VGRF and I sat in Doug’s office, located in the back of a locker room. “Coach Hauser” was stenciled on the door.
Blandie was busy bumming make up products off other survivors, arguing “just because it’s the zombie apocalypse doesn’t mean I can’t look good.”
Bernie was working on the lyrics to another wholesome rap song, as usual.
Alien Jones, having worked harder than anyone else in the group so far, was taking a well deserved siesta.
“A few days ago, one of my squads was on a mission to look for survivors on Becker Street when three Apache helicopters flew overhead. The pilots hovered in for a closer look at my men and then dispersed,” Hauser said. “It made no sense to me until I read the part in your survivor’s journal about Morganstern blowing up the mall just to get to you.”
“The army’s gunning for me,” I said. “Obviously, when they figured out none of your men were me, they moved on.”
“We should leave, BQB,” VGRF said. “Morganstern’s liable to blow up everyone here just to get to you.”
Hauser poured himself a scotch. He offered us some, but my girl and I are teetotaling nerds.
“I don’t know if that’s true,” Hauser said. “Between the basketball court and the other camps in the park, I’ve got close to a thousand people here. Hauser may be ruthless, but I don’t know how anyone could sweep that many bodies under the rug.”
Hauser sipped his drink.
“No my friends, I think you need to stay here. Safety in numbers. BQB, once you step outside the building, that bastard will get you I guarantee it.”
“Is there anything I can do to help the camp?” I said. “I want to earn my keep.”
“Of course,” Hauser said. “I assign jobs to everyone. Video Game Rack Fighter, how would you like to run our day car center?”
“Oh what, because I’m a woman?”
“Because we’ve got a fifty inch plasma and all the video games you could possibly want,” Doug replied. “I figure you could keep the kids entertained with that. The whole place is run by a back up generator so you can play forever.”
“Sold,” VGRF said.
Doug looked at me.
“And you. I’ll expect big things out of you…Deputy Mayor.”
“What?” I asked.
“BQB, this settlement is all that’s left of East Randomtown,” Doug said. “Our humble little burg’s two greatest citizens, the man who was beaten senseless for thirty seconds on a 1980’s TV show and the man who set up a web site so exhilarating that it drew in 3.5 readers. Past and present working together for a brighter tomorrow. What do you say?”
I echoed VGRF’s sentiment with a “sold” of my own.
“Excellent,” Doug said as he stood up. “Now then, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to round up a party to go raid the pharmacy.”
The three of us walked out onto the basketball court floor.
Hauser whistled loudly. He spoke with a big, booming voice.
“Attention, everyone! Attention!”
He slapped me hard on the back. Everyone stopped what they were doing to listen.
“I’ve just appointed Bookshelf Q. Battler as deputy mayor. He’s well qualified, having started up a WordPress blog with 3.5 readers. He’s the boss while I’m gone so what he says, goes!”
The survivors carried on with their business.
“Just like that?” I asked.
“Just like that,” Doug said.
The Mayor walked away. I put my arm around VGRF.
“Did you ever think we’d ever get to make such a difference in the world?” I asked.
“Says you,” VGRF said. “You’re the second-in-command. I have to babysit a bunch of rugrats all day and I’m now realizing I won’t be able to play Car Thief Mayhem around them. I’ll be staring at that stupid Buildcraft bullshit until the end of time! That game is completely pointless!”
“There are worse fates,” I said.
“You’re not even here a day and he gives you a position of authority?” VGRF asked. “I’m calling shenanigans.”
“I know it’s hard babe,” I said. “But you need to learn how to trust people.”
“I trust no one in a zombie apocalypse.”
We found Alien Jones sawing logs under a blanket on the bleachers. A trio of pre-teens were poking him with a stick.
“What is this thing?” one of the kids asked.
“Guys, can you not disturb my deformed kid?” I asked.
“Why don’t you show me where the day care center is?” VGRF asked the urchins. “I’m supposed to play video games with you guys.”
“Sweet!” one of the kids yelled. “I call first dibs on Buildcraft!”
As she walked away, I heard VGRF mumble, “Son of a…”
I reached into Alien Jones’ pocket and retrieved the space phone.
I knew just the right zombie author to call.