Modern Life™ has never been more dangerous than at present. Not only do we suffer from all the ordinary dangers which have plagued the human race for millenia—disease, accident, invading Persians, hungry Tyrannosauri—but we now have at least fourteen utterly new kinds of hazards, each one completely without precedent. I am not here thinking primarily of such dangers as the automobile, the atomic bomb, or the complete destruction of the universe by the production of mini black holes at CERN. No: I am referring to that present-day peril par excellence, the zombie.
You might be tempted to dismiss this particular hazard as one you are most unlikely to encounter. Zombies, you might think, happen to other people, like Barack Obama or George Gershwin—not to me. I thought so too, but recently, my views have changed completely. Why? Well, the short answer is that I found that a zombie, even if a small and particularly slow moving zombie, had taken up residence in my very own kitchen!
How did I discover this infiltration? It began when I started to think seriously about the nature and habits of the zombie. (While I am well aware that there are more than one kind of zombie, I am here referring only to the Hollywood Zombie™.) Zombies have, it seems to me, four basic characteristics: (a) rotting flesh, (b) slow movements, (c) proneness to violence, and (d) complete mindlessness. So if you want to detect a zombie, you need to be on the lookout for anything embodying these qualities.
In my case, I found (as I mentioned earlier) that the zombie menace had established itself in the kitchen. I first woke up to the horrible danger when, walking into my kitchen one evening, I noticed the distinct odor of decaying flesh originating, as I quickly determined, from the trash can under my sink. Having located the source of the odor, I next attempted to determine whether the smell did, in fact, proceed from a zombie. How? By employing the four identifying marks of the zombie listed above. My nose had already attested to the presence of (a) putrefying flesh, and an extended attempt at conversation with my trash can confirmed (d) its absolute lack of wit. It now fell to my lot to determine whether my trash can exhibited (b) slow movements and (c) a propensity for violence.
Its violent tendencies were confirmed that very night, when, walking across my darkened kitchen, I was waylaid and knocked to the floor by my trash can; this was particularly galling as the box of doughnuts I had been carrying suffered rather sever damage. And since the trash can could not have gone from its normal place under the sink to its ambush in the doorway without moving, I was now in a position to affirm both (b) and (c). My unescapable (though terrifying) conclusion: my home has been infested by a zombie trash can.1
“Will_you_be_ready…_(4786369715)” by Kenny Louie from Vancouver, Canada, uploaded by russavia CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
- And given the way that zombies spread their infection, I strongly suspect that other zombies of which I am not yet aware may lie in wait for me. ↩