> TEOTWAWKI Blog: You Took Away Tomorrow: Chapter 1 - Goliath Stumbles

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6/2/13

You Took Away Tomorrow: Chapter 1 - Goliath Stumbles

Read along as our heroes struggle through an emerging apocalypse. As they are confronted by problems, recommend the course of action--we'll base the decision and next chapter of the story on decisions provided by you, the readers. Enjoy! If you missed the introduction, you can find it right here.

Chapter 1: Goliath Stumbles

The Near Future...
Jack Rourke’s desk phone rang, breaking through a zen-like level of concentration. He was in what he liked to call the productivity zone, trying to finish off a slide deck to shoot out to the project team before the end of the day. His calendar was blocked off, giving him some peace and quiet, and a half drained 16-oz energy drink was powering him through the afternoon. He was on a roll, with only two slides left to throw together. He didn’t need any distractions—he had to get the slides done today, and anything that got in his way would only keep him here later. He had martial arts class right after work, and he really didn’t want to miss it.
He debated letting the call go to voice mail, but checked the ID on the fourth ring. It was Tyler “Tex” Ryan. Tex never called his desk phone. Jack’s hand flew out, snatching the phone off the receiver.
“Hey Tex, it’s Rourke,” he answered.
“Buddy, have you seen the news?” Tex asked. His voice was hushed, and a bit stressed.
“No, should I have?”
“Dude, I think the crap just hit the fan. Pull it up and tell me I’m not crazy.”


