The Outbreak

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

My name is Sean and I'm an alcoholic.

I debated for a long time how I'd start this post. Should I get to the point, or would that be too melodramatic? In the end I decided to split the difference. So, yeah. Alkiehaulick.

Then there's the other question: Would people be pissed off because I worried them for no reason with that abrupt cut-off and incoherent follow-up, or would they just be happy that I was back pretty much safe and more or less sound? Normally I'd think I'd be being egocentric to ask a question like that of myself, but I've looked at the comments for the last few posts. Total strangers want to know if I'm okay, which is both--what's the word--flattering? comforting? surprising? pleasing? well, it's both that and embarrassing considering how shittily I've been acting. Looking through those comments I can also see that some of my oldest and dearest friends want to know the same thing, which is all those things I just listed, only doubly so. Humiliating. And then there's Amy, who--I can't even begin.

The long and the short of it is that nothing "happened" on Thursday. I just got tired of writing, tired tired tired as Chris Rock used to say. I was also more than a little exhausted by the issue about which I was writing, which I hope you'll understand. So I gave up on trying to wax eloquent about it and slapped the little orange Publish Post button. And then I grabbed a beer. That's it, that's all, except I'm not sure if I was without a drink for the rest of the weekend. Drinks and pills, too, might I add. Mild enough for a while. After all there was only so much to go around.

What really set it off was when I went out on the deck on Sunday morning at dawn after waking up to use the bathroom and saw a half-eaten golden retriever in my neighbor's yard.

Have you ever seen a black explosion? Like a big burst of dark like the Death Star exploding in reverse negative? Like when you press against your closed eyes with your fingertips and you see those big black blobs--that kind of blackness, only bursting. That's what I saw then.

After that--fuck it, I'd be lying if I said I didn't remember much. The part of me that could still formulate coherent and complex decisions decided that I didn't want to let Amanda know about this, and I didn't want to run the risk of her spotting the body when she woke up. So I slipped on my sneakers, crawled down the side of the deck, swung against the side of the house, and dropped down. I grabbed a shovel from the shed and hopped the back fence. Immediately you could tell that our neighbors weren't around anymore, at least in the traditional sense. The sliding glass doors from their deck were broken and the boards were torn down on one side. My guess, which as I'm sure you all have experienced is no longer just a guess but instinct from your solar plexus, was that the family had taken care of whatever had happened and split, not that they had all been slaughtered and were wandering around in there someplace. Four or five revs a few yards away from us? We'd have heard about it by now. Fuck, I probably would have heard about what DID happen that night if I didn't go to sleep pretty much toasted. No, that's not fair. I slept with earplugs in as always. Maybe that's dangerous, but it's definitely the only way to get a good night's sleep without waking bolt upright every time your sleeping self hears a noise.

Anyway, my hunch was right. I peeked through the hole and there was one on the floor face up with its forehead bashed in, the skull shattered and cracked like an eggshell where the skin was torn away. As usual lately it was old, an old lady. I tried to ignore the fur gummed to its lips but obviously I couldn't pull it off.

It didn't take too long to dig the hole and bury the doggie, poor doggie, poor man's best friend. I'm sure I overexerted myself because my arms still ache. (Remember Ronnie Cox in Deliverance?) The bright idea came after I filled the hole back up and slid the table back over it. It was difficult to do all that climbing against the force of gravity with the bottles and the cans, but I managed. When I was rummaging I found a backpack they'd left, so that helped.

It was pretty much downhill from there. I already have a tendency toward bouts of extreme self-pity and nihilism, did you know that? It doesn't manifest itself very often, but there it was. Strange things can set it off--one time it was because Ol' Dirty Bastard died. Another time it was because of the Pakistani madrassas. This time the cause was obvious, and I'm sure you've felt it too. Only this time I was loaded for bear. By the time Amy woke up I was half in the tank, and she immediately grabbed some things and went down to the Leopolds. Didn't I understand what this did to her? Not just because she needs me, but because she's scared? The emetephobia--what the fuck is wrong with me that I didn't give that more thought? But I didn't. She left me alone, which was fine by me.

