No such thing as a free lunch.
I’m sure you’ve heard that expression Mr. Journal. It’s pretty appropriate nowadays. Maybe even more now than ever. Every time we get something there’s a cost. We are more or less picking the bones of society for free, right? We’re taking leftover gasoline, cleaning out abandoned houses, taking equipment and food as needed, and even when we don’t get shot at, or have to fight off zombies, there’s a cost to be paid.
Stress is our most common tax. I know I’ve got more grey hairs today than I did in June, and it certainly fucking isn’t because I’m six months older. We worry about doing things, then we are filled with anxiety and fear as we do them, then we deal with the guilt over what we had to do when we did whatever it was we needed to do. It’s a toxic lifestyle for mental health.
I’ll get back to the toxic lifestyle thing after I talk about the last two days a little. Yesterday and today were filled with lots of activity, both good and bad, and I want to get it down on this pixilated paper before my anxiety ridden mind taps out on me.
Yesterday Gilbert and I had decided that we were going to head to the house where our snowshoe wearing ambushers had originated from. We’d made a plan to meet at Gilbert’s place at 10am again. Just the same as usual lately, I wound up waking up early. I had more fucked up dreams again last night. This dream was more dead people hanging around, staring at me like I’m fresh meat or something. They didn’t get violent or anything, but it’s creepy as a motherfucker. I wake up, grab the Glock, and sit in the dawn light waiting for something move. Otis bolts when I sit up too, and that’s unusual. It’s starting to really irritate me. Not sure what’s causing them. I’m not eating late or anything, and I generally have a pretty clear conscience. Maybe I’m getting a touch of PTSD and I haven’t realized it yet? I don’t know. I do know I would love to sleep peacefully, and get more of it.
I snagged a decent breakfast and I went to Gilbert’s place. I did not invite Chuck or Patty, as I didn’t want to start another fight. Gilbert and I agreed that we’d both drive separately down to the house. I’d drive the Tundra, and he’d drive the big Chevy we’d given him.
The house was something like 6 or 7 miles away by road. We stopped in their long driveway and I hoofed it through the snow with the Savage until I could get a good spot to check out the house. I took cover behind a few large rocks and half a tree. Using the scope I could see a faint wafting of smoke coming out of the chimney of the log cabin. It was a pretty damn big cabin too. I’d guess at maybe 60 feet wide with a porch running the whole width of the place.
There were no lights on inside, which was to be expected, and after watching the windows for maybe ten minutes I decided it was probably safe to move the trucks to the house. I trudged through the snow in their driveway and Gilbert and I moved the trucks to their front yard.
The exterior property was sort of a mess. There were two or three cars in various states of repair. One up on blocks, one fallen over on a collapsed jack, and one that looked pretty fucking rusted out. In the back of the driveway there was a reasonable large garage also made out of logs. It had a single door, but it was one of those double wide doors big enough for two cars. The door was stuck about a foot from being fully down. Other than the disrepair of the yard, it was a pretty nice place.
I honked the horn and waited for a response. Because of these asshole’s previous tactics when I honked the horn I took cover behind the engine block of the Tundra. I watched the windows carefully for movement again, but there was none. I did however hear a lot of barking.
I hate dogs right now. I’m not saying I’ll hate them forever, but lately in the big scheme of things, I’m wishing dogs had missed Noah’s phone call to get on the Ark way back when. Gilbert knows about my dog thing, and after we’d waited ten minutes honking and stuff, he told me he’d deal with it, and headed up to the door himself. I think he lost patience waiting for me. After moving back and forth between the door and what turned out to be the dining room window, he shot four or five times through the picture window and he killed the dogs. Once inside we saw there were two rather large husky or malamute breed dogs too. No sense risking being bitten again.
We took cover and waited for retaliation. Nothing happened. If anything was going to get a response it was shooting the dogs. After our wait I headed to the door, found their house key on the keychain I got the day prior, and let us in. Gilbert held the door as I cleared the house.
As I said, it was a big fucking house, and it was a giant jackpot. It took me a solid 20 minutes to check the whole place, plus another 5 minutes to check the garage. From what I could piece together from the family pictures on the walls, it was father and son, plus girlfriend like I thought. Father and son had somehow lost mother and daughter along the way. The house was a disheveled mess, but it had more shit than we could carry out on our own.
For starters, I’ll list off the shitty things we got. The dad was about my size, and all his clothes were suitable for me. The house smelled really strongly of tobacco, so I’ll have to wash them, but new clothes are nice. It really makes me want to go back to my place to get more of my own stuff. We also got clothes suitable for everyone else, which was awesome.
These people were avid hunters, and certainly gun enthusiasts. Shotgun hunters from what we found. They had a gun cabinet with four more shotguns. Three were pump shotguns, and there was one semi auto shotgun. All Benelli as well, which are expensive as all hell. They also had a small match .22 pistol which is a nice find to get Abby and Randy started on gun safety and getting them used to recoil and whatnot.
