How to Bonk a Zombie
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by J. D. Crayne
Description: It is nearly Christmas and the zombie apocalypse is right around the corner. Young and pretty Julia Hobart, an unemployed screenwriter, goes to a leather bar for a drink with her two housemates: Vinnie, a part time actress and full time bimbo, and Nate, an unsuccessful novelist. They are caught in the middle of a riot when the bar is invaded by a horde of murderous zombies in drag. Barely escaping with their lives, they go to a local mall to calm their nerves, and find themselves in the middle of a no-holds-barred battle between a zombie Santa and his undead elves and the hysterical Christmas shoppers. They finally escape, go home, and discover that Vinnie has accidentally put four large sacks of high-grade marijuana, brought home by Julia's handsome brother Jason, into a charity drop-off box. The dope belongs to big-time pot grower Juan Loco, who is going to wipe out Jason unless he can come up with the stash or the cash. Juan Loco's hired guns force Jason to take them to the drop-off box and while they are gone, another group of mayhem-minded zombies shows up and attacks the house, nearly killing Julia and her friends. It's obvious that the zombies are working up to an attack on Los Angeles that will destroy the city -- or make it vote Conservative. From the Glendale Galleria to historic Griffith Park and the Los Angeles Coliseum, with take-out pizza and cherry soda, the heroes of this fast-paced, zany look at the undead, are only one step ahead of being murdered, torn into bloody bits or--even worse--turned into members of the zombie invasion themselves. Meanwhile they have to answer the age-old question that every woman asks: How do you bonk a zombie without all of the bits falling off?
eBook Publisher: Renaissance E Books/PageTurner Editions,
eBookwise Release Date: May 2012
1 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [154 KB]
Reading time: 93-130 min.
I once was a normal guy,
I'll eat yer brain!
But nowI'm not and you know why,
I'll eat yer brain!
"How do you bonk a zombie without the bits falling off?"
Julia Hobart, who was sitting on the couch idly thumbing through the Christmas issue of Vanity Fair, looked up at her boarder, who was sitting in one of the two large overstuffed armchairs. "I don't know; I never thought about it. Are you asking out of idle curiosity, or do you have a hot date with a cold corpse?"
"Well, I'm not sure," Vinnie said. She held out one hand, fingers spread, to admire the sparkling puce polish she had just put on her nails. "I met this really dreamy guy at the bar, but he looked kind of, you know, crumbly." She tossed back her platinum blonde hair and sighed. "It seems like every man you meet has something weird going on, you know?"
Across the room, Julia's bad tempered and enormously fat calico cat, Gypsy, had curled up on the fireplace hearth with her tail wrapped around her, looking like a malformed meat loaf and working on an erratic buzz saw purr.
Julia put the magazine down neatly on the end table and leaned back against the couch, staring up at the ceiling, thinking that it really could use a fresh coat of paint, and wondering if she could rent the little back bedroom to another bit-part actress like Vinnie and have enough money to re-paint the entire downstairs. "Which bar was this?" she asked.
"Fernando's, over on Glendale Avenue."
"What kind of place is it? And don't tell me it's a zombie place, or I'll thump you one."
"Oh, you know. It's just a little cocktail lounge, one of those local places. Nothing special. It's got tables with candles on them and red plastic upholstery. It's sort of dark inside, but they have their Christmas decorations up. They've got a little band that plays Golden Oldies. I guess it's the kind of place that dead people might like."
"Nostalgic, you mean?" Julia looked at her critically. "How did you happen to go to a neighborhood watering hole that plays Golden Oldies. I thought you were into everything new and exciting."
"This kind of dykey girlfriend of mine wanted to go there. She said it was a special sort of place. So, we went, and she hooked up with a girl sitting at the bar and left me to fend for myself. That's how I met this guy. Do you think he really could be a zombie?"
"Well, if Fernando's is close to Forest Lawn in Glendale, could be." Julia shrugged. "There is no telling what the undertakers of today may be up to."
"So, how do you... you know?"
"Use rubbers," Julia said with a yawn. "Safe sex and it holds your partner's doodad together so it won't fall off in personal places."
"Eeeuuu. That's like forgetting about a tampon and having it come out all grotty-looking."
"Well, there you go. If you don't want grot in your lot, use rubber. And by the way, does Clipper Johnson know about this super new guy you just met?"
"Clipper and I," Vinnie said, with a pout on her full luscious, silicone-enhanced, lips, "are no longer an item. I decided that I don't like the socially conscious kind of man. He is just too wrapped up in the charity and do unto others thing."
Julia gave the other girl a considering look. "You are working your way right through the categories, aren't you. There was Sergai, the suave one, followed by Nigel, the sensitive one, and then Bartholomew the intellectual, and Trevor the artist. Now it's goodbye Clipper and the socially-conscious circuit. What's the dead guy like?"
