To get enough money for trading, figured I better get a job. Walking downtown, I saw a Help Wanted sign in the S-Mart, so decided to go in and take a chance. Talked with the owner Dale, who was really nice, and gave me a brief overview of what the job entailed. Until I could bank some money, I had to go on what could be traded or bartered. Started my shift, and for at least the first few hours, no one came in, so I spent the time reading the employee handbook and a survival guide.
At about 2pm, the door opened and in walked a lady in surgical scrubs, carrying a should sack, “Hello, I have a trade for you maybe, I have some assault bullets I don’t need. I only have 3 bullets and i really need money for food and water, I don’t know how much they cost but is 50 each ok?”
“I really do not have much money here, and am new here. But I can let Dale know you have some items you are needing to get some cash for,” I replied.
“No problem, I am new here too. By the way, my name is Beth,” said the woman.
“My name is Lily,” I replied, “I appreciate your patience. I am still learning the ropes.” At that moment a man made his way into the S-Mart, after making two knocks on the door, giving a nod and smile to Beth and I. I looked over at him and nodded.
The man chuckled lightly, shaking his head, “it’s good that survivors are still finding their way here, considering the alternatives out on the mainland. It’s a small piece of comfort. Well, when the water is not threatening to flood everyone out of their homes and shops.” He stepped forward, and introduced himself, “My name is Beast.”
I giggled, “Nice to meet you, Beast. Yes, it was hard getting away from the mainland. I had wondered when I got here if I had jumped from the frypan into the fire.”
Beth said “Nice to meet you Beast. Yes it is hard fighting across the mainland and even the parts that are flooded now. Here is most definitely the best option.”
Beast, replied ” I don’t know if I’d say you jumped into the fire…more like an impending swimming pool of stagnant odor and drowned infected…which reminds me…don’t go swimming in it if you can avoid it.” He looked at the both of us. “I would gander a guess that I have been here short of a month by a couple of weeks…still I’ve been doing alright finding my way around and keeping busy. If either of you need anything, let me know and I will see what I can do to help.” To me, he said, “I don’t know what of the stock here you have access to or where it is stored, but in the event that you don’t, I won’t make you go searching. Just let Red..er..Dale know that I stopped by to see if she found that gun for me yet.”
Beth, giving a wave of her hand as she moved to the door to leave, “It was nice meeting the both of you, I hope to see more of you around. Also if you have not yet, please come see me at the hospital. All newcomers must take a physical and we also have care packages there too.”
“Take care, Beth,” I replied, “I will make my way over there soon, I promise.”
“Already had my physical exam done a week ago. It was done late, but at least it is done now. Shame that the first floor of the AES is underwater though, gotta admire that they just keep going with things, no matter what they have to use.”
Beth left, as Beast leaned on the counter and winked at me, “Just out of curiosity, what stock DO you have at hand right now?”
I replied with a smiled, “Well I am still learning what is in inventory, but if there is anything special you have in mind, I will let Dale know. I am sorry I am not much help, right now.”
Beast shrugged and smiled at me, “No need to apologize. Just let her know Beast stopped by for his usual. She will know what you mean. How are you finding everything so far?”
I replied, “Thanks for understanding, and I will let Dale know you stopped by. I am still finding my way around. A bit difficult when everything is under water.”
Beast smiled, “I know only too well.. My best advice, no matter what you are doing in any given day, always give yourself a few times in the day to try and sift through rubble and dumpsters.. you’d be surprised what people threw under things trying to hide them, or threw away before hell broke loose.. I never was a fan of dumpster diving for things, but it’s helped me survive the past few years or so since it started.”
“Thank you kindly, Beast. I hope to see you again soon I said.”
“You can count on that..” said Beast. “Before I go off to do some hunting, have you eaten or had anything to drink yet today?”
“Not yet. had to slog my way here to be on time, and forgot to get something to eat, I replied.”
Beast nodded and took off his rucksack, digging lightly through two of the pockets to retrieve something from each. One was a bottle of water, the other was a cloth pouch of food. He set them both on the counter, then “Thank you so much, Beast. I appreciate your help very much. Hopefully I can return the favor sometime.”
Beast called over his shoulder before letting the shop door close behind him as he walked off down the street, “Stay alive.. and we’re squared away, Lily. Just stay alive.”1