© 2010 Patrick Hester, All Rights Reserved
I knew I had a problem the moment I walked through the sliding doors at the Mega-lo-mart and saw Zombies eating people.
Now, the President of these United States had just been on the idiot box telling us that we could get along with the Zombies if we just tried to understand em better. For me, that just seemed silly. I mean, how can you get to understand better something that’s focused on eating your brains? I mean, that’s the only word they know so it’s not like you can hold a conversation with one. How would that go?
“Hello. I’d like to understand you better.”
“Yes, we both have brains. Mine’s a little less… decomposed than yours, and I tend to keep it inside my skull where yours seems to be leaking out a bit just over your ear. Doesn’t that hurt?”
Part of me wanted to turn right around and hightail it down to the Piggy Wiggly but, as I watched a Zombie with its torn up clothes, gray skin and wild eyes start to chow down on old Mrs. Fletcher over on the number two fast lane, I figured I had to do something.
Back about a year ago, they redesigned the whole damn store to add groceries; means that where the electronics section used to be is now all fruits and vegetables and frozen goods is where the music, dvd’s and video games once lived. All of that got moved to the back of the store which is where I headed. I kept my eyes peeled, of course. Last thing you want is to let your guard down around Zombies or else you’ll find yourself stumbling around repeating the same word over and over again like a broken record; Brains. Still, I wished they hadn’t moved everything around the way they had. Now I have to walk from one end of the store to the other to get what I need and that’s just inconvenient even on the best of days, which this was not.
My daddy was the first one to clue me into the one and only weakness of the Zombie and he figured it out on a lark one night. He and his buddies were out hunting early one morning when this Zombie comes stumbling into their camp all stiff-armed and hungry for brains. Well, it just happened to be near Halloween so mister Ferguson over at the radio station – the FM station, not the AM; that’s his father mister Ferguson Senior – well he, as a lark, slipped a few seconds of a Michael Jackson song in between Merle and Charlie. People were outraged, of course. The station got more calls and complaints about that than when he played a clip from David Letterman for April Fools. But that’s not the point of the story. The point is, damned if that Zombie, upon hearing the music, didn’t up and start dancing right there in the middle of the camp. Daddy said it was the only time he didn’t see a Zombie stumble along. It was as if the music had revitalized its whole body and, more importantly, it gave daddy’s best friend, Arlen, time to blow its head off with his double ought.
Digging through the music I found the cd I wanted, thanking my lucky stars they even stocked it (it was in the $.99 bin), then grabbed a cd player still in its box, a package of connectors and headed in the back of the store. There wasn’t a soul in sight. I wasn’t sure if that were a good thing or a bad so I just concentrated on the task at hand. I found the little office where they make the announcements over the speakers and I hooked the cd player into the rca jacks, then I opened the cd (no easy task; they had sticky-stuff along the top edge, the long edge and the bottom too) put it in and set the same track to play over and over.
I could see on the little tv screens that it was working; Zombies all over the store (and there were a lot of them) had all begun to dance to the choreography of ‘Thriller’, hands raised like claws, slashing back and forth, heads tilted up, eyes wide. It really was the damndest thing.
Once they were dancing, it was easy enough to head into sporting goods, load up a shotgun and start picking them off one by one as they slid into the isles to meet each other and dance in step. Part of me felt bad; never was a fan of ‘duck in the barrel’, but it was kill or be eaten so… Made a mess, too. Brain matter everywhere, brownish bloody goo too. Be hell on the janitorial staff come morning.
When it was all said and done, I went over to the groceries, ‘Thriller’ still playing throughout the store, and loaded up on RC Cola and Moonpies – the reason I went on this little late night snack run. In my heart I thought that maybe my clearing the store of Zombies might clear my taking of this little snack but in my head I knew the corporate types would never see it that way so I scanned everything on the number four fast lane and left twenty dollars on the til.
It wasn’t until I was halfway home that I realized I still had the shotgun and pockets full of shells.