Monday, June 18, 2007

Lock Your Doors!

This video was found in a camera that was lost during the panic. It is simply labeled “lock your doors!”

[The video starts out with the camera being turned on and then lifted. Two people converse throughout (referred to in this transcript as A and B). The camera focuses on a high rise about a mile a way. The building is on fire. Screams can be heard in the distance, there is also a blanket of sirens that continue throughout. The camera pans back and you can tell that this is being filmed on a balcony in a major city. The camera pans between two high rises, both are on fire.]

A: “Look at the smoke man, those people above that are fucked.”
B: “Yeah.”

[There are several shrieks that let out below and the camera pans down to see the road beneath the elevated trains. There are several people walking slowly and pacing below the train tracks. They wander with their heads pointing up. They occasionally shriek. The people look as if they are catching rain or snowflakes in their mouths. When the camera zooms in it looks like red liquid. As the camera pans up you can see a stocky man on the elevated tracks, holding a crowbar. His leg is bleeding and dripping below. The people down below seem to be trying to catch the blood in their mouths. ]

B: What the fuck does he think he’s going to do?
A: Get fuckin eaten like the rest of em I guess.

[The camera slides right and focuses on four more people walking strangely. They stumble on the tracks as if they don’t understand that there is a space in between the wooden ties. Every few feet someone’s leg falls in up to the knee and they fall, they struggle to get back up. These are certainly the walking dead. The man stands on a small section of the tracks that had no gaps in the ties. He holds the crowbar by the curve and had a grey piece of clothing wrapped around his left arm. The crowbar end is pointed out at the creatures as if it were a sword. His right leg is forward and his left leg is turned to the side as if he were in a fencing stance. ]

A: Who does he think he is? Fuckin Aragorn and shit?
B: I guess, what a dumbass.

[Because of the clumsy nature of the creatures the zombies come in slowly and in large intervals, instead of in a pack. The first one reaches for the man and he sidesteps while shoving the crowbar through the eye of the ghoul.]

B: He fucked him up bro!

[There is a sound of hands slapping and the camera jiggles a little. The man removes the bar from the creature’s head and swings at the next one. He comes across the side of the head with the iron, and it topples to the side, falling off the elevated tracks.]

A: [shouting out to the street] Whoop his ass dog!
B: Fuck him up!

[The last two are closer together. The first creature swipes at the man. He leans to the side, his left leg sliding out. The man grabs the zombie by the front of the shirt and pivots, pulling the creature off balance and it falls off trying to grasp at the man. ]

A: That’s what you gotta do man, use their own momentum against them…
B: Listen to you – Lucky I got John Madden up here to give me the play by play.

[slight pause]

A: Fuck off homes…

[The other reaches for the man but stumbles on the ties. His foot catches and he lands face first onto the tracks. The man stomps the back of the head repeatedly until the creature stops trying to get up. It looks as if the man is going to stomp one more time when there is a large shriek – it is unmistakably the breaks on a large vehicle. ]

[The camera pans back a bit and catches a bus traveling at a high speed swerve around the pack of zombies huddled below lapping up the injured man’s blood. The bus plows through a couple of them, while it skids out of control. The man on the track turns just and the bus slams into the support for the el. He is off balance and near the edge of the tracks. The jarring collision is enough to make him lose his balance completely and he falls off el. His back slams into the top of the bus his crowbar leaves his grasp but is still on top of the vehicle with him. The camera focuses on him for almost thirty seconds; he does not stir.]

A: That was fuckin lame.
B: Yeah, that dude was a bitch.
A: Yeah, he’s lunch now.
B. What a shame…. AAAAAAAAA

[The camera spins to see man B getting attacked from behind. A ghoul has bitten into his neck. The camera falls as the cameraman grabs the ghoul and tries to pull him off his friend. There is a slight struggle as the zombie will not let go of the man he is attacking. The cameraman grabs the zombie by the shirt and tugs very hard. The zombie lets go of the injured man and the momentum pulls the two out of camera range. ]

A: Wha….AAAAAAAaaaaaaaa…

[There is dull thud in the distance about 4 seconds later. The man who was injured holds his neck for a moment or two and then collapses on the floor in front of the camera. He bleeds profusely from his neck. His eyes close, and thirty seconds later they open again. His bleeding has stopped, he slowly rises and heads back into the apartment. The camera watches him as he wanders right through the dwelling. The shot is framed perfectly as the creature walks right out the open front door. ]

Sunday, June 17, 2007

This is not a test.


