Small Amusements

Yesterday, I saw this listing come across my FB feed. You really need to flip through the interior photos to see why it’s amusing.

The real amusement was sending it to The Wife, and then listening to her exclamations of horror and bewilderment at the interior decorating.

Monday Fiction – Zombie Strike – Part 8 – Chapter 80

Kirkwood, Missouri, 4 June 2011, 0100 hours local; Countdown: 6 months, 26 days

Evan Torrelli almost went deaf as The Steve opened up on the zombie horde with the machine gun. The Steve swept the flame-spewing weapon in a tight arc. On the other end of Zombie Strike’s position, Chief Stahl was making similar patterns with his machine gun. A couple hundred yards down the street, scores of zombies tumbled to the asphalt. Only a few of the zombies were taking head shots from the two machine guns. The rest were either standing back up into the fusillade of gunfire or crawling along the asphalt. Five explosions erupted in the middle of the horde. Evan swallowed back the sudden taste of bile as body parts were thrown through the air. It wasn’t like when someone used a grenade in the movies. In real life, the grenades shredded everything around them.

Evan focused on the zombies closest to him. Two caught his attention. They were shambling just outside the machine gun’s firing arc. Evan gauged they were about a hundred and fifty yards away. A bit long, but Evan’s patience was almost gone. He needed to do something.More by instinct than rational calculation, Evan aimed the shotgun and squeezed the first trigger. The heavy slug slammed into the zombie’s forehead and tore the head apart. Evan was already aiming for the second zombie. The shotgun bucked as Evan placed the second slug a little lower. The slug lanced through the zombie’s right eye. Evan was reloading before the second zombie hit the ground. Evan searched for more targets. That’s how he had to think of them. These were just mere targets with not even the dignity he gave a deer. Four shots took down three more zombies. The last one tore off an arm, but the target wasn’t down. Evan slammed two fresh shells into his shotgun. Before he could finish off the zombie, Jim came up behind him and took the zombie down.

“Slow down, kid,” Jim said, working the lever of his rifle. “Take your time. You’ll get a more harmonious outcome.” Almost as if to prove his point, Jim casually aimed at a crawler and fired. Evan took a deep breath. He could feel his blood pounding through him. Evan brought the shotgun to his shoulder, drew a bead on a zombie that just stood up, and fired. The zombie collapsed back to the ground.

“See, easy,” Jim said, clapping the teen on his shoulder. Evan smiled as he took down another zombie. He quickly fed two new shells into the shotgun. As he brought the weapon back up, Evan noticed the two machine guns stopped firing. Evan looked over at The Steve, who was staring at something in the air behind him. Evan started to turn, but The Steve yanked him to the ground.

The night turned into a surreal daytime as powerful beams of light illuminated the street. Evan had a bare second to recognize the sound of helicopters before the area exploded with the sound of chainsaws on steroids. Looking underneath the SUV, Evan watched with horrified fascination as the zombie horde was torn apart as thousands of bullets rained down. When the chainsaws finally stopped, The Steve let go of Evan. The four attack helicopters screamed over them. Two other helicopters hovered above the team. Ropes were flung out the sides. In less than a minute, a dozen soldiers in full gear were on the ground. At least, Evan though they were soldiers. Chief Stahl quickly corrected the teen.

“Figures. Marines are always horning in our action,” the former soldier growled as the Marines cautiously approached the team.

“Kenn was a Marine,” Mateo reminded his deputy.

“And I haven’t exactly forgiven him for that,” Chief Stahl retorted.

“Place your weapons on the ground and identify yourself!” demanded the lead Marine. Evan mimicked the rest of the team and slowly placed his shotgun on the asphalt.

“Mateo Cortez. Zombie Strike. This is my field team,” Mateo explained. The lead Marine motioned to the other Marines, who relaxed.

“We thought it might be you, Mr. Cortez, but we had to be sure,” the lead Marine said, slinging his M16.

“How many other groups are fighting off zombie hordes with fully automatic weapons?” Chief Stahl asked, sarcastically, “And why are the Marines here?”

“To answer your first question, sir, a few civilian militias ransacked the National Guard Armory. There have been reports of automatic fire all over the city. As to the second, we’re here to kill zombies,” the Marine answered.

“Hurrah!” the other Marines chorused. Mateo shot the chief a look. The chief shrugged and went to put away the machine gun.

“So why are the Marines out looking for my team?” Mateo asked.

“Orders are to bring you to the command post, sir,” the Marine said. “Since headquarters is establishing the CP, we need you to remain in place.” Evan felt his stomach drop. He still had to get home. He still needed to try and save his family. Mateo looked over at Evan and nodded.

“Marine, I appreciate you have your orders, but we have our own. Now you’re welcome to come along, but my team can’t wait here for your commanders. Team mount up. Drop the running boards if the Marines want to tag along.”

