Blog Entries
July 20th Tags: 164th entry

July 20th.

                I have never seen so many motherfucking chickens.  It’s like we’ve been invaded by an evil nation populated entirely by poultry. 

                Man.  Just fucking chickens everywhere here now.  I feel compelled to eat chicken every night now just to thin the fucking ranks and give us a fighting chance.  It’ll get better once all the coops are built, but for the moment…  It appears as if an entire nation of edible villains has taken over most of the open grassy spaces of campus.

                Things are marginally better here on campus, and I credit it to the presence of the chickens.  People are stoked that more food is literally walking around in our midst, and the kids are having the damndest time chasing them around.  There’s something kind of magical about watching a child at play, and I think we are slowly falling under that spell.  If it distracts us from the bullshit drama, I am all for it.

                I’m tired today, but my arm is much better.  The redness and inflammation has abated dramatically, and it isn’t nearly as sore as it was the past few days.  I think I am back on full duty as of tomorrow. 

                Mallory is better today than she has been lately.  She still seems fairly withdrawn when compared to her pre-fire self, but Abby has been spending time with her, and the two of them I believe are talking things over, and it’s helping.  I really hope for her sake Mallory sorts her shit out.  I’ve been in that place, and it sucks.  It can ruin you if you let it.

                Progress on the campus wall has been nothing short of spectacular.  Progress in general has been nothing short of spectacular.  With so many extra bodies here, we can split up to do three or four independent tasks at the same time.  Yesterday for example was easily the most impressive day we’ve ever had here.

                Blake worked on fuel filtration with one of the new people as an assistant.  He was able to get all but three barrels done yesterday I guess, which is a weight off of our shoulders.  We also had a full sized crew working on the wall.  Martin led the team working on the tree cutting, and Alex and George led the team working on the wall construction.  In total Martin said we got almost 100 feet of wall in the ground, complete with berm backing.  At that rate, we’ll shave our construction time in half.  Productivity ftw.

                While all that was going on Abby and Patty led a team of four that went down Auburn Lake Road to Route 18, and collected all the available bedding, as well as the decent beds to replace the shitty dorm beds here.  That took them all day.  No one was hurt while they were outside the wall, which is awesome.  I like that phrase too incidentally.  Outside the wall.  We used to say outside the wire in Iraq, which was when we were off base, and “outside the barbed wire.”  I like outside the wall.  Gonna start using it.

                Chris, Hector and I focused on working with Ryan on testing the solar panels we’d installed on the roof of the gym.  Poor Ryan has been going tank to tank almost all day pouring his fertilized water mixture on the roots of the plants in the hydro tanks.  He hasn’t had enough juice to adequately power all his little manual pumps, and he has been adamant about not wasting gasoline when he can just do it manually.  As he has said, “I won’t run out of gas like that generator.”

                And as long as he can keep himself fed, he’s 100% right.  I give that kid serious props for the work he’s put in, even after the death of his friend Zach.  He’s definitely a new person now that he’s out from under that other dude’s shadow.  He uses full words, and seems to have realized he is not a gang member, nor is he hardcore.  I’m not happy to admit this, but I am somewhat glad that Zach is dead.  Ryan is a much better person for it.  It’s like taking a flower out of the shade, and putting in the sunlight.  It’s a beautiful thing to watch.

                James, the other soldier on Mike’s team has a badly sprained ankle.  He’s more or less laid up pulling sentry duty at the bridge for us for the moment.  I guess Hector, LaFrenz, and James were trapped on the second floor in a locked classroom during the fire, and wound up smashing out a window, and jumping down onto the fucking parking lot.  Hector and LaFrenz managed to land safely and avoid injury, but James came down funny, and more or less dislocated his foot. 

                Lisa Goldman’s main medical trainee is an older lady named Lindsey.  I’m not happy that there are two Lindseys here now, but I guess duplication of names was unavoidable.  Anyway, she’s got the school nurses’ office back in swing, and she got James’ foot reconnected and splinted up fairly quickly.  He’s in a lot of pain, but with a trickle of Percocet all day, he’s managing the pain well.  When he’s finally back up to snuff, which could be weeks or months he’ll be a huge asset to have.  He’s another trained gun to protect, and to bring on our little outside the wall operations.

                Today we broke up into groups again.  Primarily we formed two and a half groups.  On campus we split into wall work teams the same as yesterday, which I guess is two groups in and of itself, and the rest of us went back to Westfield to Lenny’s farm to get the chickens.

