling all the while.

      “So you were the one?” he asked as Jason asked for what, and the man laughed.” You saved my daughter from getting attacked by some hoods a little while ago. They probably got what they deserved for such an act but you never did, so today you get a reward.” he said as Jason looked surprised, as the girl stepped forward and said she was Clare, and she thanked him for being there when she needed him, and he smiled and said he was glad to help.

      The big man handed him a check and Jason didn’t even take the time to read it, instead putting it in his pocket without a second thought. The man looked impressed by that but said nothing, and soon Jason was on his way back home again, and the officer told him he did a great thing that day and because of it they caught several crooks that had been terrorizing the local neighborhood.

      “Miss Clare told us right away what happened and she said one young man took a hard blow from a club, so we went right away to check the local hospital and clinic and found him getting help and arrested him on the spot. He then told us everything, and we got 3 of his friends too. It was a nice haul for us and really going to help the locals too since they were causing lots of trouble around here.” he said as Jason looked surprised it had happened this way.

      “Did you look to see what was on that?” The second officer asked as Jason said he didn’t but ask if they would drop him off at the local bank, since he didn’t want to be carrying around cash in this neighborhood, and they understood. He got out there and went in and when he said he wanted to start an account a few looked sceptical, but one lady did the paperwork for him and told him he needed a deposit to make it official, and he handed her the check and her eyes nearly fell out.

      The Branch Manager came running out to shake his hand and when Jason got his bank card he swiped it to show it was working properly. The number that came up shocked Jason to no end and the man handed him the card with the biggest smile he had ever seen.

      “ 25,000 credits...that makes you one of our best depositors.” The man said as Jason just nodded and played it cool and took the card and went shopping, down to the local store and got himself better cloths with a decently heavy pair of blue jeans and new shoes that were more like short dress boots, and a nice denim jacket. He also bought a coat for his mother, and a pair of sneakers that didnt have holes in the toes, and then he went home to shock her once again, saying that they would be alright now for a while, and she got the whole story and looked faint to hear it. But it was the best luck they ever had,and she admitted that, and he said that things would only get better for them from here,and she just smiled and said she hoped so.

      But this made Jason feel like a new man and the next day he went into town and to the library to check on some things. He never would have gone wearing the junk cloths he had before, but owning nice stuff made him more bold, and he sat there all day studying things as a few people from his class in school saw him and looked surprised, and he bought a pamphlet that showed plants and mushrooms from all around the country and took it home with him.

      Knowledge is a powerful thing, and with this new found knowledge he knew of many things out in the countryside that people walked by every day that were good to eat, and some were rare too and he offered to find some for a price, and even local restaurants agreed saying no one they knew could find any, and Jason got a nice big canvas bag and hung it around his neck and went gathering, and two days later he came back and made a nice profit from his travels too.

      And with these new customers he decided he needed batter transportation, and when he found a young man with an older truck for sale Jason went to see about it. It was what was commonly known as a 1/4 ton pickup, small but fuel efficient. It was a 4 cylinder automatic and Jason knew he needed a license for it but that wasn’t a problem now, and so after some dickering he bought it for a few hundred and parked it by his house and went into town the next day to get the necessary permits to drive it and then came home in time for dinner.

      “I cant believe how much you’ve changed in such a short time...” Sara mentioned as Jason laughed and waved the idea away.

      “This is nothing, you wait and see, things are finally getting better for us.” he mentioned and she wondered where he got such confidence from, but just smiled and felt happy for him for the first time.


    2. #2
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      Chapter 3: Getting Noticed


      Jason was in class the next day and several people asked where he got the new cloths, and so he told them the story about saving the girl and getting his new truck so he could start his own business.

      “So you came into some money then...how much?” one nosey young man asked, as Jason swore it was all gone by now, and many smiled and figured he wouldn’t say either way. But he was looking pretty good now, and his big smile said a lot too. He was finally getting his chance to do something for himself and his mom, and many were happy for him. And as class left out he went home and out into the countryside driving, and when he turned a corner on an old grown over road and came around some trees he found a large pond, and when he walked up several nice sized fish swam quickly away and he knew he had found something worth knowing about.

      It was several miles from town and many might not come out this far, and after studying the place for a while he went back into town and got a cheap rod and reel and some hooks to use at the local hardware store, and by evening he had a bucket with several fish in it, some over a foot long.

      He took them back and showed a friend that ran the local restaurant and she was thrilled. They had a few tests done and they were safe, and she offered him 5 credits a pound for anything he caught and he had another deal before he went home, and when he did he brought in fresh baked bread, and Sara was so happy they had something good for a change, and he gave her three small fish too and she cooked them instantly and added them to the noodle meal she had planned for them.

      They hadn’t had such a fine meal in ages, and she was more than happy about it, and Jason said that he got a contract to fish for the local shop, and she smiled even more. He was turning into a fine young man, and at 17 he would be thinking about going out on his own soon enough, and she knew now he’d do just fine too. And she was sure more than one young woman around town had noticed him too, and that made her feel that her hard work had paid off,and Jason saw a tear in her eye and said he’d never leave her alone here he’d always be around to help out, and she thanked him for saying so and then they finished their meal and got ready for bed.

      Sara had worked several odd jobs for many years to support them, but now Jason was self-supporting and even more than that... brought in free food almost everyday now. So much of her income now got laid back and after a while she too got some better cloths, and started looking a lot better while having more well balanced meals, and Jason saw her going out once or twice and she seemed happy, and he saw that maybe her time was coming too , to restart her life with someone special, and he only hoped she found the right person and not someone that would abuse her like his father had done.

      Jason was on summer vacation now between his junior and senior years. He got lots of time to gather and made some good money too. His account never went below that first deposit, and even went up a bit, and he kept his little truck full of fuel, and even took entire days going out further and further looking for new places and things.

      On one trip he found another truck, one nearly the same as his. He checked it over to see a skeleton in it and he looked for any ID it might have. It had none but he figured he’d report it anyways, but it had tires 3x better than his, and so he took the time to get those off and switched them with his old bald ones, and then went back home to report what he found and had done.