At some point Sunday, Kurt came home and found out what was going on. He came upstairs to talk some sense into me. I told him okay, fine, I'll go easy, just send Amy back up plese, because I really love her. She didn't want to come back up because she was terrified I'd vomit--she'd come up when I was sober the next day. That went over great, as you can imagine. At some point late that night I apparently started making noise, which besides being annoying is dangerous. Kurt decided to come up again. When he got there I was sipping Jack from a big red cup, like I'd done at the Game this year when some stranger handed me a cup of what I'd thought was beer. I did a lot of yelling of the words "fuck you" from what I remember/have been told. Before I threw the cup at him I drank a shitload too much of it. The next thing I can vaguely sort of remember is crawling down the deck again. I can only see flashes, remember little snippets and sensations from then on. This is only the second time I've ever blacked out from drinking, you know. The last was at Matt O'Neil's party freshman year when I helped make that grain and grape concoction. Then I remembered saying to myself "I'll pour myself one more cup and then head back over to that conversation I was having." I was found several hours later passed out around a toilet that several people had used while I was sleeping there. One shoe was missing. At some point I'd screamed about how "dope" (that was the word I used) one guy's female friend was while that friend was standing right there. That morning I had to go to class, still drunk, hung over, bursting at both ends, could barely make it back to my dorm room to get my books first, felt like it took two hours to walk over there, missed half the class from being late and being in teh bathroom sick, I think I'd prefer to talk about that now rather than this.

In my own defense even as far gone as I was I remember thinking I needed to get as far away from Amy as possible to vomit, which I did, again and again.

I woke up because it was hot and sunny out and I felt like I was on fire. I was wedged behind the dumpsters at the Walgreens up the road. The second I realized where I was and what had happened I got sick again. This is going to sound stupid, but I literally could not decide which was worse, leaving myself out in the open completely incapable of defending myself, or disappearing and leaving Amy thinking that I was dead. She would never forgive me, ever ever ever. As soon as I could get my sea legs back under me I ran back home as fast as I could. There was a crew parked outside talking with Kurt. They'd been looking for me, of course, so nice of them. I went inside and back upstairs and suddenly the whole hangover hit me at once. I was vomitted out thank Christ, but I could barely move. I fell on the bed and the last thing I heard before I crashed out until that afternoon was Amy crying.

I don't really want to talk about what we said to each other yesterday night into this morning. I'm kind of apologizing to you for that. I'm tired of the reticence about dealing with this issue in my family. Hell, I'm even reticent about saying which member/s of the family need to deal with it, as you can gather. But you don't need to know. Only Amy needs to know and she knows it. All the old issues, the dishonesty and lack of self-control issues...totally different context but too fucking familiar. We are still married, I think. But not through any effort on my part.

I nearly threw away my wife, my home, and my own life this weekend is what it boils down to. I thought writing about it would help me wrap my head around all this but I'm not sure that's possible. I don't want to be destroyed by this, any of it. I don't want me and Amy to be destroyed by it. I love you, Amy, I love you so much. I'm sorry. No more, no more.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jesus, what do you say to that?
Bill signing on.
I certainly am glad to hear you'r alive, sean.
progress - electricity AND cable working at the same time so i van log on from home.
i was going to bitch about the crappy week I'm having, but after reading your post that doesn't seem right.

hey, man. knowing there's a problem is the first stip to fixing it. i won't give you the speach about thowing away your wifr while some of us had to kill ours with shovels so their corpses dont eat us..

trouble typing with one hand. trouble breathing with broking ribs. alive but not kicking. ill make it. don't worry.

our thoughts are with you, man, get better.one day at atime

Thursday, June 09, 2005 5:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be loving and good to one another. Be good to yourselves for each other's sake. I think it all, love, family, security can be challenged and destroyed, but only temporarily. I think recovery is possible, just like I think survival is possible. I also think it all works better if we just try and listen and help. You wrote the other day that I was in hell. It seems like most of the earth is in hell now and we are also still building the kingdom of heaven now. Stay close to one another and save one another.

Davey Oil

Thursday, June 09, 2005 11:28:00 PM  
Blogger Mistrmind said...

Sorry, I'd write sooner, but I just got back from a week of sheer terror compounded with angst and discovery.

Last time I wrote, I was taking a group of scavengers from Cuttyhunk, a small island off of Massachusetts, to Woodshole to search for food, medicine, and supplies. As captain of the Sutter II, I left my wife and baby with an elderly couple who lived on the island. I'm gracious for their hospitality and use of their computer right now.

