The New Custom

We were doing a routine flyover of vast expanses of empty desert, looking for any stray ghouls that might still be wandering around. The war against the undead had officially ended three years ago, but the bastards still showed up in small pockets here and there. We were part of a U.N. force responsible for these clean up missions. It was a simple task, a pilots dream really, to fly around the world and occasionally debrain a zombie or two. This job promised to be more of the same.

 

Boris was the first to spot the lone straggler from the cockpit. You could tell one by the way they walked, but U.N. policy required that we land and send a couple of soldiers to visually confirm at close range before we opened fire. This ghoul was walking in a circle about 10 yards wide and had probably been doing so for some time before we found it. I located a level area within 50 yards and instructed the boys in back to get ready as I began to put the chopper down.

 

“Just a single, boys. Pop its brain and get it in the bio bag before I start sweatin’.” Sitting mobile in a copter under the heat of an Egyptian desert sun was one of the few drawbacks to this gig, but my boys were pros so I figured we’d back in the air in less than ten minutes.

 

Peter and Yogi hit the ground before the pads touched sand and made it all of twenty yards when all hell broke loose. One second it was just a barren desert but in a flash it began to writhe with putrefying flesh as over a hundred ghouls began to burrow out from under the ground with alarming speed and an almost choreographed efficiency.

 

“Oh Fuck!”s went up all around and Boris grabbed the controls, but I quickly disengaged them. From the air we could use larger arsenal to wipe out a large swath of the desert floor, but I couldn’t give up on Peter and Yogi so easily. I told Boris to sit tight and be ready to take off at my command or demise and grabbed my weapon, a fully automated rifle with a 2 hp chainsaw bayonet. As I hopped out the hatch I saw Peter engaging the enemy with his kung fu skills while Yogi the master marksman took precise head shots at ghouls. These two were a hell of a killing team and a joy to watch but I knew if I didn’t do something quick they were as good as dead.

 

I started up the chainsaw and began to cut a path for my comrades when I heard yelling behind me. I turned around and saw that the undead motherfuckwads were closing in on the chopper. “Fuck.” As I turned back again I saw that in the short time a handful of zombies had managed to get a hold of Yogi. Peter immediately yelled “I Love You!” and put a shot in his partner’s forehead, as was our custom when you were as good as gone. Peter spun around and in a flash of movement knocked several enemies to the ground but the effort was wasted. He grinned that stupid grin of his at me and yelled “I Love Me!” and fired a shot right into his own temple blowing dinner right into the enemies ranks.

 

I wasted no more time and turned back to the helicopter. The fucking ghouls were all around it and Boris was firing manically at the hatch trying to keep the stiffs out. “Leapfrog. North. Four hundred yards.” I yelled. My copilot responded right away and with one hand still poppin’skulls the other took the controls and lifted the whirlybird off the ground. There was almost a clearing heading north and I began to run in that direction hoping to meet Boris back on the ground in a few minutes. As the chopter lifted up I noticed it had several of the undead assholes hanging on. I took the minimum amount of shots possible and ran for my life but as I began to put distance between myself and my pursuers, I noticed that the hangers on had landed safely with Boris. He must not have had even the slightest clue, perhaps too rattled by this surprise attack, he didn’t notice the undead climbing into the hatch until what I confirmed upon my arrival was too late.

 

“I Love You!” I yelled. After pulling his and the other corpses from the craft, I managed to get in the air just in time to avoid being swarmed and feasted upon like some kind of carrion among these unliving vultures. Vultures. That’s exactly what these damn monsters are. Ground level bottom feeders feasting upon the carcass of humanities decadence. “This won’t hurt a bit,” I screamed at the top of my lungs as I unleashed a fiery hell storm of unbridled fury on a generous portion of the desert floor and then for sarcastic effect added, “bend over.”


 

This room is cold and I am tired of being locked in here. It was just a small tooth scratch and everyone knows that getting bit doesn’t always mean you become one of those things. I think it’s gotten even colder since that last sentence, and I am beginning to feel dizzy, which I am sure is a reaction to being locked in this damn quarantine cell all night. Just to make sure I walk over to the toilet and bend over to look in the polished metal for signs of the change. In the reflection I see my commanding officer standing outside my cell. When did he get there? I could have sworn I heard him whisper ‘this won’t hurt a bit’ so I turn around to ask…

 

I Love You.”

