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A Guide to Post-Apocalyptic Real Estate

My library is as perfect a compound as any or, at least, it is perfect for me, featuring two floors with a mezzanine, vaulted ceilings, solid beam construction, a newer steel roof, strong steel doors, several exits, a couple hidey holes very few people would ever think to check, a number of carpeted interior rooms that dampen sound quite nicely, dozens of accent windows just below the ceiling allowing for lots of natural light, and enough books to keep me distracted for as long as my body resists the grislier vicissitudes. It’s just a little suburban library, like so many other suburban libraries, not much to look at, really, doesn’t have what people in the real estate biz used to call “curb appeal,” but I’ve made a number of improvements that add obvious value. For instance, before The Collapse, no one ever thought to install a sleeping loft up in the exposed wood beams, or the retractable rope ladder, or a cast iron wood stove in the nook behind the reference desk, or a cistern, or, for that matter, any kind of water-gathering system at all, but now it’s all equity, as they used to say. Sure, there are more desirable neighborhoods, several in fact, all within walking distance, hilltop mini-mansions commanding spectacular views in all directions, commercial properties featuring an array of comforting in-built security features, quaint doomsday bunkers, but where one hangs one’s hat has always been an intensely personal matter, and at this point I wouldn’t trade these red bricks and wire-mesh-reinforced windows or this random collection of titles for any other.  

My situation is probably unusual, however. The real-estate market is flooded these days and any homebuyers still out there hunting are probably reticent to settle for anything other than that elegant, south-facing fortress on the hillside. The American Dream is out there, but it has markedly changed. You just know the a perfect place is awaiting, the most desirable neighborhood, the true home of your heart, the one that will complete you the moment you cross the threshold. But there’s a catch. Because the more you come to expect perfection, the more you search for it, the less able you are to find it, so that you keep searching and searching until the searching is the very thing you seem to be searching for. You pass by dozens of places that could have been perfect for you if only you’d given them half a chance, but you didn’t, and now you are exhausted, and so you settle, but now there’s another catch, because the second you move in, the second you shut the front door behind you, you have to bar it, barricade it. Suddenly bodies are piling up against it, arms are breaking through the windows. What? Who? O, it’s that host of oh-so-helpful agents and inspectors and appraisers and loan officers and underwriters and title brokers who had been hanging around wanting nothing more than to make you happy, happy, happy. Only here they are again, always turning on you at the zero hour, trapping you inside until you can’t take it anymore and make one last ill-fated break for it or else retreat to the upstairs bedroom where you look out the window and see a ravenous horde bunching up into the distance so that the only choice left other than to give them what they want is to hold a screwdriver pointing up on the dresser and count to three before, leading with your eye, you slam your head down on it.

Anyway, here are a few other hot listings—those perfect but not-so-perfect abodes—which various Plymouth's "agents” argued for during our stint, based on their apparent preferences and various statements I overheard them making in camp  before our "housing bubble" burst:

 

Old World Farmhouse, New World Amenities!

3BR, 1BA, secure barn for livestock, outbuildings, root cellar keeps perishables cold, plus escape tunnels, snare field, closed-circuit video surveillance! Come for the solid 19th Century construction, stay for the bomb-proof panic room w/ secret subterranean egress!! Listing Agent: Christopher Martin.

 

Hillside Hideaway

Drink these scenic vistas in your very own hillside hideaway, snipe a few “solicitors” to blow off steam. 5BR, 3BA, living roof (grow your own veggies!), passive heating, sauna, stainless kitchen, you name it. We’re talking sleek, ultramodern accommodation w/ WWII machinegun bunker security. Bandits won’t even know it’s there … until it’s too late! Listing Agent: Neo.

 

On the Road Again!

Want to stay mobile but don’t want to sacrifice security or comfort? This steel shipping container compound is strong enough to withstand a horde, perfectly movable, and fully customizable so it can fit almost any terrain. All the storage and living space you could ever need—literally inside your perimeter wall. One container to a thousand—the possibilities are endless. Stack for a wall or form an enclosure w/ courtyard, garden, livestock. Expand as your family (or clan) grows. Boxes guaranteed not to have been used for transporting biohazard. Heavy machinery not included. Listing Agent: Ragnar.

 

Quaint Seaside Home on Stilts

Kick back on your own private dock overlooking Elliot Bay. Have a boat? Even better! Catch salmon, seabirds … maybe even a whale! 1BR, 1BA, open floor plan. Lots of natural light. Super cozy. The right person is gonna love those pylons and retractable ladder—just shimmy up and even the grabbiest ghoul can’t getcha! Listing Agent: Pippin.      

 

Lighthouse Living!

