THE THREE ZOMB-EGOS
By Rebecca Besser
It was an overcast afternoon when Shawn, Nathan, Cal, and Tim met at the local bar in a small town in Virginia. They’d become friends online and planned the get together so they could discuss their most common interest – zombies.
The establishment was nothing short of pathetic on the outside, which almost made the men decide to traverse elsewhere, but Cal joked that it looked like his apocalyptic dream house, so they decided to stay.
Inside the alcohol peddling abode, the men found a plethora of zombie and science fiction collectables, proudly displayed in lighted chrome and glass cases.
“This place is sweet!” Shawn exclaimed, and the others agreed.
They seated themselves at a round table toward the back of the empty deserted room, and took in the sight of the place for a couple of minutes.
“Oh,” Tim said, jumping up and dashing over to the bar that ran almost the full length of the right side of the room, “light sabers!” He picked up one of the toy collectables and swung it to make the plastic cylinders extend from the base, just as he pushed the button on the hilt to make it light up; an electronic hum rent the air as he swung it.
All the men’s faces lit up and they joined their friend at the bar to play with the sabers.
“Could you imagine having a real one of these babies when the Z-poc happens?” Nathan asked with glee painted across his face, making him look like a kid.
“That would be kick ass!” Cal said, but was disappointed when he noticed there were only two sabers.
Shawn, having also arrived at the bar too late to have a saber of his own, frowned.
“Let’s just see how well those things do against zombies…” he said, and moaned, lunging toward Tim like a zombie from hell.
Tim, Cal, and Nathan laughed, and Tim swung his saber playfully at Shawn.
Shawn didn’t give up his attack easily, though, and soon had Tim pinned against the bar, snarling like a raging hungry beast intent on having Tim for lunch.
Cal, amused by Shawn’s actions, did the same to Nathan, and in seconds they were on the floor, rolling around.
At that very moment, the proprietor of the establishment came in through the back door, heard the noise out by the bar, and called the police. He’d been outside, taking bags of trash to the dumpster, and when he’d returned, he found lunatics in his bar!
The police told him to stay hidden, so he went into his office and locked the door behind him.
The noise continued for a while, and was abruptly ended when something glass shattered.
“Oh, shit!” Shawn exclaimed, noticing that they’d knocked a glass off the bar with their playful tussling; he looked around, but didn’t see anyone. “Hello?” he called, hoping someone would answer him.
Cal and Nathan stopped wrestling and looked up, and around, to see what had broken and what Shawn was yelling about.
“You’re probably going to have to pay for that,” Cal said, motioning to the broken glass on the floor.
“I know…” Shawn said, still searching for someone who worked there, so he could do the right thing and offer to pay for the damage. “Where the hell is everyone?”
Tim laughed. “Z-poc!” He started moaning, limping, and shuffling in circles.
Shawn shook his head, and still trying to find someone, spotted a broom and dust pan behind the bar. He didn’t want to go back there, in case someone did finally appear – they might have a gun and think he was robbing the place – so he picked up the light saber Tim had put down and grabbed the other one out of Nathan’s hand.
Nathan protested with a whine of, “Hey!” but Shawn ignored him.
Cal nudged Nathan to distract him from losing his toy and started moaning and pawing at Nathan like he was a zombie; Nathan shoved him away, and did the same.
Shawn, meanwhile, was using the sabers – one in each hand – to try to pinch the broom and dust pan together so he could pick them up and lift them over the counter; he kept getting frustrated because the cylinders kept folding down when he tilted the sabers at a certain angle.
Tim, Cal, and Nathan got bored with aimlessly shuffling around the room and trying to bite each other, so they converged on Shawn in a horde of chomping teeth and (what they hoped sounded like) deadly moan.
They were all around Shawn, clawing him with wild eyes – while he tried to shove them off, focused on his broom retrieval task – when the police came charging in with their guns drawn.
“Freeze!” they yelled. “Put your hands up where we can see them!”
All four men froze and spun to face the officers; Shawn accidently slapped Nathan and Tim in the head with the light sabers as he lifted his arms.
“Sorry,” he muttered.
“No talking!” one of the officer’s yelled – the tall, bald, skinny one. “Drop your weapons!”
Shawn opened his hands and let go of the plastic toys, and as they fell, one hit Cal in the head, and the other bounced off the top of the bar and into a row of liquor bottles, knocking them to the floor. They all shattered with a tickling of glass and a splash of liquid.
