I honestly didn’t want to have to deal with Andy again but to keep from running out of estrogen I probably would have to. Maybe I could just ignore him? We would run into each other eventually in the superstore. So go talk to him at his store in the open or randomly bump into him at the superstore in the dark? Not much of a choice.
My new watch said it was Tuesday the ninth day of the month. Long enough for my ankle to be mostly healed. It still ached a little in the morning but that passed quickly. After gearing up with backpack, baseball bat, and machete, I headed out. I took the direct route to his store; scanning cross streets for zombies before dashing across.
I stopped across the street from Andy’s store watching for a minute. No zombies around the store. No zombies up or down the street. Wait there was one. Far enough away that it blended in until it moved. I watched it shuffle a couple of time before deciding it was far enough away to not see me. I crossed to the the store and walked to the front door. One door was still broken but Andy had tied a wooden pallet to cover the opening. I looked around inside.
The shelves were still in the same barricade that I had seen last time. The floor had been swept clean of the trash from the looting but the dark stain from Andy’s zombie kill was still there. I knocked on door frame. Was he even here? Maybe he had left to the superstore. Maybe he had died on a supply run. I knocked again, louder this time.
The door behind the barricade, the store room or office, opened and Andy stepped out. “Hey,” I said, raising my hand for a small wave.
“Oh, hey. You need something?”
“I … I could use your help with something.”
“You’re not afraid I’ll kill you?” he sneered at me.
“Girls like me, trans women, got attacked and killed all the time before zombies came along. Just for being ourselves. It’s barely any different now. Except I’m all alone now. My roommate, my friends, the few co-workers I could trust are gone. Maybe it wasn’t cool to threaten you with a machete but I need to be safe.” I waited for his response.
“You can trust me–”
“Can I? How do I kno–” I cut short the rant bubbling up in me. “I barely know you but I’m alone out here and could use some help. Don’t over step my bounds and maybe I can start trusting you.” Maybe this was a bad idea. Maybe I should just walk away.
“Ok,” he said.
“Ok?” I asked.
“Yeah, I … I don’t want to be alone out here either and I kinda pushed too far. How’s your ankle?”
Not exactly an apology but it was better than nothing I guess. “It’s better. Aches a little in the morning but it goes away after a bit. So, can you help me with something?”
“Yeah let me get my stuff.” He went back into the storeroom/office and came out with his backpack, machete and baseball bat.
On the way to the superstore we spotted three zombies. They wandered around a corner while we hid. I kept an eye on the other side of the build where they would come back into view. We made it to the superstore before they came back into sight. I watched for a couple more minutes until they did and made note of the direction they were traveling.
Inside the superstore I said, “Over this way.” I led him to the pharmacy. The store had been open 24 hours but the pharmacy had set hours. Outside those hours the service windows were covered by a metal shutter. The other way in was through a metal door. “I need to get in there,” I said.
“Why?” he asked.
“I’m running low on some medications.”
“What kind of medications? You’re not hooked on pain meds or something?”
“No, I need estrogen and anti-androgens.”
“Is this some sort of transgender thing?”
“Yes, it’s some sort of transgender thing,” I said rolling my eyes. “Look I can do without either but I really really really don’t want to. It’s difficult to explain without getting more personal,” I waved my hand around my lower abdomen, “than I want to with you.” His face scrunched as he considered what I had said.
“Ok let’s loot the pharmacy,”he said after a minute. He walked over the door and looked at it and the service window shutter. “I think prying the window open is going to be easier than trying to bust the door down. Do you have that tire iron?”
“No, I left it at home. We can probably find an actual crowbar in here somewhere,” I said. We walked into the tool aisles and found some crowbars. It wasn’t easy but we eventually managed to pop the shutter’s locks.
“This is what you’re looking for,” I said grabbing a notepad and writing ‘estradiol’ and ‘spironolactone’ on it.
“I thought you needed estrogen? What’s spiro..lactose?”
“Spironolactone. It’s an anti-androgen. It blocks testosterone,” I said already searching the first shelf.
“Oh ok, but what’s estradoll?” he asked.
“How about I give you a trans health 101 later when we’re not looting a pharmacy?”
“Sure, if you want to. I was just curious.”
“Cool.” I went back to searching. I found a small stack of estrace packages and a stack estrofem packages. Andy came up with a couple of bottles of spironolactone.
“Is this going to be enough,” Andy asked as I did some rough estimations.
“This will last me about nine months.”
“That’s good right?”
“Well given that I need to take this the rest of my life and I hope to live longer than nine months, it’s good enough for now but less than ideal.” Nine months. It was a lot less than I hoped to find. Not that I expected to find enough pills to last for years but nine months was a stark reminder of how close to the edge we were.
“There another pharmacy down the street we could hit up,” Andy said.
“Yeah but not today. I want to grab some more food and water and head home.”
“You need help with anything?” I offered hoping to mend our “partnership” more.
“I’d really like a mattress.”
“I don’t know. If we had a cart or something to carry it on. I don’t want to be caught holding a mattress while a zombie attacks.”
“That’s what I thought you’d say.”
A thought popped into my head. “What about an air mattress?”
He slapped his forehead, “I should of thought of that.” We walked over the sporting goods section and found an air mattress with a foot pump. Andy carried it in his arms since it would fill his backpack otherwise. We made our way to the food aisles and loaded up before heading out of the store.
The walk to Andy’s store was uneventful. The zombies from earlier had cleared the area and no new ones had wandered by.