A Squirrel And His Typewriter

Inside his hollow stump, Squirrel was hiding,

hunched over a squirrel-typewriter, writing.

When he finished a sentence, his eyes seemed to linger

on the words freshly typed with small squirrel fingers.

Writing usually calmed him and put him at ease

(that’s why he had two squirrel writing degrees).

His pecks at the keys lacked their normal devotion.

His nervousness showed through his weary hand motion.

For the previous hour, Squirrel was keenly aware

that outside his stump, was a hungry mean Bear.

Squirrel did his best to keep Bear out of his head,

“If I’m safe in my stump, I’ll be safely… not dead.”

“So I’ll write a short story!” said Squirrel with a cry,

while silently hoping he wouldn’t become squirrel pie.

At first he wrote as a simple distraction,

but soon he became invested in his story’s action.

His tale was also about a talking squirrel,

though this one was more charming and better with girls.

His situation was similar to Squirrel’s, but more optimistic

(Honestly, the story was awful. Squirrels are so narcistic.)

His writing was lazy and sometimes he lied,

but first person narration left him self-satisfied.

The typewriter clattered and Squirrel let out a smile,

“This is actually really good, I could be here a while!”

He sipped at his scotch, before he began the third act,

but curiously, still heard the typewriter’s “clack”.

Bear’s claws finally made their way through the stump,

And enjoyed himself a nice squirrel lunch.


A Movie Script



In a destroyed hotel room, with a television blasting static and almost empty liquor bottles strewn across the floor, MIKE, a 21 year old blogger with the credentials to prove it, rises from the bed and lets out a moan.

Val! Are you still alive?

A large snort is heard from the bathroom and VAL, a 20 year old blogger with the credentials to prove it, pokes her head out, eyes wide from her great hit of cocaine.

Mike! I’m still kickin’. I feel like this has been quite a bender. What day is it?

MIKE rolls out of bed and hits the floor HARD. He rips away a garbage bag staple gunned to the wall to reveal a calendar crudely painted to the wall.

ValValZela, you aren’t going to like this.

Oh, don’t tell me its Tuesday already.

Worse, its December 16th.

Are you telling me that we’ve been partying for almost a month and a half?!

Yeah, we checked in on November 9th, right?

MIKE, still on the ground, punches the wall, leaving another gaping hole in the drywall.

Shit! We need to get out of here. How hard are you tripping on those shrooms?

Not very hard at all now, thanks. I can probably stand up by now.

MIKE slowly pulls himself into a standing position while VAL reaches deep into a hole in the wall and pulls out a beaten up cell phone.

Dammit. He’s called me like fifteen times.

How does Chris not understand boundaries yet? What a dick.

Whatever. Grab your gear and lets go.

MIKE and VAL grab their portable typewriters and duffel bag stuffed with clothes and handles of Costco brand vodka. They EMBRACE and share a passionate KISS and they both completely forget about their lifelong enemy, CHRIS. They are interrupted by a KNOCK on the door.

Did you order room service?


MIKE leans toward the door and looks out of the peephole. FOUR ARMED POLICE OFFICERS stand outside the door, more than prepared to knock it down.

You thinking what I’m thinking?

Lock and load!

Realizing that they have no weapons, they quickly throw a rope from the window and rappel down five stories to the base of the hotel. They high five.


We need a ride out of here fast.

I’m on it

VAL pulls her PHONE from her pocket and begins to text

Alright, what state are we in again?

I’m going to say Colorado, but I’m not positive.

Okay, he’s on his way.

Literally seconds later, a CAR comes barreling down the road at MIKE AND VAL. It slides to a stop right in front of them. PAT, a mustachioed economics major with the credentials to prove it, sticks his head out of the driver’s side window.

I was beginning to think I’d seen the last of you two.

Not yet Pat. Bloggers don’t go away that easily.

Yeah kid, we’ll tell you all about it once we’re clear of this mess.

