It had been an incredibly long day at work and an even longer week, the kind of week that lasts for months. Jared was convinced that his bosses would flip a switch and stop the clocks at random intervals during the day. The switch also stopped the clocks on everyone’s computer, of course. Regardless, the week was over and the weekend was charging to life. Well, it would be charging to life, if Jared wasn’t stuck on zombie watch in the cemetery.
Normally, zombie watch was a welcome change of pace, a chance to meditate, to focus, and occasionally a chance to kick some rotting corpse’s ass back to the crypt. Tonight, however, he could not get into the groove, and the headstone he usually perched upon felt lumpy and foreign. Maybe tomorrow he could get Cassie to cover for him. She owed him anyway, considering how he took four of her shifts when her boyfriend, the preppy, arrogant junior broker, took her on a surprise getaway. That smug bastard. And what did she see in that jerk anyway? He wouldn’t be able to fight off a zombie hoard, let alone a single zombie, with an army of chainsaw wielding robots that were programmed for no other purpose than killing zombies. Okay, he admitted, maybe that was pushing it a little.
That line of thought was getting him nowhere, and he pushed it aside as he tried to find a more comfortable perch on the marker for Mr. Gary Linerman 1914-1976 Husband – Father – Disaster. Jared had always wondered about the inscription, but found it more fun to guess at its meaning than to actually research it.
With the moon full and the sky clear, there was just enough light to read by, and he fished around in his backpack until he found the battered and creased pad. He had discovered early on that Mad Libs were an entertaining and easy way to pass the time. He flipped the pages until he came to one that was uncompleted. It was the second to last. He reached into his inner jacket pocket and pulled out a green felt tip pen.
“I need an adjective,” he called out to the empty graveyard. “Anybody? Anything? It’s just an adjective. Ok, it’s up to me then. How about ‘bloated’.”
He scribbled it in and moved on to the next blank. “Ok, now I need an adverb.”
Something behind him groaned, a low mournful noise that sounded like a yawn and a grunt mixed in a blender and poured out slowly.
The cold and fetid corpse breath drifted to him and clung to his face.
“And just how do I spell that,” he said as he set down the pad and moved his hand slowly to the handle of the machete resting against Mr. Linerman’s marble slab.
The zombie groaned again, and this time its breath made his eyes water. It was just behind him, and he knew that if he waited any longer he would feel the thing’s cold, spongy hands on his back.
“Now I need a verb,” he said, his hand tightening on the blade’s well worn handle. “I thought I’d use ‘slash’.”
He pushed off the headstone and spun around. The machete’s blade glinted for an instant in the moonlight and then sunk into the undead creature’s yielding flesh. Jared was by no means a tall man, but he was wiry and packed a punch. The man this particular zombie had spawned from was huge, nearly six feet eight inches tall and weighing 300 pounds (mostly muscle).
The machete had missed the walking corpse’s head and neck completely, and had instead sunken into its chest, lodging in its breastbone. It barely noticed the blow and continued walking in the slow shuffle of the recently deceased. Jared gave the handle a tug, but it would not come away easily.
“Damn,” he said, and retreated back a couple steps.