Entry Eighty-three: Adam Mahoney, You Just Won!

[The next many entries are the current story I am working on. This is thirteen of who knows how many will be posted. Enjoy it while it lasts...]

Adam bathed although getting clean had been a much harder task than he had anticipated. He took the term “wash, rinse, repeat” to new levels but eventually felt he had reached a cleanliness that was adequate. After all, he only had himself to please. Food was another matter. His days in bed had wrecked havoc on the contents of his refrigerator that, even in normal times, was minimal and existing in, what he dubbed, the Post Expiration Date era. As he stood at the open refrigerator door, surveying the remains, it was clear he was in dire need of supplies. He paused, contemplating the ramifications of his need. The first thing, obviously, was he would have to leave the house and venture into town. His heart raced as the uncertainty of that task throbbed in his head. What would he find? Would the stores be intact? Just because his house and the homes on his street were left unharmed didn’t mean the rest of the world wasn’t some flattened wasteland, all dust and rocks. If that were the case, his chances of survival would be severely hampered.

Survival. Just thinking that word placed a metallic taste in the back of his throat. Last week survival meant getting paid, having enough beer, not running out of cigarettes and dodging phone calls from his ex-wife. Today he wasn’t sure what it meant, but it was obviously bigger than beer.

He rummaged around in the cabinets and found some stale cereal that he ate dry with a glass of water and a cigarette chaser. While he ate he made some notes to take with him to the grocery store, meticulously listing the supplies he felt he needed for the coming week. It was a habit he had developed, part of his anti-spontaneity program of the last few months. Somewhere in his subconscious he knew it was silly to write the list, but the normalcy of the task felt good. A last gesture of the past before he ventured out of his cocoon into the very weird, and very real, present.

With his list complete and his cereal bowl empty, he had no reasons left to procrastinate. He stood at the open front door, car keys in hand, waiting for something in his mind to convince him to stay inside, even for another hour, but he knew it was time. After one deep breath he stepped through the entryway, pulling the door closed behind him. He fumbled for his house key, slid it into the deadbolt and checked to make sure it was engaged before he made his way to the garage, never once thinking how useless that was. After all, he was the last man standing on the face of the earth.

All words and images ©2006/J. Colle

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