It would be so easy to be farmers, or towns folk. But that’s not we do...
Shit. It took Heath three blows to hack through the chains. Guess the twins won that bet. Still, it would have taken anyone else way more than three, but Heath’s huge pole axe and huger arms have too much stank for some crumby chains. Heath’s wife Sara, was the first through the doors. Dad says that she used to be a Charlie before the Turn. She’s been a Sara the whole time I’ve known her, but whatever I guess. Right behind Sara came the twins, Dave and Rob. Heath took the middle position next to Sara, the twins flanking right and left. All four hunkered down behind their shields. Falling in behind them was my Dad, Chef, and Joseph. I was told to guard the doors, which is some bullshit, but whatever.
Heath’s cutting of the chains had riled the mummers. These had been locked up for a long time. The old ones were the worst. When they first turn they stink from shit and piss. Eventually their clothes rot away, when they’re naked they don’t stink anymore. They smell like old leather really. Dad says they look more like mummies than anything. They don’t want to eat your brains, or gorge on your flesh, but they sure as shit want to kill you. Any scratch or bite and you’re a mummer. Its like their way of having sex or something. That’s what dad says anyway.
My Dad got in the first strike, taking the side of a mummers head off with his DeMarini Voodoo, cause he’s a bad ass. This got Chef going cause he likes to keep count of the mummers he’s brained and he’s fallen behind in the standings. He started exploding mummer heads with the bottom of his All-Clad 14 incher. Which is nasty cause he still cooks with it. You can’t walk away from his pancakes though, it don’t matter what nasty shit’s been in that pan. Joseph is a weird one, always wearing that funny multicolored coat. But man! He sure can take heads off with that woodsman blade of his. And then there’s Roger. He’s only been in the company seven months, hardly older than me, which makes it even more bullshit that I have to “guard” the doors. Whatever.
After a few minutes of hacking Dad yells “Move” and the shields go move a few inches forward and hit the ground with a boom. That’s how we always take over a space.
“Move”, boom, “Move”, boom, “Move“, boom, until enough of the mummers have been cleared out for the company to begin the search in pairs.
Four pairs brake off to search for booty. Everyone else alive looked for food and other things to barter, but that wasn’t our trade. And this place would have what we needed. Maybe a lot of what we needed.
Everyone moved into the dark while I stood at the door guarding swirling clouds of dust. So stupid. I could hear them crushing mummers and occasional shouts of “huzzah”, which meant they were finding some good stuff, but I couldn’t see anybody.
After a while Sara and Joseph came out, each with full bags. Rob made his way back next with Chef in tow with tow, one bag over each shoulder. Then Heath and Dad made their way into the light, each with full bags. Dad brought out his best find, Six Plays by Lillian Hellman. He was beaming.
Dave hadn’t come out yet. After a few minutes Rob gave a whistle and everyone waited in silence for the response. Nothing. Another whistle. Nothing. And then from inside the dark came, “Run!”. There was no deliberation. No looking back and forth, just obedience. Dave was last out of the door, his next command, “Lock it”. Dave answered my Dad’s look with, “we another lead actor”. All Dave had was a single book of sheet music.
Everyone was smiling. Joseph said something about the New York Times, whatever that is. The twins joined in with another line. And then they were all singing something about staying alive. It must have been a popular song from before the Turn. Nostalgia is worth more than gold these days.
And songs, and laughs, and cries, and plays, and the memory of the way the world use to be is how we make our way in the world.