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Mechanical Failure, part VI

May 17, 2013

~Continued ~

Besides the garden, the zombie killing, and all the research I do, I also make shopping trips, as I like to call them. I guess it adds a semblance of normalcy to my life to say that I’m going shopping. It’s really a little more complicated than that. I risk my life every time I leave the house and I’ve had some very close calls on these expeditions. And I used to think that the grocery shopping trips to the local mega stores were bad. At least nobody ever tried to bite me back in those days. Well, only once and that was a really intense Black Friday sale.

I wonder how things will be in Oregon. It’s hard to say because I haven’t been able to reach my family up there for a while. For that matter, I haven’t been able to contact anybody on the internet lately so I don’t know what’s happening in the rest of the world. In the beginning I had a whole list of people with whom I kept in touch. One by one, they quit replying until there was nobody left to talk to. I told myself that it was just because they lost their electricity. Not everybody has hydroelectric power and I’m guessing that the grid has failed in most places. I think a lot about the nuclear plants all over the world. Since most of us had some warning about the plague before it spread, I hope that people had time to shut these plants down or that there is some kind of safeguard in place. I found a map and I know there are a couple of nuclear plants in southern California and southwest Arizona and there’s one in Washington. Other than that, the west doesn’t have too many. I worry about people on the east coast. They have nuclear power all over the place.

The long drive to Oregon will be risky, but I have some of it worked out. I’ve gotten pretty good at siphoning gas, for one thing. The first time was terrible because I swallowed some of it and was burping up gasoline the rest of the day. The second time, I was gun shy and almost couldn’t do it. I’m good at it now and I’ve been collecting it in cans to take with me so I don’t have to stop along the way. I thought about finding an RV and putting a cow catcher on the front and bars on the windows, but honestly, I wouldn’t have a clue how to do all that stuff so I gave up on the idea. I’ll just be careful with my route when I go. I want to avoid cities at all costs and that’ll mean taking the long way around Las Vegas, too.

Today was shopping day, so I’m pretty tired. I did well at the grocery store and completely filled the back of my truck. The store smells terrible because of all the rotting food, but I wear a mask when I shop now and it helps somewhat. I can’t imagine how bad it will be once the refrigeration goes out. Even with the coolers still running, the produce section is filled with rotting vegetables and fruit. I usually take some of the rotten stuff and add it to my compost pile. It looks disgusting but I shovel it into garbage bags so it’s easy to transport.

I picked up enough frozen food to fill my freezer again, but I noticed today that the freezer shelves are starting to look pretty bare. Once the fresh produce and meat was gone, I started in on the frozen stuff. I’m saving the canned goods for once the freezers quit working.

My routine is to back the truck into what I call my car corral. Over the last couple months, I’ve moved a few cars into place to form a little square around the doors of the store. I left an opening just big enough for my truck and if I park it just right, nothing can slip past easily. I can still get in and out of the driver’s door and I can usually load up the truck when I’m done shopping without being bothered by the dead. The only problem is that once I leave, they move right in. Since the glass in the front door to the store is broken, a few always manage to make their way inside, so I always have to kill a few every time I go shopping. I wish I could lock the doors when I leave but I haven’t figured out a good way to do that yet without having to move a whole lot more cars.

I had to kill about ten zombies inside today, which was more than usual. I had a moment where I was almost surrounded but I was able to just shut off my mind and do what I had to do. That’s the only way I can keep from panicking when things get bad, though my heart is always pounding the whole time I’m there. I always use a crowbar so I don’t make noise and draw others. I’ve gotten pretty good with it after lots of practice. I know just how hard I have to hit them and what part of the head to aim for. So far I’ve been lucky and I haven’t been swarmed by a big group. I carry a pistol but I try not to use it when I’m someplace where I could be easily trapped. Even when I use it outside, it seems that every zombie in town hears it and comes running . . . well, they don’t really run. It’s more of a shamble.

After I finished shopping this morning, I went to the library. I filled up the whole back of the truck with books and even got a bunch of fiction just in case I ever get time to read for pleasure again. I found a book on solar power and I’m trying to figure out what I need to install it at my house in case the grid fails. It sounds kind of complicated. I’ve spotted several solar panels around town so I’m sure I can get the parts I need if I can just figure out how to hook it up.

I dropped the books off at my house just a few minutes ago and I’m completely exhausted from loading and unloading the truck twice, not to mention the zombie killing. That’s a workout. Still, even though I’m ready to drop, I think I’m going to go back out. I thought I saw a water truck by one of the municipal buildings. If I could find keys for that and drive it, maybe I could refill the pool. I’m not sure if I could figure out how to get water from the public water tower but Lake Mead isn’t far away. There’s a pond, too, over in Boulder City. It’s a lot closer than the lake but the lake is probably safer since there weren’t many people living down there when the end came. I know I can put this off for another day, but I just want to check it out.

 ~to be continued~

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