“Mr. Cortez, I can’t let you-“ the lead Marine started before The Steve slid up next to him. The Steve said something to the Marine, but it was too low for Evan to hear. Evan snatched the box of shells off the hood and climbed into the back of the first SUV. The lead Marine grimaced, but waved his men to the SUVs. Evan was squished between two Marines. Four others climbed onto the running boards. Evan smiled weakly at the two Marines. They stared down at him questioningly.

“Um, sir, you’ve got a kid back here,” one of the Marines said to Mateo as the Zombie Strike field leader stepped into the SUV.

“Local guide,” Mateo said.

“But he’s a kid,” the Marine continued. Evan’s ears burned with embarrassment and anger at the Marine’s tone. He wasn’t more than a few years older than Evan.

“Son, let me explain something to you,” Jim said as he slid into the driver seat, “That kid just battled two hordes of zombies with us. And he was taking them out at a hundred and fifty yards using that scattergun of his. As far as this team’s concerned, the kid’s proved himself more than the Marines have so far.” The Marine looked down at Evan with wide eyes. The SUV’s sped through the remains of the zombie horde toward Evan’s home. From what Evan could see, Kirkwood was now a war zone. Buildings, cars, even people were on fire. Several buildings looked like they had been hit by a bomb. From every direction, gunfire and zombie moans could be heard.

The two SUV’s turned onto Evan’s street. His heart plunged as he saw his neighbors’ homes. A few were blazing infernos. The others were deathly quiet. His own home was around the bend, at the bottom of the cul-de-sac. He wanted to shut his eyes, to not see what happened to his home. He forced his eyes open. As his house came into view, Evan started to hope. It wasn’t on fire, and it was brightly lit. That hope died when he saw the zombie horde standing in the cul-de-sac. Then, the headlights of the SUV shone on his mother. She turned and moaned.

[Zombie Strike Part 8 Chapter 81]

Friday Quote – Thomas Paine

Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins… Society is in every state a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.

Life In The Ward House

Last week, since we were off the diet for our birthdays, The Wife offered to make us grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. I was trying to finish something up when I got a the following text:

The Wife: Sharp or have dry cheese

Me (After pondering for a moment): I’ll have the havarti

The Wife: Stupid autocorrect

The Wife makes excellent grilled cheese.

In other news, The Wife used some of her Prime Day monies to buy me a Masterpiece Transformers Prowl. I wanted one because Prowl was my first transformer, and I’ve always had a soft spot for that toy. It showed up last weekend. I managed to get it from police car to robot. It doesn’t transform like my old Prowl, but it does look much cooler (and much bigger) than my old Prowl. Now, getting it back to police car…

In the helpful life hacks segment, we have found that Method Daily Shower Cleaner will slow down a wasp long enough to bring the hammer down. And by hammer, I mean fistful of paper towels. My fear of insects and similar creepy crawlies evokes a insecticidal rage. They must be killed!

Links, Links, and More Links

First, I heard about this on the Assorted Calibers podcast. Essentially, a gun Prohibitionist group tricked John Lott and another gun rights activist to speak to a field of three thousand empty chairs. Let’s see, you lied about (and made a fake website for) a commencement for a fake university. Yet, I’m supposed to believe that you’re telling the truth about your gun death statistics?

Next the President signed an executive order to “promote competition.” Reason has a response of yeah, not so much. Much like the original infrastructure bill, there’s a bunch of stuff in there that has no bearing and/or hurts our ability to compete.

Cuba is seeing mass protests. This could get interesting. Assuming that the Cuban government doesn’t go all Tiammenen Square on them.

And now for some lighter fare. Looks like someone is trying to reboot the Silverhawks. Considering the trend to take old cartoons and worsen the animation, I’m not hopeful. And yeah, I didn’t watch the show that much when I was a kid. That being said, I fucking loved the intro theme:

Monday Fiction – Zombie Strike – Part 8 – Chapter 79

Kirkwood, Missouri, 4 June 2011, 0030 hours local; Countdown: 6 months, 26 days

Evan Torrelli’s heart was in his throat as Jim sped through the streets. The teen didn’t even notice his surroundings. His mind kept replaying the last words his father said. Zombies were attacking his house. Instead of going to the police like his father told him to, Evan was going back to his house in the company of the world’s finest zombie hunters. That should have given Evan some hope, but all he could hear was the zombies crashing through the windows of his home.

“Boss, we’re starting to see the edge of the panic,” Jim said to Mateo Cortez, the Zombie Strike field leader. Evan looked up and saw a wave of stampeding humanity coming down the road at them.

“Side street, now!” Mateo snapped. Evan was smashed against the window as Jim whipped the SUV through a quick turn and raced through a parking lot. The SUV bounced over landscaping as Jim dodged speeding cars fleeing the area. Jim drifted the truck onto a street and hammered the gas pedal. The truck jerked with the sudden acceleration.

