Friday, March 19, 2010

Last Call, Last Stand - Part 10

Chapter 4 - 187 All Over Again

It is a strange sensation to be in shock over how in shock you are. Sitting in the flickering candlelight-Phebe had advised me to turn off all the lights to avoid attracting attention-and watching her sleep in my bed, the bed where earlier I had fucked Crystal senseless and even earlier had been enjoying savage break up sex with the ex, I almost had a panic attack at the weirdness of it all. To keep from chewing my hands off like a coyote in a trap, I smoked a joint and focused on listening to her breathe. Jon Mackey, consumate sexual predator, watching a woman sleep in his bed. My dad would probably roll his eyes and come up with about a dozen perjorative homosexual themed remarks here. It was a strange thing to worry about, but it help keep my mind off the real problem-the howling mobs that were, according to all reports, only growing larger as the food shortage got worse.

Nobody really thinks how much effort it takes to keep 784,117 stupid motherfuckers (and one Jon Mackey) fed in a large city. I had never thought about it, even while watching Chicago blaze merrily on cable news. But Phebe, who worked at the local Costco, had described the typical supermarket's "Just in time" delivery status, and as we added up the math by candlelight with our hands touching occasionally over her clipboard, I couldn't suppress a grinding, cold feeling in my adderol riled stomach. It takes a whole fleet of trucks 24/7 just to keep the Costo stocked with fresh goodies and sundry bullshit. Multiply that by the number of stores in the city, subtract the space taken up by eldritch video game peripherals, sickeningly cute kitten posters, and whiz-bang dildo organizers. Divide by total population times 3 meals a day. Carry the Oh Shit, and the solution comes out so deep in the red if you fart you part the devil's hair. And that was assuming trucks were coming in-according to all the news outlets, every interstate, every state highway, every bumblefuck county road and bridge for a hundred miles were shut down.

I read about some guy in college that said that any society is three meals away from anarchy. I had believed it, in the world weary cynic college sort of way. Now that I had lived it, I saw it for the divine truth it was. I was trapped in a city of 784,117 very hungery motherfuckers, sitting on top of a pile of food listening to a girl I barely knew snore with her tear streaked face in my ex's favorite pillow. Fuck.

The talking heads on TV were worse than worthless; at about 5 am I had abandoned even the pretense of watching it. One channel says there is a shelter on Beechwood avenue. Adjacent channel says no, that shelter has been overrun, the military is holding checkpoints for evacuation on the outer loop. Next channel up is claiming that the city is quarantined and all roads have been shut down. Earlier in the night, while we were shuffling supplies from her place to mine, we had seen a military helicopter flying overhead, but it was flying into the city, and it was armed. All in all I found it better to sit in the dark smoking a joint; I wasn't getting any useful information, and Phebe's breathing was better for my nerves.

Phebe...was going to be a trial, I could tell. Some new, weird part of my brain was constructing this whole thing as a romantic honeymoon punctuated with extreme violence, some white-hat-white-horse-white-knight bullshit. It has to be something about the male brain; I was conciously aware that it was she who saved my ass, not the other way around, but I still constructed myself as the Conan the Barbarian hero with a scantily clad, very sexy Red Sonja behind him clinging to his leg; somehow it just lingered, despite the nagging persistance of actual fact nibbling away at it. I couldn't reconcile this new, purist perspective with the savage, raging hard on I had while watching her stir dreamily in the dark with her ass in the air. It was like both sides of my nature, the clean cut hero and the bitch-smacking scum, were grappling in my roiling bowels. My bent brain provided the dialogue, and the drugs provided the energy. The latest self absorbed monologue had gone something like this.

Good Jon Mackey: This is the first time in your fucking worthless life you have a chance to help someone who deserves it. Don't fuck it up.
Evil Jon Mackey: Don't listen to that bitch ass Jonny-come-lately; it's just a momentary illusion. Your own dick is telling you what a bullshit lie he's peddling; you know that despite all that John Wayne bullshit that you have to devour her.
Good Jon Mackey: Your hardon is irrelevant; you owe this girl your life and its likely that you won't make it through without her.
Evil Jon Mackey: Whatever faggot.

Sometimes I am given real cause to worry about the state of my mind.

I puffed down my roach, set it aside in the ashtray. The stale smoke lingered heavy and thick in the dark room. I lit up a cigarette as well-my last, and believe me when I say that I was more concerned with that than the food by any man's reckoning. I smoked it down to the filter and still didn't feel any better. So I just sat there in the dark until dawn, with my cigarette butt and my gun and my hardon and my internal conflict, watching my only chance at salvation drool on my bedsheets.

I didn't mind-god knows what fluids were already on there anyway.

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