Category: 07. The California Trail

Food Fight

Dear Planet Earth,

Major drama going on here right now. General Talpa’s in a meeting right now with some of the old ladies and “The Others,” and based on the amount of exclamations I can hear through the sound-proof walls that sound like “duck” and “glasshole,” I think they’re angry.

More and more people are suggesting we go on a raid for more supplies, but the general’s been firmly against it. I’m not one to call him a coward, but my fellow survivors aren’t as gentle. Talpa’s a big boy, I guess. He can take it, though I still feel a little responsible for putting up such a stink yesterday about the smaller rations.

This “conversation” has been raging for about an hour now. I’ll post about how this was all resolved (or postponed) soon.

Five Ounces

Dear Planet Earth,

We started rationing smaller portions of food today. I can’t say I didn’t see this coming. If anything, I was one of the first to suggest it.

And sure, it’s just five ounces less in each meal. But what happens next week when we’re still stuck here, with no plan of where to go next? How long before this tea party becomes the Donner party? I’m not ready to throw out our new tribesmen — these “The Others” — into the great unknown world of murderous mole men, but someone has to be thinking of the long term here, and I’m not seeing anyone offer any brilliant ideas.

I’d be the first one to volunteer in a campaign of good ol’ fashioned supermarket looting, but the general’s convinced we’re too isolated from the nearest urban metropolis to find one.

You want to know the really funny part? For the past week, I’ve been sleeping under a vinyl banner that reads “Feed Your Brain. . . With a Book!”

Innocent Eyes

Dear Planet Earth,

My sources tell me that we’re probably going to be bunking at the library here for at least another week. The general’s scouts may or may not have seen the entirety of Fort Kross reduced to smoldering rubble. If mole people are out there with crazy snake drills that can tear apart trucks in a matter of seconds, maybe we don’t want to try to leave.

On the upside, I am feeling slightly more accepted in our rag-tag group. Today I even had an awkward conversation with the little wretch — aptly named Rachel — who stole my laptop. She’s not so much of “wretch,” as she is just another ten year old girl who mistakes her own annoying questions for adorability. Maybe she’s eleven. I’m not good with ages.

“What’cha doin’?”

I peered over the top of my computer to see the source of the inquisition, then instinctively clutched it to my chest after recognizing who it was.

“I’m not going to steal it,” she said. “I know you’re not one of them now.”

I relaxed my grip and continued my work on the laptop. I could still feel her watching me.

“My name’s Rachel. I’m sorry for stealing your computer.”

There was at least a minute of her big, blue eyes on me until I broke.

“My name’s Scott. I’m tired of getting fake apologies from kids for stealing my stuff.”

I glanced up quickly to see those innocent eyes fill up with moisture. I saw another scared child, unsure and unprepared for whatever’s coming next.

“I’m looking up more information about this book.” I picked up The Time Machine.

“I know that one,” she said. “I saw the movie.”

“It’s a little different,” I said, trying to keep the snobbery in my voice as low as possible.

“Can I borrow it when you’re done?”

I examined her face again, her ridiculously large eyes now devoid of any proof of prior conflict. I chuckled.


She said I could borrow her Harry Potter book.

The Campfire

Dear Planet Earth,

Against my better judgement, I took Dr. Eimer’s advice about integrating into my “tribe.” I invited myself to the cool kids’ table (composed of three gossipy old women and their 50 year younger counterparts) and tried think of any conversation topics that didn’t involve mole men, how mole men have killed everyone we love, and how we’ll all probably soon be killed by mole men.

It wasn’t easy. But the dialogue eventually turned to our favorite TV shows we’ll never be able to see again. Believe it or not, some of the old biddies actually used to watch Game of Thrones, and one of the girls and I repeated random jokes from Community to each other for about an hour. The tribe mentality really set in as I imagined our evolutionary ancestors gathered around a campfire, retelling stories to one another, creating a common culture.

I don’t know if I’m exactly off everyone’s shit list now, but it’s a start. Maybe tomorrow I’ll set up a karaoke bar.

