White Album “Revolution 9” played backward

“I’m sorry about Paul.”

After a moment she leaned forward in a full body nod “Me too.”

“I’m so sorry that I won’t even mention that even though Paul was physically an adult he was mentally in a state of arrested development on account of his traumatic life and the freezing and all that so you’re kind of like one of those teachers who sleeps with their students.”

Half of a laugh that turned into a choked sob “Thanks for that.”

I noticed her twisting her wedding ring around her finger “You know what I was thinking about the other day?  I was thinking that after we got frozen and California went all John Carpenter’s Escape from LA Peter went looking for you, obviously, but I bet that while he was trying to find you he also was helping people.  All kinds of people.  Whatever people he could find.  Helping them find food and shelter and teaching them how to survive.  I bet if we ever head south we’ll find a couple communities that he helped to survive the early days.  I bet that he helped out kids especially.  Got kids back with their parents or found them new parents and protected them and kept them alive.  Peter was great with kids.  I bet he helped hundreds of kids, thousand or more even, get away into the mountains to little towns and camps that were still okay.  I bet past Texaco City and Biship lots of people today still know his name, and they know your name too because he talked about you all the time.  Martialla, the great love of his life who he never gave up looking for, not ever, until the day he died at an old age surrounded by friends and people who he helped.  He never took up with anyone else because there was no point, he had already found his only true love.  That’s what I was thinking the other day.  Do you think that’s true Martialla?”

Martialla wiped at her face and nodded quickly, clearing her throat.

I nodded slowly “Yeah, me too, I think that’s probably what happened.”

We were sitting on a concrete pylon (or whatever) looking out over our new domain.  I don’t know what I thought a hydroelectric plant would look like, a dam I suppose, but I sure didn’t think it would look like a loose collection of pipes and garbage.  It looks like the still from MASH exploded.  Lucien assures me that it’s really important but looking at it I can’t help but think over and over “this is what we were fighting for?”

In the army movies whenever someone dies they’re always doing something terribly heroic like saving the lives of fifteen other people or passing along plans that will win the entire war or something like that.  One of the old army dudes they have on set for those kind of movies told me that they do that in real life too.  When a commander writes the family to say how their son died they make up a bunch of shit about how heroic it was so the family can feel good about their kid drying if they’re able to.  Doesn’t make them any less dead but it’s some consolation I guess. 

No one knows how Paul died.  No one alive anyway, a bunch of dead people probably saw it happen, including the person that killed him.  There are no obvious fatal wounds on the body so maybe he got hit in the head or chest.  His body was found off a ways from the rest of the fighting but everyone saw him in the thick of it hacking away with his machete like Jason Vorhees.  Must be that he got clocked with something blunt and tried to clear the area so he could get himself together and then he dropped dead from whatever happens in your brain when you get walloped. 

Paul wouldn’t have run away from the fight, and I don’t mean that in the “my dead friend was no coward!” angry stage of grief way, I mean that he simply would not have done that.   When the shit went down Paul was a kill crazy motherfucker.  He was a rabid wolverine.  I don’t know how many people he had to kill to stay alive in this world but it has to be a body count that would make the real Jason look pathetic. 

Aside from Paul and a bunch of other people getting killed the plan worked out so well I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Like the Invincible are just playing along so they can fuck us later. 

Four Invincible Trucks showed up at the logging camp.  Which was not great because we only thought there were two in the area.  They were smart enough to avoid the log-trap zones but they weren’t smart enough to realize that by avoiding those traps they were being funneled into the bomb-trap zone Lucien set up.  In their defense I think you would have had to have been really smart to figure that out. 

The bombs blew two of the trucks to bits, and the people along with them.  If there had only been two of them like we thought that would have been what they call a victorious slaughter.  But there weren’t only two, there were four. 

One of the trucks was disabled by the explosion and the fourth one was fine.  The original plan was for Lucien to be with the attack force the hydroplant but he was worried about the bombs even though all you had to do to set them off was push a button so he stayed at the camp with me. 

Lucien lead a bunch of timber-people with knives and sticks to attack the immobile truck while I chased after the other one in our truck with the only two other people with firearms.  What’s the opposite of giving as good as you get?  Lucien shot two of the people in the truck but there were fifteen causalities taking out the other three. 

The undamaged truck raced back towards the hydroplant, and I was driving so I couldn’t shoot at them.  The two shooters with me were both dead in less than a minute it seemed.  Not only that but I couldn’t out-drive them either.  It’s a good think they didn’t double back because they surely would have taken me out and seized the other truck. 

I’ve heard people talk about survivor’s guilt.  I must not have that gene because I could to think is “thank god they died and not me”.  Maybe that makes me the worst but that’s how I felt. 

The idea was that Martialla and her group would only attack the hydroplant if the Invincible sent enough of their fighters away to attack the logging camp to make it an easy win.  And maybe it like that was before the fourth truck came back but I bet they attacked with only okay odds under the assumption that even if the odds weren’t great they were never going to get any better. 

Maybe we shouldn’t have split our forces.  Maybe we should have all been at the timber camp and then attacked the hydroplant afterwards together but the idea was that we didn’t want them to have time to prepare.  It made sense at the time. 

Who knows which was right.

Martialla used the rail for leverage to sit down like an old woman “What makes it hard to cope with is how sudden it was.  It was like he just disappeared, not like he died.  And we’re here.  Everything is so crazy there’s no way to really deal with it.  It’s like we’re on another planet.  There’s just . . . just . . . no way.  It’s too much.”

I didn’t say anything.  What was there to say?


  1. I may have called Martialla’s husband by a different name before because I’m a great writer.

    Image is from Wikipedia entry on micro hydroplants so I can use it?

    1. Nobody remembers the names of side characters. That’s why shows compile a huge book of that stuff, so when they fire the expensive show runner and writing staff, the unpaid intern in charge of story can check whether the neighbor from S2 E3 was Bill or Phil.

      Also, that picture leaves me with more questions than answers. Four barrels and some sticks do not a power plant make.

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