Tagged: health

Poultry Passion

Dear Planet Earth,

There’s a lot of grumbling going on today about the lack of diverse food options. Some of the guys raided a distribution warehouse and brought back a shitload of fried chicken originally intended for KFC or Chick-fil-A or Heart Attack Express. But with an expiration date that might as well read “when hell freezes over,” no one’s convinced it’s actually fried chicken.

Whatever. You won’t hear me complaining. This is some of the best stuff I’ve eaten in months and I’m not about to start watching my calorie intake during a global invasion of mole people. I’m not the only one who gets passionate about poultry products:

Ha ha! I wonder if they’re all dead now. . .

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Third Wheel

Dear Planet Earth,

The top floors of the hotel have been turned into a makeshift medical wing, tending to the many injuries from our last epic battle. No one’s talking about it yet, but a lot of the liberated slaves here seem to be suffering from malnutrition, and their conditions will only worsen as everyone’s rations continue to get smaller and smaller. Deja vu.

I found Karter and Maria up there today. They were in a corner, engaged in what looked like a serious conversation until I butt in. Maria gave me a hug and asked if I was feeling okay. It was the nicest she’s ever been to me. They both looked about five years older than they were just a few months ago, covered in new wrinkles, scars, and sunburns from their brief bondage. I felt guilty as hell again and couldn’t think of anything to say.

They said I should stop by their room tonight — apparently they’re sharing a room now — to talk about what’s going on in our heads after all that’s happened. I might just take them up on that.

Song of Sirens

Dear Planet Earth,

A familiar feeling swept over my deaf, dusty body after Private Karter blew open my cell door with a surprisingly effective hand grenade. I forced myself up and sauntered to my new gaping opportunity of freedom, ignoring the ringing song of sirens playing in my head. A blurry version of Karter grabbed my arm and guided me through the fresh rubble. Some other, logical mirror of myself must have been active, because I somehow remembered to grab my laptop, broken walkie talkie, and the book, A History of the Inheritors.

I regained my senses faster than I would have expected. My vision cleared and I was able to make out dozens of jail cells identical to my own — all lined up like in a mental asylum, all empty. I had no time to interpret what this meant. Even now, I have few logical explanations as to why I was the only one in that underground mole people prison.

When we got to the end of the hallway, I could make out some earthen stairs and my ears had healed to the point that I could hear Karter say, “Eddy? Ah . . . oo . . . ee? Ah . . .” He shook me by the shoulders.

“Are you ready?”

I took deep breaths, flexed my muscles. The light coming from the surface was so sweet it blinded me in a whole new way, yet I managed to retain focus.

“I think so.”

“Trust me,” Karter said with a trademark grin. “You aren’t.”

The Bet

Dear Planet Earth,

They came to my cell today. The homies (trademark pending) marched in dragging a bloody Mr. Ozawa by the shoulders. I said his name, trying to mask any sense of shock or relief I felt. My elderly Japanese friend gave a small grunt as he fell to the floor and attempted to roll on his side.

I took careful note of my jailers. There were three of them, all middle-aged, if not older. They wore the same dirty, unassuming clothing you’d see any homeless person wearing on the street. They smelled almost as badly as myself (though I may be biased). The biggest of them had a large, gruesome scab on the left side of his face. He took a couple steps toward me and smiled.

“We have a little bet going on here,” he said. “We’re trying to find out if Carl here is completely full of shit or just partly full of shit.”

He stepped on Mr. Ozawa’s hand as I contemplated how Japanese the name “Carl” really is. He winced in pain and the big homie continued.

“According to him, you people saw him making off with your weapons and fellow upworlders, and that’s what made him flee in a ‘dignified’ manner.” He put more weight on Mr. Ozawa’s hand, who gave another short shriek. “Then you ambushed him outside our camp here, effectively destroying the truck and it’s primitive supplies.”

I interpreted all of this as quickly and clearly as I could. I sat agape as the entire room of enemies awaited my next response.

