Okay, but this is my last drink. Really.

Sometimes too much to drink is barely enough. ~Mark Twain
.Halloween was tardy this year. The trick-or-treaters showed up on the afternoon of November 1st.  Dressed and armed like Mad Max fans at Comic Con, they came to my door bearing backpacks and saddlebags brimming with booze.

Mad Max

Mad Max (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seems Shelly grew bored with my company and announced an open BYOB party at my home. They drove here on dirt bikes and seem to have gone out of their way to draw as many living dead to my door as they possibly could. Whereas I used to be able to step outdoors in relative safety when the urge hit me, there will be no opening of the door again without facing a major rotter fest.

The smell indoors is hellacious. Not just from scores of living dead outside, but from the sweat, vomit, and stale booze inside. Like I said, Shelly invited them here for a party, and party we did.

My world has again been tipped on its ear. Five people now occupy a haven designed for one. Shelly swears she doesn’t know these people. Says she told a friend over the phone how much she missed wild parties. Her friend lives too far away from here to chance a visit, but apparently started the ball rolling, which ended up with Derik, Carl, and Felicia pounding on my door.

These three aren’t exactly what I’d call bad, but they’re not what I’d call conducive to my survival, either. Let’s just say they’re members in good standing of the eat-drink-and-be-merry-because-tomorrow-we-die club. The party has gone on since Thursday night, and I for one am done. I’ve had nothing to drink since last night and have a hangover to rival the apocalypse. My hands are shaking so bad I can barely type. Just thought I’d post this so you’d know I was still kicking.

Martin Grist

Mother Nature’s a Mother

Tropical Cyclone Bingiza

Tropical Cyclone Bingiza (Photo credit: NASA Goddard Photo and Video)

I’ve been so preoccupied with the living dead prowling outside my doors that I’d completely forgotten about good ol’ Mother Nature. She came back into focus yesterday with the storm news from the upper east coast. The internet is on overload. The pictures I’m seeing are mind boggling. It looks to me like a hurricane. Do they have hurricanes in New England?

Reports are coming in about power outages in several storm states. I fear that once power is lost, it will be lost for good. After all, who’s going to bring it back on line? For those without power, I pray it’s a mild winter.

This brings me to my own regional vulnerability. It’s been five years to the month since wildfires ravaged southern California. If not for the firefighters, I’d have lost my home. What will be the result with no one to fight the fires? You’ve certainly heard the reports that Fresno, Bakersfield, and Oxnard are burning.  I feel like I’m sitting on a time bomb. How long do I have before my home goes up in flames?

Of course, fire is also a fool proof means of purging the living dead. May this eastern storm have a similar effect.

Wildfires

Wildfires (Photo credit: agrilifetoday)

Spilt Milk Syndrome

English: Managing emotions - Identifying feelings

English: Managing emotions – Identifying feelings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I witnessed something yesterday that moved me like nothing else I’ve yet experienced. It literally brought me to my knees.

Perhaps you’ve noticed the lack of emotion on my part since the apocalypse began. I certainly have. Not that it bothered me. I thought I was merely facing hard times with hard logic. After all, why dwell on what you can’t change? What’s the point in crying over spilt milk? No need to be human. Sever your emotions. Live like one of the living dead––just don’t eat anyone. Let’s call it the spilt milk syndrome. I know I’m boring you with all this talk about emotions so let me tell you what happened before you turn the channel.

Yesterday morning, Shelly and I set out to forage for cigarettes and other basic essentials. Our destination was a small market/liquor store a mile and a half away. Shelly insisted she carry the 9mm which left me with the machete––I’d broken my shotgun and left it behind during my botched rescue attempt. And no, I didn’t let Shelly finagle the pistol from me. The truth is I’m just not a very good shot, and I can’t waste ammunition with a machete.