Never talk to anyone you don’t want to on your own private island! Apartment in lighthouse. 360-degree views. Fortified entry on ground floor. Rope egress up top. Skiff included. Listing Agent: Chief.

 

Survivalist’s Wet Dream

No nonsense Cold War-era bunker. Super-efficient LED lighting, bunkbed nook, table, periscope, A++ ventilation, water filtration system w/ extra filters, handy compost toilet, shelves pre-stocked w/ non-perishables, batteries, matches, ammunition … the works! Well concealed entry and exit at forest’s edge. House on property razed to discourage snooping. Live the legend! Bonus porn stash for right buyer. Listing Agent: Huckleberry.

 

Man Cave

Get back to your roots in this rustic cave. Four chambers—two large, two small. Main entrance on hillside overlooking valley. Fire pit outside main entrance concealed by slagheap. Natural windbreak. Small vertical egress in rear chamber. Hand painted hunt scenes visible by torchlight. Listing Agent: Shared listing.

 

Arctic Stronghold

North to Alaska! Go north the rush is on! The land of delicious moose, reindeer, salmon and best of all … Z-free winters! It’s true!! They freeze right up!!! 2BR, 1BA cabin, arctic entry, stone’s throw to salmon river w/ rustic fish wheel, rifle slits, tinkle bells in woods, bog on west side, trap line … all hundreds of miles from urban hordes. Occasional loner? No problem! Half the time bears and wolves pick em off, other half, gotta keep your aim sharp anyway, right? Listing Agent: Ragnar.

 

Hobbit Hole Heaven

This isn’t your older cousin Bilbo’s hobbit hole! 3BR, 2BA, 2 full kitchens, larders, pantries, spacious living area, napping nook, and a warm study to while away the hours during a siege. Just as cozy as the original, but recently updated w/ more chambers, tunnels, hidey holes, trick cupboards, false floors, and escape tunnels than you’ll know what to do with! Even if the “orcs” know you’re here, they’ll never find you! Listing Agent: Pippin.

 

Ewok’s Dream!!!

Safety has never been more fun! Need to get from your private hut over to the ceremonial commons? Take the sturdy foot bridges and do some world-class bird watching on the way, or just grab a rope and swing across—it’s your call! This treetop community deep in the pacific northwest rainforest offers a dizzying array of communal amenities including breathtaking views of old-growth forest, built-in hunting blinds, as well as any number of stone nets, log traps, and more! Listing Agent: Chucho.

 

Sniper Heaven

Had enough? Looking to go out in a blaze of glory raining hell upon unsuspecting enemies? Well, this clock tower was made for you! Currently no escape route but a serious badass like you could probably clear out anyone (or anything) before they even tried to get inside…. Listing Agent: Huckleberry.

 

Home is Where the Heart Is

Sick of running when “secure compounds” fail? Tired of barely escaping when “un-breachable walls” get breached? Take home w/ you wherever you go with this home in a backpack. Featherweight features include camouflage Tent-o-Matic® Canopy Hammock™, sleeping bag, carbon fiber shovel/mattock, and more. Sometimes less is more! Listing Agent: Jason.

 

Travel the High Seas in Comfort (and Security)

Two-thirds of the planet is water. Why fight the “landlubbers”? Sail your very own Beneteau Sense 55. That’s 55’ of pure nautical luxury, apartment-like cabins, and an aft arch with dual wind generators and solar panels. Shell out for the optional solar-powered desalination system and 50-caliber machinegun turret and the world is your oyster. Listing Agent: Lard Ass.

 

Giant Warship, Ho!

Nuclear. Aircraft. Carrier. ‘Nuf said. All the power you could ever need to live in safety, comfort and style, plus advanced weapons systems and several full galleys. Cozy nautical-themed living quarters for 5K+ people. Feeling ambitious? Add some helicopters and jets. Listing Agent: Lard Ass.

 

Tropical Paradise

Ride out Tropical Storm Z on your very own pacific island! Volcano provides geothermal power. Freshwater sources available on south side of island. All the fish you can eat right off the white sand beach, plus coconuts, seabird eggs and invasive snakes and rats galore! Quaint lean-twos and huts built to suit. The only problem you’ll find here is TOO MUCH relaxation. Listing Agent: Lard Ass.

 

Deepwater Horizons

Ride out Tropical Storm Z on your very own manmade island! Comfortable for 100+ permanent inhabitants. 50BR, 25BA, kitchen, meeting areas, fishing platforms galore. Efficient, private quarters. Includes not 1 but 2 helicopters! Features stunning 360-degree ocean views, state-of-the-art gym to keep fit, updated rec room w/ videogames, foosball and ping pong. Need fuel to power your island utopia? Drill, baby, drill!  Listing Agent: Lard Ass.