I thought I had it all pretty much covered. You see, the idea was to fortify the house in such a way that I wouldn’t even have contact. Seems funny now, watching the house I spent so many hours renovating burn to ground from the roof of my garage.

I never got to work on the garage. The garage was supposed to be fixed up this year. I had big plans. Of course that tends to be me in a nutshell: big plans, a lot of stalling, and poor execution. Poor execution. Maybe not such a great choice of words considering. I’m trapped here on the roof, my neighbor’s corpse sluggishly bleeding in the middle of my suburban driveway, watching a blaze roar through my house and all I hear is Flanders voice in my head, “We’re in a dilly of pickle.” Good to know I haven’t lost my sense of morbid humor at least.

My neighbor was a nice guy; I guess was being the operative word here. I could never remember his damn name, but we’d wave genially at one another as we went about our lives. I was thrilled when he moved in and started sprucing up his yard. Until his corpse became what I suspected was at least a semi permanent fixture in the driveway, he really prettied things up around here. Until he attacked that is.

The thing is, I really thought I did a good job on the house. I put those cheap little motion alarms on all the windows and double boarded them as well. I had plywood screwed into the studs running first horizontally across all the windows, then a separate small sheet backing that up running vertically. Its really amazing how quickly you can get things done when it doesn’t matter what it looks like. If anything tried to get in a window, the alarms would sound once the glass broke, then whatever, or whoever it was would have to get through two sheets of ¾ inch plywood. Even if it wouldn’t keep everything out forever, at the very least it would slow them down. I put old school four by four braces up across the front door that no one uses, and where I thought I was really clever was by the side door. This was the door everyone really used to get in and it was the most vulnerable, being at ground level. I built a braced frame at forty five degrees to the inside of the door so that anything that broke through would be automatically forced down into the basement. Granted this is where Pretzel, our tenant lived, but he wasn’t home and I figured it was time for all of us to make sacrifices. To get upstairs I built a door into the artificial wall that was padlocked and that could be braced shut by more four by fours. It wasn’t pretty, not even close, but it was built strong. By the end of the building I was getting pretty tired. I had hauled up all of our camping stuff into the upstairs and was headed back from the garage with a handful of tools when I saw him standing in my hallway.

Like a dumbass, a tired and worried dumbass, but a dumbass nonetheless, I had left the door open while I made my trips out to the garage. I don’t know when he got in, but there he was, big as day, black as night, and covered with what I assumed was his own blood. Vaguely, I could hear my phone ringing over the sound of my heart beating. Both sounds seemed incredibly loud. Without hesitating a second, he started to come at me. In the movies, they moan, but I didn’t hear anything but the sound of my own panicked breathing. I backed up into my kitchen as he closed the gap, not fast, but steady, and cut off my escape down the stairs. I looked at the other door and realized that it would take me too long to get past my own defenses. Even as I looked around, he kept coming, ever closing that distance. I dropped the tools in my hands and kept backing up. He was in the exact worst spot now, blocking the living room and the stairs leading down and out of the house. I searched around for a weapon, but as you might imagine didn’t have anything more deadly than a chef’s knife in my kitchen. I had stowed all of my camping gear in the dining room and I quickly made for that, remembering the small, dull old hatched I always keep in our stuff. Throwing aside sleeping bags and a tent, I got to the big Tupperware bin with all of our camping gear I threw aside propane tanks, coleman fuel, garbage bags, waterproof matches, and other useless shit. Just as my hands closed on the hatchet, I felt incredibly strong hands dig into my shoulders pull me off balance back into the kitchen.

