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wausauloner - Wed Aug 21 2013

05:15 AM #
I found something suspicious at a marine dealer on Woodruff's north side. It explains the what but not the why John was wrecking some boats

05:18 AM #
I'd better start at the beginning. We checked out several marine dealers in the last few weeks. All had shown signs of previous scrounging.

05:21 AM #
I was in on many of those salvage runs. We usually got in and out fast, taking what we found that others had left behind. #zompocalypse

05:24 AM #
I went slowly this time, treating the place like a crime scene, looking for things I saw actors examine back when we had cop shows on TV.

05:27 AM #
The sign said the place was called Plowman's Marine. It didn't look too bad on the outside. It looked nearly untouched since pre-Zday 2009.

05:30 AM #
Someone had smashed the glass on the front door long ago to get in. I noted thick dust on the broken glass. Some was recently disturbed.

05:33 AM #
Shorty gave me a sign that meant she smelled zombies inside, so I went in quietly. I carried her over the broken glass and kept her close.

05:36 AM #
Right away I could tell that there were several separate individuals that had left recent tracks inside the store. They were quite a variety

05:39 AM #
There were uneven tracks left by zombies, including one obvious bare foot leaking black "blood" from cuts made by broken glass. #zombies

05:42 AM #
I tracked that one down first to a salesperson's cubicle and took it down from behind using my spiked bat. Five more were in the showroom.

05:45 AM #
They were lingering near a back door. Their tracks had covered a lot of what I was sure belonged to a human who'd left through that door.

05:48 AM #
I backtracked those footprints. They looped around all the boats in the showroom. None were damaged. I followed them back to the sales area.

05:51 AM #
One of the cubicles had a big blank area on one wall panel where a map of area lakes used to be (a guess based on the torn corner remaining)

05:54 AM #
The tear was not fresh. The ragged paper fibers were yellowed from years of exposure. The tracks showed the recent visitor had poked around

05:57 AM #
A clean imprint of the recent visitor's boots showed that he paused right where I did to look at where the missing map had been. #zombies

06:00 AM #
I took a picture of the tread imprint with my Blackberry. I'm fairly certain John left it, but now I can find out for sure if it was him.

06:03 AM #
The tracks also led behind the service counter. The visitor looked around at all the shelves of spare parts. No clues showed me why. #zombie

06:06 AM #
The tracks also went through the aisles of accessories on display. Those shelves had been disturbed long ago. All the fishing gear was gone.

06:09 AM #
The tracks showed me that the previous visitor wasn't interested in things that the original scavengers had taken from this place. #zombies

06:12 AM #
They led to a locked glass display cabinet. Well, not quite. Whoever had been there had started to wipe out their tracks in that area.

06:15 AM #
The zombie tracks converged on a point partway down the aisle where a dusty old jacket that was used to wipe up the floor had been dropped.

06:18 AM #
I looked around the glass cabinet and the shelves nearby, almost missing something in the thin dust that had seeped into the locked display:

06:21 AM #
A box inside had been moved. The dust pattern showed it was slightly larger than the FM radio box that was then sitting where it had been.

06:24 AM #
There were actually two FM radio boxes on display. One beside the other. I couldn't find the key. I broke the glass and took out the boxes.

06:27 AM #
Behind each of the FM radio boxes were signs that other boxes had been there. On the left, a gap in the dust the size of the FM radio boxes.

06:30 AM #
Behind the box that had been moved to where a larger box had been was a space in the dust the size of another one of those larger boxes.

06:33 AM #
There was other electronic gear in there--weather radios, fish finders, sonar--but nothing the size of the missing boxes. I was thinking CB.

06:36 AM #
But then I saw small labels in slots integrated into the shelves under all the gear, labeling them with brands, prices, and inventory codes.

06:39 AM #
While the original spot for the FM radios was also labeled, the one under the shelf where the larger boxes had been was partially torn off.

06:42 AM #
The mystery visitor had looked around the store, taken two boxes from a locked display cabinet, and made it look like nothing was missing.

06:45 AM #
I knew I had to find out what was supposed to be on that shelf. All that was visible on the remains of the label was an inventory number.

06:48 AM #
I went back behind the service desk to a pile of dusty invoices I'd seen that would never be properly filed. I looked at each one carefully.

06:51 AM #
Finally, I saw the number: The boxes on that shelf contained marine band radios. Everything started making sense, for awhile, anyway...

06:54 AM #
I knew why John had been smashing up a few select boats--they were larger boats, the kind more likely to have marine radios installed.

06:57 AM #
I also knew that the boxes that went missing awhile back after our nighttime raid on a boating store also had to contain marine radios.

07:00 AM #
John had been systematically keeping anyone from getting ahold of marine radios. At first I thought he was obsessed with radio silence again

07:03 AM #
But I knew he hadn't made a fuss about having all the duck people turn in their CBs again. He'd acknowledged they'd be needed up north.

07:06 AM #
It was only _marine_ band radios that he made sure were nowhere to be found. What's the big deal? Our allies on Lake Michigan use them...?

07:09 AM #
They've got longer range than CBs but they're rare around Wausau so we always used local, easier-to-find alternatives. #zombie #zompocalypse

07:12 AM #
I'm going to use up some precious gas to rush this news to the comm team on Rib Mountain. They might have some insight on the matter.

07:15 AM #
To the watchers in the DARPA automated station: Let them know I'm coming. I'll be in tweet range of the primary Anomaly in three hours, tops

07:18 AM #
I'm going to try to link up with Shawn first. He hasn't come back from searching the chain for other boats John might have wrecked. #zombies