The Notebook

March 13, 2018

I'm not really a survivor type.

Seriously. In the Gilligan's Island we’re-stranded-now-what lineup, I'm Ginger. Coddle me, feed me, I'll be on my hammock. You don't have to "survive" in the city, right? Just have a takeout menu. Or five. I had a job, I had an apartment, that's what you thought about on graduation day when you were listening to whatever toothpaste magnate was your commencement speaker. That, and parties. I was good at parties.

Anyway. No more parties.

Last week, I woke up, and it was quiet. Serene, middle of the woods quiet. Or maybe middle of the night quiet, because cities don't really do quiet. Mine doesn't, anyway. But it was. The sun was up, my bedroom windows were open, and there was. No. Noise.

I rolled over and looked at my alarm clock, but the face was black. I reached for my phone and pushed the button on the side; nothing. I rolled out of bed and went into the bathroom. The light didn't turn on, but the toilet still flushed, and when the bowl didn't refill, I figured I' something about it later.

I looked out the window.

The street was full of cars, and so was the overpass to the highway. And the highway. And the bridge. But it was so quiet I felt deaf. No honking. No engines. Nobody yelling. Lots of people, the city full of people, silently walking, winding their way through all those cars. Some had duffel bags, some were empty handed. A breeze ruffled the curtains against my arms, and I backed up and sat on my bed. No electricity. No phone. No cars.

I got my keys and my purse and went out, triple checking the locked door behind me. Nobody was in the hallway, or the stairwell, but Stanley the doorman was in the lobby. The lobby furniture was in a barricade against the doors. "What happened?" I asked.

My friends, when they came to visit, always made jokes about Stanley. He was muscled up big, tall, with a shaved head and scars on his knuckles that didn't go with his plain black suit. He had tattoos that peeked from under his shirt cuffs and collar. My friends said that he killed the real Stanley the doorman years ago, and just came to work the next day with his nametag on and assumed his identity. They said that he was like a fox guarding the henhouse. I thought he was kind of cute, really. He'd always been nice, even if he didn't talk much.

"There was a solar storm," he said. I stared at him. "It knocked out the grid, fried the transformers. Cars don't work. A lot of people tried to leave after the first wave, second wave stopped their cars. They're still walking."

"Wouldn't it make more sense to wait for the power to come back? Where would they even walk to?"

"The power isn't coming back for awhile. It might be months."

"Months?" Months without power was incomprehensible.

"They have to replace transformers, get things started again. Make more transformers." He shrugged. "It takes time."

"Isn't the Internet built to survive nuclear holocaust? I thought I read that somewhere."

"For military, maybe."

I looked out the front doors, at the cars. Most of them had the doors closed, and were probably locked. Some of them had the doors hanging open, car junk like newspapers and napkins and broken CD cases spilling out of them. So many people, staring straight ahead, just walking. I watched them for a long time, thought about where I could walk. My parents lived halfway across the country.

"The Red Cross will come, right? Or FEMA? Isn't that what they're for?"

"Probably," Stanley agreed. I wondered where he lived. The building, I guess. 

"Is anybody else here?"

"The two older women." My building was a bunch of younger professionals, and some geriatrics whose apartments were so rent controlled that they were practically paying the same in rent that they did on V-J Day. My hometown was much better equipped to deal with no power; a lot of houses still had hand pumped wells they could access, and the local farmers would be up to their ears in produce. My parents were fine.

"Can I use the desk phone? My cell is dead."

"The landlines are dead too. Anything plugged in is gonna be dead, even if it wasn't on."

"I guess....I'll go back upstairs," I said, looking out again at the street. Sooner or later, the people would stop walking and start looting.

Stanley looked at my flip flops and yoga pants and nodded. Urban survival wear at its finest, clearly. "Tell me if you need help," he said.

"I'm in 7-C." Like he didn't know. I went back up to my apartment and closed the door behind me. I looked at all of the dead things, the lights, the TV, and I was too scared to cry.

March 15, 2018

It wasn't even my idea to keep this notebook. It was Stanley's. I was never a "Dear Diary" kid, not even after reading Diary of a Young Girl in fifth grade.

"If nothing else, you'll make a million bucks when we get rescued," he said.

"Yeah, I'll go on Oprah. We'll go on Oprah."

They had a notebook in the Super's office to keep track of complaints and leases and things. Just plain old black and white marbled composition books. They probably got them at Wal-Mart for five cents each at Back to School time twenty years ago and were still working through them. The edges of the paper were softly curled, a little bit yellowed, like old lace.

