Jan 27, 2023, 06:29AM

Making Plans in Wannado City

Rooster struggles to stay sane as his wife and cousin thrive in Wannado City.

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Wannado City’s only “lady in waiting” happens to be my wife, but only because we’re the only birds here. I can’t say I regard the pigeons we met in the food court last week to be altogether birdlike, even if they were technically birds; the taxidermies of murdered, majestic creatures such as the American Eagle and fried chickens of Kentucky; all of the rotting flesh and crimson bones that litter the cafeteria where people once slaughtered and fed every day. There are no jobs left to do here, at least not for fun—the only aim is survival. Monica, Bennington, and I have regrouped in the balcony tower above the “city square,” plotting our next move. We’ve built a bungalow in the faux-courtyard and planning parties for all of the creatures that will come—but haven’t yet. They will. We’ll throw them a party and teach them how to live and work in Wannado City.

I must admit it’s beginning to look like The Thing in here, except we’re not cold, there’s no dog, no crazy mutant, there’s only three of us, and we’re only mildly annoyed with each other. Monica’s already killed a couple of people, including a poor turtle in an abandoned Burger King, and Bennington said he made new friends at a movie theater (no fair…), but I’m choosing not to believe him since he said they were ghosts. Bennington says he went to the movies with ghosts. Yeah, and I’m supposed to be the lonely one.

“Rooster, why are you telling us all of this? It’s really rude. You’re not being a good friend.” I forgot I was talking out loud and dictating my article in front of my family. The weeks and the days have been long in Wannado City, alone. They’ve gone out and made friends. I, as usual, remain isolated in tiny cubby like rooms and corners. I think I’m the only one beginning to lose my mind. Monica rubbed my left wing. “Roo, you should try some of the greenery by the Gap. I think a teenager put a few peyote buttons in there… but we don’t have anything to come down on…” Luckily for us, Wannado City was always a dry county—if not, I’m not sure Bennington would’ve ever made it back from that “ghostly” screening of Amarcord.

I told them I was satisfied in my perch. I’ll keep an eye on them as they roam the new world, discovering sources of entertainment and opportunities for plunder. We’re not underneath the New York City subway anymore. In my room, I’ve turned the security cameras back on and I keep the monitors active at all times. Have you ever seen a true paranoid? Visit me in my padded closet room surveilling a massive abandoned fake city with absolutely no one in it except my wife and cousin. Even in a controlled world, I can’t take it—I just want to stay inside and write. And watch the televisions… they have more than the security camera footage… unless those ghosts actually are real…

—Follow Rooster Quibbits on Twitter: @RoosterQuibbits


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