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The Journal of Literary Satire | Hastily Written & Slopilly Edited
Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Excerpt from George Romero’s New Book of Daily Affirmations

You wake up. You’re the world’s most overworked nurse and your morning is spent watching your family fall prey to the rampant Zombie Sickness. Your undead husband almost rips your throat out in the bathroom.

ZombieYou escape! But only to hole up in a local mall with other stowaways as the Zombies encircle. Once in the mall, you and your fellow stowaways form a makeshift society where the rules don’t apply because society is eating itself alive outside. Neither you nor anyone else in the mall could care less about the outside because when you escaped from that world, that’s right, society was eating itself alive. So isn’t that the same thing as falling in love?

Inside, you remember with a smug smile how you used to have to shoot down zombies to survive. You used to have to wake up and run for your life—but to what? You didn’t know. You didn’t know but you saw the walking dead all around you doing their mindless activities, trying to feast on those with warmth and brains, and you didn’t want to get feasted on. But more than that, you’re terrified to become one of the zombies. You didn’t want to become a symptom of society eating itself alive. You didn’t want to become a “thing” that others would run from—damaged goods to be sure (a “love cannibal”).

So quickly, those archaic times fade into a memory. You wake up safe, master of your destiny, happy to declare at any moment that you’re “not going back out there with those fucking zombies” and rightly so. You’d fight to the death rather than go back out there. You’re ready to make a stand based on the sanctity and new order that exists in, of all places, a shopping mall. But it doesn’t feel like a mall anymore—it feels like home.

But then some of the others in the mall start to become zombies—and it’s unexplained—why are they becoming zombies!? “Fuck man,” you say to yourself, “we had a good thing going here.” And worse yet, some people start complaining about the mall! And you’re like, “Do you remember when you were fighting the zombies and now you’re complaining!!?” Later, you catch yourself saying how the mall lacks excitement and how you feel like you’re just waiting to get eaten or run out of food. Every time somebody inside the mall becomes a zombie it sickens you a little more. How could they? How could they be so stupid? You become convinced that the mall isn’t safe anymore. It isn’t good enough a place to call home—everyone is getting restless. You realize something must be done.

So despite everything you said—despite knowing that outside society is eating itself—you board a bus with the surviving mall citizens, reinforce it with aluminum siding (standard shielding from the society’s undead) and head for the marina.

All it took was some guy owning a boat. Why is that always what it takes?

You’ve left the safety of the mall! You told yourself you never would! And outside, it’s worse than you imagined. Zombies are tearing themselves apart trying to feed on your flesh. You realize, society is eating itself alive out here!!

Not unscathed—actually deeply scathed—you and the other survivors reach the marina and sail to a remote tropical island where you think there are no zombies—deep down in your heart you know there are many, many zombies and that society is eating itself alive there as well. It’s too late to turn back.

As tropical zombies feast on you, biting down to your very soul—ripping off the flesh you had fought so hard to protect, you realize that no relationship is perfect. It just depends on you. On an island or in a mall? Paper or plastic?

Romero’s Daily Task: Hug a Zombie today. Maybe you’ll bring them back from the Dead.

Douglas Robert Dean is an aspiring amateur phrenologist and disc golfer in Portland, Oregon. Currently, he is in the blueprint stage of turning his living room into a dojo. His short fiction can be found at Dean's Den.