It was two days before Stanley came to my door. I stayed in my apartment the entire time, rationing my crackers and Pop Tarts. I opened my fridge as little as possible, but really, I'd only had eggs and bottled water in it. On day one, I lit a burner on my gas stove with a match and boiled the eggs so they would last longer, so I was that smart at least.

When Stanley knocked on my door, I went to look through the peep hole with my pepper spray and a field hockey stick. I never played any sports, but I thought field hockey sticks looked cool. I stole it from my college roommate right after graduation. I opened the door when it was Stanley, and he didn't have a gun or anything. What he did have was two gallon jugs of water.

"From the cistern on the roof," he said, holding them up with a smile.

"Thank you!" I hugged him without thinking about it, let go too soon, and then we stood there awkwardly.

"I have a small garden up there," he said. "Peppers, cucumbers. Do you have food?"

"I had no idea. I...kind of have food." I didn't know if he was asking me for food, or trying to see that I was fed.

He laughed. "You can leave your apartment, you know. Still nobody here but us, and two old women. The front doors are locked, but nobody has come to them."

"Did you bring them water too?"

"I did. One of them tipped me and the other one wouldn’t open her door. She told me that she had a gun."

"She might. Was it Madge Rivers?"

"It was."

I nodded. Mrs. Rivers didn't want to talk to anybody unless they were going to give her a ride to the doctor, or take her to buy groceries. She probably did have a gun. I heard her husband was a cop, like, fifty years ago. "Can I see the garden?" I asked. Stanley nodded, and I set the water on the floor inside my door and closed it behind me. I was in different yoga pants, but the same flip flops. Sun Salutations kept me sane for those two days. It kept my mind off of Pop Tarts too.

I'd never been up on the roof before, tenants weren’t allowed. The garden was tiny, but it was lush and growing. There were bright red tomatoes, and maybe some lettuce too. I'd never seen lettuce growing out of the ground. I went and looked over the edge. No people anymore, but cars, as far as the eye could see. I imagined the whole country like that, roads clogged with abandoned cars that might never be driven again. Like that movie The Stand. It was warm and sunny enough for my tank top, but my arms were covered in goosebumps.

"Maybe I shouldn't have invited you up here," Stanley said with a frown.

"No, it's okay. It's good to get out of my apartment." I put my hand on his arm, maybe another mistake. It was thrilling to be in contact with another human. Two days doesn't seem so very long, until it is.

"We have a better chance if we work together. Share our food, use the garden."

"That's a good idea." I didn't tell him how little food I had in the first place. Maybe he would be happy with those tins of anchovies; I forgot why I even bought them. Caesar dressing? I didn't notice I was crying until Stanley reached out, hesitated, and took my hand.

April 1, 2018

Stanley had a hand crank emergency radio, and though it was dead air most of the time, there was a cycle of emergency broadcasts. They were mostly about conserving water, not eating spoiled food, and not trying to leave your location. It was bad all over, and trying to walk to someplace better was more likely to result in your accidental death. Despite the cautions to stay put, there were lists of emergency stations read off; I guess they didn't want people dying two blocks from a Red Cross tent. Our nearest Red Cross Tent was far further than two blocks.

And as it turned out, Mrs. Rivers did have a gun.

Her apartment on five was the closest one to the stairwell. Almost any time Stanley and I went to his rooms in the basement or up to the roof, she banged on the wall with a broom or something and yelled that we were too loud. We spent a lot of time on the roof, even when it rained, working on the garden or just watching the still city for any movement. Stanley stopped wearing his suits, dressed in muscle tees and cargo pants instead. His tattoos were black and gray, full sleeves of angels and demons, swords and crosses and roses. I didn't ask him about them; having the "what was the inspiration for your tattoos?" conversation with Stanley was too weird and too normal.

But the night Mrs. Rivers came out, I had just gone to the basement to get Stanley's shake flashlight. He had a lot of survival gear: water packets, those shiny blankets. He also had "survival food", which tasted kind of like lemons, no matter what it was. I wouldn't shake the flashlight with Stanley watching, after the first time.

When I ran back up the steps to the roof, the stairwell door on five banged open, and Mrs. Rivers stood there in a housedress and Crocs, her thin hair crazed, and a gun in her hand. I stopped. "I'm tired of all this noise and there's nobody to complain to."

"I'm sorry, Mrs. Rivers, I didn't realize I was so loud," I said. I think I'd only ever seen her once before, when I moved in three years ago. She was pissed about the noise then too, when the movers carried my bed upstairs.

