Anasarca

In the cubicle next to me a coworker was cursing out his computer’s operating system, its author(s), as well as his cubicle’s walls, their builder(s), and their builder(s) mother(s). I would probably be rendering similar prose, but first I would need to stop watching a video clip of someone beating Mario 3 (in under eleven minutes!) and start doing actual work. My aforementioned coworker proceeded to slam his fist violently into the keyboard several times and let out a rather anxious, stressed out “GAH!” which was understandable, given that I had slipped several stacks of my own paperwork into his pile earlier in the day, but then he made a sort of strangled gurgling sound and I really thought he had gone under.
I reached into my backpack and fished out a bottle of Tylenol 3’s, gave it a quick shake to make sure there were still some left, and leaned up and over the cubicle wall saying “Hey John I know just what the doctor woul-“ But what I saw before I finished my sentence was too horrifying for words.
A zombie crouched over John’s mangled corpse, his skull clenched tightly between its rotting hands. The monster was munching away at the exposed portion of his overworked cerebrum. “Holy Fuck!” I yelled. “Fucking zombies! Fucking zombies in the office!
Someone across the row of cubicles yelled back “You’re the one that never does any work, asshole.”
“No, you fuck!” I shouted. “There’s a honest-to-god zombie right here eating John’s brains.”
“Buzz off. Get back to work, man.” It was Tim. He’s the only one that says ‘buzz off.’
“Seriously dude, I think I can see part of its spleen. It’s green and rotting and everything.” I was still leaning over my cubicle wall holding the Tylenol bottle in my hand. “Come on over and take a look if you don’t believe me.”
The zombie was feeding quite contently, so I felt no immediate threat and proceeded to inspect the creature a bit closer. It’s flesh and clothing were in a severe state of disrepair, deterioration even, but due to its long hair, I could discern it to be a female zombie, and it seemed to be wearing the remains of a business suit. It stank horribly, probably gas released from the bacteria decomposing it, but I kept watching, perhaps because I’d never been all that fond of John.
The zombie also seemed to be wearing an odd piece of jewelry. It was a large gold hoop from the eighties, with another similarly tacky hoop attached to the bottom of it. I turned my head across the row. “Hey! Tim! I think this zombie is Linda!”
“What are you saying now? Linda is still in the other room doing telemarketing.”
“Well this zombie got her earring then. She’s gonna be pissed!”
“Fine man. I’ll come take a look at whatever you’re talking about.” Tim proceeded to round the corner and approach my cubicle. I gestured excitedly to the zombie, which was still eating John.
“Good lord! There really are zombies! Right in the god forsaken office everybody! Jesus save u-“ Tim began to say, but when the zombie noticed him standing behind it screaming like a sissy, it turned around and leapt on him. It --I wonder if I should be calling it Linda-- was surprisingly agile, and Tim didn’t even have a chance to raise his hands and scream before the zombie clamped its unholy incisors over his head.
Yet, for whatever reason, I think it’s just that Tim has always had a thick head, the zombie’s teeth didn’t go right through, and it struggled with him. Tim mumbled something like “pelh me yuo sahosle,” but I couldn’t hear him because the zombie had a strip of flesh hanging down over Tim’s mouth. After a moment, the zombie clenched its whole face and concentrated, and then Tim’s head popped like a big bloody balloon. It splashed all over my new Garfield tie.
Tim’s body fell to the floor lifeless, and the zombie crouched down again and started feeding. That’s when I decided I should get out of there.

-- NEWSFLASH --

Fun in the sun, or mercy from the jaws of Hell?

A busy day at a local water park was interrupted today by the sudden onslaught of thirty zombies. Luckily, all but the park’s manager managed to escape unharmed.
City management is currently debating a solution to the attack. SWAT units have resisted the prospect of a frontal assault citing the fact that “they’re already dead.” Additionally, a zombie’s traditional enemy, fire, is negated by the water they are playing in, according to one deputy fire marshal’s words, “so luxuriously.” Army chiefs have referred to this as “a brilliant tactical move from the zombie nation.”

Anathema

Unfortunately, Linda was not the only one that had been turned into a zombie. As I leapt quickly over Tim’s popped head, I noticed that Sally, who occupies the cubicle across from me, was seated next to a zombie who had his arm around her. Her eyes were rolled back in her head and she had probably already passed out from the fear and stench, but he continued to type up love poems on the computer and show them to her with various grunting and moaning noises.
Moving down the row, I realized that the zombies were everywhere. Blood drenched the cubicle walls and disembodied heads and other organs were scattered around everywhere. I foolishly placed my foot too closely to a well portioned appendix, and a zombie leapt out, teeth gnashing. Fortunately my old soccer instincts took hold and I delivered a swift kick to its head, which promptly detached and went flying across the office.
Some of the zombies were doing abnormally normal things, apparently not having realized that they were zombies yet. For example, several were standing around the water cooler moaning at each other, except the one whose leg had rotted off, who more just leaned against the water cooler. I got by them with a cheerful smile and a quick wave. They murmured something in zombie and waved back as I dashed away.
In my manager’s office several more zombies were crowded around his desk. They were waving their arms ferociously, shouting things like “More brains! Bring back Hawaiian Fridays!” As he reached for the phone to call security one of the zombies snatched at him and began swallowing his arm while it was still attached. I made my way to the exit.
As it turned out, even if he had managed to call security it wouldn’t have meant much, as they were all zombies now too. When they saw me they made as if to get at my brains, but I smoothly pulled a pack of cigarettes from my pocket and offered them each one. I turned as though to walk around them, but one set his bloated, decaying hand on my shoulder and said, “Hang on a minute buddy, we need to have a chat.”

