What am I supposed to be doing?
Talking about yourself.
Oh. Well, my name is Sondra, and no I’m not a goth. I’m 18, and I was just into my senior year of high school when the trucks came.
Right, like that. What was your family situation like?
My mom disappeared when I was like eight. She drank a lot. So did my dad, but he tried to raise me as best as he could. When that didn’t work out, my grandmother and uncle took over. I mostly lived with my aunt and uncle, but after school I stayed with my grandmother until they got home from work. I stayed with her a lot through the summers. My dad lived with them too, at least some of the time, so I got to see him even if he wasn’t all there for me.
It worked out pretty well. Kelly talked about her grandparents being cold… Granmama wasn’t exactly cold, but she was pretty much all business until supper was over and the kitchen was cleaned up. But in the evenings, she was like a Italian Zen Master — intense, but calm and patient as a stone, all at once. I learned all about the traditional woman things from her, even if I have no intention of being a traditional woman.
What did you intend to be?
I was working on that. One of the things I learned from Granmama was to think things over, to not do something important before you were certain it was the right thing. It wasn’t always easy — there was a lot of stress between me and my boyfriend before he dumped me, but it probably would have been a mistake… As far as a career, I hadn’t figured that out yet. I was good at math and science, but programming a computer just didn’t appeal to me. I played around with database stuff though, and enjoyed that. If not for the trucks, I probably would have had an exciting career in IT or maybe engineering of some sort. I was getting lots of junk mail from Georgia Tech, Georgia State, Georgia, and some of the other big colleges.
In light of the “thinking things over” part, it seems kind of surprising that you latched onto Cody right away.
Haha, I knew you were going to say that!
When I saw him for the first time — this skinny long-hair kid in a black t-shirt, grilling steaks — he looked really… I guess “happy” isn't the right word. Maybe content? I know a lot of people think the attraction was something stupid, like a common fashion sense. I’ve heard the crap about “matched bookends” when they thought we weren ’t listening. But it wasn’t like that. The world had ended, and everyone else was still in shock, including me. Cody somehow had already gone past that, he could be happy about something more than surviving another day. Kelly said he was 16, and I was never into younger boys, but I could see he still had a good answer to what had happened. I knew right away that getting to know him better would be the right thing… and from a mercenary outlook, he’s the kind of guy who will go places in the situation we’re in now. Yeah, I probably wouldn’t have given him a second glance before, but I’m surprised Kelly didn’t grab him when she had the chance. Her loss.
You’re pretty good with a gun… where did you learn to shoot?
My dad sobered up long enough to teach me. He was a marksman in the Army — I think something happened to him there to make him start drinking, even though he served in between wars — and he wanted to make sure I could defend myself. My uncle helped too. My aunt wasn’t thrilled, but Granmama said it wouldn’t hurt me to learn and I might need to “preserve my honor” someday. I must have got the knack from Dad. He ended up giving me his .38 revolver and his Army jacket with the marksman patch. I left the jacket downtown, but if I ever go back I’m gonna bring it home with me.
I’m left-handed, you know. That I got from Mom. My dad and uncle had a special holster made for me that I could wear above my right hip. It wasn’t a quick draw, but it was comfortable and even now this isn’t the Wild West. But I could wear a jacket over it and it wouldn’t make a bulge. I never got around to getting a concealed carry permit, but now it doesn’t matter much.
Now you’re gonna ask about the gunfight that first Saturday, right? Yeah. Charles and everyone makes out like I was some kind of Valkyrie or something, but Cleve did at least as much. The idiots came riding up the street like they just expected everyone to just line up to get shot. We had cover, and Trey Muldoon was the real brave one, coming out unarmed to talk to them and getting shot right away. We shot back, and they really didn’t have anywhere to go but to run away. I think we ended up shooting four of them, and two more jumped into pickups without thinking about it. The rest got away, and Cleve told us to not shoot them in the back. They said I shot three of them myself, but I don’t know. I do know I shot three times, because I had three bullets left.
So what do you think happened?
With the trucks? You know, I haven’t thought about it much. I like Cody’s explanation, but of course I’d say that. It doesn’t explain why they’re still driving around, though.
Back to Episode 16…