The change in Klaus happened in phases, his rash unexplainably turned to letters in the Greek alphabet, then to names and addresses of all the members of Tea Party arranged by their IQs, which started at 63 and ended at 65, morphing into Jesus going through stages of the cross wading through Hollandaise sauce, finally becoming one huge blotch that burst open sending out flakes of dried blood mixed with lavender and mauve shapes of famous Korean War battleship nurses like a blizzard of Valentine’s Day and D-day confetti. When it settled and the air was clear, Klaus was now all human, who I wound up hating despite the fact that he saved the mankind. He was the most superstitious person I’d ever met. In fact he had become half-zombie because he was bitten by a man, who hadn’t fully turned into a zombie, who was also trying to avoid stepping on cracks while walking around a ladder to circumvent a black cat in his path. When Klaus spoke for the first time he had an annoying whiney voice that sounded like the air being let out of stretched balloon. I wanted to kill him and turn him back into a mouthless zombie.
“Am I alive,” Klaus whined and then started thanking every possible lucky star.
He was cut off by the doc. “It’s alive! It’s alive!”
I swore to myself, if we lived, I’d never watch Young Frankenstein again, unless there was a porno version.
The zombies, by their shear mass, had pushed their way through a locked revolving door. At first they just spun completely around and walked back out into the street, until a few finally just pushed through the glass. The guard at the entrance had put on a doorman’s outfit that caused him to take his job too seriously. Instead of alerting us right away he kept yelling at zombies asking them who they wanted to see. It was only after he realized that their roar was not a German dialect that he remembered they were zombies and he’d never been to doorman’s boot camp. He caught the elevator in time for the doors to close on the zombies before he was tempted to ask what floor they wanted.
I was the first person he saw and he started yelling. “The zombies are coming. The zombies are coming.”
At first I thought he was joking especially after I heard him say, “I’m sorry I didn’t get here sooner, I thought they were German tourists who were furious because they accidentally went to the holocaust museum. Anybody could have made that mistake, especially when you saw the expressions on their faces.”
By then I was laughing and didn’t stop till I heard their collective roar from down stairs. There was no mistaking that sound, not even for a slowed down version Van Morrison singing “Listen to the Lion.” I ran through the 3rd floor telling everyone that (what better way is there to say it) “The zombies are coming.” They must have heard the zombie team chant, and the cries of guards trying to block the stairwells being digested because everyone started to scramble for their gear and makeshift weapons. Laura Lee yelled, “Please, don’t kill the cute ones.”
Jo or Joe (I’m not sure how his inner debate ended) and Shrimp were prepared. They pushed a handcuffed Mander, whose mouth was covered with duct tape, out in front of them. For an ugly broad she looked good in duct tape.
I ran up to them and ripped a strip of tape off of Mander’s mouth, tearing part of her tongue loose so it hung out of her mouth twisted like mildewed red licorice. “You’re covering up her disgusting mouth and her crooked teeth.” Truth be told her teeth weren’t crooked just misshaped and swollen so they looked more like a mouth full of arthritic feet.
“Thank you,” she said, although it came out more like “Twank Boo,” because a piece of tape had stuck to her bottom teeth and tongue.
“Now my hands please,” which came out more like “Na-U myeeee anterss bulleeteeeeeeeezzzzz.” I’m not sure of the exact spelling of what she said, but promised if we lived through this that someday I’d find out. Somehow it didn’t calm her nerves, but fortunately for us the tape got lodged in her throat and she had to use most of her energy just to breathe.
The big dumb newspaper-man, who Laura Lee had humiliated earlier, said as he counted on his fingers, “We sealed the doors on the uh...uh...second floor,”
Shrimp turned to us “Put Mander in the elevator and press lobby. When the doors open they’ll run away from her, which should give us enough time to escape.” He saw the look of concern on my face. “Don’t worry she’ll be fine. You’ve seen the putrid mug of hers enough to know they won’t touch her. I promise we’ll come back and get the ugly broad.”
“And go where?” I said. That question wasn’t one that Shrimp had an answer for, so he said tentatively, “Kansas?”
“This isn’t the Wizard of Oz!” I shouted.
“We’re not going anywhere,” Skim Milk yelled. “Although I’d love to go roller skating or maybe even scuba diving, if I had a parachute I could sky dive off the roof, well maybe not this roof, but…”
Maria and Doc arrived with Klaus at his side. “Ski…” Dr. Bliffover got out before he was interrupted.
“Yes, I love to ski but we’d have to—“
“No….I was not talking about skiing. I was saying Skim, if you let me finish!” Doc yelled. “It was bad enough when AMA barged into the operating room took the Swiss Army knife scalpel, bottle opener and compass out of my hands and moved my patient to the mortuary.”
“Apology accepted. Do I have any ear hairs?” Dr. Bliffover asked, turning to show us his ears.
Laure Lee walked in and said, “No, I wish you did, then I could dye them. I love dying ear hairs.”
“Guys, I think we can talk facial hair later” I said, turning so Laura Lee could get a good look at my ear locks.
Shrimp nodded, standing on a chair and spinning so he could display his ear hair. “We’ve already lost ten people and have a few thousand zombies down stairs waiting to chew our ears off.”
“You’re right.” The Doc spit out. “Ear hair is nothing to be taken lightly. Another time perhaps.”
“What the Doc wants to say is that he has a cure ready now.” Klaus’ words leaked out of his mouth like a rusty hinge, as he made the sign of the cross with crossed fingers and then prayed to Allah.