(Biggest GM of all time approved by all parties. I'm pretttyyy sure we're all in agreement here but if you guys want to make an individual post you're welcome to do so, just give a shout.)
Everyone was talking. Why the fuck was everyone talking? Did he need to hear what everyone else thought? Samya made a strong point but Zach brushed it aside.
"Just because it doesn't look like he has a gun don't mean he's clean, Sam."
Zach exhaled. This was just one big clusterfuck. Before he could keep track of everyone but now it was becoming a difficult task. A task Zach didn't want to fuck with. Doc and Ash were asking him shit. What the fuck was he supposed to do, just nod and say yes to make them happy? Zach never had to deal with this shit before. What was worse was that Dustin fucking
Royal got snippy with him. It made him really want to grab the small-dicked fuck by the colar, lift him off his feat and scream.
"Royal, you're -this- close from earning a lifetime supply of knuckle sandwiches. Savy motherfucker?"
Course he didn't say that. He just fumed.
Doc seemed worried about food and water. More specifically, the lack thereof. Zach never ate much so the lack of food wasn't much of a change. He wanted a chicken, a roasted
chicken with herbal spices and that shit, but it wasn't like he was worried about it. Not now. If he was hungry, he would eat. If he was thirsty, he would drink water. Simple shit. He would conserve his shit because Zach had the habit of always conserving his shit so it was only a problem of taste more than anything. Bread and water wasn't listed as the house special at the The Varsity but this shit was better than nothing.
That reminded Zach of the soup that The Varsity always served. With like cheese and crumpets or some shit. French Onion?
Zach... pushed that thought out of his mind and went back to Alfalfa. The dude was talking but there were five voices talking at once. Zach put a hand up.
"Ash, Doc, shut the fuck up. The man's talking. You deaf or somethin'?"
Alfalfa elaborated on how he was just proving how safe he was. Had the air of sarcasm around him. Zach didn't like it, and he bit the boy just as quickly as he reached his hand out.
"I can see that you ain't got no gun," Zach growled. "I ain't stupid. Don't have one in your hand at least. Could have one in your bag. Could have one in your backpocket. Could have one shoved up your ass for all I know. Waving your hands around ain't doing shit and it definitely ain't making me trust you any more."
Zach pulled apart the kids logic like any asshole would to a scared kid. Fuck this "I'm innocent, here, let me prove it" nonsense. Zach didn't give his trust lightly and frankly doing what Alfalfa did would make Zach even more suspicious. It was like Alfalfa had someone holding him up at gun point, and decided to just hide behind him until the right time presented itself. That was certainly fuckin' possible, what with Alfalfa being built like a goddamn tree.
Alfalfa went on to talk about how he had so-called saved Raggedy Ann
. Zach didn't buy into any of that crap. Anyone who did a good deed for the sake of telling others was not being selfless. Zach did find it unbelievable that so much time had passed.
"Yesterday evening?" Zach held his head. "The sun set like a fuckin'
hour ago. 'Least, it felt like it. My biological clock is like ten hours early or something."
Time flies when you're waiting to be killed, huh Zach?
He kept listening to the boy, giving a tiny sagely nod with every passing moment. It wasn't that he was growing to trust Alfalfa. He just listened, and he was still listening around the time Alfalfa lowered his arms and dropped the bombshell.
Zach knew that Raggedy Ann got fucked up. He didn't know by who though. Fuck.
"Phil Ward did that shit?"
Zach looked down at Raggedy Ann. Girl was a bruised pear. Zach felt... upset about this, for the girl or for himself he wasn't sure.
Zach had assumed that there were only fifteen people actually fighting. He had been stupid enough to assume the number of good guys outweighed the bad guys. Zach knew Phil Ward. The guy was a knobgobbler but hearing about him doing this shit blew Zach's mind. The guy was a complete pushover. He never SPOKE to anyone. He could see Kensrue ripping a kid to shreds but Ward
"... didn't think the pussy had it in him."
Zach sat on this. He ignored Alfalfa's last question. He went to inhale again. The cigarette was down to the filter.
"... you gotta be fucking kidding."
Zach took it out of his mouth. He went quiet. Zach let the filter dangle from his fingers for just a second. It fell, bouncing on the ground, the orange strings of ash floating from the impact. His mind went back to what Alfalfa had said. Half the fuckin' forest? Smokey Bear must be bawling like a baby right about now. Zach crushed it with his toe and closed his eyes. He thought.
Well Zach. Look what you got yourself into. You're the leader of a group of kids. You don't know them, you don't want to know them, and all of them are looking at you like you've got answers. They could be playing you for a fool, like a sheep and you wouldn't know it. Up 'til now you thought they were just blind sheep. Now any of them could be wolves that bought sheep clothes from the Save'N'Mart. And you ain't got it in you to kill any one of them.
