Monday October 26, 2009
The next week we got to work. Xander and Leon had been preparing for the “outbreak” they feared for quite some time before I got mixed up in it, and wasted no time in explaining it all to me, Leon letting me borrow his copy of this book they’d each bought, “The Zombie Survival Guide” and told me to study it like a textbook. It was their Bible, and I have to say, it was quite a convincing read.
The book, written by a Max Brooks, described everything we needed to create a self-sufficient resistance society against the zombies in an engaging and aesthetically pleasing handbook format. The book also described how these ungodly creatures were created: apparently there was a virus called Solanum, a virus with no known source found in nature that traveled along the bloodstream of the unfortunate host to the brain, where it attacked and destroyed the frontal lobe, then put it back together again as a disjointed puppet master, a monster brain that could control the body, but was not dependant on it, turning the human body into nothing more than a wooden dummy of a human, but ten times as scary.
Xander explained to me the idea of the three different groups: Group 1, or Alpha Group, as it would become known, was in charge of general supplies: blankets, food, clothing. Xander would lead this group. Group 3, Charlie Group, was Leon’s. They were in charge of extraction; getting people out of (and putting people into) dangerous situations. I was in charge of Group 2, Bravo Group. My group would head out from the Costco (or the Compound, as I call it) and drive to Gander Mountain, a sports equipment store, to grab all the guns, ammunition, and survival gear as we could. Everything from pistols to rifles, sleeping bags to flares, all would be needed to outlive the outbreak.
There was often debate on which Costco would be better suited for our needs: the one closer to Leon’s home in Boynton Beach, or nearer mine in North Palm Beach. It was eventually decided the one near me would be better because it was a good distance from everything we needed: the Lowe’s and Home Depot were only a quarter of a mile away, easy reach for when we needed building supplies. The Wal*Mart (gotta put that star there) was only 2 miles from the Costco, and the Veterans Hospital, which would be essential for medical supplies, was a (kind of) safe 10 miles away. Being too close to a hospital would spell disaster for our clan because, think about it, if everybody and their brother gets infected with this unknown disease, where are they gonna go? Right. Then suddenly you’ve got a hospital full of infected people who will before long turn into zombies and start pouring out of the hospital and right on top of us.
“Baby,” I said later after school as Josie and I sat in my room, relaxing and letting the day roll off of us, me trying to forget the Doomsday proclamation I had received in chemistry.
“Yeah?” Josie said, looking up for just a second from Dr. Suess’ The Lorax, one of her favorite books. Josie’s favorite author was Dr. Suess. She wasn’t stupid or anything, not by a long shot, she just preferred Dr. Suess over most other books. Dr. Seuss and old English lit.
“You might think I’m nuts, or that it’s stupid-”
“Oh babe, I never think anything you do is stupid.” She said smiling.
“-I enlisted us in a zombie survival clan.”
A pause. “What?”
“See, I knew you’d think it’s stupid.”
“No darlin’, I just don’t understand.” She gave me this kind of look like “Oh honey, you’re really such a moron sometimes”.
“Leon and Xander think that sometime soon there’s gonna be a zombie outbreak.”
“You mean zombies as in Dawn of the Dead, gray skin, no eyeballs, ‘I will eat your brains’ kind of zombies?”
I turned it over in my head for a second.
“Kinda, yeah.” I smiled to lighten it up, let the information sink in. She just laughed. “What’s so funny about a zombie apocalypse?”
“How do MacGyver and Mr. Conspiracy Theory know there’s going to be a zombie, what was it, uprising?”
“Outbreak; and that’s the thing, you can’t be sure. We just have to be prepared.”
“Well fine,” she said, playing along and setting her book in her lap. “What do we need to do to prepare?”
I explained to her the virus, Solanum; the five different classes of zombie outbreaks; Xander and Leon’s plans; the Costco; everything. By the end my dear Ms. Skeptical was soaking up my end of civilization rant like a conspiracy sponge.
“Baby,” she said quietly, sitting on my bed, back against the wall. She was hugging her knees Not frightened, but thoughtful.
“Is all this real?” She asked, looking me in the eyes, slightly worried, resting her chin on her knees. I crawled up onto the bed from the rolling chair I was in and held her tight, wrapping my arms around my Josie, my love, letting her rest her head against my chest. I slowly petted her hair and kissed the top of her head. It was just one of those things that helped her relieve anxiety, just having me pet her and kiss her head. I didn’t want her to be scared. For God’s sake, it was just a joke, right? I didn’t want her to be afraid of a joke.
“I don’t know.” I whispered.