Jack tried to pull up his usual news source, but got a weird load error. He tried an alternative, which was also down. Finally, a third website loaded, the title scrawled prominently at the top of the page setting his heart dropping:
Massive Explosion Rocks Washington, D.C.
Jack clicked through to the article, quickly skimming over the scant details. Reports were flying in from outside of the D.C. area, reporting a bright flash, ground tremor and a huge mushroom cloud, centered on Capitol Hill area.
“Somebody hit D.C.?”
“Wait, D.C.? You mean Manhattan, right?”
“No, this says D.C. What are you reading?”
Jack backed out to the homepage and found if featuring a new headline, worse than the first:
Breaking: Simultaneous Nuclear Attacks hit New York and D.C.
The image showed a billowing, ominous and unmistakable mushroom cloud, wicked and black against the afternoon sky.
“They hit both. Manhattan and D.C. It just came through—the attacks must have been in the last few minutes.”
“Wait, D.C. AND Manhattan? Holy crap.”
Neither spoke for a long while, shocked. Jack pulled up another news website and found a similar headline and mushroom cloud photo. This was real. D.C. and Manhattan had been hit by what was thought to be nuclear weapons—huge fireball, mushroom clouds, no communications into the impacted areas. No real details beyond what people 15 miles out from the blast sites were reporting.
A woman in a cubicle a few down from Jack’s gasped loudly. She’d just spotted the news, too.
“Oh no!” the woman started to repeat over and over, panic rising in their voice co-workers rushing over to see what the problem was.
The woman’s panic snapped Jack out of his stupor and into action. He had a head start on the news and on the frantic, panicked masses, but not by much. He had to move, and move quickly.
“Tex, get home as fast as you can. People are going to go nuts and panic.”
“Do you think we’ll be ok? About the radiation I mean? Or EMP?”
“I don’t think we’d still be talking if EMP was going to be a problem. Fallout, I’m not sure. We might be in range of the D.C. stuff. Depends on winds, how big the bomb was—I don’t know.”
“Damn, man, this is it,” Tex said, his voice sounding grim and faraway sounding. Jack could hear the rustling sounds of movement on the other end—Tex was up and going.
“This will be bad, Tex. At a minimum, the country’s political and economic centers are out of commission. That alone is bad, let alone what else is going to happen in the aftermath. I’m out of here—going to call Fiona and get home as fast as I can.”
“Same here. Be safe, man.”
Jack undocked his laptop and threw it in his work bag, rising to leave.
“You too, Tex. I don’t know how bad this will be here, but I think probably smart to play it safe and have everyone rendezvous up at my place. Can you call Blackwell and give him the heads up on the way home? I’ll call MacNab.”
“Sure. I’ll have Esme load up, we’ll be over there as soon as possible.”
“All right, let’s move. Be safe, Tex.”
“You too, Jack.”
Jack slung his daily carry backpack over one shoulder, speed walking for the elevator. He worked on the 20th floor of a downtown skyscraper; he had an elevator ride, a walk to his truck in the company parking garage and a 30 minute drive home—without traffic. He needed to beat the mad rush out of the building and the downtown area—if he didn’t get out now, he might be stranded in traffic for hours.
He speed dialed Fiona while waiting for the elevator, but got her voicemail.
“Fiona, honey: Alas, Babylon. I repeat: Alas, Babylon. Get Porter. I’m on my way home. I love you.”
He sent her a text message to similar effect. Alas, Babylon, the title of one of Jack’s favorite post-apocalyptic novels, had long been their emergency code phase, and should trigger Fiona into immediate action.
The elevator arrived, empty, and the ride down had no stops in between. A cluster of people had gathered around the lobby’s flat screen TV, which usually aired Wall Street financial shows. Now, it was playing coverage from the D.C. bomb, helicopter footage showing the growing mushroom cloud miles off in the distance. The small crowd was transfixed, mesmerized by the horror. How many millions were dead?
Jack broke into a jog, heading for the parking garage. He dialed Kyle MacNab on the way.
“Hey Rourke, calling in sick on training tonight?” Kyle answered.
“Kyle—crap’s hit the fan. Looks like nuke attacks on New York and D.C.”
“Wait, what? Are you serious?”
“Dead serious. We’re rendezvousing at my place as soon as possible.”
“Crap, Rourke. I’m at an install two hours away.”
Jack flew up the stairs towards his truck.
“Not good. Get moving, then. Call Amy, have her load up quick and bug out to my place.”
“You think it’s that bad?”
“Don’t know at this point, but the roads will be jammed soon, phones might go down, and we might get some fallout from the D.C. attack. Just get moving.”
“All right, all right man.”
Jack was nearing his truck, a black double cab Toyota Tacoma with mild off-road modifications. He used the remote to pop open the doors and start the engine, tossed his pack into the open bed and hopped in the cab.
“Look, Kyle. I gotta drive. What route are you taking home?”
Kyle told him the interstate he’d be taking, and then the alternate route he’d plan to use. It didn’t look good—he’d have to either cross through the downtown area, or entirely circumvent it, adding time and miles to the trip. While he talked, Jack put the Tacoma into gear and raced out of the garage, tires screeching down the circular exit ramp.
“All right. If comms go down and you’re not home by tomorrow morning, we’ll send out a search party. Keep your walkie with you if you have to bail.”
“Got it. I’ll be on the road in five. Be safe, man.”
“You too.”
Jack raced out onto the surface streets, heading for the interstate. Afternoon traffic still looked normal. He was still ahead of the crowds.
Connecting to the truck’s Bluetooth, he tried Fiona again, and still no answer.
“Come on, babe. Of all the times not to answer your phone…”