MIKE AND VAL jump into the backseat of the CAR and they take off down the highway, easily outrunning the POLICE OFFICERS chasing after them after they GO OFF A JUMP


What have you guys been doing? We’ve been looking all over for you for weeks!

Just had to get out of the limelight baby. With all the pressure of producing monster hit blog posts, we needed a break.

Yeah Plattypus, all the internet dollars in the internet can’t make us happy. Fame and fortune isn’t everything

Well forget whatever you’ve been feeling before, are you ready to start blogging again?

You bet your ass!

MIKE AND VAL start blogging again and EVERYONE loves it.


part 1 of a short story?

On Friday night I stayed at the river house with my parents and drank a lot. Here’s what was on my computer when I woke up:
(Oh, and I have no idea where the title came from. Thats just what the document was titled)

Cold Pizza

Raymond was unhappy and frustrated. Well, he was only frustrated because he had no idea why he was so unhappy. He had a fine job, a few good friends from high school, and a decent apartment. If he had been asked what would make him happy back in college, he probably would have only mentioned those three things. But still, Raymond was unhappy.

He lay awake so many nights, not sure as to how he could be happy again. “What happened?” he would ask himself, not even close to the verge of sleep. “Should I watch sports? Do I need to exercise more? Go back to school? Join a religion? Get into philosophy?” Raymond tried all of these and felt the same. He still found baseball boring, running still made him feel tired, math still didn’t make sense to him, he still didn’t have faith, and existentialism still just seemed depressing.

For two months, Raymond was, as his friends said, in a rut. He thought to himself, “Its not that I’m in a rut, I’ve just realized that life is a rut.” That was probably the existentialism talking, but Raymond felt that he was in need of a dramatic change. Its living in the big city, he thought, “I need to get away”. The next day, he told his boss that he was taking a week vacation with his girlfriend, and told his girlfriend that he was going on a work trip for a week.

Raymond loaded up a backpack with a toothbrush, a pair of jeans, a few shirts, and a few socks and jumped into his car. He had no idea where he wanted to go, or what he wanted to do. He wasn’t even sure if he would come back after the week. He stopped at the bank and took out a thousand dollars. “This should be enough”, he thought. “this can buy a lot of gas.” Raymond filled up his tank and headed south, excited about the possibilities in front of him.

The giddiness of exploration soon left him, and Raymond simply felt relaxed and free. For the first few days, he drove from dusk till dawn, stopping at noon for a cheap sandwich at nondescript truck stops. He’d make polite conversation with the waitresses, talk about her kids, but she’d soon realize that he preferred to be on his lonesome. After his quick lunch, he would fill up his car and buy his upcoming dinner and breakfast. He liked it on the road, with long stretches of potential to either side of him. But mostly, he liked sleeping in the backseat of the car, all the stars laid out in the sky for him to see.

One afternoon in a diner, Raymond looked into his wallet and saw that he was down to his last two hundred dollars. Realizing that gas was more expensive than he reckoned, he decided that he’d like working at a quiet place like this to refresh his funds. He asked the waitress if she could help him out.

“Well dear, theres no open positions here, but you could check ’round Buxton. Its a nice town ’bout 10 miles west of here. I’m sure theres some business there that needs a young guy like you.” she said helpfully. He thanked her and hurriedly finished his meal.

Raymond instantly liked Buxton. Population: 253, the sign read while he entered the town. There was one main street, with buildings that hadn’t been remodeled since the 50’s, he figured. Raymond parked his car in the town’s single gas station and introduced himself to the elderly attendant inside.

“Hi there Ray” bellowed the jovial man. “The name’s Bo. What can I do you for?”

“I’m looking for work somewhere in town. Do you know anyone thats hiring?”

“Well, you just may be in luck. My friend Bill, his son just went off to college last month and he’s been telling me he needs another hand on the farm. Would that interest you?”

