“You see any beer in that refrigerator, Pete?” Chase said as he closed the back door of his SUV. He took the rifle that laid on the curb of the sidewalk and threw it into the passenger seat.
“Nope!” Peter replied, walking down the path that led out of the condo and onto the open street. “Drank it all.”
“Are you serious, boy?” Chase said with a frustrated glare in his eyes.
“No, of course not,” Peter smiled as he pulled a tall can of IPA from the inside of his jacket. He tossed it over to Chase. Chase opened the can, the fizz engorging to the edges and toppling off to the side of the beer. He brought it to his lips quickly. “Good work!” he said, curving the surface of his beard in an adequate grin. “How much salt did you find?”
“Like 3 ounces.”
“You should give it to that Colin boy.”
“Already did,” Peter reached into his jacket again, pulling yet another beer out from another pocket in his coat. Chase watched suspiciously as Peter broke the top open.
“How many pockets do you have in that thing?” Chase marveled.
“Oh, just enough pockets to hold my beer. I keep all my valuables in the pocket in between my butt cheeks.”
Chase snorted coughing up beer. Peter fashioned a silly open grin on his face. “I’m too old for this,” Chase proclaimed.
It was almost noon. Peter finished his beer, crumpled it in his hand, and threw it on the front lawn. “We need to finish loading,” Chase said, placing a half drank beer on top of the hood of the car. Peter shook his head lightly back and forth. He started to giggle lightly, until his lips parted as he started shaking in laughter. “What?” Chase asked, wondering what was so funny.
“lWhat, you too old to finish your beer, old man?” Peter said with a devious smirk working it’s way across both ends of his face.
“Nope! I’m just too old to drink like a college drop out, that’s all.”
“Hey, at least I learned how to drink like a man!”
“Son, you’re a boy. . .”
Both Peter and Chase argued until Colin walked out the front door with a box scarcely filled with things he found in the laundry room wrapped in his arms. He placed the box down next to Chase’s feet. Peter and Chase stood silently. Colin could hear the birds chirping in the trees 5 blocks away.
“You got another beer?” Colin asked. Chased turned to head to face Peter.
“You got another beer?” Chase inquired of Peter.
“Nope!” Peter replied, quick without a thought of hesitation.
Colin looked down the street to his left, and then down the street to his right. He stared back at Chase and Peter with a small pebble of confusion biting at the back of his neck. “Wasn’t there a girl with you guys?” Colin asked.
“Yeah, she’s hijacking a car right now,” Peter replied bluntly. “Why? Do you want to take those? Make her into a sexy infected zombie friend?” Peter said overconfident as he obnoxiously ranting off making musical porno sounds. “BOW CHICA WOW WOW!” Chase smiled, pulling the beer off the hood of the car and bringing it to his lips.
“No,” Colin replied soundly, “I thought you might’ve shot her in the head like Michael.”
A sudden veil of silence drew in. Peter’s laughter trailed out and dissipated. Chase stopped with his beer midway through the air. They could, once again, hear the birds chirping down the street. The silent veil was once lifted at the sound of an engine. A red Camaro appeared at the end of the of street driving in the middle of the road, sharing both lanes. They all watched her wave from the driver’s seat. She pulled up by Chase’s SUV and got out. She wore a tight fitting turquoise spaghetti string tank top that left her firm shoulders, her lean arms, and her black bra strap bare. She held her long neck high, and her narrow angled face tore a confident, almost sadistic, smile. She brushed her brunette hair back, then shook it vigorously, then tied it back in a pony tail. When she walked, Colin noticed the sound of her heavy leather boots as they stepped on the cement.
“Colin, this is Jessica,” Chase said, “You’re riding with her.”
Jessica walked up to Colin and stretched her hand out in front of him to greet him, “Call me Jessie.”
“Yeah, sure, I’m Colin,” Colin replied, staggering his words.
“Yeah I know, you’re the virgin,” Jessie smiled, her eyebrow slightly peaked. Colin could hear Peter choking on his laughter.
Colin smiled, “I guess the pleasure’s all yours.”
Jessie openly laughed. “Yep!” she replied quickly.
Colin felt a slight confusion as he remembered what Chase said. “I’m riding with her?” Colin asked, as he turned to look at Chase. “What about my sister, who’s she riding with?”
“She’ll be riding with Peter,” Chase answered.
“No, no I don’t want to do that,” he said staggering. He shook his head back and forth, “I don’t want to leave my sister.”
Chase looked at Colin. He could see the lack of courage Colin had in his eyes and the way he held himself up. At some level, Chase didn’t want to hurt his feelings but he had to be forward with Colin. “Son, you have 3 ounces worth of salt on you. It’s better if she goes with Pete.”
“Then give me more salt!” Colin asked impatiently. His voice echoed of worry as his emotions started to dig it’s way up from his torso.
“Nope!” Peter interjected, “No can do there! The most irritating thing is seeing a rookie panic and throw all our good salt onto one infected. It’s just logic.”
“Then I won’t do that! I’m not leaving my sister,” Chase yelled, his voice becoming more and more desperate.
Chase, finally finishing his beer, crumpled it and threw it onto the front lawn. He exhaled, wiping his brow and forehead with his open palm. “Look, have you seen these things coming. They come at you in waves. And people panic. It just happens. Now there’s no telling how many of these are going to be out there, and there’s no telling how you’re going to act. It’s not that we don’t like you, it’s because we’re out here trying to save our own ass at the same time. Do you understand? I’m not ready to trust you! We all aren’t!”
Colin turned away. Colin understood what Chase was asking of him. They couldn’t spare the salt, and Colleen was just safer with Peter.
“. . . okay,” he said hesitantly. “She could ride with Peter.”
Peter looked around, turning his neck and scanning the yard and the front of the condo walls. “Where is your sister?”