After the collapse – a short story

An entry below titled “Up to $6.5 trillion in mortgage-backed securities may be in jeopardy.  Subprime borrowers may have an escape hatch — no paperwork providing standing to sue!”, got this response from short story writer Philip Zack:

The situation inspired me to write a short story called “As Is” about life after the collapse. It starts like this…

Ryan Svorlin stood in front of the big house, gaping. The keys hung loosely in his shaking hand, clattering against one another in rhythmic reflection of the waves of shock coursing through his troubled mind. “It… it’s… mine,” he stammered, unable to comprehend what had just happened.

“Well, sure,” the real estate lady told him. “You did sign the papers, didn’t you?”

He slowly turned to look at her. Paper-thin skin stretched across unnaturally prominent cheekbones. Overdone make-up. Probably over seventy, he guessed. “Of course. But I never expected to —.”

“To be selected? Well, someone had to be. They couldn’t afford to let these places go vacant, after all.”

Less than a year had passed since the first cannonade in the financial meltdown destroyed the façade of normalcy masquerading as prosperity in the United States. Some faceless blogger had instigated a mortgage strike, an incautious response to the revelation that the reason the government was so determined to protect the masses from being dispossessed in their forced insolvency was the dirtiest little secret at the heart of the country’s high-flying economy – that nobody really owned all those high-risk loans, and therefore the houses could not be foreclosed. No one could have predicted what happened next.

Read the whole thing here:

16 Responses

  1. Thanks, Ellen. I’m sketching out the next story in the sequence right now, so anyone who drops by to read the rest of this one may want to return in a few days.

  2. What bothers me are the personal effects of sub-prime. Social mobility and the American dream are at threat. There will be no more flipping and less avenues for the lower middle class and working class to better themselves.

  3. Hello,

    I just wanted to say that your book is great. I’m 18 and fascinated by the wool over people’s eyes. I wanted to comment on social security and the killing of the 401k plan. Could it be possible that GM’s short term crisis which sparked millions of 401k plans to be legally destroyed and discontinued be a social precursor to the elimination of social security? Is all crisis on the news just a cover up of a financial power play…aka the assassination of that famous pakistani female leader and the presidential veto of freezing iraq’s assets in US banks?

  4. Thanks Clayton. Yes, I think we’ve been controlled by the media for at least the last century; but the Internet is going to blow their game wide open. The Internet will wind up connecting the world as one beehive, where we’ll all have a form of beehive ESP. We’ll know our way around in the dark. The answer to the social security crisis is the national dividend. I’m writing about that now . . . but back to work! Ellen
    P.S. About the balls — were you referring to me? Don’t think I’ve been credited with that appendage before, but thanks!

  5. Buying into the fiction that is the future in that well-written story is just the same as what we already have = fiction.

    In fact or fiction, ideas have power.

    Fiction is propaganda.

  6. Yes, that’s why we write! To help shape the common perceptual matrix in which we live and move and think we have our being. Ellen

  7. Ellen wrote: “Yes, that’s why we write! To help shape the common perceptual matrix in which we live and move and think we have our being.”

    Mixed feelings.

    I agree with writing to share ideas, not so much shaping the “common perceptual matrix” of the future.

    At some point, sharing our ideas to shape the future limits the future ideas.

    We are all prisoners of our past indoctrination, the hue of our rose-colored classes. The idea that we should shape the future is itself a reflection of the beliefs we have been taught. The power to control the future being power to control the past.

    To paraphrase Orwell –

    “Control the future by controlling the present to control the past to control the future . . ”

    Fiction created in the present which reflects past experiences, we are projecting the past into the future.

    Is that really what we want to create?

    Mixed feelings. Thank you.

  8. Okay, maybe I put that wrong. It seems to me that we live in this collective consciousness, which tends to be driven toward fear, consumerism, sensationalism, etc. by the media. I like to think I can help break that bleak mold up by writing with a longer view and a more optimistic message. That’s the whole Wizard of Oz approach: you create your own reality. The Wizard’s job is to point out the possibilities.

  9. you put it as mildly as is possible,The whole house of cards is coming down in 2008.
    If Iowa is any indication Ron Paul the only advocate to rescue America of the lot will be sidelined in the up coming presidential race.
    America is bankrupt ,it depends on off shore sources for it’s cash flow.
    this cash from off shore is or has dried up countries are starting to dump the US dollar and /or un-peg their currency from the US dollar.
    Manufacturing is declining,people are going bankrupt,The hedge fund,housing, and dot com bubbles are leaking blood.
    The American people themselves are begining to feel the coming depression,Gas prices, food prices going up across the board.
    If you can read between the lines you will discern that it is all by design,Americans will hail the triumph of the NAU over the Constitution, they will be that desperate in 2008-2009 .
    American money is going to become as useless as Monopoly money.
    America’s resources gone ,all of the south sea to shining sea covered in drought , and they want to keep 30 million economy back breaking to suck the water taps dry .fill the city dumps to over flow, and draw social assistance,drain the hospitals etc..
    And Iraq costing a couple of billion dollars per week to keep up.Borrowed money at that.130 bases around the world borrowed money again
    Many Americans are coming out of the Bernays haze, they are no longer eager consumerists ,many more will follow their lead.
    All of the trusts are empty, there is no money in the pension funds none in the Indian trust it has all been used up.
    America is becoming a dried up prune ,Like a 1000 watt light bulb it shines bright but burns out fastest
    And the coup de grace is that the baby boomers are starting their bank breaker retirements If the picture was grim there would be a chance for America to come out of 2008 in recession ,but it is beyond grim it is bleak.
    the ass and the donkey have argued America’s future away on pork bellies and ear marks.
    No other country has squandered so much in so short a time.
    Is it any wonder that America’s leaders are backing europe for world govt. America the fall from Constitutional Republic example to the world to a democracy of court appointed presidents ,electronic voting machines .
    In short A Banana Republic !
    Americans wonder the roads in search of the American dream , all they will ever see is the American Nightmare where the forefathers spit on them for
    allowing the gift they gave to them to wither to dust.Americans will soon find out that the last days of Empire are vary harsh times for the people that invaded so many other nations for plunder and sport. They may well find that the invading Mexicans are not benevolent poor folks but a bona fide army that intends to draw the last drops of blood from America as she collapses from the weight of her debts.
    The American people are also in debt up to the eyeballs ,Going bankrupt at record pace now trying to stay ahead of the financial situation.They will also learn that what is coming can not be escaped no matter what econo class you belong to unless you escape America itself .
    2008 the year the Banana republic’s demise .