In what seemed like an instant, he was on me, snapping his jaws like an angry dog, inches from my face. He was so strong, that really surprised me, and he didn’t stop pressing for even a second. I know for sure that if this had been a fair fight he would have killed me. In another moment, I would have felt his cold (he was so cold) teeth clamp down, crushing their way through my thin pathetic skin, grinding muscle and fat until the skin burst, not from being cut open, but from the pressure of his unskakeble jaws. It would only have been another moment if I hadn’t been able to bring the tiny hatchet up and around and club him in the left ear. I didn’t hit him smoothly, or even particularly hard, but it was enough to scramble free, panting with exertion and fear. As I pulled myself up, I must have bumped the stove and lit one of the burners. I heard them clicking and smelled the rotten egg smell of gas, and, as I stumbled forward I heard the woompf of the gas catching and then the familiar flutter of the blue flames flicking back and forth in the open air. My neighbor stood, bracing himself on the stove in a disturbingly familiar pantomime of humanity. He didn’t even blink when his hands touched the blue flames. He didn’t turn his head when his shirt caught on fire. He just kept coming after me, so fucking steadily. I ran down the stairs and out the door. I should have shut the door, trapped that burning fuck in the house and let him roast in the hell he made for himself, but I still didn’t want to abandon the house. I didn’t know yet that the flames had spread onto the nylon fabric sleeping bags that lay next to where we had been struggling. Instead, I waited outside the door, panting, hatchet raised above my head. When that flaming monstrosity calmly stepped out of the front door, I brought that tiny axe down onto his exposed skull with all the strength I had, driving its dull steel blade past the scalp, splitting the skull, and finally stopping rammed deep into the monsters brain, about halfway through his right ear. He dropped (oh thank god he dropped) like a stone to the ground, pulling my hatchet out of my hands. Slow, thick blood, blood like cherry jello, coagulated and dark, spilled from his ruined head. Without a second thought I grabbed the hatchet, using my foot to brace his head and pulled it from his skull like Excalibur from the stone. I looked around in a frenzy, bloody hatchet raised up and over my head. My heart was pounding and I was shaking, not with fear but with the adrenalized blood rush of a first time killer.

That was about an hour ago. Now I’m sitting on my roof, feeling less than triumphant. My phone was in that house. My life was in that house. I had little more than a couple of crowbars I pulled from the garage, Excalibur, my hatchet, and no word from my wife. Where were they? Where would I take them to be safe? How would we get there?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Internal Dialog, Infernal Panic

Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck.

You’ve got to be kidding me. All those times Tom told me all about Zombies, ‘just in case’, and all those times I laughed at what a geek he was and told him his Zombie obsession was weird. Good God. This is just too hard to process. We’re looking at a potential pandemic, here. I’m beyond terrified. How on Earth can I protect Finnegan, or myself, for that matter? He’s just so perfect and deserves a chance to become who he is. I am so out of my element, here. And I am so scared.

And it’s not like our government has a good track record in handling disasters.... is FEMA going to provide out post Zombie- apocalypse housing? Please. I know we have a strong military, and it’s inevitable that we’re going to go under martial law once they realize what is happening. I just hope they are smarter than they act. I don’t have much faith that their numbers or power will do much good. After all, it only takes one idiot in charge to render everything useless. God, I hope I’m wrong.

I talked to Tom briefly, and he told me to turn around. And go where? There are FUCKING ZOMBIES everywhere, and my gut says to go AWAY from them, so I am. Like I’m going to fight for my life without him. I will NOT separate my family in a time of crisis. We are a team and we will do this together. My sister called us ‘Team Curry’ when I was in labor with Finn, and it stuck. Team Curry will do this together. I don’t know if I have the inner calm to do this alone anyhow.... I just can’t believe this is happening.

Sarah just called. She’s in her closet and afraid to come out, and never did get her long coveted boob job. It’s just as well. No good to be post-op of any kind with Zombies on the loose. She should really go to her parents’ house. They’re such Superheroes. I know they’re going to have the best fortress around. I told her I couldn’t talk, had to drive—driving really fast to get home. She says Cecil isn’t home yet. God, I hope he’s safe.

I keep seeing people everywhere, but I can’t tell if they’re Zombies or not. It’s hard to tell when you’re driving 100mph. Either way, there is an awful lot of foot traffic for a weeknight on some barely lit roads. I need to get home, and fast, and I think I have enough gas—but just barely. The low fuel light is on and has been for a while. I wonder if Tom has the house fortified yet... and how long we have to get provisions. I wish I had a better vehicle in case we have to flee.