Our plan was to enter the store, clear out any rotters loitering about, then loot and vamoose. We made it there with only one incident. A dead teenager began to follow us down the road. Although she wore the pallor of death, she was in much better shape than most of her kind. She had a bite mark on her upper arm and her bloody hands told the tale of her suicide. Poor kid, she must have believed she’d truly die if she took her own life. Although we could easily outpace her, Shelly insisted I dispose of the girl. She was right, of course. Once a rotter catches the scent, they’re relentless. Nevertheless, there was enough left of the young girl that her decapitation shook me up a lot more than you’d think. Perhaps that’s what helped pry open the door to my emotions.

We came into sight of the store. Rotters were scattered about, sprawled over the street, twitching and crawling, broken, mangled, crushed. Further down the street, a throng of dead swarmed over and feasted on something large, which I at first took to be a horse or cow. Whatever it was had drawn every rotter in sight, leaving us free and clear to accomplish our mission. I’m sure I would have been fine if I hadn’t suddenly realized that the thing in the road was not common livestock, but an honest-to-God rhinoceros.

The rhino jerked and tossed off several rotters who picked themselves up and resumed with their repast. The creature was still alive, though beyond any hope. It seemed absurd to me that such an extraordinary and powerful animal should die in such a manner. Without warning, I envisioned mankind as that dying beast, and everything I’d bottled up inside me over the last few weeks poured out. If Shelly hadn’t pistol whipped some sense into me, I’d probably have drawn the entire pack of living dead down on us.

For the rest of the day and far into the night, I continued to mourn the people I’ve lost and the world that’s crumbling around us. Shelly, I should say, got her smokes and joined me in my grief when we returned home. I’ll also mention how much my jaw hurts from where she hit me with the gun. I’ll give her this. Whatever she does, it’s never half-assed.

Note: As much as I could really go for a genuine miracle about now, the rhinoceros most likely walked here from the San Diego Wild Animal Park, which is located about thirty miles away.

The Squeaky Wheel and Other Squeakers

Disney

Disney (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I spent so much time preparing for the big stuff that I overlooked many of the little things. The Zen term for this, I believe, is SNAFU. While I was prepared to weather a total collapse of civilization, be it due to economic upheaval, revolution, human or extraterrestrial invasion, or plague, I completely neglected to factor in the lesser evils. As much as I hate to admit it, it was Shelly’s constant nagging about getting cigarettes that alerted me to the problem.

With the prospect of future bartering in mind, I’d stored several cartons of cigarettes with my supply of emergency freeze dried food, which I kept in a large closet connected to the laundry room. The problem with this location is that keeping up with laundry has not been a priority of mine of late. Had it been, I might have heard or smelled the problem sooner.

It basically came down to this. Shelly badgered me to help her procure cigarettes until she finally wore me down. Desperate for peace and quiet, I told her about the hidden stash of smokes. She kissed me and cursed me for holding out on her. She then rushed off with a spring in her step, and I dared hope for a respite for the rest of the day. That lasted up until I heard her scream.

I immediately envisioned a zombie breach at the back of the house. Against my better survival instincts, I grabbed an iron skillet and made straight for the screams. Shelly stood in the laundry room, shrieking and tugging at her hair while staring into the open closet. I cocked the skillet, ready to let it fly, and yelled for Shelly to run. Ignoring my command, she remained where she was and screeched, “They ate my %#&@ cigarettes.”

I then spotted the damage, and the skillet slipped from my grasp and clanged to the floor. On every shelf, package after package of food had been gnawed open and the contents scattered. At first sight, I believed the destruction total. The closet smelled of rank urine. Feces droppings identified the culprits. Rats.

Among the casualties were Shelly’s cigarettes, which, it turned out, were the cause of her distress. I’ll leave it at that, seeing as how she’ll undoubtedly read this post.

I’ve spent the better part of the day salvaging what I can and estimate we’ve lost more than half the food. I’m certain I could salvage much of it, if not for another of my oversights. I’ve run out of zip-lock baggies with which to reseal the partially damaged packages.

Seems like Shelly’s going to get her wish. Tomorrow we’re going scavenging. Shelly for cigs; me for rat traps, baggies, and as much hard liquor as I can carry.

