It’s difficult to come home, scrape the dripping eyeball off of your shoes and head into the kitchen to make dinner. For the first couple weeks in the apocalypse, I completely lost my appetite. I lost a lot of weight, and I had cereal for almost every meal. It was a safe food along with fruit and vegetables. Meat seemed really distasteful. As time went on, all of the fresh food was gone, and I couldn’t be as picky. I didn’t think I’d ever eat so much Chef Boyardee in my life. One of the best rules Rok and I have come up with is don’t eat anywhere that you’re likely to see human brains. Which basically means we eat inside our house away from the laundry room and the windows. Also we use a lot of soap to wash our hands before cooking. Rok has made a few “Get back in the kitchen” jokes. So he’s had some practice cooking for himself. I had honestly never cooked very much before the apocalypse. I ate a lot of precooked things and microwave food. More cereal. I miss cereal. Eating it dry just isn’t the same. I have a lot of the soy milk that doesn’t expire, but I miss having cereal with Cow’s milk like three times a day. Anyway, Rok and I cook lots of canned stuff, and we have actually found ways to get creative with it. Those instant mashed potatoes have been a Godsend. We’ve put pretty much every type of Campbell’s chunky soup over them like in the commercials. Some of them were better than others. We eat a lot of frozen stuff, and we’ve made a lot of apocalypse bread too. The other day though we had a really great discovery. We were going through a house, and they had a victory garden in their backyard. Most everything was gone, but there was enough left for the victory chickens living in his yard. There’s nine of them, and they’re all really skinny. Rok emptied out the cooler we keep in the van and put a couple of them in. I found some large storage boxes in the house we were salvaging in. It was a hellish ride home, and there’s chicken poop in the back of the van, but we have nine relatively healthy chickens. I’m crossing my fingers for eggs. Rok and I let the chickens run around outside. We put up boards around the fence outside to make sure nobody gets over. We’re starting to build a chicken coop which means a trip to home depot. I really don’t like home depot. The last time I was there I saw a zombie that someone had taken a nail gun to; he had a line of screws up one side of his face. But the thought of fresh eggs is too delicious to be ignored. I keep thinking of all the different things we could make with them. Eggs over easy, scrambled, poached. The quality of the food we make could go up. I’ve never missed eggs so much before. I could kiss all those chickens in the back yard on their scrawny little beaks.
Today Rok and I went to the movies. It’s more complicated than it used to be, but I still enjoy it. I used to go to the movies all the time back then. It still feels pretty good to hide in a dark movie theater for a couple hours, but the things I’m hiding from have changed. I cleaned out the movie theater myself a week into the apocalypse. There were a few zombies eating some dead bodies in the bathroom. It wasn’t hard to clean the whole place. There was a zombie behind one of the curtains in the cine Capri though that scared me pretty bad. I didn’t notice him till the movie I was watching was half way over. He must’ve gotten fed up hiding there, the movie was pretty awful. It was a risky move to clean the place out on my own, but I was desperate for something to do besides worry. All the communications were down at that point. I I had basically lost my whole life. So that obviously called for a terrible romantic comedy. I dated a boy once who ran a projector booth, and I ended up being more interested in his work than him. It’s not hard to work out how to put on and switch films. I watched the movie in the exact center of the theater frost time. I went to put another on, but I realized that these might be the last twenty one films left that I could ever watch in the theaters. I watched three of them, all that day. I took all the candy and the unpopped pop corn home with me. Some of the films made me depressed that they were among the last artistic expressions to be shared by man. I took Rok today as a surprise. I locked it up when i left the first time so nothing else could wander inside. We ate candy and watched movies all night. It’s lonely knowing that nobody else is in a big building, but it’s also a relief to know you’re blocked off from the outside world, whatever it’s up to. I’d like to see if I can get copies of more films. Despite being the only people here, our world has gotten really small. There are some groceries, some stores that don’t have infected milling around, a couple houses to live in, and a movie theatre. I don’t know what we would do if the Internet disappears.
