The Straw That Broke the Camel’s Back

It’s not even funny anymore…

After suffering through the perils of the wasteland, I finally made it back to Abundance. I was beaten up, almost eaten by giant mutant spiders, had all my stuff stolen, wandered through the desert without any water, was captured and almost eaten by a disgusting mutant, AND to top it all off I had my arm broken in three places before I was set free.  So…what do I get for my trouble when I walk into town with a full five gallon jug on my back? Nothing. Absolutely friggen nothing.

I walked into town to find that the town was basically empty. The saloon was all locked up. I heard some hustle and bustle from the fortress wall at the end of the street, so I went to check it out. A line of some hundred people stretched out onto the street. Soldier boys all dressed up in black armor and rusty red fatigues kept the peace from the fortress’ battlements. Something big was happening here.

With nothing else to do, I decide to get in line to see what’s up.  I quickly realized that every person coming out of the fortress was proudly carrying a canteen with a funny looking 47 on it.  Over an hour passed before I passed the fortress gates. I couldn’t believe the inside of this place. Everything was just like the old times! The streets were freshly paved, not a pothole in sight. The buildings were blocky, made of white concrete, and electricity flowed freely. Oasis had nothing on this place.

Another hour passed before I finally got to the front of the line. I came before a table in front of the only two story building on the base. Two guards fumbled with paperwork. The first asked for my canteen. With sharp pain in my arm, I removed my pack and presented the five gallon jug. The two soldiers turned to each other with smarmy grins. One of the goons spoke into a walkie talkie then asked me to step out of line. A few minutes later he showed up.

The notorious James Gray appeared, along with a bald old man wearing a black leather greatcoat covered in medals. The Australian recognized me this time.

“Hey there little buddy, you’re not lookin’ so good. Whatcha got there?”

I presented my jug once again and explained that I had discovered a sustainable water source. I told them that I would just need some workhands to assemble a caravan. The old man let out a light chuckle. His voice was roached out, like he hadn’t had a drink in ages.

“Old Gray here beat’cha too it, son.” He said, placing a fatherly hand on the bushman’s shoulder.

My eyebrow still hasn’t stopped twitching…

-Joe Junkman

Back in the Saddle

Looking good!

With more dog tags than I could carry, I left the saloon and found Abundance’s general store. I don’t know how long it’s been, but I haven’t changed clothes since before the war. Seeing how much has changed, I’m guessing it could have been years. I ditched my old tweed jacket and button up and picked up a blue shirt and brown vest to hold all my tags and patches. They didn’t have any pants in my size, so duct taped my ripped knees. Still, it seemed like something was missing. I finished the outfit with a bandana, hat, and snow goggles to protect myself from all this dust.

Grabbing a backpack and some basic supplies, I found myself hesitant to go back into the wasteland. After seeing Saul Fore and the blacksmiths get taken out by those flaming bandits, I didn’t think I’d have much luck going out alone. Regardless, I knew that in a place like this, water was the most valuable commodity; more importantly, it would make me really rich.

I decided to head north, toward the edge of this desert valley. I figured there might be some melted snow up there or something, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up. Coming to the base of the mountains, I found what looked like a trail. Seemed like lady luck was on my side. Confident but cautious, I began my next adventure.

What will I do if I can’t find any water?

-Joe Junkman

Art of the Deal

New town, new life.

With only the clothes on my back, a few dog tags, and a gun I wandered into the town of Abundance. I’m going to be honest… it sucks here. The whole town smells like onions. The people are simple and I mean that in the worst way. They’re all slack jawed ranchers. I’m actually kind of surprised they can grow anything in this dustbowl. The ground is bone dry.

Making my way to the local watering hole, I sat down and ordered a drink. I was looking for something stiff to help me relax. Unfortunately, all they had was magenta colored cactus juice. Perfect.

Rocking back and forth on a barstool, I overheard some local news. Apparently water is becoming real scarce around here and the farmers are having trouble finding shipments. Being an enterprising man, I jumped off my stool and announced to the whole bar that I had a water source and that I could be persuaded to bottle some, for the right price. The idiots actually believed me!

Before I knew it, I had a betting war on my hands! One farmer promised 10 tags/gallon. Another offered 1000 tags to fill up his two tanks. A third offered me my weight in onions and tacultia meat (whatever that is). Desperate customers are my favorite kind. Naturally, I told them I’d need an advance. Each of them was happy to fork over 500 tags in the form of oddly designed patches and coins.

So now all I have to do is find a few thousand gallons of water in a barren desert wasteland that I’m totally unfamiliar with and then bring it back to Abundance, probably all by myself. I may have bitten off a bit more than I can chew.

The good news is, I’ve already been paid.

-Joe Junkman