Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Near Stanton

Three days ago a man come riding up the road on a red Goldwing.  I thought that was an interesting way to get around, considering things.  He was by himself and had a pistol in a shoulder holster and a leather bag strapped to his back, bedroll and other things, I imagine, in the portage compartments on back.  He was dressed pretty decent, didn’t look like he’d missed too many meals.  He come right up to the door and knocked, introduced himself.  Said he was from the Federal Bureau of Heritage Preservation.  Said he was interviewing survivors.  I asked him who else is there.  He thought that was funny.  Told me he’d pay for an interview with a two jars of unopened instant coffee and a box of strike-anywhere’s.  I told him my name and told him to wait on the porch, have a seat in one of the lawn chairs.

I took the jars of coffee and went inside.  Still had the seal under the lid and it smelled so good.  Boiled some water and made us both a cup.  Held a finger up to the others to sit still and wait.

We drank the coffee while we talked.  The others holed up quiet in the house.  Had a couple on the tree line because we heard the bike and didn’t know what we were dealing with.  He had a bunch of notebooks and pencils in that leather bag.  He showed me a laminated card supposed to be a new federal ID.  I think he was legit, probably.

He asked about my story.  Everybody has a story at this point.  I told him how I’d pretty much stayed around here for the whole thing.  Used to live closer to town but when it got bad, bad with the zombies and not just the flu then me and some others moved out here, mom’s old place.  He wanted to know how many others but I didn’t tell him.  I never did think the census was the federal’s business and I sure don’t now.

Anyway, the most interesting question he asked was what did I think was the most innovative thing I did that was instrumental to my survival.  That really got me thinking about just how did we did make it while a lot of others didn’t.

The first thing was dumb luck.  You can call it a blessing.  Sometimes I do.  I still pray.  It helps but I can’t blame those who don’t.  Lot of people stopped praying since things happened.  Then again, lot of people stopped praying before it all happened and maybe that’s why it did.

But what we had going for us was that we had a place to go out in the middle of nowhere.  When it all got real and it was obvious that it was real we packed up and drove to my mom’s old place and stayed put.  We thought that if a healthy person needed to eat once every three weeks, then these things had to eat too.  I told everybody to sit tight for four weeks and then we’d go back into town and look around.  They had to get hungry.  Meanwhile we stayed here.  It wasn’t easy and we got on each other’s nerves, a lot.  Couple of fistfights and a lot of yelling was all.  It helped that we had food.  Probably wouldn’t of worked if otherwise.

The second thing, the innovation I suppose, started as a joke.  When it came about, the lucky thing that is, we still thought we were dealing with the flu.  Everybody had already lost somebody.  This was early on and I remember there was just a few reports of zombies.  We didn’t believe them.  Just thought it was some idiots and the internet.  About three days later we changed our minds.  But the weekend before I invited some friends out here to drink beer and cook out and just to be isolated for a few days.  Figured we’d make the best of a bad situation.  Really, I just thought it would cheer us up, and it did for a day or so. 

We got to looking around the place.  Found some big old stereo speakers stored up in the garage, threw them in the bed of a truck and drove out behind the field on the other side of the house.  We hung them in some old tree stands that were already there, about a hundred yards out.  I ran some cable and hooked them up to the stereo.  I called it my zombie caller.  We drove back, turned on the radio and turned it up.  Music came out of the trees all night and we talked about how when the zombies come we’d just crank it and shoot them from a distance just like calling coyotes.  There’s boxes for that, and crows too.

That’s what we ended up doing.  Them speakers was here when we come back.  Course when it got serious I covered the speakers in tarps and sprayed them real good with waterproofing.  It’s a clear shot from upstairs.  When they come it’s lights out and shut-up.  We call it playing Anne Frank after that Jew girl in the war.  Had to steal car batteries for the stereo and rig it up when the power went out.  The big-band works best.  We play Benny Goodman and they don’t just shamble along, they run out there!  We just keep it playing and shoot their heads off.  Most of us have made deer kills at two-hundred, two-hundred fifty yards.  One of these ain’t nothing.  We still got several thousand rounds.

That was  our innovation.  Oh yeah, one more thing I guess, more luck than anything else.  We never had any big groups.  That’s from living way out like we do.  They’re usually threes or fours.  I think one time we had a mob of maybe fifteen.  We just laid low and took our shots.  You could tell they was confused but they kept standing under them speakers, Mr. Meadowlark playing down from the trees.  Coulda been from heaven as far as they were concerned.

So anyways, I told that government man all that.  He took good notes and when we was done he said thanks.  I didn’t offer to keep him overnight.  We shook hands and off he went.  Haven’t heard from him since.

Once in a while we go to a town and loot some.  Got to.  Everybody does.  Got a garden now, lots of taters and greens.  We’re in central Missouri.  I’m not going to tell you where.  I wish that government man didn’t know.  That makes me nervous.  But we’re still here and that’s the main thing.

I've always liked zombies.  I remember when the VCR was a big thing and when mom let me rent one.  A friend and I rented the 70s Dawn of the Dead.  I've been hooked since.