One of the stranger parts of the period now called “America’s Unusual Experiment” was the armies of cybernetic zombies occasionally seen roaming the countryside. Now, it is true that many other things could be considered odd during the late Emperor’s reign, but what people who didn’t live through it fail to realize is that so many things could be considered strange, that none of them were… generally.
For instance, on any one day, you could go outside to water your lawn only to find out that the ketchup police had been by and the ground was now covered in hot sauce. Or that mail had been outlawed unless it was written on used Kleenex paper (and yes by Kleenex paper I mean TRADEMARKED Kleenex paper). Things like that happened all the time and so they were not considered odd.
These were the days where you couldn’t serve in the military unless you were gay and you had to walk eight miles to school on a treadmill covered in ice-cream because it was too hot for real snow.
But the cyberzombies, now that was something odd. You could see them sometimes as you were traveling across the Great Plains, a group of maybe twenty of them far off. They never moved very fast and they weren’t very dangerous so sometimes a group of us kids would go off to harass the zombies. The only real danger was that sometimes one of us would get nicked by a laser, but we just slapped duct tape on the wound and that was the end of that.
Nobody knew where the zombies came from. Some said it was a secret government project, but I’m not sure I buy that. Back in those days, scientific research money was given out to people who probably shouldn’t of had any money, much less a lab, but they rarely did anything because producing something like a deathray that didn’t work was good enough an excuse to be sent to “America’s Battlefield” a popular reality television show that was set in the entire American Southwest, which had been walled off and turned into a nuclear wasteland. If you didn’t produce anything, you could expect to continue getting money and you didn’t run the risk of failure. The zombies were pretty common out in the Plains, so something had to be making them and on a fairly constant basis.
We never killed the zombies, unless they wandered into a cornfield or something, because that was always messy work and often times they would leak things like bile and oil over the ground and it always stunk. And besides, why bother? It wasn’t like they were any threat or anything.
It got to be where I almost pitied the zombies. Here was this undead creature, half man, half machine, that only wanted human flesh. Or at least the zombie parts did. The machine parts didn’t seem to care too much about anything and would wander aimlessly around or in a straight line. It was a common sight to see a zombie torso connected to a pair of gleaming metal legs trying to claw at you while the legs marched on oblivious. It was a sad sight to see, and the zombies always looked so defeated.
Sometimes the zombies would be nothing but heads and legs attached to a metal torso, these zombies eventually just fell down under the weight of the machine parts and look hungrily up at you as you poked at them with sticks.
Even stranger were the zombies with laser attachments, usually bored into one of their eyes. The laser attachments always had a little electrical switch with a string usually attached to their legs. This hampered their movements but also fired the laser every time they tried to take a step. The zombies always seemed really confused at their lack of movement and would trip constantly always making the same sad muffled groan as they fell and the lasers fired.
It was an amusing sight to see a group of these things bumbling about and crashing into each other. If you were lucky you might find a group with a laser zombie in it and get a good right ole chuckle as the laser cut down its companions one by one.
I’m going to chalk it all up as one of those mysteries of youth. The zombies disappeared eventually, probably all killed off, and I grew up. But I still wonder about them. Where did they come from? Who made them? If the zombies decomposed like they looked like they were doing why weren’t there any left over machine parts anywhere?
I miss my childhood. Today things aren’t nearly as entertaining. Restoration efforts and all that. I still remember. Where are the zombies? I really miss the zombies.
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