“Smooth move,” the other officer said – the short, slightly chubby one. “ All of you – turn slowly and put your hands on the bar.”
“What’s going on?” Cal whispered to his friends.
“I don’t know!” Shawn whispered harshly. “Shut up.”
“Hey!” the tall officer said. “No talking!”
The room went silent as the four men were patted down by the two officers.
“Stand up, put your hands behind your heads, and turn around,” the short, chubby officer commended; the four did as they were told.
“Where are you from, and what are you doing here?” the tall, bald officer asked.
No one spoke for a moment, and then Nathan – who had experience with law enforcement – spoke up.
“We’re friends who met online,” he said confidently. “We’re all writers, and we decided to meet for a drink, since we lived close together.”
“Oh, really?” the tall officer asked, glancing at his partner. “Can we see some ID please?”
Shawn produced his, and so did Tim.
Cal and Nathan searched their pockets only to realize they’d left their wallets in their cars.
The officers, getting aggravated, decided they would have to go and get them.
“We’re going to take a small field trip outside together,” the short officer said. “I don’t want any fun business from any of you, understand?”
The four men nodded and proceeded as they were instructed outside.
Nathan and Cal were allowed into their cars to retrieve their wallets.
The officers then had them walk to the rear of their vehicles and stand with their hands behind their heads while their IDs were examined.
The chubby officer glanced up and noticed the license plate on the back of Shawn’s car. He did a double take and then looked at Cal’s…and Nathan’s. He couldn’t help but laugh.
“What the hell?” he asked. “Are you zombie worshippers or something?”
The four men frowned in confusion and shrugged.
“We all write about zombies,” Nathan said, trying to understand the man’s meaning. “Why? Did you recognize one of our names? Have you read our books?”
All four of the men’s eyes lit up as they looked hopefully at the officers, expecting at least one of them to be a fan of their work.
“No,” the short, chubby officer said, and motioned to the license plates. “I was referring to those.” He glanced at Tim’s car. “Who doesn’t have one? Does he still need to be ‘initiated’ into the group or something?”
Tim looked down at the ground and clenched his jaw; he didn’t want to admit he didn’t have a zombie license plate like his friends. He wanted one, but just hadn’t gotten one yet.
Shawn stared off into the distance.
Cal looked down at the ground and kicked at a small pebble that was lying in front of his foot.
Nathan shifted his weight from one foot to the other with nervous energy.
“Not going to tell me, huh?” the chubby officer asked. “Fine, I have my own way of finding out. I’ll run the non-zombie plate.”
He walked over to the police cruiser and opened the door. He slid into the driver’s seat and typed on the cars computer, pulling up the license plate that didn’t have anything to do with zombies.
He climbed back out of the car and sauntered back over with a triumphant look on his face.
“So, Tim,” he said, “are you just not zombie enough to have a zombie themed license plate? Or won’t your wife let you?”
Shawn, Cal, and Nathan burst out laughing.
“Shut up, you fucking wacktards!” Tim snarled.
“He’s just jealous we’re better zombie men than him,” Cal joked.
“His wife did say he moans like the dead…” Nathan said with a snicker.
“He’s been known to prance around town screaming, ‘I’m a rainbow vampire! I’m a rainbow vampire!’” Shawn said, and doubled over laughing.
“You’re all bastards,” Tim said, and sighed; he noticed the officers were laughing too.
“Calm down, my friend,” Nathan said, trying to catch his breath.
“Look at it from a zombie perspective…” Cal said, “…at least when the Z-poc happens, they won’t know you’re out to get them.”
The officers were shaking their heads at the men and their antics.
“Okay,” the tall, bald officer said, “let’s get back to business. What was going on in the bar?”
The four men told them about finding the light sabers, pretending to be zombies, and the broken glass.
“Well,” the chubby officer said, “as long as you pay for the damages, and promise to leave, we won’t take you in.”
“Thank you,” Shawn said, even though he now had to pay for multiple bottles of liquor because the cops made him drop the light saber and knock them over.
The officers escorted Shawn back inside the bar and let the owner know what had happened. He paid for the glass and the alcohol, and then made his way back outside where his friends were waiting.
“I guess we survived that,” Shawn said.
“Well, we are all survivors!” Nathan said, grinned, and winked.
The four men said goodbye and headed their separate ways, knowing that their story would someday be told online…
©Rebecca Besser. All rights reserved.