Monday, August 29, 2016

Zombie buttons

A woman in the park was wearing this button. I think she said she got it from Starved To Death. 

Wait - is the food truck starting to serve live people, too? No good can come from this.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Seal the Deal

Fucking boaters.

One of the nice little harbor seals, lying on the beach by the mouth of the Clallam River, face chopped off by a propeller. Probably asleep nose at the surface, when some fool came screaming over the surface on the way to the dock after dark, stayed out too late trying to get a bragging halibut or a salmon to leave rot in the boat. 

I'm practically friends with the seals, who watch when I have a fire on the beach, so they can get the warm spot after I bury the embers. This just makes me sick.

But no use leaving a friend to rot, or the other animals hungry. it's a fresh kill, so I peel the hide off. I can get local salt to cure it, and I can trade it to people who make drums or floats.

I always have a little crooked ulu knife, so old it's got a rough-cut cedar handle, so I cut open the carcass, off some of the meat, and carefully lay out what's left, guts for the seagulls, fresh cedar bed for what's left of the carcass, chopped up into manageable pieces. I've done it before with a big octopus that washed up, some for me, some for them. Everybody needs to eat, and if you feed birds, they tell you where there's more food.

Nobody human here will eat seal, at least not in this town. But Starve To Death, that zombie food truck, might want it. It's not human meat, but it's meat. I clean it in sea water and pack it into a plastic bag.

No zombies around the truck right now, but the light is on, the shutters partly open and it looks like that skinny girl is inside. Did the zombie cook hire her? I hope she knows what's she's doing. The girl, not the cook.

Knock on the shutter. She jumps.

"Hi! Sorry! I'm not a zombie. Want some seal meat?"

About a half-dozen emotions are wandering around her face, fear, confusion, interest, and even recognition.

"Um - you're the boy from the bug. In the rain that night." She seems cautious. I hope I didn't scare her.

"Yeah. I'm glad you got a safe place, now." I look around, carefully, listening. Nobody there. "Are you working here?"

"Yeah, I got hired. The owner needed me for legal reasons."

Now I look confused. She explains.

"Couldn't get a license without a live person on board."

"A cooking license? Can you cook?"

She almost nods, then slowly shakes her head. "Not this kind of food. These - people - don't eat like usual."

"Do you want some seal meat?" I repeat.

She doesn't answer. She's looking at the piece of meat I've pulled out of the plastic bag.

"It's good meat. They'll probably like it."

She looks horrified. "Did you kill a seal?" 

"No. Propeller strike. Zombie boater."

"Zombies have boats!?" I seem to be blowing her mind every time I open my mouth. I don't mean to.

"No, messed-up people up here, we call them zombies, too. A messed-up truck is a zombie truck."

But if a dead cook can get a food license, maybe a zombie can get a boat license? I've seen a boater on Lake Crescent run a power boat right through a bunch of swimmers, just so he could tie up to the Lodge dock where there was a bunch of young teenage girls. I just thought he was a creep, endangering all the kids so he could perv on the girls, and leaving an oil slick behind him when he left. But - him being a zombie would explain a lot. He didn't look like he smelled too good. Why else would a sports fisherman leave a good salmon in a boat to rot? Maybe he liked it that way.

The girl in the food truck is staring at the meat. Finally, she clears her throat and says, "Um - what do you want for it?"

"Nothing. I just thought it would help. It's clean meat, and pretty fresh. Real fresh, enough for them."

She doesn't look very sure. "I dunno...."

"You need meat, right? It costs money. This is good meat. Look, you can put it in the freezer, and if the cook doesn't want it, you can always give it to the dogs. What can it hurt? If she wants it, she wants it. If she doesn't, she doesn't."

She's off the hook, so she takes it, and puts it into the freezer. It's a good chunk of meat, but not so much it doesn't fit. She doesn't turn her back on me while she's doing it. In this town, I don't blame her.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Spice it up

Well the city is allowing me to have my food truck but the distributors won’t deliver to the undead. They say I need a “breather” on my staff so they can communicate with. The morons! I think some of the local zombies are smarter than these truckers. But I got to follow the rules.

