Zombies and Loathing 16: Job Well Done, Boys
(See Table of Contents for previous installments)
I wander through the streets of New Bunker in a haze. I can’t remember the last time I slept. I’m trying to wean myself off of the stims. The state of things I can’t imagine having access to them for much longer.
The fuck if I know.
I pass through the market square, once a bustling hotbed of the needy and greedy in a death match for a bargain. Wheeling and dealing away their lives for the basic necessities and whatever shreds of luxury they could afford. Clean water for a book. A doll for a needle. Your body for a drug.
It is abandoned now. Nobody is willing to pay for what they know Conroy had in surplus. Instead the denizens of this corrupt little town, a so called island of “civilization” in a world gone mad where the dead walk and press up against the very gates of the city, spend their energies on open revolt.
The so called “law” of New Bunker had vanished. From what I’ve managed to gather, it seems that anyone worth a damn is in hiding. The wealthy are picking sides. Some are holding steadfastly to the idea that Conroy is still in charge, vowing to throw in with him as soon as he reveals his plans. Others are siding with The Banker, recognizing the pudgy little man as the heir apparent to the status quo of maintaining their strangle-hold on the meat grinder that is this city. Others still see opportunity for themselves, trying to rally their resources to make some kind of a power grab.
I’m painfully blind to the inner workings of the 1% of New Bunker. Who is benefiting? Who’s alive and who is dead?
My contact with my Benefactor has ceased entirely. All back channels of communication with them has gone silent. I never even had the chance to explain myself. I would have told them what happened, we could have made this work to our advantage.
Still, I suppose that their main agenda was to tear down Conroy, and this stunt was likely doing the trick. I just wasn’t needed. It didn’t matter that I still had a bomb to drop on Vincent. It might not ever matter again.
The Banker didn’t need me any longer either, he had his revolution. I suppose I should be thankful that he didn’t care enough to have me killed after I played my part in his staged leak. Thank God for my anonymity. The entire city thought I was to blame for the leak. Out in the streets I heard my name praised and cursed in equal measure.
It pains me to admit how much this bothers me, how much the sense of helplessness consumes the fragile ego of this mad journalist. To be at the center of it all, to be the linchpin that could topple the empire of one of the only men I could truly consider to be enemy and to have it taken away from me. To be on the outside now, looking in on the destruction wrought in my name, but not of my design. It’s maddening.
The only thing I can do is stay in hiding. Keep my ears open on the streets and get a sense of what was going on and how this shit storm was going to resolve itself.
The people want Vincent’s head on a pike, and they want everything in that warehouse for themselves. The long forgotten promise of New Bunker now fresh in their minds again, they will all be rich in goods and live comfortably for the rest of their days. Of course, I know the truth. I’ve seen the stockpiles and I’ve done the math. Unless properly rationed I figure it would take the population all of 6 months to tear through every shred of supplies down there. Even properly rationed I wouldn’t expect it to last beyond a year. Who knows how much faster the supply would be depleted when word got out of New Bunker’s true wealth. This place would be overrun from outside forces faster a New Bunker whore would spread her legs for a stim.
It was like this for days. Unrest. Riots. Mobs gathered and dispersed as the city violently convulsed.
Likely all to The Banker’s design.
However, I knew Vincent and I knew he wouldn’t go down without a fight. A vicious, bloody, disastrous fight.
But what he did went even beyond my expectations.
After a full week of riots, the guts of this city out on display for all to see, Vincent made his move. Giant steel shipping containers appeared seemingly overnight throughout the city. At precisely 8:00 am the magnetic locks came to life and disengaged. Within each was a dream come true for the citizens: food, rations, clean water, medicine and a video screen of the man himself. Smiling warmly, like a father would while praising a child.
The video itself couldn’t have been more than a minute. Vincent spoke very little.
“Sid Pruitt and the man known as The Banker have betrayed us all. Stockpiling these goods behind my back. I am returning them to their rightful owners, you, the citizens of my city. Enjoy”
Then, a quick cut to none other than Pruitt and the fat man himself on their knees. Badly beaten. Tears streaming down their grubby faces. Two gunshots and they’re dead.
There is no question. This is Conroy’s city.
By 8:05 the killing starts.