“He. . . He kidnapped them?”

Mr. Ozawa started to cough out plea after plea, alleging his unshakable devotion to “the cause,” decrying the “unscrupulous lies” of upworlders like me — all in perfect English.

The big homie smiled wide enough to reveal his many brown and missing teeth. He turned to his companions and said, “Looks like you owe me a Coke.”

He took out a large pistol covered with thin pipes and promptly blew off Carl Ozawa’s traitorous head.

Ode to Hysteria

Dear Planet Earth,

I’m puking my guts out again and they keep telling me that it won’t be long now. “The Big Guy” is almost here.

I laugh. I tell them, “If I could keep any food in me, I’m sure I’d shit from pure terror.” They leave my cell before I finish the sentence. They laugh.

I’m out of it. Days become weeks become months. I think back to Diana, her dead, vacant eyes looking past me, focusing on something important just beyond my reach. I begin to envy the dead and their secret knowledge, the only knowledge they have over us.

I find my way back. I’m back to that day we saw the labor camp and the people in shackles, dragging their famished bodies inch by inch, forced to work at gunpoint. I’m back there and my back is toward the contentious discussion behind me. They’re arguing about do we go in and try to save them and we have no weapons and what happens when they capture us and what if we’re not so lucky as to only be captured and what is a fate worse than death?

I can’t pry myself away from the nightmare in front of me. The binoculars mold themselves into my eye sockets. The images of wincing grandmothers and crying children become burned on my retinas.

My allies ask for my opinion, they grab the binoculars when I don’t respond. Maria scans the area and miraculously discovers our original transport truck nearby. It’s abandoned, overturned, but filled with our missing M16s assault rifles. This eventually settles their arguments and they begin to focus on a strategy to liberate the labor camp.

I laugh. I puke.

Suite Setup

Dear Planet Earth,

I feel like I’ve been using the words “abandoned” and “desolate” too much in these posts lately, but those are the only terms I can think of to describe Los Angeles right now. There’s no one here. Dusty cars line the streets, some crashed into street lights, others frozen forever in a traffic jam that will never let up. Electronic billboards flash messages for movies, vodka, strip clubs — anachronistic reminders from a culture so swiftly extinguished.

We checked-in to the swanky Renaissance Hollywood Hotel and Spa and helped ourselves to the executive suites. It’s no Bellagio, for sure, though with a 6,400 square-foot spa and a diversely stocked, full-sized refrigerator in every room, this place is emanating pure swank.

Most of our crew is out scavenging for supplies in the shell of a city, but I offered to help Maria care for Mrs. Bing, whose scattered thoughts are becoming more and more unnerving everyday. Maria worked in a nursing home before the mole men attacked, so she’s more than qualified to babysit one hysterical old woman.

Lovely, lovely Maria. Okay, my intentions for staying here aren’t exactly pure, but my leg still isn’t 100%, you know.

You know?

Rumblings

Dear Planet Earth,

The rumblings are coming less often now. But they’re still there, keeping us up at night, reminding us of our impending destiny.

I shouldn’t be a pessimist, though. I shouldn’t believe that after everything I’ve been through, I’m finally going to die curled up into a ball in the back room of a brightly lit RadioShack. It was just a few hours ago I told Rachel that we’re going to be okay.

“We’re going to be okay.”

“How do you know?” she asked. She had those eyes, those ten year old eyes that you’d think are so easy to lie to until you actually do it.

“I . . . I just know. Trust me. When you get to be my age–”

“You’re only sixteen.”

“I know,” I said. I took a moment to catch my breath, to not scream “Shut it!” on the top of my lungs. “When you get to be sixteen, you get these . . . gut feelings. And right now, I have one of those. I have a gut feeling that we’re going to get out of this.”

She stared at the ground, said “OK,” and walked away.

I’m not a pessimist. I’m not an optimist, either. I’m just a sixteen-year-old with terrible indigestion.