After the zombie apocalypse began, there was the inevitable contest for space and resources, and I think if somebody was still alive to tally the statistics, their findings would show that more humans died in the looting and panic than at the hands of the zombies. All things being equal, the zombies were pretty damn benign, and once the hottest heads finished blowing each other up, the rest of us were left to pick up the pieces.

Everybody rushed for the rural areas, at the beginning, but like I told my boyfriend, we don't want any part in that foolishness. We stayed put at home, comfortable and quiet with canned food and a genny we only cranked when the whole town already looked pretty empty. It only took a couple days for the local coyotes to slink into the vacated town, picking off the slow-moving carrion; the raccoons had already beaten them to the dumpsters (and the looters had beaten the raccoons to the general store and farmers' market). Finally, after a few weeks of keeping our heads down and making very damn sure there was nothing else in the town to pick a fight with us, we packed up what we could carry on our backs and in two wheelbarrows - mostly gardening equipment - and moved across town to the miniature golf course.

Why mini-golf? Well, can you think of any place that is better sunlit on its entire terrain, and better prepared for a subsistence farm? The grounds were frickin' manicured, I'm telling you. Beautiful.

We discovered that a little bit of lock picking was all we needed to get into the shop. We stashed bag after bag of mulch and industrial-sized containers of fertilizer inside the hollow windmill and the shed which stood behind the castle's painted plywood facade. We filched hoses from the sides of abandoned houses, stabbing x-shaped holes into them and turning them into a complex irrigation system. We ripped up the AstroTurf, everywhere it covered the ground instead of the real, lush grass which covered most of the Putt Putt course, and we hauled the turf inside the shop and tacked it onto the walls to provide a little more thermal insulation. The place looked like a damn Hobbit house by the time we were done with it, but that was fine with us; green is my favourite colour, anyway.

We siphoned the gas out of every car left in the town, after moving them all off the streets to give ourselves more freedom to travel, and we took off their tires and used them to build retaining walls, flower beds, all sorts of useful and post-apocalyptically attractive stuff. We stole every light bulb, battery, bandage, and bottle of antibiotics we could find, and we stashed everything in one of the various follies covering the holes of the golf course.

Everything was going great, and that whole season was good and quiet. Deer and rabbits raided us occasionally, but he's an electrician (sort of... I mean, he's good with Redstone on Minecraft, and that counts for something, right?), and it wasn't much trouble to rig an electrified fence around the edge of the mini-golf establishment. I set out traps for them, so we had meat for dinner pretty often, too. There weren't any zombies left around to bother us, and I guess it hadn't occurred to any of the surviving humans that there might still be viable resources left in the town.

Then, sometime around the start of winter, a biker gang drove into town. They weren't the Angels or even the local Gold Wing Road Riders Association chapter; I didn't recognize their insignia, and the kinds of bikes they rode were all different brands - a Yamaha dirt bike here, a suped-up Harley there. We didn't know what to think, but the gang seemed pretty okay to let us have our peace. They said they were just passing through, and they'd be on their way before too long, but would it be okay if they shacked up in some of the abandoned houses around here, in the mean time?

Well, what was I supposed to say to that? There were only two of us, and the gang was armed to the teeth. If they mean to play nice with minor concessions on our part, we can handle that. They asked us to turn on the lights and sounds and animations on the course, and we did it, because it put everybody in a good mood to see electricity, that ultimate symbol of human civilization, doing something real and interesting for a change. We gave each biker a club and a bucket of balls, and they had their fun on the less cultivated sections of the course.

The trouble didn't really start until they decided to have a bonfire party in our backyard, right close to the windmill and the laughing clown. The party lasted for three days, and we gave them all the beer we had, since they asked and neither of us are drinkers. They were roasting marshmallows, and some dipshit took a can of Sprite (worth its weight in pre-apocalypse gold, to anybody who was there; I don't know why he did it!) and threw it right into the middle of the bonfire.

The soda can erupted in a blast of smoking shrapnel, and a hail of coals descended all over the course, singeing young tomato plants and blackening areas of the castle's facade.

Oh shit. The castle.

I had just enough time to yell "Get down," before multiple tons of incredibly flammable agricultural products went up in a glorious blaze which dwarfed the original bonfire by several orders of magnitude. The bikers nearest the blast were hauled away by those who had missed the worst of it; I expect they all had some pretty ugly burns the next morning. The lot of them limped off, and their leader dipped an apologetic look in our direction, along with a, "Hey, they're mostly just oversized little boys. What can you do for it?" shrug, before slinking off with the rest of them.

It poured rain that night, which took down most of the inferno. We'll probably still be rebuilding for a few more weeks, but at least the mini-golf shop survived.

Fertilizer may be flammable, but AstroTurf isn't.

Iron Noder 2013, 8/30

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