Ben Trovato’s Art of Survival – Chapter 16


Chapter 16

Surviving When God And The Devil Go On Leave

Often, when things become hopelessly and utterly out of control, it is apparent that nobody is in charge either upstairs or downstairs. When you find yourself in the middle of a nuclear firestorm or under attack by aliens, there is little point in praying for help from God or cursing the Devil. There are things in this world that are beyond even their doing – things so terrible that Beelzebub would blush if you tried to pin the blame on Her – things so appalling that even Big G can’t do damage control.

Biological Attack

Some people will tell you that all you need to survive biological or germ warfare is a copy of the Bible. I believe pretty much anything people tell me these days, especially if they threaten to make sure I burn in the eternal fires of damnation should I dare question their faith.

Being a slow Sunday I thought I would put it to the test. Slipping through the doors of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, I took a seat at the back and picked up a well-thumbed copy of what appeared to be the Old Testament. While the parishioners were distracted by what looked like a riot down by the altar, I attempted to wrap the book around my face tightly enough so that no deadly bacteria or chemicals could find their way into my lungs. I began inhaling and exhaling deeply while pressing the Bible harder and harder into my face. Engrossed in my experiment, I failed to notice that the rioters had gone back to their pews and were now staring at me. A woman with a mouth pinched tight like a Doberman’s bum turned around and hissed something about alcohol in the Lord’s house. That’s rich, I thought, coming from a church that makes its followers drink wine they say represents the blood of Jesus Christ. And I won’t even get into the flesh-eating part of it. What kind of thing is that to teach your children?

Anyway, the upshot of the experiment was that I could still breathe no matter how tightly I wrapped that Bible around my face. So in the event of a biological attack, I would suggest that you provide your family with gas masks and not holy books.

Gas Masks

Gas masks are unsightly accessories with enormous staring eyes and pig-like snouts. They are suited to those with similar features. However, a lot of people might be reluctant to go out in public wearing one. Bear in mind that tearing at your face while your eyeballs bubble and your skin melts is even more unattractive. Wear your mask at all times, even when fulfilling your connubial responsibilities.

Fasting

In the event of a biological attack, food sources will be contaminated. So you may want to start shrinking your stomach now. You do not want to be out roaming the streets like a homeless person begging strangers for a chicken burger when the air is thick with toxins and the streets piled high with bodies.

Zombies

There are some biological agents that can turn people into zombies. I recommend that you get your hands on a documentary made in 1968 called Night of the Living Dead so that you may get an idea of how to identify these creatures and, more importantly, how to react should you come across them after a biological attack.

It is important to remember that zombies have very low blood pressure. Any higher and it would come spurting out of their suppurating wounds and decomposing flesh. This means that you need to raise their blood pressure by making them angry or by forcing them to run. Zombies tend to lurch a lot. They are not great runners but if you antagonise them enough, they will come after you at a fairly fast lumber. As they lose blood, they will become weaker. This is your opportunity to take a baseball bat or heavy piece of wood and hit them across the head as hard as you can. Inflicting a severe head injury is the only way to kill a zombie. None of this means much if you forgot to put on your protective suit before going outside, because the weapons-grade botulism, brucellosis and anthrax spores will get you long before the zombies do.

Forewarned Is Four-Armed

You will need a pathogen sensor to tell you when there has been a biological attack. If you have a flatulent dog, get rid of it. The last thing you need in these tense times is your pathogen sensor going off every time the dog does. If you can’t find a pathogen sensor, get a bird. Canaries in particular are highly sensitive to changes in air quality. Lappet-faced vultures aren’t. Just by looking at your canary you will be able to tell if there is something deadly in the wind. Signs to look for are:

  • Your canary lying on its back
  • That’s it.

Grow Your Own

If you have grown bored sitting around waiting for chemical or biological warfare to break out, you may want to consider launching your own attack.

There are more than 1500 biological culture libraries worldwide. Join the one that is nearest to you. A lot of these libraries will let you take out more than one culture at a time. But make sure you get them back by the due date. You don’t want to mess with these librarians.

First up, you will have to decide whether you want to use bacteria or viruses. Both can cause infectious diseases, so you need not be concerned on that score.

Bacteria are one-celled micro-organisms that are capable of multiplying. Viruses are simpler than bacteria. In fact, they don’t have much of a head for figures at all. It is important to remember that not all bacteria are harmful. It would be very embarrassing to open up your flask full of deadly bacteria inside a crowded Cape Town International Airport only to realise that yours is the kind that turns milk into cheese.

Bacteria’s natural enemy is the antibiotic, although some bacteria can build up a resistance if they work out regularly and watch what they eat.

Viruses laugh in the face of antibiotics. But they might not be so quick to laugh once the pharmaceutical companies work out how to make trillions of dollars through the sale of antiviral medication.

When it comes to choosing your poison, it makes sense to go for one of the more popular brands like botulism, anthrax, bubonic plague or smallpox. Make sure the dealer gives it to you in an airtight bag. If he tells you that he is having a special on viruses, tell him that you’ve already got some at home. There is hardly any pure Ebola, Marburg and Lassa on the market these days and you don’t want to take any chances.

When you get home, you will need a saucer, water, cotton wool and a little salt. Follow these simple steps and you will be well on your way to committing a major act of terrorism:

  • Fill the saucer with water
  • Stir in one tablespoon of salt
  • Soak the cotton wool in the water
  • Cut a corner off the bag containing your biological agent and quickly place it beneath the cotton wool
  • Keep the cotton wool moist at all times
  • Within 10 days your culture should have colonised the cotton wool. Remove it and place it in a petri dish.
  • Place the petri dish in a microwave oven and set it for one minute on high. The radioactivity makes the bacteria even more aggressive.
  • Place the petri dish on a windowsill that gets plenty of sun. Put it out of reach of the cat. Leave it there for five days or until it is crispy to the touch.
  • Put the petri dish in your deep freeze for two days. Do not come home drunk and eat it.
  • Remove the frozen cotton wool and grind it into particles of a respirable size.
  • Tip the microbes and spores into a conventional flask.
  • Congratulations! You are now the proud owner of a high-grade biological weapon.

Planning The Attack

When you have identified a target, check the weather before going out. Postpone your attack if there is a strong wind. You do not want to waste your spores by having them blow all over the show.

One of the most appealing aspects of biological warfare is that you don’t have to sacrifice your life to achieve your objectives. Suicide bombings are all very well, but in the current tough economic climate, few organisations can afford to have such a high staff turnover.

With biological warfare, all you have to do is sit on a park bench or on a train or in an aircraft, no, maybe not an aircraft, take a sandwich out of your lunchbox, read the paper, casually open your flask, put it down and walk briskly away. The air will remain contaminated for hours, if not days, and the spores will disperse over an area wide enough to kill more people than you could ever dream of killing.

Good luck!

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