by PATRICK BARB
zombie-sign by Cindy Shebley | Flickr
Reason Number 1: Bite? Who said anything about a bite?
You know who I bet probably got bitten—that science guy, what’s his name, you know the one—the one with the eyes. What’s he doing in that room with the locks back there?
You know who likes to lock things up? People with secrets that’s who.
Don’t tell me you’re gonna sit here, and believe his story about how he’s “working on a cure” and how he “doesn’t want to get anyone’s hopes up,” or just take at face value his little warnings about how “exposure to others could taint the test subjects.”
Yeah, that last one does sound pretty bad, doesn’t it?
See. You should listen to me more. Did you know I was almost a Navy SEAL?
Reason Number 2: It wasn’t a bite. I mean, it was more like a scratch. A scrape. A pinch. Honestly, I’m not even sure “it” broke my skin. Plus, I think that was probably someone else’s blood that I got on me.
You know whose blood it probably was? Dale’s.
Hell, did you see what that horde of zombies did to him after they ambushed us? One second he was yelling at me, “Blah! Blah! We don’t have time to look for your specific brand of cigarettes! People’s lives are at stake! Blah! Blah!”
Next thing, you know: CHOMP.
I mean, they really did a number on him too. Talk about falling to pieces, right?
Oh, well excuse me. Sorry for blaspheming the name of our dear departed Dale. In front of his children.
But I mean, those kids could walk over and look out through that peephole. They’d see Dale crawling around, or whatever it is what’s left of him is doing out there. Honestly, they should be grateful they can see him at all. My folks got stuck down in Florida. They’re probably dead now. But on the bright side, it means that, once all this blows over, my inheritance kicks in and guess who won’t be hanging out with any of you losers anymore?
Reason Number 3: Wait, why am I the asshole? Am I mistaken in thinking that the end goal here is staying alive? This is about survival, right?
So, why do I get punished and made to go on stupid supply runs in the first place, just because I told Dale’s kids we might have to eat their dog. We were all looking at the shrinking number of cans of beans in the pantry and then looking at that dog, and thinking the same thing. But I’m the only one brave enough to say it. But sure, call me an “asshole.”
I’m used to it.
Besides, you’re telling me none of those tech nerds in Silicon Valley have designed an app that’ll let us send some other desperate suckers out to fetch supplies for us? That’s leaving money on the table.
You are telling me that? You’re telling me there’s nobody left in Silicon Valley? You’re standing here, and you’re saying it got wiped out in the initial outbreak?
Well, how would you know that, Pete?
Your wife, huh? On a business trip? While you were on a video call with her? You saw…you saw it happen?
Pete, look, I’m sorry. That’s terrible. Really.
It’s terrible…how little I give. a. damn.
Focus up, eyes on me, bucko. This is about me, not you or your dead zombie wife. You…you and your…you and your delicious brainssss…
I didn’t say anything.
Reason #4: You know I don’t even believe those are zombies out there. I’ll tell you what’s really going on, a bunch of hopped-up freaks and degenerates giving this country a bad name is what. Chewing people’s faces off with their pants hanging down around their intestines. Disgraceful.
Did I tell you I was almost a Navy SEAL? I mean, I could’ve been. After undergrad, I looked at the brochure. But the business school I toured had these really great t-shirts with a guy holding up a boombox and across the top it said “Business IS Booming.”
That shirt really sealed the deal for me.
And, yes, I am still wearing that shirt.
And yes, those are teeth marks on the sleeve. But they’re not what you think. They’re actually from my teeth.
I bit my own shirt. Okay? That’s a thing I like to do. Is that a crime? I prefer a frayed sleeve.
We can have crying kids running around with a damn, delicious-looking dog and let Doctor Crazy Eyes do whatever the hell he wants behind closed doors. But a guy can’t bite his own shirt without getting the third degree?
God, I swear. Sometimes, I just want to take you all and just…just…rip you into pieces. Tear out chunks of your flesh and shove ‘em in my mouth. And bite and chew and swallow. And bite and chew and swallow and…
I don’t feel so good.
Reason Number ... [SOMETHING THAT DEFINITELY SOUNDS LIKE A ZOMBIE, FOLLOWED BY A SINGLE GUNSHOT ECHOING THROUGH THIS SUPPOSEDLY SECURE BUNKER]
Patrick Barb is a freelance writer and editor from the southern United States, currently living (and trying not to freeze to death) in Saint Paul, Minnesota. His short fiction appears in Boneyard Soup Magazine, Crystal Lake Publishing’s Shallow Waters anthology series, and Pulp Modern Flash, among other publications. For more, visit patrickbarb.com or follow him at twitter.com/pbarb.