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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Diary of a Radioactive, Flesh-Eating Teen Zombie

September 30
Woke up feeling strange and then gradually understood why: 1) it isn’t morning, it’s night; 2) someone nearby has been screaming for I don’t know how long but it feels, like, foreverish; 3) they’re screaming at ME, because 4) as my own bedroom mirror tells me, I’ve been bitten in the face by a radioactive, flesh-eating zombie, and now I’m one, too. Of course this would have to happen right before Homecoming! And up until now I thought I had a shot at becoming Queen. Oh, well. No use crying over spilt milk—or in this case, buckets of blood and one very loosely hanging eyeball. I don’t have a lot of time to ponder this thought as it suddenly dawns on me that the screamer is my geek sister Debbie and I’ve always wanted to suck her brains out through a straw because she keeps borrowing my lip gloss without asking. Turns out, I don’t even need the straw. Ah, peace and quiet at last!

October 1
Realized that being a zombie makes you forget the little things, like how to do stuff without using my teeth. Like this morning, I ran out of my special jasmine-scented hairspray after biting through the aerosol can (which exploded in my face, causing my loose eyeball to dangle down into my bra, kinda gross but kinda cool—I never knew my breasts were this big), so decided to head over to the salon at the mall. Shuffled slowly with my gory arms outstretched, but I’ve got to be careful— don’t want to overdevelop my deltoids and end up looking like Marcie “I’m-So-Full-Of-Myself-’Cause-I’m-School-Wrestling-Champ-And-You’re-Not” Penderecki. Note to self: If I see Marcie today I’m going to rip those big arms off and beat her to death with them. She’ll be full of herself after I feed her those arms, all right. Wait, gotta stop thinking about food all the time. Why am I so hungry lately? As I say those words to myself I am barely even aware that I’ve been chewing on the bloody guts of the neighbor’s Chihuahua, Taco, who ran up and started barking at me hysterically a minute ago until I bit him in half. Part of me’s gonna miss that annoying little guy. But not the part that’s digesting him. Mmm-mm.

All at once I feel so guilty. Too much red meat! I have GOT to make myself gulp down a salad at some point, but for some reason all I can think of is brains, brains, fresh, pulsating, delicious raw brains. Nerd alert!

October 4
Never made it to the salon, and let me tell you, Diary, if the rest of the cheerleading squad could see my hair now they’d mock me right off the field. At least until I pulled out their livers with my bare hands. Anyway, the reason I didn’t reach the salon is that when I got to the mall I ran into these, well, I guess you could call them “survivors.” You know the type: not professional fighters, most of them, but wicked brave and smart and so evenly mixed along racial and gender and socioeconomic lines that your heart just went out to them. Mine did. I could hardly force myself to slice and dice the leader and start snacking on his pancreas. He was hunky. Or, I should say, the hunk of him I managed to swallow was.

One of the others sprayed me with a flamethrower—where’d they find THAT?—and now I’ve got that horrible charred-flesh smell which makes it so difficult to attract the right flavor of boy. Then they pushed me into a janitor’s closet and jammed the door shut, and that’s where I’ve been for three whole days. Boring! Still, the janitor was in here at the time so it hasn’t been a total loss. Profound thought: I wonder if people would taste any different if you tore off their greasy gray uniforms BEFORE devouring them? But I must say, his vaguely ammonium seasoning was a nice change of pace from the standard human catch-of-the-day. And with my mild radioactive glow it was almost like having a romantic, candlelit dinner.

October 4 (later the same day)
Two other ghouls burst through the door a while ago, obviously hoping for a live human appetizer. But when they saw it was only little old radioactive, flesh-eating me, they seemed to lose interest and got that listless, mopey, don’t-know-who-to-cannibalize-next zombie look in their pale, undead eyes. Losers. I hope nobody thinks I’m with them.

October 4 (still later the same day)
Window-shopped at the shoe outlet until a glance at my own reflection revealed that my left foot is, like, totally GONE and I’ve been walking on a bloody stump! My mom is so right. I can’t keep track of anything anymore. If she heard about this she’d laugh so hard it would kill her (not really—what would kill her would be me chomping and clawing my way through her chest cavity until I yanked the still-beating heart from her body and popped it into my jaws like a gigantic yummy red grape). Mom’s sense of humor is really what keeps me going. That and the whole rising-from-the-grave-to-feed-on-your-hot-scrumptious-carcass thing.

October 5
Lonely today. Lonely and blue and hungry. So hungry I chewed a leather hiking boot like a piece of gum just to remind myself of what something that used to be flesh tastes like. For a second, as I was shambling along past the hardware store with one femur poking shamelessly through my jeans (sorry, Mom!), I thought I heard a guy whistle at me. Turns out it was only a Geiger counter. (Sigh …)

October 31
Feel like I’ve been kicked in the head. Or rather, chainsawed in the neck. One of those pesky survivalists must’ve snuck up behind me with one. I never saw what they looked like because my severed skull has been lying in the same corner of the toy store facing the same baby blue walls for three-and-a-half weeks. I know what you’re thinking: “Cutting off a zombie’s head kills it.” Well, don’t believe everything you see in the movies. You probably think there’s actually a national treasure, too.

I know what else you’re thinking: “How can she be writing this with her head separated from her body?” Hey, don’t ask. If I could turn around I might be able to tell you what the rest of me is doing. Let’s just say that in a scenario like this, radiation can and does account for almost anything. The worst part is, it didn’t even kill my hunger. I mean, yes, I’ve wanted to lose weight, but not like this! And can someone explain WHY I’m still hungry when I don’t even have a stomach anymore? Final thought: What happens now if I give in to irresistible temptation and swallow my own tongue?

Kurt Luchs has appeared in McSweeney's Internet Tendency, The Onion, The New Yorker, Reason, and Prison Bride Magazine. He also edits The Big Jewel, and has a secret plan to survive the Apocalypse without suffering zombification.