"Change my pitch up,
Smack my bitch up..."
from Smack my Bitch up by Prodigy
Ryan predicted that the next few days at the camp, if not their remaining time there, might be a little tense, and his predictions were spot-on. Boyd was among those trying to keep the mood light, but most were starting to visibly feel a nagging fear, a fear of the snow melting and their food running low, heralding both the resurrection of the dead and their time in the camp, which would eventually collide and force them out into the world to face the terror that had driven them there to begin with. Tara was now as anti-social as Sean had ever been, and Manny and Yolanda were similarly shut in. At least Mitch and Nicole had a reason, as within a few weeks, a new life would be born into this world that was no longer suitable for such things. Doctor Karl Dietrich also had a reason, in that he still hadn’t picked up a word of English, though he clearly wasn’t making any efforts to do so. Those passing his cabin at night still heard him sobbing in the dark, unable to cope with living in a strange world with strange people he couldn’t understand after the dead had taken his family from him in an alien country.
But even though the group still gathered at mealtime, it was clearly because they wanted to eat, since the interaction was slowly dying. Tara was eating alone, having finally driven away the last of the people who wanted anything to do with her. Only occasionally did Manny and Yolanda allow Michelle around the others, and they constantly ignored her questions about where Sean had gotten off to.
As they entered February, the weather had begun to get colder and the snows had become more severe, and while Ike and Boyd still did their part to shovel the snow away from everyone’s doors and dig a path that kept the buildings linked, no on else from Ike’s old group did. It almost seemed as though every day was an ordeal just to survive, even though the power was still on, the water was still hot, and the food was still plentiful. The death of Sean was a reminder to them all that the world was now ruled by the dead, and even in the middle of winter, there was always a way for them to find another victim.
It was one fine (apart from more knee-deep snow and howling wind) that Ryan had grown tired of being nothing more than a camp counselor to a group of overgrown anti-social children and resolved to do something about it.
It was that evening during dinner, where it was clear that the group was beginning to separate literally as well as figuratively, that Ryan stood up and slammed his hand down on the table.
“Everyone listen up. And no, leaving the room is not an option. You are going to listen.”
Yolanda attempted to get up and take Michelle outside until Ryan stopped that as well. “Kristin, could you please take Michelle to the kitchen? She doesn’t need to hear this, but Yolanda, you sure as hell do.”
Yolanda opened her mouth for what was almost certainly a hot protest, but Ryan shot her a look that got her to shut up quickly. It was a look that she had never seen in her life and Ryan had never once given it, but if she were to attempt to describe it, she might have called it “the look of a man who would snap my neck if I uttered a single word,” but Yolanda never did put his look into words.
Once Kristin got Michelle (who had missed Kristin perhaps most of all in the last few days as Manny and Yolanda kept to their own cabin) to the kitchen where she proceeded to distract her young charge with cookies brought from the canteen, Ryan began to speak in a tone devoid of compromise.
“This is how this is going to go. I talk, you listen. Anyone says a word while I’m speaking, I’m going to plant your face right on the table, and you’d better know I mean it. From this second forward, only I talk.” Even Ike looked intimidated, though Daphne did not, as Ryan had told her of his plan to get things back on track.
Ryan began talking. “I’m sick to my ass of this bullshit you all insist on perpetuating around here. Spring is coming in a couple of months and when it does, those things out there will be walking around again looking for people just like us to chomp on. And as if that’s not fucked up enough, we’ll run too low on food around that same time. For those of you who suck at basic reasoning, that means we’ll have to blow this joint. That, and we still don’t know where we’ll go. We’re not staying here, that’s for sure, so you’re all going to have to leave your little love nests and go back out there where it’s all fucked up. I’ve got news for you little children, and that’s if we leave this place in this state, we’re all fucking dead. So the catalyst for all this was Sean getting killed? Bullshit on that. None of you cared about him and neither did I, so I don’t want to hear a word about it. You all just gave the fuck up. All you needed was an excuse to fucking quit on us and when spring comes, what are you going to do? I’ll tell you what you’ll do. You’re going to roll over and die because you’ve forgotten how to do anything else. I didn’t come out here to this place to die the moment I leave, so you’re going to grow your fucking backbones back and start fucking taking control of your own lives. If I assign you a chore, you’re going to do it or you’ll wish you had. If we have to go into Delta and I say you’re coming, you’re coming, no ifs, ands, or buts. This place is not a fucking democracy. Most of you have already given me a shitload of input about one thing or another and too many of you have shown yourselves too fucking whiny or greedy to have any right to expect to be part of the decision-making process. From now on, you do what you’re told. That’s it. This by the way, is not a negotiation. I’ve just told you what’s going to happen, and if your ideas are different than mine, tough fucking shit.”
It was nearly thirty seconds before anyone dared to speak, and that included Boyd, who was fairly certain that most of what Ryan had said had not been directed at him. It was Tara who, apparently forgetting her last humiliation at the hands of Kristin and Yolanda, spoke up.
“Ryan, what the fuck are you doing? Are you…”
“Shut your whore mouth, Tara. You should remember that you’re the biggest fuck up here. If you’re about to ask what I’d do if you decide to fuck off, I’ll go ahead and answer that right now. I’d hog tie you to a snowmobile and leave you ten miles from this place. Don’t think I won’t. We don’t need you Tara, so I suggest getting off your ass and finding some way to be needed.”
“You wouldn’t fucking dare, Ryan.”
“I wouldn’t?” Ryan didn’t hesitate and neither did Daphne, who grabbed Tara right away. She struggled, but Daphne had her tightly. Before anyone could react (not like they would have, Ryan expected), Ryan had her over his shoulder and outside. Even as she tried to free herself Ryan braved the cold to wrap her in bungee cords (no one attempted to intervene, which surprised even Ryan) and tied her to his snowmobile. He gunned the engine as she screamed bloody murder.
“Fucking stop! Fucking stop! Don’t take me out there you motherfucker! Untie me!”
Ryan shut the engine off and knelt down next to her face, now twisted in rage. “So then, do you doubt my sincerity?”
“Good. You’re on dishwashing for the next week.”
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!