He pulled onto the freeway, flooring the accelerator, the Tacoma’s powerful V6 getting him up well over the speed limit in no time.
The interstate had light traffic, an everyday average before rush-hour lull. Jack wondered how long that would remain the case.
He mentally scanned over his commute home—traffic-wise, he usually had a straight shot for about ten miles once he left the immediate area of downtown. But then, the road narrowed, a highway merged onto the interstate, and passed through a suburb town with several office parks and corporate headquarters only minutes off the freeway. That stretch often became a rush-hour nightmare, a bottle neck on his commute home.
Jack pushed the truck faster. That bottle neck was a real potential—he’d be hitting it in about seven minutes, which would be a total of fifteen to twenty minutes before the news of the attacks had first broke. He doubted that the thousands of office workers would be that far behind the on decision loop.
Jack had an alternate route, though—a shortcut that ran across a fairly sparsely populated area of old farms, wooded homes and a few small developments. It was slower if the freeway was empty, but much faster if it allowed him to beat the traffic. He exited the Interstate a few miles ahead of the bottle neck, hitting a green light for his turn onto the old state highway route.
The roads were still clear. Jack got up to speed again, weaving around slower cars—many probably still oblivious to what had happened.
Jack tried again to get a hold of Fiona, dialing the number and waiting. The phone dialed though, but then clicked off after a pause.
Jack swore, hitting the steering wheel in frustration. He picked up his phone to see if it he’d lost signal. Instead, he found that he had a missed call—from Fiona.
“Yes!” Jack said. He tried to call her back again, but got similar results. He tried two more times before giving up. Something was wrong with the cell network.
Jack’s mind raced over what to do next.
Fiona had called him back, which meant she’d at least most likely received his text message. If she didn’t putter around, she’d already be in the SUV on the way to pick up Porter from school, about four miles from their home—maybe even gone and back again. But what if something had happened with the message or the voice mail? Jack could swing by Porter’s school, but it was out of his way for his straight shot home.
Jack turned a corner, coming up on a little strip mall. The strip mall had a grocery store, drug store, hardware store and a gas station.
Jack thought about his preparations, which felt far too insufficient in the face of what lay ahead. His mind ran through everything he’d want to have in store for the tough times they faced. More gas – his truck’s tank was half empty, and two of his 5-gallon cans at home had been used up during the group gathering the month prior. More propane for their stoves and the grill, too. More food—they had six months for the Rourke family, but with three other families under their roof, that would be cut dramatically short. The other group members had food in their homes and would certain bring some, but there was no telling how much they would be able to bring. Similarly, the Rourke family’s supply of other consumables, things like toilet paper, batteries, bleach, hygiene products, would not last long if they had to support the entire group.
Then, Jack remembered the potential for fallout. They lived in the Southeastern United States, hundreds of miles from D.C. From Jack’s vague memories of fallout patterns, he thought that they would probably be on the outer edge of any possible fallout from whatever hit D.C., if they got any at all. Of course, if two cities were attacked roughly simultaneously, more cities could be next. If it was all-out nuclear war between the U.S. and some unknown aggressor, then fallout and radiation would be inevitable. Jack could only hope and pray that was not the case.
Jack’s home was made of brick and had a basement, both of which would provide some protection in the event of radioactive fallout. It was far from the real-deal nuclear fallout shelter that was still on his survivalist wish list, but he was the only one in the group to have even a basement, and he really could think of no better option at this point. For supplies, Jack had a box of protective N95 particulate masks, a couple old surplus Isreali gas masks and one actual, recent military issue gas mask and a single CBRN suit—a chemical/biological/radiation/nuclear protection suit. The hardware would have additional masks or respirators, gloves, plastic sheeting for sealing off doors and windows, sand bags for creating a protective barrier, maybe even some extra shovels and picks for digging.
Jack weighed his options.
After the strip mall, it was a ten minute drive to his home on the same back country road, with little chance of hitting real traffic. If he assumed Fiona was handling picking up Porter, then maybe a quick stop for some very last minute purchases would be worth a few minutes delay.
On the other hand, if there had been an issue receiving his message, maybe Fiona hadn’t even left yet to pick up Porter. While the school was only four miles away, half of that distance was on one of the area’s major roads, which was likely to be quickly clogged with traffic.
Or, maybe he should get home as fast as possible, make sure everything was ok and the family was safe, and then try to run back out to the store and hope that law and order still reigned for at least a little while longer. They lived in a fairly good, safe, almost rural suburb; he’d expect to see some chaos and trouble in other areas, but here, they should have some more time.
Whatever Jack was going to do, he needed to make up his mind quickly. The turn into the strip mall’s parking lot was fast approaching—if he was going to try to hit one of the shops, he needed to decide now. If he was going to speed past, rushing for home, it was doubtful he’d be able to find much on a return trip, so he needed to be satisfied with the preparations he already had in place. 

