Sup dawg? Hope all is well with your Mr. Journal. Things are pretty good with me. We’ve had a highly eventful past couple days here, and I’m happy to say, we fought through the bullshit, and got what needed to be done, done. Where’s my cigar?
Our primary concern the past couple days has been preparing for a fuel run, and then doing that fuel run. It certainly illuminates how difficult life is now when it’s a two day process to get gasoline safely. Before the shit hit the fan we’d hop in a car and zip down to the closest station and with a swipe of the atm card, we’d have a full tank. Oh how I miss that. Not that rolling into town loaded for war doesn’t have its upsides. Occasionally I realize that I’m standing in my town wearing body armor and holding an assault rifle, shooting at zombies and I am sort of forced to smile out of amusement. Sad that I find that amusing now I guess.
Yesterday we gathered our resources, and finalized our plans. Now, getting the gas out of the underground storage tanks in an efficient manner was the make or break fact of this whole process. If it took us too long to get the fuel out, then we ran the risk of being overrun by the undead, or wasting excessive amounts of ammo defending ourselves. It’s this enormous ballet of resource management. More time means more danger, more danger means more bullets, etc etc.
I told my idea to Mike about getting the gas quickly and safely using a sump pump. Mike said that they had actually used an old sump pump themselves to get the gas out of the tanks in Westfield. He said they used two different pumps with success. One model was a standard plug into the wall model that they powered with a converter off one of their truck batteries. He said it worked awesome, but the risk of sparks creating an explosion had everyone shitting bricks the whole time. Eventually they located an older manual crank sump pump in a basement of an older multi family home. Same basic principle applies. You work the pump mechanism with one hose in the gasoline supply and the other in a storage receptacle, and as long as you’re well greased and don’t make any sparks, you simply crank out the gas you need, and then get the fuck out.
I knew I had seen one of the manual sump pumps in the basement of one of the houses in the vicinity, and it was our mission yesterday to find it. It took us all morning and into the afternoon to locate one, and wouldn’t you know, it was at the giant farm house at the end of Jones Road. Gilbert found it. I wound up salvaging a pump out of one of the houses near the old gas station but it was electric, and thus far more scary. Gilbert said he had an AC//DC converter at his place we could use if it came down to it. It’s always good to bring a backup plan. Fortunately, we found enough O-ring clamps and hoses to test to make sure we had a good fit. I was scared any rubber hoses we’d find would be dry rotted, but after about thirty houses we found ones that would work.
After we’d picked up a bunch of stuff out of the houses we came back and emptied all the barrels into a single full barrel. We had to move the hand crank around a few times to get it done, but the end result was all but the one barrel in the back of the plow truck. We also topped off the generator tanks, and filled the fuel tanks of the vehicles we use most. That way we could get the max fill on our containers. Once done with that, we formed our basic plan for today over dinner. I was pretty sore at the time too from taking that metal rack to the guts. Mr. Journal I tell ya man, it was nice to sit down. Nothing is broken, but my whole stomach and all of one hip is a pretty sweet checkerboard bruise. Sore as a bitch.
Once we’d gotten our basic plan down, Gilbert and I taught the girls weapons maintenance. I know I’ve said I like cleaning guns, and I still do, but cleaning all the guns all the time does get old. Fortunately both women have a good eye for what needs to be done, and they took to the process of weapons maintenance fast. Patty seemed to really enjoy it. Maybe that’s some remnant of the mom flaring up. She strikes me as the kind of person who kept an immaculate house. Gilbert and I showed them how to clean their own weapons as well as the M15’s, in the event we had another horde show up and we had to cycle through the weapons again. Gotta keep all the guns in the fight as they say.
Gilbert shuffled off to his humble abode right before we had dinner. He said he was tired, and wanted to make something small for himself to eat. He seems better health-wise now than he did a week or so ago. I think the stress of it all gets to him sometimes. Not that he’d admit it. That white haired dude is harder than nails. Patty, Abby and I had a small dinner, and we plopped ourselves in the living room and watched a few movies. Separately we wandered up to bed once we were tired.
I slept soundly last night. Happy to report that.
As a group we all met after eating breakfast. Gilbert has been using the truck instead of the snowmobiles to get around since we had the few days of rain. The snow is much lower today than it was over January and most of February, and we are experiencing this sweet freeze/thaw sleet cycle that has everything covered in either ice, or snow that’s so frigging hard it’s more like concrete.
We decided we’d take the plow truck for the plow and the fact that we’d loaded the barrels and empty containers into it already. Gilbert would also take his Chevy, and we would roll into the gas station just like we did the other day. Hit em with the plow, then pick off the stragglers. Abby and I would set up and operate the sump pump while Gilbert and Patty pulled security for us. We would fill all the small containers first, and then fill the barrels. If the gas station was overrun with the dead, we’d use the plow to kill as many as possible, then kite them away from the station and kill them as needed.
