A Day at Terry Fox Elementary – Page 158 (Mid Day)

Posted: May 22, 2012 in History, Journal Page, Safe House Lore
Tags: , , , , , , ,

— Excerpt from Malkoris’ Journal

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“Trust me, it’s fresh,” he said. Why wouldn’t I trust him? No doubt the scar below his eye was from a zombie attack, not an infuriated trading partner who’d learned that his produce was drek.

I continued to poke around through the various crates and sacks, mostly ignoring his comment. It’s good to know what you’re getting in a trade but, more than that, I wanted a little more time to check out how interested he and his friends seemed to be in me. There were five of them. Five serious-looking, vile guys were sitting on a collection of Mad Max-grade vehicles, staring at me as I looked through the produce. Who the Hell thinks it’s a good idea to ride around on a dumbass, desert hopping dune buggy with corrugated metal welded to the side when you can just grab a proper SUV or a motorcycle or a freaking armored truck, if that’s what spins your prop?

“Brought it straight up from the Colony, it’s good,” he says, “but doesn’t mean your shit is. Come on. Let’s see it.”

It was possible, I guess, but unlikely that this came up direct from the Colony. They’re down in L.A. The produce that these asshats were trying to trade was primarily berries: Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries. There were some vegetables and the like in there, but I know what the Colony produces and I know what you can get near Terry Fox; this stuff was local. It wasn’t surprising that they didn’t want to admit it. These guys weren’t farmers.

I gestured for the guy to follow and said, “Have your guys bring it up to the side of the building. Come on, let me show you the goods.”

“Yeah,” he said, “how about we get your shit first. Then we’ll move this shit in.” Oh, the eloquence. Would you like shit with your shit? I don’t give a shit about this shit. What a shit that shit did shit! Just once, I want one of these Neolithic flatliners to spew out Stevenson or Dickens or someone similarly refined just for the raw surprise of it. At this point, I’d even be thrilled with some Tolkien or Asimov.

I could live a long time without hearing another stupid Martin quote, though. “When you play a game of thrones you win or you die” or “fear cuts deeper than swords.” Ugh. Just because something’s written down, it doesn’t become a masterpiece.

As we walked down the school’s labyrinth of lockers and stucco ceiling tiles, the sound of conversation in the distance echoed around. It’s impressive how the sound of just a few dozen people talking in one room can echo in a place like this. The long hallways, the metal lining the walls, the slightly bouncy, not quite perfectly flat linoleum of the floor, all combine together to create an unexpected acoustic magnificence… and a vaguely nauseating smell, sometimes. I really have no idea what’s in each of those lockers. We’ll get through them all eventually. So far, they’ve mostly been textbooks, backpacks, and marijuana. Anybody can grow weed. Backpacks trade well, but Chy’s got this thing about going through the lockers, says it’s one step removed from graverobbing and that we shouldn’t resort to it until we need to. I think it’s a stupid argument: We kill zombies and take what they have, on occasion, which is the same damn thing as graverobbing. Still. No reason to make waves.

“You got a lot of people holed up in this shithole?” he asked.

I shrugged, “Enough.”

“What,” he said, “like you’re overfull or some shit?”

What do you say to something like that? “Yeah,” I answered, “who isn’t?”

With a snort, he muttered out, “Yeah.” Thankfully, the conversation didn’t get too much further until I got him to the trade pile. I’d already pulled out what I was willing to trade if the food was good. It was good. Chy wasn’t going to like that the raiders had stolen it from a local farmer, but I also wasn’t about to tell her.

“Oh, shit,” he said, unsurprisingly, “yeah, that’s the shit we need. All of it, right?”

Nodding, I confirmed, “All of it.”

“Where’d you get this much of it?” It’s the type of question you don’t answer honestly.

So I didn’t: “Truck one of our scroungers found, just up around Mission. Lucky find.”

“I’ll say,” he said, patting one of the packages. He then gestured. Three of his five goons had followed him in. They moved forward and I tensed, wondering if it was a smart idea to have shown up at the door without my blunderbuss. Beebles should have been hiding up in the ceiling infrastructure with a rifle pointed down, but there was no way she’d be able to take out all four of these guys without them doing something nasty in the meantime.

Instead, they each grabbed up an armful of the packages of toilet paper that I’d brought them to, a tiny fraction of the stuff kept in the various storage and maintenance places in the school. As the first one started to head out, I said to the one speaking for them, “So we’re good, then. We’ll bring your end of it in after you’ve had a chance to clear out. Try not to tarry outside, alright? Some of my guys are a little, you know… off.”

He grunted, grabbed a few rolls himself, and then was off. I waited until they were done, looked up and around until I saw the glint of the barrel that our librarian had trained on all of us, and let out a heavy sigh of relief that she hadn’t had to use it. She’s getting better with a firearm, but she still hesitates, even against the corpses. She says she doesn’t like shooting things with eyes. I’m not sure why you’d need to shoot something without eyes. Die, broccoli! I wonder if she’d shoot a potato.

I gave her a thumbs-up and made my way to follow the last one out. After watching them drive off with whoops and hollers of triumph about their new acquisitions, I set about grabbing one of the bigger boxes of raspberries. Little bastards weigh a freaking ton, you know. Lugging them back into the cafeteria, I put them up into one of the big refrigerator rooms.

By the time that was done, I was pretty sick of the constant nattering in the cafeteria. I went in and flipped the damn switch off on the recorder. The P.A. system no longer worked quite right from the main broadcasting area, but more than well enough to fool a few jackasses into thinking this place had more residents than me, an accountant-turned-librarian who can’t shoot straight, a dirty – literally, most of the time – and foul-mouthed teenage girl, and occasionally a chatty transient crusader chick with a lack of any alcohol tolerance.

At least we now had fresh berries.

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  1. […] A Day at Terry Fox Elementary – Page 164 […]

  2. bong @co says:

    This is awesome! I love how your writing both contrasts and complements chryam’s writing. It adds depth to the overall story and makes it feel more real. Looking forward to your next journal entry! See you in psc!

    • chyrampsc says:

      I’ll make sure he sees your message and thank you for giving him the encouragement. He’s really given the missing piece to my story, what goes on in the safe house when I’m not around… which is a lot! 😀

  3. […] A Day at Terry Fox Elementary – Page 158 (Mid Day) Records […]

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