Nothing you can't handle though. You're the shit Zach, remember? You don't know shit about Da Vinci, you're IQ don't have three digits and school was never your bag. But you're fucking Zach Jamis. You see shit that's beyond everyone else. You don't read between the lines, you pull the lines out of the equation with your bare hands. You got logic. Shit Zach, if you can't turn this negative into a positive then no one can. Now whatchu gonna do Zach?
What 'you gonna do?
And Zach opened his eyes.
Aquafina looked up, a little surprised. "Me?"
"What's your name?"
Aquafina had a tiny little pout that Zach registered as a sneer. She opened her mouth, in order to complain Zach figured, but he quickly put up a hand up to stop her.
" 'Less you want me calling you Aquafina the rest of the day, I'm gonna need your name."
Aquafina stared at him. She stayed quiet for a moment. "Cassie."
"Cassie," Zach repeated. "Zach Jamis. Not good with names. If I forget, just remind me."
Zach turned to Dustin Royal. Dustin fuckin'
Royal, the only guy he wished weren't in the equation at all.
"Royal, you go help Cassie, grab the kid up and carry her." Zach's face softened, just a tad. "Rec Cent' ain't far and Raggedy Ann don't look like she has a muffintop anyway."
Zach felt the urge to grab another smoke creep out but he pacified it. Not now. Not fucking now.
"Alfalfa," he pointed to the new boy. "You stay with them. If they need help you jump in, but otherwise you cover them and make sure no one's lurking on that side."
Zach turned to Ash. "You stay in the back. Need someone to scream bloody murder if someone's creeping up from behind. Think you can handle that?"
He didn't waste time and quickly laid his attention on Doc. "You're the only one with any experience with first aid." Zach wiped his nose. "Then again, you'd be an expert if all you know is how to slap a band-aid on a scrape. We're going to keep you in the middle, keep you safe. You stay alert though, keep your eyes peeled on our blind spot. If you see any shit happening, you let me know."
Zach finally arrived at Sam. Only real friend he had. Only friend with the gun at least. "Sam. Rec Center ain't that far but keep that pea shooter out. I'm putting you up here with me. You're the only one with a gun and if any fuckers try to start shit we need some insurance."
Zach turned away from Sam and looked out at the others. It felt like he had to give a motivational speech. This was a cheesy 80's college movie and he was the energetic newcomer who manages to encourage the rest of the gang to victory. Except Zach was a fucking negative nancy, and positivity
(even thinking of that word left a bad taste in his mouth) wasn't this strong point. He was going to have to try though.
"Get your shit together kiddies. We get to the Town Center and we turn it into our hub. I ain't been in there. I don't know if anyone else IS in there. I can't tell you until we're inside. We'll figure out a plan then and if it turns out someone's crashing there... I'll figure something out. Don't worry."
Zach picked up his bag and flung it over his shoulder. "Till then, all you guys need to worry about is not wandering off. If you want to make it to the end of the day, you stick together and you stay alert. If anyone, and I mean anyone
tries any funny shit, you say something. Scream, whisper, wave your hands, I don't care, just let us know. Got it?"
Zach hand tugged on his shoulder strap. His voice grew serious. He wasn't good with words. What he was good at was cutting the bullshit. Before they went ahead, he needed to cut some shit out.
"I feel the need to remind you that this isn't high school. Some of you might have caught onto this. Those of you who haven't need to learn. I don't know this show, never fuckin' liked it, made me sick to my stomach just thinking about it. The one thing that I do know is that here, in this hellhole, your friends from school can be your enemies. Yesterday's nerd can be today's Hannibal Lecter. It's unbelievable, sure, but remember the announcement. Think about that. So many dead in one day. Try to spin it all you like, but there has to be at least one person going out of their way to snap some necks. 'An with the amount of kids that went on this trip, I bet there are plenty more that just haven't gotten a chance to shed some blood. I put my life on that.
"So yeah, I'm a hypocrite. Asking you to trust a guy you don't even know. What's an asshole like me doing, telling you what to do? And to that, I ask another question. Why am I putting my trust in you. How do you know that? If I didn't trust you, I wouldn't be fucking leading
you. Believe me, my trust costs more than a fucking Lincoln. So I ask again, why the hell am I putting so much trust in you?"
Zach simmered. "Cuz. I just am. I don't have a weapon out. Any one of you could have clocked me, just walk up and bust my head open. None of you did. So yeah, I trust you all without any fuckin' better reason other than 'I ain't dead yet'. I keep telling myself I'm an idiot for thinking this but I think I'm lucky for finding others who are 'bout as sane as me. So I'm putting that out there in the hopes that you'll do the same for the rest, just like I am. That's the only way we're going to get through this shit. We trust each other."
Zach stayed quiet for a moment, just looking at his companions. His group.
Buncha ugly mugs huh?
For the first time all day he gave a genuine smile.
"Got it? Alright. Let's rock and roll."
(The Rat Pack continued in The Moon is Laughing at You