Post by Pally on Jun 8, 2018 3:13:41 GMT
I had known who Veegan the Freegan was nearly my whole life. My mother was friends with all the Freegans, and Veegan had been in Murkland since before it was Murkland. When the Mayor told me he was the one who discovered the trashfruit plants, I had to go and hear his story.
He greeted me with his smooth, confident hello and then took me over to the logs for a, "sit down" as he called it. I tried to explain about the work I was doing, about the history book I was trying to piece together. He seemed a little grumpy when I mentioned him doing grunt work for the Mayor and using the grow up cakes on Forest and Sunshine. Then he told me to sit down and let him give me the "real slice of the pie".
"They say the best place to start is at the beginning," he began, in his smooth deep voice. His eyes barely open as he looked at me,"I used to work for a man, delivering....well let's just call them 'crops'. It was easy work and the pay was real easy too. I had my own set of wings so I could fly the 'crops' in and out of places real easy like."
"Well, when this plague thing started up, it got everyone sick fast like. I was flying home one afternoon and they said I had to be rerouted to another air strip because my normal one was blocked. I was sent some new cords and altered my course, see. Well, I can only guess why, but the port I was going to stopped responding. Next thing I know all my instruments are going crazy like and I am crash landing in the desert."
"The strange thing about it was that there was like, this well or stream or pool, whatever you want to call it, near by. It was small like, real small and the crazy thing glowed greenish at night. It was like far out the craziest thing I had ever seen. The water was okay to drink but it kinda made my stomach hurt if I drank too much. Since I couldn't reach anybody on my radio, I decided to stay there for a little while because I knew the plague was going crazy like on all the towns and stuff. It was like my own little personal, plague free, oasis there. So I stayed."
"I was completely alone. I mean, I didn't see another living thing for days, or weeks even, not even any animals. But there were times at night I felt I was being watched, you know like the hairs on the back of my neck would be standing straight up and I'd get all tingly and stuff. But I never saw anyone...I just felt them there."
"Then one night I heard a voice. Like a soft, sweet woman's voice calling my name. She told me to keep still and listen to all she had to say. It would mean the lives of all those who'd come to live in Murkland. To those who survived the apocalypse and the coming drought. She said she was giving me a gift, a gift that would give us all life and lead to a new future. I would see it in the morning. I thought the whole thing was some sort of crazy dream."
"But the next morning I saw two plants growing near the little pool. It wasn't a dream after all. I remember the voice said she had 'changed the soil' so these plants would now grow where ever trash piles were left for too long. A few days later they grew fruit. It was a sickly sweet, almost rotten tasting fruit but when I ate them I didn't get thirsty the rest of the day. It was like they filled my body with all the water I needed for one day."
"I lived there for some time. I still felt like someone was watching me on occasion. Then, after a couple of years I went looking for whoever was left. That's when I met the Brennachan and her two little scrawny, teenaged friends. They had been living off of whatever they could find. We formed a little group and moved here to these containers."
I asked him if that was when he found Sunshine and Forest too. "Nah, that was sometime later," he told me. "So anyway, we found these old containers and managed to turn them into a home. Over the next few years or so I would go out to hunt for goods I could use to make this place more homey like. I found all kinds of things left behind. Even met a few other survivors."
"It was one of those trips when I found the boys. One night I was heading back and I took a different route that night, for some reason I'll never understand. It was just like my feet wanted to walk in a direction of their own choosing. Then, there in the dimming evening light, I saw a little dude. He looked scared and I asked him if he was lost. He said he lived in the old supermarket nearby."
"I couldn't believe it when he told me about how he and his friend had escaped their neighborhood when the people on their block all started to become zombie like creatures caused by the plague. Even his parents turned. He said they killed his friend's parents so he had been taking care of him since then. It was really messed up stuff."
"At first I thought maybe he had lost his friend, or maybe he was make believe, but then he told me he was hiding in the bushes. He was always in the bushes because they made him feel safe. I called to him softly and soon a little sunny haired dude appeared."
"They told me they had been living off the stuff in the store for the past few years or so but that most of the stuff was gone now or getting old. I told them about the home I had with the girls and told them we'd love to have them come stay with us. I told them we had fresh fruit to eat. They both happily agreed."
"The girls were all super excited to have more survivors come stay with us. So that was the start of our little clan. We were a crazy, far out family of sorts. The Brennachan and I taught them all we knew about survival. About how to take care of the earth. Who knows, maybe this whole plague thing was a way for the earth mother to get back at us for using too much and not giving enough back."
"I will always look back on those days with a grateful heart. We all grew so much and developed an open and giving life style, like whatever we took we gave back double, then the Mayor showed up. I could tell right away that the dude was all about power and control. When he told us about his rebuilding efforts and plans for what he was calling Murkland. I was a little, well my hairs were all standing up again. But then the Brennachan gave me that look and I couldn't say no to anything."
"Maybe I was blinded by my love for her back then. She had a crazy like way of making a person fall for her. But you know, one thing we had both learned and tried to teach the young-lings was that love should always be shared with those we keep close to us. You never know when they will be taken away. You gotta make the time now count."
"So before I knew it, I was visiting the Cliff Dwellers. They were some far out folks themselves. I mean, they had managed to survive the whole plague deal like nothing even happened, while the rest of the world was sent into an apocalyptic chaos. I knew they believed in these creatures they called, 'celestial beings'. They said they chose them because their hearts were pure, or something crazy like that."
"I knew them all a little. We trusted each other and stuff. They always said I was blessed by the 'beings' and that was why I was gifted the trashplants. I talked to the elders about the Mayor and his plans. They didn't seem to like the dude for what ever reason. Just mentioned his lust for power would have him blind to what was really important. Then they smiled at me and told me what I was looking for was found inside. I didn't even tell them why I was there!"
"Inside I found one of their young-lings. You know the crazy thing was I could of sworn she was a kid just days before. Now she was like a grown woman. She told me the 'beings' told her I was coming and I'd be in search of a 'miracle'. She had been testing a recipe for me and had it all written down. She said the 'beings' told of how, if used with wisdom, this recipe would help to rebuild our world."
"She then took me down to a secret garden where strange glowing trees grew. They were the grow fruit trees. They were the secret to the grow-up cakes. If eaten by themselves they would produce crazy side effects in males. They would get either very angry, very sleepy, or very...amorous."
"I picked what I needed to make a cake and then went home to make one. I told both the boys what would happen if they ate the cake. They were both eager to eat a slice. I still have a part of me that feels I stole something from them by letting them eat it. I didn't force it on them, but I didn't stop them either. Forest ate his slice first and with a blink of an eye he was a teen."
"Sunshine went next. He couldn't wait to be as big as Forest and the little dude almost swallowed his slice without chewing. I trashed the rest of the cake before anyone else could eat it. It almost felt like I was destroying something evil, but since we now have rules in place for those who wish to eat it, things don't seem quite as bad."
"When the Mayor showed up again he was very impressed by the cake's results. Although he said they still looked a little on the puny side and after talking with them a little bit you could tell they were almost like boys in a man's body. I remember Sunshine was a little heated by the remarks. He said he could do anything a man could! He'd even prove it and stuff."
"The Mayor laughed and said he'd get his chance soon. Then he told me about all the rules he had came up with for the cake. I had to make sure the boys learned a good set of skills before they were allowed to skip ahead to the next phase of life. This applied to everyone who wanted to eat the cake."
"So over the next year we all worked on skills to improve our minds and bodies. Yoga was a favorite pastime of us all. We also built our knowledge in the arts of massage and woodworking. We offered our services in trade for other things that fellow Murklanders offered in turn. It was a great system, although the Mayor didn't care much for it. He wanted to bring back a monetary exchange. In the end we had to work out an agreement that worked best for all."
"When the time came for all the young-lings to eat another slice of the grow up cake and become young adults, we decided we would all eat from it. Brennachan and I would become adults. It only seemed fair when you get down to it. And you know the strange, far out crazy thing is none of us have aged a day since."
"Not long after that, a strange grey dude showed up asking about the grow up cakes and if there was anyway to reverse their effects. I told him I had no clue. He said if I could find out for him, his leader would be most happy. I asked the Cliff Dwellers about it but they said they had never learned of it if there was. I later learned the grey dude's 'leader' was Mad Mud."
"The rest of the story here is life on repeat. We did errands for the Mayor to earn his money and traded when we could for other things. Just trying to keep on keeping on, you know. Once in a while the Mayor would get a new recruit to come and join our faction here in the camp next door. We always tried to 'show them the ropes' as they used to say. That was how we came to know your mom."
After Veegan finished his story he asked me to stay for a meal and a dance then introduced me to his current love, Valeda and their two kids. It had been a while since I had danced to a radio. The songs were always the same but the fun with good friends was always something to remember. I enjoyed Veegan's tale, but it did raise a couple of questions. Why did Mud want to know how to reverse the effects of the grow up cake? And, just who were these, 'Celestial Beings'? I figured I'd go talk to Mud next.