“Oh good, I only have to play dodge-car now,” Jim commented as he slalomed through cars driving down the wrong side of the road. “Chief, this is getting a bit insane, even for me.”

“I am sticking right behind you,” Chief Stahl said over the team radio net, “Try not to get us killed before we even get to the horde.” Jim didn’t respond. He gripped the steering wheel tight and gritted back the pain from his earlier wound.

“With this much traffic, we should be seeing the horde soon,” Mateo said, “As soon as we see the horde, we stop and evaluate.”

“But we’re still a few miles from my home,” Evan argued. Mateo looked back at the teen with a sorrowful expression.

“Evan, we will do everything we can to get to save your family, but we can’t do anything if we’re dead,” Mateo said, “That means we have to fight smart, or we’ll find ourselves beyond crush without a way out.” Evan wanted to scream at his hero to save his family. Wasn’t that what heroes were supposed to do? Evan slammed his fist against the seat. He knew Mateo was right. Evan spent too much time learning about how to fight the undead. After getting past the whole “shoot ‘em in the head” basics, most of the posts were on how to push back the point of crush. The theory was simple. At crush, the sheer mass of a zombie horde would overcome the speed at which the defenders could put them down. The idea was to push back the point of crush through the use of modern weapons, prepared defenses, trained persons, and tactics.

“Chief, we’ve found the horde,” Jim said an instant before slamming on the brakes and sliding the SUV. Evan was sure the truck was going to roll, but it just teetered at the edge through Jim’s slide. The second SUV slid next to them, forming a defense line against the horde of zombies. Quentin half-shoved, half-carried Evan out of the SUV. The teen barely kept a hold of his double-barrel against the rushing wall of human. Evan’s feet barely hit the asphalt before the meaty hand guiding him out shoved Evan against the side of the SUV.

Quentin’s expression clearly told Evan to stay put and not get into trouble. Evan nodded and the obsidian face broke into a comforting smile. Evan smiled back weakly. The smiles were wiped away by the cacophony of moans from the horde. Evan turned around and peered through the SUV’s windows. The entire six-lane street was filled with hundreds of zombies. Evan couldn’t make out much in the dim light from the streetlights, but the shambling walk was distinctive. Was his family in that horde? Could he fight them if they were? The questions and fear raced through him as he stared at the solid mass of undead.

“Matt, we got a mix of old corpses and fresh kills in that group,” Jess reported. The girl sniper was perched on top of the second SUV. “I don’t see any minions or gollums.”

“You have a count?” Mateo asked.

“A lot,” Jess answered, “They’re hard packed in there, and that horde has to be at least a hundred yards deep.”

“Boss, there are at least a thousand head out there,” Chief Stahl said, “If we’re going to engage them, we need to break out the MG’s quick.”

“Do it,” Mateo ordered, “Jess, Slim, and Jim, engage at max range. Everyone else will engage as soon as the Chief and Quentin have the heavies up. Sport, I want a wall of frags about midway. See if we can break this up into some smaller hordes.”

“We’re not going to make it home, are we?” Evan asked Mateo as evenly as he could. Mateo looked Evan in the eye with a neutral expression.

“I can’t let a horde this size keep moving. It’ll keep growing until it wipes out Saint Louis,” Mateo answered. Evan looked back as Chief Stahl and The Steve hauled out two large machine guns from the back of the second SUV.

“Then I’ll go home on my own,” Evan said defiantly. Jim’s hand grabbed the boy’s shoulder and spun Evan around. The normal cheerful expression on the cowboy’s face was replaced by a stone cold look of authority.

“No, you won’t,” Jim said, “Even if you get past that horde, there’s probably more zombies. Past that will be the survivors, most of who will shoot first and ask questions later. You want to get home, then you got to help us fight.” The cowboy shoved a box of shotgun shells into Evan’s hands.

“But my dad,” Evan said before Jim cut him off.

“Your dad’s a good man. Would he want you to save his life at the expense of everyone else?” Jim asked. Evan shook his head, barely holding back the tears.

“Evan, I need you in the line,” Mateo said, “Get over by The Steve and make sure nothing gets near him.” The sudden order was a life line for Evan as he nearly drowned in a sea of emotion. Evan focused on Mateo’s order and trotted over to The Steve. The medic rested the machine gun’s bipod on the hood of the SUV. Evan set the box of slugs on the hood. He broke open his shotgun and loaded the first two slugs.

Three rifles cracked almost simultaneously as the team’s sharpshooters went to work. Evan’s mouth went dry. This was different then the fight at the school. Things seemed to happen so quickly. This time, Evan could only wait as the zombies inched into range. His mind raced through all the worst possibilities. Evan was terrified. Not about fighting the zombies. He knew he could do that. Evan was terrified that Zombie Strike couldn’t finish this fight in time to get to his home.

The thoughts stopped as the two machine guns opened up.

[Zombie Strike Part 8 Chapter 80]

Friday Quote – John Stuart Mills

But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth. If wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.