Every time I do something involving technology, Rok looks at me like I’m a wizard. I actually have little talent for it. It’s just something I found interesting in college, and I read tutorials on how to do things as I worked on them. I still do. If the internet turned off, I would be braving the creepy librarian zombies to get manuals. I still like the “you’re doing science” look Rok gives me when I get something to turn on.
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.
Today was all kinds of awful, but at least I got a shower. Typing kind of hurts right now cause I gashed my hands open on some fence we were putting up around the kickball field/Zoic and Rok’s produce field. It’s too hot to farm right now. I hate being outside this time of year when there’s no immediate, life-threatening need to leave the house. We can’t even plant anything yet, we’re just getting things ready, doing farming type things. In the fall we’re going to plant as many things as possible and see what comes out. I can’t decide if it upsets me or not that I’m making an apocalypse garden. I’m pretty sure most everyone who kept their supply of emergency non-hybrid seeds wasn’t worried about zombies crawling through their victory gardens.
Rok and I stole a big roll of chainlink fence, which can hardly be called stolen considering all the work it took to move it, and have been trying to set it up around the field. I think an electric fence would be cool, but it causes too many problems, though I’m not sure if the problems outweigh the possible joy of luring zombies into the fence with raw meat. I miss tv.
I worked on putting the fence into the ground and Rok worked on doing something or other to the ground and looking through storage sheds for valuables or infected. We had been doing controlled burns of some of the smaller school buildings and storage sheds near the field that could be a hassle to keep cleaning out. I had my flamethrower on my back most of the day. The fence wasn’t too difficult to put into the ground, but it was burning hot and had a lot of sharp edges and my hands slipped. It was a really nasty gash down the palm of my right hand. I tried wiping the blood on my pants, which was gross, at least until I heard the zombie sniffing a few feet away from me. Dammit. I reached for my gun but found an empty holster. Shit. I left my guns with Rok, why the hell did I leave my guns? I got up and ran, hoping to God it wasn’t a runner. Fuck. Maybe he was excited by the blood from my hand, or there really was a rage zombie prowling around near a school; I can only guess it was eating slower children zombies. None of this was my concern though as I ran back towards the green house. I turned briefly to set him on fire, a lapse of judgment on my part because he was flaming like something from a christian exploitation film. Also, it didn’t slow him down.
“Rok, I don’t have my guns!” I yelled to him.
“Why not” He smiled, carrying something out of the green house.
“I don’t know! Can you get a headshot? This sucks!” It really did.
“You’ll never learn your lesson if I help you.” This was a terrible time to tease me.
“I’m going to shoot you in the face.” I admit now that that was not exactly mature on my part.
The zombie was burning to death behind me, and I was running, and it was miserable. Then, like a true professional, I slipped on a combination of blood and slippery gravel and fell. I heard two shots and rolled out of the way to let the burning zombie carcass fall where I was lying. I pulled my gun out of Rok’s hand,
“I really am going to shoot you.” I wasn’t….but it felt good to say, anyways.
“It’s alright. I was just teasing.” He said.
“That’s awful timing.” I said.
“Relax, I wasn’t going to let you get caught.” And this is where I said something that didn’t make much sense.
“We’re going to get caught. This is stupid. We’re going to get ambushed and end up having to abandon the place, or we’re going to get lulled into a sense of security, and this is what happens, you get melting zombie face on your shoes.” He looked confused, and maybe hurt, I don’t know what. I went into the school building marked “Sciences” and went into the first lab I could find, locked the door and pulled the emergency shower. I took a sixty minute shower, the amount of time recommended if you’re doused with penetrating corrosives. Every time I heard a moan or scratch, I shot through the door. I think I’m a better shot when I’m naked.
Rok and I have decided to write about our own ideal societies after the apocalypse. We talk about it sometimes at night when we’re bored. You can only tell so many campfire stories. For one thing, Zoicopolis would be at constant war with Roktopia. We would conquer them and introduce clothes into their society. Also we would set up a democracy, and we’d stimulate the economy by bringing in zombies as free labor. If you put meat in front of a zombie, it can carry a really heavy load. I’d like the city to be up in the trees like the Ewok city from star wars. We’d be protected from other cities trying to invade us. We could have zombie stables on the ground, and they could graze around.