 

The Guessing Ghoul

the guessing ghoul

“Something is moving,” that was the thought that seemed to arise with his consciousness out of some far away abyss. “Hand.” He let the world roll itself around through the murky nether, taking form and thus meaning. “Hand. Hands. Something’s moving.”

“My hands,” he thought, “are moving.” He knew this because he was watching it, the realization that he was experiencing it had not occurred to him. It was another half an hour before the sun disappeared completely over the horizon, and he was able to gather his thoughts.

As his formless mind began to condense, he asked himself some rather important questions. “What am I?” No answer. “Where am I?” He looked around. “Ancient site? No, not ancient site. A memory, memories; somewhere I used to know? Someplace I used to live? What am I?” He looked around. On the wall to his left was something familiar. “Someone.” He stood up and waltzed clumsily around, grasping at furniture for balance. When he regained his balance he started to carefully inspect the room. He found more someone’s. But they weren’t the someone’s themselves; they were people he knew? Of course, but these weren’t people, they were

“Pictures.” The word, the concept and the memories came back. “Pictures were paper copies of things you love. Of people you love. Something like that. Except not always love, maybe.” Who were the people in these pictures? “Mother, yes, that was his mother. Brother, Barrett.” The other person was more difficult, but once he got the name he realized that it was himself. “Was himself? Brad. What am I?” He looked around and found other pictures that he recognized using names like wife and son and aunts, uncles, cousins and all the others. They were his what? Like him, but not himfamily? Yes, his family. They were his family. “Were? What am I?”

He found a mirror and studied the image in it. A dead man stared back at him. Yellow versus red eyes. Lifeless grey flesh, devoid of any characteristics that mark the living. “I am a dead man staring at myself in the mirror, asking myself questions that are beginning to seem familiar, but what am I?” He closed his eyes, seeking refuge in the remnants of his mind, blocking out outside stimulus. In doing so he lost balance and collapsed unto the floor in a pile of himself. The pile remained for quite some time, trembling, thinking, remembering. “I am something horrible. I am a monster.”

Dark images assailed him. Blood, gore, flesh. “Sweet, succulent, living flesh. And blood, oh the blood, one can’t extrapolate on the carnivorous delights of the flesh without a mention of its own gourmet marinade. What horrible, delicious thoughts.” He grew hungry.

The pile picked itself up and looked back into the mirror. “Am I evil? I am dead, yet I walk. As far as I know I serve no dark purposeexcept. Except for this hunger for the living members of my own species. Former species?” Two words came to mind, zombie and vampire. “If I am a zombie than I am an undead creature who walks the earth feeding on the living.” But he definitely remembered the horror of daylight, somehow that seemed like an important fact. “But if I am a vampire then why do I feed upon the flesh and not just the blood.” His reflection reminded him that vampires don’t cast reflections. “Do they?” And vampires were strong. He did not feel strong. He felt weak. He felt hungry.

He spoke into the mirror, “But zombies can’t speak. So what am I?” With this he turned away from the mirror and made his way to the place that smelled like food. The basement.

When he got to the bottom of the stairs he reached up instinctively for the light switch that was located near the ceiling. Still following the odor of human flesh, he made his way into a small room where an old oil furnace had sat unused for forty years. There were bodies strewn out across the floor of the dark room. When he pulled the cord which resulted in the illumination of the room, he was able to recognize the bodies with names like mother, brother, wife and son. He was not immediately alarmed to find the corpses of these people, but it did seem to spoil his appetite almost entirely.

The bodies were all disfigured in the same manner. There were bite marks on the necks, stakes in the hearts and various items plunged into the skull through an eye socket. “Who did this, he thought? Did I do this? I didn’t do this. I couldn’t do this. Not to them. Could I?” He marveled at how proficient his mind was at producing questions while showing a complete inability to provide itself with any answers. “If I didn’t do this, then who did? And why, and how?” It looked as though his loved ones had been attacked by vampires; later been staked in the heart, then had their brains destroyed in case they were zombies and not vampires by ‘you never can be too sure’ sorts of monster hunters. It was all insane and it added to the ambiguity surrounding the biggest question. “What am I?” The hunger seemed to have subsided, so he returned upstairs to look for clues.