                What a fucking task.

                Six of us went in the semi plus one humvee, and we enlisted the aid of Lenny’s barely adult work force to get things loaded into the truck.  Lenny had 93 chickens.  Of that, there were fifteen roosters, and 22 “chicks.”  Lenny had done some work to get the coops removable, and we were able to strongarm the damn hen houses into the semi trailer.  Most of them were chicken wire and frame, so the big issue was bulk, not weight.  Some of the houses were legit structures though, and those all had to remain behind.

                The chickens inside them made the trip, because Ollie had built homes for them already back here.  Sadly, during the trip back there was some shifting in the back of the trailer, and four of the wire frame coops were smashed apart.  Fortunately, the birds inside were fine, but because we lost storage space for about 30 chickens, we have chickens everywhere for the moment.

                Rewinding a bit, Lenny seems… lonely.  Despite now living with more people than he’s lived with since the end of the world, he struck Mike and I as being sort of detached.  I think he might be realizing that he doesn’t want to stay in the farm more anymore.  I’m really hoping we can talk him into moving as soon as the harvest comes up.  We have until late August I think for that, so with any luck, we can butter him up about it.

                Lenny caught the young couple fucking in the barn that very first night by the way. 

                On a more serious note, we have started to look at all the new people very carefully.  One of the secondary reasons we have broken everyone up into different small groups is so that we (ALPA originals, if you will), can try and find out if the person who set the fire is here.  The last thing we need is a goddamn pyro on campus.  What scares me even more, is in the wake of Gilbert’s sharing that evil is out to get me, I’m starting to wonder who else is under the influence, so to speak.  If the Devil can get to Gilbert, he can get to anyone.

                Eventually, he might even get to me.

                Sobering thought.

                Every night after we work with our respective teams, we’ve been meeting here in Hall E and going over what everyone has said about their story the night the high school burned down.  Abby grabbed one of the student’s laptops, and she’s keeping a detailed spreadsheet on who has said what to who, so we can start to look for inconsistencies in stories. 

                Our hope is that we will catch people in a lie, and thusly lead our way to the motherfucker who killed all 36 of those people, and ruined all the supplies those people had been relying on to survive.

                When we find out whoever did it…  They’re gonna have a lot more than going to Hell to worry about.  Mike is hot for blood on this, and when he finds out who did it, he’s going to stave their fucking head in.  Or worse.  In fact, I’d put my money on worse.

                What next for us?  Where do we go from here?  I’m liking the cycle of one day on campus, followed by one day off.  So in keeping with that idea, we decided we’d iron out some stuff here on campus tomorrow.

                Room assignments.  Well, more accurately, we’re going to figure out where people want to sleep at night.  They’re welcome to sleep more or less anywhere, but we need to know where folks are living, and what needs to be stocked where.  How many guns, how many bullets, how much food, do we need to power new buildings, etc?

                After we’re done doing that, we are going to have a big fat family dinner.  As many folks as we can all eating at the same time.  We’re planning on sending six chickens to the executioner so we can eat them.  I’m also sort of wondering if we should be sending someone out to look for deer or game.  A single deer would feed all of us for a day or two for dinner.  That kind of free food is a big deal.  You know actually, I think I can plug some of the kids into fishing in the lake.  I know there are plenty of fish to catch, and fishing is a fairly easy task they can accomplish within our eyesight.

                Day after tomorrow… we’re going back to MGR.  Martin wants to go back to reinforce the doors we had to cut open so we don’t have to use the ladder truck to get into the building.  He wants simple, but strong bars to shut the door with, and I’m all for that.  Once MGR is safe to occupy again, we’re going to work on staffing it, and then possibly hitting the police station to remove the repeater tower so we can get it on top of MGR.  Then we’ll have radio contact over the entire length of town, which makes me feel all kinds of warm and fuzzy on the inside.

                Mike has expressed some interest in staffing MGR consistently, and I think Dwayne is also interested as well.  Both of them like their space, and if they want to live there, I’m fine with that.  I also like the idea of having a military man as my eyes on top of the building.  We’ll see a lot more that way than with a civvie up there half assing it.

                Well, I think that’s it for now Mr. Journal.  I appreciate you listening.  I often forget how much it helps me to write all this shit down.  Some days it’s hard to organize my thoughts, and being able to record it makes me feel a little better about the chaos inside my head.










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