"I want to complain," she said. She flounced, and I watched the gun flop around in her hand. It was a stubby little gun. I didn't know anything about guns.

"I could take you to Stanley? He can fix everything," I said. Maybe Stanley would help her move apartments or something. He had all of the super's keys to the apartments, and one by one, we'd gone through and gotten out the food that was still good. My pitiful stash was long gone.

"Get going, missy," she said, and she pointed the gun at me. Her rings clinked loosely on her knuckle-y fingers, and her medical alert bracelet rode her forearm up near her elbow.

"Okay, okay." I didn't know if she would be able to shoot straight, but I was too scared to try and find out. I even imagined I could smell the gun, though I didn't know what guns were supposed to smell like. Metallic. Or maybe that was her. Or maybe I could smell my own fear.

I crept up the stairs ahead of her. I was afraid of being too loud, and her shooting me on the spot. On each landing, I looked up the stairwell and thought about screaming for Stanley. Turning the flashlight off. Something. I didn't, though. I just kept up the stairs. Occasionally she prodded me with the gun. I could hear her raspy breathing. The building was only twelve floors, but the seven stories she pushed me up were probably more than she'd climbed in years.

"Mrs. Rivers, I'm sorry that we were so loud. Maybe we can help you move? Make you comfortable where it's quiet?"

"I've been in that apartment for fifty years, I'm not leaving it! You can't get rid of me. I'll show you. I'll get rid of you." I couldn't help but shine the flashlight at her, and she waved the gun around. We were on the top landing, and I felt the breeze through the propped-open roof door.

"I think that we can find a way to live together here, it's a big enough building for three people." Four people. I forgot about Mrs. Charles.

"That would be true if you weren't animals. Animals!" Mrs. Rivers was waving her gun, waving her other hand, and there was movement from my right, and Stanley took the gun from Mrs. Rivers in one smooth movement. She teetered on the top step, and then fell backwards, arms still out, mouth open, staring right into my eyes. Bones cracked as she rolled down the steps and hit the wall.

Stanley did something to the gun that made it click, shoved it in his waistband, and took the flashlight from me. "Sorry I took so long," he said.

"Is she dead?" I asked. Everything was quiet. "We have to see if we can help her."

I walked to the stairs before I could change my mind, and looked down. Stanley followed, slowly, and in the edges of the flashlight's beam, I could see Mrs. Rivers, crumpled like a doll on the landing, her head bent wrong, her legs folded underneath her. Stanley put an arm around me, and I shook against him. "We can't really help her," he said.

Her head moved a little. I backed away, covered my mouth. "Oh God."

Stanley sighed. He pulled me out onto the roof, to the chairs by the garden. "Stay here."

"What are you going to do?" He looked at me and shook his head. He walked back inside, and I stared out over the dark skyline. The moon was bright enough to cast shadows. 

The gunshot was very loud, and I jumped and probably screamed. I wrapped my arms around myself and waited, hunched over a little, expecting to hear the gun again. I didn't. Stanley was gone for a really long time, and when he came back, he was sweaty and wearing a different shirt. I didn't ask him what he did with her, and when we went down the stairs later, the landing was clean and empty.

I didn't sleep. I lit a candle and just watched it burn all night, wax sliding down the sides and onto the table. I heard Stanley in the hallway, but he didn't knock.

April 3, 2018

We checked on Mrs. Charles. When I knocked, there was no answer, and I waited and knocked again and then again before Stanley pushed in and used the key. Mrs. Charles' apartment smelled like bay leaves and old paper. "Hello?" I called, as loud as I could make myself. "Mrs. Charles, are you all right?"

There was no answer. We went room by room, and in the bedroom, we found her. We heard the flies before we got to the end of the hallway and for a crazy minute I thought she had an AC running. She'd put on her wedding dress, and stockings and shoes and her good jewelry. I don't know if she bothered with makeup, because she put a plastic bag over her head, and there were a bunch of open prescription bottles on the bedside stand.

She did it so carefully, like she didn't want to bother anybody. The bedroom window was open, so there was no smell. Just the flies. We could hear them walking around against each other. And buzzing. We got towels from the bathroom and flapped them until enough flies took off for Stanley to gather the bedspread around her, and he carried her out. I didn't ask him where he took her.

I sat in her wingback chair by the window and cried, my fist stuffed in my mouth so Stanley wouldn't hear me. I hoped my parents were okay. I hoped my grandmother hadn't done this. I always thought there was so much time, that I could always call tomorrow. Or the next day.