Then it occurred to him, that maybe there were other monsters out there. Monsters just like him, perhaps. Maybe they would know what he was? He started for the door, but was frozen in step by a second realization. If there were monsters out there, like him or not, would they be friendly? Would he be safe among them? Was there an unspoken code among the ghouls? Suddenly outside seemed unsafe, at least until he could get things figured out. He returned to the chair to think.

“How long has whatever is going on, been going on? How many nights have I sat here thinking all of these same thoughts? How many nights have I made some progress, only to have let it slip by in another days slumber? Or, perhaps, maybe I figure a little more out each night and make some progress. So maybe this is my first night here. Could I have been traveling in increments from some far away destination where I was caught at the beginning of this nightmare? Had I been rushing back valiantly to my family’s aide only to find them dead? Were they monsters before they were destroyed? Monsters like me?” He went back to the basement to have another look at the gruesome scene. “They don’t look like monsters, not like me.” He felt detached, except that something like relief seemed to wash across him when he told himself that he didn’t do this to them.

He remembered killing. He saw screaming faces, twisted in terror and horror, but meaning nothing but food to him. He couldn’t recall who or where, but there were ugly things like these that he took to be memories cluttering up his mind. Looking at these bodies he did not think of food.     Sitting in the chair again, he asks himself, “What Am I? If I have been here for awhile then I must have left myself some clues.” He got up and looked around the house. There were no notes written to him by him. There were no signs of anything that reminded him of anything except that this was his home. Even more unusual, there was nothing to indicate anything odd had happened in the house. If everything inside the house was normal (except for the corpses in the basement and a very confused ghoul roaming about), then what was going on outside?

He decided to go out and check. He would go out and look around, and if anything didn’t seem right he would come back in. Then he thought, why not just look out the windows? The windows were all well covered with blinds and curtains, effectively making them walls to any lights or views from outside. “Better to just actually go out into the night and get it over with,” he decided. Slowly and deliberately he made his way to the door. Each clumsy step betrayed a fear of what he might find out there. As he reached for the doorknob, he asked himself again, “What Am I?”


 

When police found Brads body, apparently self mutilated in too many disturbing ways, it was lying below a picture sized mirror in the O’Cally family den. Scrawled on the mirror were the words, ‘I Am Insane’, apparently written in the killers (the corpse/suspect/victim) own blood.

Night of the Assholes: Part 2

 

“Hey, Brice, ya cock-pocket! We gotta get the fuck out of here. Can’t you hear the assholes coming? How are you still alive, dude?” This guy was something else. Here we were about to be attacked by those fucking monster things and all he wanted to do was listen to me tell him stories about my musical history. I guess it is awfully interesting.

 

“What about all these motherfuckin’ zombies, though?”

 

“That was the grindcore flat-earther polka band I had in high school, BUT WE HAVE GOT TO GO- NOW!” I grabbed him by the arm and dragged him from his swooning stupor. “Don’t you know what those things will do to you if they catch you?”

 

I wondered that maybe he did not, except for what I had told him. If he were lucky enough he may have not had many confrontations with the assholes in which he saw them victorious against one of us, fuckin’ ass-ugly shit humans that they were. If you could call them human anymore. Whatever had been released on the world had killed most of it, changed parts of it and for some reasons left a few completely intact. Although some of us were immune to whatever changed the assholes into assholes, we were extremely-fucking-mune to whatever they were now injecting us with to make us one of them; or kill us. I don’t suppose they cared much which.

 

The assholes used to be regular humans before SHTF. It must have been some secret experimental weapon that got loose or something fucked up like that, but in no time most surviving humans had completely changed. They were primal but highly intelligent. Pack animals with no social skills. They never spoke to us or one another as far as I knew. Yet they seemed to hate us intensely enough to want to kill us or make us one of them. This now-dead science douchebag I once met thinks that they have evolved into some ‘final physical-stage of human consciousness’, but he was also eating a lot of weird shit he picked in the woods so I could never tell if he was smart or all fucked up. But is there really a difference?

