Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Booger and Jens

Mick trudged slowly up the familiar driveway. Everything ached. From toes to shoulders she felt like she'd been beaten and her head gave a low throb with every slow deliberate step she took.
The trip from mid-town up the highway had been grueling. The highway had been clogged with wrecks and a straggle of survivors all headed out of Atlanta in search of loved ones or just fleeing the big city before the weather got warm enough to make the massive number of bodies start to smell in earnest.

It had been dismal and disheartening. There were a few times when Mick had been tempted to stop at one of the dealerships along the way and liberate a 4 wheel drive but she'd always been an honest person and even in the face of chaos couldn't bring herself to steal just yet.

She paused staring at the timberframe house in the dwindling light. No smoke from the chimneys, no lights even though the street lights had come on as dusk started....just like normal.

It looked deserted.


"and you're anthropomorphising a house while you could be heading inside for a sit down in a comfy chair" She chided herself out loud then trudged up the steps.

She paused and knocked solidly on the door. The usual signal...shave and a hair cut...pause.
there was no answering braying of "Twoooo bits" from Booger, the dogs didn't start up barking. Silence.
She leaned over and picked up a stone from the potted plant and removed the key from the compartment in it's bottom.
It took her three tries to get the door to unlock.

"Hello?!!! Booger?! DOC!!! Jen? ...............anybody?" her voice sounded unnaturally loud in the dark foyer.

There was a small tape player and a notepad sitting on the side table next to a plate with some little debbie nutty bars and a juice box
The plate was labeled "EAT/DRINK ME"
the tape player said " PLAY ME"

There was a pen laying near the pad - conveniently placed.

For a moment Mick stared dumbly at the display then she began to smile the smile turned to a sob. " Oh god...they're alive..."
She slipped the pack off of her shoulders and let it thud to the floor as she sank down onto the bench by the door.
She fumbled for the tape player and pushed play.

"Greetings and salutations..." Booger's calm rich baritone sounded bone and soul weary.
"If I don't know you...what the fuck are you doing in my gorram house? don't you have any home training?"
there was a chuckle and the click/flick of a zippo lighter followed by a long slow drag and exhalation " Don't worry, all are welcome....especially now..I'm just funning with ya. It's been a long damned unpleasant few days. I've buried two damned good dogs, and my friends. The world has gone to hell and didn't have the grace to take me with it. " Mick closed her eyes. Jen was gone.... the two big labs Ike and Ellie too. She swallowed the rising grief hard. "If you're a stranger, I'm Carlton St.James. Some folks call me Doc, family usually calls me Booger.... help yourself to what's here. Only take what you need, leave the rest for others who might come after you do....and don't be an ass and trash the place. It's a home, not coming back here...but it still deserves respect. If you decide to squat ....welcome. Please take care of anyone who comes in and asks for help. They probably need it.
If you're family...Psycho Cat and I are on our way to Fort Campbell. According to the word on the ham they're trying to establish a sliver of civilization there....I reckon they could use a doc. Can't call ahead, cells aren't working and the phonelines are out. Went to the CDC yesterday. It was bad. They said that the flu that took Jen was almost 90% fatal for women. It's like Herberts "White Plague" and Children of men all rolled into one nasty package...then there's the natural disasters...... quakes out west, fires and volcanoes, you felt the quakes and saw the twisters if you were in Atlanta...no clue what the bread basket is like but the east coast got pounded by a tidal wave.....and naturally not satisfied with things going to hell just naturally the rednecks, gang bangers and holy rollers have gotten on the crazy train. Got a group calling themselves the "Christian Soldiers" 'doing God's work' by killing anyone who disagrees with their way of looking at things up in South Carolina around the Greenville area. Got another group called Martin's Millitia conscripting 'warriors' and taking any healthy women they find....for their own safety....of course" Boog's  bitter sarcasm leaked out of the tiny speakers "aren't they just the bees knees?"
 He took another drag then exhaled again.
"I can't stay here, there's too many ghosts. You know where things are. Make yourself at home. Follow the same guidelines I gave the strangers and if you eat the Debbies and drink the juice replace them from the pantry...can't have people coming into my house without showing courtesy......Jen would have my balls....oh and if the batteries are low..replace em. there's more in the drawer"

Mick listened to the tape twice, then leaned back against the wall and closed her eyes.


  1. Oy...sad, sad sad...and yet not. Sliver of civilization...sliver of hope. Assuming Booger isn't murdered enroute. Shelter from the chaos, but bittersweet. A place to sleep for the night...a possible destination, maybe. Greenville don't sound too fun. Bet I could get some names to put with that. Good post - only has one problem. Too short! MORE! Will be haunting the blog.

  2. Wish I knew what happened to the dogs...illness? Something disastrous? Did he put them down himself, for mercy in the chaos? More questions than answers...damn addictive!