I hate zombies. I also love zombies. They scare the crap out of me, which is why I love them. And hate them.
My favorite show right now is “The Walking Dead.” But when I watch, I watch the same way I watch a football game — I stand in the kitchen and peek around the doorway into the living room during scary parts (which is any time the Chiefs defense takes the field).
I know a lot of people who say it’s weird to be afraid of zombies because there is no way zombies could exist, but I can see situations where maybe they could. For example, what if some drug company developed a longevity drug that was intended to help you live a long time, and it made the cells live after the organs — and the person — died? Zombies.
The only good thing about zombies is they would be easy to incapacitate. Slice their legs off and they can’t run after you. Cut their heads off and their bodies would stop. I wonder if the head would keep trying to bite?
Now, vampires are hard to kill. You have to stake them in the heart. How big is a heart? Like, three inches? It’s a small target, and they wouldn’t just stand there letting you probe around like that damn nurse did when I gave blood last time. I hate movies where people are indiscriminately stabbing vampires left and right in the chest and — poof! poof! — dust. That’s BS.
When Jason Winn asked me to edit Fortress Pentagon, I was excited, but I knew it would be a nail-biter. It was great because the novella was about a soldier and how the military would respond. Think about it — who’d have the best chance of surviving a zombie apocolypse, Average Guy or the guys with all the guns? Have you ever noticed zombie books and shows never have a military response? All those guns and tanks and bombs but these shuffling zombies beat the army, navy, air force, marines … I think not.
One of the best zombie series you’ve probably never heard of is The Forest of Hands and Teeth and its sequels, The Dead-Tossed Waves and The Dark and Hollow Places. (Aren’t those the best titles ever?) You’ve never heard of them because they’re young adult, but they are scary as heck.
But this is the thing that irritates me about zombie books and shows: Why would zombies only eat living people? It makes no sense. They’re zombies — they don’t know the difference between road kill and filet mignon. They’re dumb. They’d eat everything, dogs, cows, and especially other zombies — they’re easy to catch and pre-tenderized. So if a zombie were chasing me, I’d push another zombie at him. Then they’d fight and eat each other while I ran away.
You know what I really dislike about zombie apocolypses? How everthing is just dirty. I don’t like dirt. My house might be messy as heck, but it’s clean messiness. In The Walking Dead, the non-zombies are all sweaty and blood-splattered and caked with dirt. Can you imagine the BO? Who has time to shower when zombies are chasing you? And then think about the zombies — decaying flesh stinks. Zombies would be really stinky. They sure wouldn’t be able to sneak up on you. You’d smell a whole group of them miles away. (But I think they’d eat each other, so they wouldn’t be in a big group anyway.)
I just wouldn’t want to live without a hot shower every day, with all that dirt and stink and chasing and biting. If I saw a zombie shuffle down my street, I’d just kill myself. But first I’d drink a fragrant cup of coffee and take a hot shower.