The final conclusion we all reached is that the plane is fucked and were going to have head overland towards where Lucien thinks Antolpe might be. Thinks. It is crazy to me that we’re going to leave a plane just sitting out but as Martialla pointed out we just got attacked by another plane so it isn’t as irreplaceable as we thought. Besides, we don’t have a choice, if the bird won’t fly it won’t fly.
I woke up this morning to a scintillating debate – are we in a tallgrass prairie or a shortgrass prairie or a mixed-grass prairie. You see the mixed-grass prairie is richer in ecological diversity than either the tall- or shortgrass prairie so it’s important to talk about it for a hundred hours.
Speaking of, remember that scene in Blair Witch where the kid with the bushy beard says he booted the map into the river and the snot girl freaks out on him because she loved that map? I get why he did that now. Martialla and Lucien treat that map like it’s the crown freaking jewels, we stop every five minutes so they can stare at it, and I am one hundred percent convinced they have no idea where we’re going. Or to frame it like beard guy – the map is useless.
What the hell valuble could a map from 1964 be after a hundred years even if the world hadn’t exploded and everything changed anyway? And that’s assuming that I believe they can use the map to navigate anyway which I don’t. How can you look at a map and correlate that to anything without signs or a compass or something? I’m not going to destroy the map like the beard guy in Blair Witch because I’m not a moron, but I have grown to hate that map. In way that I didn’t know I could hate an inanimate object.
Martialla and Lucien have become thick as thieves and Paul is essentially attached to Martialla’s hip (or somewhere else, hubba-hubba) at all times so I’m left to trail behind the three of them like an annoying little sister while they forge heedlessly and directionlessly through the tall grass. Or short grass. Or mixed grass. It’s important to know which.
As we trudged on our death march I saw a prairie dog peeking at me. A normal prairie dog, not some kind of freak future mutant prairie dog with a spider-face and eight legs. I told Martialla to shoot it so we’d have something to eat. She looked at me like I’m stupid.
She shrugged the shoulder which had her rifles “This isn’t a twenty-two Ela, if I shoot something that small it’s going to explode, there will be nothing left to eat unless you want to scrape gopher guts off the grass and swallow that.”
“Can’t you use your slingshot arm thing?”
She at least considered it for a moment “I doubt it, they don’t have much range, I don’t think I can get closer enough.”
“What about some kind of a trap?”
Martialla eyebrowed at me “Do you know how to build an animal snare? Because I don’t.”
Martialla looked over to Lucien, who shook his head, and then I saw Paul with a look on his face like he felt sorry for me. I was so flabbergasted that I couldn’t even speak. That scabby ugly lice-infested sociopath with a beard that a hobo wouldn’t take in a trade has the gall to feel sorry for me?
That’s like . . . well it’s like something. It’s like that time I was at Largo and a call girl casually said something about being prettier than me. I was so shocked that I didn’t even tie her to a chair and hack her to bits with a katana like I should have by right of law. There’s a point where someone says something so over the top that call you can do is be paralyzed with rage.
Later in the day we saw some goat-lizards the size of rabbits and Lucien said that in survival training they told him there was a method for catching small game even though they’re faster than you. He was told that by chasing them and then angling at the certain time so they’d run right into your hands like idiots. I knew there was no god damn way that was going to work but they tried it anyway. The goat-lizard rabbits would sprint away from them like they were standing still and then stop a ways away and look back like they were saying “What are you doing? Are you trying to catch us? How would you ever to that? You know you can never catch us right?”
Even with all three of them trying to surround and grab one they had no chance. It was like watching a forty-year-old teamster come out of the stands trying to tackle Jerry Rice. It was pathetic. At one point they did have one sort of corralled and it used Paul’s head as a springboard to jump over him and was gone in half a second. They probably thought it was a fun game. It was fun for me watching. Point being when we made “camp” for the night, stopped walking and sat down in the itchy grass, we were dipping into our small amount of supplies instead of eating small game.
Lucien was laying out what we did have with great ceremony “Water’s going to be our real problem. I think we’re over a hundred miles from Antolpe, could take us a much as a week to get there.”
I was doing my best to bend some grass into a comfortable bundle “We all know water’s important Lucien, what’s the use in announcing something like that? You think I’m going to walk past a river and not say anything because I don’t realize that we need water?”
Martialla gave me the judgey eyes “You’ve been in a salty mood lately.”
I grunted “Surviving a plane crash does that to me.”
“By crash you mean safe landing due to expert piloting?”
Lucien smiled in his upbeat please stop fighting way “As they say, any landing you can walk away from is a good landing. I think Martialla did a wonderful job getting us down safely.”
I rolled my eyes, not theatrically because it was a legit eyeroll but I put a little extra English on it “Jesus, will you two just fuck and get it over with?”
I thought that might set Paul off, being the psycho-stalker that he is, but he was already asleep somehow. Lucien didn’t react and Martialla just gave me one of her “I’m disappointed in you” looks like she’s my friggin mother. That woman really gets on my nerves sometimes. After a moment of silence Lucien cleared his throat.
“So anyway, in a long grass prairie you’re going to find . . .”