Killing a Zombie isn’t Complicated…

“Killing a zombie isn’t complicated, it’s just hard…

So, for the sake of argument, say you have a zombie in front of you and you want to kill it. Well the best, quickest, and easiest thing to do is sever the connection between its brain and the rest of the body. This may not actually kill the host, but not even the zombie bacteria can move a host once its brain stem is hacked or its neck is snapped. Now, say you have two or more zombies standing there and you want all of them dead and you don’t really have any practical zombie-killing experience to draw on. In that case you might try pulling out your large-caliber hand-gun and shooting them in the heart. You could try for the face, but unless you hit the brain stem or blow out some really enormous chunks of gray matter, they’re gonna keep coming after you. So just go for the heart. Explode the heart and the machine can’t run no matter how hard the bacteria works. You could also strangle, drown or burn or blow up or hang or chop up or push from a tall building your average zombie. As long as you stop the heart or the brain or just cause massive physical trauma, you’re gonna kill the thing. But we’re talking about finding a quick and easy method here. So my advice is use a gun and a lot of bullets, just like if you were trying to kill your wife or husband.”

From Already Dead, by Charlie Huston, 2005


Oh, Martin

Martin was bored. He lay there … tick tick tick … his watch slowly counting down … zoom, another car passed … the sound of breaking glass … far away, a dog barking. He lifted his arm into the dim sodium light to examine what looked like a rash. These were the things that kept Martin awake.

The voices in the street were happy voices, irritatingly happy voices. Piss off, he thought. Piss off and be happy somewhere else, I’m trying to sleep. Or at least I’m trying to try to sleep. If I could sleep, I could ignore everything else. Everything else would at least be gone, albeit for only another day. I’d like to kill that kid on the skateboard – hasn’t he got a home to go to?

Martin kicked the duvet off. Christ he was hot, but opening a window was out of the question – too much noise. Late night happiness and noise. Bastards, he thought. So he lay there in the heat. In the heat with his rash, and the ticking, and the cars, the barking dogs and irritatingly happy bastards all around him. That’s when the phone rang. That’s when the phone rang and the safety blanket of boredom was whisked quietly away.

“It’s me”, the voice said.
“You want to know what it is I want at this time of night”, the voice said, by way of apology.
“No. I already know what you want. What you want is for someone to listen to your perpetual whining, someone to wait for the phone to ring, for you to call because you said you would, but never do. Someone never to complain that all you do is ask questions and never wait for answers to come, never mind actually listen to them should they ever be able to force their way past your effluent-rich tide of self-pity. Someone to expose the lies within your self-indulgent fecundity. Go to hell and leave me alone!”
That’s what Martin should have said, but nothing at all like anything he ever actually said.

After the ringing had stopped, he waited for the machine to kick in. Then he waited for the boring, but oh-so-practical greeting, the beep, the message. The message that never came. The message never came. Fucking great, he thought. Someone calls you in the middle of the night, and would have woken anyone else up, and doesn’t even bother to leave a message. Bastards. He should call them back in a few hours, after they’ve managed to get to sleep, see how they liked it. But he wouldn’t. That wasn’t something Martin would do. Instead, he rolled over and pressed his face into the pillow, in the vain hope he could suffocate himself. At this point, he’d settle for any form of unconsciousness, gentle or otherwise.

Just at that moment, his neighbour returning home switched on a hallway light, and suddenly, and spectacularly, ignited the gas that had been steadily leaking for several hours. The subsequent crater that replaced the two houses previously containing Martin and his nocturnal neighbour were not inconsiderable, both in size and as a talking point over the following months. Finally, Martin was out for the count.

Few and Simple, by W.H. Auden

Whenever you are thought, the mind
Amazes me with all the kind
Old such-and-such it says about you
As if I were the one that you
Attach unique importance to,
Not one who would but didn’t get you.

Startling us both at certain hours,
The flesh that mind insists is ours,
Though I, for one, by now know better,
Gets ready for no-matter-what
As if it had forgotten that
What happens is another matter.

Few as they are, these facts are all
The richest moment can recall,
However it may choose to group them,
And, simple as they look, enough
To make the most ingenious love
Think twice of trying to escape them.

Vitriol is a Dying Art

“You’re pathetic!” she spat.

“Yes? Well hey everybody! Listen to the all-pervading harbinger of experience, truth and absolute wisdom! Tell me about love, Louise. Tell me what it’s like for you. I’ll show you mine if you show me yours – shall I start?”

He stood, the conversations on other tables slowly fading, all eyes attempting to focus on the pair of them through the cigar smoke and alcohol fumes.
“Try loving someone you can’t have so much that, when they bury her, you cry harder and longer than the widower – that hurts.”

Alex’s temperature had risen, along with him – the forefinger of one hand pressing violently down on the table, the other pointed accusingly at Louise. He sat down gently, straightening his jacket. He suddenly felt drained. The room fell silent, as Alex reached inside the left breast of his jacket and pulled out a revolver, retracting the safety as the muzzle touched his right temple. He frowned. Suddenly the room exploded into a frenzy of blood-spattered hysterical women, and crying men. The blood! Louise had never seen so much blood.

She paid the bill in full with the right money (the service had been lousy), stood up, turned and walked away.