No more Triggers or Tomatoes

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.

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My utopia

Oh yeah, and I got this from the quiz Mei memed us.  Guess I’m not getting there any time soon.

Hi-tech, Post-scarcity Anarchist Individualism, e.g. The Culture in a number of the novels of Iain M. Banks

Hi-tech, Post-scarcity Anarchist Individualism, e.g. The Culture in a number of the novels of Iain M. Banks

You’d rather skip the inconvenient practicalities of social development and revolution, and go straight to a society in which resources and possibilities are limitless, and who can blame you? Why mess about with complex social systems when you can have all-powerful sentient machines with a sense of humour and recreational sex till the bovine protein synthesisers reach their point of origin. And if you get bored with having your every imaginable desire on tap, you can always join Contact and agonise about whether it’s more unethical to go around imposing freedom on less utopian societies or to continue to exist while not imposing freedom on them.

See the story behind this quiz at http://badinfluences.org.uk

Which Utopia are you building?

Looters

In answer to Mei’s “what food are you” meme, it’s tempting to go with lemons: bitter and twisted and at my best with a gin & tonic, but that’s too obvious.  I think I might be Cherryade, with a fizzy & bubbly surface, loud and attention-grabbing, leaving you with a sour aftertaste and the nagging concern that you’ve absolutely no idea what I’m really made of (though it sure as hell ain’t cherries).  I’m concentrating on drinks, for some reason.  There’s not a whole lot left in the Booze aise.

Speaking of which, I have looters in as I type – it’s quite exciting, after the monotony of the last coupla weeks.  I was afraid, at first, that the police would be coming to clean out the store to supply the quarantine hostels (or whoever is still safe enough to be running the hostels, which still aren’t officially letting people out), but it turns out to just be a group of kids, none of them older than 17 by the look of it.  I’m watching them on the monitors right now – I never saw anybody looking so frightened while acting so tough.  They’re following the path I set, looks like they’ve found the prize.  That’s all the Tim-tams and crisps gone…oh, and one of them has the sense to take the rice and beans – I’ll have to re-stock the bait after they go.  They’re still hanging round talking… come on, fellas, appreciate the company but it’s time for you to turn around.

Fuck it, one of them’s looking through the gap in the shelving – I’ll have to block that from behind after I’ve seen them off.  Yep, they’re gonna try and climb over.  Time for a tannoy announcement…

I’m a Quarantine Refuser

So, everybody’s got a Disaster Manifesto, even if nobody really thinks it’ll work. Here’s mine – hole up where you can’t be found and sit tight until everybody else is dead. It’s working for me so far.

The newsnets have dubbed the likes of me “Quarantine Refusers”. Thankfully there’s so many unidentified dead that they haven’t yet been able to make an accurate list of us out of the missing. And there’s a use of the word “Thankfully” I didn’t think I’d see myself making. Misanthropic curmudgeon I may be, but that’s a new low. As penance or punishment – swear I didn’t cut and paste:
I must learn to give a shit about other people before I die.
I must learn to give a shit about other people before I die.
I must learn to give a shit about other people before I die.
I must learn to give a shit about other people before I die.
I must learn to give a shit about other people before I die.
I must learn to give a shit about other people before I die.
I must learn to give a shit about other people before I die.
I must learn to give a shit about other people before I die.
I must learn to give a shit about other people before I die.
I must learn to give a shit about other people before I die.
Not cause of heaven or hell or karma or any of that shit, it’d just be nice to feel like I’m any kind of loss to the world.

Anyhow, turns out us quarantine refuseniks have good reason to stay away from the hostels, if the blogs from those who’ve escaped them are anything to go by. The ABC newsnets are claiming they’re set up to work on similar lines to the successful quarantines in China, with new arrivals isolated and given food until it’s safe for them to join the green-lighted people inside. The escapees, however, tell tales of hotels crammed to double capacity, healthy people being forced into rooms with those already coughing blood, being locked in, food not arriving, handsets confiscated, families broken up… and all enforced by police supported by a network of Emergency Support Officers recruited mostly from security firms. I wonder if Coll’s finally living his dream.

