Thursday, 28 November 2013

More of the Building

We didn’t want to search the forty or so floors above us so Laura insisted that we take the elevator straight to the roof where we could observe what was around the building and get a tan.  The elevator only went to the floor beneath the roof, so we cautiously climbed the stairs, and slowly opened the door in case there were any zombies soaking up the rays.  There weren’t.  In fact there weren’t any rays either, the day had long since grown into evening.  Laura realized she’d forgotten to take a nap and insisted on lying down for twenty minutes, because she hadn’t waited for her eyes to get used to the city being so dark she almost feel off the roof.  It’s a good thing she threw her jacket down to lie on and saw it drift towards to ground.  
It took a few minutes but our eyes finally adjusted to the dark.  A small portion of the city was still lit, but was slowly losing electricity building by building.  Laura Lee and I, still in zombie apocalypse denial, debated whether or not people were turning off the lights to get a better picture on their large screen TVs, or they all bought light bulbs that all needed to be changed at the same time.  It was a fun debate.  We weren’t constricted by political party bickering over rules, or any time limits for our responses, other than the disqualification of a debater for passing out, not caused by a stroke, heart attack, or collapsing from low blood sugar.   In our effort to avoid the new reality, we left out “eaten by a zombie” because that would only bring up the point of whether the zombie could continue in the debater’s place until the debater themselves had turned zombie, which would open up a whole other can of worms.   The debate, although heated at times kept our minds off the savagery going on around us.  The debate ended on its own when we realized nobody could declare a winner because if that decision were left up to us it would only start another debate. 
Our spirits lifted enough to actually get our minds working on a plan.  The first stage of our plan was simple, see if our cell phones worked and if they did, answer any texts or emails, then call for help.  We knew we probably couldn’t get a cab to come for us, not for a while, so I suggested ordering a pizza where it’s guaranteed to be delivered within thirty minutes or you get your money back.  Laura wanted mushrooms and anchovies and I wanted mine plan with extra sauce even though it would surely mean a bout of heartburn.  Instead of ordering two, which might take longer and more for the pizza boy to carry up forty-four floors (if the zombies managed to take over the elevator), we decided we’d each order a half the way we liked it.   The first pizza place I called there wasn’t any answer.  The same happened for the next thirty-seven places. I finally got one, but they didn’t deliver to our building, or even our state.  I offered to pay for gas and not hold them to the half hour since they were in Puerto Rico, which was only a territory, and would require a boat, a plane flight or both, not to mention the possibility of driving for 1OOO miles.   So we hung up, discouraged, so much so we started to call Chinese restaurants, this time keeping within our own area code.  No dice or should I say, at the risk of being corny, no rice.  We figured they must be so busy no one was answering.  Ok, we knew we were fooling ourselves, trying to put a positive spin on things, but we were also letting our own hunger cloud our judgment.   We needed to find food and another plan or a plan we could eat.  That’s when all hell broke loose.  
Zombies from the Bank of Japan building next to us, which was 15 or 16 or maybe 17 floors above us, I kept losing count-- it was dark and all those foreign made windows look alike-- from the taller buildings next to ours started landing on the roof.  At first I thought they might be business men who had just gotten the news about the stock market crashing, but changed my mind when they splattered all around us and started to rise as if the stock market has just recovered and had hit a new high.  These were hungry zombies with dead man size appetites.