By sure providence, the new girl in town stopped by the other day. She’s got a working little Subaru now. I had seen her wandering around but it was none of my business until she actually came up to the truck window. We chatted a little about the menu and I gave her a sample of the fish stew, she seemed to like it plenty, then she asked me if I needed any help.

 I don’t think she’s realized yet, that I am newly turned. It’s not obvious yet if you’re not used to the smell of dying flesh. I take showers every day and use a lot of natural oils to cover up the rot. I wear long sleeves and pants and gloves, so no skin is showing. Last thing I need is for me to lose a proverbial Shylock ‘pound of flesh’ into one of my pots. I think I would shut my own self down at that point. No human meat in my kitchen.

I invite her into the truck and I show her around, she tells me how she has cafeteria experience. I ask her if she can follow recipes and instructions. If this works out, I can pass along my knowledge before my brain goes completely mush and I end up out on the beach with the rest of my kind. She seems eager enough and the extra money will definitely come in handy for her if she decides to stay out here on the Peninsula.

We talk about the menu and where I get my ingredients from and then I mention to her that the majority of my customer base are the very same zombies she’s been trying to avoid. She seems a little taken aback by that but then I explain my plan to feed the zombies instead of letting them run off in the wilds picking people off. I have managed to get an agreement from the beachcombers for trading their fresh catch for meals. I don’t want to make her too nervous so I tell her that I will handle the window, if she can handle dishing out the food – that way she can stay hidden. She’s a skinny little thing as is, well, compared to me, everyone is tiny.

They’re outside the truck already, banging on the door. I don’t know where they get their money, and honestly I don’t want to know. As long as I keep them fed and off the streets. I start going through my setup and my little helper is stacking the containers and condiments. She notices that I have quite a large collection of hot sauces and I remind her that the undead can’t really taste anything but the little extra heat gives them a little jolt, a little reminder of when they were alive. Probably why I am always having to replace the bottles, they have been drinking it straight again. I’m going to have to go to the Co-op for more before I open up for the day.

I leave her in the truck and slip out the front door and walk over the parking lot, across from the bar and up to the totem in front of the Co-op. There are some high school kids out with their phones, playing Pok√©mon Go, this is the local gym after all, and everyone wants to be the boss. I enter and nod my head to the lady behind the counter. She’s always been kind to me even before I changed and as long as I keep my wits to myself, I’m sure nothing will change. She’s got other customers filtering around, plus some city visitors puttering about looking at the local products. Speaking of which, I’m going to need more of that Clallam Bay sea salt soon. But I remember that I left my new helper in the truck with a gaggle of hungry zombies sniffing around outside, so I go to the shelf with all the hot sauce and grab a few bottles of the real Mexican one – the American one is too vinegary and not enough heat. I feel eyes on me but I don’t look up to see who.

All I care about is my truck and my food. I go pay for my bottles and tip toe back into the truck, like I was never gone. It’s almost eleven o’clock, time for Starve to Death to start selling.


Monday, August 1, 2016

Food For thought

Clallam Bay, Slip Point
Nice weather out, finally. It's dryer in my hollow sleeping tree. It's about as warm as it gets around here, in the '70's, and I still need lotsa blankets at night, but I'm out of the damp. 

The dew falls so heavy that it feeds mountain streams, and keeps the salmon eggs damp in the gravel that only looks like it's dried out. Salmon are made that way; it's why the Neah Bay hatchery can keep the eggs in misted drawers. 