 

Back when I was the chief lyricists for Anal Surrender we were writing a concept album about how miserable it would be to have super-intelligence. It all centered around this man named Fucky Bowler who one day ate a mutant pineapple that gave him super-intelligence and made his junk shrivel up and die. He can no longer communicate with the world around him because he is so far ahead of them and eventually he cannot take the horror of the human species, so he creates a weapon to destroy the entire planet so that it doesn’t infect the universe. The scientists and this business with the assholes reminds me a bit of that. If I remember correctly we were going to call that album Super Intelligent Christ Killer

 

I got Brice to his bike and he snapped out of it. Despite the fact that Brice is a fucking moron, he is brilliant with bicycles and other mechanical things. He used to be a bicycle messenger and male stripper but now he is like the motherfucking MacGyver of the Apocalypse. Keeping Brice alive is almost as important as keeping myself alive or at least equivalent to it. When the world gets back to normal, he says, we should start a Juggalo jug-band. He wants to call it The Incest Clown Posse. Its not a bad idea. He is not without merits outside of his tinkering but he doesn’t have enough common sense to fuck his way out of a paper condom.

 

Another funny thing about the assholes is that they do not use weapons of any sort except those hypodermics they carried with them. That was one of the ways in which they were primal. Like pack animals they hunted by pooling their physical resources and strength to subdue their prey. Since weapons are now almost impossible to find you have to rely on hand-to-hand combat for defense. Something else Brice brought to the table is the ability to be able to fight from and with a bicycle. He is like the love-child of Jackie Chan and Lance Armstrong without all of the cocaine and steroids. As much as he is good for, you might wonder why I insult him so much, but if you knew him it would make sense. It’s like having your own retarded leprechaun around. A retarded leprechaun that can do a bunny-hop/spin kick that makes you want to cry and cum at the same time.

 

This is the very move he uses to subdue three of the assholes while I give a wheelie/uppercut to a particularly fiendish looking one myself, because, I am picking this shit up fast. That is more out of necessity than out of Brice’s pedagoguery, though. The two of us manage to clear ourselves a path with unhindered ass kicking and get the fuck out of there. It will be night soon and they will disappear until dawn and we can collect some supplies, sleep and then as Brice likes to call it, ‘Go pedalin’ for bitches’. This is his term for our nomadic lifestyle. It is his greatest wish to locate and inseminate as many women as possible before he ‘goes to the Great Flat Tire in the sky. We haven’t seen a woman since I met him a month ago and neither of us for awhile before that. I hope we do, and soon, though. The other day he told me I had a ‘pretty decent pooper for a dude’. I vowed never to experiment with homosexuality again since I played drums for that homo jock rock band, Sports Fabs.

 

As soon as the sun begins to set we stop to take a pantsless shit and refill our colons with some canned herring and stale Doritos we just nabbed. As is our custom, we excuse ourselves after dinner for some privacy and masturbation. We have three porno mags between us that we cycle regularly even though we both have our favorite. I like Big Black Cocks In Albino Whores (There are more of the latter than you would ever have imagined.) while he prefers Cum Filled Cousins (The incest thing is always coming up with him and I wonder if he had a sister but am afraid to ask.). After this we discuss our plans then retire to get a little sleep before the sun comes up..

 

Just before dawn we wake up and begin riding towards the next town. It is a county seat so we are hoping it will be big enough to have some good structures to practice our bike parkour while we snoop around for anything useful or interesting. The only thing to do now is to stay alive although I still cannot logically ascertain how my continued survival is of any benefit to myself or others but living is a hard habit to break.

 

To occupy myself I have been writing a movie in my head. I am tentatively calling it Whore and Peace. It is a modern remake of the Greek drama, Lysistrata, about a woman who convinces the other women of her nation to withhold sex until the men agree to stop fighting. Only in my version, instead of withholding sex the women go fucking bonobo on the men, pooning them so often that they are unable to wage their silly wars any longer. My version has more scrogging so it will obviously be better. Also it will have Crispin Glover if he is still alive and I can find him. I believe.

 

I am shaken by my revery when Brice emits a squeal. Heading right towards us are two women on bicycles followed by a fuckhoard of assholes. The women approach quickly and we turn ourselves around to follow them. As they pass I notice that one of the women looks just like the upright bassist from the horror/snuff country band, Shank Williams, that I was in for a minute back when the world did not suck rear windpipe. I had the hugest crush on her but the girl on the bike is even more beautiful and even though I notice that she has shit herself I still have a massive boner. I tuck it under my waistline and pedal like hot fuck to catch up and Brice has no reservations about doing the same.

