So, I did let the Triggers go in the end. I kept thinking of excuses to put it off. I don’t know if I was more afraid of them turning on me or just knowing how totally alone I am here. The release went without trouble. Frank was the only one who didn’t look surprised to see me. He just said, “Thought you’d be taller.”
I’d thought the same of him, to be honest. I was a little shocked at how thin and weak he looked, in the flesh. I’d given them as much as I was eating, but I guess he was used to more, plus I’d been doing an hour on the exercise bike every night and morning, while he’d just been sitting there letting his muscles waste. I took him to the exit, handed him the padlock keys and told him where the others were.
“Are asking me to let them go?” he said.
“I’m not asking you for anything,” I told him. “It’s up to you, they’re your problem now.”
He walked away without looking back. He looked defeated.
That was a week ago now. I guess they either came through for me and didn’t tell anybody else about the store, or they’re dead. So now, I don’t have a hell of a lot to do with myself besides check the proximity alarms, watch the screens, exercise and run up my power supply, read the socnets and run down my power supply. And target practice – I reckon it’s not a waste of ammo to make sure I can shoot straight. The Triggers weren’t exactly company, but they were a reminder that I wasn’t alone in the world.
I have a little concern for my sanity in isolation, a new appreciation for my blogging buddies. I’d best answer the meme of the month so they don’t abandon me. Mei wants a Recipe for Disaster: What am I eating, and how am I cooking it?
Well, it’s not all been dog food. The tinned sausages didn’t last very long, but I make sausage shapes out of spam and corned beef and it’s not even slightly the same, but that’s the closest thing I’ve got to a recipe. If you got dry egg you can add a bit of water and roll it in that, then in cornflour before frying it, but it doesn’t improve it much. It’s also salty, which makes me thirsty: not good since I got to be careful with my water supply, and I’m long since out of beer. I’m catching rainwater through a guttering system I rigged out of plastic cups and hosepipe, and I’m fine for now but trying to store it because I know I’ll get low come summer. I saved me some big bags of dried beans, rice and pasta, but it does get a bit bland, especially now I’m out of tinned toms for risottos – and they seemed inexhaustible a month ago. I miss them with a yearning that borders on grief.
I don’t think it’s possible to realise, unless you’re living off tinned food or trying to go vegan, what a remarkable foodstuff the tomato is. Farewell to sweet, sharp, succulent red, laced with the bitter tang of aluminium. Hello to the salty blandness of stock cubes, and the chemical aftertaste of monosodium glutamate, henceforth my lifelong companion. Ash, my trusty guide to growing your own sanity, keeps blinking me info on making drip-feeders to preserve my most precious resource, and is again encouraging me to get going on a roof garden – he has touchingly unfounded faith in my ability to keep stuff alive. Still, it’s not like I can’t fit the attempt into my social diary at present, so before long I might go plumbing the undiscovered depths of my digital veridity, even though I can’t expect to strike tomatoes till Christmas.
Want to know what I got in abundance, though? Moisturiser. Metric fuck-tonnes of it, I tell ya. If I could only find some recipes calling for 2 jars of Oil of Aloe, I could open up a damn restaurant up here. As it is, I may starve to death within six months, but I’ll die smooth as an adder’s ass-crack. Let the sky stay clear as a soap bubble – I’ll get all my moisture directly through the skin in the form of provitapeptilide Z, clinically proven to stop the seven signs of dehydration (all except for, you know, dying and such). I won’t age, I won’t wrinkle, I won’t crack in the sun. Archaeologists will find me out here in 100 years’ time, and marvel at the miraculous Colmart Mummy.
She led a pampered life,” they’ll say, “anointed daily in sacred unctions, whose production could have fed and watered a hundred slaves for a hundred years. Truly this woman represents the very pinnacle of the decadence that destroyed her society. And why was she lavished with this wasteful abundance while those around her perished?”
And here the camera will linger on my still-succulent lips, the firm tautness of my forehead, the eye-sockets where never a crow has set foot, though my liver has shrivelled within me like a shrink-wrapped turd.
“Because,” they will say, “she was worth it.” And they’ll be wrong.