"He's the strong and silent type."
"So, do you think I should go to his place, if he asks me?"
"If he is dead, I sure don't want you bringing him back here. It's hell getting zombie bits out of the carpet." Julia held up a hand as Vinnie opened her mouth. "Kidding, Vinnie, just kidding."
"Oh." The blonde got up, stretched to show off her magnificent surgically-enhanced bosom, and looked around restlessly. "Where is Jason? I haven't seen him for days."
"My dear brother is somewhere in San Bernardino County, trying to turn a dishonest buck by babysitting a pot plantation out in the middle of nowhere. I expect to get a call from him any day now, asking me to post bail. If he does, he's out of luck. That desk is full of bills we haven't paid yet." She gestured at the antique roll-top desk, a relic of her great-grandfather's rather dubious business career.
"Oh," Vinnie said again, not being a terribly imaginative sort of girl. "I thought maybe I had broken his heart when I said I didn't want to see him again, and he went away to forget his sorrows."
"He did say something about it being hard to avoid seeing you again, since you both live in the same house, but he didn't sound like his heart was especially broken. Are you going to Fernando's again tonight?"
"Maybe." She twirled a lock of platinum-blonde hair around her finger, tried to look modest, and failed completely. "I guess so."
"I think I'll come with you. I want to get a good look at this beefcake corpse of your. It's as good a way as any to spend a Friday night. I'll even drive; we can take my Fiesta."
Vinnie perked up, the price of gasoline being what it is. "All right. Seven o'clock. They serve great buffalo wings."
"I'll bear that in mind," Julia said. "Oh, by the way, I'm getting together some old clothes for the Gay Caballero thrift shop in Glendale. If you've got anything you can stand to part with, put it in a bag on the service porch."
"Okay. I guess they can have my Fredrick's of Hollywood jump suits. They're not in style any more and anyway I'm tired of them." She undulated out of the room, murmuring something about body makeup and an afternoon casting call for "Radu of Romania."
Julia went back to staring at the ceiling. The molded plaster ornaments could definitely use some sprucing up. What she could see of the swimming pool through the side windows looked a little swampy and in need of cleaning, too. The house had been built by her great-grandfather, who was a cut-rate robber baron and bootlegger who hid bottles of bathtub gun under the living room floor. He spent his loot before he died, but he'd had the kindness to add her grandfather to the property deed before he popped off. Her grandfather had favored her father in the same way, and her father had followed the same family tradition with her and her brother -- leaving them as co-owners of a decaying Victorian mansion on three acres of land in the Hollywood Hills with rock-bottom taxes.
If it wasn't for maintenance and having to eat, they would be sitting pretty. The roof had started to leak again, but fortunately Los Angeles didn't have a lot of rain. Some of the glass in the old greenhouse was broken, but she wasn't much interested in gardening anyway. The gravity-feed furnace, which crouched in the basement like an alien tentacled monster, gulped up a lot of natural gas but Los Angeles never got terribly cold. Even now, in mid-December, it was 70 degrees outside. If one had to be stuck with a decaying white elephant of a house, at least this was a good city for it. She rubbed the toe of her shoe at the faded Axminster carpet on the floor. It was definitely a bit threadbare.
Of course, they could sell to one of the developers who were always slavering at the door, but that would mean they would have to find somewhere else to live. Jason wanted to sell, so that he could take his share of the money and buy some agricultural land in Northern California. So far, she had resisted. She felt that she owed something to their forbearers, unprincipled sharks though the men had undoubtedly been.
They were drifting along on the status quo. Jason picked up whatever jobs he could find that didn't involve actual work, and Julia wrote screen plays for execrable TV sitcoms. She was currently out of work, the latest comedy having been lousier than usual and folding after three episodes. It was not a pleasant position to be in during the holidays. It was Friday the twenty-first of December, and she didn't have a job prospect in sight.
As much as she hated to admit it, Vinnie was doing a lot better with her bleached hair, pneumatic boobs, and pouty lips than Julia was with a college education and a degree in English Lit.
She was inspecting her dark brown hair for split ends when Nate Weatherby, her other boarder, wandered into the room, munching on a piece of toast with butter and Marmite. Tall and gangling, with a receding hairline, Nate was thirtyish and another writer. He wrote historical fiction and was in the middle of his third book. So far, he hadn't sold his first two, but with supreme optimism he was convinced that his latest book would be the one to speed him to the top of the best seller lists. Since he had described it to her as revealing the passionate relationship between Edward VII and Winston Churchill, Julia rather doubted that it was going to make much of a splash. Meantime, Nate was eking out a very slender living by writing articles for antique weapons magazines and medieval reenactment societies at twenty-five bucks a pop.
"Don't drip butter on the rug," she said automatically.
"Oh, right, sorry!" he said, crammed the toast into his mouth, chewed furiously and swallowed with a gulp. "What do you know about zombies?"
