June 6th, 2008
Ryan continued to delegate the many tasks at hand. "Kamikaze, I need you to fill every available container, including the sinks and bathtubs with water. Leave one out, actually, and mark it clearly as our toilet bucket in case the plumbing stops working. When you're done with that, go ahead and get to that rope ladder."
"Sure thing, cap'n," she replied got to work.
"Angel Hair and Rubble, your next job is to get me an inventory list of everything we have. I know this one sucks, but before we plan rations, I need to know how many Pop-Tarts we have. Before we can plan any sort of offense, I need to know what weapons and how many bullets we have. If it ends up taking forever, I'll either add somebody to the task or switch you guys out. Again, I'm not trying to sick you guys with the crap job, but I think you two know the supplies best, having hauled most of it yourself," he apologized.
They both nodded happily. "Don't worry so much, T. Rex," said Angel Hair. "It's really not that big of a deal."
"Yeah," Rubble added. "We know you're trying your best to be fair. I'd rather help out here than have to deal with the monsters out there by myself." They produced a pen and pad of paper and began with the nearest duffel.
Ryan nodded. "Thanks guys, that helps. I just don't want to be a dictator. Anyway, Peace and Cowboy, you keep working on that roof hatch. I know there's a bag of tools around here somewhere that you can use, but try not to do too much damage without thinking it through. Basically I'd suggest a lot of duct tape."
They retreated to the rear bedroom, leaving just T.Rex and Beard without duties.
"Okay, Beard. Next we gotta give everybody's phone the right message. Go ahead and power up your phone and access your voice mail," said T.Rex. As Beard did so, he continued. "Okay, now I need you to record something like this.
"You've reached Beard, and right now Fools are at Ryan's trying to survive the zombpocalypse. Survivors are currently Ryan, Renee, Andrew, Eric, John, Brant, and Steve as of June 6th. Phones are off to conserve power, so please leave a message and try the other Fools. We'll continue to check at regular intervals until the batteries are dead. Please notify the authorities and send help."
Beard nodded acknowledgment and walked to the back right bedroom to record. A minute later he emerged.
"Good," Ryan said. "Now I need you to go around and make sure everybody's phone is like that, including mine." He handed over his own phone. "My arm is killing me, so I'm gonna go take care of that." He grabbed a first aid kit from the pile of equipment in the living room and headed to the kitchen.
He walked around the corner and nearly tripped over one of the dozens of buckets and bowls on the floor filled with water. "Wow, Renee. Mind surrendering the sink for a bit and helping me with this arm wound real fast?"
"Of course not, you big dweeb. Come over here." She motioned him over and gingerly tried to untie the stained curtain around his arm. It wouldn't budge, so she pulled a pair of scissors from the kit and snipped the fabric away without hesitation. This caused the bleeding to resume, and Ryan looked away, slightly woozy.
She grabbed his free hand and clamped it over his arm near the elbow. "Hold this," she commanded. Looking away, Ryan held on tightly and tried to think of anything else.
Renee ran warm soapy water and washed the arm. There was a small bottle of iodine in the kit, and she poured a small amount onto a cotton ball. "This is gonna hurt," she warned before viciously scrubbing the cut up and down his forearm.
"Fuckbeans!! Jeez, that hurts!" he yelled, still refusing to look at his own arm.
"Everything okay in there, T.Rex?" Angel Hair shouted.
"Just FINE," he shouted back, as another cotton ball was swabbed.
Kamikaze finished the treatment by placing a long, sterile gauze over the wound and wrapping it tightly with medical tape from the first aid kit. "There, all done," she said, cheerily. He stood there, awkwardly.
"You can quit holding your arm now," she pointed out. Ryan let out a breath he didn't realize he was holding and slowly released the tension on his arm. He cautiously looked over at his left arm, as if a good stare would cause it to bleed again.
"Thanks, Renee. Want some help with the water?" he offered.
"No thanks, I think I got it." She continued filling buckets from the sink and stacking them in efficient overlapping piles in the kitchen, filling empty cupboards and the pantry first. She also emptied gallon containers of milk from the downstairs refrigerator and filled them with water as well.