Oh my God, how am I going to fight Zombies with my son? He’s so innocent and young and helpless. He can’t even crawl away. Fuck. Focus on something else...

This just can’t be happening. Everything I learned in school is useless, all of my skills and education are worth nothing if I can’t survive some hand to hand combat. And can I?... I mean I took those self defense courses, and I even helped teach a few, but my attacker has gone from a mugger/rapist to an undead bag of pathogens... all they have to do is puncture the skin the tiniest bit and it’s all over. I wish I could get one of those shark-proof chain mail suits divers wear.... I don’t know if I can do this. I just don't see how...

Oh my God, I’m so scared. What about my family, and my friends. Who will survive? How long until the phones and internet go down? I should charge my cell phone while I drive... How long before mass hysteria breaks loose? The rioting will only bring more Zombies, and more chaos. But I guess it’s human nature to freak when the going gets tough. I just hope we’re far enough away from them to be safe when they happen.

At what point will I have to decide if it’s death by Zombie, or death by my own hand? At what point does it get bad enough to warrant humanely putting down my son. Oh God, I can’t even think about that. I just... oh God.... I just don’t know if I can do this. I need to get to Tom before I lose it. I’m on the verge of panic, here, and Finn is in the backseat screaming. My teeth are clenched so hard my jaw hurts. I think I may have broken a tooth. Tom will know what to do.

Just Keep Driving. I’m almost home.

Oh my God.

The van is stopping.

I’m out of gas.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Archive 7o-553-d >> Entry 2

Record Logging Protocol : Epsilon
Record # 7o-553-d
Chrono : Genesis IV

Descriptor : Observance
Classification : Proximal Cognizance

Region >> Chicago,greater

Type >> Audio ; Voice
Delivery >> Messaging System

Primary Principal >> Chris
Primary Assumptions >> Male ; 20-40 ; Caucasian ;

Secondary Principal >> Babe [slang;endearment]
Secondary Assumptions >> Female ; 20-40 ;
Involved(primary,shared residence)

Source >> 7o-553-d_AR_0+0002

Friday, June 8, 2007

Fuck Karma

Things that I have going for me:

  • I always ride in the last car on the train. I ride there mainly because of laziness. It is the closest to the stairs at both the starting and stopping point.
  • The back door of the train was not locked. Sometimes the last car on the brown line can have the operator door closed. Today the door was open.
  • I came to work dressed to move boxes. I have on jeans, a t-shirt, my Colombia hiking boots, and I am carrying my hoodie.
  • I came to move boxes so I brought my Gerber multi-tool. I use it to cut the shrink wrap on pallets.
  • My wife is safely out of the largest population center in the Midwest getting surgery today.

Things that suck:

  • I happen to be 25 blocks from my train home.
  • I just leaped from a moving El and gashed my leg pretty bad.
  • I’ve studied a western martial art for the better part of 13 years. It just so happens that the martial art in question (1500’s rapier combat) is primarily thrust attacks with a weapon that is basically useless when fighting the living dead, nor do I have access to any sort of weapon that resembles a rapier.
  • I should be off today with my wife. The only reason I am in Chicago is because I had to come and unload books. Today was actually the start of a week’s vacation.

I do my best to hobble to the last station. The train continues on and then stops about 50 yards away. The station is close, but the stopped train is closer. People leap from the inside of the last car. No one but me was brave enough to do it before the thing stopped moving, but now I feel like a putz because I am the only one injured from it. The last guy out is hurt pretty bad, grabbing his neck, after him a few undead fall out and regain their footing. The injured man can’t move fast enough, he is descended upon.

I usher those that are ok to follow me. We move quickly to the Sedgwick stop. Some of them are sobbing others can’t believe what is happening, and we move without much talk – all of us are in shock. There are seven of us, two women, 2 children and three men. We make it to the El stop quickly and climb up the side. I turn back to see that the 3 that were feeding on the injured man are following, and the injured man’s death makes it four. I scan the area.

