Long Haired Zombie-Killing Freak
“He hangs out in the dumpster next door to our building.” She was trying to speak to me calmly, but her cool was fraying at the edges. “He brings…people…back to the dumpster.”
“Horrible noises?” I asked, quietly, trying not to disturb her too much. Poking fragile people means you get lots of client shards all over the floor.
“Yes,” she breathed, clutching her jacket, “the noises are horrible.”
“Worse than hot sex two doors down in a small dorm?”
Why in the world did I ask her that? You would think that after a year of freelance zombie execution, I would have more tact. Unfortunately, I have about as much tact as my targets do.
“What?” Her carefully shadowed eyes opened horribly wide. For a moment, sitting there dumbstruck, she looked like a Yorkie Terrier with a thyroid condition.
“Right. So. Horrible noises, you say?” I scratched my head. I hadn’t bathed in about four days. Water and electricity weren’t regularly available…unless it rained and you walked outside with a long metal pole, cursing God.
“Yes.” She seemed a little more at ease, back on the comfortable footing of simple questions.
“I’m going to assume, since you came here to Marvin’s bar—looking for me—you’d like me to come and kill your noisy neighbor.”
“Yes. But it’s a zombie…aren’t they already dead?”
“Well, it’s a philosophical issue as much as anything… They were dead. Now they’re not.” I shrugged, and took a sip of my beer. “They’ve got a heartbeat, neural activity, and they bleed pretty well. They’re also wicked fast, and their fingernails have thickened into claws, usually.”
“They eat people!”
Miss Malley was starting to fray for the second or third time. Most people, a year into the slow-form zombie apocalypse, didn’t dress as well as my potential client, or walk around without a dust mask on. She either still had money and position, or she was bug-fuck crazy. My instinctual jury was still in recess about her.
“They smell and they eat people!”
“They do, indeed. They eat people who are infected with the virus. The people they eat come back to life as zombies themselves.” I nodded. “That’s how it goes.”
“But they’re not people anymore!”
“I’d have to say the jury is still out on that issue. They don’t give a rat’s ass about working, but they’ve got all their memories from before they died.” I could tell I wasn’t doing anything to make her feel more secure.
“Sh. Relax. Drink your drink.” I patted the back of her hand with my fingertips.