I thought my leg was getting pulled by a live person until I was over there the other day, to be there for the 4th of July, and actually got to see the photos on the wall about how they do it. Salmon are coming back, thanks, hatchery. Sea otters and even right whales and a fin whale. Saw one in the Strait the other day, on its way to Port Angeles. Feels better, seeing them. Although there are a lot of posters in the Post Office, for missing pets. People WILL let their smaller pets outside at night, and act like they're confused when they get eaten. It's like zombies all the time for pets.
Spinning fireworks, Neah Bay

The better weather will help that girl, too. I'm so glad she seems to have her stuff together. And has resources. She's even got a car, now, a pretty nice one, with room to sleep. The nicer weather will make it possible to sleep in it without damp. 

I was wondering if her Subaru locks, but that would be the first thing somebody - especially a girl - would think of if they had to sleep in a car. She seemed nice, and sober, so the zombies aren't just going to drag her out and have dinner while she's unconscious. So she's one less person I have to worry about, in any way. Or I can try not to worry about.

One more thing I think I have to worry about is the new food truck, the one with the weird name - Starve To Death - which doesn't sound very appetizing. I don't HAVE to worry about it, maybe more just keep an eye on it, but it seems to have a lot of the dead congregating around it. They seem really quiet, and sniffing like they think it smells good. They even shamble after it when it moves, and at first they were sniffing the ground like dogs. I found out what they were doing the first time I found the greasy trail with a couple clotted knee-caps in it. They stay upright and sniff the air, now, mostly, if they can, even getting a support bone from some of the more together bodies.

It was closed the other day, and most of the local dead were around it, a couple of them weakly slapping their arms against the locked door. The name of the truck and the way the zombies seem to like how it smells - are we looking at a ZOMBIE food truck?

Talk about Bang Bang Love Shack. Speaking of, I heard that song on my car radio the other day, from that Twilight station. Which sounds pretty good, some good modern music, I guess, and some nice '80's oldies, and gets some good reception. 

This is the first time I've been able to get a decent radio station up here without a lot of buzzing and crackling like we used to. I get Canadian radio, but it's not always clear except on the coast roads, like Highway 112. I nearly drove off the road laughing once, when a Canadian comedy show's MC said to a guy in the audience, "You don't have to wear a mullet, you know - you're not in Nanaimo ALL THE TIME."

I wish the Canadian radio still ran Dead Dog In The City. It was funny. I miss Jasper Friendly Bear and Gracie Heavy Hand. And Rosemarie Clever Tuna. That's an in-joke, for anybody who ever listened to it.

Look at me, media geek. I might as well be sorting my albums.

I'm hungry. Last night I had a couple trout in a green-stick roaster rack I made up in about ten minutes. it's easy, if you know how; green sticks let you peel some of the bark to act like strings to tie it all together. You roast it over coals and the sticks don't burn because they're green. And they shrink a little and you can pull the sticks out of the fish without a lot of trouble, because the meat doesn't rust into the rack like a metal rack.

Anyway, I want some bread. People can't go without some kind of bread or rice. It's why Indian women traded Lewis and Clark a basket of biscuit-root for a horse, they were so tired of just meat and fish. The Sunset West Co-op lets me trade some mushrooms for some food that doesn't grow wild. The chicken of the woods is in, and that usually gets me a nice pack of tortillas and sometimes some cheese. Sometimes I have some enough berries and stuff to get some gas or some bus fare. The bus is really cheap up here, and takes me anyplace I need to walk from.

I'm not that far from town, so I didn't need to take it. Nothing much going on, not even at the Starve to Death. I wonder where they all are? I hope they're not hungry.

Wait - is that the girl's car parked next to the food truck? That's not good. I wonder where she is? No, I told myself not to worry about her - she seems to know what she's doing.

Here's the co-op. Oh, they got the nice cheap cheese in. I could use that. Might as well browse the condiments while I'm here; that's just fun, seeing all the strange stuff they bring in, from all over the world. They must have some new strange spices, too, because there's an odd smell. Is that in the aisle or on the spice wall? Oh, here --

Oh. It's the cook from Starve to Death, looking at the bottles of hot sauce. What's wrong with me? I know that smell. And she's just starting to have it. 

Smile and be nice. No use setting her off.