We All Cream for I Scream

It seems Shelly and I fight about nearly everything. She says it’s because I won’t go on a cigarette run with her. Says she wishes she was back with her husband. Apparently, he beat her at the drop of a hat, but was better than me in the fact he bought her smokes when she was out. If that’s her idea of an ideal relationship, who am I to judge?

Be grateful you didn’t hear her when she read my last post. She may only be 5’ 4” but she’s got a vocabulary that would make the editors of the Urban Dictionary blush. I’m quite certain I never want to meet the guy who married her. I’m also certain there will be hell to pay, if I find the nerve to post this blog, which brings me to my point.

Shelly says I’m a %*&@ idiot to believe anyone would be interested in reading about my pathetic existence. She says the only thing interesting about me is her. So here’s the clincher. I find myself agreeing with her. This despite the strange fact that Z has become a central focal point of the apocalyptic web community. So is this my farewell post?

Not on your life. I will continue with my mundane posts as usual. However, after scathing hours of discourse with Shelly, I’ve decided to sift the direction of Z.

In the last few weeks, we as a people have lost vastly more than we can fully fathom. With death literally prowling outside our doors, we can no longer casually visit our neighbors as we once did, even if they live next door. Why did we visit like we use to? What was it we did when we visited? I think what we did was exchange stories. “I did this. My wife told me that. Can you believe how so and so lost the football game yesterday.” Isn’t that about how it went?

So I ask you, isn’t the swapping of stories an essential part of being human? Shelly and I believe this to be true, and by that we mean we believe it’s absolutely essential to our nature. Do you? If your answer is yes, send me your story.

Why so many survivors have focused on this site is a mystery. What matters more is that whoever posts here will have an audience. Think of Z as the blazing fire-pit where the last tribesmen of humankind gather at night to enthrall each other with their tales of woe, warning, and enlightenment.

Step into the light and tell your tale.

Visit http://zotale.blogspot.com/ for guest survivor guidelines.

Doomed

English: Male Brain

English: Male Brain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Female Brain

English: Female Brain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m beginning to question my judgment. After my nearly disastrous rescue attempt, I swore that, as long as I had food and water, I would never again step foot outside my castle. Of course, I was slightly delirious at the time, and naively left Shelly out of my reckoning.

I’m reminded of the old saying about women: Can’t live with them; can’t live without them. Only in Shelly’s case, the saying is literal. If I let her stay, she’s going to get me killed. I swear, the next time she tries talking me into scavenging for “feminine supplies,” I’ll let her go alone. Why can’t she just be grateful for what she’s got? I’ll bet there are plenty of you out there who don’t even have running water. So what’s so life or death important about ‘salon’ shampoo? Why can’t she just wash her hair with dish soap like I do? Soap’s soap, isn’t it?

Women!

Don’t Touch the Zombie. You Don’t Know Where It’s Been.

Dangling Halloween Zombie mouth

(Photo credit: fortinbras)

It looks like Shelly and I will live. She’s getting some color in her cheeks, and the yellow has cleared from her eyes. This morning, I removed the handcuffs I’d used to bind her to the bed. No, it’s not what it sounds like. I just didn’t want her dying during the night and then taking a bite out of me. She’s currently sitting up in bed and eating soup.

I’m now convinced the living dead bug is contracted through  the zombie bite. I got rotter blood in my eyes and mouth. They lacerated Shelly’s upper back with their fingernails–I know this for a fact, having removed a nail from her wounds. That neither of us has developed a taste for human flesh seems, therefore, to single out the zombies’ choppers as the true zombification agent.

Not that you need worry solely about being bit. The living dead are walking breeding grounds of pestilence. Any contact with the dead might well spell your death through infection or disease. As your mother would have told you, “Don’t touch the zombie. You don’t know where it’s been.”

I wish to end this brief post on a bright note. Think of this. If not for the apocalypse, right now we(USA) would all be buried under tons of political campaign ads.

I, for one, feel like celebrating.