      “Probably a Hunter from a long time ago.” he got told and he agreed,” We’ll send someone out to get the body, thats a long ways out there so God knows what happened to him. But anything you want from the vehicle take it, we’ll probably never figure out who this poor guy was.” The cop said as Jason agreed and he laid his old tires by the side of the house and went out there the next day to see the police gathering up the body and one officer pointed inside the truck, and Jason found an older rifle, just a 22 caliber, but something, and it needed some real cleaning and a little oil, but it seemed to still be in one piece.

      “You don’t have one right?” The cop asked as Jason admitted he didn’t.” Then since you found the truck you might as well claim it, it might even work after you oil and clean it up a bit,and shells for that are cheap.” he reminded him as Jason nodded and dragged it out of there and put it into his truck to take home.

      It was a small bolt action rifle with a clip that slid in the bottom and held a small handful of rounds. But right now everything was rusty and stuck and after doing some fishing for the restaurant he went home and got a small can of gun oil at the hardware and set down to tear it apart as much as he knew how and oil everything that was supposed to move.

      By bedtime he was a rusty mess, but the gun looked a lot better, and his mom made sure he knew it was no toy and he admitted he was going to take it out and practice until he could hit what he wanted. And she agreed that he needed to learn how to shoot properly, and when Jason walked out of the house the next day with the gun, a middle aged man was waiting and his mom cleared her throat loudly and said this was Frank, and he would teach Jason how to shoot today, and Jason shook his hand and agreed.

      They got into the truck and went out of town and Frank seemed to have something he wanted to say, but just couldn’t get it out, and Jason wasn’t crazy... he saw how they looked at each other...and by now it was becoming just funny.

      They stopped and Frank set up a few empty cans and showed Jason how to aim properly. it took a few shots but he did hit them and after a while practicing he could hit them even laying down and on the end from a decent distance.

      “You got some skills kid, not bad.” Frank mentioned as Jason said it was all luck, but the man disagreed saying that firing from the hip at a running target and hitting it...that was luck...but he learned fast and practiced and took his time trying to better himself, that was skill, and not everyone had it.

      “Thanks for saying so,” Jason mentioned as the man smiled and shook his hand happily,” and for the lessons, I think I’ll be OK now.”

      “You miss something at this range now and it isn’t the guns fault.” Frank added as he laughed and Jason laughed right along with him. They got back into the truck and as they got closer to the town Frank got more nervous and Jason was trying hard not to laugh out loud.

      So he felt it was his place to start that conversation... so without thinking he cleared his throat and asked what he really wanted to know....but a second later he wished he had thought about it a bit more.

      “So Frank...you grinding my mom?” Jason said and nearly fainted to hear it coming out of his own mouth, as Frank looked faint as well.

      “Thats a Hell of a question, especially talking about your own mom!” Frank insisted as Jason nodded it was true. “ Maybe...well I want to...” Frank got out after a second, as Jason burst into laughter and after a second Frank smiled wide and looked away.

      “If she didn’t like you you wouldn’t be here today.” Jason added as Frank said he knew that much.” If you hurt her like my old man I swear...” Jason said as Frank calmly said he didn’t belive in that kind of action, and a real man doesn’t beat on women, and Jason saw that he might be the right one for her then, and he admitted that if he took good care of her Jason would be happy,and they seemed to have a deal.

      They got back and Sara met them out front, and Jason was all smiles and she knew that he figured it out.

      “Frank taught me how to shoot properly...” Jason mentioned as she thanked him for helping out.” So as a reward, lets take him out for coffee and donuts...the restaurant makes them fresh every Thursday,and thats today.” Jason added all smiles and they both agreed, and they sat at a table and drank their coffee, and Jason smiled waiting on someone to admit something, but it didn’t happen tonight.


      Chapter 4: Becoming Successful


      Jason was out the following day driving along watching for something to hunt. He had seen many deer when he was out here,and one restaurant told him they’d pay 5 bucks a pound for any he got, so that was some good money if he got lucky.

      He stopped by some large oak trees and tried shooting a few squirrels, but he wasn’t onto the new gun that well yet, and after 6 shots he got only one. But he was learning how to use it better, and by evening he had two woodchucks and another squirrel, and he took them back and sold the woodchucks and took the squirrels home for dinner.

      They ate like kings that night and Sara mentioned that he would do well on his own, and he smiled waiting for her to go on. She seemed like it might take a while so Jason mentioned he liked Frank and he thought he liked her too.

      “I hope so...” She hinted as Jason just smiled and nodded agreement.” He asked me to move in with him...his wife died a few years ago so he’s not rushing into things, and he has no kids so thats that...” She went on as Jason thought about it for a while and she seemed to wait for him to say something so he smiled and said he thought that was fine, and she could do a lot worse, and at that she looked like she’d cry and she thanked him for saying so, and she started packing the very next morning.

      About that time Jason found out what the rent was in the dump they had been living in, and he was surprised. He thought about it seriously and then went into the courthouse to check on a few things. The old houses were owned by the family that originally built them ages ago and their relatives that owned them now didn’t believe in fixing anything, or doing repairs no matter how loud people complained. They didn’t seem to think anyone down there had a choice, so they ignored them altogether.

      But Jason saw places not far away where lots were for sale, small places as well as larger ones, and he checked into those and found they were totally empty, but had power and water on site, and so he went about talking to a lot of people after that, and found a company that made custom little houses, more like fancy sheds really, and he drove to their site and walked through a few, and he was surprised what they sold for, and even empty they looked 3x better than the place he had grown up in.

      He saw one that was 16 feet square, and had a second floor for the bedroom, and two nice looking windows and a sturdy wooden front door. The price was nice too, and while he talked to the salesman about it they told him there were some rules about turning them into homes, but they did it all the time for people...for about 500 bucks more. It basically involved better wiring, and Jason nodded he understood.