By the time Stanley came back, I had looked in her cupboards for food we could use. She had crackers, tuna, five cans of white beans, and an unopened package of pepperoni. We didn't open the refrigerator.

April 9, 2018

I don't know how long it takes to get scurvy but really, you can only eat crackers and potted meat for so long. The garden was amazing: peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, radishes, it was all there. Stanley even figured out a way to snare pigeons. He wrung their necks, and tried to show me how to clean them, but I couldn't watch. I tried not to think of Mrs. Rivers on the stairs.

We spelled out SOS on the roof, with sheets, so that if a rescue plane or helicopter passed overhead, they would know there were survivors here. We kept flares just inside the roof door, to signal if we heard anybody. We never saw anything, not even with binoculars. No movement on the streets, or the highway, or the bridge. Just the last traffic jam the city would have, dead quiet. I wondered what people did with their pets, and then decided not to think about it. Thank God our building was fish only, and most people didn't bother.

It rained enough to keep the cistern full. We boiled the water that we would use for drinking or cooking and kept it in plastic bottles that we had emptied. We filled clean bathtubs, just in case Stanley said. There was no way to know what would happen. The broadcasts on the emergency radio stayed the same. FEMA had to come soon, though. Or the Red Cross. One day soon we were going to hear a helicopter and some guy on a bullhorn. Then they'd clear the streets and the lights would come back and everything would be normal again.

Because we were such good rooftop urban foragers (okay, Stanley gets all the credit for this), we didn't want for a whole lot. We both lost some weight, but were still okay. We portioned out vitamins people had left. I taught Stanley some yoga, but I could tell he was only humoring me. Every day, we turned on the radio to see if there was any news, any variation in the broadcast. We were sure to put the radio back in the mesh box Stanley called a Faraday cage, in case there was another EMP.

One day, getting the radio, I noticed something I hadn't seen before: a cell phone. I cranked the radio, looking at the phone. It wouldn't be a big deal, if I tried to call home. Stanley wouldn't mind. Or maybe he would. Fuck it. I pulled it out, a plain gray flip phone, opened it and held down the power button. The screen lit up and I waited, maybe prayed. Full battery. It said it was 2:30 p.m. but I had no way to know if that was true. I stared at the display, willing for something to happen, and then a single tiny bar of service was there. I dialed home; how totally normal, to hear the little noises pressing the numbers made. I hit Send and put the phone to my ear; there was a yawning gulf of silence, and a couple of clicks. Part of a ringtone, I swear there was, and I could imagine my mom's voice, my dad's, picking up the phone with that little throat clear they both did before they said "Hello?" But then there were clicks again, and a buzzing like the emergency broadcast noise, and only dead air. I looked at the screen again, and the service bar was gone. If it had ever been there to begin with.

I brought the radio to the roof and acted like nothing had happened. Nothing had happened, really. It was almost worse than something bad happening, than more bad things happening. I made up quaint little survival stories in my head, about how the town back home banded together and everybody pitched in to share work and resources. It was probably true. My town was so nicey-nice I had only wanted to get away from it, and now I regretted it. I wanted my mom and dad, and my grandmother, and the awkward neighborhood boys who were men now and probably less awkward.

The emergency broadcasts stayed the same. The weather was nice, at least. It rained enough to keep us in water. When we weren't working, It was sunny and warm enough to sunbathe on the roof. I had a better tan that I'd gotten in years, since my college roommate's wedding probably, when I went to tanning salons for a month in preparation. It was hard to believe it had only been three weeks since the power went out, and the world changed. It was nice not having to go to work, anyway.

April 20, 2018

I fucked it up. Or Stanley did. I'm not sure if it matters whose fault it is.

We were in my apartment, something we almost never do. His space is his, my space is mine. We'd talked a lot, as the days went by. Never personal stuff, never about family. Books and movies, mostly. Some music. I'm still not sure where he's from, but wherever it was, he claimed to have never seen the Macarena. So I demonstrated, singing it. When I was done with one repetition, he was sort of staring at me, which was totally awkward, so I pulled him up off of the couch and coached him through it. Pretty soon, we were both laughing. We hardly ever laughed. It was much better than trying to teach him yoga.

Then he kissed me.

Okay, I thought. He was pretty cute. Fit and healthy and smart. He knew how to take care of himself, and me. Could be worse. We might be the last people on Earth. It was a nice kiss.

