TEOTWAWKI: The Long Walk Home: Ch. 6 “The Inventory”

Posted on October 6, 2009. Filed under: Fiction, The Christian Survivalist |

It was almost 5:00 pm, nearly 5 hours since the lights went out and the airplanes began crashing. The employees at the data center had all been dismissed and  had begun their long walks home.  My friend,John, myself, and my patrol officer, Liz, were all that remained. We had each retrieved our belongings from our dead cars and brought it all into the lobby to conduct an inventory. We needed to see what all we had, if there was anything we needed to discard and anything we needed to scavenge.

We propped the front door open for a little bit of light, and began going through our gear on the carpeted floor of the lobby. Liz had been very surprised when she helped carry my gear from the car; she only had a small backpack and a purse. John and I both had packs, but I had a bit more.

“Dude, you’ve got a lot of crap!” John laughed at me.

“For real Ryan; what is all this stuff?” asked Liz.

First, I opened up my rucksack, the very same ruck I had carried 30 years prior in the 3/47th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Washington when I was an Infantry Platoon Leader. I had hauled this ruck on my back in the rain forests of coastal Washington and in the desert mountains of central Washington’s Yakima Firing Center. I had since used it in a few camping and hunting trips and, for the last several years as my B.O.B. (bug out bag).

As I opened it, the first item I pulled out was my two man tent. This lightweight pup tent  was small but would hold two adults as long as they weren’t over 6′ tall. Made out of nylon and with aluminum poles the tent would be a blessing on a cold or wet day. The tent had a woodland camouflage pattern, except for its blue floor.

The next item I pulled from my ruck was my rolled up change of clothes. This was a set of BDU’s, with spare socks, underwear and T-shirt. I also had a long sleeved camo shirt and a pair of long underwear. One of the pockets on the ruck held a cold weather cap. Attached to the ruck was my bedroll which consisted of a rolled up sleeping pad, a wool blanket and a poncho liner. I also had my sleeping bag attached because the bedroll would only keep me warm to about 40 degrees and I knew that tonight it was to get down in the low twenties so I am glad I had the sleeping bag. I also had  an old Army issue shelter half which I used as a ground cloth for my tent. Attached to the side of my ruck was an e-tool in a carrier.

www.gerbergear.com/index.php/product/id/33

In a duffle bag was my original, Army issued pistol belt and LBE (load bearing equipment). I stuck with most of my original gear from 30 years ago and never upgraded to the Molle system in use today. On my pistol belt I had a butt pack which held my wet weather gear including a poncho and a wet weather suit from Cabelas. I had a Gerber hatchet

www.gerbergear.com/index.php/product/id/181

stuffed into the top of the butt pack and tied down with some parachute cord. On my pistol belt I also had one canteen with a canteen cup, my Gerber Mk.II fighting knife,

www.gerbergear.com/index.php/product/id/316

a lensatic compass,

www.thecompassstore.com/military27.html?gclid=CN-uyczxqp0CFc5U2godaAlArQ

a holster for my Ruger on the right side with a magazine pouch and two mags. On the left side I had another holster for my S&W mod.66 that I carried when I was hog hunting. I did not pack that pistol so the holster and accompanying ammo pouch with about 20 rounds of .357 were dead weight. I had an L-shaped army flashlight attached to the shoulder strap of the LBE as well.

I always carried my old issued Map Case as a survival kit which contained my Ruger P-89 in a lightweight shoulder rig with two spare mags. The kit also held a small pair of binoculars, a small wire survival saw, water purification tablets, parachute cord, fishing line, a fire starter tool along with some waterproof matches and regular matches in a waterproof container. I had a small camo net for my face, a set of wool glove inserts and some toilet paper. Clipped on the strap of the mapcase I had a first aid kit

www.imsplus.com/gi-individual-first-aid-kit.html

On my person I always had my Swiss Army Knife, a boot knife, a whistle and a cigarette lighter. I was wearing a lite pair of long underwear and my Danner, Gore Tex lined boots. I had on a thick, warm pair of socks today, instead of the thin cotton/polyester socks I normally wear. I had my work issued jacket and liner, my gore tex gloves, and a warm watch cap as well as a balaclava; plenty of cold weather snivel gear.

I also had a 2 quart canteen of water, and three 1 quart canteens, the one attached to my pistol belt, one on the opposite  side of my ruck from the e-tool and one that I carried in one of the outer pockets of the ruck. That was 5 quarts of water, a lot of weight, but necessary. I had eight MRE’s and, I never got around to eating my lunch today because of all the excitement so that was one more meal, plus the snack we all got from the vending machines courtesy of the manager.

I had my SKS Chinese assault rifle in 7.62×39 with about 200 rds in the bandolier. I carried the bayonet for the rifle which I now attached.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SKS

My Ruger had 75 rds total.

ruger-firearms.com/Firearms/FAFamily?type=Pistol&subtype=Centerfire Autoloading&famlst=3

I had a soft leather briefcase full of notebooks and some books I was currently trying to read. From the car emergency kit I retrieved some change, a couple of ink pens, some more toilet paper, another flashlight, a map, and another lighter.

John’s pack was nowhere near as extensive as mine, but he did have a poncho, 3 MREs, a canteen, a knife, a bedroll, a first aid kit, his 9mm pistol and 3 spare mags for a total of 60 rds. He had a good coat but was only wearing tennis shoes.

