I feel like things are starting to unravel here a bit. I’m not 100% sure why, but I’m pretty sure it’s a mixture of a bunch of things that are starting to come to light for me. We had our “come to Jesus” meeting today, and it went… well, but weird.
More weird dreams last night. Starting to piss me off. Lately I feel like I am moving from a waking nightmare, to a sleeping nightmare over and over. Rest is starting to become a scarce commodity for me, and I think that’s a contributing factor to a lot of our interpersonal strife. I think I might’ve unconsciously been a dickhead to my people.
Anyway. I woke up early, and made some preparations for our late lunch. Gilbert said he’d be over at 11am to help so I started the stuff I knew would take some extra time to make. Specifically I made that reasonably yummy green bean casserole Gilbert showed me. It takes awhile to put together and bake. I also made a batch of stuffing, which takes a surprisingly long time to make when it’s not the stovetop version. Who knew? Oh yeah, mothers and wives across the world. Sometimes I feel like a dolt for having a penis. Somewhere a woman just laughed out loud. I can hear you.
So at about 11 when Gilbert rode in on his snowmobile chariot I jogged over to Hall A. The weather has been chilly, holding at a steady 32F, and we’ve gotten light snow flurries every day lately. I think it has maybe added up to half an inch a day. I jogged over in my sweatshirt and rapped on the door. It was fairly quiet inside, and Randy let me in.
I sat down and bs’d with him for awhile until Patty and Chuck got done doing whatever it was that they were doing upstairs. Their demeanor was much better than the day prior, which was good to see. Randy was a little odd when we were talking. It reminded me of when kids at the school were having parental issues at home. Kids feel that shit more sharply than parents realize.
After the two of them came down I was all smiles, and I asked them if they were free for a “town hall meeting” over a late-ish lunch. Surprisingly, they both instantly said hell yeah. I was really pleased with that, and told them to come over at like 12:30 or so for food. They asked if there was anything bad going on, and I said no, just that we hadn’t sat down in awhile to talk, and that we had some information we really ought to talk about to make plans. They seemed kinda relieved to be part of the process. Maybe they’d been feeling like I’ve been shutting them out? I guess that’s a downfall to being used to strict chain of command. I just expect them to follow whatever it is I’m doing without question because that’s what I’m used to. Seems like a huge flaw in judgment when applied to people unused to it. But really I have no idea. Figuring this out as I go.
I invited them over, they accepted, and I left after Abby came down to say hello. When I got back Gilbert had dug out the remainder of the venison. I’ve done a pretty good job of stretching out I think. Although.. I did eat a lot of it early on, so maybe I didn’t. He planned on getting the grill fired up just about at 12:30.
I cracked open cans of a few different vegetables, and as you might expect Mr. Journal, I cracked a can of cranberry relish. Seemed like the right thing to do. Gilbert and I worked in the kitchen for a bit and we talked about basic planning and whatnot. He told me how good a job I’d done with the campus, and was really thankful for bailing him out of the bad spot he was in the other day. I told him there was nothing to thank me for, and that he’d do the same for me, and he agreed. He gave me some quasi-religious mumbo jumbo about it being important to have faith in doing good things. That ultimately we would either be rewarded for doing the right thing, or we should try to make right if we’d done the wrong thing. But most of all, he said what’s done is done, and we needed to make it through our trials before any salvation came to us. Redemption is earned, not given. It definitely took a weight off me I didn’t know I was carrying after talking to him. Gilbert Donohue ftw.
Patty, Chuck & Co showed up late, and were pretty obviously arguing over something right before they came over. Randy came in the door and immediately went for the Playstation, and Abby went straight to Gilbert and started helping him. Patty and Charles sat at the kitchen table and had this awkward forced conversation with me. It was fake as all hell, and it really bothered me. Reminded me a lot of how my mom used to treat us kids when she got into the sauce. We were burdens to be tolerated, and not gifts to be cherished. Put me on guard and into a pretty smarmy attitude in short order.
Gilbert and I got the rest of the meal together with Abby’s help in a few minutes, and I pried Randy off the Playstation. The meal itself was really nice. Gilbert has a gift with putting seasonings on pretty simple shit to make it much better. For example, he sprinkled a tiny amount of paprika on the corn, and it was delicious! I never knew I liked paprika. One more thing I need to thank Gilbert for.