We moved back to the couch, and he kissed me again, hands on my shoulders. Hands up under my shirt, on my breasts. Still nice. He had a little bit of beard stubble that tickled my cheeks. That was good. He smelled like some kind of aftershave, and the garden, and just a little bit sweaty.

His hands moved down. We still kissed. Then his belt buckle jangled and I froze. Not okay. I don't know why, but not okay. "Stop." He didn't. "Stanley, no. I don't want to." He backed off.

We sat at opposite ends of the couch and he stared at me. "What's wrong?"

"I don't know. It's too fast, I guess. I always thought you were cute, but I never though that we would..." I trailed off. 

"Cute?" He smiled crookedly. It was the first time I noticed the scar just under his lip.

"I'm not sorry you kissed me. I'm just not ready to have sex with you. I'm sorry."

He stood up, back to me, and fastened his belt again. I pulled my shirt down over my breasts and smoothed my hair. "I don't know how you could have been surprised," he said.

"I'm sorry." When he turned around, the look on his face scared me. Sex had never been used as a weapon against me, but the possibility was there."I think we should call it a night," I said carefully.

"Goodnight." Stanley walked to the door, back rigid. I followed a few steps behind. He closed the door behind him, with care. I turned the lock in the doorknob, and slid the chain. I listened to him breathing in the hallway, my face pressed against the door. We both knew that the chain wouldn't be enough, if he wanted to come back in. After a very long time, I heard his footsteps moving away.

When I got up the next morning, after a night of tossing and turning, I headed right for the stairwell. I felt like I should apologize. I didn't know why I felt that way; I had every right to say no. But was I leading him on? No. I opened the stairwell door, and stopped.

There was dirt on the stairs.

I stared at it for a few minutes. I couldn't make my thoughts make sense. Where did the dirt come from? Had FEMA found us? Was I in a zombie movie after all? Then I ran up the stairs two at a time. I banged open the roof door and rushed to the garden.

There wasn't a garden any more. Every single plant was gone.

I turned and ran back down the stairs, all the way to the basement and where Stanley's apartment was, slipping on the dirt and catching myself on the railings, almost going right over the edge at least three times. "Please," I kept saying. I don't know who I thought would listen.

Stanley's apartment was empty, the door ajar. The building keys were on his kitchen table. The crank radio was gone, the shake flashlight was gone, the freeze dried survival food was gone. The phone. Everything. Was. Gone.

Okay, I could deal with it. I could come up with a plan. I had to see if the doors were all secure. I had to make sure I closed up where he'd gone out. The barricade was moved aside a little, but the door had locked behind him. I had to see if he left the food from the apartments, and look at the list, see what apartments hadn't been searched.

April 27, 2018

I hoped that Stanley just went somewhere to cool off for a little while, and that he would come back. He didn't come back.

There were still a few apartments we hadn't looked at. I went into each one and brought everything edible to my apartment. I went up on the roof and checked again to see if there were any plants left, but there weren't. When I looked over the edge, I saw them there in the road, on the roofs and hoods of cars. He must've thrown what he didn't take off the building. He assumed I wouldn't risk going out to get them. I did, though, shaking and crying. I even put on real shoes to do it, sneakers in case I had to run. It had been a month since I left the building, and I went out into the street with a meat cleaver to protect myself and a bucket to put the plants in and I picked up every one and carried them back to the roof. I put the barricade back carefully, checked and double checked the locks on all of the doors. Nobody else was going to look out for me.

April 30, 2018

I babied the hell out of those plants. The edges of some of the leaves were yellow from baking against the pavement and the metal. They were pepper plants, and tomato plants, and strawberries. I tried to make compost out of any of my food waste, to make the soil rich for them. I watered them and checked them throughout the day.

They all died.

I made sure the SOS still looked good. That was something Stanley had left me, the emergency flares on the roof, and the binoculars. I spent a lot of time up there, scanning everything I could see. I watched the skies for hours. No sign of people. There weren't any lights at night, and there was no movement during the day. The pigeons seemed to have learned not to come to this roof anymore. I’m still not sure I could kill a pigeon.

May 10, 2018

It's not enough food. I tried to make good decisions and cut my calories way back to conserve food longer. I took vitamins and drank lots of water to make up for what I wasn't getting. No bored eating here! I missed the fresh vegetables, though, and even the pigeons.

