“DOWN WITH DIGGS! DOWN WITH DIGGS!” the crowd chanted as they surrounded the zombie encampment at 11th and New York Ave. NW.

They had loudspeakers.

They had signs: “ACLU [hearts] Zombies” “That’s My Dad in There!” “ZURP! (Zombies United for Rights and Progress)” “Zombies Were People Too.”

They had clever t-shirts with a zombie Moses parting the Potomac River.

“Fuck, they’re organized,” I thought, “They must have teamed up with the Zombie Anti Defamation League (@ZADL_org). I’m going to need more interns, stat!”

The crowd wasn’t huge – yet – but they were big enough to warrant the growing riot barrier of ZCA agents forming between the fence and the protesters on the western side of the lot. As more and more protesters gathered on 11th street, the ZCA agents struggled to keep them at bay. Meanwhile, more and more zombies lurched towards the fence that was holding them in, their lifeless arms outstretched and squeezing through the links. The fence held the weight of the horde but swayed forward under the weight of the undead.

The wind shifted and the air filled with the stench of rotting flesh and hippies.

I walked up to one of the t-shirted protesters in the rear of the mob and tried to yell over the crowd: “What’s everyone doing here?” doing my best to act like a tourist.

“The Government is holding all these people without Due Process!” he yelled back at me over his shoulder. “They’re keeping them against their will, they haven’t done anything wrong, and the Government isn’t even releasing their names!” he continued.

“But aren’t they brain-eating dead zombie things?” I asked.

“Zombies are people!” he snapped, “they have rights and they deserve the chance to get help! This is like Guantanamo Bay all over again! You can’t just imprison someone because they’re different and you are scared they may hurt you! We have to help them because they can’t help themselves!”

I stood there, not quite sure whether to punch him in the face or grab a sign and start protesting too, when he yelled out to me, “Get with the program!” and handed me a program.

It read: Don’t let the Government take your Friends and Family away! Stand up for the Rights of the Downtrodden! Help feed the Zombies and keep them alive until we find a cure!!! [Brought to you by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Zombie Anti Defamation League]

Wait, what?

“What do you mean ‘help feed the Zombies?’ I asked, flabbergasted. “You can’t be serious!?!? I mean I’ve heard of giving your mind and body to a cause, but this is just ridiculous!”

“Don’t be so narrow minded, sir,” the protester snapped back. “Of course we’re not feeding the zombies with other humans! We’ve come up with an alternative!”

He placed his sign down between his knees and swung a small lunch-sized cooler from around his right shoulder. He zipped it open and tipped it towards me, taking the lid off of a Tupperware container.

I covered my mouth with my hands and peeked in, “What the hell is that!” I gasped, looking at what I could only describe as bloody brains.

“Aha! It looks pretty real right? It’s Jell-O made with cow and pig blood that we got from the butcher. We picked up the brain mold from a Halloween supply store! Pretty cool, huh?”

“Yeah, um, cool. But how the hell are you going to get them to eat it? The, Z…um, the police here will never let you through.”

He looked at his watch, then back up at me and smiled a big stupid excited grin.

“Just watch!” he said. I held my breath. No good can come of this…

Maybe two minutes later a tour bus pulled up the south western corner of the zombie encampment, maybe 50 yards away from us. A dozen or so tourists got out and started walking towards the fence and taking pictures.

I stepped back. I could see the ZCA agents looking at each other, no one knowing what to do. They started yelling at the tourists to step back, but they didn’t listen. They just got closer and closer to the fence, pointing, taking pictures, laughing – as if this was some sort of Madame Tussauds exhibit.  

“Those aren’t tourists,” the protester yelled back at me, his grin getting bigger and bigger, as he started to hop up and down in anticipation.

The barricade of ZCA agents broke and ten or so of them ran down to save the “tourists” from sure death and/or disfigurement. The crowd was too big for the remaining ZCA barricade, and they rushed in. I realized now that pretty much all of them had those stupid little lunch coolers around their shoulders, and they were reaching inside them in unison. “Now!” someone screamed and they heaved their brains over the fencing to the waiting hoard of zombies.

The splat of dozens of Jell-O brains was quickly overtaken by the loudspeakers of the ZCA: “Stand down or you will be arrested!”

The crowd retreated and the ZCA pushed back whomever was left behind. When the dust settled, it was eerily quiet. The groans of the hoard from behind the fence had ceased and they had retreated back to where the “food” landed.

But the calm was short lived.

Within moments the zombies stammered back toward the fence, groaning, panting, blood and Jell-O dripping from their mouths and hands. They were louder than before. They were quicker than before.

The ZCA agents looked at each other then at the remaining protesters. It was obvious that everyone was having the same thought:

We’re going to need a bigger fence.