I also wonder how much of this is a botched attempt at containment of the disease, and how much is just population control. Maybe those who’ve been sitting in their luxury bunkers for weeks just want to limit property damage and ensure there’s more food left for them when everybody else is dead. Maybe the authorities had my manifesto. Is that paranoid? It’s difficult to tell these days. I’ve always held that no conspiracies are necessary for powerful people to be arsewipes, but it does seem like this snapped into action like a sprung trap the instant the riots started. Perhaps I should be out there, smashing up the security stations, instead of in here washing down the last of the chocolate fondant puddings with a bottle of Prosecco.

I must learn to give a shit about other people before I die.

But I’m not dying just yet.

Making preparations

So, looks like I’ll get my wish about moving on from this dump – I’ve been made redundant. As of today, I’m working my three weeks’ notice.

Worst part about it is I can’t even blame Jezza, though I won’t pretend the hint of glee under his faux-regret tone went unnoticed. Turns out the experiment with “Tannoy Greeters” has been officially designated a flop, and the Colmart family are disinheriting us all. They’re going to have announcements recorded weeks in advance by a professional polenta-pusher with an Equity card, and piped into all stores on the half hour, every half hour. Next time I pass by the Leisure and Lifestyle aisles and hear the rustle of a malicious whisper, I’ll remember that, and smile. Nothing else to do now but make preparations for my departure.

That in mind, I believe I’ve got a meme owing on preparations, and a little barney on a friend’s blog the other day got me thinking about isolation and quarantine. Everybody’s got their Blood Flu emergency box of beans and bandages, but nobody’s really talking about how they’ll avoid catching the virus – because, y’know, much as I’d hate to be caught without supplies, the first rule of survival is don’t be dead. In this case, that means being in isolation before everyone else thinks of it, so I’m going to take back my disparaging remarks about Jack’s attempt to isolate himself from his own family, even though there’s not a sniff of flu as yet on his half of the continent. Myself, I don’t pretend to be in anything resembling a “quarantine”, but reading about Mei’s situation gives me an awareness of when I’m in contact with people, and I realise I’ve been living in pretty isolated circumstances as a matter of routine.

I always had to be self-reliant. My folks washed their hands of me the day I told them I wanted to go to drama school. Gifted with what my mother liked to call a face for radio and a body for truck-driving, I’m not exactly inundated with auditions, but I work and I manage. When anything’s gone wrong in my life, whether it’s with a contract or the plumbing, I’ve looked up how to fix it myself before calling out the experts. It’s partly a lack of funds, and partly, for want of a better word, pride – if I can do something for myself, I will. I live alone, work alone and generally avoid people. I shop online, drive to work, cook and eat alone, spend my leisure time walking and camping in the outback alone. In fact, at this point, I probably haven’t been in especially close proximity to another human being for longer than Mei. Which means that if the Blood Flu is, as we speak, spreading through Australia in its silent phase, I’m safe as a cheese sarnie at a vegan convention.

Could misanthropy be my salvation? Should I thank my parents for instilling in me a crippling social dysfunction? I am making some preparations, but just to be especially paranoid or mysterious or both, I’m not going to say on a public forum what they are. Let it be known, though: I got my ideas. I’m researching systems and squirrelling away supplies. I’m gonna be just fine.

It’s like they know me

Get my quiz result!

You will survive: Alien Invasion

You will survive: Alien Invasion

Don’t question, just go with it. Whether it’s Martian tripods, big bugs with guns or body-snatchers with a political agenda, your innate sense of the surreal will allow you to drift on through with your wits intact.

While others may have difficulty adapting to a world gone mad, you’re quite used to living without the aid of sanity, and will probably come up with some utterly random method of destroying them.

So they landed on a planet 70% Ocean and they’re allergic to water – who knew? You did, that’s who.

See the story behind this quiz at http://badinfluences.org.uk

Which apocalyptic disaster will you survive?

So I’m officially safe from alien invaders. Now I just have to work out how to deal with my boss.