I spent a good chunk of this morning hanging out with Dave. One of the many, many accomplishments he's put under his belt since I've been gone is the construction of a safe building right on the river. I'm not going to say where it is exactly, but the location is very good for fishing.
The only bad thing about the spot is that it's not far from a commonly used road that zombies like to shuffle down as they wander. Dave and I sat inside the enclosure while a handful of undead beat on the walls. It was futile, of course--my brother knows how to build things to last. But it was annoying.
I was impressed with the building itself. It hangs out over the river a good twenty, twenty-five feet, and most of the floor is made of removable panels. You can sit with your feet dangling over the edge and fish in total safety. Of course most of the time teams of people use it as a safe place to net fish since New Haven has a pretty big appetite, but today it was empty. An ideal spot for two brothers who've missed each other to reconnect.
One of the first things I asked him was how our people were managing to bring in such large amounts of materials, and such a variety. He didn't have a detailed answer, as procurement was led by a small team under the direct supervision of the council. Dave gets a report every day detailing what we have, what we might have coming, and what the council would like to see built.
It's a far cry from the way things were before I left. Then, Dave and I were mostly in charge of planning out those kinds of things. Now the process is more compartmentalized, though it seems to work. He mentioned in passing that procurement teams almost always stay out for days at a time, and that half of the members are from Kincaid's group of marauders.
Which I find pretty damn interesting, but I won't speculate until I know more.
Dave spent a few minutes showing me how he figured a way to put the fishing hut, for lack of a better term, out over the river. A load of large I-beams was brought in about two months ago. Dave was stumped on what he was going to do with them at first, so he just had the truck parked to store them. Then we lost a man out on a fishing trip, and the idea to build a safe spot to fish from was born.
Pretty simple in execution: several of the I-beams form two long arms, with a few more acting as a cross-piece running right under the middle of the hut. The 'legs' of this thing extend sixty feet back on land, twenty or so over the water. Dave counterbalanced the weight of the building with many, many tons of concrete, making a very solid structure. This part of the river is about a foot of clay right over bedrock, so the I-beams have done all the sinking they're gonna do. It's clever. I like it.
I don't like seeing Dave have to work under so much stress. Yeah, he's got a lot of help and does mostly large-scale planning and design, but he's used to being in charge of his own projects, setting his own timelines. He hates politics. He likes to build. In that way, my brother is a simple man.
I've missed him more than I imagined possible. While Dave is satisfied with making things, he's anything but unintelligent. In fact, he's one of the smartest and most perceptive people I know. In the time I was away, I'd forgotten the simple pleasure of talking with him. With Dave, I don't have to explain my thinking. He's been my brother as long as I've been alive. He knows me and the way I work better than anyone living.
It's not as though we had deep philosophical discussions every day, but siblings, at least my own, are unique people in life. My brother and I stopped being antagonistic toward each other sometime in my teens, and a genuine friendship grew. Having a friend who has known you for as long as you've existed creates a deep bond. Funny that the end of the world had to happen for us to see each other more often than every few months. Life used to get in the way so much.
Sitting over the water with a fishing pole in my hand, seeing the pride in Dave's eyes as he explained the steps he took to make the building safe, to overcome a dozen small technical problems, made me realize how different things are for him now. Dave has always been a cool operator, taking in problems as they come, breaking them down into components and solving them six ways before acting. He isn't a control freak, but he does like being the one to make the calls. Not because he thinks he's better than anyone or from some desire for power, but because experience has shown him that he has the ability to make the right choices more often than other people.
He's the driving force behind New Haven literally building the future. And from what I hear, he's being micromanaged by our council nearly to death.
Wow. I just looked back to see how much I wrote. Funny that while I was on the road, constantly alert for zombies and marauders, that I didn't get to write much. Now I'm starting to realize how free I felt. No council, no drama, no overwhelming rules. Just life and death.
Maybe I can talk to the council and see if they wouldn't mind backing off a little. Dave works best when he can operate with minimal oversight.
And dammit, he's my brother. He's spent most of his days toiling for New Haven since shortly after The Fall, and he shouldn't have to do it in a way that stresses him out even more, makes him unhappy. He wants to work. I don't know what's been going on with the leadership here since we left, but I don't like the way things are heading. Too much manipulation, too little trust...I don't get it.
Give me the open road and a hungry zombie any day. Dave and I cut down a few of them when we left the fishing hut, and it felt good. A clearly defined enemy is always the best option. Screw all this bullshit with the council. We didn't set it up to run every part of our lives.
Something is gonna give. There's no other choice.