Civil Tribal Warfare

Dear Planet Earth,

My conversations with Dr. Eimer have become increasingly less depressing over the past couple weeks. That all changed today as he went on and on about how I’m in a tribe now and that I have to put my own needs behind the needs of my tribe.

It was my own damn fault for telling him how isolated I feel from everyone else. Of course, he already knew about the graffiti fiasco and the laptop affair, so just admitting that it got to me was enough for him to diagnose me with “introverted tendencies.”

I don’t want to think about it. I don’t want to think about anything besides killing mole men. And isn’t my refusal to examine my own feelings the highest form of sacrifice I can make for my “tribe”?

Probably not.

Complex Recondition

Dear Planet Earth,

The Time Traveller (for so it will be convenient to speak of him) was expounding a recondite matter to us.

So begins H. G. Wells’ famous novel The Time Machine. My father used to read it to me every night. It’s one of the few books I really like, and I figured I might as well read something here if no one will talk to me.

The first words seem so simple — well, if you skip “recondite.” They lay out the whole plot right there in the very first sentence. We know who the characters are. We know how the story will be told. We know how complex it will be (did you look up “recondite” yet?).

But in the real world we know nothing. We don’t know why the mole people are attacking us. We don’t know how they have such advanced technology. We don’t know how to fight back. If we can fight back.

In the real world there are no time machines, no easy answers to conflicts beyond our normal understanding of how the world works. We just have to wait for the next chapter.

Sticky Fingers

Dear Planet Earth,

We’re not alone. I’m not just talking about the mole men, either.

My laptop went missing three days ago, and since I usually keep it closer to me than my own family jewels, I naturally assumed someone from the group stole it. Accusations were made, tears were shed, and widows and children alike spat in my lunches. Mind you, this is right on the heels of me being the number one suspect in the car graffiti mystery.

Just when I had exhausted every friend I had left here, some soldier went exploring around the library and found the entrance to a hidden attic above us. He found twelve famished people huddled in a corner. They were Anne Franking it (too soon?) up there since we arrived, apparently unsure if we were mole people or their homeless henchmen. Of course, that didn’t stop them from sneaking around at night to steal food and my precious laptop.

One of the little girls posted something on the blog. The keys are all sticky and smell like peanut butter.

Most of them seem to be kids, the few adults are still being debriefed in a study room right now. They’re eating like they haven’t had a decent meal in weeks, and they keep giving us suspicious glances, as if at any moment we’ll pull off our human masks and start shooting to the rhythm of our own maniacal laughter.

Someone’s going to have to tell them soon that I’m the only one who’s supposed to be despised here.

The Drill Snake

Dear Planet Earth,

We just pulled into some library, licking our wounds from the latest mole people attack that left seventeen dead and five injured. Few of us are speaking out loud, and even less are making eye contact with each other. No one knows when the next strike might come, which friends might die.

I got a chance to upload this photo from the unlikely battlefield.

General Talpa was quick to bar any civilians from seeing what exactly was in the giant hole left by, what I’m now calling, “The Drill Snake.” Anything glowing that much implies some serious monster making powers, and the couple CDC guys we have with us, who swiftly got into Ghostbusters mode, didn’t help allay any of those fears.

If only I knew where to find a good book. . .


Dear Planet Earth,

I don’t know what’s going on. Nobody seems to have it together right now. We camped out in the desert last night; the those of us who weren’t sobbing about the loss of our friends or former normal lives spent the twilight hours crouched over the enormous hole left the by ginormous metal snake drill.

I was one of the sobbers. We lost seventeen. Seventeen people, seventeen fellow humans who just days ago were considered “survivors,” a word used to show great strength over horrific obstacles. Today, they are “victims,” a dead word for dead people that only serves to stress the impact of their finality.

I only knew three of them, all soldiers. Chambers. Seka. Jameson. Even typing their names feels as impersonal as reciting dog tags. They’re memories now, and nothing more.

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck!