I didn’t sleep anymore that night, and just sat in my chair until I heard the others moving around. I left my room and knocked on Arnold’s door.
I entered and sat on the couch. “How are you?” I asked.
“Pretty good. Had a good night’s worth of sleep. You?”
“No. Couldn’t sleep for the first time in a while.”
Arnold looked at me. I could tell he saw right through me. “Yeah,” he finally said, “Been a while for me too.”
Once the others were up, we congregated in Steve’s room and ate breakfast from our packs. “What do y’all want to do today?” I asked between mouthfuls of sandwich.
“I’d like to go to one of the really fancy stores around here,” Keisha replied, “Just for an hour or two.”
“Hope you enjoy shopping by lantern light,” Steve grinned. Keisha ignored him.
“Well, I know Todd and I want to go to the police station and poke around,” Arnold said, “So Keisha, you can take Steve and do your shopping. We can stay in contact on Channel 7,” he finished, adjusting his radio.
“Why do I get stuck with shopping?” Steve groaned. Keisha smacked him.
After breakfast, we left our cushy hotel and consulted a street map. It was cold outside, but not bitterly so.
“Looks like the tony section of town is that way,” Steve said, gesturing carelessly to the left, “So we’ll do that. You guys can pick up another map from a car somewhere.”
“Cool,” I said, “We’ll do that. When do you guys want to get back together?”
“Don’t know,” Keisha said thoughtfully, “Progress will be slow through the city, but we can keep each other updated via radio.”
“That’ll work,” Arnold said, “We’ll find a map. Stay safe.”
“Yeah, take care, guys,” I added.
We shook hands and split up. After calling the back to the airport to update them on what we were doing, we moved on down the road. By staying on the sidewalks we could make pretty good progress, as most of the cars had just rolled to a stop in the road. If there had been horns blowing and people on the sidewalk, everything would have been normal. Pretty soon we came to a completely gridlocked intersection.
“That looks promising,” Arnold said, pointing to a police car that was sandwiched between two vans.
I agreed, and we made our way to the cruiser, occasionally walking on the other cars. When we arrived, Arnold systematically smashed every bit of glass out of the windshield and wiggled his way in.
“Hey! You want this?” he called from inside, shoving a Remington police shotgun out the window. I took it and examined it. Good condition, but I was already carrying a lot of weight and I had tons of them back at home.
“Nah,” I decided, “You can have it.”
“Pass. Here, check the trunk and see what you can find.” I complied and opened it, squeezing between the back of the car and a small sedan. I whistled as I looked through stop sticks, police line tape, caution tape, evidence tape, throw rope, a float vest, cameras, crime scene kits, flares, biohazard bags, gas masks, and various other interesting bits. I extracted a box of 12-gauge ammo and left the rest. I could never have enough ammo, but the rest I had at home.
“Not much,” I said, “You having any luck.”
“Yeah!” came the muffled reply, “I’ve got some really nice maps and two M16 magazines. You want ‘em?”
I did indeed. I stuffed them into my bag (my mag pouches were full) and then went around front to help him out of the car. After writing our satellite phone numbers on the hood of the car, we moved on.
With the help of some excellent maps, we made our way to the police station by noon. Once inside, we turned on our lights and split up to search for keys. A few minutes later, we met back up, both of us with a handful of keys from various desks. “Find anything?” I inquired.
“Just papers and the like. Try this key first, I found it in a sergeant’s office.”
We were lucky. The first key slide right into the heavy steel door, and we grinned as beheld the Atlanta Police Department supply room.
It took us until evening to clear the whole room. We neither needed nor could carry all the weapons and ammo we found, but we took as much ammo as we could. We also took scopes, sights, and magazines in some giant duffle bags. Also into the bags went gas masks, night vision goggles, road flares, and night sticks.
We went across the street to another large hotel and headed upstairs. After flipping a coin over who had first watch (Arnold lost) I found an unlocked room and was asleep in minutes.
The next morning, we checked in with both the Guard and Keisha and Steve. The shopping duo had hit some of Atlanta’s trendiest shops, and Keisha had apparently added a shopping basket to her load.