Casey Hall is a writer just trying to survive the pumpkin spice-ification
of everything in existence.
There were whole summers where I wouldn’t sleep. I just stared at the guest bedroom ceiling in my mother’s parents’ house, and in my head rehearsed knots, practiced smoke signals. Like some children wait for Santa, I waited for the end of the world.
Every few nights, grandfather would run into the room brandishing masks and knives, and everything was over. The men had come, or the reactors had failed, or the strain had spread. We sat in the basement in crinkly foil suits as he told me the ways in which our world and any understanding of life in it completely dissolved.
In grandfather’s futures, you boiled pinecones and waited for wolf meat to cure in the sun. You stripped slime from river rocks. You ate roasted crickets, or you didn’t eat at all. I asked if there would still be Reese’s Pieces, and grandfather howled and chuffed.
When we buried grandfather the world was still pretty much in place.
That night after the services, I went home and put on my crinkly foil suit and went down into the basement. Unlike grandfather, I didn’t trust that the world would provide anything. The inevitable would come, and everything would become poison.
I gave myself two rules for stocking the shelter. One, it’s delicious. Anyone stuck in a dying wilderness would trade a kingdom for a tin of vienna sausages. Two, it has to be defensive. Because men without kingdoms become desperate and there’s no shortage of ways to kill a man in the world that’s come undone.
You can’t escape the collapse or the singularity or the rapture or whatever name you give to the inevitable. You can only prepare. Now I stare at the ceiling and go over inventory.
Twinkies are extremely valuable. The sponge can staunch a wound, the creme filling can loosen a stuck bolt. It also becomes a powerful, adhesive incendiary after a quick dunk into a flammable hydrocarbon jelly.
Twizzlers are good for syphoning gas, but more preferable is a spool of a decent length of red rope licorice. A fine tether for finding one’s way around the woods, and a soft garrote for stealth strangling.
A first alert system can be made from a perimeter pork rinds.
You can fashion a believable and decorative grenade shape from a decent marzipan.
Kraft caramel squares can jam keyholes and patch tires. Heat them white hot and surprise aggressors with a 3rd degree burn that melts into the skin.
Pretzel rods can be fashioned into shivs, kept secret in a sleeve for close encounters or left upended in the pit of your choosing.
A wedge of parmesan aged 36 months can strip bark from branches. Or break fingers.
Peanut butter is good to have. Mark your target’s door with it and the bears will surely come.
Improvised ballistics can be made inside of Pringles tubes.
Fruit leather and granola are useless. They do nothing but make you comfortable.
Rice cakes on the other hand, when correctly agitated, cause an explosive chemical reaction.
Not everyone will be corrupted by the madness of survival. Being prepared doesn’t mean you