We all ate in about 30 minutes, and Randy asked to go use the Playstation again, and with Chuck and Patty’s blessing I said sure. Abby hung out with us as we got the coffee maker going. She has officially been promoted from the little kid’s table I guess. As we sipped on some really good coffee, I shared some of the news of what had been going on lately around. Since Charles’s “back injury” he’d been out of the loop, and seemed almost rejuvenated by all the good news.
I am pretty sure he was “feeling” some kind of fake injury to avoid getting into trouble. We saw it all the time in Iraq. Even the hardest soldiers could break, and I’d bet my left nut (that’s the big one Mr. Journal, so you know I’m serious about this) that he’s dealing with PTSD. It makes a lot of sense after watching him this afternoon. I’m pretty sure that’s why Patty has been so off as well, and if it’s even a little serious, he’ll be a beast to deal with around the house. She’ll lose her mind if I’m right and he struggles with it for any extended period of time.
You know... we have medication here that can deal with anxiety. If it keeps up, we might have to sit down and have a real awkward conversation about him taking it. How’s that for a post apocalypse dilemma? Do we force medication on the mentally ill? Fucking world.
So. I told them about everything that’s happened, including the short gun battle at the house near the gas station and the subsequent raid on their house. Patty and Abby already filled him in on the stash we got, and while really happy about it, they immediately raised concerns about the fact that they were no longer able to just take what they want, when they wanted it.
Can’t say I didn’t see that coming, and I really can’t say I blame them. I tried to explain why it was a necessity, but all that did was ramp up their feelings about being cut off. Gilbert actually stopped us, and ended the whole argument with a few calm words.
I quote the old man, “Patty, Charles, control of resources is standard military strategy and procedure. If we can’t control the food, we might over eat, and then we’ll starve.”
And for whatever reason, those words made sense to them, and our 10 minute bitch session ended abruptly. Sometimes I just don’t understand what makes people tick.
We continued on for about 45 minutes, and finally there wasn’t much more to say. I told them a few stories about when I was clearing campus that I hadn’t told them already just to give them a better idea of the nutty shit I went through, and they got a kick out of it. Mostly the funnier stories like when I had the damn zombie bite my collar in the kitchen. Man I still almost shit a brick when I think about that. Funny looking back on it now, but man... Phew. Gilbert took off after helping me clean up. I thanked him for his help with everything, and he just patted me on the shoulder.
Randy hung out with me after the other three Williams folks left. He was trying to finish some quest in a game and didn’t want to leave until it was done, or he got to the save point. Kids make the best faces when they play games or sports. He was twisting his face into all these grimaces and smiles as he dueled with some giant dragon. He wound up killing it just barely on the first try, and I walked him back to Hall A just as it got dark.
I used my key to open the door for him, and just as he was about to walk inside, he stopped, threw his arms around me, and gave me a squeeze. He said “thanks Adrian, you rock” and then headed inside. I like that kid. I really thought he was going to be a shithead, but he isn’t. I wonder if everything that’s happened to the family has mellowed him out. Death has a way of growing you up in a hurry.
That put a smile on my face. Although I worry for Abby and Randy because of Patty and Chuck’s problems, whatever they might be. The kids always pay the highest price. I think tomorrow I’ll take it easy and maybe try to hang out with Charles. He’s awkward, but maybe I can think of something we can do that doesn’t require physical labor. He’s a bright guy, maybe I can recruit him to plan something with me. I might even try and get him on the Phase 2 ideas. If he feels like a integral part of the plan, he might not react as strongly against it as I think he would otherwise. I know I feel better about things when I have a say in my fate.
Now that we’re out of venison maybe I can take him out hunting. Or maybe he and I can hit the archery range and work out that new bow. I don’t think he knows how to shoot a bow, and frankly, even with our newly refurbished ammo counts we should be using the bow as much as possible.
I dunno, maybe it’s still too soon for either of those plans. I really need him to be onboard on a run downtown, but I hate sitting here treading water because of an issue he may or may not have. I’m not a psychologist, but I am pretty sure he’s got issues to work through.
I know I do.
Please read Midnight before progressing to the next entry.
Exclusive Fiction: MIDNIGHT
If you've already read Midnight.