“Oh really?” Raymond’s eyes lit up in excitement. He had never done real outdoor work before; just waiting tables in college and his desk job back in the city. He’d always secretly wanted to do some sort of labor for a living. Always in the back of his head, he had figured that that would be so much more satisfying than working with needy customers all day.

Less than a half hour later, Raymond was speaking to Bill at the farm. He was a pleasant enough man, but stern.

“I’m looking for someone who can put in an honest days work for an honest days pay. Can you manage that?”

“Yes sir, of course” Raymond said. “But um… what is it that you need me to do?”

“We’re doubling our beef cattle next year, and we need to fence their grazing area so they can’t wander off. Thats two weeks of pounding in fenceposts, and then a week of throwing up the barbed wire. I’ll need you from 7 in the morning till 7 at night. A hundred dollars a day plus lunch and dinner. Well, and the sabbath off, of course. Does that sound alright?”

It sounded more than alright to Raymond. He gladly accepted the job and drove back into town. After a trip to the local laundromat and then the general store to pick up an alarm clock, Raymond parked his car in the woods outside the farm. He finished off the last of his beef jerky and lay on the roof of his car, glad that the mosquitos didn’t seem to want to bother him. Raymond was one relaxed breath away from from sleep when he heard a voice.

“Hey kid, you still awake?”

“Huh? Yeah. Where are you?” Raymond asked the darkness surrounding him. He heard a soft patter on the ground to his left.

“Right here kid. Don’t freak out, but I should let you know: I am a talking squirrel.”

Raymond looked around in disbelief. Sure enough, a squirrel walked slowly into the moonlight beside the car. Raymond lay there dumbstruck and the squirrel opened its mouth.

“Sorry, its got to be pretty startling for you.” the squirrel shrugged its shoulders and said with mock excitement, “Here I am. Look, talking and stuff.”

Raymond was unsure how to react. “Oh, hello there.”

“Alright, you’re with me now. I just stopped by to offer you a place to crash for the night.” The squirrel continued to speak and Raymond suddenly realized that it spoke with a Boston accent.

“There’s a cabin just a quarter mile deep into the woods where I’ve been staying for a while. Want to come along?” Raymond shrugged his shoulders and leapt off the car.

The squirrel bounded off into the woods and Raymond did his best to follow the voice which belted out “this way” every minute or so. Soon enough, Raymond saw a small wooden cabin with smoke billowing from its chimney. The squirrel jumped through the open window and Raymond walked through the door.

A Summertime Carol: A Novella

It was a dark and unpleasant night. Rain had begun to fall and Michael burst through the door of the apartment, reasonably intoxicated.
“Guess who’s…” his voice trailed off into the obviously empty place.
“drunk.” he sighed softly to no one in particular. It was his second night here, and he noticed that it unfortunately still smelled strongly of cat fur, and even more unfortunately, there were no cats in this apartment. Michael sat on the edge of the couch, thinking of putting in that Spiderman 2 dvd, but on second thought, he needed the sleep.
“Bah.” He said again to himself. This was kind of odd, Michael didn’t normally speak to himself, but he supposed that it was a valuable narrative tool.
Michael latched the deadbolt shut, turned off the lamp, and laid down on the couch for what was to become a very troubling night.

