#FridayFlash: Close Range

"It's harder to melt tin and antimony, but lead pellets foul the gun barrels too much."

"Where do you find antimony? Since the Internet and all the utilities went down, it's not like you can go onto Amazon and just order some, is it?"

"There's a welding supply company in Norristown. All the grocery stores and gas stations are looted and destroyed, but nobody thinks to take specialty metals. I've got at least four hundred pounds of antimony in the workshop. At the rate I'm making and using ammunition, that'll be enough for at least a year."

"And the tin?"

"Same shop. The ammo is mostly copper, anyway. I mix up the alloy when I cast the pellets. The tin and antimony are just to improve the hardness and ballistics."

"Where did you get all the copper? Did you tear out pipes from one of the abandoned houses?"

"No, that would have been too much work. It's from a Home Depot in Cheltenham. I thought about taking coils of wire instead, since they're more compact, but it's at least four pounds of insulation to every one pound of copper. In the end, I made a furnace out of fireclay and concrete block right in the Home Depot parking lot. I used up forty bags of charcoal and spent a week melting all the copper in the place down into ingots. It was pretty nerve wracking being out in the open like that for a whole week, but ingots are much easier to transport and store up here."

"Is that Home Depot where you got the iron pipe for the gun barrels?"

"And the air compressors, the tanks and tubing, the trigger release valves, everything I used to build the airguns that guard the perimeter."

"What about food? What have you done about food?"

"Food isn't nearly as important as water. The solar cells run the distillers and reverse osmosis pumps."

"But what are you eating?"

"Not much."

"But you must be starving, right? Without food, how much longer can you stay here?"

"I don't need to worry about food. I set traps for the squirrels and rabbits, but I've found that wildlife doesn't like the zombies any more than I do. They seem to sense that this place is a secure oasis; they're attracted to it. Believe it or not, I just have to sit tight and keep the lights on. The larger game animals come to me."

"What kind of game animals?"

"The kind that can't do anything but ask lots of questions."

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16 comments:

  1. Yeah, I kinda got the impression there were too many questions coming from one side, and too many ready answers from the other to be healthy in the long term.

    Guess "long term" is measured differently after the ZA.

    "Needs must..." as they say.

    A good note to end the year on, Tony.

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    1. Thanks for reading, Kevin! Yes, there are some people who are better suited to the soup pot than the dinner table.

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    1. This guy seems to be adjusting to the new normal pretty well.

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  3. metalworkers are always going to have a selective advantage in apocalypses!

    marc nash

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  4. Another fine example of becoming what one hates. Nice job!

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  5. Well, at least they have a plan.

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    1. Rather, one of them has a plan. The other is lunch.

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  6. Love the dark humor of the ending

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  7. Ow! The ending bit me! Someone that resourceful wasn't going to put up with an idiot for long -- but I'd have to believe that there were better things to eat out there...

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    1. The builder of all of that has clearly taken reductionist pragmatism to bizarre extreme. Thanks for reading, Janet!

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