Destruction Aftermath, Book 1
Chapter 21

Copyright© 2010 by radio_guy

We woke up the next morning in our usual manner wrapped in each others' arms. We got up and got dressed. We went into the kitchen and started breakfast and coffee. Shirley went in and woke Janice. She returned and, a few minutes later, Janice came in. We had a leisurely breakfast enjoying each others' company. We cleaned up and went into the radio room. Shirley had said that we should try looking for some more people on the air. Janice was picked up by Bennie to "go help."

Calling on 3.970 got her responses from Jimmy on the road with his family and Jack in Pooler. Both were doing fine and were glad to hear from us outside the usual net. She told them what she was going to do. Jimmy wished her luck while Jack said that he had worked an English station on forty meters and a French station, he thought, on twenty meters. He said he has a very good antenna for forty and would concentrate on that band really looking for stations in the United States. Shirley told him she would then work twenty and a few other lower bands. I learned that the lower bands had higher frequencies because wavelength and frequency had an inverted relationship. She cleared with Jack and moved to twenty meters. She went to 14.300 Mhz there and began to call "CQ."

She would call. "CQ, CQ, CQ, this is Shirley, K4SAA calling CQ for any station whether you are a ham or not. Over." She would wait fifteen seconds or so and call again.

"Why that frequency, Shirl?" I asked.

"It's the maritime amateur frequency and was very popular. I figure it has the best chance of having someone tuned to it." She continued to call for about half an hour. She then started tuning upwards in frequency by five kilocycles and calling repeatedly before doing it again. She continued doing this for another half hour without success.

Then she tuned back to 14.300 and tried there some more. She said, "It wasn't this hard before the Day. A female voice guaranteed you a contact quickly and someone was always listening. That just shows you how few people survived." She continued on, this time tuning downward. She said, "Jack, go find something to do. Even though I'm not having success right now, I am doing something. If anything interesting happens, I will call you. Take your HT with you."

"Okay, Shirl. I have to admit that, other than listening to your beautiful voice, it's about as exciting as watching grass grow." I kissed her cheek, grabbed my HT from its charger stand and got out. I decided to check on Ben and his shop.

I pulled in there and found Michael was there, too. He and Ben were programming a CNC shop tool for something they were trying to do. When they finished, they put a piece of metal in place and turned it on. I came up and said hello to both of them. They responded and Michael asked if I would join them in the office and look at the plans they were making.

We went in there and found Janice, Bennie, and Jean. Cindy was at a computer typing and Melody was going through a file cabinet putting most of the papers in the trash and setting some aside for later review. Michael sat down and pulled up a drawing and specifications. He had taken the information from my water wheel and gave it more strength and a bit more capacity. We went over the drawings and specifications. I liked his work and told him so.

He said, "It's not just mine. Ben is at least an equal partner in this. He has a feel for metal and machinery that beats anything you could learn in books. He found a couple of spots where more strength was needed and one where a slight change would allow the piece to be made easier and more quickly. We had worked together for five years and now we can do it again."

Ben spoke up, "With this shop and a couple of other tools we will move over here, we can build just about anything. Be thinking about what we should build to help us down the road."

"I will. We're going to need to think about being self-sufficient at some point. Your activities will help. Something to think about is how are we going to do anything with glass?"

"I'm not sure. There should be glass factories in the Atlanta area that we may be able to use to make things from glass. Put it on your list for searches in the future."

"Good idea. We need to take advantage of what Atlanta has to offer before it's gone. Oh, yes, thinking of that, have Linda, Betty, and Julia talked with you or Cindy about helping them. They are going to move to Atlanta and scavenge. They also want to update our CNN message and put things on all cable channels that can be accessed."

"They haven't but I'm sure we can help them when they are ready."

"Good. I know they are going to be taught some radio by Shirley as well as handling guns."

"I think Cindy would like to attend those lessons when she starts them."

"Okay, I will tell her and we will probably publicize it for anyone interested, also." I admired what they were doing some more and left shortly thereafter returning to the house in time for lunch.

Shirley was excited. She made two contacts, one in England and the other in France. They were both quite lonely and looking for anyone to talk to them. The one in England was not even a ham! His neighbor had been a ham and he had listened before. He decided to try the equipment and was overjoyed that he found someone. The guy from France had heard them and joined in. She said, "I left them talking to each other. Neither one reports any survivors in their areas. It's scary how few people there are left. I know we had to handle the Blasters but it's terrible to have to kill people."

"I agree. Hopefully, there won't be any need again. I would rather be involved in building up not in tearing down." We finished making our lunch and sat down to eat.

It was nice to eat with Shirley quietly and without hurry. We finished and cleaned up. She said, "I'm headed back out to the radio. What are you planning to do?"

"I think I will go around with a map and note who lives where and what houses are still vacant. If we can find more people, we need to know where to put them and what might need to be done on some of these places."

"I hadn't thought of that though you are very right. We need to know and have some idea about where to direct people for their own benefit. See you for supper, Jack." She chuckled, "Have fun."

I headed out to my truck after first securing a county map. I got in the truck turning the radio back on. "Jack, here, mobile." I said into the mike. I pulled out of the drive and turned left deciding to look in on the few houses on our road first.

