Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank

By Pat Frank

The vintage apocalyptic novel that shocked the realm.

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McGovern opened that drawer yesterday and saw that roach and screeched like she'd been hit by a scorpion. She made me go through every drawer in the kitchen and dining room and put down fresh paper. Was that roach sent me to Doctor Gunn yesterday. Mrs. McGovern she can't 'bide bugs or little green lizards and she won't go out of the house after dark for fear of snakes. I don't think the McGoverns going to be with us long, Mister Randy, because what's Florida except bugs and lizards and snakes? I think they leave around May, when bug season starts good.

He sipped his mixture greedily. It warmed him, all the way down. Randy didn't remember, exactly, when he had started taking a drink or two before breakfast. Dan Gunn, his best friend and probably the best medic north of Miami, said it was an unhealthy practice and the hallmark of an alcoholic. Not that Dan had reprimanded him. Dan had just advised him to be careful, and not let it become a habit. Randy knew he wasn't an alcoholic because an alcoholic craved liquor. He never craved it. He just drank for pleasure and the most pleasurable of all drinks was the first one on a crisp winter morning.

Presently she called from the piazza, "Mister Randy, it's for you. " "Tell her I'll be right down," Randy said, lifted himself out of the deck chair, and backed down the ladder, wondering who would be sending him a telegram. It wasn't his birthday. If some thing important happened, people phoned. Unless-he remembered that the Air Force sent telegrams when a man was hurt, or killed. But it wouldn't be Mark, because for two years Mark had been flying a desk. Still, Mark would get in his flying time each month, if possible, for the extra pay.

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