Three From the Road – Zombie Apocalypse

Me and Earl were living south of Durham on an old train trestle over a creek.  We’d built ourselves a little hut about mid-span.  The old wooden trestle looked like it hadn’t seen any train traffic for a decade or more before the crap hit the fan, and we didn’t suppose any new trains were likely to start using it.  We barricaded and booby-trapped the tracks on either end and climbed up from below.  Them flesh-eatin’ rascals can’t climb worth a damn, and they swim like rocks, so we was pretty well protected.

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Digital scribble by the author

One day we were trying to lash one of the tarps back down when we heard a ruckus from down stream.  We looked and seen these three women down there trying to get away from a few biters.  These girls musta not known how to swim or they didn’t wanna get their clothes wet or something.  Them and the zombies were all scrambling along the bank like idiots.  Earl and me was yellin’ to ’em to just get in the creek, but I guess they were too busy squealing and climbing over rocks to pay us any mind.

We came down with a couple ugly sticks and saved ’em, like knights in shining armor.  They climbed up to our place and we gave ’em some beans and they shared a can of tuna they had.

Earl and me had talked before about the risks of taking other health nuts in.  Earl musta forgot all about that once he seen Brenda.  She was in her early 30’s and was pretty in a rough sort of way.  The blonde from her last bottle of Clairol  was just about visible at the  ends of her brown hair.  I told her she shoulda cut it short by now, to decrease her grab-ability.  She said it aint easy giving up every last bit of the way life used to be, but she’d consider it.  It’s a girl thing I guess.

She was on the run from the undead along with her niece Katey and an older neighbor friend named Louise.  Katey was pretty skinny like most of us.  Her hair had the look of having possibly been last cut with a steak knife.  I’m guessing that hairstyle was Brenda tryin’ to keep her kin in pristine, unbit condition.  Seems Brenda knew bout keepin hair short for safety, just not her own. Katey kinda looked like a dandelion on account of that hairstyle as she sulked around the trestle just as moody and pissed off as any fourteen year old.

Louise wasn’t a whole lot more talkative than Katey.  She just lurked around looking kind of scared all the time.  She damn near caught herself an ugly stick upside the head when Earl thought that a Francine Flesh-chomper had somehow made it through the barricades.  Soon as she cried out and crouched down, Earl checked his swing.  After that, Louise took to clearing her throat a lot.  Zombies don’t pay no attention to post-nasal drips, so a sniffle and a cough could go a long way to keep you from getting swung on.

Our little camp got crowded that day, and I made a mental note to give Earl an earful once I had him alone. In the meantime, I tried to be a good host.

Action Hero Auditions in the Zombie Apocalypse

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[ Chapter 2 is below – if you want to read chapter 1 first, click HERE]

We made our way back out through the lobby past the plastic trees and hostess stand.  My bike had a busted shifter and only one gear of the original 10 still working.  Earl was on what they used to call beach cruiser.  There weren’t any flesh biters close by, so it wasn’t too tough to get up and moving, even with all the scavenged stuff we were carrying.  I learned from experience it aint easy to build up pedaling momentum on a one-speed if a Junior or a Sally Mae is grabbing at you.

Gas was still around if you looked hard enough and didn’t mind getting a mouthful of it every so often from siphoning.  Keeping enough unleaded in your car ain’t the only challenge though.  People just keeled over dead and abandoned things in the worst possible places.  Tryin’ to steer around a big old SUV parked all cattywampus dead in the middle of a back road could land you in a ditch with hungry visitors coming out of the weeds.

Earl had a 250 cc Yamaha for a while, but he switched over to the beach cruiser ’cause a Brenda.  She musta got bumped off of one of ’em back in high school with some boyfriend.  She raised hell with Earl about how dangerous they were.  The whole thing struck me funnier’n hell, since he was using it to avoid zombies.  Earl seems to think Brenda’s more dangerous than some old zombie –  ‘more I see of her, he might be right.