“Why is she not in her room? That better be her on the couch.” a quiet female voice whispered a few hours later.
“Well go wake her up then. We’ve only got so long.” responded another.
“HAILEY! WE HAVE COME WITH A WARNING!” the first voice suddenly boomed accompanied by what sounded like metal chains being dropped into a frying pan. Michael awoke with a start, absolutely sure that he had probably 30 seconds before he was violently murdered.
He ripped the blanket from his body and yelled to the seemingly empty room, “She’s not here! She’s st-st-staying with a friend”
A silence spread across the room as all three voices realized they were all extremely confused.
“Oh… shit. Sorry dude.” one of the female voices began meekly.
Michael, head full of both curiosity and aches, reached up and turned on the light. Standing near bathroom stood two ghostly figures; he assumed they were ghosts. One of them held a large handful of ghostly chains over a ghostly frying pan. They both looked shocked.
“Woah, ghosts huh?” Michael said, instantly realizing he should have said something cooler to the attractive apparitions.
“Yeah. Ghosts… This is really embarrassing. We totally screwed up.” said the ghost with the red hair as Michael threw his shoes at the girls, watching his sneakers sail harmlessly through the couple. She followed up, “Are you sure Hailey isn’t here?”
“Yup” said Michael “She said that she was going to crash at her friends house. Dylan? Doug? I don’t remember.”
“Who are you?” asked the other ghost, a brunette who wore a large triangular hat.
“Oh me? I’m Michael. I had to move out of my apartment yesterday and I need a place to crash so I’m staying here. And like, I don’t know what beef you have with Hailey, but I don’t really know her. I’m just friends with her roommate.” Michael paused and tried to remember if he’d ingested any hallucinogens that night. “Who are you guys? Should I go?”
“We used to be friends with Hailey back in the day. I’m Jessica and thats Jen.” said the ghost in the hat. “And we’re supposed to be here to give her a warning about the three spirits that come to visit her tonight. Ya know? Kinda like that thing from that Dickens’ book.”
“Kinda? Thats exactly the plot from ‘A Christmas Carol’.” noted Michael aggressively. “Thats either really pretentious or really lazy. I can’t decide which”
“Listen asshole” said the suddenly-not-so-kind Jen. “We have this whole life-changing night planned out. The wheels are already in motion. There’s nothing any of us can do to stop this. So don’t whine and just go with the flow.”
Michael shrugged and Jessica continued, “It’s not a big deal, kid. You’ll just have to wait out the night and hang out with some spirits. Even if you don’t learn anything, you’ll have a really kickass ghost story to tell.” She thought for a moment. “I mean, no one will believe you, so you probably won’t bother telling it. But still, its a once in a lifetime opportunity. Okay?”
“Yeah alright” he mumbled while the girls walked around the room.
The ghosts gave him some space and looked through the dvd collection next to the television.
Michael continued after a moment. “Fine… Wait, aren’t you a little young to be dead? Not that like, young people don’t die, but…” Michael decided he wouldn’t ask anymore questions.
Jessica laughed and smiled. “No, don’t worry. People usually open conversations in the afterlife by asking how you died. I ate some bad pizza. Make sure you always check the expiration date!” she said with a grin.
Jen poked her head up from a magazine she was flipping through. “I was hit by a train.” Michael wondered how she was holding a magazine.
“Oh!” said Michael. “Thats horrible”
“Nah, Its way more common than you think. Trust me, thats how you’ll probably kick the bucket too”. Jessica said with some gloom in her tone.
“Thanks, I guess.” Michael felt awkward and hoped that the ghosts would leave. “Well, I’m guess that I’m all set for the rest of these spirits…”
“Sure thing, seeya Michael.” said Jessica as Jen gave a noncommittal nod.
“Bye guys, have a good night or whatever.” Michael coughed as the pair disappeared in a very dramatic puff of smoke. Michael drank a glass of water as the rain lightly plinked on the roof.
“This night is going to suck” sighed Michael to himself. And lo, the night did suck.

Chapter 2

If you’re new, here’s chapter 1:

As I lit my first cigarette for, what I assumed was the night, I thought of how I’d spend my next eight or so hours. I’d probably do the usual: read through that bad book of poetry I found last month; spin the radio dial for a while, just curious to see if Minnesota was broadcasting IRB yet, but only because they played bad jazz after midnight; and then start the heavy drinking, when my brain finally cleared up enough to focus on Marcy.

No, not yet. I reached for the bottle to calm myself when I heard something from outside that made me reach even faster. There were only so many noises a zombie could make, and none of them sounded like the scream that came through the wall. It was a woman’s cry, loud and scared. But something seemed off. Anyone with any experience fighting knew that sound only attracted more zombies. And some girl couldn’t have made it all the way up here without running into her fair share. Something didn’t seem right about this, and for a second, I thought about minding my own damn business and drowning out that memory with some scotch. I’ll regret it every day I live, but I got off that lumpy futon for the last time and walked out the door.

