Guy had once been someone. Homicide Detective Monsignor, Dad, Honey, among other names. That had all been lost in 2005 with the Chinese announcement of the recommencement of the nation's nuclear armaments development program. It seems the Chinese government had some grudges to settle. No-one was ever sure of the official reasoning for the American declaration of war, but the true objective was widely recognized: to prevent a communist nation from attaining superpower status.
When the war broke out, it was only a matter of weeks before the bombs started falling. Then the first trigger-happy Russian technician pressed the big red button. The Click that was heard around the world. The rocket hit New York shortly thereafter, detonating the nuclear payload. The Washington DC area was hit next, but not before an omnidirectional war cry issued from the depths of the White House. Bombs dropped, rockets launched, ships were sunk and satellite were blown out of their orbits.
By this point, however, the People no longer cared. They didn't know what was going on, only that Western civilization was falling apart. As electrical outages spread with the destruction of major power plants and cities decayed to mayhem, the People began looting, hoarding, fleeing to anywhere.
In an unprecedented move, the police forces of the United States were called to arms. The government, or what was left of it, was abandoning its citizens to each other's mercy. Anarchy reigned.
Guy evaded the Conscriptors, however. He would Protect and Serve. Murder and lawlessness were the new, unavoidable norm, but perhaps he could sustain himself and benefit the People at the same time.
He became a Private Eye of sorts, solving crimes brought to his attention by common citizens in exchange for food, clothing, cigarettes, blankets, duct tape, plywood, aluminum sheeting, and just about anything else.
The old post-van from which he worked sat parked by the side of King Edward Road, half parked on the curb and thus tilted at an odd angle. The tires had long since flattened and the engine seized. With fuel so hard to come by, mobility was an expensive luxury. The interior, his "office," consisted of a battered old oak desk with chairs on either side. Atop it sat a smoking kerosene lamp (burning gasoline and carburetor degreaser), a thick magnifying glass, a microscope (stolen from a high school biology lab) with a cracked mirror, a map of the city, a half-bottle of red wine, stoppered with a wad of tinfoil; a few fine-point permanent markers, an Uzi machine pistol next to its half-empty magazine, a dirty damp-wrinkled notepad, and three quasi-pristine manilla envelopes. Each envelope was neatly labelled in Guy's sprawling handwriting: "CHILD MISSING=ABDUCTED?" was the first. Then came "CANNIBALISM AT RESTAURANT?" Third was, "ROAMING GANG AT NIGHT STEALS ESSENTIALS."
The sun was coming up. Guy cracked his neck and winced, the result of another night of using a steering wheel as a pillow. He fished for the moulding apple in his desk drawer and scowled at the cases on his desk. He'd have to get to them sooner or later.