      Jason wasn’t a fool these guys knew exactly what he was going to do, so for 4000 credits he had a house built custom and delivered, and bought the lot for another 1200 and owned his own place, many times nicer than the old place they lived in before.

      It was the first bigger purchase since he got his truck and his account dropped a good bit, but he knew now he had a warm place to live no matter the weather, and slowly he put things in it like a nice bed he bought at a sale, and rugs and curtains and even some cooking utensils for the small kitchen he built in one corner. Add a gas fireplace, and he felt he was all set, and he really liked the place like it was, and he felt like he had made a huge step up from where he started. And he got it all and paid cash, and now he had no rent payments at all, and down the road that was going to help too.

      It took a month for his first visitors, and Sara and Frank were knocking and when he left them in Sara was all smiles.

      “It’s taller inside than it looks from outside.” She said looking up at the loft where the bed was.” I bet there’s a few young women that wouldn’t mind staying the night at a nice place like this.” She hinted as Frank just rolled his eyes and Jason looked upset for a minute saying if she was going to start swearing in his house he’d toss her out,and Frank got a good laugh at that one.

      “Swearing?” She asked looking lost as Frank informed her Jason could find his own women, when he wanted one, and she looked embarrassed she went rambling on like that.

      “I’m just fine mom, really.” Jason added as she nodded and smiled.” I like this place and there’s still little things I want to do in here, so I got lots of time.” he added as she agreed.

      “You’re doing really well for yourself too. We heard from a couple businesses that you help supply them and they are doing very well because of it.” Frank added as Jason smiled and said he did his best and thats all anyone could do.

      “This cost you all you had in the bank?” Sara asked softly as Jason smiled and said no he was still OK, and she looked more happy now knowing that getting himself set up didn’t break him.

      “Your son’s a good businessman, he wouldn’t let something like that happen.” Frank mentioned as Jason thanked him for saying so.

      “Well we saw you putting this here so we waited to come and see.” Sara mentioned as Frank agreed.” I’m glad things are working so well for you, it takes a lot of worry off my mind.” She added as Frank agreed that she was worried sick about him being broke and starving, and Jason laughed saying he’d have to be bedridden to starve, because he supplied everyone else,and they all laughed together and his mom gave him a nice hug and Frank shook his hand and left a lot happier than when she first walked in.

      Jason appreciated that they worried about him but it wasn’t necessary and now they knew. So when he finally got all the little things he wanted in here , then he’d worry about seeing if anyone wanted to date, because right now he had too much going on to take the time to start looking around.


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      Chapter 5: Respect


      Jason got back to work more seriously after doing a weeks worth of work on his new house. He got waved to by all the neighbors, many of who he knew well since technically he only moved 2 blocks. But now he was back out in the countryside hunting again. He had spent a good amount of money lately and he was determined to get it all back.

      He had lived his whole life here in the slums and he liked the feeling that his next meal was covered by having cash in the bank. So if it felt this good to be self-sufficient, then by God he was going to be that way! And he smiled as he snuck along slowly looking for animals and waiting for his first chance at a profit.

      But in an hour he found next to nothing. One big woodchuck stood up next to the road and before Jason could get out of the truck it ran down its burrow and disappeared.

      “It’s going to be one of those days I see.” he thought and decided that fishing might work better for him then and he went to the pond and caught himself a grasshopper and put it on for bait. One cast and a tiny fish ate it but it was so small he threw it back, then another and he was getting bored by now so he let it run around a bit playing with it more than anything else, when a swirl hit it and his line ran off line like it was hooked to a car going down the highway.

      He worked for a while, in and out and back in again until finally he pulled it up onto the shore and the sheer size of it surprised him. It was greenish black with a big stripe down the side and it was the first one of these he ever caught, and he quickly put it into the bucket with some water, and decided maybe he learned something new, so he got a small bait ...and an even smaller fish with it... and tried again, and in two hours he filled the bucket with just 5 fish, all bigger than he had caught before.

      He went back and sold them and it was a new record for him. He had brought in up to 7 pounds of fish before but today he dwarfed that easily.

      “ 12 pounds...” he got told and he got a nice pay for those and the restaurant owner said he’d take all these he could get.

      “Until I found these I was having a bad day.” Jason admitted as the man just smiled and nodded. “ It just goes to show..never give up!” he said and the man agreed and they both got a good laugh at that.

      “I keep looking for new places so I don’t mess up the same ones all the time.” Jason mentioned, knowing some people nearby might be trying to learn where he got these monsters from. “ I was way out there when I found these.” he said loudly and many people looked away because they either didn’t have transportation...or they were afraid to go out too far themselves.

      “It might be a little while before I get any more of these though.” Jason admitted and the owner said anytime he got any come back and he’d buy them and they shook on it, and Jason decided that he better do as he said and bring in something else for a while instead.

      Jason’s next trip was out to a nearby river. It was the extreme upper end of one and it wasn’t that large up here, but it had a lot of different animals around it and fish of different sizes too. So if he couldn’t find something to shoot then he could fish, and he kind of liked it here since the scenery was nice and he had not seen anything dangerous since he’d been here.

      He did see some huge fish though, not too good looking, they were large slow and not too easily frightened, but he didn’t know what they ate and only ever hooked one so far, and it ran off half his line and snapped it like a twig. But that was some nice profit swimming out there, and on a nice sunny day he found a few spots that had a dozen in them all just floating along sunning themselves.

      But today he brought something new, some mixed vegetables in a can. If he could find just one thing they would eat his chances would go up considerably, and he already had been forced to buy heavier line, so his pole went from 6 pound test to 10, and he felt he’d do a lot better this way.

      He snuck along the river for a few hundred yards and found a good spot where a lot of fish were gathered. He tossed out a few pieces and watched and some did run over and try them. So he put one small piece on a hook and tossed it out and waited, and a smaller fish ran over and tasted it, and he set the hook. He fought it for a few minutes, then got it in and through it up on the bank. Its was at least 18 inches long and very thick, and that was a few pounds right there.