We took off sometime around 10am. It was another chilly day, somewhere around freezing, with a reasonably stiff winter breeze and sleet that came and went randomly. We all bundled up good, but I didn’t take gloves. I thought they might cause static, and I really wanted to avoid that. The drive down to the gas station was smooth, and we kept in radio contact calling out what we saw on the sides of the road. Not much to report. We did see that moron zombie still caught in the clothesline, which got Abby laughing so hard I thought she was going to have an aneurism.
I made an audible at the line of scrimmage when we got close to the daycare. I wanted to check it out while we had time and were in the neighborhood. The parking lot had foot deep crusty snow covering it, and Abby volunteered to walk on the top of it to check the windows. Just like Legolas she sprinted right across the top and peered in a bunch of the windows. She walked around the rear of the building and made her way back to the truck calmly, so I knew she wasn’t too spooked.
To make a fairly long story short, she said there were no visible undead kids in the daycare. She also said the place looked deserted, and it hadn’t been ransacked as best she could see. That left me with the hope that we might find some food for kids and stuff. Even diapers at this point would be awesome for trade. I’ll take what I can get I suppose. After hearing all that Abby had to share, we pulled away, and went to the gas station.
I ran over one zombie with the truck in the remaining distance, and when I dropped the plow blade to clear away the snow near the gas caps I hit one more. We didn’t pass any others on the way, and in the surrounding vicinity, we didn’t see any either. A clear area meant we were a full go. I backed the truck right up to the gas caps and we started our operation.
The caps came off after some solid raps. Apparently they’d frozen solid over the past couple days from that wonderful freeze/thaw bullshit. Once the first cap was up we got the sump pump down on the ground, and the first hose into the tank. Abby jumped into the back of the truck and started to assembly line the small gas containers. After a few miscues where I knocked the hand pump over, or the hoses got moved around, we were in business.
The gas came out a lot faster than we’d expected, and we wound up wasting a fair amount of gas until I got the speed of the flow down. It took us less than five minutes to fill every last gas can we had, and that’s quite a few now. Once those were full Abby took the longer hose and we started to fill the large 55gallon barrels. Those took a little longer than 5 minutes to fill. We had to slow down our pumping speed for a few reasons.
A few seconds into the first barrel Patty and Gilbert started encountering roamers moving into our area. Patty called out their presence, and waited as long as she could before she started taking them out one at a time with her rifle. Once the noise started, we knew the clock was ticking before larger amounts of undead made their way to the sound of gunfire. When we started pumping again, I went nuts, and wound up knocking over the damn pump a few times, and even tugged the damn hose out of the barrel on Abby, and she got an entire pant leg covered in gasoline.
We recovered though, and within seconds we had a good rhythm going and the barrel was filling up fast. I can’t say for sure, but I want to say we got the first barrel filled in a little under ten minutes. Once we got to the subsequent barrels, we were going from empty to full in something like seven or eight minutes. Of course, with all the barrels we had to fill, that’s about a half hour’s worth of time in the open.
Even without the zombie threat over our heads, the cold was a bastard. Of course, once the zombies start showing up, you start to forget about how cold it is. After the first batch of roamers was dispatched by Patty with the .22 it was quiet for quite some time. As we were finishing up though a few more started to manifest in the distance, and we managed to wrap it up before we had to engage them. Abby actually flipped out at Gilbert as she was getting off the truck because he was about to shoot a zombie.
We were surrounded by gas fumes, and a gun going off that close to us could’ve set the whole place on fire. Gilbert lost all the color in his face when he made the connection. He was about half a second away from damn near blowing us sky high, and he hadn’t given it a thought. He backed away to a safe distance and snapped off a single powerful .308 shot, and killed the zombie. Abby just looked at him in amazement. She was shocked at what he almost did. Gilbert looked a little ashamed as well.
I didn’t say anything, or give him a dirty look. I drained the hoses back into the underground storage tank and got everything more or less as clean as I could get it. With just a few more zombies coming into rifle range I decided I really wanted to get inside the store to see if anything was left behind. I asked Patty and Gilbert if they thought we had ten minutes to spare, and they both thought we had the time.
I smashed out the small shards of glass remaining in the broken window frame at the front of the store, and climbed inside. Abby covered the front while I cleared the interior. Most of the store was cleaned out, and there were no undead inside. There was an epic pool of blood on the floor near the busted windows though. I am fairly sure someone who came in there cut themselves open on the glass when they jumped in. That someone didn’t take the time to get the glass out of the way and it looks like they paid the price for their stupidity with a few pints of red innards.