Liz had a pack but it was filled with notebooks, a couple of books she was reading, some bills and paperwork. She had no survival gear but did have about 3 meals always stored in her car, so she emptied out the junk from the pack and put the food in. She had on a good parka from our company, with a hood, and she was wearing some warm ski pants and some boots. The boots were neither waterproof nor insulated. Liz always carried a lighter for her cigarettes and a pocket knife.

After the inventory I decided to change clothes into the BDU’s because my uniform shirt was white and short sleeved, basically useless except as a target. My pants were a dark gray but I did not want to mess up those pants on what would likely be a three day hike. I debated about keeping my long underwear on because on  a hike like this, even with the temps in the twenties, you could work up a serious sweat. I decided to keep the long johns on because we were not going to be going very fast and we would, of necessity, take many breaks. They were my thin pair anyway, so I didn’t think it would produce overheating. I would go without a jacket, but I did put on my long sleeved camo T over my long johns, and then my BDU top. I rolled up my uniform clothes and stuffed them inside my ruck where they belonged. Liz got a laugh out of seeing me in my long johns as I changed. I put my boots back on, lacing them very tightly and inserted my boot knife and sheath.

I strapped on the shoulder rig for my Ruger, stepped outside and chambered a round, de-cocked it and holstered my now hot weapon. John did the same.

“From this point on we are in a dangerous situation and must always be prepared for problems,” I stated as Liz looked at us with that “What do you think you are doing?” look.

“Do you really think there is going to be trouble?” she asked.

“Maybe not tonight; folks might be in too great of a shock. But by tomorrow, yeah, there will be widespread panic and looting as people realize there is no power, no cars, no communications. I really think tomorrow will be a mess; maybe even tonight. So we have to get ready,” I replied.

John said, “Hey, I wonder if there is anything else around here that maybe would be useful for us to take?”

“Well,” I replied, “There are the first aid kits. We distributed all of the food and drinks but we didn’t think about the first aid supplies. We could get some of that maybe.”

“Let’s look around and see if there is anything else while we are at it,” John said.

“Isn’t that like stealing?” Liz asked.

“Well, I don’t think so, since this is our place of work and Stan did agree to divide up all the food for everyone. We should have thought about the first aid supplies but didn’t. I don’t think this would constitute stealing or looting because we had the implied consent of the data center manager to take what we needed.”

“OK. That makes sense to me I guess,” she said. “But it still feels strange taking stuff from here.”

John chipped in, “Right now everything feels strange. The world has changed in the last 5 and 1/2 hours.”

“Yeah, we live in a different, savage world now. A lot of rules have likely changed but we must also try to keep some sense of Christian duty and decorum and be civilized because I guarantee you, it is going to get pretty wild and wicked quickly,” I stated.

“Alright, let’s keep together and use only one flashlight and go see what we can find.”

“You reckon we ought to stow this gear somewhere instead of leaving it here in the lobby,” John asked.

“Yeah, let’s drag it into one of these interior offices,” I replied.

We opened the inner doors and carried our gear into the conference room using a flashlight I obtained from my desk. I put on the bandolier of  ammo and slung the SKS over my shoulder. I wasn’t about to leave a gun lying about unprotected.

“Here Liz, this will be your flashlight for the trip home, ” and I gave it to her.

We went to the right and entered the break room where the nearest first aid kit was. It was so dark it was eerie. While Liz held the light, John and I went through the cabinet. We needed some kind of a bag to carry the stuff so I opened the refrigerator and got some bags that had been left behind with frozen meals, which the owners now thought worthless, so they left them behind.  We mainly took the little packets of aspirin, tylenol, anti-histamine, antacid and alcohol prep pads. We added some band-aids and tape and a couple of larger bandages.

“Should we take these frozen dinners?” I asked.

“How would we cook them? There’s no power!” Liz chided me.

“Well, I imagine that’s why the original owners left them here. But they are still good food, just frozen. As they thaw out we could heat them up and eat them” I said.

“Heat them up in what?” sked Liz.

“Well, I’ve got my canteen cup…or…let’s look around in here. I know they have some pots and pans.”

We opened a couple of cabinets and found a couple of small pots for cooking.

“How are we gonna carry these?” asked John.

“We’ll figure out a way” I replied.

We went down the south hall to the janitor’s closet and looked inside. Liz got some feminine protection and some toilet paper to add to the bags, then we went on around the corner to the next first aid box and got some of the supplies out of it as well.

“Do we really need this stuff?” Liz asked. “I mean, geez, we got enough aspirin and band-aids to last forever.”

“Barter goods,” I responded.

“Huh?” she asked.

“This will be like money because money will lose its value in the next week. If this situation is as bad as I think it is, things like aspirin and antibiotic ointment will be very valuable in the weeks to come, worth way more than the company paid for it, ” I said.

Over the next 30 minutes we went to all of the first aid boxes in the facility and took all the packets of medicine and a lot of the bandages.  We filled three bags of the stuff. It was all light weight except for the two pans so it was not going to burden us down on our walk, but it would prove to be valuable in the future I was certain.

We finally came back to the lobby and opened the door to a dark night but with  flames from the fires  lighting up the parking lot with their flickering, evil, orange glow. It was about 6:15pm.

************************

Next:

mark12ministries.wordpress.com/2009/10/14/the-long-walk-home-ch-7-the-first-recon/

Previously:

mark12ministries.wordpress.com/2009/09/07/teotwawki-the-long-walk-home-ch-5-a-biblical-perspective-on-disasters/

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