      That covered his fuel cost easily so the rest of the day would be profit. He even went back and brought the truck over closer and he soon found that putting these in a bucket wasn’t going to cut it, so he made a rope stringer and slid them onto that and put them in the edge of the water to keep them alive for now.

      He spent a good part of the day here, and got two different types of fish. he also lost a few that were just too big to get in on his equipment, and he learned that there were some great fish out here that he just wasn’t ready for yet.

      But by evening he had a heck of a sunburn, and many pounds of fish. He got 6 that day all on either carrots or corn, and he threw them in the back and went home and had a really big payday for sure.

      “You’re getting better by the week!” the restaurant owner said loudly, as many patrons looked their way and smiled. “ Over 20 pounds of fresh fish, that might be a record for one day!” he said as many ohed and ahed about that and Jason’s rep went up a little more.

      Of course making over a hundred credits a day wasn’t normal for workers down here, but it sure helped. Many got paid for working in factories or hunting themselves. But without vehicles which were expensive to maintain, they were forced to walk everywhere, and the area closest to the city was over hunted, and finding anything worthwhile was getting harder by the day.

      If Jason hadn’t gotten that little windfall that day he would have been just as bad as them, but with his little truck he could run out and back easily and hunt miles from the city, where people seldom got to go.

      Now he took this new cash and went to the sporting goods store, and after some shopping, came out with a rod twice as thick as his old one, and with a reel made for heavy fishing. The line was 20 pound test now and he had bigger hooks, and he was ready now to show what he could do out there at the river, and he found an old barrel on the local dump and took it home and cleaned it out and with a lid that snapped on and off he had a tank to haul bigger fish in.

      He mounted that to the back of the truck and he was ready, and away he went the next day looking to make it big again, and pay for all this new equipment. But fishing wasn’t good that day but luckily for him a large family of raccoons walked down his side of the river just after he got there, early in the morning, and he got two of those to help pay the difference, and after several hours one amazing fight on his new pole, and a fish to brag about that was over 30 inches long.

      It was a mixed bag, but thats how things go sometimes, and he paid for his equipment easily and made a small profit, and the restaurant had something new to sell the next day...stew...and down here that wasn’t seen as often as you might think.


      Chapter 6: Taking a Chance


      Jason had a good reputation around the area, not only did he bring in good food often, he treated people decently at all times.

      One day as he was sitting out on his little porch watching it rain a friend came running up and stopped to talk for a while. He was worker in the local factory and he and his wife had been watching Jason’s new place for a while now.

      “You’ve done very well for yourself in a short time.” Stanley said as Jason thanked him for saying so. “Your own place...how much are you paying for this anyways?” he blurted out and Jason saw why he was here.

      “I worked hard and saved...” Jason said, not exactly true but close,” and it cost me 4000 ...delivered.” he said as the man nodded and looked thoughtful.

      “The lot itself was extra but now I own it all..no rent payments.” Jason said as the man looked pretty happy for him too.

      “I can probably afford one or the other but not both...and my wife is screaming at me to do better.” Stan said as Jason nodded he understood. They lived hand to mouth like many others here and lived in a large tent and had for a long time. They had kids too and that hurt their income trying to feed and cloth them, but they did pretty well considering.

      “You’re not paying rent now right? You’re living on public land.” Jason hinted as the man agreed, saying there were some technicalities many of them used and sometime were forced to move around a bit to keep the cops happy.

      “If you could rent something like this...well maybe not exactly like this one...” Jason hinted and smiled,” how much could you pay..honestly?” he asked as the man looked serious for a minute then nodded to himself and said maybe 360 a month, it would be worth it to get inside something with more substance than a tent, and would make him look better to his wife and friends too.

      “Let me talk to some people and see, you never know.” Jason hinted as the man looked happy that there might be even a chance, and he ran home to tell his wife, and Jason went for a ride, and after looking through several different designs he settled on one that was basically just an open building inside. No upper floor no loft or anything, but nice sized with windows and a bigger front door, and he asked for the heavier power line too and it still was only 3000 delivered, and on his way home Jason bought another lot just down the street from this one and in a week the house was delivered, and Jason became a landlord to a good friend who finally had a sound roof over his head, for 300 a month.

      It certainly wouldn’t cut it anywhere else, but when you live day to day and have nothing of your own, anything beats nothing. Many people down here lived in tents or under bridges or anywhere and everywhere to get out of the cold. But to have a building to get in...it was the lap of luxury to people that might die if the weather didn’t cooperate.

      Old cars, packing crates, tents, the homeless and destitute aren’t afraid to work, they just never get a chance to get out of this area once they are forced to live here. So seeing one of their own doing better, was like a beacon to them that it could be done, and the few landlords that owned property down here were arrogant fools that took every credit they could get and gave nothing in return, and many waited to see if Jason would resort to that kind of behavior now that he stepped forward and invested down here himself.

      And if his friend was as good as his word, then Jason would get his investment back in a year, and it would be profit after that, every month like clockwork.

      Jason went on with his work and still managed to make a profit from it. His account slowly started back up and he found new places to hunt and fish, and even learned to use small throwing nets to help bring in fish faster.

      Anything worth trying he did try, and as time went on he became known for hard work and hard study, and some of his ideas got copied by others, and things all over started getting better.

      What was once a rare thing...getting meat in any form down here... was starting to become everyday. The one restaurant had a large glass jar that could hold more than a gallon of fluid, and now inside it were a dozen or more small fish, pickled for sale. They were pretty good too, and since they were pickled they could be stored for a long time and sold more slowly.

      It was a very old recipe the owner found while researching things, and now the idea caught on and jars like it were found in several different stores, and the price of fish went up again, especially for the hunters that needed to supply them.

      But seeing new things happening Down Below got attention from the higher ups, and any new ideas got copied instantly. So when Jason and a few others started selling almost entirely to their own kind, a new man appeared, offering them much more for their wares, and many went that way and supplies in the local area got tighter again.