It was 6 of us who left over a week ago. Mike, Jerry, Gwen, Jim, Mike R, and I left on an early foggy morning. Using some charts I found in the Sutter II's hold, I navigated to Woodshole. The trip over took about 3 1/2 hours. Are arrivial to Woodshole greeted us with an empty dock. We tied the boat off at a pier at the marina and armed ourselves with guns and ammo. We each carried an empty backpack (for supplies) and a canteen of water. Not a soul in Woodshole, or so we thought. I think when we got out of the marina and headed into downtown Woodshole that we got a taste of the inhabitants of the town.
Mike R was the first to notice an unusual stench in the air. Like rotting meat. I was coming off of a cold, so I didn't notice it, thankfully. A wail was heard off in the distance. Perhaps about a block, block and a half. I was carrying a rifle and took the saftey off. We all stood ready as we saw about 10 of them approach. They all had a weird gait. Clothes were either dirty, torn, and combination of the two. One of them was naked from the waist down and missing his left arm from the elbow down. I can't describe the horror I was looking at. It was almost like the first day this shit hit the fan, and my wife, baby and I were taking off from our home to Plymouth. It was the very horror that made me feel like my feet were made of lead weights and I was paralyzed from the waist down. Mike and Gwen both motioned that we should start high tailing it out of here. Perhaps go back to the boat. I noticed a bank behind us and suggested we hole up in there and scurry out the back door. All six of us moved into the bank. It was like a bloodbath in there. Corpses all of the place. Dead dead. Not the walking dead thankfully. Jerry smiled at me and said, "Look!"
At our feet was at least, I'm guessing between 50-100 thousand dollars in 100 dollar bills. If there is irony in life, it's that in my old life, I never had enough money and right there free for the taking is more money I ever had in my life. Jim and Mike moved into the back of the bank where we heard quite a ruckus and gunfire. I think there were at least 20 of them back there. Apparently when they were alive, they were working when the shit hit the fan. Employees, all dead, they couldn't leave the room they all died in, and thus when Mike opened the door to the back room, they sprang on Jim and Mike like rabid jackals. Mike went down quick under a pile of dead. Jim suffered from multiple bites. I picked off about 3 of them before giving Jim a mercy shot to the head. Jerry, Gwen and Mike R laid some suppressing fire down as we went to the upper level of the bank. I tell you the gunfire just drew them out like ants on a breadcrumb. Looking out the window, I saw at least another 30-50 more dead where shambling toward the bank. With about another 20 now downstairs, we made way to the roof of the bank. Luckily there was another building about 10 feet away next to the bank and we jumped from rooftop to rooftop. Gwen sprang her ankle when she landed, which sort of hampered our escape a little. It turns out we jumped onto the roof of the library. We entered via a skylight into the children's section. Thankfully it was clear and we quietly made our way downstairs to the main lobby. No dead in the lobby. I guess when this crap hit, nobody was interested in taking books out. We ended up holing up in the library until nightfall. The dead outside the bank were there all night into the next day. Jerry managed to take some magazines and tape them around Gwen's ankle to make a temporary splint. Worked pretty good for a while. On our 2nd day in the library, the crowd outside the bank thinned out to about 10-15 of them. We decided that if we moved, we couldn't move quickly since Gwen had a bum leg. Jerry volunteered to create a diversion using himself. I gave Jerry a few extra magazines I was carrying and told him good luck. He ran out of the library yelling and running down Main st. All 10 of those bastards and a few others from around the way took off after Jerry. Jerry down Main and off to the left onto Spruce.

It was the last time I saw Jerry.
I hope he's okay.
Gwen, Mike R and I hobbled up Oak and turned into a CVS. Empty.
We grabbed as many pills, bandages, and canned goods as we could carry. I gave Gwen a couple of extra-strength Tylenol to help with her ankle. We moved out. I told Mike R that perhaps Gwen would be better off back at the boat with her bad ankle. he agreed and I gave him my pack. He gave me his 9mm and an extra magazine. I told him I'd meet him at the Shaw's around the corner.
With Mike R and Gwen moving back to the marina, I ran across the street into the Shaw's parking lot.
There were at least 3 of them milling about the lot. They saw me and started to approach. I moved in tangent of them while at the same time went into Shaw's.
The stench nearly made me puke. Not the dead, but rotted produce.
I picked out a carriage and made a made dash to the soup isle. Grabbed any and all canned food items I could toss into the carriage. I left the carriage in the back of the store, and grabbed another up front. I was greated by at least 1 of them that followed me into the store. He was a balding old fellow. Missing his left eye and lower jaw. I fired my rifle point blank. I'm sure that will attract more of them.
Filled another carriage, when I heard gun shots. Mike R had come back. His shirt was bloody and he had a wild look about him. All he could say between shots was Gwen was dead and "those fuckers" stormed the boat.
My heart sank.
I told Mike R that we should head out the back way and try for the marina. Perhaps get a hold of a dingy. Open water, anything.
Mike R just looked at me. Like a sign of defeat he had in his eyes.
It's a sign I could never have since I have too much riding right now. He showed me his arm and neck.
Bite wounds.
He said to tell his wife that he loved her, and he'd try to hold off the swarm that was outside Shaw's as long as possible.
I bid him well and left.
I was greated by at least 10-20 dead in the back alley.
I jumped a fence and made it to the marina.
All the way I blew through 3 magazines for the rifle and the 2 magazines for the 9mm. I jumped into the water and made it to a dingy tied off in the marina. The Sutter II was 100 yards off to my left. There were at least 10 dead on the decks. One of the Gwen.
I managed to untie the dingy and row down the shore.
I did this for 4 days. Broke into beach houses along the way for food and water until I got to Dartmouth. I found a small sailboat and managed to sail back to Cuttyhunk.
These people don't know how good they have it here.

