Monday, December 29, 2014

Bonnie and Clyde (a short story)

Where are my socks? I can’t find them. Where are they? I can’t find my socks. Somebody please help me find my socks.

Are you serious? Who cares about your damn socks. We’ve got to get you outta here. Your Aunt has been looking for you.

I need my socks. Where are they? Do you have my socks?

Joey… they’re gone. You know this. Everything is gone. Your house, Mom and Dad, your sister Sarah, half the city. There’s nothing left for us here. You’re coming with us, and we’ve got to go. Now.

But… where are my socks? I can’t find them anywhere. Do you know where my socks are?

No. But you’ve got to come with us. It’s not safe here.

Not without my socks! I can’t find them anywhere! Where are you socks? Sooo-oocks! Where are you?

Wow, Joey is broken.

Hey now. Let’s just try to get him to out to Janice’s. She’ll be so happy to see him. We’re close, shouldn’t take more than a few days. She can take him in, help him get his head together, and send him along with the next group.

Yeah, and give him some socks.

That’s not funny.

Fuck it. What do you want me to do, Sierra, lose my mind like Joey McCrazypants here?

C’mon, you know what I mean. Take it easy on the kid, all right? You weren’t in such good shape either when I found you. And neither was I. He’ll be all right. Let’s just get going before it gets dark. We’re still at least two hours from the shed. Talk to him. He knows you.

Hey Joey, we know where your socks are. You need to come with us.

Oh thank goodness! I need to find my socks. Can we go there now?

Yes, yes, your Aunt Janice has lots of socks. We’ll take you there now… D, you may be an asshole, but you’re a brilliant asshole. OK, let’s move. I’ll take lead, you guard the rear.

I want my socks!

Watch out! He’s got a knife!

Wow, nice shot, Si. His broken little brain is now all over my shirt. More socks for us, I guess.

Fuck you, Dave.

I love you too, Si. Now can I borrow your bandana to get this shit off me?

Damn it. Yeah. Here you go. I’ll check his pockets, that’s a nice knife too… OK, let’s get moving.


Sierra! Dave! It’s me, Janice. You’re safe. Welcome back! Come in, come in.

Janice, so good to see you!

Hi Janice. You’re a sight for sore eyes. Good news, we found you some tools, some batteries, and a pack of seeds this time. How are you holding up these days?

Oh, up and down… you know how it goes. Fewer folks coming through lately, which is mostly good I guess, but sad too.

Yeah, hard times.

You guys look exhausted. And filthy. Is that blood? Rough trip, hey? Honey, I’ve got some warm soup and a soft bed ready for you. And of course, the stream out back for washing up. Which do you want first?

Soup. You’re a godsend.

Yeah, soup, then stream, then bed. Thank you so much.

How long will you guys be staying this time?

Just tonight. We’re leaving for good tomorrow.

You should come with us. Seriously. There’s nothing left here. You know that. We’ll start over on the coast, somewhere with water, not so hot. With your green thumb, my medical training, and Si’s, uh well… extreme preparation, we’d make quite a team. We’d have a real shot at building something great together.

I know, I know, but we’ve been through this many times. You know I won’t leave. I can’t. Not until I find the rest of my family.

About that…

Oh god, who this time?

Sid and Neva. And Joey Jr. I’m so sorry, Janice.

No. No. No. No. How?

Sid and Neva in their home, a while back it looks like, and we found Joey in the street. All clean shots. They didn’t suffer.

I know… I knew… I mean, I already heard… about Sid and Neva. But Joey? I mean, who would… shoot… a little boy?

Is there anything we can do?

No, no, I’ll be OK. I actually, I already… assumed. About Joey. It just hurts. To know for sure. Give me, give me a few minutes, OK? You go on inside and get yourself… a bowl of soup. I’ll… uh, I’ll… put a fire… a fire… put on... later. You…

We’ll be inside. Take your time.

Yeah, we’ll light a fire. Don’t worry about us. I’m so sorry, sweetie. We’ll be inside.


Thanks again for all your hospitality. And the trades.

It’s quite all right. You’re always welcome here. You’re… you’re as close to family as I have anymore.

