It's raining again. Christ, it's enough to make a man want to chew the end off a pistol. As if the damned dogs aren't enough to bring a person down.
Since I decided to start this journal for something to do, I may as well start at the beginning, eh?
It all started with Roundup. It's a herbicide which means it kills plants. May God damn Monsanto and their 'perfect herbicide'. Farmers applied it around the world in hundreds of tons per year since 1970. Then the Frankenfood disasters swept entire countries in Africa leaving stalks with no seeds, no pulses.
The bees started disappearing. Then the earthworms. The funguses and bacteria that promoted soil nitrogen fixation died back severely. If the company had owned up to the problem and withdrawn it from the market things probably wouldn't have escalated out of control like they did. But NO! Goddamned Monsanto threw money hand over fist at congress and the senate. They bought the goddamned country, right along side the banks and insurance brokers. The newspapers thought up a cute name and called it the bean war. It wasn't so goddamned funny when supposedly demilitarized nukes started going off in American cities. Drive a semi up to a loading dock, take a bus out of town. Pull out a cell phone. Riiiing. Riiiing. Riii <"That number is no longer in service".> Every city with half a million or over got gutted, unless they were too close together.
In a petty response the president fired off everything we had, taking out China, the Middle East, western Russia, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and all of the Arabian boot. Ya remember all that Mutually Assured Destruction shit that promised a nuclear winter if they dropped the big one? Well, they were right.
To top it off, a team of nut-jobs jacked around with the diphtheria bacillus so that it was incredibly tough, deadly as hell and would host in canines. That's right, dogs. They thrived after being infected. It just drove 'em crazy as a shit-house rat. It was like they all developed the brain of a Chihuahua and would bite anything that moved. They track noise, too. You shoot one and fifty will come callin'. It got spread by dusting the stuff inside shipping containers and through sixty tranquilized dogs that were shipped over from India.
All of the big cities were gone. People died like wheat in the field, laid flat by a hailstorm. Then the dog packs started tearing apart anybody caught out on the street. Nobody could even go out to collect the dead for disposal.
How did I fit into all this? I'm still trying to figure out if I was real lucky or damned. I'm Sandy. I was born in New London, CT and have lived there all my life except for those eight years that the army owned my ass. I'm a heavy welder when I can get the business but I keep a roof over my head by breaking up the clinkers in the electric company's coal-fired boilers with a water blaster. Never heard of one? It's an eye opener. A water blaster is the big grand daddy of a pressure washer. Instead of pushing out water at maybe 1200 PSI, a blaster delivers 36,000 PSI when cranked up. That'll peel concrete right down to the reinforcing rods and peel the side of a ship down to bare metal. You have to wear a full face shield and armor to keep blow backs from hitting you like bullets from a .38 pistol.
New York and Boston had taken 'small' nuclear hits. Even though they were fairly close to New London, it was life as usual. I was still being paid to work. I was chewing barely cooled slag from a combustion pit the size of half a rail car into chunks that would fit through the shaker grate at the bottom. I had stopped for a little while to refill the water tank, take a drink of cold water myself and wipe off the sweat. The blaster was on wheels but at right around two tons I used a little donkey engine to drag it around. The big loading doors were open to spread the heat around a little. What must have been thirty, forty dogs ran through the doors and started chewing on anybody that was standing. I wasn't about to stand there and be dog food. I hit the throttle on the big diesel, dropped my face shield and jammed the but of the wand into my armpit. I hit those dogs with 30,000 PSI of cold water from ten to twenty feet away. The couple that led the pack just disappeared. The rest had huge gaping wounds and missing limbs. They were all down and dying if not dead. I dropped the throttle back down to idle and refilled the water tank. When I raised my face shield I heard screams and calls for help. Nobody was armed so we were like shooting fish in a barrel. From the doorway I heard the sound of more dogs. I yelled out, "Get back! Get up on something or behind a door! I hear more dogs!"
