Let me set the scene. It was about eleven o'clock on a Saturday morning. I'd been up most of the night with my son, who had a fairly nasty case of croup. They'd sent us home from the emergency room - after a heavy dose of Tylenol and two hours on a nebulizer - with a prescription for some sort of steroid. On top of that, we'd used the last of the children's Tylenol, and needed more. So I was getting ready to drive over to the pharmacy when it happened.
After a night like that, I was not exactly at the top of my game. I probably looked it, too: I'd splashed some water on my face and brushed my teeth, but I was still in the same outfit I'd worn to the emergency room. But what the hell, it's not like I was heading out to a club to pick up chicks. I was thirty-six and married, with a three-year-old boy and another son on the way. What I wanted, more than anything else in the world, was to get the damned meds so I could go back, lie down on the couch, and watch videos with Firstborn until we both felt better.
So I went into the garage, and I pushed the button to open the garage door. And as it was going up, I realized there was somebody standing just outside. By then I was between the car and my wife's van, but I stopped and waited. By the time the door was all the way up, I could see the sagging, pale flesh, the torn clothes, and the unkempt hair. It was looking up at the ceiling - at the garage door, I think - and then it looked down at me. That's when I knew it was a zombie: its eyes were withered. That wasn't possible, but at the time the impossibility of the situation didn't bother me. My first thought, I swear to God, was this: Oh, this is just what I need right now.
The zombie lurched and started shuffling towards me. I backed up a couple of steps, then went around the front of my car. It stopped, because the car was now between us. The smart thing to do would have been to go inside the house and block the door, but to be honest I barely even considered it. We needed medicine, and I was going to get medicine. Besides, all the weapons were here in the garage.
So I moved up along the driver's side of the car, and the zombie came to meet me. Or, at least, it tried.
In life it had been an overweight, middle-aged white guy. In death, its fat had... solidified, I guess, and it couldn't quite wedge itself in between the side of the car and the camping equipment. I think it was then that I noticed the broken arm - you know, just in case I'd needed any more evidence that this wasn't just a prankster in a costume. It was reaching out with both arms, but the left arm just kind of... dangled. Everything below that elbow was hanging loose.
Well... Back when my son was born, I put all the weapons in the garage. I locked up the ones I could, particularly the ones that might seem attractive to a small boy or his friends. (I've dabbled in a variety of martial arts over the course of my life, and I have a wide variety of weapons and training equipment.) Some of those weapons were too long to fit in a case, so they wound up leaning against the cabinet where everything else was locked away. As a result of this arrangement, the first thing that came to hand was a hardwood staff.
That was fine with me. I held it like a spear and jabbed the zombie in the chest. I wasn't gentle about it; I heard something crack, and a sort of groaning exhale escaped the corpse's lips. It grabbed for the staff with its good arm, but I kept pushing and drove the zombie backwards. It weighed more than I did, but I had braced myself - and its balance was horrible.
It stumbled back a step, then fell over backwards. I wrenched the staff back as it fell, and managed to keep hold of it. I heard the back of its head strike the concrete with a crack.
So I changed directions again, and went back around the other side of the van.
The zombie was still lying on its back. Its arms were moving, but it didn't seem to know how to get up - or even roll over. The staff gave me plenty of reach and more than enough leverage: I hit it in the face, again and again. I basically just kept smashing the staff down until it quit moving. Then I did it a couple of more times, just to be sure.
And then I used the staff to shove the thing off my driveway. For a moment I just stood there looking at it. Then it occurred to me that there might be more of them, so I looked down the side of the house, then went and looked both ways down the alley. Nothing was moving. All right, then.
I went back inside and told my wife to call the police. Then I got in the car and drove to the pharmacy... because God damn it, we still needed medicine.
This actually came to me as a sort of vision, in much the circumstances I just described - just, without the zombie. The garage door was going up, and I thought, "What if there was a zombie outside?" And then I realized I was just too tired to care. I was, however, vastly amused by the idea of a lone parent averting the Zombie Apocalypse just because he was too tired to panic properly. Thus was this scene born.
I'm in love.ReplyDelete