This is my zombies in love story. It’s a satire and not meant to be taken logically. I could use a good beta reader. 🙂
“LUCKY STIFF: OR HOW I LEARNED TO LOVE AFTER THE APOCALYPSE”
by Jason Andrew
After the Apocalypse, I expected to be tooling around the desert in souped-up hot-rods while decked out in leather and cool sunglasses. If I was lucky, I’d even get to bang Tina Turner. The world as we knew it did end and all of us survived, but it’s not exactly what I’d call living. When I was a kid, I saw almost every horror movie ever made. Zombies were a personal favorite. Of course, if I knew then what I know now, I would have stuck with porn.
I suppose that’s why I got into special effects. I wanted to make movies. I wanted to scare people. There’s no market for that any more. Now, I restore old films and work on digital recreation and animation. Hollywood’s almost dead, but it keeps limping around just like the rest of us. No one wants to see another dead face. Instead, we mine the old movies. The romantic comedies are worth more than gold. The careers of Bette Davis, Meg Ryan, and Doris Day were reborn overnight. Some of them have managed lucrative voice over careers and when the Ghost comes out in a couple of months a lot of has-been actors will have good jobs.
The Ghost is our studio’s new photo-realistic digital imaging system. The idea is that we can film new movies and run the print through the Ghost processor and it will digitally alter the actors to make them appear more alive without looking cartoony. The Ghost was my ticket into alpha class.
Our great system is supposed to be a meritocracy. Those that offer the most to society claim the most benefits. It works to a certain point. The Omegas have lost all of the higher brain functions. They are the old school typical zombie moping around looking for brains. In the beginning, a lot of the Omegas were burned in piles until the liberals start protesting. Now, they are used humanely. Some are smart enough to turn cranks or walk on treadmills. We’ve been able to generate quite a bit of power off Omega muscle and cut down on expenses and I think it makes them happy to do something.
The Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons are the average worker bees. They work in the factories, keep the shelves stocked, and mostly oil the gears of society. The Betas have the cushier jobs. It’s not a bad life. I’d certainly rather peck at a keyboard than toil in one of the factories.
My assistant Ruby is a Gamma. She certainly used to be a looker. She’s showed me some pictures back from before the virus. The funny thing is that a nubile young ex-cheerleader would have never talked to me in the world that was. I was a chubby, bald, white guy with the sexual mojo of a Panda bear, but now ugliness is the universal equalizer.
It used to be that all of the best and brightest doctors in the world tried to cure cancer or AIDs. Now, most of them apply their skills to reproducing the living condition as best as possible. Of course, the best of us look like Michael Jackson after his fifth nose job. The old idea of death no longer scares us. It’s the fear of degeneration. If we take care of ourselves, we can pretty much live forever, which is a good thing since the gene pool is kind of sparse. I’ve heard stories of some humans out in the wild, but really the only ones I know about are in the zoo.
If we want to maintain ourselves, we have to work a lot harder than before. Depression and suicide are real threats. All of us at Beta or above see therapists. They made us use these audio diaries to allow us to work through our feelings. Sometimes, I just do this to hear myself talk. Sometimes I imagine myself as I used to be and wish I had lived more you know.
Every morning, we go to yoga. Those of us that sit in a cube are in danger of rigor mortis. Let me tell you that I had a bit of that in the knees for a while and it was really unpleasant. I was pretty lucky in that I maintained a lot of my functions. All those years eating Twinkies and Cheetos paid off. The health food nuts were the first to degenerate. Most of them are Omegas now. Something about preservatives helps keep the brain cells active after you become a zombie. It’s a small victory to think about the jocks mindlessly peddling their days and sleeping in pens, but I try not to think about it too much.
You wouldn’t think that death would be such an important part of living. Lots of things change. Marriage used to be until death made you part. Now, there’s limited life partnerships that have to be renewed every ten years. We don’t need to each as much as before, but we still need the protean. Our cells need blood, guts, and brains. Brain cells are the most important as it keeps us smart. Dolphins and pigs are the most popular as their brains are the most complex. It’s funny that dolphins used to be an endangered species, but now with agro-farming they might be the dominant living animal on the planet. The thing is that no one wants to watch anyone else eat so most of the restaurants have died out. We get most of our food from the butchers.
