Ted started his day like any other day: wake and bake. And why not? With the way the world is now, what’s wrong with having a little smoke to kick things off, he thought. Besides, after the disaster, there aren’t many people around to judge anyway. And those who are left probably don’t have much time among the living.
It might be strange to think that a person couldn’t remember the end of the world, but it’s true. Ted wasn’t in a good place before the disaster. Living on the streets for years, his mindset wasn’t in the right position to even notice the apocalypse. It’s amazing what you can sleep through when you’re in a constant state of being blackout drunk.
The first couple of days after sobering up were mostly a blur. It was a hard time for Ted back then; all of the state-controlled liquor stores had been picked clean or destroyed. At one point the withdrawals got so bad that he thought he was going to die. Going cold turkey, whether it be from drugs or alcohol, is hard enough. But doing so when the world is crumbling around you? Almost impossible.
Luckily for Ted, he one day stumbled by a medical marijuana dispensary. When he found the place, the front door was wide open and it looked pretty empty inside. It was getting late and he needed a place to sleep.
Even though the main part of the store had been ransacked, which he wasn’t surprised to see, the backroom hadn’t been touched. And to his amazement, not only was it still stocked full of multiple pounds of weed, there was also a small pantry stuffed with enough food to last for at least three weeks. The biggest shock, though, was the mini-greenhouse grow-op in the back yard. How looters had missed it, he had no idea. But it was the luckiest break he had ever caught.
Using his new favorite crop, Ted was able to work his way through the DTs. Even when that meant using a good bit of the greenhouse supply. Fortunately, he was able to scrounge up some vegetable seeds and used the extra space in the greenhouse for a makeshift garden. As it turned out, Ted had a bit of a green thumb and was able to extend his food rations much longer than he’d initially anticipated.
Living in his own little garden of Eden, he wasn’t sure how long the world had been decaying around him. It was growing increasingly difficult to keep track of time with the constant overcast sky and lack of people around. Though, the weeds and grass had started taking over the streets much like the grizzly hair and beard had taken over his head and face. To say he had been living in the back of the dispensary for over six months wouldn’t be much of a stretch.
Inevitably, the time finally came when Ted’s food supply ran out and the garden was starting to dry up. He had to go out and search the barren world for anything that might extend his stay in the dispensary. But when he walked beyond the block he had recently become so familiar with, he discovered a broken town devoid of people or animals. That was alright with him though; people never did him much good before the disaster, so why would they now? Still, his loneliness was bringing back those feelings that once sent him spiraling into a ruined life of booze. Talking to another human being might not be such a bad thing after all, he figured.
He searched the small town but found little in the way of supplies. On the rare occasion he did see another person, staring out at him from the busted window of an apartment complex or wheeling a rickety shopping cart off in the distance, they always ran off before he could get close to them.
Sometimes luck was on his side and he would find some canned food, but the time for him to leave his new home was nearing. There just wasn’t enough food left in town to keep him alive. It was hard going and the nights were the toughest.
During those long sleepless nights, tossing and turning in his cold makeshift bed, Ted wondered how much longer he could stay in the dispensary. There was only so much he could grow in the nutrient-depleted soil. And the weather was getting colder with each new day. His remaining crops were bound to freeze at some point.
One of the things Ted liked about living on the streets before the disaster was the freedom to lay claim wherever he pleased. Even before the booze took over his life, he was never one to let roots grow. As much as he felt a sense of being at home in the dispensary, the urge for adventure was taking hold.
When the sun rose one cold morning, Ted had just finished packing—deciding that it was finally time to go and see if there was anything else out there for him. Traveling light, he packed the rest of the food he had, which wasn’t much. After the food, he filled his backpack with all of the leftover weed that he could smoke.
With the packing done, he went outside and mounted his bicycle. Taking one last look at the place he had called home during these early days of the apocalypse, he forced a smile.
Pushing down on the pedals, Ted started his journey to Pittsburgh to see if there was anything left of the nearest big city. He didn’t know what he’d find out there: it might be death, or survivors, or nothing at all. But if he did find some survivors, it might not be such a bad thing, he thought. All he knew for sure, though, was that he wanted to catch a buzz. It had been so long.
If you want some more stoner fiction, check out Spencer’s author page.