      Rich men want everything they can get, no matter who they have to take it from. Its true the world has abundant supplies of food for all...but...there are only a few people brave enough to travel to gather it all, so if you sign many of them up for your own purposes, then others do without, as has been happening for ages in this city.

      But Jason wasn’t being fooled, he agreed to sell to new people, but not exclusively. He wouldn’t guarantee them everything he caught or killed, just enough to give him more income, and the man saw it for what it was...a partial contract...Jason helped those around him to stay in business, and helped himself by selling to the men outside who wanted more too. This way he became indispensable to everyone, and his plans and ideas for future work were going to mean a lot to not just the locals but people that thought they could control everyone else.

      The Councilman for the 13th District was watching too. He had been voted in as their representative years ago, and since no one else wanted the job he kept it. Now he just sat back and did nothing but go to a few meetings and got paid very well too. But this year things started to change, a new person stepped up and worked harder than many others, and his District started making a better profit than before.

      He immediately rushed into the next meeting saying that ...through plans he laid out years ago...things were improving in his area. But the Council wasn’t going to be fooled. They knew him well and all he was doing was making points from someone else’s work. But it was true his District was improving...a miracle since he did nothing to help them himself. But while he ranted on and on about HIS plan, they watched over his shoulder at the men and women that really were working to improve the place, and saw a young man taking on an apprentice, and food became more abundant once more.


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      Chapter 7: Branching Out


      Jason got asked a dozen times to train an apprentice to help him but he always thought he wasn’t ready.

      “I need to learn first before I can teach someone else.” he would say, and others would laugh and agree.

      But after months trying different things, and now a new buyer appearing, Jason was ready. He asked one young man who had been especially vocal about it and he agreed, and Jason had his first apprentice, and the area applauded him for stepping up. Being a gatherer was a hard, time consuming job. But it paid more than a lot of others that people did to survive. Jason’s little truck was well known, and even if the local mom and pop restaurant was out of food for days...if you saw that truck there then things got better fast.

      Now Jason had help, and when he started out even he didn’t know one fish from another, or what other animals they could look for. But now they caught trout,bass, pan fish,shads,turtles,crayfish, and many others all eatable... and some considered delicacies too. And one old man took all the turtle shells they could get and paid well too, and Sam, Jason’s new helper, found a 12 inch shell while netting crayfish one day, and got 3 credits himself for his find, and smiled really wide knowing he wasn’t going home broke today.

      Add to that some little fish or other things he brought home,and his entire family started doing better, and he was always seen with a big smile, and others asked to be trained too, and Jason said he’d think about it, and he saw others just waiting for their chance too.


      When your family exists on less than 200 hundred credits a month sometimes, then something like this is a big thing, and with Jason teaching him a trade, Sam was guaranteed a job, and would be able to fend for himself right away. That takes one mouth from the table and while it seems harsh, thats the way things are down here, and Jason understood that. So he taught him and saw he got a small salary for helping, and Sam became a small celebrity among his friends now that he had a skill, and his family was never more proud of him.

      Weeks went by and one day Jason stopped to pick Sam up to see him there with his fishing pole, a bicycle and a bucket, and Jason asked what he going to do.

      “With your permission...I want to try one day by myself.” Sam mentioned, as Jason smiled and asked where he was planning on going. “I ride a lot and I know of a stream about a mile out of town down that little dirt road.” Sam started as Jason said he knew the place.

      “I know there are trout there, and crayfish and maybe turtles, so let me try and see what I can do.” he asked as Jason agreed and they shook on it.

      “I’ll meet you down there this evening.” Jason said and drove away and Sam jumped on his bike and rode out too... to show he could make it on his own.

      Sam got there in no time and after unfolding a small homemade net, he started working the shallow water between holes. The place was a paradise for crayfish, and after an hour he had the bottom of his bucket covered, and ran back and sold those to the restaurant owner. Then back to try his hand at fishing, and having learned to look for baits around the area where you see fish, he got water grubs by the dozen and used those and by the time Jason came to check on him he had 4 nice fish in the bucket and Jason gave him a big thumbs up and said since he was on his own today everything he caught was his. And Sam thanked him and after a few minutes watching Jason asked if he netted any crayfish today, saying this was one of the better places for those.

      “I did...” Sam added sadly,” but I didn’t want them to die in the bucket so I took them back and sold them already.” he admitted as Jason smiled and nodded he thought so.

      “Then I say that training for fishing is over, and starting tomorrow we talk about wild herbs.” Jason said and laughed and drove away, and Sam smiled thinking he chose well and when this was over he’d never have to worry about starving ever again.

      By the end of the day Sam had made 30 credits all by himself, and Jason admitted that when it came to fishing he did alright, and Sam’s parents were thrilled for him. Now on to herbs and eatable plants, and in a month Sam was on his own, and bringing in food for his family and for sale. He was never going to be a threat to Jason’s business because he didn’t try that hard. If he made a few credits a day he was happy, and Jason saw that it helped the community too, but not to the extent he thought it would.

      Jason still did his own work, and was making up to a hundred a day on a good day, and he kept a few small businesses from going under himself, and that saved a big part of the local community, and with that the economy of the entire area went up a bit itself, saving lives and making them all look good.


      Chapter 8: Urban Renewal


      Jason was doing pretty well. His gathering business was never better and his income was going up every trip. His account was almost back to its highest level, and he decided to add more income into his future. He bought 2 more lots on the same block, then added another of the one story homes like his friend now rented, and another like his, two story with room for a family.

      He saw to it they got delivered and set up with power and put up rent signs and waited. One couple came to talk but openly admitted they could never pay the rent, since they refused to work much at all and were looking for handouts.

      But Jason believed in helping those that help themselves and said so, and they left upset that he refused them. Another family came and asked and finally got the single story home and moved in, now Jason had more steady income from the rent and he had it figured out how long it would take to pay it off, and it wouldn’t take long even at 300 rent a month.

      The second, bigger home sat for a little while then finally a young couple that were both working bought it, rent to own really, and Jason was happy with that and they got a nice big home for them to start out in.