  10. I agree. The question is just whether we can turn lemons into lemonade. The current structure is corrupt and has to come down; but can we get a better structure set up before the police state is in place? I think I know how it could be done, but it would take some enlightened politicians. Obama and Huckabee won, I think, because they’re sincere, honest-sounding men, and people are tired of corruption; but they could still be misled by Big Money.

  11. We’re constantly asking ourselves what we can do about the meltdown, or what kind of a monetary system we ought to replace this one with. But because we know the failing paradigm so well, it’s difficult to imagine another one. I’ve taken a stab at it in the third installment of the series, entitled “LA Scrip”. It start like this…

    + + +
    Cristall Bellows, dressed more formally that she liked, and cradling a backpack in her lap, signaled the driver, and waited nervously for the bus to stop. She’d never been to this part of Los Angeles before, and the sight of all these unkempt McMansions was making her queasy. She shouldered the pack, and started towards the front.

    The driver, who had been watching in his mirror, turned as she approached. “Is that LA Scrip you’re carrying?”

    She clutched it defensively, pale blue textured paper in a dark brown hand. “Yeah. I just got paid down at City Hall. Don’t you take it? I thought all city services –.”

    “We do, we do,” he laughed. “Thanks for helping out. It’s not everyone gets paid with Scrip just yet, only the folks working directly for the city. So what do you do for us?”

    “Teaching, after a fashion,” she said as she stuffed her fare into the slot. “I’ve been going around explaining this new money to people. I get some of the strangest looks when I tell them the city just prints it up.”
    + + +

    Read the whole thing here…

  12. Lots of thoughtful responses, and responses to the responses!.
    Some more valuable and timely understanding :
    #1. The true story of the BILDERBERG Group- bestseller in 24 languages
    #2. At ICH 1/03/08 “Atrocity-Linked US Officials Advising Democratic, GOP Presidential Frontrunners.”
    …in other words, meet YOUR real government now and you can skip the rigged election in November.
    TWO suggestions : Don’t pay any more taxes. Don’t keep any dollar money.

  13. Oxymoronic: “enlightened politicians”

    “Obama and Huckabee won, I think, because they’re sincere, honest-sounding men, and people are tired of corruption; but they could still be misled by Big Money.”

    Hi Ellen –

    I trust you are sincere in what you wrote, but do you really believe ANY politician, or any person, on TELLAVISION is not already bought and paid for by the establishment?

    They are all working for the same team. Parties do not matter, and you do not get to be a US Senator without having already been tested, blackmailed and sufficiently compromised in loyalties long before the “election” takes place.

    Elections do not have anything to do with who wins or loses. Elections only serve the purpose of creating the illusion that votes count. Why does the government remind everyone to “get out the vote?” If the votes counted, they would not have to sell us on the importance of voting.

    What would prove whether or not votes count?

    If nobody voted, they would not be able to falsify results – because there would be no results! Then what? I don’t know, but it has to be a better idea than continuing to participate (and by tacit agreement, accept and validate) the system we have now. A system based on corruption cannot be reformed, nor can it be saved.

    It evolves, as do we.

  14. I don’t disagree. That was my point: things could be fixed, if WE were running Congress; but how can it be done when Big Money is pulling the strings, even of apparently-sincere and well-meaning politicians?

  15. ” . . . apparently-sincere and well-meaning politicians?”

    Gee, if I didn’t know better, I might think you were an attorney.

    Just kidding.

    Is that a (double oxymoron)^3rd power – for 3 dimensions of deception?

    The 3 dimensions as metaphorical aspects of any communication:

    1. What he said.
    2. What she said.
    3. What really happened.

    By whom is the Right to Privacy regarded as sacred?


    Their right to your privacy.

    Separation of CHURCH & STATE was the STATE constituted separately from the CHURCH.

    The hand of the LORD of the LAND was the STATE cut off from the CHURCH.

    The Church & State dogma has turned the separation into a right of religion, when it was really the right to freedom from religion as the State.

    Privacy was always known by the CHURCH by confession.

    The Right to Privacy is what keeps up the CURTAIN for those with everything to remain hidden.

    In other words, when the individual loses a former right of privacy, the STATE gains privacy about the STATE. As the STATE becomes more private the people become less private.

    Funny how the meaning of apocalypse is “to reveal, uncover” from the origin:

    noun (often the Apocalypse)
    the complete final destruction of the world, esp. as described in the biblical book of Revelation.
    • an event involving destruction or damage on an awesome or catastrophic scale : a stock market apocalypse | an era of ecological apocalypse.
    • ( the Apocalypse) (esp. in the Vulgate Bible) the book of Revelation.
    ORIGIN Old English , via Old French and ecclesiastical Latin from Greek apokalupsis, from apokaluptein ‘uncover, reveal,’ from apo- ‘un-’ + kaluptein ‘to cover.’

    So really it is only the End of Their World for those whose secrets are revealed.

    That’s my story, anyway, and I am sticking to it!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: