Oh I know I said I wouldn't post on the weekends but, what the heck.
*** Chapter 3
Dell was awakened early by Silky snurfling wetly in her ear, signaling that she needed to go out. She automatically grabbed her keys and cell phone from the charger and calling Freed Pig to come as well, headed down to the first floor and outdoors to the designated pig run. It was an absolutely beautiful morning, and utterly, utterly still. No noise came from the freeway; no noise came from the sky. She looked at the small fenced ‘piggy poop zone’ and thought,” Why bother?”
She took the leash off Silky and let her roam with Freed.
She wondered how many pet pigs lived in the complex. There were 130 units.
How many people had been at work for the day? Those doors would be locked. She sent her cousin, still sleeping upstairs, a text: I am going to the apartment office to find a master key.
Within moments Panda had texted back: Wait for me! I will join you.
Together the girls spent the morning going door to door on all three floors. They found 4 more pigs, 12 cats and 3 birds in cages. They set the pigs free to roam the grounds with Silky and Freed. They propped the doors open on the apartments that had cats, figuring that they would come and go and eventually join the feral cat population. Dell filled water bowls and food dishes as she saw them but did not know what to do about the birds.
“I think we just need to turn them loose” said Panda. “This is California. They won’t freeze.”
Dell looked at the 3 pampered pet birds—all cockatiels—in their gilded cages and sighed. She knew her cousin was right. She knew she could not keep every pet animal and maintain them herself. She opened the cages and together they watched as the silly birds hopped out and flew to the tops of the fences and then to the tops of the trees.
“At least they have a chance, now.” Said Panda. She looked at the pigs who, having been let out of their apartments and a life of domestic servitude all in one swoop, were doing what pigs do: clumping together in a pile and preparing to snooze the day away until time to eat.
“Dell?” she said, eyeballing Silky in the pile, “Will you please take that damn tutu off that pig?”
Although Panda lived fairly close by and had not yet been home, she didn’t feel she could face it just yet. Her small rental home in the Arden Arcade area was covered in wall to wall family portraits. Framed candid shots of herself with all her friends cluttered the end tables and mantelpiece. She was afraid of what it would feel like to walk in the door and see all those faces frozen in time staring out at her.
Part of the afternoon was spent at the Trader Joe’s, which was just up the boulevard from Dell’s apartment at a halfway point between their two homes. Panda wanted to make sure the aisles were cleaned, abandoned baskets were emptied of meat and other perishables and that things were secured in general.
She knew this was just a temporary solution. The electricity might only work for 3 days and then all those freezers and refrigerators would shut down. She knew they could not possibly save enough meat, frozen pizzas, milk, and ice cream to last 3 weeks much less a lifetime. When she started to think like this the panic would rise in her. There was so much that needed to be done, and only a window of time in which to do it. And what was worse, she had no idea how much time that was.
Her mind started to whirl: gas powered generators, cold storage, battery life. All her previous survival training had been in the areas of stealth and safety. Never had it occurred to her that she would have an entire world to herself and still be facing serious shortages.