Monday, 25 November 2013

The Building

The first 50 or so zombies in the horde passed us before one must have sniffed our scent or heard Laura Lee yelling at me not to come near her until I washed up, got a haircut, and a new passport photo.  Before she could get out the name of a dry cleaner, the zombies attacked.  There must have been at least fifteen or twenty staggering in our direction.   I just jumped out of the dumpster and despite her protests I grabbed her hand to start running down the street.  Laura Lee caught on when I yanked her off her feet and dragged her a dozen yards.  By then, she was limping and they were within a sour smelling burp from us.   There was no place to hide and we couldn’t out run them, so I pushed Laura Lee through a storefront window and followed.  That move even caught the zombies by surprise.   They stopped deader in their tracks, while I picked up Laura Lee, who was too busy pulling glass out her face to yell at me.  It didn’t take much for me to carry her, she was on the lean side, not skinny, no, she had lots of well-formed and well-defined curves in the places they were designed to be kept (and away from me). 
The escalator to the second floor was still running so I hopped aboard and used some of my own steam to get us up even faster.  We were lucky, not far from us was an elevator so we only had to walk through about thirty or forty feet of the store.  It was the women’s section and as we passed the mannequins, Laura Lee now in shock, kept pointing, saying  “Momma, lesbo momma.” She was strong and it took all I had to keep her in my arms.  We made it to the elevator with Laura dragging one dummy along with us.  She kept up the whining, “My momma, my lesbo momma… Daddy’s divorced dyke.”
I wanted to tell her to stop talking and what she was saying was politically incorrect, but the elevator arrived and I shoved her in while pushing the dummy out.  Laura glared at me, a flame-thrower present in her eyes, then calmed down and said, “I hated the butch broad anyway.” She started to laugh like she’d seen an old lady slip on a banana peel and fall into raw sewage.  I let her laugh and hit forty-forty, the last floor in the building.  We never made it there.  Laura, now in hysterics, flung her head back and kept laughing even though the elevator had stopped.  It would probably have kept going up if the doors hadn’t closed on her throat.   
We were lucky.  The elevator doors opened on the floor where the corporate offices were, so I didn’t have to worry about any store dummies, but I kept on the alert for zombies in business suits.  I set Laura Lee down, who by now was now berating me for being the worst date she’d ever had. 
“I mean, you take me out, do I get a nice romantic diner, at an up-scale restaurant?  No you take me to a diner and I get zombies who want to make me the blue plate special.  This might be the last time I get to eat at a high-class restaurant or any restaurant and what I get is monsters with the munchies.  Who set us up anyway? Don’t answer that! I know, it was a computer dating service and I hate every one of those four eye bastards.  I hope they have been eaten, digested, and eaten again by a zombie chewing on the first zombie’s intestines.  They do digest food don’t they? Look who I’m asking, as if Mr. cheap-skate, who smells like a city dump, would know.” 
I tried not to pay attention to her and went searching for a safe place to stay until we figured out what our next move was.  I opened a door, which I thought led to a full-grown room, but turned out to be a janitor’s closet complete with a janitor who for the first time in his life was on equal footing with his bosses.  He was a zombie, not the brightest zombie on the planet, because he must have thought the mop that he was chewing on led to a head.   When he saw me he looked down at his mop and then back to me as if making comparisons, and decided I was the juicier more delectable target.   He charged at me, and would have taken a nice chunk out of my person if he hadn’t stuck his foot in the bucket and fallen on his mop, breaking the handle. 
Laura Lee then saved my life, well not so much on purpose, but she tripped when her shoe fell off.  This time the zombie stumbled on the broken broom handle and fell head first into her 7-inch spiked heel, which quickly pierced his skull and emerged out the back of his head, like a humane thought through Rush Limbaugh’s mind.
For a few seconds I stood there frozen with guilt, not knowing if killing zombies required a license or if it was even in season.  Laura woke me from a moment of pondering in my own stupidity, by telling me that she’d prefer dating the zombie janitor over me because the color of her high heels went better with the red veins in his eyes, but unfortunately he was just a little too dead for her.  Plus when she removed the high heel from his skull the hole in his face reminded her of the first man she’d seen killed.  He was a dyslexic, ex-boyfriend who made the mistake of pointing a drill in the wrong direction.  She always felt guilty about that because she shouldn’t have ignored him when he asked if she thought the drill bit was the right size for the gold ring he was about to insert into his wooden penis.   She also should have told him that his penis had not become wooden because of a spell a gypsy urologist cast on him for not having health insurance, but had become hard when she dumped a carton of Viagra in his eggnog. Of course, she didn’t confess this to me at that moment, but later told me the story when dying her hair so the zombies we had escaped from in the street wouldn’t recognize her.
We searched the entire upper level and never found another zombie or a living person, or a living person about to become a zombie.   We did manage to find a coffee machine and several hundred packets of sweet and low, three hundred and fifty two to be exact—Laura examining every single packet.  It turns out that Laura Lee was a calorie counter, obsessed with counting calories in anything that had the potential to be eaten. I wondered if she’d do the same thing with me if she eventually turned into a zombie.  We both wondered what happened to the people.  There weren’t any dead bodies or any carcasses of executives that we’d have to guess if they were zombies or just gifted negotiators (always ready to take advantage of a situation).  
It finally hit us that maybe the stock market had dropped crashed in the last two days and that most of them had probably jumped out the windows.  That led us to look out the window.  We saw several hundred zombies, many in business suits standing on the street in front of the building.  I actually made Laura Lee laugh when I climbed on the ledge and mooned them.  I know it was taking a risk and maybe stirring up zombies who had a hunger for rump meat, or were jealous of people who hadn’t invested their life savings in the market, but getting Laura Lee to laugh made it worth almost falling and becoming the feast at my own last supper. 
We knew it was only a matter of time when a few hundred of them found their way up the stairs or maybe even figured out how to operate an elevator, or worse yet the coffee machine without realizing that they had to use a cup.  As a youth I had a traumatic coffee stain experience mistaking it for my shadow. The odd shape of the stain caused me to become catatonic and then I convinced myself I was undeserving of an accurate reflection.  When that stain refused to follow me, I panicked, losing my identity completely, thinking I was the shadow.  It took a shrink who specialized in reflections and floor blemishes to convince me that I was not the offspring of a hand puppet’s silhouette.  After being forced to stare into a cup of black coffee until I could see my reflection even after the shrink dropped in a teaspoon of Creamora I emerged from my stupor.  For two weeks I walked around my goose down padded cell, staring into that cup of java, until I instinctively added milk and two sugars and drank my reflection symbolically ingesting my own caffeinated soul -- no longer considering myself a victim of life’s take out--heavy stuff for an everyman’s zombie story. 
Laura Lee and I had to find a way out and some place to go, someplace where there were other people, other people like us, two people who hate each other’s guts, but have come together to survive and maybe, just maybe reclaim the earth for living restaurant goers. 