Earl told me his wife Velma left early in the game. She ended up accidentally providing dinner for one of her friends from the supermarket.  She had told Earl she was worried about this girl from the deli department who lived alone. Velma brought her over a casserole but no one answered the door. She musta pushed the door open and poked her head in.  Earl was waitin’ in the car and he saw her get yanked into the place.  Time he got up to the porch, he already knew he was too late.  He swore he’da helped her if he wasn’t out numbered so bad – she mighta lived alone, but that deli girl had no shortage of company when she died.  Earl said the living room was packed so full of zombies he could only see Velma’s one foot sticking out and twitching.  He just got back in his car and tore ass.  Anyway, that’s in the past.

I tend to believe Earl’s stories. He strikes me as the sort who doesn’t have the creative energy to tell too many lies.  Velma likely ran the show, and he was used to taking orders to keep things civil.  I know it aint right to speak poorly of the dead  -‘specially the dead you aint even met- but there’s only so many living folks around to talk crap about.

Earl and me met a ways back, long after the shit had hit the fan. People were getting sick and dying, then they were rising up and eatin’ the ones who weren’t dead or lucky.  The folks in charge were talking a lot, blaming each other like they do.  The military came rolling in, but then they left all a sudden like maybe they knew something we didn’t.  We aint seen em since, less you count the ones who show up looking to take a bite of you.  Right before the cavalry disappeared, the power went off for good.

Seemed like once there was no juice, people really lost their damn minds. No TV or internet, no smart phones or Nintendos and no more people in camo keeping the peace.  Some of these folks looked like they was tryin’ to get killed. Out there fightin’ zombies like they were action heroes.  Sure, them zombies aint too bright and don’t flinch when you swing, but if there’s enough of them, you’re gonna feed em eventually.

I was in a neighborhood looking for food when I seen two of these Schwarzenegger wannabees out in the street taking on too many zombies for their own good.  They didn’t have no business being out there, and helping them was out of the question.  I saw something move outta the corner of my eye and got my ugly stick up.  I relaxed a bit when I seen it was this big guy squatting down behind a recycling can joining me in the audience for the show out on the cul de sac.  You could spot another health nut.  We did things like squat and hide.  Zombies don’t waste energy hiding from anyone, they just stagger non-stop till they get some flesh of the living.

“Hey, I’m Earl” he whispered, “Can’t believe these mo-rons fightin zombies in the street – they sure not gone win”

Earl likely heard some cartoon character say morons that way, and it musta made quite an impression on him, because he said it plenty.  After the first fifty times, it wasn’t so funny.  Still, having a wingman aint a bad thing to help cover your back.  Compared to the two bozos out in the street, he seemed like a good candidate for the job.

Earl was wearing a Bass Boss baseball cap that had once been camo-green, but now was the color of phlegm. His pants were riding low and that plumber’s crack coulda had its own zip code.  I was a little jealous to see that he’d found a six pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon and three cans of dog food.  Zombies were staggering out of driveways and backyards for a taste of the two Rambo’s.  It wouldn’t be long.

I had found some dried beans and an aluminum little league bat earlier – this neighborhood was already picked pretty clean.  My original ugly stick was an old wooden one, with a couple of landscaping spikes through the end.  I wasn’t gonna retire it, but a smaller one could come in handy.

Earl said if I helped him carry his stuff, he’d get us out of there.  He put the beer on the ground next to the cans of horse meat and ducked around the side of the house.  I was considering taking the dog food and beating feet when I heard the Yamaha start up.  He come rolling around to where I was and said get on.  A few of the stumble-bums out in the street heard the bike too, so I didn’t squabble.

I quick put everything in my backpack, keeping a grip on the old ugly stick just in case.  Earl wasn’t too gentle with the clutch, and I damn near fell off the back right as a Junior and a couple of Francines started lurching up the driveway towards us.  We juked the Junior and tore ass across the lawn. One of the Francinces was close enough to smell so I swatted her one as we roared past.  We hit the sidewalk and got the hell outta Dodge.  We been teamed up ever since.

Holiday Greetings From The Zombie Apocalypse

In the spirit of full disclosure, I first posted this in December of 2012 – zombies were all the rage and life was simpler.  I have written several more installments because I liked Bobby, Earl and the zombies.  These have yet to be published, but will be in the days/weeks to come – I promise.   

black eyed peas
I wouldn’t want to imply that The Olive Garden uses dried black eyed peas from Goya, but it seemed more appropriate than most of the junk in my stock of pics.

We were looking for some food in the kitchen of an Olive Garden outside of what was once Durham, North Carolina.  It was supposedly December 25th – at least that’s what Earl said.  The calendar was pretty much useless by that point.  Days and nights were spent fighting the undead as they lurched and hissed all around us.  The sound of their clicking teeth took the place of sleigh bells and Bing Crosby.

I tightened the grip on my ugly stick and glanced at a zombie that was inching closer.  This one looked like she had been an obese woman in her late fifties when she turned.  Stalking the planet for the brains of the living might’ve been the one diet and exercise program which had actually worked for her.  Her clothes hung loosely on her now, she had lost one of her scuffy slippers and the remaining one was barely hanging on.  A couple of curlers hung comically from her foul, matted hair.  She wasn’t one of the fast ones.  I stole a glance at Earl.

“You telling me it’s freakin Christmas today?”

“I think so, Bobby.  I might be a day or two off, though” he replied.  “Feels cold enough to be December, don’t it?”

I shrugged my agreement to him and turned my attention back to Francine.  Earl and me took to naming them a while back.  It made things a little less tedious and could actually help if things got a little too crowded.  Housewife-looking zombies, and there seemed to be quite a few of ‘em, were usually called Francine or Edna.  Younger ones were named Junior or Sally Mae, depending on their gender.  I tried to give foreign-looking ones a name that would match up with their likely country of origin.  Earl’s not all that creative so he names all the foreign ones Saddam, whether they look Middle Eastern, Asian or whatever.  A young zombie of Asian descent would be “Saddam Junior” according to Earl’s rule book.  Naming the young zombies is real important, since they tend to move faster’n the older ones.  I know that this aint politically correct, but when you’re about to take a Lousiville slugger with spikes in the end of it across their chops, you don’t waste much time worrying about pissing off Miss Manners.  I’m pretty sure Miss Manners got herself chewed up a long ways back anyway – likely ’cause she hadda hold her pinky out when she was swingin’ her lacrosse stick at the undead.

Francine was edging closer.  She’d slowed down when she paused to look at some shiny, swollen cans of crushed tomatoes on the floor near her feet.  These zombies aint exactly like the pretend ones we used to see on TV.  They’re hungry alright, but they can be distractable.  Shiny stuff, brightly colored stuff – they’re drawn to it like lake carp.  Eventually their appetites get the better of ‘em though, and they start back on their quest for the flesh of the living.  Francine had lost her interest in the puckered cans and was heading back my way.

The beautiful thing about zombies is they got none of what you call protective reflexes.  They don’t flinch or duck or nothin’.  They’ll walk right up to you no matter what position you’re in.  I was standing there looking like a major league slugger at the plate with the bases loaded and here comes Francine.  Her head was a far sight bigger’n a softball and moving slow.  Her arms were up though, so I switched from my Sammy Sosa stance over to a modified Paul Bunyan.  I swung like I was piecing out a sequoia and one hit was all it took.

“When you’re done dancin’ around with Edna over there, gimme a hand with this stuff and let’s get back to camp” Earl called.  ”The girls’ll wonder where the hell we are.  You know how they worry”

“Her name’s Francine, Earl, and I don’t dance.”

I stepped around her, noticing for no particular reason that her second slipper had finally fallen apart.  I found a couple of cartons of dried spaghetti without too many mouse turds in them.  Things were looking up for Christmas dinner.



Put Some Sunblock On That Labradoodle’s Ass!

