I was with two buddies, picking up some groceries before we headed out to re-stock on medical supplies. We were just doing the usual, belaying from building to building, picking up cans of food, swapping out the occasional item for something slightly less busted. You know--surviving.
Then came the call.
"Bunch of stuff in here. But look out. Spray paint can."
He tried not to over-stress it, but we all knew what that meant. We'd all lost enough characters to paint cans to learn.
"No problem," I said, "just stay cool and stay away from it and we'll be fine."
We started to file in.
"Actually," said my slightly crazier friend, "maybe we should pick it up."
"Are you insane?"
"No, really. I picked up another paint can and it was OK."
Two of us pointed our weapons at the third.
"You've got spray paint?" we said, in unison.
"No, I dropped it..."
We both froze. I felt ice run down my spine.
"You mean," I said slowly, "there's a second spray paint can around here somewhere?"
"Oh crap oh crap oh crap oh crap..."
"Keep it together!" his panic steeled me. "Where is it?"
"Actually, I dropped it way back. Remember those bandits that were dogging us?"
"You mean the guys with the pair of M4s and the shoot-you-soon-as-I-can-see-you rifle?"
"Whatever. Yeah. What about them?"
"I dropped the can behind us, where they'd be sure to find it."
We were silent for a moment, then we all burst out laughing.
"Oh, man, you are too cruel!" I said. "I don't like the idea of carrying around one of those little death bombs, but what a brilliant idea."
"We haven't seen them since, have we? So I thought maybe I'd pick up this can and save it in case we need it."
"Wait, are you thinking what I'm thinking?" said my milder friend.
"There's a body back there where you dropped that can. And those guys were coming from the direction of the hospital. It's a cinch they were loaded down with medical supplies."
"So one dies, and the other two take the stuff. What's in it for us?"
"If they were all loaded down, they're going to have to leave a bunch of stuff behind. They can't take it all."
"I remember where I dropped the can. I can take us right back to it. Can't be more than five minutes."
"It's worth a look."
"OK. But no touching the spray can," I said. "You got lucky once, but let's not risk our luck."
A short while later we were all gathered behind a bush at the foot of a long, clear slope.
"You guys thinking what I'm thinking?" I asked.
"Yeah, if some guys wasted one of my buddies and was planning on coming back..."
"...this would be the perfect place to ambush them before going back east to pick up the respawn."
"I was afraid of that," I said. "how much patience you figure these guys have got?"
"They were chasing us for over half an hour."
"But it's been over ten minutes since he dropped the can. If we'd been planning to come back, we woulda dropped it, circled around, and hit them right away, right?"
"Maybe. What are we worrying about? We've got guns."
"We've got handguns. They've got rifles. You take point."
"Why me? You take point!"
"You dropped the freaking can."
"Fine. But if I die, I'm going to haunt you before I respawn."
"OK, fine. Sheesh. The dead I can deal with."
"I'll make you feel guilty. You'll see."
"Will you just go? We want some daylight left for the hospital, you know?"
"I thought you said they cleaned out the hospital."
"The other hospital. In case we find the body and all that's on it is crap. It's an hour walk, at least."
"OK, I'm going."
We waited. Nothing happened. He made it to the top, then into the bushes. The other two of us each trotted up after the other, one at a time. We kept moving.
Then we found them.
"There's where I left the can."
There was not one, but three bodies piled there. Backpacks, guns, all intact.
"Oh, man...the can got all three of them!"
"See? See?" I said. "Those cans are too dangerous! Don't touch it! If it got them it can get us, too."
"It's at zero percent now," said my slightly crazy friend.
"Leave it alone! You've got me about crapping myself here. Just-don't-touch-it!"
"Fine, fine. I'll leave it alone. Can I have one of the M4s?"
"Go for it."
"Come to papa! I've got a Limited Edition U.S. Army Commemorative Stock with an Inlaid Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial medallion waiting in my backpack for you, sweetheart!" he lifted up the M4 and replaced his axe with it. I saw it sprout a bayonet, strap, sling, and various other things that have probably been cluttering his inventory since our trip to the airport. "Who was Lyndon Baines Johnson, anyway? Some hard-ass Army Terminator dude?"
"He was the President of the United States."
"He picked up dogs by their ears."
"Dang...Wait, wasn't he the guy that got attacked by a rabbit?"
"That was Carter. Anyone mind if I take the Mosin-Nagant?"
"Not if I get the other M4," said my milder friend.
"Score! Look at all the medical equipment. Hey! His helmet's only 'Slightly Damaged'."
"Go ahead and take the upgrade, buddy," I said.
"Good-bye to my old 'Beat All To Hell with Several Bullet Holes' helmet. You've served me well," he said.
We were having the time of our lives stripping these guys. We worked our way through our stuff and their stuff. By the time we were finishing, it was sunset. But we felt as buff as could be. We'd never been so well equipped.
"Ready to kick some zombie and bandit ass?" I said, when we finally seemed to be winding down.
"Yeah. Wait a second..." my milder friend paused. "Where's the paint can?"
"Move a little bit, maybe?"
"It was right here. I was keeping my eye on it."
"I tossed it over there," said my slightly crazier friend, "to get it out of the way."
"Crap! I though we said we weren't going to touch the can!"
"I just picked it up and dropped it. No 'F' key involved. Keep your pants on."
"Well, I just wanted to know where the can was."
"Why, do you want it?"
"OK, because if you did, it's at zero percent. But I've got the other one from back in town. It's full."
"It's cool. I've got it right here. See?"
A brief scuffle ensued.
In the darkness, the bushes parted.
The Survivor, who had traveled alone from the coast looked out. He'd gone west, to get away from the madness. He had made his way this far with nothing more than a screwdriver, two cans of beans, and a hoodie. Below him now, he saw a pile of six bodies, laden with backpacks and weapons.
"Wow. M4, backpacks, helmets, it's all here! I guess this is my lucky day!"
He was wrong.
The spray paint can was still at 25%.
It was just enough.
DayZ, Diaries of the Damned #1
DayZ, Diaries of the Damned #12
DayZ, Diaries of the Damned #13
DayZ, Diaries of the Damned #15
DayZ, Diaries of the Damned #16