We didn’t split up to search the basement, all of us too afraid that we’d either end up a zombie or be the only living person – at least temporarily. We selected to search the left first because that’s the way my body was leaning, which I took as a good sign. After about an hour and finding most of the basement zombie-challenged, so to speak, we stumbled onto them. Not a horde of zombies, or a coffee klatch, or even duet, and not a group of either friendly or evil people, or even a pack of wild show dogs. Older show dogs were the new preferred watchdogs since they become bitter, thirst for attention, thus make the most noise, and are ravenous from not ever being fed table scraps, so they tear apart unwanted visitors, especially those that carry blue ribbons. What we found gave us something new to think about. There were two of them, but only one concerned us. The normal guy, Dr. Herbert Bliffover, was a well-dressed man, suit, tie, recently shined shoes, and carrying a leather brief case. With him was a creature, who Dr. Bliffover thought might be the new missing link, a being that was half-man and half-zombie. It was as if someone had drawn a vertical line down the middle of this person. His right side was all zombie, his left all ugly man.
“I’m Klaus’s doctor, well, his psychiatrist. If you stay on his right he’s harmless and don’t worry he won’t try to turn around to bite you. He has a permanent case of whiplash from an old bumper car pile-up. He also is aware of his condition and so far has control over his zombie half, except when chewing on a living person. I try not to feed him, but look at that milky eye, so sad.” Doctor Herbert spoke firmly.
“How can that be? I mean isn’t his other half-dead?”
“Almost, but not entirely. When I first came upon him he was about to have sex with a woman while eating her intestines. Luckily his human half, still able to talk then, turned and asked me for a condom. I was able to wrestle him away without getting bitten. I have three-quarter feet of small intestines in my brief case to keep him nourished.”
“Why is his human half still alive?” I asked making sure to pronounce my words correctly. This was no time to mumble.
“At the same carnival where he had his bumper car tragedy, Klaus was working the game where you swing a hammer down to make a weight rise up and hit the bell. Well, that morning he forgot to bring the weight to work and not wanting to lose his job, he took the place of it. It was bad timing he was greeted by a group of Viking reenactors, who specialized in emulating the Huscarls, the elite guard of King Harold the Second’s body double, whose main weapons were two-handed axes. They chose that day to demonstrate their strokes with the giant hammer. Klaus must have hit his head on that bell two dozen times. That coupled with his whiplash, caused both a physical and psychological break and also made him lactose intolerant. His zombie half has bad gas when eating a person who’s had dairy. If he starts eating you try to stay in front of him.”
“You mean he has a split personality,” Skim Milk asked.
“So to speak, yes,” The doctor replied and then made the crazy sign by running his fingers in a circle near his temple.
“Any idea what caused the zombie outbreak and why we’re immune?” Laura
“No and No. Although some of the more popular theories on the cause are antidepressants taken with boutique coffees, exposure to an abundance of poorly written Amazon reviews, remote control confusion, bad ink from Bed Bath and Beyond coupons, and hormone spikes when looking at or wearing thongs. In other words, no one really knows.” Dr. Herbert acted as if he hoped we believed every word he said.
“What if Klaus turns completely? Is it possible?” Laura Lee said, running her hands under her clothes checking herself for ticks.
Skim Milk piled on. “Maybe we should just kill him. And not take any chances.”
Klaus tried to speak, but the words that came out were mixed with the guttural sound of his zombie side, so none of us knew what the hell he was talking about, although we tried to guess and even use hand signals.
Dr. Herbert tossed his words at us like we were playing with the wrong kind of kiddy explosive. “Don’t you asshole see, you fucking, brainless, morons, and I say that with only the best of intentions. If we can find out why his other side didn’t turn, we can….”
Jo interrupted, “We can become half-zombies ourselves?”
“No butt brain, we find a cure that can prevent it from happening again.” Dr. Herbert this time didn’t hide his disrespect.
“So we would be all zombie then?” Jo didn’t try to hide his stupidity.
“OK, let’s say that’s the case or not the case, or both, what do we do now?” I said.
“I need to find an AA meeting!” Laura Lee shouted “or a yoga class, maybe one with a juice bar.” Then she started to laugh.
“What’s so damn funny?” I said.
“I was thinking of our zombie half-breed doing yoga and was picturing him being so flexible he starts eating himself.”
The half-breed started to make noise, his human half didn’t like Laura Lee’s remark.
“Then we need to get out of here. I could use a gambler’s anonymous meeting also.” I was ready to bet on how long it would take the half-zombie to eat his own intestines and when he’d turn.
“Yeah,” the doctor nodded, “and I need to find a lab, so I can do some tests.”
Skim turned dreamy-eyed, “I sure would like to find a good Lesbian Rodeo, maybe with a western bar, a yoga class and a box of Turkish taffy, but not the imported kind.”
We needed to get out of the garage, which meant we needed a vehicle. I was the designated driver since I was the only one who had insurance that covered hit and run driving. It was a popular clause in Little Italy. There were several cars, most of them, difficult to get into, without breaking a window, which we needed to keep the zombies out, and (as we were to find out later), we needed to roll down when Skim Milk flashed her breasts and Maria her circular rump. We didn’t know it at the time that they had met at a meeting of flashers anonymous, a popular program in New Orleans after Mardi Gras.
Jo found a van that was open, but had a dead battery, so we pushed it so he could pop the clutch to get it started. It might have started if he the engine didn’t crack when the car fell off the cinder blocks. Laura Lee was luckier. She found an SUV, which was out of fuel, but she quickly volunteered to siphon gas from other cars. Laura told us she didn’t even need a hose she had such a powerful suction reflex. In fact when she was a baby and was breastfed by her mom, she chocked on a rib. She siphoned gas from several cars, while we refrained from making too many oral sex jokes, because Laura Lee threatened to toss a lighter in a gas tank and really blow us to bits.