Likewise. Sorry to be the bearers of bad news. Again. Seriously Janice, come with us. What’s left for you here? Who is left for you here?

Brad. I can’t leave until I find Brad. He’s the last one. I’m going to try his place one more time. Give him a few more weeks. I’ve got to know for sure. If not, I’ll leave then. You’re right though. There’s nothing left here, and the drought is getting bad. And the fires. You’re heading to Nancy’s up in Iowa first, then west to the land out in Oregon?

Yep, the trail Si planned Before. You’ve got the oases map memorized?

Yep. Just leave me notes along the way. In German, as always.

Of course. That’s a long ways to go by yourself. You sure about this?

Yep. I can take care of myself. You know that. I’ll catch up if I can. I ride fast. Maybe I’ll meet you out west instead.

Take care of yourself, Janice.

You know it. See you in the promised land.


Janice is looking good these days. A little hunger did her some good. Too bad we just shot her nephew. Otherwise we could’ve had a three-way.

Ha! You’re such a dick. But yeah, totally, next time. She did look good, huh?

Seriously? Now you’re open to it? Now that there’s no one for five hundred miles who wouldn’t shoot us on site?

Yeah, well, I was with Jake Before. And you were with Karen. I probably wouldn’t have Before anyway. But now, why not? It’s just fucking until the end. There’s no way Karen and Jake would have gone for it anyway. They hated each other.

Yeah, that’s true. Water under the bridge.

What are you gonna do?

I’m gonna pull off into those trees with you and imagine our twosome as a threesome with the lovely Janice, that’s what I’m gonna do.

Oh are you? That sounds delightful. Oral only though. I’m ovulating.

Oral schmoral. We can do what we want. Look what I found at the gas station back there.

Oh my! Magnums, huh? Awfully proud of ourselves, aren’t we?

Beggars can’t be choosers.

Are you begging now?

Shall we pull off, or should I turn around and head back to Janice’s?

Do what you want. But remember, big boy, I’m the female in this little convoy. I’m the one with options.

You really think so?

No. These trees look good to you?


One of these days you’ll love me, Si. You just wait.

Stop ruining the moment. You’re as delusional as Janice and Joey.

Because I’m not as jaded as you?

What is this, 1950? The kind of love you want doesn’t exist anymore. Probably never did. Now put your damn pants back on. We’ve got some miles to make up.

Or what? We’ll lose the race? Miss our favorite show?

Fuck you, Dave.

I love you too, Sierra.



On it, D. Let’s let them get just a little closer. I’ve got this.

There are too many this time. I count seventeen. Get back on your bike. It’s our only chance.

It’s too late for that. Don’t worry, one shot for each dog.

If you miss, we’re dead.

I won’t.


You missed some.

I hit enough.


Eleven to be exact.

It’s a feast! Let’s have a party. We’ll invite all our friends.

They’ll be back. Let’s clean them quickly and put some miles behind us so the others lose the scent.

You’re amazing.

You don’t love me, you need me.

The two aren’t mutually exclusive.

How can you tell?

How can’t you tell?

What does it matter? We’re stuck with each other either way.

Maybe you’re right. Should I give up?

No. I like your optimism. It’s… fun.

Go to hell.

Already there.


Aww, you want your socks, don’t you? Can’t you find your wittle socks anymore?

Wow, you went there.

Loosen up, Dave. We’re all gonna die a horrible death sooner or later, probably sooner. Better him than me. He’s probably better off anyway. And now I just saved your ass for the umpteenth time. What do you want from me?

No, I get it. I totally get it. Better put up those walls. Wouldn’t want someone to get in and make it actually worth having survived just a little bit longer.

Don’t do this.

Why bother with all the prepping anyway? What was the point?

Don’t do this, David.

Is this the world you wanted to live in? What did you expect? What do you fucking want?

I’m done with this conversation.

That’s mature.


24 hours. Are you talking to me today? OK then, guess not.


Two days. How about today?


Day three. Is today the day?


Day four. You’re walking a fine line here, Sierra.

Why, because I’m mad because you’re an asshole who likes pushing my buttons so much?

