Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Iron Chef Never Has to Deal With This Shit

“Over there! Fuck yes, and hurry. Everyone, listen up! You and you, whoever you are, start grabbing all the steel tables, turn up em upside down and push em against the wall. Let’s make those motherfuckers work to get in here.”

”You! Find as many mop handles, table legs and chair legs as you can break off and bring them here. You have two minutes. NOW!”

“I need oil of some kind, or lard or something slick, right now and lots of it, gallons if you can find it……..Perfect! Good, grab it and pour that shit all over the floor by the hole in the wall. Let’s try to make ‘em crawl to us.”

“Someone bring me a small sharp knife….., thank you. What’s your name? Fuck, right, sorry, anyway, I need you to get me as many small appliances with electric cords as you can right now. Be back here in one minute. As many as you can.”

“Colleen, find the thermostat for that walk in, turn it down as warm as you can, take Finn, and lock yourself in. Shut up, shut up, SHUT UP COLLEEN. THERE’S NO TIME FOR THIS. Sorry. Look, you can’t protect Finn and fight at the same time, I need you in that walk in right now, this isn’t a suggestion, GO, GO, GO”

“Okay, thanks for the knife. Where are my appliances? Get over here! Now! C’mon c’mon c’mon, that’s enough, FUCK!, there’s no time, bring them all here, now.”

“I need you to take this knife and cut the power cords off of the appliances, fast as you can and try to fray the edges, expose as much bare wire as you can.”

“Okay, every one listen up, I’m going to try and electrify the tables, if you touch the steel, you will die, so stay the hell away from them”

“Get over here, you, you, and you, and help me move these refrigerators. After they get through these tables, I want them bottle necking through here. MOVE MOVE COME ON! Push. Good, good, that’s fine. They’ll have to come between here now. Oh fuck I can hear them. Fuck, fuck fuck.

“Enough, enough. Okay, listen up everyone, we have exactly no time. Everyone grab a chair leg or a broom handle or something, the longer the better. Hey! Put down the fucking knife, man, they don’t care if you cut them. We need to smash their fucking heads in, and that’s a lot harder to do than it sounds, so if you can trap them or immobilize them or whatever, good, great, we’ll come back for them if we live through this thing, but whatever you do don’t forget about them. They will grab you even if they are supremely fucked up, so stay away from the mangled ones. Stay together as much as you can.

“Here they come, here they come, Oh mother fuck me, here they come.”

I’d like to say that the rest of the battle was a blur, that it was over before we knew it, but it wasn’t. There’s a kind of hyper-clarity to the memories of a trauma that convinces me that if we were made, we were made by someone intent on sowing the seeds of our self-destruction into the very mechanics of our minds. They came full force, no trickle, no prelude, but a wave of them, stinking like raisins, sweet and musty and obscene, moaning that low dry sound, the sound of unthinking need. They came with their hands almost comically outstretched. I might have laughed if not for the knowing that their grasping claws were aimed at our soft, living flesh. When I close my eyes, I still hear them, much like you might feel the soft bob of the ocean even after you’re back from sea. When I eat, I smell them, and when I sleep, I feel those cold, hard hands pulling dumbly at my flesh.

The tables did slow them down at first. The electrical current turned them stiff as boards. From where I stood, table leg clenched in my hands like a bat, I could see every muscle in their bodies contracting, turning them to statues. They began to smoke and twitch. I hoped and feared that they would catch on fire, but none of them did. They just stood there looking rather like far too realistic Halloween decorations. But it didn’t last. It couldn’t. There were too many of them, and all too soon they had jostled the tables enough to knock the frayed loose wires clear. As quickly as they had turned to stone, they turned back, moving forward like a terrible switch had been thrown.

The oil on the floor worked no better. They fell all right, each one of them that I saw cross that slick tile floor went down in a heap, but they didn’t even try to stand back up, they just crawled forward, slipping less now they were on all fours. They came at us like animals, never once changing their terrible relentless pace. It was my intention to stay together, to try and hit them as they crawled toward us one at a time down the refrigerator hallway I had made, but our line broke before it had a chance to get started, and a young man rushed forward to club the closest ghoul to us. Even as he ran forward, I could see what was going to happen, I tried to warn him, but there was no time. One minute he was running forward, makeshift club raised for the killing blow, the next he hit the oil slick himself. His feet flew out from under him and he landed sickeningly on his head. Almost immediately, blood began to pool around him and his legs twitched spastically, beating a staccato rhythm on the tile. In a moment, the ghouls were on him, ripping and pulling, biting at any exposed flesh they could get. This was by far the most successful diversion. Another moment and the young man’s legs stopped twitching. Somewhere in that room, someone screamed. A man, a woman, I don’t know, but that scream unleashed the pent up fear and anger and sadness we all had been feeling since this nightmare began. In a moment, we were transformed into animals ourselves. We were rage embodied; we were each one of us the personifications of unchecked hate. We were no longer a group, but lone warriors that happened to be fighting the same enemy in different wars. As I ran forward, pistoning my club down upon the heads, necks and whatever else I could strike, I was no more aware of my comrades in battle than a tiger is aware of a fly. I struck everything that reached for me, everything that stank of death and threatened to destroy me, my life, my family.

As they pressed forward, I became aware, for a split second, that the woman in front of me was the same one that had been so kind to Colleen a few moments ago. Even as I recognized her I was striking the second and third blows, sending blood high into the air with each impact. Looking back, I believe she had turned. I know when I struck her, that she was already one of them; that she had changed before I struck her down. When I dream though, I still see that smile just before her face is crushed.

Just as I was pulling my club up again to face the next of them, I felt a great tug, and my table leg was pulled from my hand by the outstretched hand of a crawling zombie. As soon as he had the club he dropped it, reaching back up toward me. I was defenseless, surrounded. Desperate, I aimed a kick at its head. Its open jaw clicked shut hard, and from between the shut teeth fell the front half of the things tongue. I reached out a hand, flailing for anything to use to escape their terrible press. My hand hit metal and I grasped and swung for the first thing coming toward me. I saw with horror even as I swung, that I had nothing more substantial in hand than an enormous metal whisk. The flimsy metal wires bounced harmlessly off the face of the creature, and in moments I was in his grasp. His hands and arms worked to pull me closer to the snapping jaws of its mouth even as I pushed and struggled to keep him at bay, but he was stronger than I was, and my face was being steadily pulled closer and closer toward him. I searched about for something to use, some secret final something to get me out of here, when I saw the toaster.

It sliced through the air like a potentially delicious morning star, building speed and energy as it swung from its cord and ended its descent in the skull of the creature. Immediately, its hands released me and it fell to the ground. I spun around to see my savior, and was both grateful and horrified to see Colleen, standing without Finn, bloody toaster cord wrapped tightly around her hand.

“Finn’s fine. He’s in the freezer, and I think there’s a way out. C’mon” she said.

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