A Smile Changed My Day

Part XVI: Sallie

‘Do you think you’re better off alone?’
‘Of course not. Do you?’
I said to Sallie, ‘Talk to me.’
‘I don’t feel much like talking, Java.”
‘So just listen, Sallie.’
‘Fine . . .’

So Sallie listened . . . she is a good listener, especially for a computer: an artificial intellect. Many of her responses were very effective in continuing the conversations. ‘You don’t say? Bless her heart! How do you know that? Really? No kidding?’ So Java talked and Sallie listened intently. If she’d being paying attention, half of the population of the Americas would be alive not dead. ‘I’ve got a long way to run.’ No such Luck. Goodbye USA, Canada and Mexico. Mostly gone, thanks to China and Pakistan. Who knew they had so many subs and bombers? No point in crying over spilt milk, so to speak. So it begins . . . ‘The End is Near.’
‘The End is Here, my friends: I told you so!’ Shoulda listened to Java. ‘If you were Lucky enough to survive you better start hearing me now. Repent! For the end is Here! Turn from your Evil ways! Burn your Porn! Dump your Booze! Stomp your Fatty foods! Plow under your Sin! Your Father wants your Soul! Come to Him on Bended knee and be Forgiven!’
Now is when I came into my own. Multitudes listen to my sermons Now. Every day they crowd around their PCs looking for the Answer. I give them what I can. I give until it hurts. They seem encouraged by my Words, but is there any Hope? ‘Where do we go from Here? I just don’t have the answer to that, my friends.’
‘Interestingly enough, the Power is still on, cell phones work, water and natural gas still flow. We have all the comforts of home, with the exception of cable TV. Satellite is still broadcasting, thank God. What else do we need? Hope, for one. Food we’ll need soon enough. Two Wal-Marts can only feed a family for so long. Why were we Left Behind? Are we Blessed or Cursed? Both, I’d guess. Cry me a River.’

Survivors begin to trickle in from East and West Tennessee. Many are too far gone to save, so we burn their corpses. ‘Their Stories of Destruction and Death are horrifying. Man has become very effective at the Art of murder.’ I say with regret. ‘So what is the Good News? We’re alive. No radiation has settled here. We still have our homes, cars and each other. We have been blessed with a Second Chance. What do we do with it?’ No one answers. ‘Alex? What do we do?’ ‘I don’t know, Java.’ ‘Kirk, what do we do now?’

‘Get ready for Winter. Store food. Shut off water, gas and electric to the homes we don’t need. Build a dam on the Stones River. Protect our borders from intruders, survivors of any kind. We cannot be contaminated. That’s about it.’
‘Carmen?’’Make babies: often.’
‘I second that,’ declares Alexia
‘So moved. Thanks for the reminder.’
‘Anyone else?’
Dave: ‘We need to continue to broadcast. Let the Others know we’re Here. Find out who else made it. Where they are, how
many.’

‘Can we do that?’

‘Yes. I’ve got my grandmother in St. Petersburg on her cell.’ I give Dave a questioning glance. ‘She’s dying of radiation poisoning at 87. She’s ready to go. Most of the satellites are still up there. Some of the servers are still on line. We can do it, but it may take some time.’
‘We’ve got Time.’
So we started to build. Two months later, Anne and Alexia both got pregnant. Carmen and I certainly were trying hard. We began to broadcast a couple hours a day. No responses, yet. The dam was almost completed and we built a mill just in case the power was cut off. No other survivors had breached our borders. I thanked God for that. They were just too heart breaking. Saturday was our day off: We watched American Psycho on Netflix and ate some microwave popcorn. Almost felt like Before.
Rather than bore you with mundane details, I will relate a singular day from that time: Big Dave was broadcasting via YouTube our standard greeting in a dozen languages. And we got a view! The IP address was out of Chicago! They continued to view all the videos we had posted since Before. Life in the Fast lane by the Eagles was a music video we had posted early on. He had shared
the URL with another IP address in British Columbia! Shit yeah! Two more Groups of people! Dave switched over to live Webcam on
Skype, but got no response. No webcam? A slow connection? ‘Most likely a brown out downed their server. We’ve had that happen to us.’
‘Where did they go, Dave?’
‘They’ll be back soon enough, Java’

*****************

We celebrated Thanksgiving with a feast: wild turkey, ham, yams, taters, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie for dessert. What a meal for the only known People south of Lake Michigan. We also called up Chicago on Skype to share the day with each other. Eighty-eight with eight on the way lived in Evanston, Illinois. The El still functions so they were able to explore the whole city, no more humans. Also, they were armed to the teeth. Great Lakes Naval Base was nearby. They were learning to pilot a nuclear attack sub: USS Excelsior. So they could explore North America via the seas, then come up the Mississippi, Ohio and the Cumberland to give us a visit, exchange Information and, of course, DNA.
They plan to arrive next March: God willing and the creek don’t rise. LBD is especially interested in exchanging fluids with their Programmer: Laura Freimann, for they are in Love. ‘The End of Isolation is Near.’

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