Zombie apocalypse fiction – Ruth’s Story #189 First Night at Warm Beach, WA #TEOTWAWKI #SHTF #WROL
“Yes, that is Ladino, also known as Judaeo-Spanish. I am not fluent, but I can get by. Although, I am quite a bit rusty.”
Sam, Nikola’s partner in the com shack while Carol is still nursing, pipes up. “If only we had the equipment to interplex the comm systems, we might be able to create a phased receiver wave.”
“English, damn it, English. I speak nine languages more or less fluently, but techno-babble is not one of them.”
“It’s not a very good signal,” Sam explains.
“Here, try,” Nikola hands me the handset.
I try as much as possible to remember what few words that I can in Ladino. Despite my best efforts the transmission does not change.
“It is a broadcast, not a live operator,” I tell Nikola.
“What’s it say?” he asks in a grunt.
“From what I can understand they are survivors living on the old Poveglia Plague Island, Italy. There are a lot of words that I do not recognize. They are living in the old lazaretto from the turn of the 18th century.”
“Hey, you asked me to translate, not read their fucking minds, and determine the secret of life.”
Shack, puts his hand on my arm, “Easy baby.”
Arching my furry eyebrows at him, I give him the glare. He knows that I hate to be called baby. If he starts making Patrick Swayze puns again; I will hit him – hard.
Just then, with a blast of cold air Wilson crashes inside the tent waving his Smith & Wesson 76 submachine gun around.
“Ruth this fucking thing is jammed again …” is about all he gets out before I stride punch him on to his ass, knocking the wind out of him.
As Wilson lies gasping for breath on the floor of the tent, I rip the S&W 76 out of his hands. As I do so, I notice out of the corner of my eye Nikola holstering his Stechkin. Ripping the magazine (which I notice is fully loaded) from the gun, I throw it on the table.
A live round is jammed between the feed lips of the magazine and the chamber. Working the bolt, I drop the jammed round on the floor. I toss the empty machine gun on the table.
“Wilson, the next time you do something so fucking stupid with a weapon, I am going to let this big fucking Russian shoot you.”
If it was possible, Wilson would have blanched whiter than he already is. Nikola crosses his arms, defining his impressive chest and biceps, highlighted by the blue and white striped, short-sleeved telnyashka tee-shirt he wears.
“Wilson, I told you that if this thing jams, use your pistol.” Wilson carries an old Beretta M95, precursor of the famous Beretta Model 92 series of handguns. Wilson was assigned to the Scouts, but failed because he just cannot follow basic instructions.
Shack refers to Wilson as “too stupid to die.”
Demoted to guard rotation, I believe Wilson is lucky to be still alive. His little sister Anne has hyperacusis and must wear ear phone-style hearing protection at all times.
Waving my hand at him, I shoo Wilson back to his post. “Go back to your guard post. I will have someone take your gun apart again and see if we can figure what is causing it to jam all the time. I will have someone return it to you tomorrow after woman’s bath day.”
With a huff, Wilson limps from the tent back into the pouring rain. Popping his jacket collar up, he dives into the wet night. Poor kid, I would not want to walk laps in the pouring rain around the camp’s perimeter either.
“Ruth, have Mossad stamped all over you. The ‘straddle fat horse’ stance is telling. When I GRU, you had impressive dossier. Intelligence was specialty not wet work, but never shied from killing. I know you Duvdevan, IDF counter-terrorist special operations unit.”
I shrug at Nikola, “Does not mean shit now.”
Shack, Honey, Monster and I all settle into our four-hour radio watch positions. Honey and Monster man the generator, steadily turning the handles while I listen on the headset.
Ripping apart the S&W 76 is not hard, and in a few minutes I have it broken down to its main pieces.
“What’s the story of this gun?” Shack asks.
“During the Vietnam War, the SEALs adopted the Swedish K SMG, finding it a good, simple gun for the harsh conditions in South East Asia. For some damn reason, Sweden imposed an arms embargo thereby depriving the SEALs of the Carl Gustaf M/45 (Swedish K) SMG.”
“Is ‘cause Sweden dislike American forces Vietnam,” Nikola explains.
Ignoring Nikola, I pause as I field strip the crudely made weapon. “There are no serial numbers on it, and someone did not take time to fit it together very well.”
“Smith & Wesson started making a nearly identical clone called the Model 76. The Model 76 saw limited combat service in Vietnam with a few Special Forces outfits. Eventually S&W ceased production of the original weapon in 1974. For a while, you could buy demilled part kits, which is most likely what this illegal, full-auto only piece of shit was made from.”
Nikola picks up the S&W 76 magazine noting the white-painted tips of the 9mm bullets. “Explosive tips, go in small, come out large. Take much with them along way.”
I recognize the bullets as explosive, but wonder where that little shit got such rare 9mm ammo. We only have the one magazine, I wonder if we should also check his other magazines. As far as I know, the convoy does not issue explosive tipped ammo.
Nikola shrugs, dropping the magazine back on the rickety folding card table, he gathers his things.
Nikola kicks the green canvas tool bag we keep in the radio tent. “I fix tomorrow. Leave on table for me.” I am more than happy to leave jury-rigging the S&W 76 to Nikola.
Fitting, filing and sanding the various parts of the shitty S&W 76 is not something that I really have the skill for or something that I want to do. I have never really liked working with metal, so I will leave that to the boys.
Nikola turns to leave; he still has the sallow pale complexion all too common to most Russians. I wonder if his son inherited his father’s complexion. With parents so pale, little Stiva will most likely be very pale as well.
“Spokoynoy nochi,” (good night) Nikola says as he leaves the radio tent.
“Priyatnykh snov,” (sweet dreams) I reply.
While Monster and Honey keep the hand-cranked generator running slowly but steadily Shack and I take turns listening on the radio head set. Sometimes transmissions are so faint that you can barely hear them even with headphones on.