It was a few years ago, I cast off my white robe and along with it everything else. I set off into the world, letting my hair grow (the itch at first was terrible!). The only thing I kept was my old Ray-Ban sunglasses; the sun was frightful at times during the peak of the day.
You see, I was old enough at the time to remember the Before. I remembered world leaders on TV throwing shoes at each other, coming to full blows in the august halls of the United Nations. I remember joking about how people in the stores would nearly shove you out of the way to grab a package of toilet paper from the heaping shelves. When it actually WAS the last toilet paper in the world, my joking prophecy paled in comparison what really happened. I once saw a woman cut a man’s throat on aisle 12, grinning like a demon while clutching a four pack of Charmin extra soft. She didn’t seem to mind that his blood had soaked through the package, turning the paper a bright crimson. Ever after, when the tradition of wearing white clothes came about, I would replay that scene over in mind, even visualizing people’s clothes on the street slowing turning pink.
Oh there’s plenty of stories from just after- even enough stories from the Before to make your hair curl. You wouldn’t know it now, but the world was full of people who called themselves truth seekers, divining their secrets from the depth of the Internet, using the very products of the corporations to denounce the corporations. Does that sound redundant? Well, it is- because that’s what it was.
After, I had little choice. You see, it was a choice between joining some roving gang of lunatics who were more bent on partying and looting than setting things right or to cling to romantic notions of the past. Those notions that things could be worked out through elected committees and officials, what you would call government.
That’s right! I said the word of heresy, but it was the way in those times. But after the apocalypse, there was none. There were no more jobs to go to in the morning, no office, no rat race of cappuccinos and conferences. I saw it coming and had enough stored for a bit, but like everyone soon I had start scavenging what was left in the stores, then through garbage- anywhere you could think of. Oh, some of us tried to grow what we needed, but so many didn’t have the skills or the time, not to mention the seasons. And those that did, most were victims of the scraggs that were stronger. There were no more police to call when someone invaded your home. A few had guns, but the gangs had more.
Then came this rot called “The Restoration of Purity”. I still haven’t figured out what the hell that was supposed to mean, but the end result was setting up regional Citadels for the “advancement of humanity”. Everything outside of those citadels became a vast wasteland, ignored by the so-called rule of law. It seems that all anyone ever cared about were those that lived in the dense population centers like New York, LA, or Chicago. In the early 21st century if you didn’t live in one of the megalopolises, we weren’t shit.
But in these citadels, it became unbearable. They were centers of social and psychological experiments and conditioning. Something worse than Huxley could ever envision, but you wouldn’t know about that, I am sure.
So I had heard tell of a place that I had kept in mind. It was called ‘the Pipe Dream Club’. Whispers only, really- but the word came around. I thought if only I could make through the white walls of the Citadel, through the Wasteland (over the hills and through hills, however that fairy tale goes). And that is that. I am on the trail, my noble quest, the proverbial knight errant in search of his personal Holy Grail. I am not a warrior by nature, but one must adapt in the Wasteland. It’s lucky that most of the so called warriors out there are nothing more than drunken slobs with only the strength of arms to their side. A guy like me, who has something between the ears more than cheese can do ok, if they’re careful. Though I will admit, there’s a mighty number of them out there and I’ve spent many a’ night cowering in ditch, afraid of even breathing for fear of being heard by orc-ish brutes. And the fires! The skies would rage orange at night from all the burning.
I feel I am close though. I cannot be sure, but I think yesterday I saw a girl jump behind a junk heap of old cars. It was just a fleeting glance of a lithe form that disappeared behind those fossil fuel burning behemoths of the past. Maybe it’s my imagination. I hope not. I am ready to leave the trials of the road behind me for good. I may be chasing a dream, but then at least I’m chasing something.
– written by Coffeedude65