She stood in the freshly fallen snow, surrounded by three lurching zombies. Just over the moans, I could hear the “click, click, click” as she kept pressing the trigger of her empty rifle. I tried to steady myself, connect my sights with the heads. My hands were shaky, I hadn’t fired my gun since my last grocery trip, just over three months ago. I thought to myself how i should have taken that drink; my hands wouldn’t be shaking like the useless limbs that they knew they were. I planted my feet firmly in the ground and pulled the trigger. Three bangs later, and the zombies lay on the ground, bowing in semidarkness to this stranger. I lowered my rifle and got a good look at the woman who had just ended my career as the selfish man i thought I was.

From the moment I had time to drink in the view, I knew that she sure was the trouble I had guessed she was. Even in her bulky parka, I could just see the faint outlines of her figure, daring anybody to just imagine what else was under there. Down from the bottom of her parka, I could see those legs shooting down into the snow. She wasn’t wearing the IRB pants that I’ve seen desexualizing so many attractive women. No, she was wearing skintight leggings that made a man take a second breath and be glad to be alive. I was certainly impressed, but thats not what made me nervous.  Her long black hair was draped over her shoulder. Just peeking out from the shadows it cast across her face were those dark eyes of hers. The trepidation was clear in them; but from the way those eyelashes framed those black marbles, I knew they held some secrets that I would have rather died not knowing. That darkness that gave me the creeps. I should have turned around then, having saved her this once. But I swallowed that sense of foreboding that she carried around and curiosity got the best of me.

The woman gave a sigh and from what little light there was, I saw a few small glistening teardrops fall from her chin and smack into the snow near her feet. My heart grew soft for a second and I wondered if I had judged too soon. She brushed the hair from her face, only for it to fall exactly where it had been.

She gave me a sheepish smile and said, “thank you so much, sir. I don’t know what I would have done if you weren’t here…” Her voice trailed off as I nodded in return. No girl like this would leave with just a thank you, I thought and was interrupted with just what I was expecting.

“May I p-p-please come in?” she stammered. I grunted sure and showed her inside.

“Sorry toots, I guess I wasn’t exactly expecting  company today,” I said as she noticed ashtrays stuffed with grime and the empty bottles scattering the floor like a forgotten train set. I pulled an old wooden chair out from the closet and offered it to her. I lit myself another cigarette and paced around her. She gave me that pout I’ve seen from so many girls who were too pretty to buy their own cigarettes. I pulled out a second and lit it for her. I took one last drag while trying to understand what that secret was behind those dark eyes.

“Thanks again for saving me back there…”

“Don’t play that damsel in distress act.” I interrupted. “I’ve been fooled by too many gals looking like you with that kind of attitude. I’ve been held up in here for 18 months, and you’re the only woman with a heartbeat who has traveled through. Theres no safety north of Chicago. If, of course, Chicago is still standing. Don’t be coy with me, why’s a thing like you all the way up here to talk to me?”

She seemed to realize I was more perceptive than I looked, and she loosened up. Her cigarette held more gingerly between her fingers and her mouth looked like it wanted to curl into a smile.

“Mr Roberts, I need your help.”

Help. If there’s one thing in post apocalyptic America that was in short supply, other than ammo, it was charity. When widespread disaster had hit, you only survived if you made sure not to stick out your neck, for nobody. But curiosity was getting the best of me. When you haven’t seen humanity in months, the sight of a beautiful woman with smoke rising through her maze of hair, further obscuring those mysterious eyes, well, that sight makes a man pause for even his most basic instincts. She seemed to sense my hesitation and resumed her plea.