I snagged plastic bags from behind the counter and took everything I could find. Motor oil, shitty flashlights, a few things of various batteries, lighters, condoms, energy shot drinks, car fresheners, a few car ice scrapers, a bottle of diet generic cola, three rolls of toilet paper, and some miscellaneous bullshit that may or may not be useful at a later date. I’m starting to see some wisdom in the Patty and Abby school of loot acquisition. Bring everything home and sort it out later.
As I handed Abby the bags of shit I’d gathered up I realized I’d forgotten to check one of the largest areas in the store. I recalled that the coolers here had a walk in door in the back so you could wheel a dolly right into the cooler directly. I told Abby I would be right back. I found the heavy duty refrigerator door and yanked it open quickly, stepping back. Nothing moved inside, and I found a motherlode. Stacked about waist high running ten feet straight along the back wall of the cooler were 12 packs of soda, beer, energy drinks, and various other beverages you find at convenience stores. I grabbed the dolly sitting in the hall and stacked as much as I could up, and wheeled it out the front door. Abby busted a mega nut when she saw me wheeling it out and laughed again. Apparently I was grinning ear to ear screaming “YAHOO!” as I ran across the parking lot pushing the dolly, but I don’t remember that at all. I think she’s bullshitting me.
I dropped the dolly near the ass end of Gilbert’s truck, and ran back inside to get the second load of soda with the other dolly I saw. When I was about three quarters of the way done loading the drinks on the dolly, I heard Patty and Gilbert’s guns start barking at the undead outside. A small pack of dead folks had come out of the woodwork somehow and were alarmingly close to us. I wheeled the dolly out the front door again, stopped, and drew the Glock to help. I snapped off a small number of rounds to kill a few as Abby got everything loaded into the trucks.
Once everything was clear enough to move safely, I helped Abby load the rest of the beverages into the truck along with the two dollies and we all piled into the trucks. We were history. The plow truck drove like shit with all the extra weight from the full barrels. I nearly lost control rounding a reasonably gentle corner due to the barrels shifting sideways and the slick sleet covering the road. Luckily I was paying attention and avoided losing all the fuel we’d just worked so hard to get.
The roads home were clear of danger, and it didn’t appear that we had led any undead our way towards campus. Our first stop was big blue. We topped off big blue out of one of the barrels, and then topped off the other barrel we’d left behind on campus. That meant the one barrel in the truck was empty enough to get off the truck using the engine lift we’d used to move the stove. Once that was down, we topped it off with the barrel still in the truck. You get the idea. In the end we had all our gas cans full, and all our barrels topped off except for one that was about half full.
All in all, a laborious process, but very fruitful. I think this was totally worth it. I want to say we only had to fire maybe 20 to 40 rounds in total, and those were all kills, so in reality, we can’t say those rounds were wasted. We NEED fuel, we NEED trade supplies, and the zombies NEED to die eventually. If we’re going to do it, do it right I suppose. Plus all those drinks stashed in the cooler were a complete hardcore loot haul.
After all that I was a physical wreck. Everything was sore. Between the pounding from the damn rack I got courtesy of Patty, and the constant cranking from the sump pump, I was a done boy. I wound up taking a two hour nap until dinner. Patty was nice enough to crack open some cans of food and warm it up for us, and she brought me a plate on the couch where I passed out. Lol. I fell asleep with my body armor on too, which was funny. I haven’t done that since Baghdad. Incidentally, not particularly comfortable to sleep in. Exhaustion is a powerful sleep aid though.
Everyone has settled down for the night. Gilbert headed back to Casa De Donohue for the evening, and Abby and Patty both headed in early. I’m sitting in the recliner right now watching Voltron on DVD and typing this. Otis has taken up residence on top of my Glock, which is sitting in the holster on the end table an arm’s reach away. That cat loves guns. Can’t get enough of sleeping on them.
I’m not entirely sure what’s next on our agenda. Now that we’re fueled up for a few weeks or so, I’m thinking we either go hunting to bag some deer, or maybe start clearing houses, or both. I’m fairly comfortable telling the other three to go off and do shit on their own now. I’d really like to head off into the woods early, early tomorrow and get some nice quiet time in with the Savage. Even if I don’t kill anything, I’d be satisfied with some time away.
Mm. Yeah that sounds good. My alternative plan is to hit the daycare, but I’m far too sore to attempt to clear a building that size, especially one filled with pint sized abominations afoot inside. Fuck that noise Mr. Journal. Although it might be amusing to try and clear a building using only a weed whacker, or a 4 iron. I’m a sucker for a challenge.
Can you say suicide?
Anyhoo! I’m headed in. It’s an early night for Mr. Ring here. If I sleep well, I’ll be up with the chickens and out into the woods looking for a twelve point buck filled head to toe with yummy venison. Man I’d love a big fat bastard with extra meat to trade to Mike on it.
I’m gonna pop open a root beer. Or an orange soda.
Fuck it, I earned it.