I know, a space suit right?  It'll keep him safe from gamma rays and he'll be able to sniff his own butt!  (Image from )
Forget the dopey sweater, I’m dressing my mutt in a spacesuit! It’ll keep him safe from gamma rays and protect me from his breath! (Image from Animation Library dot com)

There’s an old saying which goes something like this: Even the sun shines on a dog’s ass somedays.  Essentially it means that everyone gets lucky at some point or another.  Well guess who’s lucky today?  That’s right people – today is my day!  The blog-goddess Peg has bestowed the highest of honors upon yours truly!

She created a weekly feature on her blog which highlights a post that should have been Freshly Pressed on the front page of WordPress but was somehow overlooked.    Her weekly spotlight is shining on this dog’s ass today and my tail is wagging proudly.  After pressure from legions of followers, Peg has christened these snubbed gems as “Freshly Pegged”.  To the best of my knowledge, she has yet to receive any cease-and-desist notices from the corporate boys up at WordPress HQ.

If you’re not following Peg over at Peg-o-Leg’s Ramblings, there’s a good chance that your diet is lacking lierary fiber and the kind of homespun midwestern humor that’ll stick to your ribs.  In any case, as loyal lemmings of good old 1 Point himself, you are commanded to click on the link above to Peg’s place to see my post – that’s an order.  Wipe your feet and mind your manners while you’re there – don’t embarrass me, dammit!

The post of mine which Peg is featuring is my initial entry in The 7 Deadly Sins contest, hosted by the one and only k8edid.  Entries could be no more than 600 words, and had to include death and/or the threat thereof as well as a connection to the deadly sin of the week.  The deadly sin for this particular post was “gluttony”.  The title is “Willie Prader, Private Eye – Deadly Sin Series – A Glutton For Punishment“.  I drew the illustration in a pathetic attempt to improve my chances at winning and to distract readers from typos and holes in the plot.  While I did manage to win gluttony plus one more sin, I missed out on the Freshly Pressed brass ring.

k8edid’s blog is always packed with great writing; for example, she recently revealed that she’s not dead!  Please click on Peg’s link before k8edid’s – there are rules of etiquette which must be maintained.  We simply can’t have you people flitting around WordPress all willy-nilly.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to put on some Coppertone on my tail.

14 Seahorse Court

(Image from skyscrapercity dot com)
(Image from skyscrapercity dot com)

Black stared out the window at Arnie’s house next door.  Nothing had changed since the last time, but he looked anyway.  The caution tape twisted in the gentle morning breeze.  Black’s gaze followed the yellow stripe from the chain link fence to the scrub palmetto in the back of Arnie’s yard, then to where it disappeared on the far side of the house.

He pulled a grapefruit from the mesh bag on the counter and twisted half on the dull spike of the old Pyrex juicer.  The cigarette smoke curled past his ear on its way to the ceiling.  He scooped two seeds and tossed them in the sink on his way to the freezer.

Liana had harped at him about smoking in the new house.  It was funny; she’d smoked like Chernobyl when he’d first brought her over from Belarus, twelve years earlier.  Black could still see her in his mind, sitting on the sofa in the old house chain smoking and learning English from watching the soaps.  She said if she enjoyed shivering, she could have stayed in Belarus.  Eventually Liana convinced Black to take the early retirement package. They sold the house in Bloomfield and moved to Florida.  Now she was gone.

Black sat in the silence, drinking his breakfast of vodka and grapefruit juice.  The sinkhole had swallowed the back half of the place next door, taking Arnie’s wife and her beloved Pomeranian, Buttons, to their deaths.

From his screened porch, Black could see into Arnie’s living room and what remained of the bath.  There were hand towels hanging on the rack next to the sink and half  a roll of toilet paper still on the spindle.  He felt like a voyeur staring into the empty house.  He regarded his ice cubes – already fading in the early heat of the day.  He took a swallow and felt the cool burn of acid and alcohol.  Black chased the mouthful of cocktail with a long pull on his cigarette and gazed back out at the hole.