She is a skilled bicyclist and it takes me several minutes to catch up to her. When I do I have been preparing the perfect line I will use in just this situation but before I can belt it out I notice that she has a pink triangle tattooed just above her lovely bouncing left breast. Ahead of me Brice is talking to the other woman when she suddenly throws a leg out and sends him bouncing down the road bikeless, arms and legs akimbo. I think he just figured out what I did. It is the end of the world as we know it. For all I know Brice and I are the only men left on the planet, yet even if that were the case, these women would still not fuck us.

 

Luck!

 

Night of the Assholes: Part 1

 

It doesn’t really matter what the nature of the apocalypse is, it always means two things; death and assholes. While death gorged itself on the menu of seven billion human beings and countless other species, the number of assholes had still increased proportionately amongst the living. People like me. Lucky enough to live and too stupid to die already. If I were to count myself lucky to still be alive, that would be about the only lucky thing I had going.

 

Before all of this happened I was unemployed and about to be evicted. I was perpetually broke and unable to properly prepare myself for any doomsday scenario. I had a closet with about two weeks worth of canned food and my bicycle. Even though I suspected that humanity was due for a reset at any time and even hoped for it, I was not actually prepared when it came. Neither was anyone else really and some of the worst and first to go were those who were certain that their knowledge and preparations would guarantee their survival. When the world comes crashing down too much readiness can lead to inflexibility. Expectations and rigidity can be an obstacle even luck cannot overcome.

 

The sound of my chain snapping was more jarring than the loudest thing I had ever heard in my life. Every acoustic vibration emitted from that small piece of metal separating under pressure went straight to my ears and sent my internal ‘OH FUCK’ alarm into berzerker mode. I had not heard anything comparably awful since I used to play in a furry noise metal band called S.I.S.S.Y. (Squirrels In Satan’s Service Yternally). I had a hikers bag full of wood, water and other necessary supplies. Not much but enough to get to the next place, whatever and wherever that was. I had to make a quick decision. There were assholes in hot pursuit and I couldn’t afford to take the time to make rational decisions so I grabbed the bike and ran like hot fuck.

 

I was constantly running for my life with a bicycle in tow against all common sense, yet when I managed to return it to a state of repair it had saved my ass numerous times. It was my greatest blessing and my greatest curse. Riding a bicycle was one of the few practical things I had been fairly skillful at before the end times, yet I could probably have done a lot more by the way of learning to fix the fucking things. My friend Zeke was a kickass bicycle mechanic so he always hooked me up with parts at cost and free labor. We used to be in a gnostic christian hate punk band called God Hates Swedes together before I left to join Mandatory Abortion and he went on to Rape Brag. Zeke tried to teach my ragged ass as much as possible but there were a few subjects we hadn’t yet gotten to. Chains was near the apex of that list.

 

The assholes chasing me were not the most well preserved examples of their former humanity and after shitting myself only once I managed to lose them altogether. I found myself soiling myself pretty often these days. When you pit a steady diet of canned beans and other colonically adventurous victuals against a fuckload of running for your life you are bound to have to evacuate yourself in mid escape every now and then. It is a part of surviving in this world yet when I sit somewhere between sleep and constant aural vigilance I often wonder if a world in which I have to shit myself while running in order to survive is a world I really want to go on living in. The answer appears to be yes, no matter how much I answer the question in the negative asked aloud.

 

One thing about bikes is that you can find them just about anywhere now. One in three of any garage not sealed off by other survivors still has a bicycle even if it is itself un-ride-able. The problem is that even the bikes that are still able to be ridden often turn out to be of low quality and constructed of parts not meant to fit any sort of decent bike. Only about one in any one hundred garages had the kind of bikes I was looking for and only about one in five of them might have the chain that I needed specifically. If I could not find that chain I would have to try to replace the entire gear set from a bike the same size. It would usually have proved much faster to just take another bike but I had grown accustomed to this one. It was like my only friend now and so I always did what I had to do to fix it.