Let me chalk another thing that I have going for me. They are doing construction on this stop and the workers are gone. In fact we are the only ones on the platform but the workers left their tools. I find a small hammer that I quickly drop. I see the nail gun and snatch it up, but the compressor is electric and for some reason it isn’t functioning. I leave it for a small 2 x 4. I swing it once to check its balance. I turn back to the group of living dead when I catch it out of the corner of my eye.

It as if God himself has placed it there for my personal use. Too bad I don’t believe in God. Maybe karma feels bad about what it did to me. In any case the crowbar is exactly what I was looking for. The 2x4 hits the ground, the crowbar is taken up. The survivors of the brown line train have all left the platform. I could run, but judging from the sirens below and all the screams, I am safer up here.

I climb the steps back down to the tracks and start making my way toward them. My leg is bleeding and I think they smell it. They start to move faster and moan louder. I find a place to stand that isn’t separated ties, it is a patch of wood that is solid… I wait.


The Panic Sets In

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Old Yeller

There’s a big difference between fantasy and reality. In a fantasy, for example, its kind of fun to try and think of how to fortify your home against hordes of the undead. In practice, there is nothing at all fun about racing through The Home Depot terrified at the prospect of forgetting that one crucial thing that will make the difference between life and death. In practice there’s nothing worse than desperately racing an unseen but deeply ultimate clock, wracking your already exhausted, nerve-shot brain trying to remember every little nook and cranny you will need to reinforce in your shitty fifty year old brick starter home. No, in practice, there was nothing fun about getting my supplies at all.
There weren’t a hell of a lot of belly laughs wondering desperately about how many and how long, and no one smiles wide at the thought that their wife and infant son are out somewhere in the world, and you’re not around to protect them. Some things should stay in the realm of fantasy. Some things should, but didn’t.
Things still seemed pretty normal in the world so far. I knew things would quickly devolve into a hellish maelstrom once things got out of control and began to really spread, but so far everyone around seemed to be acting pretty normal. Everyone but me, the guy loading his small truck so full of lumber and tools that it would have been comical had there not been a very real possibility of the truck failing before I got home. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. Very thankfully.
I was not so thankful after I hung up with my wife. She was driving home from her monthly La Leche League meetings with Finnegan, and from our conversation, three things were made abundantly, horrifyingly clear. The first was that there were already zombies in Joliet, enough that they were wandering the back roads she was taking home. The second was that she was terrified, and the third was that despite my yelling, actually yelling at her, she was insisting on coming home. I had no idea if the dead were risen already around here, but I did know that I didn’t like the idea of her traveling toward a larger population center over thirty possibly zombie infested miles from her current location. I guess I knew a fourth thing. That if she was anything, Colleen was stubborn. I just hoped her bullish streak would see her home safely.
When I got home, I remembered the dogs. Funny to say I know, but that’s how I felt. Surprised. In all of the mental chaos that ensued after I first realized just an hour and a half ago what was happening, I had forgotten that I had two very friendly, very spoiled, and possibly murderous dogs. What if they barked when zombies came? Might be nice to have the warning, but it just as likely might draw more of them to me. What if they got bitten? Would they be a good distraction while I escaped, or would they turn on me as undead hellhounds? I didn’t much relish the prospect of feeling the jaws of my beloved pets close on my flesh, rending me asunder with their once loving jaws. I wanted to pretend that I didn’t know what I had to do. I wanted to, but I didn’t have the time. I couldn’t let them stay, and I couldn’t let them go, and even more, I couldn’t wait. I had a home to fortify, tools to get from the garage, a ladder to build into the attic, and no time for any of it.
I sobbed. I wept openly and unabashedly, looking for all the world to see like a blood spattered madman even as I loaded sheet after sheet of lumber into the house. I didn’t own a gun, a problem which I knew I would have to remedy. If it was that difficult to kill two loving companions, how much harder would it be to stop the dead?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Best Corn in the World

It’s Monday night, and I’m at the Joliet La Leche League meeting. Finnegan, my 5 month old son is teething, and he’s letting everyone know it. So, we pack up and leave early. I call Tom to tell him I’ll be home by about 8, but he doesn’t answer. He’s either on the can, or left his phone in the car. I settle in for the drive home, and turn on Finn’s light up toy that plays ‘If you’re happy and you know it’ and hope he falls asleep.

Across from the office, I see a lot of teenagers shuffling about and hanging out outside, and am surprised no one at the church has called the police yet. They’re really not into loitering at God’s house. Or at least at that one. I’m surprised there is no bonfire or music playing, though. Is Goth back? Those kids were seriously pale. Probably a new kind of emo. Thank you, Hot Topic, for breeding a new generation of pseudo-counter cultural teens.

I’m feeling melancholy, so I decide to take the long way home. It takes me past the plant where my dad was killed, and sometimes I feel closer to him when I take that way. I’m looking for some time with my thoughts, and Finn falls alseep quickly. The poor little guy is so tired Ahh, just me and the road and my thoughts. The farm roads are nice and dark and secluded. If you’re happy and you know it... I wish I could turn that stupid thing off.

I pass Glasscock’s Farm stand, and it’s still open. Strange, they’re usually packed up and shut down for the night by now. My dad always said they had ‘the best corn in the world!’ I see some commotion in the farm fields. That’s strange, why are people congregating in the corn fields? Maybe there’s something going on at the race track.

They’re moving slowly, and I think they must all be drunk. Are they lost tailgaters? And why so many? They are all walking toward the street, and don’t seem to mind much that I’m trying to drive on it. I think I hear a strange low moaning sound over the toy... If you’re happy and you know it... They get closer, and I’m laying on the horn, annoyed.



I hit the gas.

I need 4 wheel drive, supplies, and Tom. I don’t have much time.

If you’re happy and you know it...

This can’t be happening. Joliet is already infected. I’m heading East.


New Archive Entry Creation

Record Logging Protocol : Epsilon
Record # 7o-553-d
Chrono : Genesis III

Descriptor : Observance
Classification : Non-Direct Preliminary Contact

Region >> Chicago,greater

Type >> Audio ; Voice
Delivery >> Messaging System

Primary Principal >> Chris
Primary Assumptions >> Male ; 20-40 ; Caucasian ;

Secondary Principal >> Babe [slang;endearment]
Secondary Assumptions >> Female ; 20-60 ;

Source >> 7o-553-d_AR_0+0001

Monday, June 4, 2007

Elevated train disturbance, CPD, FDC - 11:54:07[1]

Chicago PD Dispatcher 1313: Police operator 1313, what is your emergency?

Caller: Yes, I am on the brown line heading south to the loop. We just passed a red line train heading south. It was stopped on the tracks. One of the cars had blood all over the windows and it looked like there was a fight or a stabbing going on inside…

[interrupted by the operator]

Chicago PD Dispatcher 1313: Do you remember what car it was?

Caller: Yeah – it was the second from the last car.

Chicago PD Dispatcher 1313: Where was that train located?

Caller: It was on the slope that heads to the subway. Just after the brown line Armitage stop.

Chicago PD Dispatcher 1313: And it was stopped?

Caller: Yes ma’am.

Chicago PD Dispatcher 1313: Did you get a clear look as to what was happening inside the car?

Caller: Not really, there was a lot of blood on the windows. It looked like someone was being attacked because I saw some bodies slamming up against the doors. It might have been a shooting of a stabbing, but I can’t be sure.

Chicago PD Dispatcher 1313: Did you hear any gunshots?

Caller: No ma’am – but the train here is pretty loud.

[Intercom on train: “This is Sedgwick, next stop is Chicago.”]

Chicago PD Dispatcher 1313: Were the windows in tact? Any bullet holes in the windows?

Caller: In my recollection the windows were all in tact. I didn’t see any bullet holes. You should be sending an ambulance along with the police though.

Chicago PD Dispatcher 1313: An ambulance, police and fire have already been dispatched sir.

[Interrupting operator]

Caller: because there was a whole lot of blood. If someone isn’t dead already, they probably will be soon.

Chicago PD Dispatcher 1313: What’s your name sir?

Caller: It’s Brian Ci*********.

[Intercom on train: (3 loud beeps) “We are being delayed because of signals ahead. We hope to be moving shortly and we regret the inconvenience.”]

Chicago PD Dispatcher 1313: Well Brian, is there any other information that you could give us that might help us?

Caller: I don’t think so. I would hurry though. It looked pretty bad.

[Passengers begin screaming in background]

Chicago PD Dispatcher 1313: Brian? Is everything all right?

Caller: Oh, Fuck me….

[Call dropped]

Doc of the Bay

I could only pick out certain words from the hushed, baffled tones of the two male doctors in the next surgery prep and recovery bay at St. Joe’s; gangrenous…necrotic…cannon ball eyes? What? I furrowed my brow. Weird. Just then, Candi, my assigned prep nurse pulled back the blue and pink bay curtain on its bar, producing the metallic “shiiiing” often heard in hospitals, “Doctor drew some marks on you for surgery already, right? Ok, hon, you’ll start to feel the anesthesia in a minute or two, ‘kay?. Do you have any questions?” I smiled and shook my head. From my bed on rollers, my body was warm and my head started to swim slightly with the solution coursing through the tube in my wrist. Candi looked like a truckstop waitress, 80’s poofy blonde hair, almost wiglike, chunky dangling earrings, orangish-pink lipstick on a somewhat wrinkled smoker’s pucker. She patted my leg, “I’ll be right out here at the nurse’s station if you need me, hon. I’ll leave the curtain open for you –it’s not exciting, but it might as well be included in the price of admission.” We both chuckled.” I thanked her with a smile. My vision was slowly experiencing patches of blurriness because of the IV, but I managed to crane my neck and focus past the ugly curtain, seeing two abrupt red socked feet -- the topic of the hushed doctors’ conversation -- jutting beyond the wall of the next bay. They twitched. Man-feet. They were large – a size 12 at least. The two male doctors were still in his bay, speaking softly, then suddenly the volume rose like a crescendo from one of the men “Donald, look at me…. Donald, can you see my flashlight?” The red feet twitched again. A slight moan and a scuffling sound. “We’re gonna need Jansen down here. Martha, please call Jansen.” I could see straight out from my bay and watched as a mousy lady with glasses and a brown bob at the station picked up the phone. Another sound like scuffling. “Donald, look at me…Donald, do you know where you are?” The next sound, a low moan, lasted several seconds. The tone in the doc’s voice sounded increasingly frustrated. I felt a sincere gratitude come over me that I wasn’t here out of necessity. My boob job was out of choice and I wasn’t the least bit in doubt about it. I was ready. More euphoric feelings like tingling fingers brushing up my back. One of frustrated doctors walked out of the bay past me, glanced at me for a moment and kept walking with a look of business-like concern. A minute or two of quiet passed and the clock on the wall showed 2:34pm. The only sounds were the low whispers of the nurses and a ringing phone. Suddenly, an agonizing scream that seemed to stop and start: “Ahhh – get him off me! ….Fuck! Get…. off of meeeee…ahhhh!” I saw an OceanSpray like red cranberry juice fly through the air past man-feet’s red socks and an IV tube and rack smashed to the ground, shattering in a thousand pieces. Remnants scattered and clear liquid rushed on the ground all the way to the nurse’s station as a flurry of bodies and an emergence of activity uprose amongst the nurses. One screamed. Lots of blue suits began moving around – those who were hanging around the nurse’s station. I didn’t even react. Things were slow and getting slower for me. Blurry…floating….the anesthesia was working its magic amid the chaos. How sickly ironic for me. I could barely keep my eyes open. But what timing! Candi appeared into my bay like an apparition out of nowhere, quickly moving her fingers to unhook my plastic tubes. I felt her foot strike the steel roller brake on the caster and the wheels of my bed were put in motion as she began to get me the hell out of there. I was oddly at ease…things were cloudy, dreamlike. My perspective moved deeper into distortion; looking through a giant, clear marble. I turned my head sideways. The last thing I saw as she wheeled me out of that bay was man-feet, still twitching, sitting up in his bed with a brown rotten face buried in the squirming and screaming doctor’s neck, air bubbles gurgled from either the doctor’s neck or Donald’s gnawing mouth. Blood cascaded down onto the cold tile of the hospital floor. I helplessly hovered with the drugs and couldn’t grasp the fullness of the situation. Looking back, everything seemed so nondescript after the drugs. I think I felt a little disappointed in my daze while rolling away that I wasn’t headed to the O.R. for my coveted size Ds, but rather to the nearest exit. Then a random epiphany struck me as Candi, my Angel of Duty, swept me away and out the door: No…not cannon ball eyes… he said cannibalize.


