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?

No comments: