Fridiary – Organ Tale – Part IV

Burroughs, Kerouac, McCarthy, Ballard and Hunter have Dallas in their rearview mirror, and now they’re on the road again, heading for the last strip club in the country… maybe even the world.

They need to get from Washington DC to Safe Haven on the west coast, but all they have is a wood-paneled wagon, carpool dragons and hundreds of miles of road ahead of them.

[The Organ Trail began life as a free, zombie-apocalypse parody of the 1970s eudcational game The Oregon Trail, but the Director’s Cut is an expanded, commercial release that sees Organ Trail leave its parody roots partially behind. I initially thought this would be a done-in-one, but this particular adventure is more sprawling than the simple graphics might lead you to believe.]

600 miles to the stripclub.

McCarthy gets out to take a leak and a couple of minutes later the rest of the group hears some noises in the bushes. There’s a muffled cry for help and Burroughs gets out of the car to investigate.

A bandit has a gun at McCarthy’s head. Burroughs knows he only has one shot – it’s the William Tell routine all over again, but with a bandit’s fucking head in place of a glass.

The shot is good, the bandits head decorates the ground and McCarthy rushes back to the car.

Hunter spots a graveyard and convinces Burroughs to stop. He reckons he knows a kid who was buried there, but Kerouac thinks the crazy bastard is just going stir crazy. He isn’t complaining, mind you, just making an observation.

It was some guy named Anthony, but before Burroughs has even finished reading the inscription on the tombstone, a hand bursts through the ground. Half of Anthony drags itself towards Burroughs. He kills the kid a second time.

McCarthy stares out the window. Without looking at the group he starts to tell a story about life before the outbreak. His spoken prose is sublime, but the others can’t help but be brought down by the content.

Further down the road Hunter gets typhoid. He blames McCarthy, but he’s too weak to attack the man.

The ‘Check Engine’ light comes on and Burroughs stops so Kerouac can check it out. The engine definitely took some damage, but there’s nothing he can do about it. They continue on.

Ballard sees something going on in the distance. It’s unanimous – they want to check it out. Kerouac puts it the most elegantly – “Fuck the road, I’m bored.”

There’s a guy named Shawn standing near a crate. He’s obviously deranged, so Burroughs takes the gentle approach with him. He helps Shawn open the crate and gets some ammo for his trouble. Shawn runs off into the bush screaming “Thank you” and everyone goes back to the car.

The group comes across a spare battery in an abandoned car and then some wild fruit a little further down the road just before they reach the strip club.

There’s a job going at the Strip Club. Nope, not hand-washing g-strings, somebody dropped a full can of fuel outside and it’s Burroughs’ if he can get it.

He pulls it off without breaking a sweat. There’s a living, groaning arrow of green stink chasing him, but he never falters.

Hunter gets over his typhoid while the group trades. They get some ammo, fuel and food, mostly in exchange for excess mufflers. Burroughs goes out scavenging twice – the first time finding more food than he can carry the second time finding seventy dollars.

They all rest up and then get to work repairing the wagon. They waste some scrap, but after three hours of work they get it looking solid once more.

They’re half-way across the country now. Nobody is dead, no great tragedies seem to be approaching on the horizon – their biggest worry currently is a near-terminal lack of ammunition…

420 miles to Albuquerque.

They run out of water soon after leaving the strip club. I guess they didn’t want to trust the basins that the clientele would wash-up in. They come across another graveyard, and Hunter doesn’t even need to lie to get Burroughs to stop. The boredom of the road makes risks exciting.

Burroughs keeps his shotgun trained on the ground at the tombstone, but no hand protrudes this time. Ballard finds a couple of medkits though while he’s taking a dump in a mausoleum.

McCarthy gets bored and starts making a really annoying noise.*

A dust storm kicks up just outside the ABQ, but they pull into the city without incident.

There’s an auto shop selling snow tires, but the group just opts for some repairs. They buy the only ammo on the market and then Burroughs goes out to work.

Burroughs spends a lot of ammo putting down a herd, just for the sake of a muffler – Ballard just hopes it trades well, or he threatens to mutiny. Just to spite Ballard, Burroughs pulls off the next job without firing a shot.

Burroughs goes out scavenging, finding food, cash and scrap, but he gets hurt. It takes two medkits to get him looking healthy again. To shut Ballard up, Burroughs sells enough food to buy two replacement medkits. They still have plenty of food for the next leg of the trip.

352 miles to the desert motel.

Just outside of town they find an abandoned car with an upgrade to scavenge, but in the process of gutting the vehicle Hunter breaks his leg.

They spot a shack near the road and decide to stop. There’s a woman gutting a rabbit out front, and after a cautious greeting she invites them all in for dinner. Her undead husband and son are also at the dinner table. Burroughs wants to shoot them, but Ballard can’t see the harm in it – she’s just trying to make sense of it all in whatever way she can. They eat their rabbit stew and she gives Ballard a couple of medkits as she bids them all farewell. Zombies don’t need first aid after all.

A heavy fog rolls in, and Burroughs nearly ploughs the wagon right into an abandoned car. They check it out and find another upgrade inside. There’s only room for one upgrade though, so Burroughs keeps the GPS.

A bit further down the road they see another graveyard. It’s practically an unspoken rule now – graveyard means they stop and stretch their legs. Another tombstone and another crawler. Burroughs puts him down and they carry on.

They pull into the motel, and as the sun starts to rise, they each take a room and rest. Soon enough they’ll be able to see the sun set over the ocean. They’re nearly there.

*This is a direct quote because I found it entertaining.


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