So limitless and free

I looked over at Martialla solemnly “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” 

She blew out a long breath “That it’s going to be impossible to effectively keep watch on both entrance doors with just the two of us?” 

I shook my head “No, I was thinking that if that’s what men look like now, there’s not much chance of a quality lay for the rest of my life.  I was worried about my looks fading, but if those pigmen are what we having running around now, I’m in for a long dry spell.” I gave her a frank look “Unless . . . you know.”

When she didn’t react, I threw my hands up “Come on, that was funny, lighten up a little, it’s only the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.  What do you care about keeping an effective watch anyway?  We were literally getting ready to leave when those mongrels showed up.” 

It was a moment before she spoke “I’m having second thoughts.” 

I raised an eyebrow “That’s my line.  You said we’d die if we stayed here.” 

“I know that!” She took a moment to calm herself “I know we can’t stay here, I’m just . . .  those guys showing up really unbalanced me.” 

I chuckled “Those rash-covered losers?  Why are you afraid of them?  I’ve seen more intimidating eighth graders.  If anything, seeing them made me feel better.  They didn’t even have guns.  We probably have the only functioning firearms left in the world.  That makes us queens of this world!  Until we run out of bullets anyway.”  I waited but Martialla didn’t say anything “It’s interesting, isn’t it?  Weapons seem to last forever but everything else breaks down.  Tools for killing?  Immortal.  Tools for living?  Rotted away.  It’s like a metaphor for human violence or something.”  I waited another moment and then waved my arms at her “Hello, are you listening to me?” 

“Not really.”

I gestured “Well tell me about it, let’s work it out.  Remember that movie where I played a therapist?  I got the gist of it.  I can shrink heads with the best of them.” 

She frowned slightly “I don’t remember a therapist movie.  I guess you didn’t need a stunt double for that one.” 

“Actually I did, see I played Doctor Case Meridian and one of her patients became obsessed with her and broke into her house at night to eat her kneecaps.  Also he was a serial killer, I think.  Also maybe there was a vampire.  That movie got really screwed up in editing.  The working title was Fatal Attraction and when they found out there was already a movie with that name everything got messed up, I think one of the financing people pulled out.  How could they not know about Fatal Attraction?  That movie came in out eighty-seven!  I don’t even recall what the final title ended up being.  Something about a snake maybe.  Anyway, you weren’t in it because you couldn’t work then, I was filming that after you fell off that mule at the Grand Canyon and ripped your perineum in half.” 

She glared at me “That is not what happened!  First of all, it was a full grown big horse not a mule, and more importantly . . .” 

I laughed “Yeah, yeah, whatever, let’s get therapizing, have you been getting enough sleep?” 

“You said you played a doctor in that movie?  Are therapists doctors?  Did you mean you were a psychiatrist?” 

“There was a man wearing a George Bush mask attacking my knees with a circular saw, I don’t think the script writer was too concerned with accuracy.” 

Martialla spit out some mung from the disgusting food she was eating before continuing “Seeing those men made it real for me.  I was in shock before I think, probably still am, seeing them drove it home.

Our world is gone.  Rick is dead.  My parents, my friends, everyone I knew except you, it’s all gone.  Maybe we can survive here, but what for?  It’s all gone.” 

“We don’t know that.  In all the Mad Max movies, there’s like a biodome where people are attractive and have lots of food and go watch killer motorcade fights and laser themselves when they’re fifty as a form of population control because a giant computer tells them to.  We just need to look for something like that.” 

She looked at me annoyedly “This isn’t a movie, Ela.” 

“Sure it is, we’re the last two women on earth, there’s a bunch of movies like that.  When we finally give into the temptation of our desires in the second act, it’s really going to be hot, Mar.  Some actresses get uptight about doing nude scenes, but here’s my theory.  If it’s for the movie, and if it’s not just about nudity, but if it’s artistic and says something about reality, and if it’s in character and if it’s for the scene, 
and if it’s not just a body that . . .” 

She threw a hand up “Okay, enough.” 

I grinned “The sex will be simulated of course, this isn’t a porn, but that doesn’t mean . . .” 

She rolled her eyes “You are a buffoon.”  After a moment she sighed “I’ve never had to be brave before.  I’m not sure I have it in me.” 

I was stunned into silence for a moment “How can you say that?  You’re the bravest person I’ve ever known!  When that mob attacked you didn’t hesitate, you took action.” 

“That wasn’t bravery, that was just reaction, that was self-defense.” She smiled weakly “Plus that was over a hundred years ago, people change.” She sighed “Maybe brave isn’t the right word.  When I worked at the embassy there was this one guy, everyone hated him because they thought he was a spook.  His hands and arms were covered with scars, he couldn’t straighten out his fingers anymore because the nerves were cut or damaged.  I asked him about it one day.  He said that he climbed over several barbed wire fences to get out of a prison in Cambodia, the guards didn’t watch them because they didn’t think anyone would be fucked up enough to climb through them.   I asked him how you do something like that he said ‘it’s just pain’.  That’s what I’m talking about.  There’s a difference between the kind of bravery where you don’t shit your pants in the moment but then afterwards you’re scared out of your mind and the kind of bravery where you know you’re going to be hurt, and I mean hurt bad, and you do it anyway.  No one is making you, you just do it.  I think that’s what’s going on out there.

We’re indoor cats who’ve suddenly been left at grandma’s farm because we hissed at the baby.” 

“My cousin’s family did that, dropped the family cat off at our farm because it bit one of the neighbor kids.  I remember how scared my cousin was for it, how she cried because she thought it was too soft and weak to make it.  That cat was a freaking monster compared to our little farm cats.  It was huge and it was mean and it gave zero shits.  It ruled that place.” 

She snorted “And what, that’s what we’re going to do?”   

I shrugged “Sure, why not?  In the words of Doctor Case Meridian ‘The first step to doing something is deciding to do it’.” 

She shook her head “That’s a terrible line.” 

“Well the guy who wrote it is probably long dead so things are looking up already.” 

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