On the outside, I was no different than anybody else walking to the Metro to get to work today. I’m dressed in a suit and overcoat. So is everyone else. My face looks sleepy and stressed, so does everyone else’s. I’m running a few minutes late, and so is everone else. I killed a man this weekend…I’m assuming everyone else didn’t do that too.

But you don’t know that about me by looking at my shell. The “me” was somewhere else. This can’t really be my body walking down the street, heading to the office. But it is. My body looks like everyone else’s but I’m not here anymore. I am calm. Detatched. Numb. I have the upper hand over all of you. I can end you. But you don’t know that about me.

**************

It was Tuesday at 2:42pm and I was leaving my office in order to make a fake report, to my office, that would be handled by me. As I walked past Betsy, the receptionist, I said, “just running out for a slice of pizza, I’ll be back in a few.” She loves knowing where I am, and I’ve said this line to her multiple times since I’ve been working here. It pays to be consistent.

I walked down the block to the Archives Metro stop and bought a $5 paper ticket – they can track the Smarttrip Card, so I won’t use it – even though I fancied this a smart trip. The train took me to the Pentagon City stop, one of the few remaining that has payphones.

2-0-2-7-2-7-9-1-6-6.

“Welcome to the District Department of Undead Management, where service comes first. To report an Undeath, please press 1. To report a possible infection, please press 2. To report a sighting, please press 3. All others…pr”

3.

“Please hold.” I held. A train had just unloaded, and people were walking by. Please, just don’t let anyone recognize me…

“Hello, DDUM, how can I help you?”

“Hi, um yes, I’d like to report a sighting please.” I tried to deepen my voice, but that just sounded stupid, so I used a faint southern drawl which I figured to be slightly less stupid.

“OK, sir, please, first: are you somewhere safe?” The voice said.

“Yeah, I’m safe, as fars I can tell.” As safe as the Metro was, I was more likely to get robbed down here than attacked by zombies…

“Wonderful, now, where are you located, and which way is he or she headed?”

“Well, that’s kind of the thing,” I said, “I saw it in the alley of 15th St. near Swann St. NW, but he, umm..it, wasn’t headed anywhere, it looked like the thing was kinda dead.”

“Well,” said the voice, “you know they are already dead, right?” [What? How can that be the response? Fine. I stand corrected, zombies are already dead, now will you please take my report???]

“Yeah, I figured that, but it looks like the thing froze, and it smells real bad.” I responded, “It’s not moving at all. Could someone come by and clean it up before some kids find it?”

“Sure, we’ll get on it right away. What is your name sir?”

“Um, I’m basically just a guy, ma’am, not looking to get involved in all this.” I responded.

“OK, we’ll look into it.” Said the voice, and hung up. So much for customer service…

When I got back to the office, I waved hello to Betsy and went back my my cube and stared at my phone. This was worse than waiting for Joanna Hoffenmeyer to call be back after I asked her out in the 7th grade and she said “with you? maybe.”

It was 3:57pm and I’d been waiting for what seemed like an eternity. Just then, the phone rang, and I grabbed it before the first ring was even finished.

“This is Robert, how can I help you?”

“Robert, this is Besty, I have a fax out here from the hotline.”

“I’ll be right there,” I said, as uninterested as I could. My heart was pounding. This was working. I felt like I’d just had 14 Red Bulls, but in a good way.

I got the fax, and walked back to my office. I read the form, and confirmed it was mine:

Zombie sighting. Alley. 15th and Swann. Check.

Complainant concerned with expired zombie. Check.

Please send clean up crew, proceed with caution, it may just be frozen. Check.

NOTE: Caller refused to give name, used fake accent. Fuck.

The blood retreated from my fingers and toes, and I instantly sweated a pint into my dress shirt. Crapballs. They knew I was useing a fake accent [mental note, don’t pretend to be from the south]. “OK, ok,” I told myself, “this is no big deal. No one can track this to me. This is fine. I just have to think smarter in the future.”

I picked up the phone and called the extension for the clean-up crew. I filled out my report, and gave them the case number and location. “Tell the crew to be careful,” I told intake, “the caller said it could still be an active subject.”

“No problem,” the intake lady assured me, “they’ll take the cattle prod to the site. I poke or two with that will solve the question in a heartbeat.”

“Great, thanks,” and I hung up. Holy god. They are going to electricute my victim before they take his body away. I could picture them walking down the alley, taunting my kill, treating him like the undead, then shocking him like livestock.

This isn’t right, he deserves a proper burial. He deserves to be treated like a human, like a man.

That is what I would have said if I was someone else, looking in on this fiasco from the outside, or reading about it in the paper. That is how I would have felt, if I wasn’t already numb.

But I am, and this is the new Dingle. I’ve killed. I’ve taken matters into my own hands, and I’m taking my Xanax, just like my doctor told me. And this is just another Tuesday now.

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