Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Chosen One - Chapter 2e by Nova

I felt empty and tired. I asked Sharon "Where's my room?"  I knew it wasn't going to be in here. She was looking tired too. It had been a stressful day even though it wasn't but half over. My sleeping patterns were nothing like what they had been once upon a time. The structure that had driven them had long ago evaporated. What structure had reappeared in its place was centered around food, water, and safety.  It's tough to sleep when you are worried about who might come up on you. Being hungry and thirsty didn't help either.

It wasn't all that long ago really when I had fallen from the clutches of the Devil.  I didn't see it that way at the time. I mean I had inklings of the reality of the world before I was told to vacate.  HE had first touched me not long after my car accident.  That was expensive, even with insurance.  Stupid bitch on a cell phone not paying attention had taken me out and  kept going.  I knew she was trouble when she had cut me off the first time in that monster Denali SUV she was driving. An appropriate name for a vehicle that big I remember thinking. One second I was driving along. The next second she was trying to fit her monster into a lane that was already occupied by me. A second later it was "Crunch" and I was headed for a Jersey wall.  Then "Bam" and I was slammed by a face full of airbag and rocked hard again by another car trying to climb into my glove compartment.

I tuned back in. Sharon was standing in front of me asking "You okay?" I was surprised by the concern I heard in her voice.  "Yeah...I'm fine. Just tired."

"Okay. Let me show you the house." She may have looked tired but she didn't sound anywhere near it. So I followed her around for the tour.  It was short.  Her pantry was behind a ripped out section of drywall where someone previously had mined for copper.  She had four cans of food. Two of them were creamed corn. Yuck.  One was "Fruit Cocktail" and the other had no label at all.  She told me "I'm saving the fruit cocktail for a special occasion."

"What's in the other can?"

She shrugged and replied "I have no idea. Hopefully something good but probably dog food since the other two cans were."

"Dog food's not bad if you heat it up. I put some wild onions I found in mine and a ketchup packet and it was pretty good."

"You know wild onions? You know that herb stuff?"

"A little" I replied.  "I'm no expert." She liked that answer though. I could tell. "I'll add my food to yours if you don't mind."

"You better" was her reply.

My bedroom was a floor in the other bedroom down the hall from her. It was trash free and windowless. It still had a door. Not bad all in all. I was going to need to find some cardboard to put down on the concrete. Someone had taken the carpeting including the pad that had been in there.

The bathroom was a five gallon paint bucket with a couple two by fours across it for a seat that she kept in a closet She pointed at it and told me "It's for emergency use only. Shit outside in the trees or elsewhere. If you use it then you need to dump it and rinse it in the creek. A stack of books were next to it for use as toilet paper. Not perfect as the ink would wipe off on your ass but better than nothing. 

"Stay away from the sliding glass doors. You never know who might be snooping around" She told me. I told her "I got it and was going to get my stuff set up. You want me to find you when I'm ready to go out?"

"Sure." She walked away and I began unpacking.


  1. A pre-looted house with broken glass, trash and walls open from metal salvage visible through a sliding glass door is good. Access by the OpFor is not impossible, but breaking glass might attract unwanted attention, and that could be trouble in itself.

    In the summer, I would rig an indoor eyelet system with bolts into studs in a woodframe room so that I could easily hang a web hammock and a couple of lines to dry damp gear. If there was some air circulation (break open a piece of interior wall or floor in a corner for air, add debris to interior visible piles near sliding glass windows), it could be almost comfortable and quick to strike/pack (every time one leaves, if keeping it is important).

    As winter comes on, a house can get very cold. A house with an intact roof makes a dry place, so that the occupants may be cold, but they won't be wet. Sleeping rooms might have tents set up inside them with clean cardboard and clean carpet as floor insulation. I'd find some pallet boards to get a few inches off of a concrete slab before placing cardboard/carpet down as a base for my tent/blankets/sleeping bag. A couple layers of closed-cell camping foam or a Therm-a-Rest pad would be a miracle in such a situation.

    Home Depot sells rolls of aluminumized bubble sheet 4 feet wide (varying lengths) that are a godsend for campers needing insulation that is cleanable/waterproof and not fiberous (fiberglass fibers are irritating to skin and dangerous in eyes/lungs). They are rated only R-3 (low compared to fiberglas or foam-sheet insulation) but nothing is as good in reflecting body heat back or reflecting the heat of the sun away. It's also flexible/cushion, easy to cut with scissors or a box knife, assembleable with 2" packing tape (or the magically expensive aluminumized tape made by the same company), and super-light weight for undesirable pack-humping treks. I haven't done this, but it might be useful as a reflector in a solar oven to purify water or cook food. My initial use for this product was in a travel trailer. I put it inside the walls/ceiling during a re-build (leak repair) and made removable panels for the inside of the windows to reduce condensation (winter) and heat infiltration (summer). Anyone who might consider camping in a metal-skinned cargo van MUST have a roll of this stuff!

    All-year around, everyone needs headgear. At very least, people need a wool watchcap under a more waterprooof/windproof cover like a Gore-Tex coat hood (or a corner of 30 gallon plastic bag tied on). In bright/hot weather, a hat with a 3" full brim is nice protection for eyes nose ears as well as top of head and a bit of neck. Brain is behind the eyes, which helps to make decisions if used, so protect it! Sleeping with a hat in cool weather conserves heat, which directly conserves calories and makes your body work better.

    Short-term survival requirements: body temp maintenance, and clean drinking water. Food is a desirable luxury, but short-term not as important as having sturdy boots.


  2. Ken-L-Ration in the blue can isn't bad if you heat it up and put ketchup with lots of Tobasco on it. The chicken flavor really is nasty though. Open a can of it and a can of Hormel Corned Beef Hash side by side and try to tell the difference. I won't mention what the old C ration Ham and Eggs looked and tasted like.

    Beats starving.

    Jim in MO.

  3. Thanks pdxr13, I am going to look at that next time.

    Jim, Going to be a lot of boomers finding that out soon enough even if the economy doesn't get worse.