Ryan gently nursed his arm as he checked on the other Fools at work. Cowboy and Peace had removed the closet doors and used the room to push in a dresser. This allowed them to reach the attic without a ladder and they'd marked out an approximate area to make the roof hatch. They kept having trouble with the heat inside, so Ryan asked them to take a water break before continuing.
Angel Hair and Rubble were quickly cataloging all the items. They'd quarantined the middle bedroom, and emptied it first. Only after listing an item did they move it back in, attempting to stack everything in an easily accessible and visible manner. Ryan was quite impressed.
Beard had completed the cell phone instructions, and together with T.Rex they began to work out duty and ration schedules. They figured with seven Fools, each night would have three night watch shifts of two people for three hours apiece, with a night off for the seventh person rotating amongst them. This would last from 9 pm to 6am, covering the darkest parts of the evening. Starting with an alphabetical list, the first two would take the first shift, second two the second shift, and third pair the final shift, and the odd Fool out had the night off. The next night, the list shifted one name down. This would ensure fairness, and a regular change of pace for all duties.
Thus the first night was Andrew and Brant from 9pm to midnight, Eric and John from midnight to 3am, Renee and Ryan from 3am to 6am, and Steve had the night off.
They would try for 3 liters of drinking water per day per person once the fresh water supply stopped. For now, the water wasn't a problem, but it remained to be seen how long their stores could last them. Beard and T.Rex also wouldn't restrict showers or the toilet as long as they worked, but showers were a low priority and they'd make deal with a bucket at some point. They decided the northwest corner of the house was the dumping point for trash and waste.
Water was plentiful (for now), but food had to be rationed immediately. This was especially important as Ryan's stomach started to growl. He'd not eaten at all that day and had been busy moving and thieving. The final inventory was still being tabulated, but T.Rex estimated that from what food he'd gathered and seen brought over, the seven of them would not last more than two weeks on minimum rations. Not to mention that they'd be sustaining themselves on mostly sugary packaged foods. He was slightly worried, but tried to remain optimistic. Hopefully they wouldn't need to hold out that long. Thoughts of food consumed all of his thoughts.
As the evening crept closer, Ryan pulled the Fools from their duties to share their first meal together as a band of survivors. Beard carefully doled out conservative portions of granola bars and fruit snacks, with glasses of water all around.
Nobody complained about the food, Ryan thought. This time.
As they stuffed the wrappers into a trash bag, T.Rex fetched a black case and gave a short lecture about rule number five.
"Guys, I can't stress this enough. If something should happen, a thing to keep in mind is rule five. That's ideal protection is tight clothes and short hair. That means keep your shoelaces tied, don't get sloppy, and pay attention to your appearance. I'd love to give you all armor and such, but even if we didn't worry about mobility, weight, and sound, we'd all die of heat in this weather. I think our best bet is to stay quiet, light, and nimble."
He had no indication so far that his friends were anything but loyal and willing to accept his leadership. Still, he was unsure of how the following days or even weeks would play out. He had doubts in his head about his own leadership skills, and felt the gesture he was about to make was leading by example. That it would help keep up the esprit de corps of the group, even if it wasn't in danger -yet.
T.Rex had Peace spread out a garbage bag onto the living room floor. Removing scissors and an electric razor from the black case, he let the Fools take turns shaving his head. They giggled as each one removed a stripe of curls from his head. The razor had a sufficient charge that they all took a turn shortening each other's hair. Beard kept his eponymous facial feature, and Kamikaze removed her hip-length ponytail almost entirely.
After they cleaned up the mess, it was time for bed. Together they placed five sleeping bags in a Tetris-esque arrangement on the living room floor. It was crowded, but they managed. As the rest of the Fools turned in and attempted to fall asleep, Peace and Rubble kept first watch. The roof hatch wasn't completed yet, so they set up shop in the back right bedroom.
As the excitement of the first day died down, and the last bit of chatter stopped, a brief moment of silence crept through the apartment before the night watch spoke up.
"Guys," Peace said nervously from the back room. "I can see dozens of them."
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