By the time I made it back to Max, I had a pretty solid plan in place for clearing the zombies on the bridge, but I had to find a couple of things first. About halfway around the curve ahead of me, there was a downhill road off to the left. It went through a small group of houses, a strip club/biker bar named “Twin Peaks”, and a small shabby looking mom-and-pop hardware store.
I struggled to push the silver SUV to the top of the hill, but with one final heave I managed to start it down the other side and hopped in the drivers seat to steer us into the bar parking lot. I felt really naked without a handgun, and I was thinking a biker bar might be my best bet for finding one in this general location. The gravel crunched under the heavy weight of my overloaded SUV seemed louder than gunfire, and I immediately wished i’d left it on the pavement
I pulled my truck right beside the building, as close as I could get Max’s side to the wall without hitting it. He could probably wiggle out, but there was no way anything was getting in his door. Of course, they could come in the drivers side of the truck, but having the one side blocked made me feel better.
“Focus, Tookes,” I said to myself “There’s going to be a mess in there, check yourself”.
“Don’t forget your hatchet,” Max reminded me from the back seat, forcing me to look down and see that it had fallen out of its loop on my belt, and beside the center console of the truck.
“Max, I’ll be right back buddy. You stay here, but undo your buckles, just in case we need to run.”
“We’ll be fine daddy, you can handle these two.”
I’m learning to trust the little guy’s offhand comments, so I prepared myself for two or more. It was imperative that I remain silent, I’m under a mile from the bride now, and its very likely that the zombies up there would hear any gunshots. There was no way I was going in there without a gun though, so I took the black nylon strap off of my 30.06 and tied it to the ak47, and slung the whole thing over my shoulder before walking over to the door of the bar.
Gingerly I tried the knob on the solid steel doors, and in what might have been my first stroke of good luck, I found they were unlocked. I nudged the heavy doors inward, and quickly let them swing closed with a clang. Once closed, I banged on one with the back of the hatchet a couple of times, and stepped a few feet back. This was a two fold test, could they open doors, and were they attracted to sound. As an experiment, I was ecstatic with the results. I heard at least 2 banging on the doors, but they were unable to open them.
From about 5 feet away, I got a running start and hit the doors low. The doors flew open from the center, sweeping the 2 zombies apart and throwing them back into the room. My momentum carried me, hatchet in hand, right by one who was struggling to get up when the blade sunk deep into his forehead. With 1 final convulsion, he was dead again, and my hatchet was free of his head. The other zombie was down and not moving. Was there any chance I was this lucky? I kicked her head, and saw that the back of her head was smashed in, making a mess of her platinum blonde hair. I think her back was turned when I hit the door, and the edge of it split her skull. She was wearing a fluorescent g-string, and a garter with pretty good stack of bills rubber banded around it.
“She won’t be needing this,” I thought to myself as I unwrapped the rubber-band and pocketed the thick wad of bills. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever need it, but a wad of cash might still have some trade value. The room smelled horrible. Even after just one day, the corpses smelled terrible, like 30 lbs of rotten hamburger.
Feeling like a badass from my easy victory, I checked through the bar, looking for interesting things. I set 3 unopened bottles on the bar, 1 bottle of grain alcohol, a bacardi 151, and an old looking bottle of scotch. Under the bar I found a box of match books, with “Twin Peaks” underneath a pole dancer on the covers, this was a classy place. I added the match books to my pile on the bar, and headed back towards the office.
I listened at the office door, knocked with my hatchet, and waited. Hearing nothing, I opened the door and peered into the the dim room. There was a large, beat up oak desk against one wall. I flipped through all the cups and trays on top looking for keys, before even trying the drawers. I found 2 sets, and tried the drawers in the desk. The top drawer was the only one unlocked, so I started trying keys. In the bottom left drawer, I found the handgun I knew would be there. I read the barrel, it was a smith and wesson model 629, a nickel revolver with black hand grips and what I hoped was matching ammunition, 44 magnum. I pressed the cylinder release and emptied a round out into my hand, it was the same as those in the mostly full 100 round box. Replacing the round, and snapping the barrel shut, I slid the weapon into my waistband, and quickly surveyed the room but didn’t see anything else useful.
On the way out of the building, I grabbed the liquor bottles and matches off the shelf, and headed out to the truck with them to check on Max. He was sleeping soundly in his seat, so I took the opportunity to really study him. He was so big, and yet so small. I remembered the time when he could fit in 1 arm, and how I used to carry him everywhere like a football. I hated leaving him here, in the truck, sleeping, but it seemed less dangerous than taking him into a building that probably had zombies in it. With all of my “Twin Peaks” loot dropped off in the back of the truck, I left the ak47, and went across the street to the hardware store, in search of a few more items needed for my plan.
As I walked across the street, I thought to myself “Tookes, you idiot. You should have asked Max how many were in here,” followed by a quick head shake and “what in the hell am I thinking. He’s 3 and a half years old.”