Fall of the Risen – Week 3 – Jack
Today’s special Thursday post has been provided by my good friend and guest blogger, John Lasorda. Show him some love in the comments below.
I measured my markings for the third time and began cutting out the spaces that would hopefully leave me with a perfect box joint. It was a lot easier since I found myself a electric jigsaw and a small generator all for myself. It takes away from my fuel allowance, but I’ve never used it all anyway.
I could have counted on one hand the number of times I’d managed a successful piece of furniture; successful meaning it stood upright and functioned within the strictest definition of the noun. It never looked remotely passable, despite its tenuous functionality. The feigned smiles and polite compliments of friends and loved ones notwithstanding, I enjoyed every splinter and uneven joint. I was—and still am—a terrible carpenter, but I enjoyed it.
As the jigsaw followed the lines I had drawn, my mind wandered. The camp had been having some minor hiccups with the water filtration system. Our secondary power generator needed parts, but the first was showing very little signs of wear. At least the walls were strong.
I wasn’t one of the chosen few who was “skilled enough” to maintain the systems, but these issues affected us all. A crock is what it was, but it wasn’t a bad life. Prior to the end of the world as we knew it, I knew more than a few people who had less. I can’t say I was one of them, but I was adjusting. I tolerated my position within the walls. It was better than living outside, and I came to enjoy making runs with Clark. They afforded us a degree of freedom geographically and in the materials that I came to view as a necessity.
Working at the last space in the piece, the jigsaw kicked back at me and I heard a gentle tinkling on the concrete floor of my garage. Broken blade. Dammit. I didn’t have many spares; I’d find more eventually. I didn’t know when, but I knew that I would. With most of the world turned into corpses, walking and otherwise, there were materials out there for those of us who were left, as long as I could find and transport them.
Clark’s “plan” was comical, and not without its pros and cons. His spontaneity and methods were ridiculous and infectious. Such absurdities were a welcome break from the monotony. He risked our truck to smash through a group of them while having zero exit strategy. He also failed, or neglected, to alert me to his intentions. These were also breaks to the monotony, but not welcome ones.
That was how it was with Clark. At noon Clark could be humouring me through my overly-descriptive explanation on the non-recreational uses for a stillery, and less than an hour later we could be wrist-deep—sometimes literally—in just about anything else, planned or not. For example, I first learned of his plan to put the group of risen back down when they collided with the rear of our pick-up. I learned of his plan to put the rest of the zombie population down shortly after his vehicular zombie-slaughter.
I pushed the pieces of wood together and frowned at the gaps of imperfection in my box joint. I shoved the project and my jigsaw to the side. Picking up my chisel and hammer I started on some fresh wood attempting a mortise and tenon joint.
I wasn’t sure how I should feel about Clark’s plan, but then, feelings are for fucking hippies, so there’s that. Clark was a solid friend and the type of guy who could do bodily harm to someone who pissed him off. To me—to most—a sustainable source of drinking water was more important than, “did you see that? Two at the same time!” To Clark, apparently not. I’ve made enough mistakes to know that I don’t always know when I’m making a mistake. Clark hadn’t let me down yet, and seemed to be a functional psychopath on his worst days.
Oh, fuck off.
I felt my blood run cold when I looked up from my mortise and tenon and saw Clark being escorted to Marshall’s Office. My eyes narrowed and my grip on my chisel tightened. People were regularly asked to see Marshall, maybe this was routine. A slight tremor in my hand and deepening of my breath told me that I wasn’t buying the lie I was trying to sell to myself. A full security escort was overkill unless a walling was on the table.
I hadn’t been ashamed of myself for a long time, but that old familiar feeling washed over me when I thought of leaving Clark to whatever punishment came from the meeting.
Nah. All of the blame belonged squarely on Clark’s shoulders. I wasn’t about to rush to his defense and risk the possessions I had amassed. I had just found four and a half lengths of mahogany, after all. Armageddon had its perks.