Fiction by Colin Campbell Home

I'm a lurker at the USA-Gold on-line gold forum (; In June 2002 they had an essay contest:

What is your "Dark Vision for the World Economy?"
Describe your worst case scenario and most importantly gold's role.

So I entered the contest with the following "letter to my father."
My handle on that forum is Aureo Speedwagon.

I won first prize, which was a half-ounce gold coin.

Dark Vision

by Colin Campbell

Dear Dad,

Happy birthday! One of these days we'll be able to visit you--we have enough gasoline coupons for each state to make the trip; we're just waiting for our interstate travel permit to come through.

Silvia says she can't believe we haven't seen you since the wedding, and that you've never even seen your great-granddaughter. Aureo Jr, Agnes and the baby have moved in with us now. "Baby"...Audrey is almost 7! I'm sending you a picture of her.

Hope to see you soon! Praise the North American Union!

Your loving son,


44K Attachment: Audrey.jpg



This part of the e-mail is embedded in the photo of Audrey using a new ultra-secure quantum encryption method they've developed here in the remnants of Silicon Valley, so don't worry; if any snoops had tapped this, the message would have vanished instantly.

I don't think we're going to be able to visit anytime soon, because they won't issue me a travel permit. Every time I submit my proposed itinerary to the Office of Homeland Security, there's always a bridge out, or a large scale fire or flood, or some classified national security emergency somewhere along the way, and it's back to square one. It takes about 90 days for the permit to be processed. And there's no way I can fly--the truth came out at the Santa Clara County Air Travel Planning Department when the clerk opened my dossier and showed me a MasterCard receipt from a San Jose gun shop. "You rented a .357 Smith and Wesson and bought 100 rounds of .38 Special ammo. Obviously, you know how to use a gun. You're never going to get a flight permit." If only I'd paid cash!

So that's probably what's holding back the car travel permit, too.

But things seem to be getting better here. The County Nutritional Planning Commission raised the weekly calorie allowance three times this year, and our house is scheduled to be re-connected to the water system within a couple of years. So funny that we have e-mail and Web and satellite TV, but no flush toilets.

We still have a quart jar half full of gold eagles; thank you so much for persuading me to stock up on gold when it was still available. Remember how you were always saying an ounce of gold could always buy a good suit? Well, I bought a suit for an ounce of gold! It's a government-approved radiation suit, $20,000 list price in Newbux, and I've been using it to do some salvage work in the old financial district in San Francisco. I drive into the city to Duboce street where the J Church muni train became a subway, and I walk the tunnel downtown. There isn't a lot of blast damage; the crater is only a hundred yards wide, but it was a neutron bomb: most of the energy went into creating a flood of neutrons, so the structures were pretty much left alone, but everything is highly radioactive.

It's a risky thing to do salvage in the financial district, so I don't do it very often, and I won't let Aureo Jr. do it at all--got to protect the family jewels. I struck a bonanza a few months ago when I cracked open an office that nobody had gotten to yet, and almost every skeleton was wearing a Rolex!

Of course, I had to turn everything over at the Materials Planning Commission checkpoint when I returned back through the subway tunnel, but it was a good infusion of electronic Newbux for the family.

All official transactions have to be in Newbux, but people privately trade pre-'64 silver coins. It's illegal, but the cops wink at it, mostly. They crack down pretty hard on gold, though. You're supposed to turn in gold for the official price of $20,000 per ounce, but then they deduct income tax, transaction tax, and precious metals windfall profit tax. So gold pretty much stays hidden.

One of the most annoying things is compliance with IRS regulation section 60501: any time there's a cash transfer of $10,000 or more, you have to file a Form 8300. Around here, $10,000 is the cost of a meal for four at a nice restaurant, so you end up paying in electronic Newbux to avoid the hassle.

I get a steady income of silver from an unexpected source. Remember how I used to do all my own tune-ups and carburetor re-builds? I'm in demand now! The only other nuke strike we had around here was the air blast directly over the Blue Cube, a top secret computer facility at Onizuka Air Force Base, just off Highway 101 and Mathilda Avenue in Sunnyvale, that controlled satellites transmitting the nation's most vital military and intelligence secrets. Next to the Navy's Moffett Field, NASA Ames Research, and Lockheed. Again, it wasn't a property-damage bomb: it put most of its energy into a huge electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that fried all electronics for fifty miles in every direction.

So today we have millions of SUVs with fried on-board computers, and the only cars that work are the ones with the old-style controls. With the price of gas today, nobody wants an SUV, of course.

Anyway. Silvia's doing fine, putting a lot of effort into her garden. Aureo Jr and his family had to move in with us because of the real estate bust--they lost their house when the bubble burst, and then Fanny Mae became landlord to everybody. Except us, because I paid off the house long ago and own it free and clear except for the taxes, which are steep. I always tell Silvy, "Did you ever think you'd live in a hundred-million-dollar house?" Well, we do. Too bad we won't be able to pass it along to the kids, because the death tax kicks in on assets over $1 million.

Aureo Jr. has a nice little plumbing business going, building cisterns for people who can't get connected to the public water works, which is anybody who isn't related to a member of the Water Planning Commission. The bonus is that he has free access to copper.

Audrey isn't doing well in school, thank God. I was so furious a couple years ago when Agnes took Audrey for a pre-enrollment interview, and the Educational Planning Counselor told her not to teach the child numbers or the alphabet. This is because kids who already know the alphabet get bored and unruly during class.

That made me damned mad, and I made sure to teach her to read, and she's racing through the Nancy Drew books right now and having a lot of fun. We've warned her not to let on at school that she knows how to read; it doesn't come up much because most of her classes are multi-media, like History of Human Sexuality, Social Conviviality, and The Life Of Our President. She was confused when we changed Presidents, because the class never mentioned that there was an election, just shifted gears to praise of the new guy. She had no idea that there ever was a change in Presidents. I got out my box of old paper money and showed her pictures of Washington, Lincoln, Jackson, and Grant. She spent the afternoon making paper airplanes out of Franklins and throwing them around in the back yard.

Anyway. Happy birthday, and I will see you again one of these days, here or in heaven.

Your loving son,