"North Korea is bombing Hawaii," a breathless Chief Alert Officer Garvey Erfald shouted as he lunged into the community hall where the Homeland Security Committee was gathering for a crisis meeting.

"How do we know they are North Korean?" asked Josh Dvorchak.

"A spotter in Japan said they were short and fat," Garvey responded. "And somebody on Wake Island said one had been labeled Little Rocket Man."

"What are people doing in Hawaii?" quizzed Dorsey Crank.

"They're running in circles," Garvey reported. "They had a warning system to take cover and there was no cover. Those Civil Defense shelters built in the 1950s are gone — deteriorated — filled up. No shelter."

"But we're sitting out here in the middle of North America where it should be safe," Madeleine Morgan, the legal immigrant from Billings, Mont., observed.

"Well, if they were Russian missiles, we could be sure that they were on target but this Mun Jong guy is experimenting and who knows where his missiles are going." Einar adjudged.

"If we don't want to end up in pandemonium like Hawaii, we'll need Civil Defense warning and shelter plans," Garvey proposed.

"What do we have for a warning system?" asked Dorsey.

"For an enemy attack, we have this huge black warning flag to hoist on Street Light No. 4," Garvey reported.

"The guy pushing buttons in Hawaii hit the wrong one," explained Ork.

"So there ought to be two people in charge of hoisting that flag so we don't hoist the wrong one and cause panic in the streets," cautioned Orville Jordan, the retired depot agent who stayed when the railroad left.

"It just seems that we ought to have some kind of siren," Madeleine wondered.

"What happened to the fire siren on the dray shed tower?" asked Holger Danske.

"It burned with the dray shed in 1943," responded Einar.

"The next big problem is fallout," declared Chairperson Ork Dorken.

"When you blow the world up, it has to come back down," observed Little Jimmy, the town's perennial online college student.

"Radiation is the killer," warned Garvey. "We need concrete over our heads until the radiation dies down."

"Concrete over our heads!" Dorsey exclaimed. "There isn't a place in town with concrete floors."

"Wait a minute!" barked Ork. "The Old Saints New Hope church across the track shuttered 40 years ago has a concrete floor."

"This was no place to start a church," Gretchen mourned. "We already had four bars and a blind pig."

"Who owns that building?" queried Madeleine.

"We don't have time to find out," Ork asserted. "We will issue an executive order confiscating the church for Civil Defense and using it for a community bomb shelter."

"That ought to work," decided Little Jimmy. "It seems the whole world is running on executive orders these days."

"We can divide the basement into condominiums, a shelter for each family," proposed Gerda Danske. "I have some nice curtain material."

"Look, folks, this all sounds like a lot of work," Orville concluded as he rose from his chair. "Why don't we just send somebody over to North Korea and make a peace deal with Rocket Man? Tell him we won't attack him if he don't attack us."

"He knows we can't attack him — no National Guard — all we got is that old cannon in the memorial park and no cannonball," Dorsey responded.

"OK, let's promise to join Switzerland as a neutral power in any war he starts," countered Josh.

"Who has had experience with North Korea?" asked Ork as he scanned the group.

"I was a corporal in a MASH unit," Holger admitted.

Ork finally asserted his executive. "OK, Gerda will plan bomb shelters while Holger works on a peace plan with North Korea. Meeting adjourned."

Lloyd Omdahl is a political scientist and former North Dakota lieutenant governor. His column appears Sundays.

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