The real gun oriented score was ammunition. They had ten boxes of .22, which comes out to about 5,250 rounds. Not going to need a resupply of .22 anytime soon. They also had multiple boxes of various kinds of shotgun shells. There were 10 boxes each of Buckshot, Slug, and Birdshot, all in 12 gauge. They were the crappy 5 shell boxes, but that’s still 50 more rounds of each. We literally almost quadrupled our shotgun supply off these dinks. They also had 3 boxes of 9mm ammo, which added up to 120 rounds, as well as most of a box of .38, which was another 16 rounds.
They had a really nice bow too. I forget the brand name, but it’s a compound bow, and it looks really expensive. They had a few dozen different shafts and arrow heads as well. Hopefully we can use that to mitigate our ammunition use. Might be a great idea to build a tree stand for deer hunting now.
These people were either really effective shoppers when the shit hit the fan, or they were already prepared for the end of the world. Personally I am leaning towards “gun nuts with a general distrust for government.” Gilbert and I counted 51 cases of canned food in their basement. Most were 12 packs, some were 24 packs. They had canned fruit, soups, stews, tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, Beefaroni, tuna, veggies, gravy, pumpkin, beans, evaporated milk, and much more. I can’t even describe all the cans.
They also had a dozen or so flats of food in jars. There were pickles, olives, onions, salsa, jelly, jam, instant coffee, and a few more things. They had shake and bake, bread crumbs, bread mix, flour in 10 pound bags, vegetable oil, and a fuck-ton more. There were four cases of beer in a dark corner as well as a half dozen bottles of wine and champagne. He also had maybe 25 cartons of various kinds of cigarettes. Wired into their electrical system they had a small gas generator, but it didn’t start. Gilbert thought it was busted. They did have five gas cans though, all full. They were five gallon cans.
In their garage they had a bunch of good tools, but we left them. We’ve already got a really ample supply of tools at the campus. Overall it was like hitting the fucking lotto. If these assholes had not tried to go toe to toe with us, they had enough food to last them for the majority of this year. Not to mention any other food they could’ve grown or shot.
Gilbert and I literally danced for joy. Hand in hand we circled their living room doing the Riverdance. (we’re both painfully Caucasian, and thus entirely devoid of rhythm) He headed back to campus in the Chevy and grabbed Abby and Patty to help carry it all out. I guess Chuck was still struggling with his back. The girls lost their mind when they saw all the food. I mean literally they started to get all emotional and weird. They’d spent so long eating next to nothing that seeing this food must’ve messed with their heads. I let them have their moment, and we got to work loading the Tundra.
There was much more that we took, but in all honesty it’s mundane run of the mill shit. As if all the shit I mentioned already wasn’t enough. Here’s the sort of morbid thing I am now realizing;
This was worth getting shot at, and it was worth killing three people over. Today, now that I’ve taken full stock of what we got there, I have no guilt over killing them. Although to be honest, I didn’t feel guilty earlier when I shot them really, but that’s not my point. Either I’m getting used to the idea of killing people, or I’ve finally come to grips with the fact that killing people can be worth it if the rewards are suitable enough.
I literally think this is why we go to war. At some point some powerful politician or decision maker realizes that the potential benefits of winning a war outweigh the potential losses for fighting it. It’s so elegant and simple to me now I feel like I’ve been retarded my whole life.
Heavy lies the head that wears the crown. I get that now. Really.
I noticed when we were leaving the log cabin yesterday there wasn’t a functioning car in their yard. I wonder today if they tried to kill Gilbert because he had a functioning truck? Doesn’t make a ton of sense though, because there have to be other cars in other driveways in the area they could’ve gotten without a fight. I dunno. They’re dead and it doesn’t matter anymore.
Yesterday we returned to campus en masse and got all the supplies loaded into the cafeteria where they’re under lock and key. I caught a little attitude from Patty about the fact that the food supplies were no longer free access, but I told her it was for security purposes. Plus with no idea how quickly we’d be eating up the supplies, it was a temporary measure until we knew exactly how fast we were eating. That seemed to calm her down. Gilbert gave her the stink eye the whole time she was being all attitude-y.
Whatever bitch. Hopefully she’ll understand what’s up and lose the hostility. She really wasn’t that bad. I shouldn’t throw her under the bus like that. Abby had my back the whole time though, which helped calm her down I think. Good kid.
After moving all that shit around yesterday I called it quits and just chilled out here. I tossed a movie in, and Otis and I did some gun maintenance. A clean gun is a happy gun.
First thing today I cleaned out the new drums Gilbert and I got. Down in the maintenance buildings there are some lengths of garden hose, and I dragged one back up here and hooked it up to the outdoor spigot at Hall E. I rinsed out the drums and poured the excess crap as far from the running water as I could. I didn’t want to risk any of it getting into the lake or the stream and killing fish, or contaminating our drinking water. Truthfully there wasn’t much left in the barrel, but I didn’t want to risk anything foreign in the fuel supply.
I loaded two of the drums into the maintenance truck, and moved two others into separate places across campus. One went to the maintenance garage, and another went to a small brick building about a hundred yards from here. Actually, it was the building I got the ladder from the night I got stuck on the roof of admissions.
Shudder. I had *almost* forgotten about all that. Man flashbacks are a bitch.
