Zeds 1.2 Michael

First stop, refrigerator. I yank the door open and lean in, examining the menu of condiments: ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard. Questionable science experiment? Or left overs from the barbecue last month?

No… two months ago. Has it been two months? I check the calendar on the wall, just to be sure. May 6th; two months and three days after I left the city. I’ve locked myself in this cabin for two months and three days without leaving.

Right now, I’m working on a science fiction/horror novel for the young-adult section of the local library. If I’m lucky, maybe it’ll be a best seller! I doubt it will sell a hundred. My friend, back in August, thought it was good enough to share the fist few chapters with one of his old friends who happened to be high up in a publishing company outside Hollywood. They took interest and asked if I could ‘wrap it all up’ by June. I was working at a small paper in Southern California, but she assured me this could be a hit and more than compensate for missing a few months  of journalism. So of course, I said yes.

When my colleagues at the paper heard I was heading out to my cabin in the mountains, 2 hours from Nowhere, California, to hide myself from the world and force myself to finish the job, they threw me a going away party; Piñata and all. After the ambulance had taken Gary, from accounting, away with piñata related head injuries, I had left and driven out here to my Great Grandfather’s cabin. We always kept the place stocked up in case the family needed to escape the city life… or, in case the commie hippies took over and we REALLY needed to escape. That’s what Grandpa always said the cabin was for; the hippy take-over. I had brought my own stock-pile of frozen burritos and waffles, but they seemed to have vanished. I suspect gnomes.

Or, maybe it’s just because that’s about all I’ve eaten in the last two months. Just here with my work; no TV and no phone make Michael… something, something. I was never really a social butterfly, and I enjoy my privacy, so time alone just doesn’t bother me. There’s no one back home to miss, or to be missed by. But, this fridge is baron, and the cabinets match, so it seems I will have to put my work aside and risk human exposure. I will have to drive to the nearest thing called a store and go grocery shopping.

The horror!

But first… Coffee!

Bottom shelf above the coffee machine, just left of the empty shelf, and right beneath the other empty shelf, is the familiar red can which holds the key to life. I set the coffee can on the counter, pull the filters from the drawer, clean out the old gunk from the machine… Not that old, really; I make a fresh pot every couple of hours these days. After refilling the water chamber, I pop open the can, nudge aside the furry lump, and I grab the Sp-

“Frugally crap!” I scream – my sleep deprived mind creating some fusion of ‘holy crap’ and a foul word – and yank my had from the can and drop it on the counter.
A moment passes before I hesitantly step forward and peer inside, glaring down at the small rodent nesting in my last scoop of coffee. It returns the glare, equally upset that I was trying to steal its last scoop of bedding.

“You,” I say, pausing, then continuing on. “You are in my coffee.”

“You are drinking my bed,” the mouse responds… of course, that could just have been imagined, like I’m imagining its beady little eyes glaring at me with contempt and possible murderous rage. I woke up Wednesday evening and haven’t been to sleep since. Thirty-six plus hours of sleeplessness combined with a lack of caffeine apparently makes Michael imagine talking mice.

“Evil mouse,” I mutter, quietly, under my breath, for fear that it might hear me and become enraged.

I return the lid to the can and the can to the cabinet so that the little critter can get some shut-eye. It will need its energy for the argument we will be having later, when I get home from the store and am pumped full of caffeine and life again. In this state, the mouse could probably take me and that’s not what I want written in my obituary; defeated by grumpy rodent. But, with enough caffeine, I could rule the world.

Well, briefly. It would never last. Eventually, people would realize all they need to do is cut my supply of coffee and I’d never leave my bed again.

I suppose I should get that shopping done. The sooner I get to town, the sooner I can get back to work. It only takes a few minutes to get myself half decent. I’m a reclusive writer slash crazy cabin guy, so showing up in town with messy, unkempt hair, several days of stubble, jeans, a robe, and a pair of novelty monkey slippers that ‘ooh-ooh’ and ‘ahh-ahh’ when I pinch the left ear is perfectly acceptable. However, there appears to be rain in the great outdoors, so the usual few minutes become fifteen as I hunt down a jacket and a pair of non-slippers. That fifteen becomes forty-five as I accidentally take a half hour nap trying to put on my shoes.

Appropriately dressed and very slightly less drowsy, I am out the door and on my way. There’s no real need to lock up as there is no human life within an hour of here, but I do so anyway so I can have a story about getting tipsy in town, fumbling with my keys, and having an inability to get part A into slot B.

Around the back of the house is the gas guzzling generator which supplies all the power to my humble little cabin. There are no power lines, no city plumbing, no phone service, and, subsequently, no television. It’s kind of nice, not having that constant gentle humming of power lines over head; just the soothing, gentle roar of a gas engine.

The cabin does have indoor plumbing, though. One of the few things we updated when Grandpa passed. Water is supplied from a well and reserve up the hill a few hundred yards out. It runs into the house, is… used… and dumped into a septic tank.

Come to think of it, the man who delivers my gas is two weeks late. If it weren’t just me in here being energy conservative, I could have run out by now. Fortunately, the large fuel reserve is just shy of a quarter full. Between the generator and the solar panels I still have a few days before it runs dry. I will have to call them about that when I get to town, though.

I should also consider upgrading the solar panels. They can’t even handle the load of one person with a laptop and a fridge for a full night.

I kill the generator and head to my car.

Author: CJ Stark

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