Monday, May 20, 2019
Seven Skinny Cows: Winter Faire Part II
Steve Reynolds and Dave Matthews ran their Polaris snow machines into the commercial garage eight miles west of Kates Store.
After stripping out of their windproof suits, they walked up to the office on the second floor of the administrative building.
“What do you think?” the beefy man said behind the desk.
Reynolds, the more cerebral of the two regretfully shook his head. “They don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell.”
Matthews nodded his head in agreement.
“We only saw one AR. Other than that it looked like an Amish flea-market.” Reynolds said.
Clearly, they missed the fire-team member who had been tracking them in his 4X scope from a hundred yards away. The even tan color of the work over coats and leggings had become mottled from the sun bleaching and the relentless grinding of firewood bark-dust and lichens into their surface
They were also unaware of the landholders who hauled ass out of their houses and barns at the first sound of motors. They grabbed their weapons and posted up at the defensive positions they had dug-out since Dan Nessel's raid on Kate's store.
“A pity.” the beefy man said. “No matter. We can flow in after the Ebola burns them out. It will be that much easier to take it over.”
“What about Seraph?” Matthews asked.
“What about him?” the beefy man said.
“He was there checking things out.” Matthews said.
“Eaton Rapids is on their ass. Got too many old people and too many approaches. The other thing you gotta remember is they are closer to Lansing than we are and they didn’t see this coming.” the beefy man said.
“If Paul Seraph is alive a year from now, he will be begging us to come into Eaton Rapids and restore order…that and to execute the blind zombies roaming the streets.” the beefy man said.
The second day of the fair involved more trade than the first day. People learned what had the most trading value. They went back home and rummaged around in their garages and basements. They brought back reloading presses, bottles of smokeless powder and bricks of primers, transformers from defunct microwave ovens and so on.
The vendors kept a small supply of goods at their table. When large orders came in, they sent a “runner” with a sled to collect more goods. They operated out of a small display for several reasons. One was simple theft prevention. You immediately notice when somebody walks off with half your visible inventory. You might not notice if they took 1/20th. The other reason was operational security. Visitors came from outside Kates Store and they did not want to appear too wealthy.
Gabby did a VERY brisk business selling soybean oil. Most people had been monkey-hammered in the transition to a high-carb, high-fiber diet. They CRAVED oils and fats. As her supply diminished, the price rose. Some of the people who bought early succumbed to the temptation and resold what they had bought cheap.
Farmers took note of Gabby’s prices. Clearly, there was now a market for oil-seeds. It was a pity that so much of the crop had not been harvested and was now beneath a heavy blanket of snow.
The fire-teams from Squad One and Three had swapped out. The ones who been on guard took sentry duty on the northern frontier while the ones who had been on sentry duty guarded the fair.
Quinn Spackle continued to belly-ache.
To nobody's surprise Mrs Shaw, Shadrack and Walt's mother, won the cookie contest. The batch of cookies she entered in the contest had a shortbread base, a fruit-leather middle and an oatmeal-crumble top. She used honey for sweetening.
The other major change in the Faire was that the second day focused on “manly skills.”
Particularly popular were skills of throwing. The weather was too cold for the snow to pack, so snow was mixed with water the night before and compressed into balls to freeze over-night.
The two most popular contests were hitting a target that was in a swinging, spinning tire and throwing “darts” with an atlatl. In both cases pictures of various political figures were offered as targets. It should not be surprising that the politicians who had most stridently demanded open borders were the most popular targets. The people of Kates Store clearly blamed them for Ebola being in the United States.
The third most popular contest was beheading a swinging dummy with an axe.
Battle axes would never be a viable weapon against Ebola carriers. Too much blood would spray on the defender. Battle axes did, however, make the wielder feel manly and taking the head off of a dummy was great fun.
Conspicuously absent were bows. Arrows were in very short supply and one problem with bows is the awkward transition to hand-to-hand combat. A well designed atlatl transitions well to a light club or baton while a bow only tangles up the shooter.