“My brother had so much to say about you in his letters. How you were the top soldier in his battalion and how you’d never lose your cool when dealing with hoards of undead. When he told me how you were getting tossed, I thought at first that it’d be good for you, having time to relax now and all. But then I remembered how he had said zombie killing was your life. No soul can just quit from that and just take solace in a bottle. Now I see that I’m more right than I’d thought.”

“Strange things, what war does to a guy.” I responded. I didn’t have to defend myself. Any other gal off the street wouldn’t have had the stones to kick a washed up soldier when he’s down. But this one did, and I couldn’t deny my guilt. “Enough about my sorry state of being, why are you of any concern to me?” I asked, already regretting the words as they tumbled out of my mouth, sure that they would get me tangled in whatever she was involved with.

“Well when Brian last wrote me…”

“Jennings?” I asked with just a little too much excitement in my voice. Oh she sensed it and I knew I’d be paying for showing that moment of weakness. She smiled for the first time and I felt those shivers up my spine.

“Your brother was one hell of a man. He saved my life more times than I care to count.” I recalled. On so many late night patrols, a zombie had seemed to appear from nowhere, and Brian had saved us both. I used to be a damn good soldier in those days, but Brian had that ability to just sense whenever an undead was near.

“My brother is one hell of a man,” she sternly corrected me with a look that would’ve sent any other guy into the binge that I was already on.

“Or, so I’m hoping…” she trailed off as doubt and sadness rose in her voice.

“See, every week he would send me a letter, assuring me that he was doing fine, but it’s been three months since I’ve heard anything from him. I… I don’t know what to do.”

She paused and glanced through those bangs and right into my soul. I didn’t want to give her too much hope. When the world has more undead than dead on it, a missing man is most likely to be found covered in bite marks, trying to get you to join his ranks. I tried to keep my mind off the image of such a good friend helping what we had dedicated our lives to stamping out.

“Well, if he ain’t writing letters anymore, I imagine its because he’s too busy out there on the front lines. Sometimes that happens, you know? We’d be trying to reclaim a city and they’d just keep coming and coming. I’m sure you’ll get his post soon enough.” I don’t know why I tried even feeding her that lie. With a bat of her eyelashes, she dismissed it, and gave me a glare that told me I didn’t have to sugarcoat this for her.

“I know damn well what this should mean” she said coldly. “But I called my local barracks a month ago for confirmation, and there was no answer. And when I came in person to check, it was closed down. Not a person in sight. You explain that one to me.” Damn. The only purpose of the US’s martial law was to protect established cities and be ready to strike if an attack was needed. I had never heard of a barrack not answering their phone, let alone not having guards stationed on base.

“Well, I guess things aren’t going so well for Uncle Sam, then. What does this have to do with me?”

“I want you to help me find Brian. He always said that you were a great fighter, and I could use your help finding him.” I don’t even know why she bothered asking. I had already left my hibernation to save her once. And when a girl with mysterious eyes asks a broken down man for help, he’s putty in her hands.

“I don’t know about this. I’ve got a pretty decent living situation up here. I don’t have to keep my brain sharp any longer. A pretty little thing can’t just uproot a drunkard and make him fight.” I lied through my cigarette. She knew what I was doing. She complied and gave me that one ounce of respect and dignity that I was clinging to.

“Please, I have no other options. I need you.” Ah there it was.

“Sure sure.” I relented and she breathed a sigh of relief. Apparently I wasn’t as easy to read as I thought, or maybe she just wanted me to think that.

“You can call me Lauren.”

Chapter 1

I’ll be posting my novel in short increments; please enjoy!

Chapter 1

The clock read 5:00. I couldn’t tell if it was it was morning or night. Just another beauty of living out of a whiskey bottle in the dead of winter in Duluth. Saying I was hitting rock bottom wasn’t near the truth. I had hit bottom a year and half ago, and had been crawling ever since; lost in a sea of cigarette butts and empty bottles. I heard another groan from outside the window. Hell, how I wished it was the sounds of that yuppie couple that used to live next door to my new york apartment, fucking every chance they got. Larry and Sandra, that was their names. I feigned a laugh that at least those “urbanites” probably weren’t around any longer. No, the grunts I was hearing wasn’t from Sandra, oblivious that her husband had been screwing the landlords daughter just two hours earlier in that bed. Those moans were from the living dead, clawing to take down the one guy left in the city. The guy who didn’t even care if they did get him.

