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SHTF Fiction - The Burnout Chapter Six

twizzle.. twiddle... wazzle.. dee...wazza...

Nathaniel "Nay Nay" Horton wandered down the quiet neighborhood street, his head buzzing and his hand constantly scratching his left arm. He was in his mid twenties, his clothes were dirty and worn and his shoes slapped and scraped the street as he stumbled around.

Nay Nay needed a fix bad. Just a couple of rocks and a pipe to get his head straight for a while. But nobody was around. No cars on the street, no planes, no lights on. Nay Nay slept outside behind the closed mini mart and burned his last rock this morning. He dug around the trash cans by the fast food places but there was nothing there, so he walked around picking up cigarette butts and looking for a dealer who might take pity on him, but he was having no luck.

natty.. nuzzy.. butty.. twazzle..

Gibberish burned through his fevered brain. He needed a rock bad. He knew one place he could go, a place he was told never to go to again. Far in the recesses of his brain he recalled some time in the past before he got hooked a place where the Fat Man lived. The Fat Man was a big time dealer who supplied little guys and runners. Never go round the Fat Man place or he kill you.

The Fat Man had dope. He had rock, blow, smoke, ice.. everything Nay Nay was sure of it. Maybe the Fat Man knew why the lights were off too.

Nay Nay stumbled down the bright street, the sun burning a hole into his head until he found the house. The House of The Fat Man. Nay Nay went around the back of the house so nobody would see him. There was a big wood fence surrounding the yard and Nay Nay pushed the gate open before panic struck him.

"What if theres a big ole pit back there?" he thought. Who cares, he needed rock now.

There was no dog though, just a bare, small yard with scraggly brown grass and weeds. Nay NAy went to the back door and pulled the screen door open. He reached for the door knob and tried to turn it, but it would not budge, the lock was solid and unforgiving. Nay Nay wanted to cry and pound the door but that wouldn't do.

Instead he looked down at the mat on the small landing. He turned it over, but no key. Then he looked up at the jamb and ran his hand over the ledge. No key.
Then he looked at the ground next to the porch. There was a little orange empty flower pot sitting all alone on the ground. He reached down and flipped it over and caught the flash of brass. The key!

Nay Nay retrieved it and put it in the lock. It turned and the door creaked open with a turn of that mean ole knob. What if the Fat Man was inside with a gun? But there was no sounnd or movement inside, but it stunk bad even to the dulled senses of Nay Nay.

Inside on the floor of the living room lay the bloated body of the Fat Man clad in a pair of underpants and an open bathrobe. His skin was jaundiced and yellow with purple markings running down his vericosed legs. He looked like he was about to burst and Nay Nay stared at his corpse just long enough until his eyes fell on the coffee table.

It was a cornacopia. Little baggies of dirty gray rock. An overflowing ziploc of white powder. A shoebox filled with pungent weed. Meth. Ice. Everything. It was Thansgiving and Christmas rolled into one. Nay Nay stepped over the Fat man's body, flopped on couch and gorged himself.


Patty reached the hotel before noon and in rolled her bike into the lobby. There was no way she could bring the bike upstairs, so she went to the front desk for help with storage.

Stan was not there, instead an angry faced woman with her hair pulled back in a painful looking bun was in his place.

"Yes?" she said without looking up.

"Hi, I needed to store my bike somewhere if it is possible. I would rather not have to bring it all the way up to my room." said Patty.

"Are you a guest in the hotel?" asked the woman.

"Of course, here is my room key.."

"Room keys aren't working. I need your ID." interrupted the woman.

Surprised with the woman's attitude. Patty took out her ID and handed it to the woman.

"Patricia valdez, room 733. We don't have bike storage in the facility, you can leave it outside or in the parking garage." said the woman without looking up.

"I can't. It will be stolen. What is your name and your position with the hotel?" asked Patty.

"I am Miss Somers and I am the acting manager. The general manager has failed to report for work and the assistant manager has been relieved of his duties. I have been assigned here from our other hotel in the city for the time being.

Now, Miss Valdez, we are short staffed and will be suspending operations at this location in the next few days and as soon as guests have made other arrangements. We do not have suitable facilities for a bicycle and suggest you find somewhere else to put the bike. Further, I advise you to start looking for other accomodations as this location will be suspending operations shortly. Is there anything else?" Miss Somers repeated in robot like fashion.

"Suspending operations? I have paid for reservations through Sunday. Further, I have no means to return to my home due to the power outage and lack of running transportation. What arrangements are being made for paying customers? What transportation arrangements are being provided due to the hotel choosing to close this location? What compensation are guests being provided for their inconvenience and trouble?" demanded Patty.

