Sunday, June 7, 2009

Daily Story 53: Kids These Days

An arm reaches through the bars, groping madly and causing the black-clad man to step backwards. It continues to flail, grey skin splitting in one spot and dripping lumps of congealed blood.
"Muuuuhn!" the owner of the arm hollers. The man in black sighs, rubs his goatee with a gloved hand. I can already tell I don't like him, but that's true of most people that I meet these days. He moves on to the next cell, and behind him the arm stops pawing at the air. It hangs there, bobbing up and down uncertainly as if trying to remember why it was reaching out at all. A fingernail drops off.

"Is this all you have?" The man asks.
"Muuuhn! Hhn!" the owner of the arm yells in response.
I can already tell how this conversation is going to go, and I don't feel like having it - but times are tough. This guy is looking around with total disdain, and I caught him eyeballing me too, probably wants me to be wearing a bloody apron and an eyepatch. My flannel shirt and jeans offend him.
"No, not all. These are just samples. Is there something specific you're looking for?"
He's rubbing his goatee again. I want to pin him down and shave it off.
"Well," the pretentious moron says, "these are so... old fashioned." He says it with a sneer, of course, because clearly the concept of wearing all black is a revolutionary concept.
"Hoooon," the owner of the arm keens.

"They're so slow, so stupid. I want modern zombies, the kind that can chase someone down and open doors." Just like I thought. Classless. I beckon, and he follows me behind the counter into the back room where I point him at another cell. The man in black steps closer, and in an instant the occupant slams into the bars, straining to grab that goatee'd face and pull it in. Rather than grey rotting skin it's pale and yellowish, with red sores where it looks like skin has been picked off. The body is twitchy, never stopping, face contorting in mindless pain and confusion. The dark eyes that peer out of its sunken face are beady and sinister, darting back and forth with unfocused malice.

"Yes... more like that." He's smiling now, the stupid bastard, and I take him back out front to charge him. I want to explain it to him, want him to understand that what he sees in movies these days aren't real zombies because real zombies are an art. They shamble onwards, relentlessly, a symbol of mortality. That's why they're scary; they represent death itself. If you make them fast, make them smart, you take away their true horror. He would complain that they aren't effective but if you're looking for maximum damage zombies aren't what you want anyway. You want a suitcase nuke.

The power of the zombie is that the survivors - because yes, there will be survivors - have had their illusions of safety stolen, their town destroyed, and have most likely had to kill a former loved one in self-defense. That's evil. Real evil, not this pathetic corporate-sponsored half-assed villainy you get nowadays. I want to tell him all this, but instead I ask for his credit card number. He pays, with an American Express Business card belonging to "Worldwide Domination, LLC", and I have Igor crate up his purchase.

He follows Igor out, stroking his chin growth, and I find myself wondering yet again if it isn't time to retire to a nice volcanic island somewhere. Carve out a lair shaped like a skull, maybe set up a tourist trap.
"Muuuungh!" the display zombie yells, waving an arm out at the sound of the door shutting.
"Calm down, friend," I say, "just wait until he gets home and realizes I sold him that meth addict that's been hanging around behind the store."