All right! Now it's your turn! If you found yourself in this situation, what would you do? There's not really a wrong or right answer, just looking for what action you would take and why.

28 comments :

  1. A quick trip into the hardware store for tools, vegetable seeds, and items to harden the house. 5 minutes max on this trip. Seeds being the priority, everything else can be improvised.

    The grocery store: Load up on white gas, flour, olive oil, salt, sugar, beef jerky, dry grains, bleach, 3 cases of bottled water, rice, spices, powdered milk, cases of canned goods, and some convenience foods. Maxing out the credit card, of course.

    Head home,unload, and when the truck is unloaded and Fiona isn't home. Check her route to school and back.

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  2. AnonymousJune 02, 2013

    find somewhere and top up the gas tank and buy some bottled water at the gas station but make it one stop. send a text again to fiona as they make it through when calling fails depending on the network

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    1. AnonymousJune 02, 2013

      great reading so far and perfect place to end it by the way

      Delete
  3. I would stop and get supplies. This is not going to take long. At this point you would know better what you are up against. Before, you are prepping for everything. Now, surplus would be very handy.

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  4. I say make the stops as quickly as possible. In my experience with natural disasters (tornadoes, ice storms, flooding, etc..) shelves are cleaned out FAST. If you don't make the stop right then chances are what you want/need won't be there when you decide to go back. Also gas pumps won't work if the power goes out for whatever reason.

    One thing I learned in the tornado May 20th is even tho you have signal on your cell getting calls to go through are very hit and miss. My sister was in a cellar as the tornado went through and we couldn't reach her at all by calling but texts were getting through fine most of the time although much slower than normal.

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  5. AnonymousJune 02, 2013

    Supplies first. Home second (to see if the kid is home with Mom). School third (if necessary). School third because short of a local collapse, teachers will most likely wait until the parents show up. Not sure if that's wishful thinking, but during a normal school lock down that seems to be the case.

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  6. AnonymousJune 03, 2013

    Your at the store already, set a 5 minute time limit or 1 full cart, whichever comes first! Grab as much as you can, there's always going to be more you would like but now isn't the time. Can's of soup, freeze dried stuff, or top ramen, all come in cases if your at the right store, grab some of that, any water source you can, and whatever propane you can and get out (should grab multi vitamins too if your diet is going to be that crappy). If the gas station is right there hit that as quick as possible too and most have extra gas tanks for 1-5 gallons. Fill the truck, and buy a few. Then head home. Yes time is of the essence, however this specific situation, there's no reason 10 extra minutes hear is going to kill your family if you don't get home. As well, if the school is only 4 miles away, worst case, your wife didn't pick up the son, he lives in the country, grab an atv and take some fields or a dirt bike, even a mt. bike or you could run it if your in decent shape in 35 mins or quicker. Yes all this will set you back a bit on time frame for getting over to the main house but even if it's a few extra hours, this would be worth it to have a few extra days or weeks of food (unless I'm missing something about fallout timeframes?) Just my .02. And Anon brought up a good point, most teachers don't leave even in emergencies until everyone's picked up.

    -JackintheBox

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  7. AnonymousJune 03, 2013

    I agree go for the supplies but my opinion is to spend more time than most suggest, say no more than ten minutes. We already know he has a vehicle that has some offroad capabilities so if he runs into traffice in the last few miles he should be able to get around it some way. There will likely be no other chance to get supplies again with normal purchasing methods (cash and especially credit cards) so need to make it count now.