"That is not my problem, Miss Valdez. As I stated, this location will be suspending operations as soon as possible. Good day." barked Miss Somers stated thereby ending the conversation.

Patty rolled her bike over to the restaurant ignorning Miss Somers protests. Manuel was clearing a table and collecting silverware from the remaining tables.

"Hello, miss, how are you today?" he said when he saw Patty.

"I'm find Manuel, how are you?" replied Patty with a smile.

"Not so good now. The gas is not running and they tell us to clear out the tables because we will have no more food service. They told us to tell people to get food from restaurants and stores until electricity is back on." he said.

"Well, that won't be easy, none of the restaurants I have seen are open and the CVS is the only store I have seen with anything available to eat." said Patty.

"Are you hungry Miss? I can get you something from the kitchen when Miss Somers is not looking. We still have lots of stuff back there that nobody is going to eat." whispered Manuel.

"Really? I have to find somewhere to hide my bike and then I would like to see what you have back there Manuel. Can you help me, Manuel?" Patty said in a low voice.

"Oh sure, follow me out the side door and I will show you." he replied.

Patty and Manuel went out the side door of the hotel that was located on the other side of the restaurant. It led to a small closed off street which ran between the hotel and the connected parking garage. Manuel went to the left and led Patty to the rear of the hotel which was closed off from the alley by large wall and where the air conditioners, grease trap and other infrasture of the hotel was located.

Down a small dark corridor, against the wall, was apparently Manuel's bike and where Patty left hers. She then followed Manuel to a steel door which was open a crack and which led into the hotel kitchen.

The kitchen was cool, dark and only lit by a few candles placed on the counter tops but it was enough light to see what was available. One table had several baskets overflowing with apples, bananas and other fruit all which still had a few good days left before they turned. Another was loaded down with bread and rolls still in large clear plastic bags.

There were several cans, all number ten sized, stacked on shelves and which contained for the most part fruit cocktail, tomato sauce, relish and other bulk items. There were bulk containers of spices, salt, flour, sugar and others.

Another side table and the floor beneath were completely covered with cans of juice, bottled water, bottles of liquor in cardboard cartons and several other loose beverages.

Finally, in the floor were three huge ice chests which contained the remaining meat, eggs and dairy in the restaurant.

"What's going to happen to all of his, Manuel?" asked Patty.

"The new manager says to throw it in the dumpster. She told me to do that and then clock out and go home and wait for her to let me know when I was to come back to work." he replied.

"Manuel, you should take as much of this back to your home and your family if you can. Do you have anyone who can help you do that?" Patty asked.

"Sure, but it won't be until tomorrow. I can bring my brother and some of my cousines. We can get a wagon or something to carry it I guess." he said.

"Manuel, if you can let me take some of this, you can take the rest and it won't go to waste. In the meantime, do you mind if I look around and see if there is anything else I could use?" she asked.

"Sure, I am going to go back in the dining room and finish up in there. You take whatever you want and go back out the back door, okay?" Manuel said.

Patty agreed, but realized she was overloaded with her two full bags from the sporting goods store and the tools and parts from the bike store. She had left the bags by the kitchen door, just inside, but still needed to get them upstairs. However, she knew she may not get another chance to look around in the kitchen and find some things she may need.

She identified a skillet and a small pot which would be useful for cooking. She also took a paring knife one of the cooks must have left behind. She went into a small store room and found aluminum foil, plastic storage bags and trash bags and took some of each.

In the back of the kitchen was a door and when she opened it, she discovered it was a combination maintenance and janitorial storage room. There was a small work bench with a few assorted tools on, boxes of light bulbs, air filters, plumbing parts and other repair items.

Seeing the tools, Patty had an idea. She picked up a length of PVC pipe about a little over a foot long and hefted it in her hand. Seeing it needed more weight, she taped one end off with duct tape and then poured several handfuls of loose screws, nuts and nails inside. She then taped off the end and wraped a few more lengths around the entire pipe.

Swinging it back and forth, Patty had constructed a pretty effective club which was small enough to conceal under her shirt in her waist band. She stowed it into a paper bag she found and then tossed in the duct tape, some wire, a spool of heavy twine, a hammer, screw driver and a box cutter. Wishing she had more time and carry capacity, she took her loot and went back to the kitchen door and collected the rest of her stuff.

She made her way back to the lobby praying nobody would find her precious bike and then went upstairs to her room avoiding the foul Miss Somers.

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