In The Beginning
Okay, let’s see...
My location is south of Pensacola, Fla. Pensacola Bay Bridge.
The date is somewhere between the last week of January and St. Valentine’s Day, about a month after the outbreak.
I want to record my thoughts, observations, and theories. Keep track of things. I reckon I could call it a journal or trip log... Or maybe a diary. Yeah... Diary. Diary sounds informal. Journal and trip log sound so... Official...
So, diary it is.
This is my Post-Apocalypse Diary.
Fuck, how do I begin? A good story hinges on the first line.
Call me Ishmael... No, that’s been done...
It was a dark and stormy night... Sorry, Snoopy...
Well, as the Good Witch Glenda once said, ‘It’s always best to begin at the beginning’.
I’ll just start out informative and slowly decend into insanetive.
I have just invented a new word.
[Insanetive- Sounds like useful information, but, yet, totally isn’t.]
I left Tampa about a week and a half ago. It’s been about a month since the Outbreak. The info I could get off phone calls to out of state friends, cable TV and the Internet before it went out about 2 weeks ago is as follows...
Major disruptions in cities with large populations. Riots filled with scared and sick humans. Reports I find hard to believe involving sick humans attacking other humans to infect them.
From what I gather the outbreaks are a result of a human infected with Mad Cow Disease mixed with Rabies. Apparently, the Mad Cow infected bovine was bit by a rabid racoon. Then someone ate the cow. Then human eats human. I don’t know if that’s the true true. I don’t know enough about diseases to even know if that’s possible. Should have read more Robin Cook, instead of Elmore Leonard, I reckon.
My inner conspiracy theorist is screaming...
I think the Government finally lost control of one of their pet diseases and the Mad Cow/Rabies thing is the cover up.
What’s my story so far you might ask...? Let’s see...
It’s been a week and a half since I’ve had a hot meal. The same since I’ve seen a shower. 8 days since I’ve smoked a joint. 5 days since I saw a black man hanging from a rope in Gainesville. 3 days since I had a woman with 2 kids offer me a BJ for a can of pork and beans.
[I just gave her 2 cans and rode away.]
It’s been 1 day since I had to kill someone that tried to kill me.
For the last 6 hours, I’ve thought about suicide. It would be easy. No one to stop me from jumping off this bridge. At least a hundred foot drop. Just lean over too far and…
Wile E. Coyote.
I mean seriously... It’s the end of the world... I didn’t give a shit before it hit the fan. Why start now? Why should I have survived? When Jake didn’t. He’s the only anything in the world I cared about...
If anyone should ever see this, please don’t judge me for what I’m about to tell you. It’s hard enough to admit this. It plays nightly in my head. I feel the guilt, like a million years of bad acts… I killed Jake. My big brother.
Damn it, Jake. I love you, Bro. I hope you can forgive me.
He came home from the bar one night. Showed me a bite mark on his hand. It looked human! He told me he had a fight with some crazy homeless dude outside of Show Town. 2 nights later, around 1 AM or so, I came out of my house trailer in the back yard to find him standing in the moonlight. Jake was covered in blood. His eyes were empty. He looked at me like a rabid Doberman looking at a baby. Shirt covered in blood. Dripping from his chin.
I keep telling myself, it’s a prank. You know Jake… That’s when I saw his girlfriend.
All I could think was...
‘Oh, my god, Jake, what have you done’?
I don’t remember her name. She hadn’t been around long enough for me to bother. I always gave his dates a numerical designation. Her I just called, Recepticle # 238. Jake laughed at that. Jake was a player. The Redneck Romeo.
[He had a lot of girlfriends, at one time or another. He always seemed to meet a lot of his dates at the grocery store. He used to refer to a break up as, ‘Time to go shopping’.]
#238 was hanging over the railing of the deck. At least, the top half was. The bottom half, Jake was pulling out of the pool. There was a severed finger tangled in his beard. I presumed it was hers. I must have bumped something, because he turned and growled at me. When Jake came at me, I reacted, reflexively, like a little brother. I dipped and dodged Jake.
Yelling at him.
“What are you doing, dude? Stop! Jake, don’t make me hurt you”!!!
He didn’t say a word. None of the usual jokes. He just growled at me.
