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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Best Scary Zombie Story You Will Read This Year

Posted by on Tue, Oct 26, 2010 at 3:31 PM

As I said last week, Jess Walter read a genuinely creepy zombie story at the Hugo House recently. It wasn't disturbing in the same way that all the other thousands of zombie stories published every year are disturbing; it was something completely different.

Now, according to The Hugo House's Blog, Walter's story, "Don't Eat Cat," is available online for everyone to enjoy for free. Here's a short passage:

That particular day, I’d had a doctor’s appointment, a battery of tests, and was already late for work. I popped into the Starbucks-Financial near my office and who should greet me behind the counter but a guy with all the symptoms: translucent skin, rotting jagged teeth, skim-milk eyes, whole deal.

Full zombie. Voice like ice in a blender. “I help you.”

I sighed. “Grande. Soy. Cran. Latte.” I said it as clearly and patiently as possible.

He said back to me in that curdled grunt: “Gramma sing con verde?”

I stared at him. “Grande … Soy … Cran … Latte.”

“Gramma say come hurry?” His dull eyes blinked and he must’ve heard the impatience in my voice—“No!”—because he started humming the way they do right before trouble starts, “Gran-maw!” he yelled, and the manager, standing behind him, gave me a look like (Dude …) and I looked back at the manager, like (You’re blaming me for this?)

I understand the economics—I work for a multi-corp, hell, anyone with a job works for a multi-corp. More than that, I get the humanity of hiring zombies—listen: my ex-girlfriend started shooting Replexen after doctors announced it was dangerous. Andrea actually chose to go zombie. So I know how their brains work; I know abstraction and contextual language give them problems; I know they’re fine as long as you avoid eye contact, speak clearly; that as long as they’re not drunk or riled up, zombies can be as peaceful as anyone.

But come on? Gramma sing con verde? What does that even mean?

This is the best original work I've heard at a reading all year. Read the whole thing here.


Comments (14) RSS

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Still don't get this fad.
Posted by balmonter on October 26, 2010 at 3:43 PM · Report this
Fnarf 2
Grande soy cran latte? What does that even mean?
Posted by Fnarf on October 26, 2010 at 3:57 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 3
The best part of catching a bus in the U Dist is watching the Zombies chase the Humans.
Posted by Will in Seattle on October 26, 2010 at 4:01 PM · Report this
Posted by Adrian Ryan on October 26, 2010 at 4:02 PM · Report this
douchus 5
Good story.

Also, for what its worth, Will in Seattle is WAY more important to Slog than Fnarf ever could or would be.

You go, Will, get down with your bad self.
Posted by douchus on October 26, 2010 at 4:33 PM · Report this
I loved this. By EAT CAT he had me in the palm of his hand. Thanks, Paul.
Posted by gloomy gus on October 26, 2010 at 4:46 PM · Report this
Dougsf 7
That was good Paul, thanks for the link.
Posted by Dougsf on October 26, 2010 at 4:46 PM · Report this
Jaymz 8
Great story - I forwarded it to my son at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop so he can show it to his undergraduate students.
Posted by Jaymz on October 26, 2010 at 5:00 PM · Report this
Tremodian 9
One: Long ago bored of zombies. Two: This comes across as an arrogant jerk making fun of baristas. The most successful zombie story I can remember is Shaun of the Dead, because at least it was healthily self-deprecating while it implied that the rat race makes us zombies.
Posted by Tremodian on October 26, 2010 at 5:41 PM · Report this
venomlash 10
I've been contemplating writing a zombie story for a while, about a zombie outbreak whose only symptoms are an irresistable compulsion to bite the non-infected. (In other words, not really zombies at all.)
Maybe I'll get on that.
Posted by venomlash on October 26, 2010 at 7:24 PM · Report this
Meh. Nice start that slid back into predictability.
Posted by dirge on October 26, 2010 at 8:38 PM · Report this
Lissa 12
Thank you for the link Paul. Lovely sad story, even if I'm tired of zombies.
Posted by Lissa on October 27, 2010 at 9:13 AM · Report this
That was excellent! And LOL at Fnarf.
Posted by Christy O on October 27, 2010 at 9:38 AM · Report this
Geni 14
If you want a zombie story with no actual zombies, just a psychopath trying to create his own personal zombie, you have one more weekend to check out Zombie at Burien Little Theatre's late night shows. It's from a Joyce Carol Oates novella, loosely based on Jeffrey Dahmer, and it has a real powerhouse of a performance in it (it's a one-man show).
Posted by Geni on October 27, 2010 at 3:45 PM · Report this

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