This post is sixth in a series by Edward W. Pritchard. To read more of his writings please visit: http://eddwardwpritchard.blogspot.com
Copyright © 2010 edward w pritchard
I awoke this morning from terrible nightmares with an intense desire to talk to my old high school quarterback. I had an irrational urge to ask him what to do next.
Jeanette, the girl I was with at the casino, and I had that fight couples have when they know they have to go their separate ways: she South, me East. We are at her condo in a fenced-in community, East of Nashville, having left the casino, and we were doing yard work together for diversion when we had “the” fight. A disagreement on basic values about why to push on with life under the circumstances here in Armageddon. She is optimistic, thinks life is opportunity, and every day is a blessing from God. Of course I had to tell her she hasn’t walked through the storms yet and seen ninety per cent of the people she knew die. I told her I still believed in God. But, I was having trouble understanding him. While traveling back in Ohio, near the Ohio river I saw a bird high, high, high up over the river, lazily circling, watching us humans fleeing the storms aloft, which were coming in towards us, in earnest, early, about dawn, and would kill nine out of ten of us. The air was so thick to breathe that I collapsed but continued to watch the bird. It circled over me along with several thousand other birds and then landed about thirty feet from me and carefully began to tear at a child’s cheek, a child who had collapsed, the cheek the choicest part of a human, I understand. The sun was just coming up, from the East, across the mighty Ohio river; so I had a bird’s eye view, so to speak, as the bird chewed the child’s prime flesh and nonchalantly turned its head to the left, flinched it’s shoulders, and stared at me while chewing. The scene was perfectly illuminated in the intense rising sunlight. How could I not believe in God’s divine design after that? God is so much like we are, thinking of everything, and properly planning it all. We seem to live in a perfect simulation. I tried to explain that to Jeanette but she said I was being negative and existential, and we had our obligatory knock-down, drag-out fight, and now both of us are happily sprucing up her yard, oblivious to each other. In an hour we both leave, toward our unknown and disconnected fates.
There’s a new wrinkle to the storms. Some say the storms have changed to further cull the herd of surviving humans. Because of the alternate cold and warm winds, both wet and then dry, we now die in great numbers from pneumonia and pulmonary disorders. Those of us who were adapting to the initial bad air now have a further complication to endure. The cold comes in suddenly and saps the weakened will and makes it difficult to get up, to keep moving, or have any hope for tomorrow. I have my Indian striped Pendleton-style blanket back since Laura left, and it’s psychologically comforting to wrap up in it at night; it’s a shield in the morning against the incoming cold. The cold seems driven to arrive at about 4:30AM, the low point in our metabolic cycle; it’s as if it were planned to bring humans ultimate suffering. Because of the cold and wet conditions, about ninety-nine percent of the original survivors now seem to succumb to the new normal, and one’s odds of surviving now have gone from one-in-ten to one-in-one hundred.
Somehow I am still alive, and I am trying desperately not to get involved with anyone or make any attachments. That is difficult because humans love to commiserate in their suffering and there are many fraternal organizations and affiliations on the trail, based on common need. Several times I have been asked to join the counter-factual party; those who refuse to see reality as it is, staring them in the face. Instead, counter-factuals imagine life as they think it should be. I am a prime candidate but haven’t joined to date.
I am heading East from Nashville. I have a plan. My old high school quarterback didn’t come to me in my dreams to guide me, but my subconscious came up with a map to get me to somewhere. I believe that at one time humans were down to 600 surviving members of our species. I have wrote about that before. [see blog space ship ride Oct 04,2010]. Just before the extinction of the human species, I feel more than know that we dispersed in many directions about 35,000 years ago, huddled on the Mediterranean coast, and as a result grew to six billion inhabitants of the earth. Now, here in Armageddon in 2012, I feel the process is being reversed by an intelligent design. Be it caused by Gaia, God, or Randomness, I know not, but I feel it is happening. I have decided to head East to the Georgia Sea Islands, and then hopefully toward the Mediterranean. If I die at least I had somewhere to go. If irrational, my plan logistically is not that bad of an idea, because too many people are heading dead South in America. We humans here will annihilate each other out of spite if we crowd too much together. That’s even accounting for nature killing off ninety-nine out of one hundred of us.
I used to be a boy scout and I have vowed since I split with Jeanette to shave and bathe everyday. I have water because, unlike most, I no longer worry about dysentery or poison water. Way back in Ohio, when I first started wandering South one morning, I decided to kill myself to escape the suffering. I drank water from any source supposed to kill a pilgrim. I am still alive, having been doing so for one month now. Other than at the Westin casino, where I would only drink imported bottled water, I drank whatever was available and am still alive. I have, however, been shaving and trying to watch how I look and smell. Not easy or too rewarding. We all have thinning hair as we walk, caused by stress maybe, or the winds and trauma to our systems; and our countenance is demonic-looking. Most of us survivors have a perpetual scowl. Nothing unusual in that for me. I used to be a banker back in Ohio, about a million years ago.
Speaking of banking, I had some fun this morning. We were going through a small town, [i am with the counter-factuals for now], and we came to an abandoned Bank Branch. I had said I once worked at a Bank, and several of my fellow travelers loaned me their magnum 457’s and we blew the h— out of the front of the branch office, shooting for about twenty minutes. About twenty-five pilgrims shot with me. Anyone who believes God is punishing America by sending the wind storms, automatically eventually finds that they believe the Bankers caused God’s wrath. More on that later when I talk about how survivors adapt their philosophy to why we are being made to suffer like this[in part 7]. Anyway, I am well-hydrated on dirty water, and clean-shaven on rusty razor blades, and I am treading eastward with little intervention from Federal troops. I have a plan. I head to the Atlantic Ocean and then somehow to the Mediterranean coast to the home of my ancient-ancient ancestors.
Sunrise still comes every morning. Being outside, one appreciates and notices the subtle changes sunrise brings. Looking far off toward the East, looking at the light on the low clouds on the horizon, I seem to be able to see down into God’s throat as he yawns in the face of our discomfort. Who knows what tomorrow holds for us one-in-one hundred survivors, but still, we march on.