Julia raised her eyebrows. "Nothing much, except that they eat people's brains and hang out at Fernando's in Glendale."
Nate looked surprised. "Where did you hear that?"
"Vinnie has fallen for one of the undead. She met him in a Glendale bar."
"Aha! Over by Forest Lawn, right? Disneyland for the dead; the only place in town where the dead get better billing that the living. "
"Somewhere around there. Anyway, Vinnie says she met a great zombie at Fernando's, hot to trot and all that."
"Yeah? I'm writing an article about zombies and some personal experience would really give it a boost."
"Nate, you were writing about fifteenth century morning stars yesterday, and trebuchet construction on Tuesday. Why zombies today?"
"Anything to make a buck," he said, and grinned at her. "If I could sell a book about medieval zombie warfare it would make me a fortune. The zombie apocalypse! There could even be..." His voice dropped to a hushed note of reverence, "Movie rights! Everyone is into zombies."
"Or vice versa," Julia murmured. "Tell me, how do you bonk a zombie without the bits falling off?"
Nate's enthusiasm skidded to a halt and he looked rather taken aback. "Dunno. I never thought about it. Lots of duct tape and caulking compound, I guess. Of course, from a male point of view..." He coughed delicately. "I've never personally done anything along that line. It's like necrophilia, right? Grave robbing and humping corpses? Did you know that the ancient Egyptians used to keep the bodies of their young women at home until they were starting to rot, to save them from the attentions of the embalmers? It seems to have been some kind of embalming job perk."
"You are an absolute mine of obscure and unsavory information. Think of it as a case of cold cocking your girlfriend," Julia said, yawning as she tried to get up and found that her legs were inexplicably stuck in place. After a moment she realized that the cat, Gypsy, had moved from the hearth and flopped down across her feet, where she had collapsed like a half-filled and very heavy sand bag.
Shoving the animal off of her insteps, Julia got up from the couch and headed for the drinks cupboard. "That's depending on which side you're on, of course. I tell you what..." She sloshed some Scotch into a glass and added a very little soda. "... come with Vinnie and me to Fernando's tonight and we will see if the zombies are having a night out. You can buy us drinks and take it off of your taxes as research expenses. Anyway, it's all a crock; zombies don't exist."
"Sure they exist. It all depends on your definition of zombie."
"Oh? And what is yours?"
"Anyone with enough drugs in his or her system to eliminate a sense of moral responsibility, make the subject susceptible to suggestion, and decrease pain sensations."
"Ooo, doesn't that sound scientific. No voodoo doctors and strange drugs unknown to medical science?"
"I wouldn't rule it out," he said easily.
"You are sure giving yourself a lot of latitude in the definition."
"Hell yes; it's the only way I can sound like I know what I'm talking about."
"I like the zombies who were stalking around in the old Bela Lugosi films a lot better," Julia said, tossing down the rest of her drink. "You knew where you were with those guys. They have a certain ghastly style that is a whole lot better than the image of a bunch of spaced out kids on designer street drugs. I wonder if I could come up with a saleable screenplay about zombies. Maybe a quaint zombie family that strikes it rich and moves to Beverly Hills."
"No news from your agent?" Nate asked, easily interpreting her comment as a complaint.
"Not a word. None of the TV shows are hiring writers, and the last four original ideas I came up with didn't even get a nibble. The economy sucks and none of the potential backers are willing to put money into anything new. I'd write for schlock reality shows if any of them were buying." She stretched and stared at the ceiling some more. "How about a couple of zombie rednecks who have this souped-up car and are always getting in trouble with a local sheriff? I could write in a narrator to explain the plot points."
That evening, Julia stood in her bedroom and debated over what to wear to meet a possible zombie. She finally settled on tapered denims, high-heeled boots, and a blue sweatshirt with a couple of fake gold chains. That seemed to cover most contingencies, and hid the fact that there was a run in her last pair of panty hose.
It was a lovely Southern California evening. A light breeze had blown away the air pollution and there was a soft glitter of stars that even the city glow could not totally obscure. The quarter moon was rising and shone with a gentle light. The temperature was in the mid-seventies and it felt like a good night to be living in the Southland.
The drive from the Hollywood Hills to Glendale wasn't any worse than usual, which is to say that it was nerve wracking, frustrating, and all of the drivers on the road acted like maniacs. The car radio was playing cheerful traffic reports and news items about the various parts of the world that were involved in war, mayhem, human rights abuses, and the usual doom, death, and despair. There were a few Christmas carols too. When Julia pulled her little gray Ford Fiesta into Fernando's parking lot, she found it nearly full. Apparently the place had a lot of patrons who turned out on Friday nights. It also had a large sign in twisted neon showing a mustachioed man on a big motorcycle, which was currently surrounded by a large circle of twinkling, multicolored, Christmas lights.