The first house was occupied by Michael and Cindy and Ben and their families for now. Michael and Cindy had suggested that they might move and leave the house to Ben, Melody, and Bennie. A little further was another house with a generator that housed four of our refugees from the Blaster fight. That brought me to the main road and I turned around. I went by two houses on the other side of the road from Shirley and I which were unoccupied. I checked them both. They had no power but were in good shape. With very little work, they were ready for someone to move in. I passed our house and saw the house that Ollie, his daughter and grandson had occupied. They had moved into town to be close to their clinic. Five more refugees were living there. The road dead ended at a house that was empty. I didn't know who lived there and went in to check it. I backed out quickly. The smell was bad and there was damage from one of our Spring thunderstorms, probably the one that wiped out our power. It would need a lot of work. Finally, I headed back and went by two more empty houses, I thought. The first was empty but available. The second had three of the former Blaster women living in it with no power and no transportation. They were glad to see me. They had gone off on their own walking here and not let anyone know where they were. One was glad to see me but I could tell her time with the Blasters had scarred her. I asked, "Is there anything you need?"

One, who identified herself as Joan, said,"Actually, there is. We need a source of power and transportation. There are a pickup truck and a car but both have dead batteries. We have also been bothered by dogs once."

"Okay," I said, "let's get the easiest one first. Let's crank a truck." We went into a storage building and I found a set of jumper cables. I cranked my truck and moved it into position. We ran it for a minute while I explained what the cables were accomplishing and how to connect them. We tried the truck and it cranked. We followed the same procedure with the car and it cranked. "You know I'm Jack, right?" They nodded. "Good. Come over to the house and Shirley will teach you how to shoot and get you a radio. We will also arrange for a generator to be brought here."

The scared one said, "Y-you would do that for us."

"Of course," I responded, "that's what neighbors do and you three are part of the community and are neighbors."

I left there and headed toward Ted's intending to check on the people living around his farm. I pulled on Ted's road and went down a bit. I saw Robert and Mary's house on the right. Robert was outside and we waved at each other.

A little further on the left was Charlie with Sylvia and Michelle. We had been touch by radio but hadn't seen much of them lately. I pulled into their drive and saw Michelle out front weeding a garden. She saw me and waved. I pulled on down to the house. I got out and Michelle came up and gave me a hug. She said, "Charlie and Sylvia are in town shopping today. They want to get married soon since they are sleeping together already." She grinned at me.

"It looks like a number of relationships need to be formalized." I said.

"Yes, Charlie and Sis, Ted and Lois, and Robert and Mary all three are together. Jeff has moved in further down the road and I believe there is a romance starting there with a friend of Lois'. She and her sister are staying at his house."

"What about you, Michelle?"

"Tom and Matthew live next door down the road. I like Matthew and he comes around a pretty fair bit. It's not serious, though, and probably never will be. There are a lot of unattached pretty women around here which makes it tough."

"You're young, Michelle. There's no hurry."

"I know, but there's not much to do except work and look for relationships."

"I see. Maybe Shirley and I can have some social events to keep people mixing and busier?"

"That would be great! I don't know all the new people or even all the people who are already here."

"I'll talk to Shirley. Tell Charlie and Sylvia I was here and said, 'hello.'"

"I will. Bye, Jack."

I got back in the truck and went on down the road to Tom's place. I found Tom, Matthew and two of the ex-Blaster women talking together outside. "Hello, Ladies, Tom, Matthew. How are you today?"

Tom answered, "We're fine. This is Janet and Marion who live next door with Jenny and Alice. We are trying to figure out a good place to put a dam for a power station."

"Hello, Janet, Marion. That's a good idea. It will get you off the generators. Do you have any potential spots picked out?"

"Yes, you've done this. Would you come out and have a look?"

"Sure, I would be glad to. Walk or ride?"

"We can walk. It's between the two houses. We looked for a hill like at your house or across the road at Ted's, but no luck. We have a couple of creeks and we are heading toward the larger of the two. It's also between the houses which is good." Jack explained as we walked.

I looked over their proposed site. It would need scooping but would work well. There were sides to protect both houses.

Tom said, "We plan to scoop it some and put the dam here with enough surface to walk over it. We plan to farm the two properties together." He grinned as did Janet who grinned back. Marion and Matthew walked off down the creek. Tom said, "Janet and I plan to marry. Marion is her daughter and I think she and Matthew like each other. We might make it a double wedding if it suits them."

"Let me know. There seems to be a number of couples wanting to formalize relationships." I didn't say anything but it looked like Michelle would have to look elsewhere. I left there and continued on my way. Across from Tom and Janet was Jeff's small farm which was next to Ted. I pulled in and Jeff and another woman, who I vaguely recognized as a former Blaster, came out to greet me. I received a handshake from Jeff and a hug from Amy as she was introduced by Jeff.

"I'm glad to have a chance to speak to you. I wanted to thank you for leading the rescue of so many of us. It probably saved my life from baking and gave me an opportunity to meet Jeff. He's great!" Jeff smiled. She was an attractive woman a few years younger than he.

He said, "Glad to see you. What are you doing today?"

"I'm just looking in on people trying to see that all have a place and that it is in good shape."

"Oh. We're pulling power from Ted. He, Robert, and I are working together. Ted's fields had lain fallow for years and now we are together planting and working. Amy has set up a little garden for vegetables over to the right. I do have a question though." I looked at him inquiringly. He continued, "Amy and I would like to formalize our relationship. How do we go about it?"

"That question has come up a number of times lately. Shirley and I are working on it. We're looking at an announcement with vows or without vows and in or not in church. The important thing will be the public announcement that you are married to one another."

"That sounds sensible. We were each married before the Day. We have talked about it and want to make it formal rather than just live together."

"I will talk to Shirley and we will work something out and let you know over the radio by tomorrow night."

"That would be fine." Amy nodded happily.

I left there and went by Ted's. He was outside working on a plow as I drove up. Lois was beside him to hand him tools. "Hi," I said.

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