      In the years that Jason had lived here this place was a slum, with nothing but tents, cargo containers and small run down apartments that never got fixed. Now it had some new buildings and even seeing them everyday others tried to take better care of what they had...even if it was nothing of importance. If thats all you have or can afford, then you have no choice, and Jason knew how they felt but mentioned that renting one of the old apartments like he had lived in for years was a waste compared to renting or even owning your own home.

      But by the time he had 6 houses being rented he got a visitor, and he didn’t like it. The old landlord of the apartments got tired of people talking about how crappy his buildings were, and so he sent some men to straighten the fools out that were bad mouthing him. Jason just got in from work when they jumped him and after a good fight he lost, and as he laid there one man reminded him that having a few sheds for rent didn’t make him a landlord by any stretch, and he should remember that.

      But this had happened before and they got away with it, but not this time. Jason pressed charges and the cops ran in and got pictures of him and his bruises and split lip, and went right to their homes and arrested the two men, that lived not far away. They knew for a fact who they worked for and after they got arrested and threatened with long terms in jail they rolled on their employer, and he got dragged in too.

      He swore he knew nothing about it and that they went on their own, but they both had been warned about perjury, and had made official statements about what happened and what their orders were. The man got out on bail and days later just disappeared along with a sizable bank account he had accumulated over the years. And Jason got told not to worry, because they had a warrant out for his arrest and he wasn’t going to be coming back.

      Once they saw he ran from the country they ceased all his assets, and the old apartment building got taken over by the city, and after some talks about it, got remodeled and repaired. Now the people living there had newer and better places to live, and the rent wasn’t much different than before, so they were pretty happy with that. And the neighborhood got a better rep because the crook that was running it was gone, and that the city was watching it closer now and crime dropped substantially.

      A huge improvement for a city where more than half lived in such a place, and the Representative started bragging more about HIS plans again, and even his companions in the House started laughing at him for it because he hadn’t even been in his own District for many years.

      “Watch what you’re doing...” he got told finally.” you’re the only one who would even take the job before and we laughed at you for calling yourself a Representative, because you never were. But now there are new people coming up, and it wont be long before one of them replaces you, because they wont be afraid to actually do the job.” And as he heard that he saw his time as the token slumlord coming to an end, and he wouldn’t allow it, and he started plans to make sure his tenure lasted as long as his life, and that no one would come between him and his money ever again.

      Weeks went by and the Representative came to the neighborhood and gave a big speech about seeing to it these new things kept going, and he took credit for chasing the old slumlord out and getting the apartment building repaired, but he wasn’t fooling anyone. Many of the oldest here had known him from before his election. He was given the job because he was the best con man they had at the time, and no one else wanted it, and they laughed at him even as his speech went on.

      But he couldn’t take credit for Happy Acres...the little housing project Jason started himself, and when the Rep asked about what the people wanted next, one man stepped up and said he wanted Jason in the House, because at least them they would know someone was working for them and not himself.

      Needless to say he didn’t take it well, and demanded that man be throw from his sight, but others growled and demanded he leave instead, and after a loud fight and much yelling the Rep got chased away by sheer force, and he saw that his time of conning these fools for their votes might be ending soon.

      Meanwhile Jason was home getting some rest, and he didn’t even know what as happening. But his name got mentioned, not because he had some high priced diploma or anything but because he cared, and worked tirelessly to help others. when next the elections came he was going no the ballot, like it or not, because it got mentioned loudly to the old Rep and the people doing it were deadly serious. And when Jason heard he got the biggest laugh...that lasted about 20 seconds as the peoples faces shown that it was no joke, and he felt the weight of their stares as he asked why they thought for a second he could even do it, and they all smiled and said that at least he cared, and no one else ever had.

      And the old Rep started a silent little campaign in the House saying that no one else from his District had the education or experience to lead it... calling them idiots and buffoons... and even as he demanded that the time of the next election was coming, and every demand for a lock on the election was thrown out before his eyes saying that when he started he wasn’t any better, and he saw maybe he should have worked harder while he had the chance.

      And when those ballots were tallied three months later Jason won by a landslide, and even as he stood there in front of the whole neighborhood on election night he admitted he didn’t ask for the job, and many there that pushed him into it cheered saying if he thought he worked before, just wait, and they all laughed.


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      there are 2 more coming to end this series, the last one is going to be real short, about 6 chapters but it not over yet, keep watching.


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      Chapter 9: Working Rep


      The very first thing Jason found out after being sworn in was what he got paid, and his eyes opened wider than ever before as the man standing there talking tried not to laugh to hard.

      “The old Rep didn’t do much but complain and get drunk.” Jason got told as he looked sad but nodded he understood.” If you do anything at all it’ll be better than that.” And he saw that even here the old Rep had no friends and when asked to speak Jason stood in his best work cloths and said he’d do his best, because he felt that half the city was ignored and because of that many died terrible deaths just trying to live day to day, and he’d see to it they got remembered.

      His little speech didn’t last more than a few minutes but as he sat down the Chairman cleared his throat and asked if he didn’t forget that he only represented 1 District...not every poor District in the city... as many chuckled but Jason smiled and asked who else did? And no one would admit to it.

      “I lived day to day in my District my whole life. If you didn’t live there you wouldn’t understand.” he offered as many looked surprised at his honesty while a few others looked away.” I may not represent all those Districts, but the people who do might need someone to tell them what they don’t know themselves.” he offered as a few looked embarrassed and one or two nodded he might be right.

      His little speech made the news, since it was his first day, and he got mentioned repeatedly for stepping up to speak for the poor and defenseless. But the one person who was the most surprised by it all was him. Never before had his words carried any weight, but today the entire city heard him speak and many he saw all along the way after that either gave him a big thumbs up or looked angry he had spoken at all.

      But a few days later he looked pretty tired and when asked if he was getting enough sleep he mentioned that everywhere he went people either applauded him or were angry, and they weren’t too shy to walk right up and mention it, sometimes at great length. And he got told that he represented his own District and thats all he needed to worry about. Let the trolls scream and whine, it wasn’t their job to help. And he agreed he let things get to him too easily, and he started ignoring the grumps that popped up everywhere and worked to help get new jobs and better working conditions for those people he was sent here to help.

