Tag Archives: Friendship

It’s dangerous to go alone

It was forty miles to the next town, it was fifty below zero outside, and the engine had just died. They had told me Canadian wilderness highways were brutal, but I had driven in snow before. It couldn’t be that bad right? Certainly all that talk about an emergency radio, thermal blankets, and a three day supply of food had to be exaggeration.

I hadn’t even checked the weather before I had left. Typical tourist thing to do, I should’ve known better.

The temperature had gotten so cold inside the cab that my breath had begun to mist in front of me when I exhaled, and I could start to feel the chill through my gloves. It was like one of those movies where something evil passes by and everything suddenly freezes. Only this wasn’t a movie. I could start to feel my nose hairs tingling from the mucus in my nose freezing.

I was shivering rapidly now and was trying to think of the last time I had seen another car. Had it been two hours? Three? Surely someone else would come by soon.

My face was starting to go numb. I considered getting out and doing some exercise to warm up, but if it was this cold inside the car, how much worse would it be outside? Needless to say, at this point I was shivering uncontrollably, you could’ve made a catchy dubstep hook with the chattering sound of my teeth.

Then the shivering slows to a stop, and I begin to feel sleepy. That was better. I must be getting warmer if I felt tired. My body wouldn’t fall asleep unless I was safe. My body must be smart like that, shutting down to preserve energy.

My eyes begins to droop when I see bright lights in my rearview mirror. Those must be headlights coming towards me and the crunch of snow as someone steps up to my car door.

Someone opens my passenger door and a man slides into the shotgun seat.

“Thanks for stopping pal.” I say, slurring my words horribly. That was odd. I hadn’t had anything to drink today.

“No worries friend.” He says, reaching over and taking my hand with his, and putting his other on my shoulder.

“What are you doing?” I ask, now slurring like a roaring drunk despite barely talking above a whisper. “Aren’t you going to take me to your car?”

“No friend.” He says, giving my shoulder a squeeze. “I’m not here to save you. I’m here to comfort you. No one should die alone, so for those unlucky enough to be without friends or family, they have me to see them safely to the other side. Don’t worry, it won’t take long, and there’s hot chocolate on the other side.

A suspicious skype call

“Hey Sam.” I told my skype buddy from ‘Australia’. “I think something is wrong with your screen.”

“What do you mean Bill?” He said innocently, pretending like nothing was going on.

“It just, um, it just flickered you know? The window. It was like a desert mirage for a second and I thought I saw something on the other side.”

“On no.” Bill said. “I’m sure it’s nothing, firewall messing with the output or something. You can never be to careful with bacteria these days.”

“You mean viruses?” I ask.

“Yes, right, viruses, of course, always ramming the hard drive.” Ramming the hard drive? Was that Australian slang for something?

“Sure, yeah, all the time, ramming the hard drive. Really causes problems with the…..output. Anyway, did you see the football game?” I asked my skype buddy Sam.

“Oh yes, American football, the Pittsburgh metallurgists against the Green Bay cheese fanatics.” He said matter of factly. “Surely the steel shall prevail over dairy.”

“What? That was four years ago. I was talking about the upcoming one, the patriots versus the seahawks.” Sam looked frantically at his screen, scrolling frantically.

“Time distortion offset needs recalibrating.” He muttered under his breath.

“What was that?” I asked. Sam was starting to go off the deep end.

“Nothing, nothing, I was just going to comment that waterfowl will have great difficulty prevailing against men who are armed with the modern musket.” *Modern musket? I don’t think anyone has fired a musket in anger in almost two centuries. Also, I knew people could get caught up in the mascots, but it really seemed like Sam thought there were going to be a bunch of Seahawks facing off against a group of patriots.

“Hey Sam, do you think the muskets are going to be custom made with smaller caliber rounds? I mean the ball size seems a bit excessive for taking down a bird of that size.” Sam did not miss a beat when he agreed with me.

“For sure, for sure, one could hunt bears in the frontier with those weapons. I would wager they would decrease the caliber by half at least, if not a quarter. That way they could carry more ammunition.” Something is most definitely wrong with Sam.

“Sam, what year is it?” I asked.

“You mean right now?” He returned.

“Yes Sam, right now, what is the year.” I said calmly and measuredly.

“Uh, well you know I’m not sure how to convert the number from metric to English, and have you opted for the Gregorian calendar?” Sam replied.

“Okay Sam, what’s going on. It’s pretty clear you have no idea what American football is, or even what the year is. Now I like talking with you buddy, but you need to level with me.” I folded my arms and waited.

“Well, if you must know.” Sam flipped a switch I couldn’t see and suddenly his screen was occupied not by another man like me, but by what appeared to be a stereotypical green, bug eyed, antenna eared alien.

“I’m sorry you had to figure out Bill.” Sam said. I was so busy trying not to swallow my tongue I almost didn’t hear him. “I should’ve checked the local events in your year and place before answering the call.”

“Forget that, what are you and why are you doing this?” I demanded.

“I’m from your neighboring star system, Ceti Alpha V, you would call me an alien, and as for the reason.” Sam sighed.

“Is it research?” I asked.

“No.” the creature that was Sam sighed.

“Is it for entertainment?” I asked.

“No.” Sam said

“Is it for interstellar politics?” I asked.

“No.” Sam said for the third time.

“What then?” I asked.

“I just wanted a friend Bill.” Sam is staring down at his keyboard and picking at one of the keys so he doesn’t have to make eye contact. “It gets lonely over here and I just wanted someone to talk to.”

“Well you can always talk with me Sam.” I told him. “Just don’t say anything too weird while my friends are over okay?”

The last french fry

“Alright, you guys have twenty minutes to grab any souvenirs of civilization before we pack it out of here. They’ll be coming soon and we need to be gone when they do.” My bug out crew had made a decision to come back. We had all met at the agreed upon panic location when the bombs had started going off. Thousands of nuclear bombs made in secret under false pretense had been distributed by a very sophisticated group.

The one in this mall had been disarmed by some off duty navy SEAL explosive technician. It was a lucky twist of fate that left one of the only standing monuments to western culture in a hundred miles. My crew had heard about in on the radio on our way out. It was currently being swarmed over by scavengers, but if you carried enough guns and went in packs, the bad ones would leave you alone.

I buddied up with my childhood friend Eric. Him and me had been hanging out since middle school, almost ten years now. So many nights staying up late talking about life. So many adventures out into the wilderness. It was there we had met the people who would eventually become our bug out crew. Yeah, me and Eric had a lot of good memories. It was fitting we would get to share our last memory of what life was like before the fall together.

“So where do you want to go mate?” He asks me. The mall’s big, so we only really have time to hit one last location. I’m glad he’s given me the choice. I know exactly where should go.

“The burger joint on the north end.” Eric nods approvingly. Every time we had stayed up late, or headed out on an adventure, we had stopped here for food. Every time we came Eric always got the fries, and I got the onion rings. It had been a friendly game for us. Each of us swearing that we had made the best choice, and each of us refusing to taste the others dish as a matter of pride. We would have time for one last meal before the apocalypse closed in around us.

We break into the kitchen to find it’s picked clean, except for one french fry and one onion ring sitting next to the frier. They’re a little mushed, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Eric picks up the onion ring and gives it a whiff. “To memories” He says. I pick up the french fry and answer his toast.

“To memories.” I say, and we take our last bite of civilization together.