Interviews of the Apocalypse – Chapter 13 (Joe & Vicky)

The following interview was transcribed from a recorded session

AA – “Finally, a chance to interview the infamous Boss of this town! And his delightful wife too!”

JER – “Sorry, before we go on, just for the record, I never asked to be called Boss! I’m didn’t put myself in charge here, I just-”

VER – “Easy Joe, he hasn’t asked us anything yet! Chill.”

AA – “It’s alright, I promise we’ll get around to all that in good time. Now, for the record please state your personal details.”

(JER leans in closer to the recorder)

JER – “Joe Elliott-”

AA – “Ahem, sorry, if I may call you Joe?”

JER – “Oh, of course, yeah.”

AA – “Good, it’s not a court case Joe, the mic will pick up what you say Just talk normally, pretend the recording device isn’t even there.”

JER – “Ah, yeah, sorry about that. Now then, personal details. Joe Elliott-Rogers, sixty eight year old male.”

AA – “Excellent, and yourself my dear lady?”

VER – “What a gent you are. I’m Victoria Elliott-Rogers, sixty seven year old female. And before you ask, yes you can call me Vicky.”

AA – “Ah, excellent. Many thanks to you two for that. Now then, we’ll get on with the interview, I’m sure you have a lot to be getting on with.”

JER – “Not really.”

VER – “Yeah, the town runs itself for the most part.”

AA – “Does it indeed? Intriguing, sounds like a good place to start. Now then, first thing’s first, tell me roughly what the two of you do in this town.”

VER – “If you listen to most people here, they would tell you we’re in charge but that’s not strictly true.”

JER – “Yeah, when we found this place it was in a bit of a shambles to be honest. There were only a few hundred people living here but they houses were poorly built, there were no real roads of paths of any kind and sanitation was an absolute nightmare.”

VER – “Now look at the place. Paved roads, solid houses, running water, electricity, plumbing it’s almost getting to where we used to be.”

AA – “Yes indeed, it’s quite impressive what you two have done here. So, stepping back for a moment we’ll start from the top. Now then, what urged the two of you to go into hiding in the first place?”

VER – “Well, I can vaguely remember what used to be America electing that twat.”

JER – “Yeah, I think the UK had done something similar. Two of the most powerful countries in the world being run by ignorant, bigoted morons. Not a good sign.

VER – “It wasn’t that long before things started to kick off. Riots in the towns, battles in the streets, people with different opinions fighting friends and family alike.”

AA – “So you were there at the beginning of the collapse?”

VER – “Just what we saw from the car.”

JER – “Yeah, it was time to go. We just started driving, ended up at a shelter and settled in to wait out everything.”

AA – “And that’s all you can remember?”

VER – “From that, I wouldn’t want to remember more.”

JER – “Yeah, we’ve tried but if things were that bad I’d rather forget I think. Besides, plenty to do here and now.”

AA – “Very..pragmatic. At least you’re making a difference here. Speaking of which, when and why did the two of you leave the safety and how did you find your way here?”

VER – “Well, I remember thinking, feeling it was safe and it was time to leave.”

JER – “Yeah, we opened the doors and everything looked…fine. The buildings were intact, save some minor vandalism, no desolate, nuclear-apocalyptic wasteland, no one waiting to eat our flesh-”

VER – “Not then anyway.”

JER – “Yeah, not right away. But it seemed…just..okay really. We found our car, got it running again after a bit of tinkering, and set off.”

AA – “Any idea where you were going?”

JER – “Well, we headed home first.”

VER – “Seemed like the right thing to do really.”

JER – “Yeah..nothing for us when we got there of course. We just packed up a few things, our area seemed to dodge most of the rioting and looting, and set off again.”

VER – “Then we found this place, a little settlement cropping up in the middle of a main highway. Lucky we just happened to be on that road.”

JER – “They welcomed us with open arms. After everything they’d been through they still wanted to look after us. They showed us around, told us how everything worked and we were assigned to a scavenging party.”

VER – “Lucky we were too, those people had no idea what they were doing. A bunch of them would just head into the nearest town they could find, snoop around for a while and head back here before it got dark.”

JER – “They were barely getting by.”

AA – “And that’s when the two of you took charge?”

JER – “I wouldn’t quite say that.”

VER – “We just had a ew suggestions here and there. Got people to start remembering their names, organising them into teams, equipping them with good gear and sending them scavenging properly.”

JER – “They started to bring a lot more stuff back with them. Soon after, we started mapping out the  area around us, sectioning it off into grids and marking what we found and where.”

VER – “While Joe was taking care of all that, one of the teams found a massive construction site nearby with plenty of raw materials. I started bringing a lot of it here for storage and construction, as well as some of the more useful machines.”

JER – “More people were coming in everyday, with warnings of zombies and raiders and all kinds of other monsters. We knew the town wouldn’t last long in the state it was in.”

VER – “Yeah, so we marked out the foundation for a wall. A sturdy wooden wall, not much but enough to make someone or something think twice about attacking. We’ve knocked it down and rebuilt it about half a dozen times now.”