      In a few months he was back home, this time with several others who had never really seen an area like this before, even though they represented others like it across the city. They were career politicians that took those jobs because they ere easy to get, and then didn’t know how to do anything to help anyways, nothing unusual Jason found out, in the halls of power.

      “I’ve never seen anything like this...” one woman said sadly as Jason reminded her that her own District probably wasn’t any better, as she looked sad to admit it.

      “People here aren’t afraid to work hard, They are forced to every day of their lives, and many are the people that put together your machines for your home or your car or other things they can never afford to own down here. But they do it every day, and have a sense of pride in working to support themselves no matter what.” he mentioned as the lady looked teary and the older man with them looked out the window as the large black car went slowly down the street.

      “Better water, better drains, little things you take for granted my people need desperately, thats why I invited you to come and see. Now you need to go look at your own District and compare them before you vote on anything else.” he added sadly and she agreed, while he refused to admit to anything.

      “I heard you were a professional Hunter.” The older man asked after a while as Jason agreed he was.” Don’t you think without you these people will get even less food?” he asked and had a sly smile going as Jason got a good laugh it got brought up.

      “I trained two apprentices before I got roped into this job.” Jason admitted as the man looked surprised.” I don’t think anyone here is in any worse need than before, they need to make a living too you know.” he added as the older man grumped a second and went back to looking out at the squaller they were driving through.


      “You worked as a professional Hunter and trained two apprentices by the age of 22?” The lady asked as Jason agreed and she looked even more impressed with him.

      “Down here we live and die young, if you don’t work hard you’ll either starve or die of some sickness because only working keeps your immunity up. We only have one clinic and it doesn’t run full time because there isn’t enough money coming in from the city to run it.” Jason added as even the older man looked a little worried about that one, but tried not to let it show.

      “Unbelievable...” He heard as the lady got really upset seeing it, and Jason realized that she had never seen poverty up close, and this was beyond her understanding. “What about your Discretionary Fund? Have you tapped that to help these people?” She asked as Jason looked lost and she knew he didn’t understand what she was saying.

      “Its used for small expenses the Representative thinks its needed for.” The older man mentioned,” In other words... spending money.” And Jason smiled and said he’d look into it, and they all knew once he did that this little clinic might be getting some help real soon.


      Chapter 10: Looking Up

      A week later and an announcement went up on the clinics bulletin board. It would be open two days a week from now on...every week. And people cheered to see it. What the House thought was spending money Jason felt was a windfall, and he quickly asked and was told he could use it for whatever he wanted, and the young doctor that came by occasionally got a call, and agreed wholeheartedly to open the clinic more often.

      That would help a lot of people since the clinic was a free place to get a checkup or some medication if you were sick, and with Jason’s help it would stay that way, only a lot more often.

      The doctor gave away free samples of drugs many needed, and in some cases paid for them himself. But talking to Jason for a few minutes got him covered much better, and now more could be done for those that couldn’t pay. It was impressive what a few thousand credits could do, when it came from the right source.

      Jason came home that night all happy he got something real done for the community, but when he got there a lone young lady was sitting there on his porch looking sad as he got out of his truck and walked up.

      “Hello Stacy...” he said as she looked up and her eyes were black and her lip split, and he signed a heavy breath and asked what happened now.

      “I need a place to hide tonight.” She said as Jason thought about it but refused, and she looked lost since he had covered for her before.

      “Come with me...” he said as she said no, she didn’t want him involved, but since she ran to his house to hide he felt he was involved anyways.

      They walked up the street as many looked on and looked sad. But no one had done anything to stop this and when Jason walked around the corner James and his friends were laughing and drinking beer and going on and on about how much they made this week hunting and Jason walked up and they stopped for a second to see Stacy right along side him.

      “What set you off this time James?” Jason asked as the big man looked up to see his sister right there with an old friend.

      “Its none of your business Jason so go home let me enjoy my beer.” The man said and a second later Jason was on him...and his friends jumped way back and didn’t look like they’d help even for a second. But after half a dozen punches the big man was crying like a baby, and Jason had him by the collar and was shaking him until he talked.

      “I work hard I do...but when I come home I want some appreciation for all I do around here.” he started as Jason nodded and waited. “ but today..nothing... not even a meal when I came in. Me and my friends only take Friday night to have a few drinks to rest from all week and even today she gave me hell, and nothing to even eat!” he screamed as she tried to talk through busted lips.

      “What food would that be? You spent every cent on booze.” She said softly, as he demanded there was food in the house and ran in to see and even after a few minutes all he found was some moldy bread.

      “I swear I bought food just yesterday...” he cried as Jason stepped back and looked sad. Thats the way it was here, no one has anything but tries to live a normal life, and his beer once a week became more important than his Friday Dinner...and his sister was being punished for that too.

      “Because we made a special deal, the clinic will be open two days a week starting tomorrow.” Jason started as everyone nearby looked up to hear.” See to it Stacy gets there and get medical attention, and I swear if you do this again I wont stop pounding on you until you look at bad as her. For Gods sake man! Became a real man and not some drunken fool!” Jason screamed, and even people across the street were nodding agreement, and James apologized to Stacy for the beating , and everything seemed settled for tonight.

      “And you guys aren’t helping...” Jason said turning on his friends and giving them a hard stare as one guy said they didn’t do anything...and Jason agreed...and they looked away sadly.

      He went home then and even on the way back he got a few thanks and a big thumbs up for stepping in.

      “He’s going to kill her one day...” he heard as he nodded it was probably true, but James was big and loud, and even though he had a glass jaw he scared a lot of people, and they left him get away with this stuff because of it. If someone turned him in he’d get arrested for it, but then Stacy had no way of making a living without him, so they were stuck in this destructive circle until something, or someone, broke.