“What the hell”, I thought to myself. “If I’m up, I may as well have a cigarette”, celebrating another day left to sit in my stupor and pretend I wanted to make it to another. I pulled the sweat-stained sheet from my body and stretched out my legs. As I stood, my eyes immediately darted to that same piece of paper, tacked to the door. I scanned it again, even though I knew the words by heart. “Mr. Roberts, we regret to inform you that your services in the Dane County Infected Resistance Battalion is no longer required. After demonstrating repeated signs of disregard for your lives and the lives of other servicemen…” Unbelievable, when the government first mobilized against them, they were pulling every man and woman with two legs out of their houses, slapped a rifle in their hands, and said “aim for the brain”. But now, I can’t do the only thing on earth that I’m good at. Jennings said that if I would’ve done my patrols without my flask, they would have kept me. No way, one more killed wasn’t worth it for me if I had a splitting headache and couldn’t relax at the end of the day. They used to love the way I worked, in those first year. Yeah, I was angry at them. Officers used to say that was very important. “You shouldn’t view them as former human beings”. That was no problem for me, probably because I wasn’t even a human being anymore. Just an angry husk of a lug, pissed at mother nature for taking someone away, someone so close. That anger was my drive.

I would wake up every morning, excited to get rid of this infestation, to show that Marcy’s death could be avenged. Over the years though, that began to fade. I started to realize; these zombies, they weren’t some weird fluctuation of nature. They were nature. Just as humanity was a virus that spread throughout the world, now a virus was spreading throughout humanity. Fuck it. I was holed up in this place good and tight. When I received my discharge papers, I was already aching to go. I hitchhiked as far north as I could get that summer, and found the dead remains of Duluth.

It seemed empty at first. I knew the states only had three safe zones: Vegas, Chicago, and Florida. But I figured the zombies would have cleared out of an empty city. Whats the point of sticking around, when theres nothing left to eat. I suppose they were just waiting for someone to come back. As I took my steps from the highway, I held my gun close. I suppose my training hadn’t worn off quite yet. There was no trouble at all until I started heading down one of the main roads, trekking as fast as I could, looking for a supermarket. I had met some guys who holed themselves up in rooms for years, and remembered what they said they had. Those survival suggestions, of course, were second in my mind to the fact that I could finally have some decent booze and ciggs. I didn’t have to deal with the IRB rules about “looting” and having to smoke shitty wartime cigarettes made from what must have been cardboard. No, when i found a store, I ran in and dove right into the tobacco counter. Sweet sweet nicotine. As I reached up to grab a carton, I heard the door chime and glanced up. Duluth sure as shit wasn’t empty.

I dealt with my fellow shoppers as politely as I could. By then, I no longer felt the giddiness of taking them out that I used to. I just wanted to find a place where I could sit by and let myself waste away. I loaded up a shopping cart with a few industrial size boxes of meal replacement bars, four cartons of cigarettes, and as much liquor the cart could handle. I wandered around town, looking for a place where I could live my final years in peace. I finally came upon a cabin at the edge of a lake. It looked like it had served its last resident well; until, of course, he tried to make a run for it and got caught on his fence on the way out. Or, I assumed, based on the headless decayed body with its legs stuck in the barbs.

After taking my cart inside and finding the futon with the much too firm mattress. I was ready for the long haul. Good thing the running water still worked. I could spend my time here, with nothing to do but miss the old days with Marcy and drink until I felt enough hope to try to fix the old radio that the previous tenant left behind. Well, 18 months later, and I was still sitting in this shithole. Only differences was that I was running out of smokes, and I finally got that radio to work. Damn thing only picked up static though.