The three visitors went through the tall entry door -- painted verdigris green with iron strapping -- and paused to let their eyes get used to the light. Or lack thereof. The entire place seemed to be full of big strapping men, and a few equally strapping women, in black leather jackets and dark glasses. Some of them were rotating cheek to cheek on a miniscule dance floor while a red-jacketed trio played golden oldies on piano, saxophone, and ukulele, and twinkling red and green lights blinked around the tiny stage.
"Vinnie!" Julia whispered under her breath. "This is a leather bar! Not only a leather bar, I think it's a leather biker bar!"
Vinnie tossed back her long blonde hair and shrugged. "So? Ooo, there he is! In the back booth by the potted palm." She made a beeline across the floor and the others scurried along after her, very aware of the dozens of unseen eyes tracking them from behind those shiny dark Ray-Bans.
They hastily crammed themselves into the booth, Nate and Julia on one side and Vinnie, cooing, on the other, next to a hunched, rather flat-headed, man with lank dark hair and staring eyes. He was wearing a dark suit and a striped tie and smelled like he had taken a bath in Sportsman Aftershave. There was a tall half-empty glass in front of him, and a bowl of something into which he was dipping corn chips. It was difficult to tell, in the gloom of the bar, but his skin did seem to have a rather unhealthy, look.
A thick green candle sitting on the table flickered with a small flame in a tall glass holder that was surrounded by plastic holly with little red plastic berries, giving everyone at the table a rather ghastly look more suited to Halloween than Christmas. The candle gave off a strong scent of bayberry, which mingled with the Sportsman to create an eye-watering atmosphere.
The red-jacketed trio on the small stage launched in to a soulful rendition of "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas."
"This is Alfie," Vinnie said, oozing up to the silent figure, who stared straight ahead with unwavering eyes, as if mesmerized by the buttons in the booth's red plastic upholstery. "He's a certified public accountant."
"Marvelous," Nate remarked under his breath. "A dead CPA. The live ones are dull enough."
"Hello, Alfie." Julia said brightly. "It's nice to meet you. Vinnie has been telling us so much about you."
Not a word came from the figure on the other side of the table.
"That looks interesting," Julia persevered, nodding at the bowl. "What is it?"
"Brains, brains, brains!" he croaked in a sepulchral voice.
"Let's dance, Alfie!" Vinnie said hurriedly, getting up again and pulling her swain with her. He sort of toppled over sideways toward the red plastic seat, but she pulled him upright and he lurched to his feet, rather awkwardly wrapped his arms around her, and they moved off into the cluster of dancers.
"So what do you think?" Julia asked, averting her eyes from the mess in the bowl. "Is he really a zombie?"
Nate shrugged. "He's clumsy, inarticulate, and has a bad complexion. I've seen worse at a Fairfax bar mitzvah."
"You wanna drink?" a tenor voice inquired.
They looked up to see a rather short, scrawny, youngster in tight black leather trousers and a black leather vest that was decorated with so many chains that the leather was almost invisible. He was holding an order pad.
"Vodka martini," Nate said, without bothering to look up.
"Scotch and soda," Julia added, trying to look as if she really did own a set of black leathers but had forgotten to bring them.
The waiter ducked his head and clinked off toward the bar.
"Maybe I could float an idea about a biker bar and all of the quaint people that hang around in it," Julia said, resting her chin on one hand and staring at the dancers slowly circling the floor like a school of strangely patterned fish.
Nate dragged a battered notebook out of the inside pocket of his jacket, found a felt-tip pen in another pocket, and began making cryptic notes. He was interrupted by a looming shadow.
"Dance?" a deep voice inquired.
"He's waiting for a friend," Julia said firmly.
"I'm a friend," the newcomer rumbled, and then turned to Julia. "How about you? I sweep both sides of the street."
She looked him up and down. He was trying for a hulking brute image, but hadn't quite made it. More stocky than hulking, Julia still had to give him credit for trying to project the right image. He was wearing a black leather vest over a bare and hairless chest that was mostly covered with chrome chains and assorted metal emblems, including a double-headed eagle, swastika, liberty bell, crucifix, and pentacle, thus declaring that their owner was an ecumenical kind of thug. A small enamel Christmas tree glistened on one shoulder of his vest in honor of the season and his beady blue eyes peered out from under a thatch of jet black hair that was showing sandy roots. His shoulders were hunched and his chin sunk down onto his chest.
"Oh, all right," she sighed. "Why the hell not?" She slid out of the booth and in short order was clasped tightly to the metallic chest of the hulking brute, who smelled of motor oil overlaid with bay rum. As they whirled away on the dance floor she saw an androgynous leather-clad figure with lank blonde hair looming over Nate, who had flattened himself back against the back of the red leatherette booth and was looking trapped.