That first day, when this whole shitstorm hit home, I remember it well. I woke up for class, plodded over to the coffee pot, and turned the radio on to WTDY-AM for the morning news, which is usually a mix of grisly farm accidents, wrecks caused by drunken drivers, and gang shootings in Milwaukee (the latter for the benefit of all the ex-Milwaukeeans living in Madison, to validate our decisions to leave). The first news item was out of Milwaukee, and it was unbelievable at first:
"Witnesses say that Tyrell Washington of the 2400 block of West Locust Street took a bite out of a Milwaukee Police officer before he was shot, and that after he was shot and pronounced dead, he got up, attcked more officers and bystanders by biting them, and continued to do so until he was shot in the head. Those people who were bitten reportedly bit others.
"As such, the Milwaukee Health Department and the Wisconsin Office of Emergency Management is asking all residents of Milwaukee, Waukesha, and Ozaukee County to stay in their homes and not open their doors to anyone they do not know. Also, do not open your door to anyone who grunts, has a blank expression on their face, or smells dead. The mayor of Milwaukee has also declared a state of emergency and ordered all liqour stores and taverns in the city closed until further notice. Travel to these counties from outside is also forbidden at this time."
The phone starts ringing, a 414 number: Milwaukee. Specifically, my mother:
"Mom, don't waste anymore time. Get the dogs, a gun, all your money, your medicine, some food, and come out here to Madison. No Mom, there is no help coming for Milwaukee, they're forbidding anyone from entering." I then hear on the radio: Jefferson County has closed its border. I-94 is for all practical purposes closed to westbound traffic. Fuck.
"No, no listen to me. Take 94 down to Kenosha. Take 50 into Delevan. Then take 14 to Janesville. Then take 90 into Madison. Get a room at the Concourse on Dayton til this blows over. Mom, stop wasting time! Call me when you get yourself and the dogs to Delevan!"
Hours pass, less comes out of Milwaukee. And what does come out of Milwaukee is frightful: entire blocks on fire. Zombies roaming the streets. Looters fighting off zombies. Enitre police departments saying 'fuck it."A whole metro area abandoned.
I can't write anymore, the first days are always the hardest to recall without breaking down. Maybe tommorrow