I’m not a murderer. Murderers kill people – as in present tense. My kill is so last week. Also, murderers mean to kill people. I meant to kill a zombie. It’s a question of semantics, not morals.

No, I’m not a murderer, but still, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d kind of screwed up a little. You could call this remorse if you wanted, but I really, my accidental kill was nothing but a momentary lapse of visual recognition, coupled with the consequences of my ninja-like reflexes. Maybe I should get some glasses.

Anyway, I needed to make things right, and since flowers or a nice card to my victim’s family were out of the question, I decided it was time for Act II:  Dingle Actually Ends A Zombie. Completing my to-do list always makes me feel better, so I decided that if I finish what I started in the first place, my accidental kill wouldn’t be all in vain.

Some things to take to heart when planning a redo here: no more drinking while on Xanax, and no more golf clubs. Golf clubs need to stay where they belong – in my closet collecting dust – I need a better weapon.

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

Thursday night, around the time I should have been going to bed, I was getting dressed for my redemption. This time, no stupid burglar costume either. I put on my running shorts and a long sleeve sweatshirt in bright yellow. I laced up my sneakers and put on my fleece cap and gloves. I needed some exercise anyway. Everyone loves joggers. No one suspects they could be running from a crime scene. Just then, the thought occurred to me, “Is it even a crime to kill a zombie? They are not alive. They are not people. Do I even have to sneak around?” Mental Note: brief the issue and present the memo to my Boss [Memo: On the Legality of the Intentional Termination of the Undead, by Robert J. Dingle, Esq.]

Now is not the time for getting technical. I have to do this. Again.

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

Something happens to the night sky in the winter. It is clean and sharp. The moon wasn’t poetically full, but reflected enough light that the quiltwork of clouds was illuminated from behind. Veins of darkness separated each one as they passed by overhead. I could smell the salt that had been dumped on the road and sidewalk over the weekend. The temperature was hovering around 30. It snowed about 4 inches on Sunday night, and the only evidence left were the  icicles dangling from the gutters all down the block.

I started to jog, keeping my eyes peeled for zombies. They haunt my dreams. They occupy my every waking thought. But I can’t seem to actually find one when I need one.

Then, paydirt! Huffing towards the Convention Center, I spotted three zombies trolling around in the parking lot on L St. and 9th. “Shit! Three of them, god I wish I had my 7-Iron right now,” I cursed. But I didn’t bring it. I can’t afford to run around D.C. carrying bloody golf clubs, it doesn’t really mesh with the “not drawing attention to myself” theme I was working on. I’ll have to improvise.

As I got closer, I pretended to stretch out my quads for a bit, and surveyed the situation. I need a brick or cinderblock or a broken glass bottle. The parking lot was lit close to the street, but dark towards a series of abandoned townhouses lining L St in the rear. As I panned the lot, I noticed that there were several large icicles hanging from the rear of the closest roof over a collapsing garage. It was as big as my forearm. It’s tip was sharp. I flashed back to my Mom freaking out about me getting my eye put out by icicles near the front door of my childhood home. Icicles may be deadly, but they melt away, leaving nothing behind…

Two of the zombies were trying to walk through the fencing bordering 9th St., while the other was walking in circles closer to the rear of the lot. I pursed my lips and whistled three times in its direction. This was no bum. It didn’t notice my whistling, and I could make out it’s gray face as it walked adjacent to me under a lamp post, about thirty feet away. No breath was coming from its mouth. I looked around and saw no one else. Now. It’s gotta be now.

I grabbed the icicle by its top base and pulled it free from the roof. It made a satisfying crunch as it came free, though it was heavier than I expected and it almost slipped through my gloved hands. I took off my gloves and felt its cold chill run through my body. I turned and closed in on my prey.

As before, I could feel my heart bouncing around in my chest. My breath was thick in the air. I really had to pee.

I approached from its right side and held the base of my spear with my right hand by my ear. My left hand was raised over my head, supporting the blunt end. From twenty feet away I could smell the deafening stench of rotting flesh. This was happening. I stepped closer.

It didn’t seem to notice me at all. I tracked closer, avoiding shards of glass on the asphalt. Ten feet. Five feet. I held my breath and aimed for the side of its head just behind the ear.

*crunch*

As I lunged forward I stepped on a half broken beer bottle. The sharp noise woke my kill and it snapped its head towards me just as I was about to land my blow. But I made contact.

The blue ice sunk into its right eye socket as my hand slipped forward and smacked the zombie in the nose. I stumbled forward, half in shock and half from losing my balance. I fell to the ground and dug my shoulder into the cold, hard asphalt. I turned my head and saw that it was still on its feet no more than a yard from my head.

“Yyyyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaggggggggaaaarrrrrrrraggggggggjjj” The zombie screeched, waving its hands in the air, trying to swat at the iceberg protruding from its face. I heard the clanging of the fence and turned to see the other two zombies begin to lumber towards me in defense of their kin. Fast.

My zombie was stumbling forward, away from me, struggling to keep its balance. I looked back again and the other two had halved their distance. My zombie sounded like a wounded greyhound.

Without thinking, I rolled over towards it and grabbed a hold of its left foot and pulled. Hard.

I took its feet from under it, and it crashed forward, arms still stretched up towards the sky. With a thud of a two hundred pound sponge, it hit the ground. The icicle that I had put it it’s eye burst from the back of its head, carrying with it black blood and a crown of broken skull.

I pushed myself up from the ground, shoulder scraped and throbbing, and ran home. I’ve never run faster.

I guess my mom was right after all, icicles can be deadly.

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