Drama yogurt grenade.
The plot thickens. I spent all day yesterday as well as today over at The Farm, and officially, there is poop SOARING off that fan. Maybe that’s an exaggeration. There’s definitely shit and a fan in the same room, and the shit keeps getting closer and closer. It’s almost like, hovering, dropping a few little turds here and there onto the fan that then launch and cause little tiny exploding poo messes, instead of a single gut wrenching, wall destroying fecal explosion.
I love being colorful. I hope my insane ramblings make sense to you Mr. Journal.
Mallory left for home yesterday, so there’s no sex talk to be had. I think she was frustrated that I was going to be so busy, so she just decided after our romp the other night that she’d just remove herself as a distraction. Thanks, I guess. I sort of miss her. Not sure what to make of that.
Alright. I spent all of yesterday and all of today at The Farm, scoping the joint out. Yesterday and today I went the route of the logging road instead of the rail bed. Mixing up avenues of approach is always a good idea when possible.
All was normal, quiet, and boring. Until about 2pm yesterday. I observed three people on foot approach the farm stand at The Farm. They looked haggard as shit. I saw a set of adults (graying hair, late 40’s, maybe 50’s), and a teenage kid, maybe 14-16. Through the scope there was a clear family resemblance to one another via the kid, so I assumed it was mom dad and son.
The family approached The Farm cautiously, and were told to halt by the male guard that was on duty. The stopped in the center of the road, and within a minute or two, the old man who supposedly owned the joint appeared with another guard, and they walked together up the farm stand. It appears that the farm stand is operating as a quasi gate house. The family shuffled over to a small window covered in what looked like chicken wire and plexiglass, and they engaged the old man on the inside in conversation for something like 30 minutes.
I noted that the two guards split themselves up. One covered the road and the back of The Farm while the other paid close attention to the family. Neither guard left the interior of the heavy duty fence, and neither gave the family a clear shot at them. Obviously they had a system to cover visitors.
Somewhere around 25 minutes into the conversation the mother and father became noticeably animated. The son pulled away from the parents as they clearly became disappointed with the old man inside, and after a few minutes of what looked like pleading, they left. At no point did the guards become elevated, so I think it wasn’t an issue of violence or threats. I thought perhaps the terms of a trade had gone bad.
The family left peacefully, and that was the end of that. When I returned home last night, I debriefed, and everyone was very interested. I asked Blake if he’d seen them before, and after thinking about it for a bit, he was almost totally positive that he’d never seen them before. He theorized it was as I thought, just a trade gone wrong. Blake said frequently the old man just wouldn’t be interested in what he and Kim had to offer, and they’d be told what The Farm was looking for, and the two of them would go out, find something on the list, and return with it to get some milk, or food, or whatever.
Everyone else was a little peaked at the idea that the family was sent away empty handed. I think all of us are of the mind that if someone shows up on your doorstep, begging for food, you feed them. Even if it’s a little, you do something for them. I dunno, maybe these guys take a hard line on that kind of stuff, but it struck me as dickholish.
Today things were far more interesting. Blake asked if he could come with me today, and there was no real need for him elsewhere, and I thought it would be a good thing to bring him along to observe him in the field, as well as see if he had any pointers. As I said, we returned via the logging road.
At four pm, give or take, the family from yesterday returned. They had a collection of backpacks and when they hailed the guard, the old man returned to the farm stand once more. This time, the trade went down quickly, and everyone appeared to walk away happy.
Towards the end of the trade, Blake tapped me on the shoulder, and told me he knew who the people were. He said they were the Edwards family, and he knew where they lived. They were perhaps three miles down the road, and lived in a decent sized trailer on its own land.
I thought about it as they were wrapping up their trade, and made the call to intercept them. I didn’t want the chance to talk to them to slip through our fingers, and with Blake there, I thought I had adequate back up for a meeting to go down somewhat smooth.
Blake and I got the fuck out fast, back to the Tundra, and we booked ass to the driveway of the family. Blake camped out in the trees out of sight from the road to offer me cover with his Enfield, and I simply leaned against the bumper of the Tundra, right out in the open. I had the M4 across my chest, but I had the barrel down low, and was not offering any threatening posture. We made it there in the nick of time.