Friday, June 10, 2005 4:05:00 PM  
Anonymous dr. john said...

I’d better finish my story too….

So Bill and I were scavenging and a Thing bit him on the hand…

what the hell do you do? He's not dead yet, but he's bitten. He's as good as. He knows it. I know it. It doesn't matter how I feel or what I think or how badly he wants to stay alive. you get bit, you're going to be one of Them soon. it doesn't matter whether Bill wants to go home, he can't, he shouldn't, I'm not going to drive him back 15 miles and have him die on me halfway there and attack me while I’m going 50 mph down the freeway. Besides, Bill had the keys to the truck. it's not my fault, i'm not responsible.

It’s not my fault.

any of you would have done the same thing. he was going to be one of those Things soon. he told me it wasn't a bite mark but how do I know he wasn't lying? I would have if I were him. I had to do it.

You can’t take any chances. People lie about being bitten all the time. There’s no time to waste. I had to do it. It’s not my fault. It’s not my fault.

It’s not my fault he wasn’t lying.

Friday, June 10, 2005 8:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

Jeff from Jacksonville reporting in. I didnt make it out of the city limits heading to Georgia there was too many dead on the highway. It was amazing to see all the cars parked on the highway cars parked or crashed as far as the eye could see littered the highway. Many of the people fortunately didnt make it out of the car before they turned, i noticed that there was a family in a car and they had all turned and were hitting the windows as i passed. I could make out a small herd of walkers a half a mile away. I decided to go to work or where i used to work before the fall of mankind.

Im a registered nurse and i made it to the small clinic that i worked at as I went around back and the smell hit me, something was dead in the small alleyway behind the clinic. I grabbed my baseball bat and readied it for anything that came from the darkness. I heard a moan and out from the darkness my boss stepped out and plunged at me with his arms out. Quickly i stepped back took a swing and hit him below the jaw immidiately he fell down and started convulsing. Not Dead yet. Who else gets to take a swing at his boss? As i closer examined him, i noticed the right side of his face was missing. I remember a week before everything happened he held my check for being late. Screw him. I sent a round directly into his skull and he relaxed. Ive made it to shelter and theres still some food left in the lounge.

Jeff Out!

Friday, June 10, 2005 8:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill Here.
Sean, how are you? I've been thinking about you. worrying, really. i'mn a little more organized mentally now.
actually, I'm stuck in my apartment and have had little to do other than worry. it's not like HBO is up and running, you know? so I started watching my old Star wars tapes (the version before Greedo shot first) wearing headphones, of course, and that just made me think of you and worry more.

so, I guess you could say this is technically selfish, but how are yoU? hope you write soon. You to, Davey.
All of you. Stay safe.

Dr John... that's a tough thing to live with, I relaly feel for you, but it's better than running around eating brains.

Friday, June 10, 2005 10:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope that didn't seem too fucked up, what i just wrote. i'm a little loopy on vicodin. got beat up pretty bad in what i guess you'd cll a food riot. not sure if it was "food pirates" or just a spontaneous thing, but I didn't recognize them in the crowd of locals. the cops and the neighborhood watch i'm in, we try to keep the market safe and orderly but there's only so mcuh you can do when people are almost starving, scared, losing their minds along with their loved ones.
so our pirate frinds had the wherewithall to not kill me and Chris, but we won't be out an d about anytime soon. but I'm okay. gots me vicodin, water's running. usually hav epower even. Ted checking in on me every day. really could be so much worse so i hate to sound like complaining. got a shotgun and pistol in case (pistol with only got 1 round, really in case, if you know what i mean) just a littl e cabin fever and im lonely. good to "see' you all online. so glad this works. gives me hope, if the frikin' internet can work things should get back t o normal, right/?

sleepy. anywho, John, there's no words. i'm so sorry. DAvey, hope you'r still staying safe. Sean, i know you and amy have been thru a lot already, so I know you can get through this too.

Friday, June 10, 2005 10:40:00 PM  
Blogger lucia said...

i don't want your apologies.

Monday, June 13, 2005 1:02:00 PM  

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