I laugh slightly at this last addition but Cleaver gives no response at all. Of course, one might reason that he can’t read. I thought it was funny, though.
“Let’s put a pin in this,” I say to him, after writing the list on a napkin to keep with me. I didn’t want to be obligated to come back here.
We snake around a few more buildings and enter the science library and start climbing the stairs. Cleaver is gaining on me from the very beginning. I’d decided that elevators probably weren’t the safest idea until I knew what the electrical situation was. When I reach the top of the highest building in town, Cleaver is patiently waiting for me, panting by the door.
When I open it he begins sniffing every corner, looking for signs of life other than our own. I turn to all four directional corners, gazing over the town, watching for movement. Of course, everything is the same as three days ago, and the only movement I see is the haphazard roaming of other dogs in the distance. After the first few minutes, Cleaver curls up in a corner, panting from the climb, and just blinks at me.
I rest a foot on one of the edges. “Well, my little friend,” I laugh, “what are we going to do next?”
Cleaver bobs his head, his gasps controlling the motion of his eyes and neck.
“We have some problems. If it’s like this everywhere, we are eventually going to run out of electricity. And I’m not carrying a generator on my back across town. We are running out of fresh food. Also, if anyone was to roll into town they wouldn’t see us in our little concealed hovel of a home.”
Cleaver blinks, unmoving.
“In addition to this, we are hampered by not having a vehicle. A vehicle might solve a lot of these problems.”
Even if he remains still, I like to imagine he agrees.
“Although, I have no idea how I’m going to get one of those cars out of that valley, without killing myself that is.”
Cleaver begins lightly gnawing one of his front paws.
“And who names a dog ‘Cleaver’? Seriously. Was Lucy carving something up with a meat cleaver and thought to herself, ‘You know what a great word is? Cleaver. That’s your name now, Great Dane puppy I just bought.’? I mean what was the thought process there?”
He has no answers.
“It’s not even intimidating now that I know you. I mean you aren’t a ‘Cleaver’. You are a ‘Buster’ at best.”
I take a chilled water bottle out of my backpack and sitting, begin scanning the horizon with binoculars.
“And we could stay here, take the nicest house in town, –which I fully intend to do either way- work on our tans and just relax all summer. But I know that at some point as winter approaches I’m going to need to make sure that we are the only- that I am the only person ‘here’. Whatever that means. We need to make sure that the neighboring towns are like this too. If they aren’t, that changes everything. But if they are, I mean, I don’t see any reason to traipse through the country for years reaffirming the fact I already know. That for some reason I am all alone.”
Cleaver comes over and nuzzles my neck.
“Yeah,” I chuckle, “we could just take a house in Malibu though! Move into Angelina’s mansion or something? I could dig that.”
Cleaver sits next to me peacefully.
“Maybe we should set a date. To make sure I actually gather the courage to leave.”