Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Brief Experiment in Post-Apocalyptic Survival Literature

After picking through the pile of wreckage for what felt like an eternity, Dave found an unopened can of lima beans. Ripping the lid off, he devoured the contents hungrily, desperate for sustenance. He quickly emptied the small can and took a few precious sips of clean water from the canteen in his backpack. After the Bomb, most of the water sources in the Midwest had been contaminated; safe drinking water was a priceless commodity. Dave had been lucky enough to find a few gallons of the liquid in the ruins of a warehouse that had supplied supermarkets back when they existed. “When they existed,” Dave mumbled to himself, marveling at the sheer absurdity of it. The Bomb had changed everything. Politics, money, civility: none of it mattered anymore. Not after the Bomb. People did what they had to do to survive these days, and if one man’s survival meant another man’s death, then that was just the way things were. Oh, sure, people tried to hold it together after the Bomb; there were some communes out in Utah that lasted for years. But eventually, without anybody other than a few self-appointed messiahs telling you what to do, there’s just no reason to keep obeying.

Dave pulled himself out of his musing and started back on his way. Where to, he didn’t know. But in this world, standing in one place meant getting left behind; you couldn’t rely on anybody but yourself to keep you alive, especially when you look like an easy target. Dave had been a software engineer back before the Bomb; though the hard years since had taught him a thousand little things about survival, he still had the bland, unintimidating look of the American office drone. Funny how looks could be deceiving, though; Dave thought back to all the punks who had tried to make trouble over the years. At first things had been hard, but in a way, punks were a lot like software bugs; they’re all just glitches in the same underlying logic that drove everything. When it came down to it, they were all predictable, and once you figured out the patterns, you could come up with a standard procedure for dealing with them. Dave’s standard procedure was to keep to himself and avoid looking for more trouble than he had to, but sometimes trouble was just a part of life. Jeff had spent a lot of time and effort learning how to fight when he had to, and he was proud of the results; he wasn’t Chuck Norris, but he was more than tough enough to deal with the low-life punks he ran into on a regular basis.

1 comment:

Tommy Graves said...

I see you made good use of your essay time.

Love it.