    Seems a mistake to not already have plastic sheeting and that alone would make the decision for me to stop if I didn't have it in this scenario. Food would be next, followed by gas if time allowed.

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    Replies
    1. Yep, these characters aren't perfect survivalist types with 3 years of every conceivable item stashed away :D Not having the plastic sheeting, etc. is indeed a mistake, but I imagine most of us have holes in our preps, stuff that is far on the back burner that we haven't yet gotten to.

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  8. AnonymousJune 03, 2013

    Just a thought - In our state if something like this were to happen the school policy is to go into lock down in which case they will not release the students under any circumstances even to parents until they deem it is safe to do so- I know most people would suggest making the stop but personally I would be headed straight for the school hoping I got there before they found out something was wrong.

    Also why didn't the wife text back if she tried to call? Even when calls won't go through in most situations texts will.

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    Replies
    1. One of the things that I'm doing with this series is trying to make the actions of the characters somewhat realistic. The wife (Fiona) probably just did not think to text versus call.

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    2. Since no one is perfect in their preps and most likely in their actions when SHTF, I think making the characters "realistic" is a great approach. Their inaction or mis-steps are helping us analyze the situation and their behaviors. Everyone's input and suggestions are making for fascinating reading.

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  9. AnonymousJune 03, 2013

    A difficult choice as ensuring your child's safety is likely the highest personal priority while picking up supplies is the most expedient and efficient option. I'd have to go with picking up supplies, it is the most readily available course of action and as others have pointed out, the most time sensitive as those supplies will probably be bought up quickly.

    And I think even in the case of a nuclear attack on D.C. and Manhattan, anarchy and social chaos is not going to break out in the course of a few hours or overnight. There is a lot of redundancy built into government and it is a tiered system of municipal, county, state, and federal entities with overlapping spheres of influence. Even eliminating the top tiers in one fell swoop would leave lower levels of government intact and to some degree functional, at least in the short term.

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    Replies
    1. It's not that the local government will not function, but that it will be overwhelmed by the panicking, unprepared masses and some probable eventual absenteeism among first responders. There are only so many police officers and paramedics to go around.

      Delete
  10. Day TripperJune 03, 2013

    I think you got to stop and pick up some extra supplies in this situation. It doesn't seem like there would be any reason YET for Fiona or Porter to be in any particular danger other than traffic, crowds at the stores, etc. If it were a day or so after the attack then it could be a completely different situation as the shelves may be empty, people beginning to flip out, and any possible nuclear fallout.

    For supplies I would pick up as much as quickly possible. Tops on my list would be bleach, rubbing/grain alcohol, vitamins, ibuprofen, tylenol, oatmeal, peanut butter, rice, beans, potatoes, vegetable/olive oil, cans of soup and tuna, and any large quantities of fresh meat that they had in the grocery store as there are various ways to preserve this meat depending on what happens to the grid. I would also try to pay with my debit card and if it went through I would hit up any ATM's that I saw to withdraw cash. I'd also fill up on gas paying with my debit card again if possible and hit up the ATM at the gas station as well if it works. Alcohol and tobacco may not be bad purchases right now either as they will go fast and can be used for barter later on.

    As soon as I got home I would begin collecting water as it would not have had time to become contaminated yet or shut off. Hopefully he has some type of storage for it like a waterBOB or something but if not I would be filling up the bathtubs and any buckets that I had and shut off the incoming water to the hot water tank as it will be potable as well.

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  11. AnonymousJune 03, 2013

    Fill the tank, get groceries. I'd have to argue with a 5 minute limit and I know I'll get an argument for it. If you have ever done much grocery shopping, even if you just "run in and out," it's not you in the check out line, it's the ninny ahead of you holding up everything. Take the 5 minutes to get what you need, keep texting/calling Fiona and then the school to see if Porter was picked up.