Anyway, I wanted to break up the fuel stores. As it stands, Big Blue is at Hall E, and I figure one drum can go to Hall A, and the other can go out of the way, far from the others should we get hit again. I actually put it as an “oh shit” supply near Gilbert’s place.
I didn’t ask anyone for help on this run, as I frankly wanted some time to myself. As well as some secrecy. Before I fueled up at the station I went back to the lime green castle. We never searched the place the other day, and I wanted to check it out and empty it myself.
It was largely a mediocre haul other than the shotgun that had been used in the firefight inside, and 14 shells in a drawer in the bedroom. The food situation was sort of meh, but they did have a morbid obsession with marshmellow fluff. There were 8 white containers of it next to 10 jars of peanut butter in a cupboard. I guess that’s awesome. Pure sugar in a can.
As I was leaving the lime green house I decided to make another swing to the log cabin where we got all the shit yesterday. It was just as I was about to turn left towards the gas station I just had this weird feeling I should check out the cabin again. I pulled in the cabin driveway, walked around, didn’t find anything, and left. I don’t know what made me go there to be honest. Combat sixth sense or something. As I was leaving the cabin and pulling out into the road, I saw a few figures walking up the road through the snow towards our neck of the woods. They were about a hundred yards away. I hopped out of the truck, snagged the .22, and checked them out with the scope. It was two more zombies shambling up the road.
I can’t be certain, but I bet it was the sound of gunfire that drew them up this way. They meandered a ways before I put them down with the .22. I really wasn’t feeling up to killing them with the sword either. Call me lazy, but with the extra .22 rounds we just found, I’m feeling a little flush. I didn’t bother checking them for shit, I just hopped back in the truck and went to the gas station. I’m glad I had that weird urge to go to the cabin. I got to kill two zombies in a fairly safe way. Huzzah for combat instincts.
Once I got to the gas station I had to laugh at myself though. I completely fucked up the fact that cranking the pump meant that one person had to be on the ground while the other held the nozzle up in the bed of the truck though. Whoops.
Soooooo… like a dipshit, I drove all the way back to campus and hit Hall A. I knocked, and I kind of overheard Charles and Patty arguing. It was in hushed tones, but it clearly was an argument. Chuck came to the door, and I put on a happy face. He was obviously trying to hide distress.
I asked him if he could come to the station with me, and he rubbed his lower back rather dramatically and said his back was still too painful. Patty heard him say that, she grabs her jacket, pushes him out of the way, walks past me towards the truck, and tells me “Let’s go Adrian.”
I gave Chuck the “oh shit you are in TROUBLE SON face, and I left with Patty. Patty didn’t talk to me the whole way down to the station. We got there, I explained to her what we were doing, and she climbed up into the truck bed and held the nozzle while I cranked. It took almost 20 minutes, and I damn near threw out my shoulder doing it, but we filled the drums.
We returned to campus, and I filled the two drums I’d left behind in the two maintenance places. I left one of the two drums we’d just brought down to the store at Hall A and grabbed all our empty gas cans. We returned the station, filled our one remaining drum in the truck and the gas cans, and we got back to campus. There we emptied our remaining drum into the Hall A barrel, and I let Patty go with an awkward thank you. I think we exchanged maybe 50 words the entire time we were working.
I ain’t saying this is paradise, but we definitely have trouble. Marital bliss is not happening with those two right now. Hopefully they get their shit together and get happy. I don’t want to deal with this awkwardness. I think there is plenty of drama already around here without it.
I brought the remaining drum to Gilbert’s place, and asked him where we should put it. He actually suggested in the backyard of the house next to his. That was it was even more innocuous. That sounded good to me, so I dropped it off, and emptied all my gas cans into it. One more trip to the gas station to fill the gas cans again, and the Gilbert barrel was full.
I didn’t have the ambition to fill the empty gas cans again tonight, so I said fuck it. Gilbert had me into his place again for our ritual cup of instant coffee, and I told him about the drama between Charles and Patty. He didn’t like what I told him one bit, and told me to watch out for them. He suggested we get together for a “family meal” to sort of get a good morale started again, and we planned to do it tomorrow. I’ll head over to Hall A to tell them we need to have a planning meeting and that should draw them in.
I don’t want to spring my plans for Phase 2 on them when they’re being weird like this. I don’t think a major operation will do their relationship any good at all. I don’t want ripples in the water.
The remainder of tonight was me relaxing. My back and shoulder are sore as shit, so I’m taking a Percocet. I hate taking them, but I don’t want to eat up our ibuprofen supplies. I’ve literally been taking 4 to 8 a day for as long as I can remember, and at that rate I won’t make next Christmas. Either my liver will fall out my asshole ninja shit style, or I’ll run out of pills.
So yeah. Drama.
Don’t like it all Mr. Journal. No sir. I do like the fact that we just picked up a fucking ton of ammunition, but I don’t like the drama.
Gonna have to contain it and increase morale between those two. I don’t want it to fuck with the kids, or Gilbert and I, or Otis for that matter. Hopefully our dinner tomorrow will cheer them up. Maybe they need to talk to me about something and that’s causing the strife. No idea.
Till next we meet Monsieur Journal.