 

Large Secure Warehouse

40,000sf steel warehouse, open floorplan, insulated sectional steel rolling doors, 2nd-story office overlooking the floor. Optional roof features include water collection system, solar panels, wind generator, signal tower. Listing Agent: ZombX.

 

Secure Investment

Reinforced brick bank w/ vaults. Smaller of two converted into panic room w/ sewer egress. Heavily tinted shatterproof glass, security guard booth, machinegun nests on roof, and more. The Zekes may start lining up outside, but there won’t be a run on YOUR bank! Listing Agents: The Majority Shareholders.

 

Mallwalker’s Delight

1,000,000sf of usable space. 200+ top brand shops w/ security doors. Two fountains. Security office w/ closed-circuit surveillance. Commercial grade generators. Great rooftop visibility. Secure loading/unloading bay and parking garage. But the best part … all the goods are still inside! Listing Agent: Neo.

 

Academic Freedom

University of Washington campus now available for the right buyer[1]. Beautiful Gothic Revival architecture w/ modernist updates, endless interconnected corridors (both defensible and escapable), plenty of lakefront access, natural history museum, art gallery, plus the complete contents of Suzallo and Allen libraries! All the survival information you could ever want and then some!! Listing Agent: iZhmael.

 

Escape to … Prison?

Supermax prison w/ high double fencing, remote location, local fields for growing crops, wells on site, any number of guard towers, kitchens, weight room, theater, and extremely secure cellblocks. Don’t think of it as a prison but as an escape! Listing Agent: Not Chucho or Ragnar.

 

Block Party

Live as before in this walled-off city block. Modern apartment buildings, cafes, park w/ garden, seafront access. The serious urban professional’s dream. Go to work, church, gym, raise your kids to be good human beings, just like before—but with less traffic! Listing Agent: Starbucks.

 

1st and Goal at the 10-yard line!

Stadium seated ~70K but the possibilities are endless. Raise livestock and harvest crops in the field, add terracing all around for lush potted crops, build efficient eco-villages on each tier of the parking garage… or just maintain as is for lucrative gladiatorial battles down the road! Listing Agent: Buttplug.

 

The Sky is the Limit

Luxurious 68-story highrise w/ unfettered views of Elliot Bay. 10,000+-sf penthouse units on upper floors, guaranteed 100% of pre-“Collapse” power, elegant sky gardens, world-class art museum, shopping centers, three gyms, rooftop driving range, full digital connection, well-heeled staff, 24-hour concierge service, fully secured base perimeter. All on-site security provided by ZombX. Listing Agent: The Majority Shareholders.

 

Explosive Deal(s)

Remote nuclear silos in scenic MT each w/ secure, cozy underground command center, advanced defense systems, cots (sleeps 2), kitchen, A/V equipment, and optional hydroponic growing lab. Decommissioned (“zombie”) Minuteman III missiles still on site. Could be recommissioned by right team…. Listing Agent: ZombX.

 

Military Industrial Complex

Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) for sale AS IS! Base was overrun from within and still is but if you and your crew can hack the initial push, there’s a reason why (JBLM) was the most requested base in U.S. Good climate, tons of on-base amenities, waterfront access. It’s a whole city unto itself, surrounded by fences (many still intact). Includes armories, heavy artillery, airfields, planes, ships, wells, commissary goods, officers’ club, and all accommodations—you name it and it’s probably still here for the taking. Listing Agent: The Majority Shareholders, ZombX.

 

King of Your Own Castle

Be a benevolent sovereign or rule w/ an iron fist—your choice! This castle offers high walls, solid stone construction, barbican entry, moat, fortified keep, luxurious royal accommodations, shops to keep the peasants happy, dungeon to keep them in line, secret underground tunnels, and more. Death is for the poor. Come live. Listing Agents: The Majority Shareholders.

 

 

If you are still alive, you probably realized how unattainable and altogether implausible many, if not most, of those property listings were, and I agree wholeheartedly, but, for the sake of argument, I think we can agree for a moment that they were at least technically possible; what the reader might not know, however, is that we Americans had a long history of dreaming about getting things we could never actually hope to get and many of those dreams, maybe even most, at least where real property were concerned, were often crazy sounding, but did always have this aura of distant attainability about them, and that off chance that our luck might suddenly turn, in the end, was what kept the dream alive—and was arguably the only glue that held the country together from about 1950 onward—but deep down people usually knew the score, that their dream of owning a property even like the average homes they saw on TV on any given second of any given day was so far-fetched that they might as well have been dreaming about moving into mansions on Mars.