    I'm the "buy more toilet paper!" person. Because you CANNOT grow it. And unless you are just awesome beyond your own mind, leaves are only for emergencies. I speak from a woman's personal perspective. Been there, done that. Ew.

    And I think everyone's groceries would differ. I'd get flour, lots of sugar and salt; canned fruit and veggies; beef jerky; toilet paper (of course), bottled water; powdered milk; dried beans, etc. I'd fill the basket and head out to the school. I speak from a mom's heart and say that I'd have to know that the school was leveled before I'd skip it.

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    Replies
    1. Heathens and there toilet paper! Get a bidet.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bidet

      Delete
  12. AnonymousJune 03, 2013

    Stop and get the supplies, as much as you can afford. Get the gas too. Social chaos is not going to start in the first few hours, mostly shock. As another said, you can get around traffic if you need too. Then get home and to the school if need be. Trust Fiona to follow the plan, till you know she didn't.

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  13. AnonymousJune 03, 2013

    I agree that supplies would be the priority you have to trust that the wife will follow the plan. You can't give the sheeple time to find out more details and make a run on the stores.
    C Scout

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  14. AnonymousJune 04, 2013

    Trust your wife to be reliable. She does not need you to micro-manage. Stop at grocery store first. Use credit cards for all purchases. Get cart, load 5 bags of rice, 20-30 cans of large baked beans and then get 20-30 large cans of assorted veggies. That will feed your family for weeks in a pinch. I'd like to get more but the crowds will be coming soon. Stop at gas station and pay at pump to fill tank. Run in while filling and buy up all the beef jerky and nuts. Total time: 15-20 minutes if you hustle.

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  15. AnonymousJune 04, 2013

    I agree with those who say the chaos won't start for a while, if it is indeed limited to those two strikes. I know nukes are more extreme than the 9/11 attacks, but no one I know even left work early on that day, even with the rumors flying about additional attacks underway. I believe most people will be glued to TV sets or other sources of info for the first several hours...probably waiting for someone to tell them what to do...with us preparedness types being the ones off and running. I would make stops for gas and supplies, trusting the wife to stick to the plan. If you can hit one store for both...better. I would also be monitoring any resource I could...radio...SMS slerts...etc. to keep abreast of additional strikes, as that would definitely speed the panic along, and could very well force you to make drastic changes to your plans.

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  16. I wouldn't go to the mall, but I'd go to a good old grocery store, say Wal-Mart. On the other hand, if it's the last stop I'd go in.
    I'd get TP (diapers and formula if you have babes!), paper towels, canned foods and soups, dried soups, ramen, flour, sugar, salt; I haven't seen dried beans but if I did I'd grab them along with some noodles and lentils. Unless you have sheep for wool and you can see one without hunting for it in the store, it wouldn't be bad to get a few blankets, and maybe...if you had a long time a pair of sturdy shoes wouldn't be to bad. And of course water. Water, water, water, and would grab some cigarettes, coffee, and beer. Good bargaining items, but since I'm only 13 and am LDS, know any cheap brands that people like? Hehe.
    Most people say this will only take five minutes but unless your Superman and know the place like the back of your hand it should take you 25 minutes.

    Suppose it did happen on a normal day, someone mentioned that workers weren't leaving. Did anyone at the time of 9/11 thought the crap hit the fan and bugged out?

    Anyway, get gas and hope Fiona did what she was supposed to do (hopefully she was level headed enough!). I would stop by the house and see if she was there and then go to the school after unloading. I don't think they let public schoolers out during a crisis and sometimes relocate them to a different place for their safety. If she had already picked him up, I'd go back to the store and buy a few more things, texting her to stay at the house and if she wanted anything.


    This is a great series. Keep on going! Can't wait to read more! ;)

    -The Little Prepper from Alexandriana Ward

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    1. Look, if you know what you need it will not take long. Time is of the essence. If it is going to take 25 minutes, you need to shorten your list. For a guy, the things you mentioned shouldn't take but a few minutes.

