Paul, Ashley and I bolted down the street away from the Marion P. Barry Re-Humanization Center – away from the fiasco and the carnage. Paul was struggling to keep up, and some of the zombies had begun chasing after us as we ran. Paul was the sickly gazelle on that PBS Nature show, and the zombies were the lions.

“Get in!” yelled the voice. We turned and saw the passenger side door swing open to a cab driving parallel to us as we ran. The driver yelled again, “What are you waiting for? Get in!!!”

Ashley jumped in first as I yelled at Paul to hurry up. His giant fat rolls were dancing rhythmically as sweat dripped from every facet of his being. “C’mon Paul! You can make it! Just don’t give up!” I screamed at him. I wasn’t going to lose an intern to the horde today, not any day. Plus we’d probably get sued, so I was extra motivated.

The scene was not nearly as dramatic as you can imagine and it soon became obvious that he cab was driving too fast for Paul to catch up. He was losing ground quickly. Seeing this, the cabbie shook his head and stopped the car. “I can’t believe you people!” he cried, “You are going to get me killed!”

Paul slogged into the car and closed the door behind him, heaving and panting. Ashley patted him on the back in congratulations, but retreated, wiping the sweat on her palm on the seat cushion. I jumped in the front passenger seat – head first – and screamed “DRIVE!” as loud as I could, my head now thoroughly surrounded by fast food wrappers and old receipts, my feet dangling out of the window as zombie bait. We made our escape.

When we got back to the 7th floor of D.D.U.M. Betsy was running spastically back and forth answering the phones in all the empty offices, juiced up on adrenaline and bile, and putting everyone on “hold.” She stopped cold in her heels when she saw us standing in the lobby, still panting and soaked, paralyzed with inaction. She walked right up and yelled in our faces, “HEY! Snap out of it!” All three us of stood there, our brains not quite processing English yet.

The next thing I recall is Betsy’s big hand coming down from the heavens and smacking us across the face. That did the trick.

“What the hell did you do that for?” I snarked.

“Cause you three were standing there like a bunch of retards and needed some hand logic to bring you back to reality. That’s what!” She retorted. “Now, get your asses over to those phones and tell the press, the papers, the world what’s going on!”

“Betsy, I don’t know what’s going on, there was just another outbreak and I think Marion Barry is a zombie.”

“Robert, I ain’t your mother, so I’m not going to tell you what to do, but this is your mess, you clean it up.”

“Well,” I started, hoping that I could talk it out, “we don’t really know what just happened, except that it appears that those things were just drugged up zombies and the drugs wore off. So there is no cure. Or at least, not one that they figured out yet. And we also know that there are more zombies outside of the containment site, and newly turned zombies. This is not good. We need to call Dr. Cadore and see what he knows about this. Betsy, can you get him on the phone? We also need to answer all these phones.”

“What do we tell them?” asked Ashley, “won’t that just cause people to panic?”

“Shit, you’re right.” I said. “Fuck. Ok, new plan. Rip all of the phones out of the wall.”

“What!?!?!” the three of them said to me in unison. Betsy shook her head, I touched my cheek which was still red and warm from her discipline.

“Well, hear me out. If we don’t know what’s going on, and we don’t have any answers, the worst thing we could do is give false info. If we start telling people things, we are responsible for the consequences. If we talk to them and they think we’re holding back, that looks bad, and they’ll blame us too. So answering the phones is out of the question. The only thing left to do is make sure they can’t call us back. Tear the phones out of the wall. Any questions?”

Just then my Blackberry rang, it was the Mayor.

“Dingle, what the hell is going on there? I’ve been trying to somebody at your office for hours. While you’re sitting there in your office checking espn.com, shit is starting to fall apart out here!”

“Sir, with all due respect, we were nearly just eaten alive at the site of the breakout!”

“I don’t care. Are you dead? NO, I didn’t think so. So gather your team and get to work, I need an updated preparedness and evacuation plan ASAP.”

“My team, sir?” I replied.

“Yeah, all you other bozos who work at DDUM – Jeff Houghton, Jim Benson, the whole office.”

“Mr. Mayor, I don’t mean to sound insubordinate here, but you fired all of them. Months ago. I’m the only one left in the office besides Betsy the receptionist and two interns that I hired.”

“I see.” He said, then paused for a solid 10 seconds, “Well, then it looks like you have plenty of support. The reports Dingle. On my desk by Friday. Or it’s your ass.” And then he hung up.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, my mom called to tell me that her cat died. I couldn’t get her off the phone. Then my ex-girlfriend called. I hadn’t talked to her in almost a year. She wanted to “talk.” Jesus, can’t a guy get a break? Next was Comcast asking if I’d like to add Showtime for $8 a month. I nearly threw my Blackberry against the wall.

Soon all but one of the office phones was unplugged and there was relative silence in the office. The four of us sat quietly in the lobby, no one finding any good words to describe the day or what would happen next.

I looked up and there stood Dr. Cadore, in full lab coat, and little beady eyes.

“I didn’t hear you come in Doc.” I said, befuddled. He ignored my remark.

“Betsy, so good to see you. I suggest that you get your bags and go home for the day. You two, you as well [pointing at Ashley and Paul], go home. Robert, come with me. I think that you should see what I have been working on.”

Dr. Cadore walked me down the hallway to a metal door with a numeric keypad. It was painted white, and had big metal hinges, and no sign or markings.

“I’ve never seen this here before,” I stated.

“There are a lot of things that you don’t see…when you don’t know what you are looking for.” He responded. He punched in the code and unlatched the door.

“Come with me, Robert, we must educate you now.”

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