The vodka bottle makes a familiar clink as it's set down on the coffee table. Old re-runs of History Channel documentaries flicker on the TV set, playing to no one in particular. The time code in the right hand corner flicks happily away, counting down until the end of yet another tape.
I know when those numbers run out, it would be best to switch the whole thing off, save power, save generator fuel, potentially saving lives. But I'm too drunk to care.
Forgetting the lemons were left in the kitchen, I take a sip from the frosted martini glass in my hand. My mouth swills with the caustic taste of straight alcohol. Grimacing, I force it down my throat. It burns like the fires of Hell, sliding down towards the quagmire of canned food and stale alcohol that must make up my stomach contents.
Usually I'd agree with Tim. It's a bad idea to drink before a guard shift. But tonight there's something in the air, filling my ears, seeping into my head. The grey matter that makes up my brain is sodden with it.
You'd probably be wondering what the 'thing' was. But you already know.
The crushing feeling of, 'Why do I give a fuck?'
It's welcome here, not as if it hasn't been experienced before. The world ended, and humanity is scratching out a shitty existence on the brink of oblivion, while the rotting bodies shamble around us. Catching us in their endless, horrific waltz of blood, bullets and death.
My cellphone rumbles in my pocket. I know it's the alarm I set to signal me that my shift is starting, but I pull it out anyway. Flashes of our past lives replay themselves in my mind. Answering a call from a friend, getting a text message from a late night lover. Receiving a picture message from my brother, his face lit up with grins as he stands proud behind his new car.
No messages now. Seems like forever since yesterday.
Placing a hand on the armrest, I steady myself.
A cheerful sentence meanders in through the doorway, "Come on you fucked up alcoholic. Time to go take potshots at nothing."
"Honestly, go suck on a gun barrel Jay. Either that or help me up."
Hands reach out of the blur that is my current depiction of the world, grasping my arms and hoisting me to my cold, aching feet.
Jay's toothy grin looms out of the mist. Cheerful bastard, don't know how he does it.
"Let's go Felix. Tim want's you to stop by the Armory and stock up, then Jose has some questions for you before we head to the gate"
Hah. The Armory. Funny how when the world goes to shit, people decide to create something out of nothing, like turning a university campus into a stronghold, a kitchen into a mess hall for over 70 people, or a run down Men's room into a gun safe. Always stinks of shit in there.
Stumbling towards the Armory, Jay in tow. Fruitless thoughts cross my mind. Thoughts like, 'Why the fuck am I pulling double shifts tonight? Why does that prick Jose have questions for me?'
And, I smile at this one, 'I wonder what the biggest gun I can pick up tonight will be?'
Standing at the doorway to the weapons locker. Greeted by the smell of stale cigar smoke, mixed with gunpowder and feces. Tim leans out.
"Hurry the fuck up will you? I'm freezing my nuts off out here."
I chuckle sordidly to myself. Cold? In Australia? Fucking lovely.
Two M4's are handed out. Jay eagerly passes me one.
I groan, "M4's again Timmy? What's wrong, the SAW already taken? Besides, I thought we were low on 5.56's"
"Put up or shut up," comes the reply. "The Kiwi's came in with a new batch of ammo and some... specialties."
My ears prick up, "Specialties you say? Like what? Porn? Smokes? Drugs?" I pause, "More alcohol?"
"No more grog for you buddy, your on Rehab. Now, Gate, both of you."
I reach for the weapon, missing it by mere inches, stumbling forward into the foul smelling cloud of stench emanating from the doorway to the shitters.
Jay's quick tonight. He catches me before I eat porcelain tiles.
Tim leers. "See why you don't get more grog?"
I smile sourly back. "See why your a dick?"
I snatch my rifle from his cold hands.
"You fucking owe me for taking your shift." I spit.
"We'll see my old friend. We will certainly see."