There are wacky rumors about some Alpha society raising a whole herd of breathers to have access to the other white meat. It might be true, but I try not to think about it. Most of us have to live with the crap we pulled during the Apocalypse. Grief counseling must be a booming business. I went and apologized to the twenty people I ate. Those first couple of days everyone went crazy. I think it was the maggots. Those little bastards drove me batshit and I was hungry and it wasn’t like I could order dolphin brain at the local Greasy Spoon.
Most of us would shut ourselves into our apartments and never come out if we could. A few did that in the early years and without the interaction, they degraded straight into Omega status. The mind was designed for interactions. Movies and games are a temporary fix, but we were designed to be social creatures. The problem is that most of us don’t want to be around each other. Looking at rotting flesh isn’t exactly a turn-on.
I figure that’s why the big wigs started the economy as soon as possible. Work gives us purpose. We use the money to buy toys and movies to make us forget. We work harder and keep things running and the system maintains itself. It hard to think about killing yourself when the Chow Yun-Fat deluxe CDVD box set comes out. We’re supposed to have hobbies and friends.
Speaking of which, I joined a new religion. Most of the old ones died when people figured out that Jesus wasn’t coming to bring us to heaven. Oh, there’s some true believers. I’ve heard stories about religious sects out in Utah waiting for their spaceships to come pick them up. I joined the Chow Yun-Fat cult. It might seem silly to you, but I figure if you are going to have a spiritual leader that he might as well kick some ass. His new zombie fighting style is all the rage now. I’m on the waiting list to take some lessons.
I guess that leads me to the issue I’ve been dancing around and need to talk about. It’s been a weird couple of days. I know you aren’t allowed to share this with anyone, which is why I’m letting it off my chest.
I had a crush on Ruby, but I just couldn’t go through with it. I know that we’re supposed to keep making connections with each other. It’s the ties to the world that keeps us functional. I suppose that’s why I started chatting with Ruby during our breaks. It’s just weird. Kissing is out when your lips are too dried. Ruby doesn’t have as good of medical as I do so some of the rot is visible. My heart might be dead, but my cock still thinks it’s alive. I just can’t get into dead people. It feels wrong somehow. We’re told that there are other things we can share or experience. Of course, the Alpha’s have the latest in penis enhancements. Some of them are hung like horses, literally.
Ruby’s always asking me out, but I’m usually polite and just say no. Her mouth needs a bit of a fix, but she’s much better off than most. Most of us talk fairly normally. Some of the Deltas, and Epsilons speak only guttural languages made up of moans and gestures. Sometimes, it limits the conversation.
“W..W..Want to see the Jackie Chan marathon at the Dragon Theater?” She asked, the night before I finally fixed the Ghost.
“I can’t kitten, I gotta see I can figure out why these unit tests are failing again,” I lied.
We didn’t know why the Ghost technology was failing. Maybe we wanted it too bad and so we were overlooking the obvious. Dozens of testers and developers were working around the clock. The first studio to crack the technology was going to be rich. Rich enough to take over the market. “Come on Tim, you have to take a break sometime,” Ruby pleaded.
“Maybe tomorrow, kid. If I don’t get this working, the boss will have my head.”
She had no idea that I meant it literally. The boss was a mean as piss Alpha named Masterson. Masterson had a collection of heads, but I didn’t want Ruby knowing that. Most of them were so far gone all they did was whisper nonsense. Running this studio gave that creepy bastard a lot of pull, even for an alpha. All I knew was that I didn’t want to be the next whispering head in his closet.
I didn’t want to lie to Ruby so I decided to stay late into the day. Most of us work at night. We’re better suited for the darkness. The light seems wrong somehow. It was about noon when I figured out the problem. The query script was looking for the wrong scenarios which was causing resolution problems. The details are too technical to get into and really aren’t important. The key is that the very next evening, after the testers verified my fix, everything changed.
“This is the big time, Hendrix,” Masterson explained. “You can write your own ticket now. Full Alpha medical. Bigger salery. A team of assistants. You can get rid of that scrag you have now.”
