It’s a school boy “what if” adventure yarn – and I don’t categorize it thus to denigrate it. I love stories like this. Being a child of the cold war I seem to recall reading loads of post apocalyptic stories like this as a teen – there was a real trend for them at one time. My favourite was always “Empty World” by John Christopher, the basic premise of which is identical to “Survivors”: a deadly virus wipes out nearly all of the population in a matter of weeks. Buildings, green spaces, wildlife are all left unharmed and untouched.
It’s just the people that are gone.
The stuff of nightmares really and yet even as a teen I found myself indulging in what can only be described as dark fantasies that revolved around this single premise with a discomforting sense of glee. What if it really happened? What would I do? How would I cope?
Watching “Survivors” on Sunday has regurgitated all these boyhood what-ifs and I’ve been musing over them for the last few days. What if? What if?
If I was a survivor what would I do?
So far I have come up with this 12 point plan to ensure my continued survival:
1) Acquire muscular transport. Something that can hold loads of supplies and is strong enough to plough through the barricades of any rogue survivors I may encounter who have turned feral. A juggernaut should do it. There’s going to be no traffic on the roads so no one is going to complain about my appalling driving.
2) Loot the supermarkets. Tinned food, bottled water, toilet paper, manual household appliances – tin openers, knives, etc. Will need as much of this kind of stuff as possible until I can learn how to milk a cow / hunt for fresh meat.
3) Loot the chemist. Basic pain killers, bandages, antiseptic creams, needles, scalpels – whatever might be useful in times of dire emergency. You don’t want to be on your own with a man-cold.
4) Loot the mountaineering / extreme sports shops. Lots of goodies to be got here. Outdoor clothing, shoes, camping equipment, compasses, maps, gas cylinders, candles, torches, batteries. Survivalist heaven. Some of these new water purifying gizmos would be damned useful too for when the bottled water runs out.
5) Loot the Library. A much underestimated resource. The internet is down and dead due to power failures – it’s back to the printed page. DIY books – electrics, plumbing, woodworking, metal working, anything by Ray Mears and the Penguin Guide to Basic Farming will all be going into the back of my juggernaut. I’ve got a steep learning curve ahead of me.
6) Fuel. Need to stockpile as much of this as I can while the remaining stocks last. There’s going to be no fresh deliveries at the petrol stations for a while remember!
7) Animals. This might sound crazy but I’d round up a few stray dogs and keep them with me. Useful hunting companions and excellent guard dogs / early warning systems. In a few year's time all the strays will have reverted to wild – choose your pooches now while they are still house trained and retain a memory of man as the master. A man’s best friend and a friend for life – not just for a post-disaster Christmas.
8) Weaponry. Ostensibly for hunting but you just never know... again specialist shops should furnish you with a decent arsenal but I’d also be going to the local archery club and lifting a good bow or two. To hunt without announcing your presence is useful and may also guarantee your continued survival. Rogue gangs will be after your water and cigarette lighters remember!
9) Head for the hills. Once the juggernaut is loaded I’d be heading as far from the towns and cities as I could before the dead and the rotting engender an epidemic of typhoid and dysentery. Time to head for cleaner air and fertile farm land. Wales I reckon. Somewhere high up, defensible and remote enough to not be bothered by rabid hoodies who, as we all know, have an aversion to hill walking.
10) Make my new dwelling a home. Fortify the place. Barricade the doors and windows. Tinsel it about with weapons of minor destruction. No hoodie is going to tag his artless graffiti on my gaffe. Bury stockpiles of food and equipment just in case you run into trouble / thieves – always good to have a back-up supply hidden close by. Reconnoitre your immediate environment. Know what’s out there. Know the lie of the land. I’d gather some livestock too if possible – a few sheep and a few cows. The odd pig and chicken. Cool. That’s breakfast sorted out.
11) Acquire suitable company. Naturally my most dearest wish is that my wife and children survive with me but I’d also be on the look out for fellow survivors who are (a) not hoodies, (b) not escaped mental patients with a history of violence and (c) not Russell Brand. I would gather like minded individuals to my flag and steer my new commune onto even greater success and self sufficiency.
12) Set myself up as King and father a new dynasty for the new age. Hey, this survivalist malarkey ain’t half bad!
There. Simple. I don’t think I’ve missed anything out. Or have I?
What would you do if you were the lone survivor of a global disaster or plague?