Being a zombie isn't all it's cracked up to be, as this conversation shows.
A Conversation at an East Side Pub
James Arthur Anderson
Being a zombie ainít all itís cracked up to be. I thought it would be an easy life. You know, just running around and spookiní people I donít like, sleepiní during the day and haunting at night. It sounded like a pretty good gig, actually. I didnít know it would be so hard on the body, what with all the rotting flesh and stuff. It makes it kind of hard to go out in public. But at least when you donít have a functioning nose, the smell isnít a problem. At least not for me. Here, you want to borrow my handkerchief? Let me buy you another beer. That might help.
Anyway, I never for the life of me expected that the idea would work. I didnít really believe in that supernatural crap, spooks, and haunts, and vampires. Now thatís what I should have done. I should have come back as a vampire. Those guys get all the fun. But Iím getting ahead of myself, ainít I?
No, I didnít believe it would work. But when Guido Salmonella puts a contract out on you, you know itís all over. You are already dead, before the freakiní ink is even dry. And when you know for sure youíre gonna die, believe me, youíll try anything. Especially a guy like me. I mean, with my past, what chance have I got of gettiní into heaven?
Ah, Bartender, thanks for that beer. Can you stick the straw in there for me? Thanks.
So you see, the woman in the new age store on Thayer Street told me about the idea. Iíd gone in there to get my palm readóthatís back when I had a palmóand I told her about my predicament. She sold me some overpriced herbs and stuff, and gave me the directions. I didnít think it would work, but what the hell? I had nothing to lose.
So I put it in my will that the kids wouldnít get a penny unless they followed the directions exactly. I didnít really expect theyíd do it, though. I figured theyíd hire some cheap lawyer to say I was nutso and just forget the whole thing. It wouldnít be hard. The old man wants what? He wants you to sprinkle some crap on his body, recite some mumbo-jumbo over his grave, and not bury him for three days after the funeral? Yeah, I guess it qualifies. I guess I was most afraid that the kids would get part of it right, but then just go ahead and bury me anyway. The last thing I wanted to do was wake up in a locked coffin six feet under. What a hell of an afterlife that would have been.
But Iíve got to hand it to the kidsóthey did right. And three days after the funeral, I woke right up, just like the witch at the new age store said I would. Well, almost, anyway.
She didnít tell me that my body would wake up the same way it went in. That makes a difference when youíve taken a couple dozen .50 caliper slugs in every part of your body except your the little toe of your left foot. I woke up, all right. But Iím afraid I wasnít a very pretty sight.
That wasnít the worst of it, though. The rotting started to begin immediately. Rising from the dead does something to the embalming fluid, I guess. The flies were a real pain. But when then the flesh started coming loose, I went back to that new age store and told that witch about itóor at least tried to. She passed out the minute she saw me. And when I tried to bring her to, my hand fell off. So I chopped off one of hers and it worked just fine, for a few weeks, at least, until I had to replace it, too.
Iíve learned a few things since then. I go after the young ones, now. They last longer. And ever since I got a brain from Dan Quayle, Iíve become more choosy. That was a tough few weeks, believe me. Iíd never felt to stupid in my life.
No, it isnít easy being a zombie. Tonight, Halloween, is about the only night I can go out without a disguise and not make a scene. I usually do the costume contests. I won over two thousand dollars for best costume two years ago. But no one wants a zombie costume any more. Theyíre all into the cute costumes now. Last year I lost to a guy who was dressed like a giant Q-tip. Just the thought of it makes me sick. I thought about entering the contest this year, but I knew I didnít have a leg to stand on.
There are some good things about being a zombie, though. I got my old job back, and itís even easier now that bullets canít kill me. As soon as Iíd gotten myself back together, so to speak, I paid a visit back to Guido Salmonella. Boy, was he surprised to see me. He knew I was going to kill him, so he offered be a job as one of his wiseguys. Said Iíd be good at collecting debts. I said sure, but it would cost him an arm and a leg. He really didnít have much choice.
So now I get to go out at night and collect debts for Guido. Sometimes I take something a little extra, like a thumb or an ear. And if the guy canít pay? Well then I take whatever I want.
Did you want another beer? No? How Ďbout a burger or something to eat? Oh, I see youíve lost your appetite. Oh well, I guess itís time to get down to business, then. Guido says he needs ten thousand by next Friday. No, itís not negotiable. Itís all or nothing. Guidoís very picky about that.
So I will meet you here next Friday at 10 p.m., sharp. Have the 10 Gís with you and youíll be just fine. If not, you and I can work something out. I have a lot of work to do around the house and I can always use a helping hand.