The alarm slaps your face; washing your testicles in ice water.
“What the godamn?” you blurt, fighting a tangle of blankets. Struggling to silence the blaring machine, you thrash and kick before your toe finally catches the cord, ripping it from the wall with a clunk. Sighing, you roll back over. But no matter how you lay, a heavy stream of sun sneaks in through the windows, carrying on the alarm’s grisly will, assaulting your closed eyes without mercy.
You throw your feet over the edge of the bed, grumbling all the way out into the kitchen, scratching your ass as you listen to the distant moans beyond your walls.
It’s been six long months getting used to that bit, the whole walking dead thing. When it first happened, the world descended into shocked chaos while everyone prepared for the end of the world. But just like that, nothing happened. Instead of banging on boarded doors, they tried to sell vacuums and life insurance. Everyone pretty much did the same thing they’d been doing, only with a stiffer gait. Hell, the best part about a zombie infestation — you know, where you get to blow people’s heads off and not go to work — never really happened. It wasn’t long before they just became another tick on the ethnicity boxes of government forms, and the world moved on.
Soon the coffee pot is gurgling and steaming, dripping out a fresh pot. Dropping on the couch, you turn the TV on.
Moaning. Damn, incessant moaning.
Clutching the remote, you jack the volume up.
“A recent Paul attack add seeks to question Governor Mitt Romney’s pro-life stance,” says a shifty newscaster, ”targeting his recent feast on old women at Sunday’s convention. Romney’s camp is saying this is just a racial smear tactic, attempting to segregate the zombie community. Paul’s camp claims Romney is just trying to redirect the discussion.”
The screen cuts to some old zombie with a thick, graying toupee. The audio kicks on in the middle of something he’s saying: “So that’s the problem. It’s not just about a hunger for brains. Mitt Romney has to be held accountable for his liberal positions. He’s the founder of Obamacare, and he’s clearly not pro-life. Romney’s no different than Obama. We need a real conservative in office. Ron Pau–”
You click it off and wander from your seat, certain a cup of coffee and a smoke are all you need to think clearly. But breakfasting a Camel light and an Arabica does nothing to cease the noise beyond your window. They know you’re in there. They want you to come out.
“Jooiin…usssss…” says the moan.
Lighting another cigarette, you lean back in your chair, smiling. Fuck that, you think. There’s not a force in the world that’s taking you out of your house on your day off.
The phone rings.
Wandering to the end table, you scoop it up in a stream of ash and smoke.
“Mack! Hey, how’s your vacation day goin’?”
It’s your co-worker. He seems to lack a healthy appreciation for workplace relationship boundaries.
You rub your eyes. “It’s not much of a vacation day if I’m talking to a cowor–”
“Sure, definitely,” he says. “So, you been watching the news?”
“Not really, I’m just–”
“So, who do you think will get it?” he asks. You can hear the drooling grin cracking his face. You can just see those eyes bulging, a web of veins pulsing at the fringe of his irises. Yeah, that’s how into this he is.
“The nomination!” he pops.
“I honestly don’t ca–”
“I think it’s gunna be Santorum, he really came outta nowhere with that Iowa Caucus.” Suddenly he cackles, adding, “Hehe! Santorum, do you know what that means?”
“Yeah.” you mutter, thinking of Boston Creme Pie for some reason.
“So, who you gunna vote for?” he presses. ”You know, for President?”
“Jooiin…usssss…” comes the moan once more.
“UUuuuuhhhhnnnnn…” says Coworker.
“I…uh…gotta go!” you say, hanging up the phone.
Walking to your window, you look out upon the marching masses. They are all on their way home from the voting booth; some with iPhones in hand, clicking on Gallup polls as they drag a limp leg behind. A neighbor smashes a sign into the yard with a flopping, bloody limb. You can barely make out the words Obama ’12 on the facade. It’s just January. Elections are November. You realize that this will last well into the year.
Assuming ancient Mayans don’t destroy everything with their asshole predictions, of course.
You flop on the couch, staring at the tv. Something digs in your ass. Grunting, you root around down in there, pulling out a black Xbox controller. A smile spreads across your face.
Kicking back, you turn on the TV. Switching over to the input, you load up “Dead Island” for the Xbox 360. As the game starts, the room swells with the sounds of zombies once more, while the phone rests beside you, forgotten…
© 2012 J. Chris Lawrence