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Going for a Stroll

“I agree.  You go first.  I don’t care that you walk ahead of me like a chauvinist abolitionist pig, especially if you get bitten.”
    I might have misinterpreted her remarks as insults if I let my imagination run loose, but I was using all my cognitive brain to stay off the zombie menu.  
Outside the diner the streets were quieter than I anticipated.   No zombies. Knowing you can turn into a creature that will eat strangers (who may be stuffed with juicy tumors), friends, family, or even yourself if you chew faster than it takes for you to completely die, you grow introspective. You look at the choices you made in life, or the hand you were dealt.  That’s when Laura Lee started telling me about her life.   
“My father was a mad scientist who raised me and my sister from embryos in leak proof plastic Baggies.  Later on, when we grew, he kept us in 36 gallon trash bags until we were able to stand on our own, which was difficult because of the 7-inch spiked high heels he made us wear, and the leash he attached to a ceiling fan.  Thus we had terrible balance and little sense of direction and had the tendency to stand on our toes and revolve around each other.  Once we were able to walk, well we didn’t so much as walk, but rolled on the ground, he put us in old sewer pipes, which he spun every hour to make us feel at home.  For a while we were both under-nourished because he fed us nothing but condiments until he taught us how to chew, by making my sister and I rip open the packets of ketchup and mustard with our teeth.  We eventually escaped when our dad, after a few too many drinks, rolled the sewer pipe on himself.” By now she was crying. “I can’t go on with the story, I’m becoming a little too sentimental.”
    I’d heard enough, I had seen the documentary about her family on the Cruelty to Children’s Channel, which had been renamed The Tic-Toxic Family Station, to draw a wider audience and had recently been bought out by the producers of America’s Abused Have Talent and The Platonic Pet World, with their partner, the creators of the controversial hit, Father Knows Incest Best, and changed the stations name to The Rumba Network.      
Sure her story was true, but she didn’t mention the human trafficking of girls hidden in department store dummies by her mom. She was almost caught when a dummy's arm fell off and a tattooed arm of the leader of the lesbian garden gang of freedom fighters hung out., She also didn’t mention the Sunday dog fights that ended when the losing dog chased its tail and chewed itself to death.  It was a sad time in Paris, once the city of love, and now the city of canine savagery, lesbian loyalists (with weed whackers) and roaming hordes of Cuban National hookers forcing people to have their bodies waxed and their gall bladders removed for safe keeping.  Or was that part of a different documentary about how adopted children cope with being raised by washed-up singer song writers, or maybe it was all of the above.  It didn’t matter, because that combined craziness was just a prelude to what was about to happen to our world.
As we carefully walked the deserted streets our conversation revolved around the use of incorrect grammar, especially the use of mixed metaphors in pastry recipes.  That’s when we heard them.  It sounded just like the start of the Newark Gimpy Leg three-and-five-eighths quarter Marathon, but we knew it wasn’t that, wrong time of the year, wrong city, and marathoners--even the ones who trip over their own lame feet and land face first in the gutter--don’t groan, not that loud and at that pitch,—a pitch that reminded me of a slowed down, loudly played, badly warped vinyl Tom Waits album.
We had just turned the corner and if it weren’t for me turning too soon and bumping into the wall we may have been their next meal.  Laura Lee pointed to a dumpster and I got the message and dove in headfirst.   Of course, she meant for me to hide behind it, but I wasn’t taking any chances. Besides, I’ve always loved the inside of dumpsters, the smell of decaying scraps of food and the touch of oily paper products and plastic garbage bags brought back memories.  I spent much of my youth in dumpsters searching for shopping lists.  We grew up poor and I always fantasized about buying things from an actual store rather than leftovers that richer family members faxed pictures of to us. 