Look, I’m not going to take all the blame on this. That’s a stupid game that women play because women are better at it than men, but that doesn’t make it right. It’s just you and me out here, probably forever. But if you don’t open up, and I acknowledge that you don’t have to, the ball’s totally in your court here, but if you don’t, you’re going to lose me. And that seems like such a shame. We’ve got a chance at a good life, despite all the shit we’ve been through.

Ok, fine. You want in? Try courting me for once. Stop assuming the sale and treating me like your post-apocalyptic booty call. God, you’re so daft.

Court you? How the fuck am I supposed to do that? We’re riding bikes across the ruins of civilization, saving each other’s asses, mind you, so frequently that you’re never more than ten feet away for fear we’ll get eaten by a fucking wild pig or a crazy cannibalistic rapist or some shit, years after the last restaurant and movie theater on the planet closed down, and you want me to ask you out on a fucking date?


Yes what?

Yes, I want you to ask me out on a date. I want to feel special. Is that too much to ask?

Jesus Christ.

You asked me what I want. That’s what I want.

That’s what you want. To go on a fucking date.


OK, fine.



Well what?

Are you going to ask me out?

Give me a minute. I’m still taking this in.




Would you go out on a date with me?

I’d love to! When?

Are you free tomorrow?

Let me check my calendar… Yes, as a matter of fact, I am free. What do you have in mind?

Dinner and salsa dancing. How does that sound?


Fantastic. I’ll pick you up at 6. Wear your best dress, because we’re gonna paint the town red.

I can’t wait!


You go in that house over there, and I’ll be over here getting everything ready. In an hour or so, I’ll come a-courtin’.



Sierra! Sierra! Are you OK? Sierra!


Sierra? Where are you? Sierra?


Sierra! Are you OK?

Oh, oh, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.

You’re sorry? What happened? Are you OK?

I… I… It was all dark and there was a woman’s corpse in the living room and she looked all dried up and freaky and I asked her if I could borrow some clothes and she didn’t answer so I went upstairs and I found a closet full of clothes and I found this beautiful dress in the closet and put down my pack and my gun and I tried on the dress and I looked in the mirror by the window and it fit me perfect and then I saw something in the mirror behind me and it jumped out at me and it was probably just trying to get past me but I shot it until it stopped moving and then I just broke down and started crying and I’m so sorry I ruined our date! I just wanted to look nice for you and surprise you when I opened the door. I’m sorry, D! I’m sorry! I’m so sorry! I’ve ruined it all.

Shh, don’t cry, Si. Come here. Come here. It’s OK. Just breathe. You haven’t ruined anything. I’m just glad you’re OK. I won’t let anything hurt you. Shhshhshh. It’s OK. Look, it was just a raccoon and now it’s dead. I was so worried that I finally let you out of my sight for the first time in who knows how long and something terrible had happened to you. Oh god, I’m so glad you’re OK.


Are you feeling a little better now?

Yes. I think so.


Sierra, you look stunning. Utterly stunning. I’m at a total loss for words.

You? That’s a first. I mean… thank you. Where did you get that shirt? You look very handsome tonight yourself.

It was in the store window across the street. So… are you ready to be wooed?

Yes, dah-ling. I am.

I don’t know where this vulnerable and fun side of you has been hiding all this time, but I like it.

Dah-ling, you’ll find I’m full of surprises.

Oh, I don’t doubt it, my dear. So am I. C’mon downstairs and I’ll show you. Our evening awaits!


A candlelight dinner at an actual restaurant? Wow! I’m impressed so far. What’s on the menu?

I’ve just prepared a special menu for my special guest tonight here at Chez Apocalyptica. Our first course will be a light and nutritious dandelion salad. We’ll have a little dandelion tea to cleanse the palate. Our next course will be smoked dog over beans and wild onions, a perennial favorite, followed by our main course, an unexpected treat, raccoon tartare, seasoned with, you guessed it, onion and dandelion. And for dessert, fresh raspberries!

I don’t know whether to swoon or to vomit.

Because of the menu?

Because of the cheese factor. It’s all pretty corny.