I watched the family stop in the road when they rounded the corner about a hundred yards out. I waved out at them with my black baseball glove covered hand, and motioned for them to keep on coming. The dad produced a handgun from his waistband, but kept it pointed down, and honestly, I just felt like this was going to go well. Can’t explain it.
They stopped about ten yards out, and stood in the middle of the dirt road. To my left was their long dirt driveway, and if they wanted to, they could walk by me and to their place. I didn’t want to block their driveway. I thought it would send the wrong message.
Here’s the conversation that went down. I think you’ll find it very interesting Mr. Journal.
“Hi, my name is Adrian.”
“Hello there sir. I’m Larry, this is my wife Candace, and this is our son Tucker. Any reason why you’re sitting out near our house here?” The dad. He was probably only mid 40’s when I saw him up close. He was a little dirty, with a face full of grey facial hair. His hairline was thinning, and he looked thin.
“Yeah actually. This might sound strange, so bear with me here, but I was hunting in the area, and noticed you just traded with that farm down the way, and was wondering if you could explain to me who they were. I’m considering doing business with them and wanted to try and get a competitive edge.” Yeah, it was kind of a lie, but also kind of the truth. Plus the full truth would’ve probably scared the daylights out of them. ‘Hi I’m Adrian, I just got done watching you like a grade A creeper through my .30-06 rifle scope. Oh by the way, it was loaded.’
The mom and dad exchanged strange looks, and the mom answered me, “well Mr. Adrian, they are strange folk. You best be on good behavior or they won’t even trade with you.”
“How so?” I asked with a confused face.
“Well for one, they’re real picky on what they trade, and what they trade for. And secondly, they’re Christians, and they don’t trade with folks who aren’t.” Candace, the wife said back to me.
“Hm.” I scratched my head. “Why haven’t you moved in with them?”
The dad let out a “ha!” Not a good sign. “Well, we were not attendees of the church old man Adams was a pastor at before all this happened, and that pretty much was the reason why he said we weren’t invited. He said he’d take Tucker in, but only if we agreed to sign over our parental rights. We said hell no.”
“That’s kind of messed up. Isn’t that basically telling you that you were bad parents?”
“That’s how we felt. We need their food though, and honestly, if it weren’t for that, we’d have told them to go fly a kite. But, if it weren’t for them, we’d have starved a long time ago.” The parents exchanged sad looks with one another.
“If you don’t mind my asking, what exactly are you doing for food out here? I don’t see much in the way of a garden out here.” I gestured around.
“Well, I used to be a trapper back in my youth, and I still have some traps. I been catching coyotes, rabbit, raccoons, that kind of thing. Plus I’ve got a rifle in the house and we’ve been lucky enough to get a deer here and there. We bagged a moose a few weeks ago, but we’re gonna lose a bunch of the meat if we don’t trade it. Meat hasn’t been keeping good since the warm weather started to set in. That’s what we just did down at the Adams farm. Moose meat for fresh vegetables and milk.”
I thought of that moose meat and immediately started salivating. If you’ve never had it Mr. Journal, it’s quite good. “Well hell. I’ll trade you something here and now for some of that moose. I don’t have much on me, but I’ll find something.”
“That’d be terrific. Hey where are you from? You look kind of familiar?” The dad asked.
“I lived downtown, worked here for a few years. Probably saw each other at the store or something.” I shrugged.
He and his wife nodded, “yeah that sounds about right, don’t you have a shitload of tattoos?”
I laughed and tugged up the long sleeve of the shirt I was wearing, revealing the bottom of my tattoo sleeve, “yeah, that’s me. Inkaholic.”
They all pointed and had one of those eureka moments. Instantly it was like we were old chums. He lifted his jean legs and showed me his calf tattoo, and I lifted my khakis, and showed them my leg tattoo, and yada yada.. we were friends.
After our little bonding bullshit he holstered his revolver and I slid the M4 down to a less threatening angle. Blake sat still in the woods like a trooper. I did my level best not to look in his direction and tip them off to his presence.
By then we were on a first name basis, “Larry look, we’ve got a few folks set up in a pretty safe place, and one of our people has had some bad run ins with these folk, and we’re not entirely sure what’s up with them. I mean we want to trade and shit, but based on what we’ve heard, we’re pretty nervous about it. Plus there’s the whole pregnant women thing.”
