We’ve suspected that the infected follow patterns when they move. Nothing spectacular, but they seem to ebb and flow at least. This guy, who we’ve named Eric 3, has been going to work every day. Or something like it. He walks up the street and waits outside of a door of a nearby office for an hour or two, and then walks back to the neighborhood. It’s not a long walk, and he’s easily distracted, but he does something like that every day. He’s not the only one. Several of his friends do the same. They walk up and down the street and meet there. I’m guessing they’re just the ones that live close. Perhaps that is the extent of what’s left in their heads. Rote memory. Faces of loved ones and favorite experiences are gone. Now what’s left? The daily grind. The things committed to the subconscious because they were too boring to actually think about.
That is not to say that they don’t run after living things, and just today, Eric 3 ate his friend, who fell over on the steps of the office. This is just what they have left when nothing else is going on. This is their neutral. It’s sad. I almost wish that they didn’t do anything at all. I wish they were just up against fences all day, or standing in place. But some of them still have something left that humanizes them. It makes them harder to kill, for sure.
When you think about the brain of an infected, you think, well, I don’t know what the hell you think because it’s really just not obvious what’s going on there. I mean, but all accounts, they should be completely dead, not walking dead. I guess there’s still some function in the lower brain, and enough in the upper parts to keep them going. What we found out today is that they are actually capable of being knocked out. This is good news, because it let us strap a camera to one of them. We wore thick clothing and as much armor as we could. Several pairs of rubber gloves. Then it was done. We switched it on and ran home.
Back at the fort, we turned on the appropriate channel. The image was grainy and unappealing, and mostly of the ground in front of the infected where we left it. At the time, we weren’t sure if they could be knocked out, and all of this was a bit of an experiment. I mean, take something that should be dead, but isn’t, and tell me when it’s just sleeping. It’s not easy.
After about four hours, the sun was starting to go down and the project was looking like a failure. Then he started to stir, and then he got up. It took a while. I’m not sure how much of this was luck and how much was skill, but we got a Zombie Cam up and running. It’s been awesome so far. We’ve been glued to it.
Zoic makes it sound like she’s the only one with any technical skill. My knowledge of electronics is pretty rusty, but with a book or two, I was able to help Zoic get the battery voltage right and attach it to a camera. We tested it out. It works okay. We had to drop the resolution to 480i, which should be enough under the circumstances. Now, the question is how do we hold one of them down long enough to attach this? It’s certainly worth the risk.
I read in a psychology book once that everyone has an internal audience. It’s made up of all the people you care about in your life, or at least the people you have given permission to judge you, and they’re in the back of your mind all of the time. It helps to keep some people on the right path I guess, but I always felt it was oppressive. That’s not to say I wanted to do bad things, but I feel like I went with the flow more often than I wanted to.
I was spending some time thinking about the world I have left to create here, and what changes I would make, and I realized that I don’t really have that internal audience any more. They all died, and nothing is left of them here. Not even in my mind. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve spent my fair share of time mourning. It’s just not something I feel like burdening anyone out there with. I’m sure you have your own tragedies, given that you’re living through this situation.
It’s strange, but my actions are now almost completely governed by me. Zoic governs me also. Zoic isn’t in my personal audience, as she is always beside me. She is my real audience. It’s a weird feeling. It’s kind of scary. You feel like the moral path you walk is a tight rope, even though it’s probably much wider and harder to fall from. At least for me.
Zoic and I rushed to finish our farming chores today. Now it’s night time and we’re about to make some popcorn and watch the evening ZV report. We placed a number of objects on the ground that the infected will have a hard time not tripping over. Is it cheating? Perhaps. But when has reality ever really been portrayed on television?
Earlier, Zoic had a brainwave. The security cameras run off of wired electricity, which we’ve been stealing from all of the neighbor’s houses where the cameras are. She’s been messing around with some batteries that we’ve been handling for the solar stuff and she’s trying to get a camera to run off of a battery. She says that the battery would be quite large, and it would only get us a couple of days, but it might just get us some really valuable entertainment if it works the way we want it to. We’ll get back to you on that one.
Zoic surprised me with a gift today. She found it in one of the neighboring houses as we did a search. It’s a home brewing kit. You know, primary fermenting bucket, glass carboy, bottling bucket, siphon, the works. They say that every man has his home brewing phase (except for, you know, most men). Mine was in college. I lived with a few other guys who liked to drink beer, but, like most college students, didn’t have much money. Being the industrious type, I managed to talk them into splitting the cost of a kit. I told them it would pay off in only a couple a batches, and we had plenty of bottles to fill anyway. They agreed, eventually. The first batch I made was something simple from a kit. After around five weeks, we had brew. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I like interesting beers. My friends did not, and the kit went up on Craigslist the next day. We managed to get most of the money back. There’s a bottle of that brew somewhere in my abandoned apartment, now that I think of it.
Beer making ingredients aren’t just everywhere, so Zoic and I had to make a special trip out to the brew store in Tempe. It was the first time we went to Tempe since we popped the dam. The infected had scattered quite nicely and were easy to avoid. I decided to go with something that suited the warm weather: A Belgian-style ale. I just pitched the yeast. I’m not sure if Zoic will like it, but it will pave the way for the future of the Rok Apocalypse Brew Pub. Now we only have to wait a few more weeks to enjoy it.