      He didn’t know it but Jason got the Representative job because he did things like this to help people. He complained the day his name was on the ballot and again even at the acceptance ceremony. But he took it and did his best, and after going home he mentioned to one police officer that James was a bad drunk, and that he abused his own sister, and the patrol car went by his house a few more time after that, and James saw that his attitude wasn’t going to be allowed here anymore.

      But a month later just as Jason got out of the shower and ready to make a meal an old lady came running in screaming and told him that James had finally done it, and his eyes popped open and he ran uop the street in just his pants and socks.

      James was screaming at the top of his lungs that it was an accident, and that she deserved it, and when he and his friends saw Jason coming they all ran and left him there to face him.

      “I swear, I swear Jason it was an accident..” he was saying as Jason ran in and looked and Stacy was laying by the table with blood everywhere. Her neck was snapped, and her head had been pounded against something a few times and it split open all the way to the neck bone.

      “What have you done?” Jason asked softly as James swore she deserved it, again because there was no food in the house, and he told her to go put herself on the street for extra money, and she refused him and he started to ‘punish’ her for talking back.

      “She worked harder than anyone trying to keep you out of jail.” Jason added seriously, “ And for her troubles she lost teeth, and had broken bones and now finally she’s dead...DEAD James!” he screamed as the man looked to frightened to speak.

      “Help me Jay, please I don’t want to go to prison, I wont make it there, they’ll kill me for sure...” he whined and Jason said he’d stay right here until the police came and then they’d tell them what happened,a nd James saw that Jason was going to stand up for him, and even the neighbors knew that wasn’t going to happen, and less than an hour later James got his last ride in a police car, and another apartment came up for rent.

      Within two months it was on the news, a brother with a raging temper killed his little sister in a very brutal way. The report said that while being questioned he went mad and tried to escape from custody, and after taking a beaten at the hands of the police, he hanged himself in his cell.

      In some odd way a man and woman that never stood out at all got their 15 minutes of fame, and the entire city was sad for them.


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      Chapter 11: Gaining Momentum


      Jason really took it hard and he finally declared that he;d do whatever it took to see things like this didn’t happen again. Of course many knew he didn’t have much of a chance to stop abuse everywhere, but he declared he’d try. He brought it up during meetings with the other Representatives and the Chairman admitted that things like this happen too often. But the underlying problem was poverty, and without that people wouldn’t be forced into things like this nearly as often.

      “Then lets do something about it!” Jason demanded and the usual meeting over nothing became a heated debate over how much responsibility the House and its members had for what happens inside the city limits.

      “We represent everyone in our Districts and I mean EVERYONE. If the poor are forced to work for nothing because we don’t demand they get a wage they need to eat, then we are responsible for their sicknesses and sometimes their deaths. Sure businesses want a bigger profit, but how can they get that when 70% of the people around them cant afford food? Give them a better wage and they’ll just run out and spend it...on your products. But refuse them thinking you’re saving money and you have no one to buy from you so making things cheaper doesn’t mean a thing when they aren’t selling.” Jason went on and many there did see his point.

      The news got hold of it too, and after several more meetings a few businesses in the city raised their wages by a little...to see if it really did make a difference...and surely enough, as soon as people saw they had more to spend, they did, and some local businesses started to boom, and because of it the report got all the way to the House and many there admitted they were surprised.

      The factory that did it got a good amount of free publicity for it too, and soon another did something similar, and again things got better for them too as more things got bought and they got their money back almost immediately.

      While some dense people did admit it made no sense to them to give away money to get some, it did seem to work, and so after a year the wages in the entire city were a little bit better than before, and the poor knew exactly who to thank for it...since no one else had ever cared to even mentioned them to the people in the House until now.

      But Jason was on a roll, and so he got together with the lady rep that watched over another poor neighborhood and together they wrote up a plan, a Bill really, to help Gathers and Hunters bring in more food to sell.

      They called it the Food Entitlement Act, and in it they said that the House and all its members had a responsibility to see to it that skilled Hunters and Gathers got help in the form of tools like fishing poles,nets and even vehicles to use to gather and bring in food to sell.

      “With as little as 25 credits each...” Jason started as pictures came up on the screen.” Hunters and Gatherers that bring in more than half the food the city gets now can do more, faster, and easier for them. One good fishing pole can pay for itself on a month, small casting nets as well bringing in more fish faster. Then for bigger game guns, but only to those with good reputations as Hunters already. Because guns are more expensive but with them bigger game gets brought in and we all eat better.” Jason added as many thought that might work.

      “ 25 credits huh?” The Chairman asked as Jason agreed.

      “Per each Hunter or Gatherer, once a year, so they can be ready to go to work when the weather allows it. Their older equipment will get handed down to their students, many times family members, so then another Hunter or Gatherer joins the team and together we get more food and prices wont be as high.” he announced as everyone looked impressed by his first Bill, and after some calm deliberation it passed. And the notice went up on every bulletin board in the city saying that help was on its way and that free tools were coming, and a few that only gathered for themselves got help, and soon had enough food to sell, and the poor had less trouble feeding themselves and through them the members of the inner city that depended a lot on them as well.

      The number of Gathers and Hunters went up by a factor of 2 and within a year things were for sale many had not seen before. Jason’s name got around too and when he finally settled down he owned the entire block his house was on and every other house there. His rent came in on time and his new wife treated him like solid Gold because to them he was.And another few years and he was the Chairman of the House and his ideas ran out to every District and the City took a turn for the better. As his ideas spread far and wide,and other cities saw how great they were.

      And far away another meeting was being held and they were pretty happy too.

      “Its working...their economy is stabilizing and their moving forward again.” The older man said and everyone agreed.” They’ve turned the corner. Now with these new ideas and others still to come they will prosper like never before. Their civilization will grow, their cites become Metropolises and finally their science level high enough to help them survive longer, and possibly even see other worlds. We’ll keep an eye on them but this one seems to have done what was needed, and so lets let it run its course.” He said and everyone else agreed, and another world got saved from extinction by one good man and a few new ideas.


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