Monday, 18 November 2013

The Date

     I remember the day like it was yesterday, or possibly like it was the day before yesterday, or maybe earlier today. Time has lost its relevance. We were walking along the street, well truth be told I was being dragged by what remained of my hair, when the frenzied individual suddenly stopped.  I don’t think he meant to stop, but we’ll never know; the truck that hit him ran over his head.  The trucker kept driving--well, that’s not entirely true either; he stopped, saw that the guy was dead, then ran over a few more people, well not really people, they were zombies. 
    Yes, I said zombies.  And I mean zombies--the annoying creatures with diets that vary between live humans and other live humans.  I never had any contact with zombies prior to that day, but it seems to me that chewing on, swallowing, and digesting, without acid reflux, no matter how late  (at night) or how many people (of all races) they’ve eaten, although impressive, doesn’t make a good first impression—a lasting one, yes.  Maybe I’m being judgmental, or even a bit prejudice, which comes from my upbringing.  My parents didn’t like people who used organic kale in their salads, or wore self-winding watches, or had too many calcium deposits, but I didn’t have time to ponder that thought, I had my blind date to rescue. Well, not really rescue--it was more a matter of survival. I know we didn’t really hit it off, especially when she turned her back on me, and like a donkey, kicked over the table, disgusted that none of the punches she threw had landed on my face.  She had just told me I had the personality of a melted bingo chip (which I don’t understand to this day) and a face that looked inside out.
    I was about to apologize for letting her say “hello” first, when I heard groans, off key trumpets, and whiny guitars, then glass shattering and saw several ill-mannered maniacs.
Their stomachs were ripped open, which I didn’t think was a fashion statement, and they started munching on patrons (some happy to get out of paying the check). 
    My date, Laura Lee, (that’s the name I later saw on her Wisconsin substitute psychiatrist license), was about to smother me with the desert menu when she noticed the commotion-- an approaching cannibalistic Mariachi band, and yelled to me, almost poking my eye out with her finger, “Are those flesh eating things your idea of a romantic evening?”
Before she could blind me, I screamed, “This isn’t a Mexican restaurant, I’d never hire a Mariachi band.  If it were Italian I might have hired a couple of violinists, but we’re in a diner.”
She stopped, shook her head, actually understanding my logic, then ran towards the kitchen, her 7-inch spiked heel landing in my mouth and halfway down my throat.   By that time the diner was a mad house, people running in every direction, waitresses following, trying to prevent them from running out on their bills.  I had finally started breathing after the heel had left my windpipe, when a narcissistic zombie grabbed my hair and dove out the window and started up the street, I guess looking for a quiet place to dine alone.  That’s when the truck shortened the zombie’s dead-span and I went looking for my date. 
    By then the diner had been almost abandoned, most of the patrons gone or partially digested, resting in pieces.  I had seen enough zombie movies to know you needed to kill their brains in order to kill them.  I kept wondering if that applied to zombies who (when alive) read Sara Palin’s book.  I grabbed a large knife from behind the counter, almost stopped to clean it, when I remembered that zombies aren’t germ-a-phoebes, mainly because they probably died from a germ or a virus. I stealthily walked into the kitchen, didn’t see a creature, nor hear any off key instruments.  I hoped my date was alive; she was deadly enough, as a zombie she could probably eat her way through the entire male population, clothes, helmets, combat boots, automatic weapons, and armored vehicles without breaking a tooth.  I didn’t know her, name as yet, so I shouted, “Hey you, my date, are you here?” I yelled it several times when I finally heard a noise from inside a kitchen cabinet.   I stepped back when I realized it was a muted trumpet. 
Then I heard a voice what may have been a voice.  As I crept closer I was sure it was a voice, an annoyed voice that said, “Let me out of here so I can kick you in the balls or punch in your dumb ass face.”
It was my date.  I walked over to the cabinet, opened the door and quickly moved far enough away from her, so she couldn’t land a punch or kick.  When she climbed out, she did neither, except throw the damaged trumpet toward my groin.  I was surprised she didn’t spit, or shout anything nasty.  The zombie attack had somehow changed her.  She looked at me and softly said, “I don’t want to kill you any longer.”
    “Yes, really, because you’d only come back as a zombie and try to eat me, you misogynist middle to lower class, left wing liberal, food stamp-collecting fraud.” 
    I ignored her remarks figuring they were just a lucky guess. “I think we should try to get out here and find some place safe within walking distance, flagging a cab now would be impossible, especially since it has started to rain,” I suggested.

Friday, 1 November 2013


It's better to question a person's sanity than it is to question their motives.

I’m not afraid of getting old. I’m more afraid of other people noticing.

I hate everything about myself, other than the fact that I hate myself.