LP: Love by Love
1966 Elektra Records, Mono
Favorite Track: Little Red Book
Last night, a rare event happened. Not only did my friends and I win at Dead of Winter, a zombie apocalypse table top game that is beyond unforgiving, but all of us also passed our secret missions. A total victory with one more round to go although we probably would not have had enough food had it come down to that. What I love about these type of board games is the immersion. Had I taken notes, I could write a novella out of it. Instead, I will write a short piece about a truck driver. The poor truck driver. He lasted one turn.
Ralph pulled his coat closed around the cold, exposed parts of his throat and chest. The sun deceptively lured him outside to sit in his lawn chair. Last week proved winter to be a feral beast. He was glad to see some of the mounds of dirty ice melting. Already a few of the survivors were gathering buckets and discussing ways to sanitize the water. Food was running low and the librarian had left to find more. Ralph sighed. He should be contributing more, but, already people were blowing off his suggestions and whispering that he was dead weight. Yet, Ralph was the only one who voted to keep old Mr. and Mrs. Henderson in the camp, even after their buboes broke. This is insane, Ralph thought, what is happening to people? And to think, before the zombies, I thought society was breaking down…
The low moan instantly sent shivers down Ralph’s body. He knew they were outside the colony, but he checked every direction for movement. He sniffed the air. There was another sound: a low thrumming vibration. Ralph looked around trying to locate its source. He couldn’t find it, at first, but he also noticed that no one else seemed to be hearing it. I’ve lost my mind finally, he thought, like everyone else. How could they leave the Hendersons out in the cold with no food, medicine, fuck, not even a blanket…The sound continued louder. Ralph looked up, his jaw aching from cleansing teeth. He could still hear the moans, which were as normal as the wind.
Above him was a helicopter. It had passed over him and was heading west toward the police station. When it was about twenty-five feet from the colony, tiny square-shaped objects began to fall. Supplies! Ralph was on his feet and rushing toward the barricades. My chance to prove myself to everyone! To prove that I am not insane. He was halfway over the barricade before he thought, wait, to leave the colony would be insane. He slowly lowered himself down, eyeing the medicine bottles and food packets laying in the melting snowbanks. They were so close, but close was dangerous. He could let in the flesh rippers. But none were in sight. Maybe he could grab one or two and prove to the others what he saw and then they could create a team of people, some of them armed, to retrieve the rest.
Yes, Ralph, time to be a hero.
He was back over the wall. His feet made the softest crunch in a patch of snow. I almost feel like a kid again, sneaking through the kitchen after midnight in search of cookies. Ralph giggled, but then hushed himself. Don’t be a fool now. He took a cautious few steps. He heard a moan but it was far off. Maybe the librarian was coming back and the zombies were tracking her. Should I help her? No! I must get these supplies. After two or three more steps, Ralph took off in a run. He was crazy to move slow. One minute outside the colony was almost equal to death. And now, he had already wasted forty-five seconds.
He had one bottle of some type of blue pills in his hands when they came. He wasn’t sure how he didn’t hear them or see them. Was he that tied up in thinking about the survivors reactions to his heroic deeds? Had his fantasies of praise, cheers, even a few kisses, left him addled and stupidly standing with his hands in the proverbial cookie jar? Ralph didn’t get to find out. Three of the flesh rippers were on him before he could scream. Half-rotten fingers punctured holes in his throat so that sound escaped as blood bubbles hiccupping. Another jab him in the kidneys. As he fell to his knees, something harsh and strong attacked the back of his skull. Nothing broke, but he was sure he lost a layer of flesh. Before he could die though, he had to smell the inside of him.