JER – “Yeah, I mean we left extra room for new people but they just kept coming in. So, we drew the town out on the wall of our then-house, and turned it into a grid. Allotting spaces to new people based on family size, giving them materials, helping them build.”

VER – “But more kept coming, so we started to assign more complex jobs and search teams. Soon, we had a small army of plumbers, electricians, mechanics and assorted handymen. It wasn’t long after that we managed to get running water, stable electricity and wall patrols to look out for stranded refugees and danger.”

AA – “What a magnificent feat! It’s no wonder these people all look to you now! You mentioned your ‘then-home’, what do you mean by that exactly?”

VER – “Well, as the town grew, more people kept coming to see us on a daily basis.”

JER – “Yeah, we knew we needed a proper meeting space, so we turned or house into something resembling a town hall. We were there everyday and there was space enough for everyone to come and see us. Planning rooms, map rooms, meeting rooms, I was quite proud to be honest.”

AA – “And so you should be. I don’t suppose I could sketch a copy of that map for my notes?”

JER – “Of course, yeah.”

VER – “We’re on the verge of doing of first census and getting the place acting like a real town again. We’re even starting to plan out street names and house numbers!”

AA – “A very exciting time, given the circumstances.”

VER – “Just because the world has collapsed and humanity may be on the verge of extinction doesn’t mean civilisation has to all by the wayside.”

JER – “Yup. I used to play a lot of video games before the Fall, a lot of town-building and management games, which helps a surprising amount.”

AA – “As I’m sure it would video games are very effective at stoking parts of the mind we didn’t know we possessed. I eagerly await their return.”

JER – “You and me both!”

AA – “Well, excellent. It seems you two have everything here well in hand. You should be very proud of what you’ve done here.”

VER – “We just helped a little is all.”

JER – “Just made some suggestions.”

AA – “From what I hear it, the town was on the verge of collapse just before you arrived. Disease was about to become disastrous, no hygiene, no sanitation, no real order to the place. You two saved it, and have now subsequently saved the lives of several thousand people. Here, on the edge of oblivion, that is no small feat.”

(Both interviewees look somewhat embarrassed.)

AA – “But, I digress. Now, where were we. Ah yes, tell me, if you can recall, what did the two of you do before the Fall?”

JER – “I struggle to remember most of it.”

VER – “I think we were both just out of university, working part time until we managed to find something more suited to us.”

JER – “We were living together, I remember that much>”

VER – “But not married yet, I don’t think.”

JER – “Never really saw the point in it myself.”

VER – “Things changed after everything went to shit though.”

JER – “Yeah, it felt a lot more important to me that we both have a more uniting bond.”

VER – “Although we couldn’t decide which surname to take, so in the end we just took both.”

JER – “Found a few jewellery stores with a few nice pieces left, eventually found two wedding rings that fit and bang, married.”

AA – “Funny, I talked to a couple the other day with a very similar story. Still, it’s an importnat and potent reminder of the power of love these days. Forgive an old man is melancholy.”

VER – “I always liked the idea of marriage, but Joe here never did see the logic of it.”

JER – “Well, at the time it seemed like just another capitalised institute designed to drain you of your hard-earned cash!”

AA – “This sounds like a well-worn argument.”

VER – “Ever since we were at uni. Even after our friends started to get married he never saw the point!”

JER – “Although that one wedding we went to was awesome. The reception after was fantastic.”

VER – “I’m starting to think that’s what got you thinking.”

JER – “I’d like to agree. It’s a shame we can’t see those people again, they seem to have long gone to dust.”

AA – “Sometimes, a wedding can just be about seeing all of your family and friends, celebrating with everyone you love, celebrating the foundation that allows love to grow and flourish.”

VER – “Plus it’s nice to be the center of attention for a while.”

JER – “For the bride mainly, I’m just sorry now I left it so long.”

(They hold hands)

VER – “We’re married now, the idea is that you can’t run away with me.”

JER – “Because out here, I’m surrounded by possibility!”

VER – “Well I can’t read your mind!”

JER – “There’s too much to do here woman, you’re stuck with me!”

VER – “Oh, is that all that’s keeping you here?”

JER – “Well, yeah. That and…you know…I love you.”

VER – “I love you too.”

AA – “Just delightful, you’ve made an old man smile today, I won’t soon forget it. Well, I think that about wraps everything up nicely. Thank you both for your time.”

VER – “Our pleasure.”

JER – “Yeah, thanks for the invitation.”

AA – “You’re both quite welcome. Now then, might I steal a copy of that town map of yours?”

END

Again, not many notes here. Another couple who seem to remember more than usual about their lives before the Fall. However, there is no discernable pattern or relation between these two and the others who have similar recollections.

Still, I would note how nice it is to see love flourish in these troubling times. As much as they bickered somewhat toward the end of the interview, they were smiling the whole time.

An important couple here too, what they have managed to do in this society is amazing. Bringing people together here in an organised and helpful fashion during what can only be called the worst of times is no small feat as I mentioned.

A very special couple indeed.

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