“Come on already, if you’re coming with me let’s get moving, we’re burning daylight!”
I swear this kid was worse than a teenage girl when it came to getting his shit together. How long does it take to grab an empty backpack anyway?
“Be right down!”
His irritated voice echoed down the center of the tower bouncing off the walls.
Mal, taking advantage of the recently infrequent sunbeams shining down on his favorite spot stopped mid-bath, one of his back legs sticking straight up in the air, his little pink tongue poking out of his mouth as his crazy cat eyes tried to follow the sound.
The Kid and the cat were almost getting used to each other.
At least they were almost able to be in the same part of the tower at the same time without one or the other getting their back up.
The Kid and I decided to take advantage of the break in the weather and hike into town to see what we could scavenge.
It was only about a two and a half mile walk into the heart of Victorian Cape May and I had a little shopping excursion planned.
Aside from the Kid, I haven’t seen another person in weeks but I took my 38 with me just in case we ran into some trouble. Better safe than sorry, as the saying goes.
The small group of survivors holed up in the bunker on the beach were gone.
I have no idea where they went and I’d searched every inch of that bunker. There wasn’t a sign of life anywhere. I found nothing more than a few empty Poland Springs bottles which were now stuffed into my backpack. I was hoping to find some salt-less water on our little excursion.
The truth of the matter was, we were hiking into town out of sheer boredom more than a need for supplies. We were pretty well stocked as far as processed edibles were concerned. Our water supply was doing fine too but you can never have too much food and water stockpiled these days.
Besides, I had something else in mind.
I was desperate for something new to read.
It was time to hit up the bookstore over at the Washington Street Mall. I finished the pile of books I picked up on my last trip into town a few days ago. Even though there would be no more new arrivals coming in, the store was chock full of a million things I never got around to reading. Score one for Team Apocalypse.
“Ok let’s go. We’re burning daylight. Come on!”
Ignoring the fact that he just threw my own words back in my face I rolled my eyes and grabbed my backpack, oddly pleased to see the Kid enthusiastic about something.
I don’t know what it’s going to take to get him to trust me enough to at least tell me his name.
And when did I start thinking in terms of ‘we’ instead of ‘me’?
Rather than take the main road we walked along the beach till we got to Perry Street. My mouth began to water as we passed by Uncle Bills Pancake House. The place was a wreck, all the windows were smashed and the inside looked like a tornado stormed through.
I’ll never understand the need for mindless destruction in the aftermath of a disaster.
Like every hurricane-ravaged, earthquake-tossed looting that played out on live tv in the old days, the end of the world was no different. There were just a hell of a lot less people around. And no television crews.
For half a second I swore I could smell bacon sizzling somewhere nearby then it was gone just as quickly.
I always did have a vivid imagination.
“Hey, this place is kinda cool!”
We’d just turned the corner onto the red cobblestoned street turned pedestrian mall, full of quaint little Victorian style shops with old fashioned lamp posts on every corner.
And, finally, a comment from the peanut gallery!
“Uh, yeah, I’ve been coming down here for years, I always wanted to live here so what better time to up and move than an apocalypse right?” I glanced at him as I spoke, hoping to keep him talking a little. It didn’t work.
“So, um, Kid,” he grimaced when I called him that, maybe if I said it enough he’d give in and at least tell me his name. “You’ve never been to Cape May before? How’d you end up here? I sort of thought maybe you lived here before-”
“Hey you didn’t tell me there was a bookstore here,” he cut me off to change the subject, walking at a near-jog till he got to the bookstore door, his face beamed as he opened the unlocked door and stepped inside.
I was through the door in a second, already reaching for my 38 when I realized his ‘holy crap’ was one of wonder at the undisturbed fully stocked bookstore at our feet. I decided his enthusiasm was worth the near heart attack I almost had imagining the worst.
He was like a kid in a candy store and so was I.
I’d spent so much time in this place over the years I knew where nearly everything was in the store.
“Kid, you alright if I leave you here for a few? I need to pick up some things in one of the shops across the street, I won’t be long.”
He gave me his best ‘duh’ look and gestured to the pile of books he already had stacked around him.
Bless his cranky heart, he was surrounded by science fiction books.
“Take your time,” he mumbled through the book covering his face, “I’m not going anywhere.”
I swallowed a smile and slipped out the door and into the store across the way.
A few minutes later I was elbow deep in lace and silk.
Across from Atlantic Books sits Lace Silhouettes Lingerie, a high-end lingerie store. It had always been my favorite shop in Cape May, just because everything was so fucked up in the world didn’t mean I couldn’t appreciate some nice sexy lace unmentionables.
I stepped through the door into lingerie heaven.
Tables full of delicately displayed lacy thongs in soft pastel colors, silk panties in vibrant jewel tones with matching camisoles spread out in front of me for the taking.
Mannequins barely covered in black lacy confections, their long legs clad in thigh-highs were sprinkled throughout the shop, one of them, wearing the most perfect red lace thong I ever saw, was calling my name.
It was paradise.
No pesky fake-smiling salesgirls hovering over me, no worrying about credit card bills to come. There was no moral judgment in this new world gone mad.
It was just me and a store full of my favorite girlie things.
The endless days were hard and scary, living without all the things we’d taken for granted in a world full of conspicuous consumption took some getting used to. I was getting by a lot better than I ever could have imagined but the honest truth is even the end of the world isn’t as bad with soft sexy lace against my skin.
To Be Continued