DAY 31

After the shit has hit the fan is generally not the best time to figure out what you’re made of.  By definition, once it has hit the fan, you’re pretty much screwed, unless you’re fully prepared for it, or unless you’re lucky and find yourself in the position I’m in.  I still don’t completely understand what it is the virus has done to me, but it has given me a set of “do-overs.”  It’s likely that there are not an unlimited number of them, but it seems that as long as I don’t fuck up too badly, I’ll live to fuck up another day.

I didn’t get a chance to make an entry yesterday because I was recovering from my fuck up.  There are days when it doesn’t pay to get out of bed, even if your sheets are well past the prescribed cleaning time.  Who knew laundry was going to be an issue after the apocalypse?  But keeping my whites white is a problem for another day.  Finding a way to move cars around was the task I set out for yesterday, and I had thought I had it figured out.

I live just north of downtown Seattle, which sits on Puget Sound, or more specifically, Elliot Bay.  Most of the shoreline, from where I live through downtown Seattle, is taken up by dockage for large ships and ferries.  And just south of downtown is the Port of Seattle, a large shipping and freight facility that always looks like it’s full of those big metal shipping containers.  I figured that if I wanted to find a forklift that would pick up a car; that would be the place to find one.

It was an easy drive to get there; just hopped on the Alaskan Way Viaduct, dodged some zombies, and two miles later I was there.  The Port is on the opposite side of the freeway from CenturyLink Field.  I drove right in, something I would never have been allowed to do before the pandemic.  There were tractor/trailers all over the place.  There was a point, just after the pandemic reached the US, that the President declared martial law, and most of the states tried to close their borders to prevent the virus from spreading; it didn’t help.  I guessed that most of the truck drivers decided they weren’t going to be able to get anywhere, so they just shut down and waited to see what would happen.  As I drove past the trucks, every once in a while, a gaunt, red-eyed face would pop up.

After about ten minutes of driving around, I found what I wanted.  When I pulled up next to the big forklift, I realized I hadn’t quite thought my plan through.  I was fairly certain the thing would lift a car, and the street in front of my building was wide enough to maneuver it around, but I hadn’t figured out how I was going to get it, and my pick-up truck, home.  There weren’t any zombies in the immediate area, so I hopped out of my truck, and climbed up into the cab of the forklift, which was fortunately enclosed.

The good news was that the keys were in it.  The bad news was that it wouldn’t start.  It turns out that if you can find the battery, which sounds far easier than it was, you can jumpstart a forklift from a pick-up truck.  I had far more fun figuring out how to drive the forklift than I thought I would.  This particular forklift has very large truck tires and is articulated in the middle so that it can turn in a very small radius.  The only real issues with the forklift are that it’s loud, and it beeps when you put it in reverse.  That being said, the thing is really good for killing zombies.

It took me about an hour to get really comfortable with all the controls and how the thing handled.  It ran on diesel fuel, and while driving around I found the maintenance shack and a hand pump I could use to fill it.  No more siphoning by mouth!  Finally, I decided I liked the pick-up and didn’t want to leave it, so I picked it up with my forklift.  Again, I hadn’t thought my plan though as well as I should have.

Driving a forklift around while carrying a load is a bit different than when it’s unloaded.  This forklift is bigger than most, and I had no problem seeing over the pick-up as I started on my two mile trip back home.  I also had no problem seeing the zombies that had gathered on the freeway after I had passed through the first time.  There apparently were a bunch in the area that I hadn’t seen, but they had heard me when I drove through earlier.  I hit the brakes, which were surprisingly good for such a heavy vehicle, and I guess I didn’t have the forks tipped back far enough because my brand new pick-up truck, with only about 100 miles on it, went sliding off the forks, hit the ground, and flipped onto its roof.

After banging my head against the steering wheel a few times, I had to turn around and go back and take the long way home.  I thought it would be wiser than trying to plow through the hundred or so zombies I could see.  So I’m taking Alaskan Way, which runs right along the waterfront, and I spot a boat pulling into the docks.  There’s a small marina right next to where the cruise ships dock, it holds maybe 30 boats, and I’ve never really paid much attention to it, but I believe it’s the only one around downtown Seattle.  So I stop the forklift, make sure there are no zombies around, and step out of the cab and wave to the guy.  I figured he was probably out fishing, the Sound would be a good source of fresh food, and maybe he would be someone I could work with.

I heard the engines stop, and see an older man step out of the cabin, and then he raises a gun and shoots at me.  I must have the kind of face that make people want to kill me.  I never considered myself either particularly good looking or ugly, but I didn’t think I had the kind of face that needed shooting.  As I ducked back into the cab, I felt something like a punch in the gut, which I had unfortunately felt before, and clearly remember not enjoying.  But I made it out of there and back home.

Obviously I wasn’t up to moving cars around yesterday, but I healed and did get it done today.  There is now a solid wall of cars, two deep, blocking everything but the front doors.  There is also a new scar on my stomach.  I’m not sure I like this new Seattle where everyone shoots first and asks questions later, it used to be such a friendly place.  I also think I need to find a bulletproof vest; sure I can survive getting shot, but it hurts like a son-of-a-bitch.


Barnett Jane


(To see how the pandemic began, and to meet more survivors, check out my novel, The Immortal And The Dead on The Immortal And The Dead)



About scottamehlman

Scott A. Mehlman was born and (mostly) raised in Cleveland, Ohio. Having earned both a BS and an MBA, Scott has tried his hand at a variety of jobs without finding one that truly satisfied or engaged his creative impulses the way writing does. He has published his first novel, The Immortal and The Dead, which is the first book in The Immortal Virus trilogy and continues to work on the JAEGER e-book series.

Posted on November 12, 2013, in Fiction and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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