I shook the clear orange bottle in my hand a few times, and two little white columnar pills spilled out into my palm. “Xanax, meet Old Dingle. Old Dingle, meet Xanax,” I projected into the mirror while miming a hand shaking motion. I then threw the two pills back into my mouth and bent my head under the faucet in my bathroom sink to wash them down.

Hello New Dingle.

This is good, this will be good. I’ll actually get some sleep tonight. I’ll stop pacing around my apartment for hours on end, jumping at ever sound in the courtyard, and every time the phone rings. I’ll sleep in, call some friends tomorrow and have some fun. By the time Monday rolls around, I’ll be rested and ready to get back to work. I have that report to write on Zombie ConLaw, and I’ll tackle some more interviews. But I’ll take it in stride. This is my job now. I am here to help people, its what I get paid for. I’ll carry the burden, I’ll lighten their load. I can do this.

I sat down on my couch and turned on my enormous TV for a few minutes before bed. “Rambo: First Blood” was playing on FX, so I kicked my feet up and prepared for a laugh. The movie came out in 1982 – the year I was born – and it showed. Cheesy synth music, terrible dialogue, no real plot, and great camera pans. I started to laugh. “I’m actually enjoying this!” I said out loud to no one. A commercial break came on and I got up for a drink.

I went to the fridge and opened it up. Jesus I need to get to the store. All I had was an onion, some OJ, a brita pitcher and some dijon mustard. This isn’t going to do. Without a second thought, I walked to my bedroom and pulled out a bottle of scotch from the closet. Talisker 10yr. Good shit.

Now, I know I’m not supposed to drink on Xanax, but shit, I’m not going out tonight, I deserve this. And I’m just having one drink. Chill the fuck out, me.

I grabbed a highball glass and some ice and sat back down. I poured myself a few fingers and took a sip. Ahhh, now that is what I’ve needed all along.

Rambo came back on, and I watched him run from cops on a motorcycle, then on foot through the woods. Why was he running again? I couldn’t remember, but I felt my heart start to race. “Go! GO!” I yelled at the TV. Pretty soon he was in the canyon, hiding behind a tree, dodging bullets from a helicopter. Pretty soon I was pouring myself another drink.

And another.

Nighttime fell, and John Rambo was sharpening sticks and building traps for the evil cops chasing him down. Why couldn’t they just let him go? Do they know what is in store for them if they don’t let up? I don’t understand why violence always escalates. He didn’t do anything wrong, they drew first blood, not him.

But this is where he finds himself – being hunted like game in the woods. They want him dead. But he’s not just going to let that happen. He’s taking matters into his own hands.

I stood up, bracing myself with my arms on the coffee table. I felt slow getting up, but strong on my feet. I felt alive. I went to my room and poured another drink. Next, I grabbed a black sweater and my ski pants and put them on. I put my leather gloves and black wool hat on too and looked in the mirror. I looked like what little kids think burglars look like.

Without thinking a moment more, I grabbed my 3-iron and went back to the mirror. I looked back at myself, dressed in black, clutching my favorite golf club, and it became all too clear. I need to fight back. Now.

I laced up my sneakers, grabbed my keys and poked my head out the door and down the hallway. No one can see me. I listened and heard nothing, so I locked my door and ran down the stairs to the side exit of my building. It was dark, and cold. The bars had let out an hour ago, so the streets were empty. Well, empty of people like me, hopefully not empty of zombies.

I jogged up 15th St. as inconspicuously as I could, dressed as The Hamburgler on a Friday night in DC. On Tuesday I’d taken reports of zombie sightings near 14th and U St., and that is where I was headed. To kill a zombie.

As I passed Swan St. heading north, I heard a noise coming from an alley on my right. “NNNnnnaaaa.” I looked down and recognized where I was – I’ve peed in this alley a bunch of times coming home from the bars. I heard the noise again, “Hhhhhnnnyyyeaaa,” but I couldn’t see anything. I looked around, and no one else was on 15th but me. I took my first step down the alley, I could feel my heart in my throat.

Fifteen yards in, I saw the creature, hunched over and leaning against the wall about halfway up the alley. It didn’t notice me from behind, but the stench was unreal even from this distance. It’s clothes were torn and stained, it was barefoot and it’s ankles were swollen and pockmarked. I clenched the 3-iron with both hands and raised it over my head as I stepped closer. Each step was deliberate so as to not make any noise. I could feel my primal instincts take over – my hearing was sharp, my steps were quiet and my eyesight clear. This was my kill.

From ten feet behind the smell of death and feces was unbearable, there was a pool of blood and innards at it’s feet. Even a rat that ran past steered clear, and as it did, the beast groaned, “Bbaaahh,” and swatted and turned to track the rat. As it did, it’s face lifted and it’s hollow eyes met my mine.

I didn’t hesitate. I lunged forward with my club raised high, halving the distance in two steps. The creature turned and let out a scream, just as I swung. My club landed in the center of its head, and it fell to the ground. I could see black blood draining from what was left of its face. Hunched over now, a second blow to the back of its head sealed its fate.

“You are over,” I said to myself. “I ended you.”

I stood over my kill, breathing slow but hard. It lay there, motionless, and I tested it with my club. Nothing. Just death.

I should have just run to safety, but I didn’t. I had to see one for myself. I prodded my kill one more time to make sure, then knelt down and pushed him over. It was a he. And he was a lot warmer than I had expected. I stood up, and stepped back into the light of a flood lamp.

I could feel the blood rush to my cheeks and my body temperature rise almost as soon as my eyes told my brain what I’d done. The cold, sharp wind only made it more pronounced. I could feel just how cold my club was, still clenched in my left hand. I looked down at it, the head of my 3-iron was dripping with blood, red blood.

Looking down at my kill, the blood covering his face was red too, not black. Steam was rising from his corpse. I shot over to where he was standing, to the pile of human remains that I saw him feasting on, but there was only vomit, his vomit.

I didn’t kill any zombie.

I just killed a man.

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