But our conversations slipped with ease between the technically possible and the highly improbable and, just as the line between the two was so mutable, so too did we slip easily between the highly improbably and the totally impossible. What did it matter, after all? Not much had changed for the roughnecks of Plymouth. Sad as it is to say, we who experienced The Collapse represented the last generation of Americans who grew up still sorta believing in the American Dream—before angled pikes and loops of concertina wire, there were white picket fences—so too did Plymouth’s roughnecks slip easily and often without transition from the realm of the highly improbable dream castle into the realm of hopeless fantasy and, even sadder, knowing all the while that, if by some sheer stroke of luck, such things became attainable, there was still no way they’d ever be able to move in, because, without a doubt, they would already be occupied by those with greater means, heavily fortified, not just against zombies, but against those of us who owned nothing but our meager lives. So perhaps it was with a sense of great cosmic irony the doomed men distracted themselves by dreaming up crazy listings such as these:

 

 

Home of the Future, Now!

6BR, 3.5BA. Looks like a luxurious mini-mansion but w/ numerous add-ons for today’s more embattled lifestyle! Extras include complete solar, wind, passive heating, perimeter laser-sensors and biometric-targeting systems w/ fully customizable attack configurations, advanced electromagnetic shockwave cannons, predator drone launch pad and command center, bulletproof windows, blast doors, extensive armory, panic room, subterranean and rooftop zip-line escape options, plus full bar and full gym w/ racquetball and basketball courts, lap pool, and deluxe 10-person hot tub! Listing Agent: Neo.

Biodome

Secure force field dome goes over any location w/ simple 2-click keypad entry. Live WHEREVER and HOWEVER you want. Instantly zap ANYTHING or ANYONE that means to do you harm. Listing Agent: Pippin.

 

Your Own Private Atlantis

At last, live like Poseidon under the sea. This underwater compound offers all the perks of terrestrial living but in a secure underwater bubble. No more looking out the window to see gray dead people, just a colorful world of fish, anemones, humpbacks, orcas and even the occasional octopus! Climate controlled. Pressure equalization. Advanced decompression chambers for easy scuba excursions and all the therapeutic spearfishing you can stand. Listing Agent: Lard Ass.

 

Now You See It, Now You Don’t!

Forget safety, just make YOURSELF invisible! Advanced cloaking technology renders you invisible to zombies and hateful wingnuts alike. No more hiding in closets, hide in plain sight! Listing Agent: Buttplug.

 

Battlecloud

This super sleek floating attack fortress allows you to wipe out your enemies w/ zero risk. Impregnable underbelly. Bottom-mounted 50-calliber machinegun turrets, white phosphorous cannons, cluster bombs, neurotoxin delivery systems, you name it. Overkill? There’s no such thing. Listing Agent: ZombX.

 

Houston, We Have No Problems

Looking back on Earth, your present problems will seem so insignificant. Enjoy reading in your cozy quarters, uninterrupted contemplations, soothing spacewalks, and heartrending vistas. If you ever get nostalgic about the old days on earth, you can always hop in the escape pod and experience all the highs and lows of celestial-terrestrial return. Don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity. Listing Agent: Chucho, iZhmael.

 

Inhabit Your Own Alternate Dimension

Everything man sees is a false front, a phantasm of its truer self that exists in another realm beyond perception. So why seek shelter here at all if the true doorknob lies in a dimension at once a million lightyears and only one micrometer beyond the doorknob we seek, in a place where there is neither a doorknob to grab nor even a concept “doorknob”? And yet if you open it up you’ll find yourself at home in that one true home seemingly designed for you, that one, insular, interstellar Tahiti where nothing is created nor destroyed, just as nothing begins nor ends, as all things are one and constantly in a state of creation and destruction, just as they are constantly in a state of beginning and ending, so that there is no point at which one might differentiate one state from the other or for that matter one thing from another. Even now prospective homebuyers are inhabiting the only fortress of security possible, safe as one can ever hope to be in a universe that is all one self-consuming, self-expelling unit at once infinitely spacious and infinitely cozy, that is, the only available real estate, which is all and everything, including nothing. Listing Agent: Custer.

 

 

 

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[1] Unfortunately, while I would love to return to and haunt the halls of my alma mater, it was overrun long ago. I passed by the hasty bulwarks in the earliest days, hoping to get in, hoping to help, hoping to be part of a true think tank society, a utopian Eden that might radiate outward. But it was already too late. Some faculty members and students who refused to sacrifice those lofty edifices, or the intellectual work that such edifices embodied, were fighting a pitched battle against the incoming tides, and holding their own, until they were overwhelmed from behind, consumed by those among their own ranks.