Remember the opening scene in Star Wars when all the guys in beige pants and giant helmets hug the walls in that hallway and fight the Stormtroopers when they breach the wall? Is that the only scene in those movies where the stormtroopers actually hit anyone? Imperial marksmanship really took a nosedive after that initial victory. Of course, shooting at main characters will do that to your aim. Plot armor is hard to negotiate. I had an idea once for a movie where a James Bond minion-type figures out that he’s in a genre movie and instead of going after the protagonist and dying, he sidesteps the situation and runs off. I don’t know what happens then though, so it’s not much of an idea.
Maybe Martialla and I should have taken cover at the end of the hallway and stood our ground. There’s no cover for anyone coming in that way. Maybe we should have tried to pick them off as they came through like Stormtroopers coming through a hole in the side of a ship. Or maybe that would have been a terrible idea. Two handguns against an assault rifle? I’m no tactician, not even an armchair one, but that may not have been a winning move even with cover. Plus who knows how many more men they had above? They could have flanked us and come in the back way (if you know what I mean).
We already had all the supplies ready to move anyway, so what would we have been fighting for? The facility itself. Maybe leaving was the worst mistake we’ll ever make. Maybe control of a facility that still has working geothermal power is the most valuable thing in this new world. I’m not sure what we could have done with it, but maybe someone else could. Then again even if that was true, what are the odds that if it was valuable that we could have kept control of it with just the two of us anyway? Once the word got out, someone would have taken it away right?
One thing that I am sure of, there’s plenty of free time to second guess yourself after the world ends. We didn’t try to fight. We went out the back of the facility to the employee parking lot and slid/fell down the hill to what used to be a road. Attached to the back of the facility was a shed/garage thing sheltering an overgrown truck of some kind that Martialla later said was a “unimog”. I wanted to check it out but she waved me away. Even if it still ran, any fuel would have been long gone she said, making it a giant ugly useless slab of metal.
There was a steep little road out of the employee parking that I think used to connect to Rock Creek Road and take you to the El Dorado Freeway. I think. I don’t know this area well. And it doesn’t really matter because the road was completely overgrown. The “road” was a bed of little leafy plants and twisty vines. Kudzu? Is there Kudzu in California? You could only tell where the road was because there weren’t trees there, I mean there were, but not big ones anyway. In amongst the nettles and twisted roots we found chunks of pavement, and by found I mean tripped over, but not a lot. What happened? What makes pavement disintegrate? I mean time conquers all but rocks last thousands of years right?
My instinct was to cut south cross-country since the road was useless but Martialla said that we should stick to the road. She asked how we would stay headed south without any landmarks. Plus she said because of all the vegetation covering the ground, it would be easy to walk into a defile or crevasse without a road to follow. I have no idea if she knows what she’s talking about but I didn’t fight her on it. What difference could it make when you have no destination? Might as well follow the road.
I thought I was in pretty good shape. I’m an actress right? I have to look a certain way. I’m no iron(wo)man triathlete or anything but I’m out there getting it done. Monday, fifty hanging ab raises, fifty rope crunches, fifty incline sit ups with a forty-five-pound plate, repeat with thirty-five reps, repeat again with twenty-one reps. Tuesday, ninety-minute cardio dance class. Wednesday, hot yoga. Thursday, spin class. Friday, same as Monday. It’s just that easy! I mean that plus starving yourself. I haven’t had a piece of bread since I was eleven.
I now comprehend the difference between being in shape and being in condition. I played a boxer’s wife in a TV show once (No Mickey don’t do it, you got a family! If you go out there tonight don’t bother coming home! I’m taking the kids to my sister’s) and the real boxer technical advisor dude on the set told me about how being in condition is a full-time proposition so you don’t do it all the time. The eight weeks before a fight it’s all you do, you’re either sleeping or training. If you’re in shape, you’re a man waiting for a beating. You need to be in condition to fight.
Not to mention which, I don’t normally work out with a filter mask and a heavy awkward backpack pushing my way through dense foliage that is seven thousand percent made of burrs. So that didn’t help. Maybe I need a more practical workout routine. An hour in and I was sopping with sweat like a fat senator being grilled about an intern in open court. Another fun issue is that the air is filled with dirt.
Like literally. You sweat and then all this dusty crap in the air sticks to you and quickly you feel like you’re covered in expired peanut butter (don’t ask how I know what that feels like). I couldn’t imagine doing it all day. And how far did we get really? Maybe two miles? That mask was a nightmare, but taking it off was even worse. Neither of us ever really stopped coughing after that first time we wandered outside without them and got a snootful of the future. The air is like that of a poorly ventilated woodshop. I mean I guess, I’ve never been in a woodshop. Without the mask you can actually feel the particles hitting your tongue and throat.
After the fifth or sixth time Martialla told me to be careful after I stumbled, I snapped at her and she pointed out something that I should have known. Turn your ankle on a hidden chunk of pavement or a root or whatever and there’s a decent chance I could die out here. This is the state of nature. What happens when a gazelle hurts its little hoof? There’s no gazelle hospital. Maybe if it’s really lucky it heals on its own but most likely it gets eaten by a mountain gorilla coming out of the mists to smash its little antelope head in. Sad, but true.
I need to adjust everything I do, I can’t operate like I did before. It’s just me and Martialla and whatever we have on us. There’s nothing else.