I even thought about cooking peoples' goldfish, but nothing in any of the fish tanks in the building was still alive. The water was starting to go green, and whatever floated in it wasn't recognizable. Not exactly sushi grade. No pets allowed in this building other than fish, thank God. I was mad about it when I moved in, we'd always had dogs at home, but now? Company would be nice, but I couldn't handle watching my dog starve to death.

How many days left with food? How many days can a person last with just water and vitamins, and then just water? I had no idea. Maybe one of the books in the building says it. I couldn't waste energy going through every single apartment, not again.

May 14, 2018

Down to a week of food, and even that is stretching it. You'd think my survival instinct would kick in here, some kind of ancestral memory that would let me make arrowheads out of pennies and shoot down birds on the wing to roast over an open flame in the true hunter gatherer tradition. No such luck. I remembered stupid things, like the hand clapping games that we used to play in summer camp. The cocktails I got the last time I went to a club, the night before the world ended. All of the lyrics to American Pie.

Other than the terror of survival, this is boring as hell. I was never much of a reader, or I guess this could have been bliss. It sucks. I'm lonely. I'm bored. Who knew there were only so many games of solitaire you could play against yourself? It makes me wish I'd learned how to knit. I stopped doing yoga, to conserve calories.

I should have just had sex with Stanley. I don't know what the big deal was. It's only sex. I didn't love everybody I've had sex with. I'm not sure I loved any of them, now that I'm thinking about it. He might have left me to die because of it. Self examination is a bitch.

May 22, 2018

I finished the food.

I thought I'd be more worried. Maybe I'm in shock, or lying to myself. The government has to be on its way, right? It's been enough time to install new transformers and stuff, hasn't it? I wondered how other countries handled the problem. Maybe there wasn't a United States anymore.  Maybe the President was dead and that was the problem. Nobody knew how to turn the power back on.

I spent some time yelling today. Sometimes words like 'help', sometimes just yelling. I wish I had one of those air horns that people bring (sorry, brought) to football games. I could press that button far longer than I could yell, and it would carry further.

May 25, 2018

I still have water, but it hasn't rained since last week. I didn't realize it until this morning, when it seemed like it was taking a long time for my pitcher to fill from the cistern. I kept up the water in the bathtubs, it can't be too long before it rains again. I never did find out how long somebody could go without food. Without water it's what, three days?

When I run out of water, I'm just going to light those fucking flares. I need to see them. Maybe I'll die happy if I think that I saw somebody and set the flare off to get them here to rescue me.

May 26, 2018

Still no rain. It was really hot today, but I didn't want to leave the roof.

May 29, 2018

It rained a little bit today. It was better than nothing. I stood in it the whole time, my head back and my arms out, letting it soak into my skin, my clothes, my hair. Then it stopped; I think the sun stayed out the entire time. Just thinking about not being able to drink makes my tongue swell, and my throat feel dry.

There wasn't even a rainbow.

June 2, 2018

The cistern is empty. Now it's just me and the bathtubs. This better not make me sick. We cleaned them before we filled them, with vinegar and baking soda. Not like that's a disinfectant (is it?) but watching it fizz made me feel better. What's a few germs, right? I'm healthy. I was healthy.

If Mrs. Rivers had shot me, I wonder what Stanley would have done. Let me die, and butchered me to make jerky? Cannibalism is never okay. Until it's okay. Right now, cannibalism is okay, but there's nobody to cannibalize.

June 4, 2018

I got an idea. I'm going to break up furniture and bring it up to the roof, and burn it in the grill. It'll be really smoky, and maybe somebody will see it. One of the good guys, anyway. I don't want this to be like Mad Max here. I'm doing it. I'm losing anyway.

June 9, 2018

If I was smart, I would know how to tell the weather, but don't you need clouds for that? The clouds that look like fish scales mean it's going to rain. Someday. I think.

I underestimated both how fast furniture would burn, and how much energy it would take to keep a fire going for days. I lit up a big pile with one of the flares, and it was a pillar of smoke, and a big fire that I had to stand back from, just what I wanted. It was a holy place on the roof for a day or two, and then I just couldn't do it anymore. I couldn't keep feeding the fire and staring at the horizon, thinking every bird was a helicopter coming to take me away from all of this.

June 11 2018

Maybe there are helicopters, but they aren’t coming for me. Who's in charge of all this, anyway? How the fuck did I sleep through the end of the world?

I've only got a couple of gallons of water left. Still no rain. The sun looks weird. Or maybe I can't see right. Maybe it's another flare.

I'm tired of waiting around for somebody to come help me. I’m getting out of here. I’m helping myself.