Before responding, I took a look around the room.
Everyone had turned to look at me. Some had their jaws clenched and scowled. A few had their eyebrows up and seemed to plead with their eyes, “Please don’t make a scene.”
I knew that right then was not the time to have it out with Andy. I had to keep a lid on it until a better time.
Everyone seemed to be waiting to see what I did, so I spoke. “What would you like, Andy?”
One of the men sitting on the couch closest to Andy shot to his feet and pointed his finger at me. “That’s Mr. Mayor to you. We voted.”
I smirked, and had to suppress a laugh. “No, we did not. You voted. Now shut up and let the mayor give out his assignment.”
The man seemed a little disappointed that I didn’t yell back and sat down.
“That’s enough, Corbin. I’m glad to see some time in the penalty box calmed you down.”
“Whatever. What do you want?”
“First off, Linda, I want you to go with the other women and organize the supplies in the Fastmart, then get some lunch ready for everyone. Go.”
I looked back at Linda. Color was rising in her neck, but she kept herself under control. “Fine.”
The five other women timidly stood up. Most of them looked pretty scared. None of them objected to the assignment. At least not verbally.
As they entered the side door of the Fastmart, I made a quick headcount. 16 men and 6 women total. I didn’t recognize about half of the men. I suspected they weren’t really tenants, that they had just stopped by to watch the news with rest of the crowd. Or better yet, they were friends of Andy’s who had come over before the power went out. Yeah, that would just be special.
Andy turned his attention back to me.
I stared at the fat slob who had declared himself mayor. I tried to think of what he could have possibly said to get everyone’s support. I just wanted to pound his face in. Of course, I knew that he had already swung the apartment building to his way of thinking, so it would be useless to start an argument. I had to bite my tongue and control my anger. Maybe everybody would come around to see him for the pompous idiot he was. Or maybe he would just lead everyone to a viral death.
His beady little eyes narrowed and from the scrunched look on his chubby face I could tell his tiny little brain was working just as hard as it could. At length, he nodded his head slightly and spoke.
“You know the apartments next door?”
“I know that they’re there. I’m not going over there if that’s what you’re asking.”
“It’s not.” He straightened a little. “But even if it was, you’ll play the position I tell you to play, anyway.”
Several of the other guys in the lobby nodded like Andy had just spoken some great wisdom.
Idiots. I just wanted to smack each of them.
Andy continued, “There’s a window in my apartment directly across from one of their apartments.”
“And?” I really wished he would just get to the point.
“There’s a guy who got bitten by one of the infected around the hospital today. He’s in a really bad way. I want you to talk to him and his, uh, roommate and see if you can help from over here. And find out anything you can about the virus.”
It’s next door? It was like another punch to the gut. That meant the virus wasn’t just spreading out from the hospital, it was already in pockets throughout the city. I guess it made sense, I just hadn’t thought about it. The breakout in the hospital was bad enough, and the fake flu shot trailer had probably sealed the city’s fate.
I wasn’t even sure how it was spread. I had been in a room full of it last night, and I was still fine. Now there was a guy bitten hours ago apparently showing serious of infection.
Andy grew impatient and pointed a chubby finger. “So, Core, you going to play ball?”
I looked back at him and set my jaw. “I’ll do what I can.”