Steve jolted me out of sleep the next morning. I wasn’t used to having other people around, and his walking by my bedroom nearly had me shooting through the door. After a brief and unsatisfactory shower from the camp shower, I went downstairs to eat, only to be pleasantly surprised: Steve had cooked.
“Nice,” I said, sitting down, “A waiter.”
“No, a chef. Eggs?”
During breakfast, Steve and I decided what to do that day. “I was thinking get the Humvee first,” I said through a mouthful of waffles, “Then we can take it to New Rock, pick up a Corvette, and bring it back. You want one, too?”
“Nah. I’ll just settle for a pickup truck.”
“Okay, you can have mine. What you going to do with it?”
“Garden. I was thinking I could get a Bobcat from a construction site or something and put a big garden in the backyard.”
“Can you do that? It’s almost winter.”
“I can get it all plowed up, and put in a few fruit trees and some of the hardier plants.”
“‘Kay. We can take a road car-”
“Road car. You know, cars that have stopped on the road?”
“Anyway, we can take a road car to the armory and swipe a Humvee.”
Steve nodded and we continued eating breakfast. After breakfast I loaded myself for bear. Whenever I was making a trip of any significant length, like today, I went heavy. I had an M4 for a rifle, and a bulletproof vest and harness gear from the police station to hold spare magazines. I also had a few 40mm rounds for the M203 launcher. I was carrying my S&W 327 in an ankle holster, and a 1911 on my right thigh in a tactical thigh holster.
Steve was much lighter. He was carrying a 20 gauge shotgun and a large S&W revolver on his hip. He only took these at my urging, and didn’t seem to think they were very necessary.
We commandeered a Highlander for our purposes, and then accomplished our liberation of a launcher-equipped Humvee without a hitch. Steve took the wheel and I threw our gear in the back, and we took off.
We made good progress, despite there being plenty of stopped vehicles on the road. Some had rolled onto the shoulder, but most of them had just slowly coasted to a halt in the middle of the road. We stopped briefly to fill up the Humvee from a gas station, popping the lid of the underground tank off to do so. I didn’t want to do this for any other cars, since I had no idea what I would be putting in them, but the Humvee could burn anything from gasoline to jet fuel, so I wasn’t worried.
Around noon, we reached the Chevy dealership, and I gleefully selected a shiny ebony Corvette Coupe. We smashed in the office door and found keys for it as well, and after fueling it up, we took off.
I drove the Corvette carefully home, enjoying the smooth handling. When I arrived, I parked it in the garage to keep it out of the elements. It had started to rain, and I didn’t want my car getting beat up.
The rain continued while I waited for Steve. I set out some drums to catch the rain and, when they were full, brought them in, added a little bleach, and sealed them with duct tape. I then labeled them as to their contents and the date when they were collected. Water was something we could not do without. In a pinch we could drink it, but we’d probably just end up using it for bathing.
While filling buckets, I sat in the garage and read a book on butchering animals. Steve and I were planning to butcher a cow and a chicken or two, and we wanted to do it right. It was too much meat to waste.
Suddenly, my satellite phone rang, and I lunged for it. “Hello?”
“Hey.” It was Steve.
“Yeah, don’t sound excited or anything.”
“No, I thought you might be another survivor or something. I’ve put my number all over town.”
“Yeah . . . well, listen, I’m in front of the house, but I don’t feel like humping all our gear in in the rain.”
“Okey-doke. See you in a few.”
The rain did not abate in a few minutes. In fact, it rained for the rest of the day. As it began to darken, I went out and helped Steve bring all our stuff back in from the new Humvee. “How’s the car?” Steve asked, tossing the last water jug into the garage.
“Great! It’s so cool, you’ll have to drive it sometime.”
“Yeah, once the rain quits.”
We amused ourselves by tinkering with the Corvette and watching movies until late that night, and then fell into bed, both of us pleased at a good day.