He kept coming at me. No matter what I did to shake him off. I ended up hitting him with a shovel we kept by the fire pit. It took 3 shots to kill Jake. One last one to finish him. I just collapsed and cried.
My whole life, I never killed anything, except fish, skeeters, weed, and time.
I finally cleared my head a hour or so later. When I realized what I had done, I found my cell and, doing another thing I have never done in my life, called the cops. When I was connected, there was a message saying to please hold. Apparently, all lines were busy.
I spent 2 days waiting on hold with the phone on speaker. 5-0 never showed. Day 3, Jake was starting to stink. I threw some wood into the pit, then, I rolled him into it and piled a bunch of wood on top of him. Poured on a mixture of gasoline and 5 bottles of that nasty ass corner store vodka that Jake loved. Then I lit it on fire. Sat upwind and said good bye to his spirit, while I added some weed smoke to it and drank from a bottle of 50 year old Jack Daniels that our Grandpa left us. We were saving it for a special occasion.
A viking funeral and an Irish wake, all in one sitting.
My trailer looked like a white trash Batcave. I had all 3 TVs going. One on CNN, #2 on regular channels, #3 playing every Apocalypse movie I own on the DVD player for inspiration. Both computer monitors trolling Google, Youtube and Facebook for the news they weren’t telling us on regular news outlets. 4 notebooks of research. By the time the Information Super Highway turned into the Information Dirt Road, I knew what was going on, but, didn’t want to say it out loud. Mainly, because even when I say it in my head I feel like an idiot.
Fuck it... I’ll say it... It’s the Apocalypse... Armageddon... The End Of The World...
Or the Beginning of a new one.
After a day or 3 of wandering the area and finding nothing but half eaten bodies and some fucked up neighborhood secrets, I got bored. I decided I had to head out. My truck ain’t running and it didn’t feel right taking Jake’s Lincoln, so I pulled out my trusty beach cruiser. I gave it a check up, packed a bag, and headed out with my vintage Ben Pearson compound bow strapped to the handlebars. Figured, worse comes to worst, I could always hunt some dog or cat. Doesn’t hurt the Chinese. Cracker got to eat, right?
Took me 2 days to get out of Hillsborough County. Got shook down by a rogue deputy sheriff on a horse, near the fairgrounds. He didn’t take much, a few cans of food and the last of my weed. Asshole! He did say something I had been thinking. I have been hesitating to use the word, but, damn it, if it quacks like a duck…
The most ludicrious thing I have ever heard...
The zombie apocalypse...
The Zombilypse. Fuck me running.
Who would have thunk it? All the shit humans come up with to kill other humans…
Chemical waste, drugs, nuclear devices, guns, McDonald’s…
And the downfall of society was brought on by something absurd. Something out of the movies. To a movie geek like me, it’s like saying super smart monkeys or aliens.
After spending all day on the bridge, not committing suicide, I decided I was hot, thirsty and out of cigarettes. I trundled the bike to the end of the bridge and found an off ramp leading to a store. It was cleaned out. I managed to find some water in the coffee machine and drank it like it was sweet tea from Grandma Heaven. Found a couple of candy bars that someone must have kicked under the lip of the shelf. The commercial was right. They do satisfy. Got a couple of packs of smokes and a billy club behind the counter. I walk out to the bike and standing nearby is a human. I think. It’s hard to tell from a distance. I ‘Psssst’ in their direction. The person turns towards me and I see it...
Blood. All over his face and shirt.
No doubt about it… You’re a zombie bitch alright.
I move slowly towards the bike and pull the bow from the handlebars. I nock an arrow and wonder if I can hit him from here. Not used to moving targets yet. I pull back the string and draw aim on him. My hands are shaking. Sweat running into my eyes. Little voice in my head telling me it’s wrong to kill. Just as I think I can’t hold the arrow anymore, he moves to rush me. I release half a breath and hold it. The arrow feels like it jumps off the string and stabs itself right in the undead dude’s eye. He drops like a puppet without a hand up its butt. I nock another arrow. I don’t need it. He doesn’t move. I step to him and nudge him with a boot.
I just killed another person. I don’t even feel remorse anymore as I pull the arrow out of his eye. Just for Jake.
That’s 12 human beings in a week and a half. By law enforcement standards, I’m a serial killer. Like John Wayne Gacy.
What am I becoming?