-- NEWSFLASH --

Marriage at stake?

With the Zombie Church’s recent offer of “eternal life through unholy matrimony,” many are questioning whether marriages between zombies should have a legal representation in state legislature. This reporter agrees with the local man recently quoted as saying “humanity: you’re either alive or you’re dead.”
In addition, social service workers have pointed out that adopted children will be faced with an “undead living environment.” A local church leader was heard to describe the issue as merely a “liberal ploy” with the overarching goal of “getting us to give a little on the gay thing.”
As of yet, the issue of marriage between the undead and not yet dead has not been raised.

Anastomosis

I was frozen with fear, and stood motionless praying for a vial of holy water. The zombie with his hand on my arm used the other to calmly puff twice on the cigarette I’d given him. The smoke drifted out through a rupture on the left side of his skull, just above what used to be his ear but now looked more like a week old English muffin. With peanut butter.
“Don’t you think it’s a little over the top?”
“What is?”
“C’mon man, zombies in the office?”
“Oh that…” We stared at each other for a moment. He still hadn’t released my shoulder. “Horrifying isn’t it?”
“Are we supposed to represent laid off workers, being promised false hope by the stereotypical executive figure? Or maybe it’s depressed citizens, squeezed aesthetically by the chains of rational modern society until we’re nothing more than zombies?”
“Oh well, either of those would be fine.”
I’ll bite you.”
“Please don’t.” We stared at each other for several moments. The office clock ticked sternly. Somewhere in the background, a coworker began screaming and was abruptly cut off. Then, one of the other security guard zombies broke the silence.
“Hey man can I get another cigarette?”
“Sure.” I handed him one.

-- NEWSFLASH --

Zombies demand national health care program! Conservative lawmakers writhe in fear!

Several zombies became extremely distressed this afternoon, when at a local water park, a substantial portion of their remaining flesh floated away or disintegrated while relaxing in “The Wave.”
Following this incident, many relatively well-spoken zombies made allegations against the U.S. government, noting that “this is the last industrialized country in the world without real health care for the poor.” Conservative lawmakers responded, citing facts from the bible to point out that “the Armageddon is surely upon us,” adding, “may God save our souls.”
A local mother of two was heard to ask, "who are the real zombies here anyway?"

Anastomosis (continued)

“Alright man,” the security guard zombie began, “I’ll explain it to you like this. If true art features true reconciliation, then the only one of us in any way approaching that is the guy back there typing up love poems.”
“That guy is a dork. What about beating Mario 3 in under eleven minutes?”
Phil Naciore, a famous semioticist, argues that zombies, and the success of zombie related films, is based on their value in cultural semantics as a symbol of decay, death, and ungodliness. Moreover, they embody a dismantling of our social and psychological landscape. Zombies contradict concepts of peaceful death, reliance on community, health, and religion. Since they exist as a counteractive force, a coming to terms or restoration of order is inevitable in any cognitive, story-telling process regarding them.”1
At this point I have to admit I began to get a little bored with the security guard’s speech. I’d already given out most of my cigarettes to his comrades, and I was more interested in getting on with my escape plan. I tried giving him cues by staring at the wall and tapping my foot ever so slightly, but he continued on.
“Yet irony, which has been the dominant form of these past pages, is ultimately destructive. It functions by removing an object from reality by referring to it in a way other than what is meant. However, this process of dealing with reality is inherently negative, for when a speaker successfully eliminates an object’s reality through irony, it "no longer becomes any reconciliation at all, but rather animosity"”2
The fluorescent lights flickered overhead. A zombie down the hall poured coffee into a Styrofoam cup and drank it immediately. Much of it spilled out through a tear in its cheek, steaming on the floor.
“Basically man, comedy is a completely inappropriate way to come to terms with a cultural symbol of decay and fear.“
But I interrupted him.
I reached deep into my pants and pulled out the shotgun I’d been hiding there. “Aarganm” The zombie moaned. I cocked the barrel quickly, aimed, and blew that zombie straight to hell. His compatriots looked at me puzzled, cigarettes still dangling from what was left of their greenish, rotting lips.


1Phil Naciore, Zombies and Shit: a Scatological Analysis of the Living Dead, 257.
2Søren Kierkegaard, The Concept of Irony, 312.

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