The Grocery Store

I don’t read tabloids. I am not into celebrity gossip and I don’t believe in the Loch Ness monster or Miracle diets, but now and again, I’ll pick up a copy of the Weekly World News. Standing there at the grocery store waiting interminably for some high school dropout to methodically work their way through the evidently arduous and time consuming process of picking up items and passing them briefly over a scanner, I am occasionally sucked in by some ridiculous and inflammatory headline. Batboy marries Sasquatch, Pope meets with space aliens, diet coke tastes like real coke and other absurdities bring enough of a smile to my face to make it worth the three dollars and ten minutes it takes to scan through the wretched pseudo journalism. So when I saw the cover proclaiming that the end was again nigh, I sighed with the kind of tired amusement I reserve for the harmless and stupid and picked up a copy to leaf through. The bemused smile quickly fell from my face as soon as I reached the center story. Normally, the stories are poorly written, barely edited, and the photographs owe more to Photoshop than they do to Kodak. This story was different. First of all, the photograph didn’t look manipulated, shit it didn’t even look very good, but it did look real, and because of that, it was deeply unsettling. Further, the story was written well, very well. Whoever had taken the time to write this article did so with what appeared to be a genuine utility with the language, something that could not be said for anything else that this particular piece of literary flotsam had ever produced. This story wasn’t about little green men and women with two hundred pound tabbies, this article was an obviously researched and documented piece about a small town in Arkansas just outside of Little Rock. More specifically, this was a story of a town called Hudson where fourteen people were killed and partially eaten in their homes in the middle of the day for no apparent reason by two preeteen girls wearing Justin Timberlake shirts. According to the story, the police had to fire on the girls a total of thirty nine times before they went down and stayed down. These girls were so intent on their feast, that when the gunshots first started ringing out, one of them refused to leave the body of an elderly gentleman upon which she was she was dining. According to the story, she didn’t stop eating until one of the officers shot her square in the center of her snarling forehead. The photos showed the aftermath, typical crime photo stuff mostly, but what chilled me the most, was one of the officers holding his arm and being loaded into a stretcher in a waiting ambulance. The funeral for the half eaten victims was set for the following day. It was with a heavy heart that I saw the date on the story. It was three days ago.

I knew what was happening, what my friends and I always joked about happening. This was the beginning. The zombies were here.I also realized that the world didn’t know yet, that the article I read was buried in a nonsense rag, and that everyone around me right now believed they were perfectly safe. I looked down at my self, cheap khaki pants and a cheap cotton shirt, work shoes and about twenty five bucks in my wallet. I could see the paunch of my not insubstantial belly hanging out over my pants. I hoped I would be able to protect myself, my family, my friends. I was worried. I didn’t know if I could run a mile, I wasn’t really sure how far out of shape I’d let my self get, but I suspected it was pretty damn far.I pushed my grocery cart out of the aisle just as it was my turn to pay. I took a long last look at the cart full of tasty little indulgences and heavy pre packaged foods. None of these would do now. I grabbed a new cart from the front of the store and started walking, then almost running down the aisles. I filled my cart with bottles of water, cans of beans, batteries, and ramen noodles. Lots of ramen noodles. I figured they were easy to keep and light weight if we had to leave home. I grabbed things of the shelf in ridiculous numbers. Money didn’t matter anymore, I had a lot of credit and I was gonna use every bit of it I needed to in order to survive. I grabbed every box of matches they had. I thought better then of the cans of beans, too heavy, but didn’t bother to put them back. I filled my cart with bags of beans and rice and panting furiously I ran to checkout, where I waited in line, my insides boiling at the stupidity of this goddamn queue when there was so much to do. I didn’t look at the cashier as he rang up my odd little collection of emergency rations and dozens of packages of batteries. How could I look at a man who didn’t know he was going to die? How could I look and not tell him? Worse, how could I tell him so he’d believe me? There was no way. I knew this and so I looked at my ridiculous shiny work shoes and the round shape of my belly as it stuck defiantly out over my belt. How long, I wonder, will that last?