Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How to Talk with a Zombie

By Meg Curtis

Once upon a time, zombies met regularly. They called their get-togethers “college mixers.” Advanced zombies were put in charge of collecting female trainees on one side of a room—usually underground, of course. They dimmed the lights so nobody could see how awful everybody looked—and behaved.

On the other side of that underground cavern, the advanced zombies gathered the male trainees. These guys shuffled and slumped. They left as quickly as they could for a cigarette so they could come back smokin’. When that happened, some female trainee would chirp: “Boy, ain’t he hot!”

Then, much discussion would follow about whether the correct term was “hot” or “cool.” Discussion never included “cold” in this context, for that basic adjective applied to female zombie trainees who had not yet discovered that living above ground—lots!—could give them a new complexion.

So long as they stayed sufficiently pale, they proved capable of blushing, although they practiced this sign of embarrassment or modesty with infrequent regularity. Complexion became a sign of ruggedness, indeed even durability in the seething winds above ground, where zombies spent as little time as possible.

Thus, the most common conversation among them concerned “Are you alright?” To which the answer was “Sure.” If anyone confessed to being more than a little “hot,” that person had to be rushed out of the underground cavern. Outside, where the stars blinked in confusion, the trainees sighed over a simple fact: Zombies don’t talk feelings. They talk temperatures.

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