DAY 32

I woke up this morning pissed off.  It’s one thing to get gut-shot by a trio of assholes, but it’s completely unacceptable to then get shot by an old fart on a fishing boat when all I was trying to do was wave hello.  So I hopped into my bag-ass forklift and headed back to the marina.  I was armed at the time he shot me, though I wasn’t waving my weapons around, and I was going down there armed this time, but it wasn’t my intention to pick a fight.  All I really wanted was an explanation; if the old bastard didn’t want to work with me that would be fine, but that doesn’t mean he can just shoot anyone who stops by to say hello.

I didn’t want to give the guy an opportunity to just start shooting at me again, so I thought I’d try playing it smarter this time around.  Granted, it shouldn’t require a bullet to the stomach for me learn the right and wrong way to approach a person, but this new world didn’t come with an instruction manual.  After I did my zombie wrangling routine, I stopped at the police car and removed the radio and antenna, and then hooked them up in the forklift.  The guy’s boat should have a radio in it, so if the police radio and boat radio worked together, maybe he would be willing to talk to me from a distance.

I took a chance and headed back up the freeway.  There were only a few zombies left up there and the forklift made quick work of them.  I was coming to the conclusion that the forklift was going to be a much better vehicle for getting around in; with its four-foot tall tires and ability to lift and move heavy objects, all I needed to do was hook a trailer up to the back and maybe replace the windows with bullet-proof glass, and then I’d be set.  There was a nice view of the bay from where I sat, and I easily spotted the boat.  I brought a pair of binoculars with me (I was never a Boy Scout, though slowly but surely I’m learning how to be prepared), and got a closer look at the man.

He must have heard me forklifting the zombies (sounds do carry nowadays), because he was standing on the back of his boat looking back at me through his own binoculars.  I reached into the cab, pulled out the radio handset, and held it up.  I couldn’t make out the look on his face, but he seemed to be considering his options.  He turned towards the cabin as if he was talking to someone, and when I looked, I saw a head peek up and quickly disappear.

I watched him walk to the cabin.  He stepped inside for a second and then came out with a small dry erase board.  He held it up and it said, “CB Channel 19.”  I flipped my radio to that channel, and watch him grab his own handset.

He seemed to be waiting, so I started out, “Hello.  I wasn’t sure if this radio would work.”

“I have a CB radio as well as a marine radio,” he said flatly.

“Great.  So why the hell did you shoot me two days ago?” I asked.

“Well, I wasn’t sure that I had.”

“You got me; in the stomach.  So why the hell did you do it?  I was just waving to you.”

“We had some problems with some other people.  There were three of them and they shot at us.  I was afraid you might with them.”

Knowing exactly whom they were talking about I asked, “Were they in a red BMW?”

“As a matter of fact they were.”  He sounded wary when he said this.

“I’m not with them,” I explained.  “Those assholes shot me too.  I’m getting pretty sick of getting shot.”

“How is it you’re still alive if you’ve been shot twice?”

“That might be hard to explain over the radio.”

“Try me.”

Rather than answering his question, I asked him, “Why don’t you tell me how many others are on the boat with you?”

“What makes you think there’s someone else here?”

“Um, you said ‘we’ a minute ago.  I thought I saw you talking to someone, and I saw someone stick their head up in the cabin.”

He didn’t reply for a minute, but he finally said, “It’s my sister.”

“She’s the only one with you?”


“Can we do this face to face?  I’ll admit I’m still kind of pissed-off about you shooting me, but since I’m okay, I promise I won’t try to hurt either you or your sister.  I’ve been alone for a month now, and I really would like a little non-violent human contact.”

There was another pause, and I could see him talking, presumably to his sister.  When he came back on he asked me, “My sister would like to know how it is you were shot in the stomach two days ago and are fine now?”

“Why is it important?”

“Besides the fact that it sounds impossible, my sister is a doctor and wants to hear your answer before we come in.”

“Fine.”  I spent the next 30 minutes or so telling them what has happened to me since I woke up.  The sister interrupted once after I told them I had in fact gotten sick and recovered.  I also had to stop once to kill a zombie that wandered up the on-ramp.  But once I had gotten through it, they agreed to come into the docks and meet with me.

It was incredibly tense at first, on my part because they had already shot me once, and on their part because they weren’t entirely convinced that I wouldn’t retaliate.  But I showed them all my scars, I was developing quite the collection, told them about my living conditions, which seemed to be much better than theirs, and they told me about themselves, and we began to slowly trust one another.  I finally invited them to join me and they agreed.

Albert, “Bert to his friends”, who is 62, and his sister Elizabeth, “Beth”, who is 58 and before the pandemic had been a cardiac surgeon, followed me back to my building.  Once inside, Beth had explained that she had been trying to figure out what had happened, and that though the news reports had called it a flu pandemic, the zombies wandering around sort of proved that to be incorrect.  She said that the fact that I had contracted the virus and survived, and that I was showing the rapid healing abilities, could go a long way towards helping her figure it out.  Beth had brought some of her equipment with her and wanted a blood sample, and she wanted to see my ability to heal.  I agreed, I wanted to know what was going on as much as she did, and I let her draw some blood and cut my thumb.

Bert and Beth are set up in the apartment next door, and the solar panels seem to be able to handle both apartments.  I glad to finally have some company, but I’m a little nervous about becoming Beth’s guinea pig.  She said she now had a theory and would explain it to me tomorrow after she saw what my thumb looked like.  Hopefully this will work out.




(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 14, 2013, in Fiction and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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