2020: Chapter Five

I may have my way back home! I have found two duffle bags and a hiking backpack full of findings to take to the Landowner. I tell the other Finders on the way up that it’s only old sporting equipment to keep the scavengers off of me. A load like this could get a person killed if the truth got out. It’s too heavy to run with so I just keep my head down and feet moving.

When I get to the perch, the Landowner seems happy to see me. In my time here, I have established a reputation with him as being one who doesn’t waste his time with worthless items. Especially since I brought that gun to him a few weeks ago after the failed attempt on his life. We’ve been as chummy as a Landowner and a Finder could be, I guess.

I toss the first bag toward him. He opens it up to find, safely packed inside plastic bags, vintage Playboy Magazines. There had to be about 40 of them. Since “The Crash”, adult entertainment has been at an inflated premium that would make precious metals envious even in their heydays. These will fetch a nice payday for him. The Landowner smiles and asks what else I have.

The second duffle bag has a bank logo on the side. The contents shouldn’t be a surprise, but it is anyway. Apparently, a bank heist happened nearby sometime before “The Crash” and the thieves dumped the loot at the dump. Maybe “The Crash” prevented them from coming back for it. It’s impossible to tell. There was hundreds of thousands of dollars in there, I didn’t count it, I just knew it was a fortune.

While he thumbs through the stacks of cash, I pull the backpack off and display the final surprise. I’m guessing its what was used in that robbery. Rifles, pistols, ammo, knives, rope, walkie-talkies. These guys were fully stocked and prepared for war. Too bad they didn’t get to use it. The Landowner is impressed and thankful that I didn’t try to pull anything with the weapons. In the wrong hands, there could have been a riot and quite a bit of bloodshed on both ends of that skirmish. All to find out what we already knew, the Landowner is well protected.

The sad part is, we are not prisoners here. We are here through our own free will. It’s the oppression of the wealthy and the perception of the Landowners having money that causes the unnecessary uprisings. I am past that hatred. I see things clearer than most. I just want to be able to care for my family. Everything else is a distraction.

The Landowner is thrilled with my haul and offers me $100,000. I’ve been keeping an eye on the auctions lately and have noticed that the dollar is about one tenth of its worth before everything slid.

So I take the “pre-crash” million dollar bounty without much of a hesitation. Then I ask if I could take the backpack with me since I would be returning to my family with those earnings and try to start my life over again. He is more than happy to have his guys remove the arsenal and I take the backpack, stick the money in an interior pouch and close it up.

We shake hands as if we were old college buddies and I take one last look back at the landfill. Three years of my life, tossed into that hole like so much waste before it. All the digging. All the danger. All that time waiting for this moment. The moment I can come out of that hole and go home to my Wife and kids and start our lives anew. Not unlike a Phoenix from the ashes.

Daddy’s coming, girls!

Daddy’s coming.

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