A Meal of Gold / Dilemma
The smell of the cooking cat was nauseating. The stench grew thick with the nasty sewage-egg smell and lingered in the air forever. I almost gagged from the odor. Funny thing too, since I had smelled and seen worse traveling this wrecked city. Dismembered bodies, charred and deformed, mutated, maggot ridden (they looked like maggots, but I think they may have been something else) corpses in the street, stinking like burning, rotting flesh.
I had to step away as Gar stood over the cat, salivating. I was hungry, yes, but not hungry enough to eat that. I checked Gar’s arm out, inspecting it for any changes. Pus was still oozing out, and it had begun to swell. His hands and arm were dirty.
“Gar, you should really clean your arm off. That wound’s gonna get infected,” I informed him.
“I ain’t got nothin’ to clean it with”
“Use that shit-ass booze you got in your bag.”
This got his attention. His booze was never shit. It was always the shit. Somehow a cheap four-dollar bottle of vodka was gold to him. I didn’t really drink much but that booze was shit to me. Plus, it might help ward off infection. Gar mumbled something to himself, upset about my comment.
“Quit your whinin’ and pour some of that alcohol on there. It might even keep it from getting infected,” I told him.
“Fine,” he replied, and poured oh-just-enough of the fluid onto his wounds so that he’d have enough for one swig with his meal.
I stood there with Gar, the dumb-ass brute who only cared about survival, and wondered if anyone else had survived. I had seen so many dead bodies, looted so many stores, and walked so far towards the edge of the city, all I wanted was to see another human being that wasn’t Gar.
Gar took out a bottle of hot sauce he had stashed in his bag. This guy was something. He poked and prodded the animal as it cooked, turning it over, glazing it with the hot sauce. It didn’t smell half bad now, but there was still a funk in the air. The outer skin became charred and a grin came over Gar’s face.
“She looks done ta me!” He said, wide eyed and drooling over the sight of what he called food.
“Ya sure ya don’t want none?” he asked once more. I shook my head and declined the offeer.
“Nah, I’m good. Thanks.”
I watched him tear into the awful creature. As he ate it, I still thought something wasn’t right about that cat. Gar seemed to enjoy it though. He crunched through bones and everything, savoring every last bite of the stringy little kitten. I would have looked away, but I was hungry too, and couldn’t help but stare at the poor meal.
“I hope it was worth it,” I said to Gar.
“Oh, ho, ho, It surely was, my friend,” he replied as he slapped me on the back with his greasy hand. He continued to pick any morsel of meat off the tiny bones.
I knew something would happen to him after he ate that cat, but I didn’t know what. Hell, I didn’t even know yet what happened in general. All I knew was that there was an explosion or something and everyone in the city was dead, or at least it appeared to me that everyone was dead until I came across Gar wandering through a crumbled gas station, looking for pork rinds. The sirens went off, then BOOM! It was horrific. I managed to survive by being underground at the time– in a parking garage– which nearly caved in on me. It took me what seemed like days to get out of there, climbing through cars and rubble. After that I raided a nearby business’ bomb shelter, and took all the food I could hold. Funny thing was, there were no survivors in that one and others I checked contained no survivors as well.
I wasn’t so much concerned about Gar at this point as I was concerned with my own well-being. That cat looked fucked up. And with the explosion or whatever, the thing had to be irradiated or something. At this point I wasn’t going to risk it. I decided to keep Gar along for the ride until we could find another bomb shelter to loot. We’d find some first aid spray and call it good. Then I’d say farewell. I had seen too many zombie movies in the past and I was beginning to feel that if I kept Gar along too long, this venture would turn into one.
Maybe it wasn’t that bad, maybe it was just a scratch. If the first aid spray doesn’t cure it– Nah, he’s gotta go, too risky. Think, think, pros and cons, pros and cons. Is he worth keeping along?
Gar finished eating his meal, took his last swig of shit-booze, and let out a belch.
“Not bad, not bad at all,” he said, patting his stomach.