I would prefer, dah-ling, the former. I’m trying hard here. I really am.

I know you are. It’s working.

Thank you. Don’t forget I need wooing too.

Duly noted. Where did you get the raspberries?

I found them early this morning when I got up to… I mean, at Chez Apocalyptica, we have a new dessert selection each night for our favored guests. And you, my dear, are our most favored guest.

And there will be dancing afterward?

Indeed. We have wonderful band that came in all the way from Austin just for this evening’s performance. They’re pretty quiet, as bands go, but very romantic.

Oo, Austin has the best live music. This should be good.


D, thank you. That was the best first date I’ve ever had. Before included.

Aww, you’re welcome. I had a great time too. After the raccoon part that is.

The dancing was a little light on actual music, but I didn’t mind. Not really. Will you… will you sleep with me tonight? Not sex… well, I mean that too, of course, but will you put your mat next to mine and sleep next to me afterwards instead of in shifts?

Yes, dah-ling, I thought you’d never ask.


You move, you die. Understand?

OK, OK, we hear you. Sierra, wake up but don’t move. He’s got a gun.

What do you want?

Everything. Your food, your weapons, your packs, your bikes.

Take them, they’re yours. Just don’t hurt us.

That all depends on you. Let’s go over the rules here. You touch that gun over there, I shoot. You move too fast, I shoot. You talk too much, I shoot. You do anything I don’t like, I shoot. Understood?



Now get up slowly. Leave yer clothes on the floor there. You don’t need ‘em. Now back up against that wall. Well ain’t you a purdy one. You two’s all in love ain’tcha? Yep, I can sees it in yer eyes. I cain’t says I blame ya, purdy gal like that, but yer apparently too stupid to keep her otherwise we wouldn’t be in this here situation, would we? Don’t matter though. I’m comin’ back fer her after I drop off yer stuff with the boys. I’m keepin’ her all to myself. You, well, depends on what Randy wants. Mebbe we’ll eatcha, mebbe we’ll letcha join. We’ll see. Now you, purdy lady, you come over here. I’m gonna tie you up nice and tight so you don’t get away or make a sound. Now don’t go forgettin’ the rules we discussed a bit ago. You ain’t forgot, have ya?


Good. Now, come over here and turn around.


How many times am I going to have to save our asses? You better step it up, boy, before I realize I don’t need you around any longer.

Not likely. Where’d you learn that anyway? You took him out like a fucking ninja.

That was krav maga. I’ll teach you if you’d like. I told you when we met that I’ve been preparing for this for a long time. I’m actually surprised more people didn’t. I mean, the writing’s been on the wall for decades. How could you not see it coming?

All right, Sarah Connor, teach me. Starting tomorrow.

Mock if you want, but we’re alive and he isn’t. I knew our best chance at escape was before anyone else showed up.

Still, that seemed risky. We could’ve been shot.

The risk was better than what Rufus the rapist here had planned.

Either way, Rufus’s Mad Max friends are going to come looking for him before long. The good news is now we’ve got two guns. What caliber is his?

9mm, same as mine.

Lucky day. Here, give me some of your bullets.

Oo, check it out! Rufus has an extra magazine in his pocket.

Nice! He’s got some jerky and a spork in his other pocket. Not bad.

Two guns! Hot damn. We’re like Bonnie and Clyde.

I’ll be Bonnie, you be Clyde.

Whatever, you just want to wear my underwear.

You don’t wear underwear.

How do you know? We’ve only had one date.

Call it a hunch. OK, our bikes are out back in the alley. Let’s ride east a few blocks. Avoid the main roads. If we get split up, meet me in Vandalia, about fifteen miles up the highway.
The first oasis is just north of Vandalia, remember. Let’s meet there instead.




Yes, dah-ling?

I love you.

I know.

OK, Han Solo.

Whatever. Han got the girl.

Once he pursued her.

Yeah, well, then give me a kiss for luck?

Ew, that was Luke. Her brother. Different movie anyway.

No way, both were Empire.

Luke was Star Wars.

No way to prove it now.

Nope. Mwa. Let’s get our asses out of here.