“I’d like to keep Ruby, if it’s ok.”
Masterson laughed. “She must have been a hot piece of ass in the day. Hell, you want a little on the side, you deserve it. You’re an Alpha now.”
“Ruby and I, we’re not doing anything…”
“Saving her for later, eh?” He said, cackling.
“Well not exactly…”
“You must be getting some from somewhere. A Beta like you must have woman crawling out the grave to get to you. Wait, you ain’t into men , are ya?” Masterson asked, bellowing.
I cringed at the thought that Ruby could hear this. “I know it’s been a few years, I just can’t get used to the thought of well you know with a dead person,” I explained.
“Oh yeah,” Masterson replied. “I should have known. No big deal. Look at the bright side. You’re an Alpha now. The sky is the limit.”
I should have seen the strange light in his eyes. I knew he was a sick bastard. The truth is that I was just glad that I had finally made it and that I got to keep my head. The extra money was nice, but the change in status was just creepy. Alphas could do anything they wanted.
I didn’t have time to explore my options. I ran the new development team until Ghost was ready for production and then left for my Alpha upgrades. The doctors gave me a new synthetic nose, lips, and cheekbones. The eyes were a dead giveaway, but with glasses I could almost pass for human. Then, they treated my skin with a new bleach and moisturizing treatment and removed the scabs, excess skin flaps, and gave my body fat injections. The final addition was the experimental penis inplant, nicknamed the Terminator, that was designed to stimulate the arousal reflex while leaving most of important nerve endings intact.
When I returned to the studio, Masterson threw me a party. Everyone in the company turned out. I looked for Ruby, but she was on medical leave. Although I was disappointed, I was also happy for her. Masterson had that wild eyed look like he was going to spring a trap on me. Or he just got done screwing my mother.
“I have a present for ya, kid,” Masterson boasted.
“You didn’t have to go through the trouble,” I protested.
Masterson laughed. “Oh, it’s my pleasure. If you like it, you can keep it. It’s in your new office.”
“Thank you, Mr. Masteron.”
“Call me Bob,” He said, slyly. “By the way, your office is sound proof in case you want a test drive.”
I didn’t know how to reply so I thanked him again. Eventually the party did what impossible for the rest of and died. I shuffled into the office and flicked on the light switch. There was a soft giggle. “Ruby, is that you?” I asked, forgetting where she was.
Warm, soft hand enclosed my eyes. The giggling continued, slightly forced. “Who is this?” I asked.
“Anyone you want me to be.”
I turned to see the most beautiful face I’d seen in years. Her eyes were blue, and clear from decay. Her teeth were white and almost gleaming. Her doctor must have been a miracle worker, I decided. This woman looked alive. “Who are you?”
“I’m yours,” She answered, putting my chest.
It was then that I realized that she was naked. Her breast were full and round. Her body was pale, but natural in color. Her hair was full, blonde, and real. She kissed me. It was first since I died, but I had to try. I could smell her breath. It was full of life. “Shit, you’re alive!” I gasped.
“Mr. Masterson bought me for you. I belong to you,” She replied. “I can make your life a heaven.”
All this time, the thought of a dead woman filled me with dread. Now that I had the real thing in front of me, I was horrifed. It was wrong. I backpeddled, but she kept pace with me. “Please don’t send me away,” She continued. “Or eat me. I’ll do anything you want.”
“Put your clothes back on. I’m not going to eat you.”
She looked hopeful. “If I don’t please you, I was told that I would be their next meal.”
“Then I’ll tell them the truth. You are beautfil and made me very happy,” I explained. “They don’t need to know anything else.”
I watched her from across the room, feeling trapped. I felt some movement down in my crotch. Ruby would laugh herself silly, I thought. That was the moment when I realized that the next time Ruby asked me out, I was going to say yes. In fact, I decided to visit her in the hospital. The first thing I did was plant a big, sloppy zombie kiss on her brand new lips.
As you might have guessed, my favorite movie before the Apocalypse was Mad Max. Now, it’s LA Story. It was silly, romantic, and had much ado about nothing. But good o’ Steve Martin had a line in that picture that still gives me a warm fuzzy. “A kiss may not be the truth, but it is what we wish were true.”