That got solemn nods from everyone. Candace spoke up, “we haven’t seen the pregnant women, but we’ve heard rumors from folks a few months back about it. Apparently they’ll take in any pregnant woman no questions asked. They also will take in any woman they say is of ‘child bearing age’ which is pretty freaky if you ask me.”
“We think that’s part of why they won’t let us move in. Candace is too old, plus we’re not religious enough for them. I think old man Adams is trying to start his church over, ‘cept he’s in charge of the place entirely. Think he might be taking the whole judgment day thing seriously.”
“Hm. Can you really blame him?” I shrugged. I should know that guy’s name if he was a local pastor. However, I am a godless shit, and don’t go to church. I may have come to some serious revelations about faith, and greater powers, but back in the day, church was a big no way for me. Plus my parents didn’t go, so it’s not like I was really dragged into the lifestyle.
“Any ideas? I mean you guys know them better than we do.” I figured what the hell, go for it.
“Ideas on what?” Larry asked.
“I mean shit guys, they seem shady as hell, and I’d really like to learn more about them before I go into business with them. I have half a mind to just walk and fix my own problems. Trade with the other folks we work with.” I did leave out the ‘I’m trying to figure out if these people are shady asshats that may or may not need their ticket punched.’
Candace and Larry looked long and hard at their son, and asked him to head back to the house. Larry handed him the revolver, and Tucker took off. After that the two of them pulled close to me, and shared some shit.
“Honestly old man Adams and his wife were always strange folk. I mean anyone who loves the Lord that much always makes me wonder if they’re religious, or a religious nut, and since all this shit went down, he’s definitely gone from one to the other. If we had our way, we’d leave, but the trapping here is good, and the hunting is decent, and as long as we have what they need they trade us other things.”
“You ever go into town?” I asked.
“Fuck that. Too dangerous. We tried a few trips before winter but that ended with us getting shot at, and blowing out a tire. Hell we don’t even have a functional vehicle. All the neighbors are gone or dead, and we’ve looked for their car keys but can’t find shit. No sense in us heading downtown at this point. We’ve got all we need.”
“Makes sense. Our group is trying to clear downtown. We’re maybe a fifth done. It’s slow work, dangerous. Folks are coming back from up north now, and that scares us more than the fucking zombies do. Finding good people has been hard work man. I’ve been shot at a lot the past, what? Ten months?”
Candace spoke up, “you seem nice Adrian. I’m sure you’ll do just fine. We’d be more than happy to trade with you guys too. Larry and Tucker have plenty of meat and furs. We’re actually working on turning the furs into clothes. It’ll be awhile, but we’ll figure it out.”
I smiled, “that’s great. Good idea with Walmart being closed lately.” That got a laugh.
We chit chatted some more about life since June, and their story was actually decent. They hunkered down in their trailer, slapped plywood on anything flimsy, and rode out the worst of it. I guess that’s another bit of awesome about being in a rural town. There’s no fucking zombies. The closest house to them is a mile away. As long as they make little noise, they don’t draw them in. Now that the herd of undead in the area has been thinned over the winter, they can shoot occasionally and not really worry about the consequences. *crosses fingers to avoid the jinx*
“Well guys I tell you what, we can definitely add you guys to the list of people we trade with. We’ve got quite a few mouths to feed, and anyone that can supply us with some extra meat will be popular. Maybe after a month or two of trading with us, you might want to consider moving closer to us.”
That was met with a lukewarm reception, but they were all about the trade. In fact, Candace went back to the trailer, and brought out a whole moose leg and thigh that they said was spare and for trade.
Of course, I had fuck all to give them for it. I did have two MREs (kosher, remember?) as well as two gallons of water mixed with kool aid, which actually made them pretty fucking excited. I don’t know if that’s an advertisement for how awesome kool aid is, or how trashy they are. I mean shit, I like it. I’m not trashy.
Right? Oooh. Now I’m worried. I asked Larry what his rifle was, and he said .223, so I tossed him a magazine’s worth of rounds. I pulled a mag out, quickly stripped it empty into a small plastic bag they had, and he was like, uber thankful. Judging from his response, I’m guessing ammunition is a concern for them.
