Living Irony

Submitted into Contest #60 in response to: Write a funny post-apocalyptic story.... view prompt

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Sean hefted the sledgehammer over his shoulder and with a grunt, sent the rocketing into the window, shattering the glass as well as the silence.

"What. The. Heck." A teenage boy with buzzed hair and more scars than he probably should have gawked at the damage. "We can't do that!"

"It's nothing personal, Andrew, it's just survival; a good business sense, really." Whitney gestured using her spike-covered baseball bat much more flippantly than a woman in her late thirties really should be , pointing it at Sean who was already climbing through the now-opened window.

"It's illegal!"

"You and I both know laws don't exist anymore, kiddo. And even if they did, who's gonna stop us? The cops are just as focused on self preservation as anyone else, and they have guns." She hopped through the hole in the glass and began rifling through drawers and cabinets; all empty. Kitchens hadn't yielded food in a long time.

"That doesn't make it okay to just abandon your moral code."

"Yes it does." She casually lifted a few knives and passed them to Andrew, who had also passed through the window and had taken to sitting on the counter and checking the sink to see if it worked. It didn't, of course; they were too far into the town for the plumbing to be connected to any kind of well.

He inspected the blades one by one, poking the point with the pad of his thumb.

"Yeah, I guess these are alright. Good thing too; mine are getting a little dull. Any chance of a good sharpener?"

"What happened to Mister Moral Code?" Whitney snarked.

Andrew was about to snap back, when Sean cleared his throat from the doorway.

"We need to keep moving." He gave them a pointed look, and pointed his chin at the fading blue sky.

They nodded and followed him out, stalking silently through the dim hall.

Whitney slipped into an office and came out holding a hefty stack of paper.

"What are you doing? What are those?"

"Right now, they're..." she checked a few pages, "legal documents, but in a couple hours, they'll be some pretty good kindling. Turns out our doomsday recluse was a lawyer."

"A rich one too." Sean commented, nudging a golden candelabra.

"Yeah, lot of good that did him. He probably starved to death in one of these many many rooms."

Andrew stared at her wide eyed. "How can you be so blasé? Where is your heart?"

"We found you at a street fighting club."

He pouted. "That was different."

"They called you 'the bloodeater!'"

"That's because whenever I got hit, my skin would break!"

"Right because you're just so thin skinned aren't you?"

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"I've seen you fall off a cliff and come out without a bruise." She glanced at him with a deadpan expression.

"You pushed me off the cliff!"

"It was a slap on the back, you pansy."

"Shut up!'

"You shut up!"

"Both of you shut up!" Sean thundered, thumping his hammer onto the ground with a mighty bump. He looked like the angry grandfather he might have been if it wasn't for the impressive set of events that led them all to the abandoned home of a paranoid lawyer.

"Hypocrite." Whitney muttered, nudging him.

"Jerk." He nudged her back.

Sean leveled a glare on both of them, silencing any more grumbles or jabs.

"Now," he whispered, "we have approximately three hours until sunset, and it took us an hour to get here. That leaves us two hours to loot this place and get out. Remember, grab any kind of food, heavy clothes and if you find a gun, take the bullets and ruin hide or ruin the rest. Don't grab anything useless; money, jewelry, credit cards. There's a huge market out for glasses of any kind so make sure you check any dens to see if this guy had any reading glasses."

They nodded and split up; Whitney going upstairs, Andrew to the basement, and Sean to cover the rest of the main floor.

An arduous two hours later, they met up in the charred library to discuss what they found.

"Some old hunting knives and rifles." Whitney patted her bag.

"Good job." Sean nooded. "I found those glasses and some pretty good looking parkas."

"I found dinner."

Their heads snapped to bloodstained Andrew, who had somehow gone unnoticed by the two. He held up a limp badger, and cradled in his other arm was three nondescript cans.

"What. The. Heck."

"Dinner." He shrugged off his backpack and rolled each of the cans into the bag, each one making a dull 'thump.' "Turns out we aren't the first people here." He patted the badger's head fondly.


"Anyway, you said something about knives?"

Whitney nodded, dumbstruck.

"Can I see them?"

She pulled the knives from her cargo pockets and handed them to him.

"Oooh, a Case Large Buffalo Horn Hunter knife! These are pretty good quality."

Sean and Whitney gave each other a look and Sean stepped forward to tentatively clap Andrew on the shoulder.

"Sounds interesting Andrew. You can tell us all about it on the way back."

"Alright, let's go then." Andrew stuck most of the knives into his bag and slung it back over his shoulder, sticking the Case Large Buffalo Horn into a makeshift sheath on his belt. He continued to cradle the badger in his arms like a house pet as he clambered out the window.

"Geez," Whitney whispered as she followed Sean out the window and Andrew began to gush about knives again, "I spend so much time fighting with the kid I forget he's still just... a kid."

"Right, and I need you to keep that in mind when you pester him and insult him. He was practically raised in this environment; it's a miracle he even has any interests."

"Yeah, poor kid," she mused, "I mean, I was fresh out of college when it happened. This kid was barely four. It can't be easy growing up in the apocalypse."

September 25, 2020 00:53

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1 comment

Regina Perry
21:35 Sep 30, 2020

I love the badger! Even though it's dead... It is a real badger, right? Not a stuffed animal. I think it is because of the way you describe it, but he's treating it like a toy or a pet... The snarky back-and-forth keeps the story moving nicely. Great job! There were a few minor syntactical things, like an extra space and a missed comma or two somewhere near the beginning. If you want me to tell you specifics I can go back and look for them, but otherwise, I won't because it's too late to edit anyway.


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