Driving used to be a lot different. Like, a lot. I mean, traffic doesn’t exist anymore, which, as you might guess, is quite liberating. Speed limits also don’t matter. The only speed limit is the speed at which you feel comfortable impacting the dead, which is getting higher and higher as the days go on. If a car gets too badly banged up, we can always grab another. Our hot wiring skills are improving. Of course, there’s really no hospital in the apocalypse, so it’s on us to stay safe and healthy, and we do. Mostly.
The amount of undead cluttering the streets is getting a bit out of hand. The smell is getting really bad. Luckily for us, they tend to clump up when they die, which makes them easier to burn, but the ash piles are still no fun to run over. So, I guess, really, we drive at a reasonable pace.
Today in the apocalypse, I did absolutely nothing of importance. Again. We’ve spent a lot of time with the farm, we’ve spent a lot of time on apocalypse fantasies (everyone has them), and we’ve spent a lot of time working out the anxious energy that comes from being two of the few, if not the last, remaining human beings. Not a lot of downtime in there. Today, I did none of that. We broke into a department store yesterday and got a ton of Christmas lights. We then strung them all around the plants to keep them warm. We decided to leave them alone today.
I woke up late. Sleep has been scarce, but we certainly need it. For some reason, under two or three blankets in a stranger’s bed, I actually managed to get a full night’s sleep. I ate breakfast around noonish, then I sat on the couch. The previous owners had one of those nice, really big flat screen TV’s, and Zoic hooked it up with wireless closed circuit cameras we picked up from an electronics store. We put them up around the house and down the street. She calls it ZV. I watched four hours of ZV. Just when you think it’s going to be boring, or that an infected can’t possibly do anything you haven’t already seen, something awesome happens. Something about an undead scratching his ass will never stop being funny. And waiting for the inevitable collision between two slow, mostly gone infected walking toward each other never gets old. When we decided that we’d had enough ZV, we played the undead celebrities game, which has basically no rules, but amounts to which celebrities would make the most interesting infected, and which celebrities are most likely to have survived the apocalypse. On one hand, you know that they’re all pampered little bitches, and probably don’t have the survival skills necessary. On the other hand, they are selfish enough to make the tough decisions. Makes for interesting debate.
I don’t have too much else to talk about. I had to try really hard to motivate myself to post today. Who would have thought a blog post-apocalypse would be met with the same apathy of blogs before? Perhaps everyone.
I really didn’t want to write today. Nothing bad has happened or anything like that. I just don’t want to write. Lazy, I guess. I’d much rather do other things. But I owe it to you, dear reader. It might help you to know that I still exist.
The farming experiment has not been completely fruitless. Some meager vegetables have been harvested, and others are still promising possibilities. The weather in Arizona allows for longer growing seasons (and subsequently, year-round allergies), and we’re a month or so away from the first freeze.
Zoic and I have worked out most of our problems by now. When you spend so much time with another person, it’s hard not to identify with them completely, let alone stay mad at them. Call it Stockholm Syndrome. There might be a more specific term for people who aren’t exactly captives, but I don’t know it, and there probably isn’t anyone out there left to care. Who knows. Once a stickler always a stickler. In fact, it pleases me to think that there might be someone out there surviving, living day to day just to correct this grammatical mistake or that spelling error, or to suggest new word choice. Being a stickler may be so ingrained in a person, that the infection/zombification can’t actually kill it. It makes me happy to think that the walking corpse of Lynn Truss might be out there devouring the living and taking pause at a sign that reads “Come inside for CD’s, VIDEO’S, DVD’S, and BOOK’S” as the ghost of a once quite common thought struggles to present itself.
My relationship with Zoic has changed. Improved, maybe. This sedentary lifestyle has really thrown us a bit. After more than a month of constant movement, we’ve finally gotten good at navigating these infection filled streets, and collecting food. Zoic has softened. While she’s still the tougher of the two of us, I wonder if I’m not seeing a side of her that no one before ever did. It’s certainly not a side I ever saw in school. I wonder if spending less time on the computer has helped her brain to switch gears. I don’t know.
A lot of our free time has been spent discussing the possible origins of the virus or whatever has created so many undead. One thing we’ve noticed about the zombie movies is that none of them ever seem aware of other zombie movies. They all take place in a world identical to ours, but with the exception of no zombie movies. Well, we have them. And we’ve watched them. I’m not particularly proud of that. It seems like a waste of time, or like feeding hamburger to a cow, but it’s oddly cathartic. They were wrong in many places, but right in many others. I’m not really sure what that means for our situation. I find it hard to believe that something like this could have sprung from nowhere, independent of the culture that has surrounded the genre for decades. It just doesn’t make sense. So part of me wants to think that some nerd at MIT came up with a virus that would do this because his girlfriend broke up with him or something. At least that was the only way I thought it was possible before any of this happened.
Well, I don’t want to say too much. I’d like to be able to prove to you that we’re still alive in the future, so I should save some of the updates. Not that there are many. You know what they say: sedentary agrarian societies are the best story tellers.