I asked them when was good to meet with them again, and they suggested maybe once every couple weeks. They didn’t know the date, and I told them it was May 12th, and they were shocked. They didn’t have a calendar. They’d missed birthdays. That kind of made them sad. I felt like a dipstick.
Knowing the date, we agreed on a meeting on the 18th. That’s the day after our next Westfield meeting. I figured that’s as good a day as any. I also told them it might not be me, or just me, and that whoever showed would take good care of them.
They were very excited, and we exchanged a short list of what they had to trade, and what we had to trade, and that was it. I shook their hands, thanked them for their time, and apologized for the strange way I got their attention. They got another good laugh out of it. I’m glad they didn’t ask me more questions about how I knew they had been trading with The Farm. I didn’t have a good answer on tap.
When they made it back to the house, Blake squirmed his way out of the woods about twenty yards down the road, out of sight of their trailer. I drove down, picked him up, and filled him in on what he missed. He heard a good portion of the conversation but not all of it. He alluded that what the Edwards family said basically confirmed all of what he said.
We headed home immediately after that. We needed to have a pow wow about the Edwards family with the rest of the folks. Of course we returned back to campus before the rest of the other group returned back, so we had a few hours to chill out before we could call a full meeting. I didn’t chill, and neither did Blake. We went over and helped Ollie with the fields. It was a lot of work, but in a way, it was a lot better than just laying in the dirt in the woods with ants crawling all over me and black flies biting me.
Everyone returned home kind of late. They had Gavin’s truck, the HRT, and a gigantic diesel dualie truck. Apparently it was parked behind a garage at a house they cleared, and the keys were inside. From what they said it was a dirty clear, with quite a few undead inside the house and the garage. Hugely awesome score on the truck though. We were hoping to find a diesel truck sooner or later, and this thing is gigantic. It’s perfect for what we need.
They had cleared about four houses today, and yesterday they managed to pull up a bunch of fencing around someone’s house. The fence wasn’t secured with cement, so they were able to get it up fast. Not much in the way of food or supplies today, but they said they put down something like 30 undead, and that is pretty fantastic in and of itself.
Once we got everything in and settled, I called for a town hall meeting. We radioed for Lindsey and them to come, and after an hour wait for them to show up (organizing two little kids is a bitch, so I’m told), we held court.
I said everything I just wrote down, plus additional details I’m too lazy to type. Reactions were mixed as well, but I can happily say that the mood shift was to try and start a trade to get first person intel. We all agreed that it was really important to talk face to face with this guy, and see what he’s like firsthand. We’ve gotten three people all saying he’s weird, and kind of an asshole, but honestly, that shouldn’t be enough to string this old fuck up. Is it looking good for them? Honestly no, I don’t think things look good, but knowing that we’re gathering good intelligence means we’re getting closer to make a decision we can all live with, and that’s pulling us together on this.
What pulled us a little apart was when I made a preliminary case on potentially inviting the Edwards family nearer to, or potentially onto campus with us. That went over like a fart in church.
I was called (amongst other more colorful names) dumb, stupid, silly, moronic, slow, retarded, inbred, etc. As we discussed before, we are nearing our food capacity, and frankly, I know that and even said that. I was merely suggesting that in a month or two, we might want to consider it, and wow… not a good idea.
Of all the people, Ollie was the one who snapped. Here’s the basic idea of what he said, and I’ll leave this entry at that.
“Adrian, I can’t plant food fast enough to feed people at this rate. The food doesn’t grow at light speed.”
“Ollie, I know man. I’m just saying he’s a hunter, and a trapper, and he did just trade us an entire moose leg. They might bring in as much food as he and his family would consume. Plus they’re three more folks with gun experience, and I think there is value to that. I hate to see folks that are struggling. I don’t want them to starve.”
“We can’t save everyone. There isn’t enough space here to house them, and there certainly isn’t enough food to go around. If we take in too many folks, especially ones that can’t help us, or contribute their fair share, we run the risk of starving ourselves, and not making it through winter. Adrian, what happens if something goes bad at that farm, and we take in a bunch of pregnant women? Have you considered that all?”
“I know Ollie, it just sucks to think that we may watch people starve.”
“Adrian, we may have to.”