I lugged that thing closer to the door and got ready. I waited until they were coming through the door, all jammed together before I triggered the sprayer valve. This time I made sure to get down on one knee so that I didn't miss any. They gave out short 'yelp's as I shortened their legs or blew open their rib cages. My working pal, Thomas had brought up a heavy water hose and was filling the tank faster than I could empty it. Tom always was smarter than me. He thought ahead when I charged forward. Together we pretty well covered the bases.
I took down over a hundred and twenty dogs during the second wave. I dialed back the throttle then inspected the blaster and its hoses. The nozzle was getting worn even though it was made of ceramic, so I swapped out the module. Somebody had sent a few guys with good eyes upstairs to watch for another wave. Tom and I talked as we waited. "Ya know, living around here is going to be like being in a war zone until the packs die off."
I nodded. "Compounds would work but people would have to cooperate." I had a brain flash. "Unless we lived aboard ships." I bumped his hip with mine. "Hi, sailor. Lookin' for a good time?"
Tom laughed and punched my shoulder. "I ain't never scraped a barrel low enough to find somethin' like you attractive."
Tom was my buddy in the reserves. When we were together it was gay jokes, 24x7. We talked over getting out of our apartments and finding something floating to live on. Tom had to worry about his family as well--he had a wife, a son and two daughters. I was the bachelor in the group.
We took out another pack of over sixty before dark. That's when a manager gave the OK to close the big rail-car doors. Nobody went home. It was too dangerous. We tore apart the vending machines for dinner and went upstairs to the business offices to find someplace padded to rack out for the night. Later, towards dawn, I opened a window and listened. I could hear the dog packs all over. Later that morning we sat together and talked over coffee. I let everyone know what I'd heard early that morning. We were surrounded in depth. Someone turned on a radio and found a news station. Martial law had been declared. Tom and I exchanged glances. We had to report in to the nearest police facility. I did the whistle thing. "Listen up! Any reservists here?" Four other guys responded. "We gotta report in." Since I was a sergeant I drew the command slot. "Anybody armed?" Nope. Aw, crap. "Anybody got a big 4x4 or heavy duty truck?" Nope. Okay, we had to steal one. (Choke, cough. 'requisition' one.) I looked around the parking lot for a likely candidate. Nothing caught my eye. I did see a heavy delivery van built on a dually chassis. "Who owns that van?" Nobody answered. It must have been someone that got massacred by the dogs. We matched up the patch on a corpse with the advertising on the van and found our keys. Now I needed to call in. There was no sense in registering at a cop shop when they would just send us on to a mustering facility someplace else. We were told to report to the nearest National Guard facility.
New London had its own NG Armory on Bayonet Street. It was a long, low one-story building that looked more like a high school than a military facility. It was deceptively deep, though. We were one of the first 'wild cards' to register so we got a lot of the bullshit housekeeping jobs to prepare for the expected rush. We did get choice digs, though, and first shot at issued gear. Their armory had rack after rack of MP5s. I was told that they all had the Naval trigger group--automatic fire was limited to three round bursts. Me? I was happy just to get a pair of good-fitting boots and some down time to break 'em in.
The yard had the standard mix of refueling trucks, water buffalos, tractors and 5th wheel trailers. I was surprised to see fourteen of the old gun trucks built on m939 6x6 5 ton truck bodies. They'd seen action in the Iraqui war and showed it. With the .50 cal machine guns and ammo carrying capacity I wanted one! They all had half inch steel plate welded over everything except the slot windows. I wondered if they'd ever fixed the differential lock-up problem? Probably not. It would be too expensive to rework them all.
Within a week we were up to a company in strength and still growing. The captain started assigning areas and sending out squads to patrol for looters and dogs. As a sergeant I got a squad. I volunteered to take the docks. I requisitioned MP5s, an armored troop transport, a hundred locks with keys and an explosives man equipped with det cord, caps and a field-expedient dynamo. We'd have a lot of gates to blow.
When I sat down with my squad mates in the mess I caught a ration of shit. They all wanted a nice, easy sit-on-your-ass berth in an APC while they patrolled. I reminded them that it would break down to boots on the dirt before very long because of crashed vehicles making the streets impassable. Port duty meant fences, gates and controlled access. It would be almost impossible for us to be overrun.
.... There is more of this story ...