The black man stared at me from the window. From behind me, there were weird screams or yelps that I couldn’t really pinpoint, but even the dog ignored that. Sally crawled out of her corner and walked up to the kitchen table.
Sally’s my little sister, she’s seven. On her last birthday, we fried two eggs we found on the back of a VW bug, abandoned. She really liked that. I like to go out of my way, keep the old holidays and stuff like that and nobody even notices me disappearing.
Except Sally. She knows when I don’t show up where I’m supposed to be.
When the virus released, we all thought (after the doctors gave the go ahead) we thought we could go outside, walk in the rivers, play.
And we did.
My name is Bethany, and I am 17 years old. My mom died after the storm.
My dad was never there anyway. I hope he’s dead.
My two brothers went to the store a few weeks after, and never came back. A few days after they left, we saw a band of pickup trucks speed past the house. They had the flags. Even music, which I thought was a pretty dumb idea considering doesn’t it take energy or something, battery power to play the radio? I don’t know.
I wish I would have studied those things in school. Mr. Johnson down the street was an engineer, but when we tried to get him to hook up the generator he started talking about inverters and an AC and Mrs. Fluser said “that’s a metal band I fucked once” and laughed when her ear fell to the ground.
Mr. Fluser took her back inside and we didn’t see her for awhile, but I saw her one night a few weeks later sitting in her yard looking up at the stars. She was on one of those sunning recliners and even had a big floppy hat and everything so I didn’t bother her.
Anyway, we finally figured out the generator and counted all the guns. There were seven on our block. If my mom was alive I’m sure she would have stole one.
I’m thinking about it. I saw the way Phil looked at our window yesterday and I could tell that he was thinking about how much food we had in the pantry. I know it.
I’m watching him.
Today I counted all the granola bars at the registry again. Mr. Fluser’s idea. Said everyone needs to come together and kumbaya, etc.
When I count the bars I’m supposed to check off the mark from the last person and then identify the different brands and draw with my pencil the shape of the bar on the paper and try to rendition it accurately he said.
Then I’m supposed to sit and think of the bars for about 30 mins before my break. That’s when the sun touches the left side of the roof of Mr. Williamson’s house. Sometimes I forget to look over there and miss my break. That makes me angry and Mr. Fluser comes around to check on me to make sure I get back on time to count the bars again but this time organize them .
In the afternoon I walk around the 10 lanes and knock on each door to verify who’s got their portion and give one bar each.
One time, Phil looked at me funny. When I showed him the diagram of the bar and opened my case to reach in, I looked up cuz I felt a funny feeling. His eyes were really shiny and then he looked at my ass (I know he did) and then the bars again and I gave him the bar real quick and left.
When I looked back he was still standing there in the doorway and he didn’t wave or smile or anything. He was just standing there still and then when I kept walking down the sidewalk and then looked back again, he was still standing there and watching me but had leaned against the doorpost with his arms folded and a smug smile on his face. I couldn’t see his eyes.
So now we have a dog.
Sally likes it. I don’t. It eats a lot. When we feed it.
There’s a man at the window and I know he sees it.
That makes me smile.