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    2. Jennie C.June 05, 2013

      I think you have never tried to check out at Walmart. :-)

      Delete
  17. Get supplies. Fiona would know by now either from text or voice mail or from the news. She would knoe 2 nuclear events are not an accident and be off.

    With the school in lockdown id like to see them stop a group of parents from taking their children. They cant stop a lone attacker at a school let alone a mob.

    This is a great project btw and really well written. Look forward to the next installment.

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  18. I would get home and find out what the wife is up too. As a Father you have a responsibility to your wife and kid. You stated you are up a country road with little traffic, so going home and back to the store will be no problem, plus if comm's are out there is a possibility that atm's and debit cards dont work so your gunna need more dough anyway. If you get home and Fiona is not there you can assume she went to get the kid and leave a note to tell her that you went down to the stripmall to fill on gas and extra supplies.

    So in a nutshell, go home first, grab cash, gas cans and leave or tell wife what your doing, head to strip mall get gas and supplies, then back home.

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  19. AnonymousJune 06, 2013

    First off I think this is an excellent idea you came up. I know I’m a little late to the party but here’s my three cents worth.

    I would stop at the store(s). You have to trust Fiona to do the right thing, and this may be your last chance to stock up. Hopefully the rest of your group brings food, but depending on their vehicles, they may not be able to haul much.

    You have at least a 20 to 30 minute head start before the Sheeple start to stampede, I’d allocate a max of 10 minutes to fill up the grocery cart, (if he knows the store layout that should be more than enough time), as others have said the time it takes to check out is the big question. I’d grab batteries, Flour, Corn Meal, Rice, dried beans, lentils, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Corn starch, Cooking Oil, Salt, Pepper, Sugar, Yeast, Onion Salt, Garlic Salt, Seasoned Salt. He’s going to have to feed more kids than he planned on, so I’d also grab Powdered Milk, Pancake mix, syrup, bread, honey, peanut butter, jelly/jam, bulk bags/boxes of breakfast cereal and powdered milk. Check the clock, if I still have time hit the pharmacy for burn cream (possible radiation burns from fall out), adult and child varieties of over the counter pain killers, cough syrup, ant-acids, and vitamins. Check the clock, if I have time canned goods. Since the power is still on grab a gallon of milk and pick up one or two roasts big enough to feed everyone. And Finally, Toilet Paper.

    Swing by the gas station and top off the tank.

    Yes, I know it is a lot but I also know that given the layout of the grocery store I frequent, I can hit all of these items in under 10 minutes – assuming I’m not having to fight my way down the aisle. Again, the big unknown, as others have pointed out, is how long it takes to check out.

    As an experiment, on my way home last night I stopped at the big orange home improvement store by the train station. I picked up 4 drop cloths, duct tape, painters tape, masking tape, and a pack of N95 masks. Total elapsed time from when I pulled my car into the parking lot to when I put the items in the trunk was under 6 minutes. If you’re on a mission, you can shop quickly.

    Stranded in the Socialist Workers Paradise of CT


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  20. AnonymousJune 12, 2013

    Depends, 15-30 min after it has happened, likely most of the major stores wouldn't have gotten the news. Pick the first major store that isn't jammed pack and throw all of the bulky big bags of rice/beans you could fit in a cart, then hit the pharmacy section for painkillers and a couple bottles of whatever you might need,. In and out in less than 5 min, use the emergency credit card, you can always return it/donate it to charity if you bought beyond what you need.

    Stash the food in the house, grab the gal, grab the dog, put on the packs, and start biking West vs initial plan of south because I'm 30 miles west of DC and gotta get as far as fast as possible. The major roads would be too full of traffic to get very far. Better a reliable 10-15 MPH on a bike than 4-5 MPH in a traffic jam for 4 hours before cars start running out of gas and it turns in to a parking lot IMO.

    Come back to house for food if needed.

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