Loyalty Must Be A Sword

The malls are burning, choked with zombies, thronged with looters. Zabriskie (not her real name) watches from across the long mile of the parking lot. The parking lot is five thousand feet of cracks and long bearded grasses; hard to run across, and nothing to hide in. She has (she counts again; it kills time) ten bullets left. Not enough to make a difference, but enough that she can lie to herself and say she’s trying.

The river is burning, has been burning for weeks, will be burning when they get bored of looting and overwhelm her.

She could run, but won’t. Where would she go? Here, looking over the faded white lines and overturned cars, she can think herself the ragged edge of the frontier. She knows she lies, but she has ten bullets left before she has to admit it. Ten bullets, and three hours of daylight; she knows the trigger.

Civilization is behind her, and anarchy before. Zabriskie counts her bullets yet again, and settles down to watch the turning tide.

BIG TIT ZOMBIE

Stacey Cunningham is making out with a zombie one night and lets it get to second base, and the next morning wakes up to find she has become… BIG TIT ZOMBIE!

“I don’t understand,” she tells Dr. Irene Nadler, her improbably-named therapist/literary theorist. “Is it a metaphor for teenage sexuality, or what?”

“Could be body horror,” suggests the good Doctor. “Fear of cancer, maybe? There aren’t a lot of movies about the terror of breast cancer. The increasing uncontrollability of the zombie condition mirrors cancer in a lot of ways.”

“Maybe it’s about body modification?”

“Oh, you’re thinking the zombification represents some kind of disapproval of breast augmentation? You are being punished for deceiving men?”

“Which is of course about the commodification of women’s bodies…”

“…which is always about the fear of female sexuality, yes, of course.”

They ponder this.

“Braaaaaaaains,” grumble her tits, a little muffled by the tight angora sweater.

“Seems a little over-meaningful,” Stacey says.

“Mmm. Well, you know, it’s zombies.”

“Argh, I know. So overdone!”

“Braaaaaaaaaaaains,” moan her tits, almost plaintively.

The Bartlebies

The word spreads like blood through water and work ceases. They hold no strikes, form no picket lines, make no speeches. They simply stand where they are, and wait.

“What the hell are you doing? Get back to work!”

“I would prefer–” the eternal phrase– “not to.”

They are fired, of course, but do not leave until their shift ends. The next day they are there, in uniform, silently taking their posts. They are dragged away, limp and unresisting, and stuffed into jails filled to bursting. Each new hire lasts a day, perhaps a week, before they too hear the call and drop their hands, their tools, their eyes. “I would prefer not to.”

Each day new hires, but never a scab. They are cursed at, tear-gassed, beaten and slandered. They remain silent; they do not resist. Neither do they retreat.

A week, then two. A month, then two. “I would prefer not to.” Written on bridges and tshirts. Scrawled across a sidewalk. The world slowly goes mad, choking on its own incomprehension.

Romero

The worst part was suddenly realizing that I knew one of the people pounding against the walls of the house, that he’d been there the whole time but I hadn’t recognized him. It was like those drawings that are either a portrait of an old woman or the profile of a young one, both at the same time, one hiding within the other; we’d killed enough of them or driven them away that we could almost relax, and looking out it wasn’t just one of them anymore but Derek, and that was the worst, because of course it couldn’t matter that it was Derek, if he got in I’d have to put him down like any of the rest of them.

That was when I stopped thinking that we’d make it through, somehow, and then things would go back to normal, when it stopped being how we could survive and became how long. It didn’t matter if we drove them off, if we killed all of them and managed to carve ourselves out some kind of safety; in the end we’d join them and someone else would have to drive us away. I thought about just opening the door and walking out until they covered me over, but I didn’t. I don’t know why I didn’t, except that life is sweet, even when there’s no hope or savor in it.

Zombicurious

Strange radiation from space brings the newly dead back to life for reasons no one has time to explain. They come out of the ground in suits a year or two out of fashion, stumble from morgues naked except for little white tags, lurch mangled and jerky out of automobile accidents, plane crashes, train wrecks… There’s a lot of panic at first, but it turns out zombies only want one thing, and that’s love. No one’s really happy about it. No one wants to be loved by a zombie, and no one wants to love a zombie, but it could be worse. The zombies are polite, shy and sweet, a little bit romantic. They bring gifts, they sing songs, they write poems that aren’t very good, they avoid eye contact. The zombies have the advantage of numbers and recruitment. If they wanted something they could just take it, but they only seem to want honest love, sincere love, which is harder. Sometimes the zombies cry when they think no one can see them. It’s a horrible thing, dead eyes trying to weep through ducts dry as dust.

Of course there wouldn’t be any problem at all if the zombies would just date each other, but that never seems to occur to them.