The other distraction I had was killing the undead. When I was at the Pittsburgh colony I would take an extra shift on beater duty whenever my brain started to get morose. We were nowhere near as sophisticated as Haven is, although we did have rudimentary airlock doors at the gate. About half a dozen of us would wait in that area between the inner gate and the outer gate and get pumped up while the guys on the walls would distract the undead. This was fairly early on, so there were no New Breed. There weren’t even any smarties, so the dead fell for the distractions every time. Then the doors would open, and there was chaos. Keep in mind that this was a losing battle. There was no way we were going to clear out all the undead around the walls. We were right in the city so the undead population was staggering.
Actually, I take that back. It wasn’t as staggering as you'd think a city would be. Have you ever been to Pittsburgh? It’s not really a city. It’s a bunch of little towns all joined together as a city-body. There are bridges everywhere, but all the neighborhoods are very segregated from each other. Pittsburghers, when they still lived, would just stay in their own neighborhood and they certainly would never travel over a bridge. It was a very provincial town. So even though the entire population had turned, it’s not like they could all gather somewhere at once. For all I know, the Pittsburgh zombies were just as provincial and unwilling to shamble out of their neighborhoods as they were in life. All I know for sure is that Pittsburgh or not, the zombies preferred flesh to pierogies.
Anyway, even though the geographics of Pittsburgh kept us safer than, say, living in downtown New York City, there were still tons of undead out there. So we’d burst out of the gate and start butchering as many as possible. The guys on the walls would blast some music to distract the dead and get us hyped (my favorite was that fax machine beating song from Office Space). And we would just go to town. There’s something very peaceful about wildly swinging a baseball bat. You can’t think of anything else. You just identify a target, swing, feel the jolt as your bat strikes a skull, then move on. Lather, rinse, repeat. Over and over again. Killing the undead had a way of quieting all those hopeless voices in my head.
So all that to say, I’ve started taking shooting lessons. It has a similar effect. All you focus on is the target. So I’ve been distracted and happier. Plus it’s pretty ridiculous that I can’t shoot a gun with any accuracy, particularly in this world we live in. I’m training with the kids since I’m still at their skill level. And I’ll probably be at this level for a while. My aim is just appalling. The instructor (and the kids) tend to laugh at it, but I really don’t care. I’m getting what I need out of this. Things are quiet. I’ve really missed the quiet.
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