Sunday, November 12, 2006


By William Coker

Tony looked at his wife Selena and was sickened.She was six feet away from him at the other end of a shabby rectangular wooden table.Her hands were cuffed to her chair much like her husband’s were to his.Her eyes had gone from their normally vibrant green to a discomforting, more sinister, hue of red.An acrid mixture of blood and foam dripped from one corner of her mouth.Smooth, white skin now looked like a graying map made from centuries-old parchment, varicose veins forming lines which may have depicted a world discovered long ago.A quiet growl crept from her lips.She reeked of eggs.The smell alone was enough to have made Tony vomit twice in the ten minutes they had spent in the office.

The door behind Tony swung open and hit the wall.A deep, gravelly voice bounded across the walls, threatening to punch holes in the drywall.“And you would be Mr. Sardo.”

“Y-yes?”The disembodied voice caused Tony to gulp with trepidation.

“I’m Lieutenant General Ian Rockwell, Homeland Security.”The voice moved in front of Tony.He saw that it belonged to a tall, broad man with gray crew-cut hair.He was dressed in military fatigues, complete with tall black combat boots.The huge man motioned towards Selena. “This is your wife, I take it?”


Rockwell took a seat in an empty chair on the broad side of the table, next to Tony, and looked towards the doorway.“Talbert, come on in and shut the door.”He motioned towards the slender, black-haired TSA officer, who came inside the office just enough to be in Tony’s field of vision.“You remember Officer Talbert, right?”Tony recognized Talbert’s middle-aged face as one that he saw for a brief moment before being tackled to the ground and handcuffed.

“Yeah, I remember him.”Talbert scoffed with what sounded to Tony like arrogance and stood against the wall.

“Good.”Rockwell pulled an ashtray closer to him and took a cigar out of his chest pocket.“Now, can you tell me what happened out there?”

“Well, you see, my wife and I were here to catch a flight to LA so we could fly out to Hawaii.”

“Hawaii’s beautiful, you know.Ever been?”Rockwell’s voice held a slight edge that was lost on Tony.He put the cigar in his mouth and lit it, his careful puffs quickly filling the air with smoke.

“No sir.We were both going out there for the first time to celebrate our five-year wedding anniversary.”

“You and,” Rockwell pointed at Selena, “this zombie bitch?”

Tony stammered at the sudden insult to his wife.“W-watch what you say about my wife.”

Rockwell steadily rose from his seat, cigar in mouth, and leaned towards Tony, who was slowly moving his head away.“Listen, son.I don’t give a damn about your wedding anniversary.I don’t care where you’re going, what you had for breakfast on the way to the airport or why it sounds like you’re shitting yourself right now.”He pointed again at Selena.“All I want to know is what happened to her.”

“Well, my wife was having her bag searched and the TSA person told her to empty her shampoo in one of those big blue bins out there.”Tony felt beads of sweat begin to run down his face.


“She was squeezing out the bottle and this fat guy came charging from behind her and bumped her.”Tony leaned to his side suddenly and vomited again.

Rockwell took a long drag from his cigar and blew it in Tony’s face.“She wasn’t pushed or anything?”

“No,” Tony coughed from the smoke, “no, sir.”

“And didn’t you empty something into the same bin right before she got to it?”

“Yes,” Tony said.“I was told to empty my water bottle.”

“Water?Officer Talbert here told me that you had a clear bottle with a blue liquid in it.”

“Ok, it wasn’t water.”Tony grew more nervous as Rockwell’s gaze tore through him.“It was a sports drink.”

“You know,” Rockwell took another drag from his cigar and, again, blew the smoke in Tony’s face, “I think you’re lying.”


“Yeah, I think the two of you are involved in some plot to get zombies in--infiltrate our airways and spread your disease at an accelerated rate.”Rockwell stood up to get a good look at Tony’s body language.

“Wait, what?Accelerated rate?”Tony felt a growing pit churn in his gut.

“Yeah, it all makes sense.You infect people at the airport, get them onto planes going all these different places and, BOOM!, planes full of zombies landing at every major airport in the nation.”

“Why the hell would I turn my own wife into a zombie?”

“Son, if I understood the terrorist mind that well, I’d have exterminated the lot of you already.”

Tony continued, disbelief filling his speech.“And besides, even if we were terrorists, how could we have hatched such a so-called brilliant plan?The liquid ban was just put into effect four hours ago.”

“Crafty little bastards, aren’t you?”

“You’re completely insane!”He felt himself screaming at the general.

“Listen, son.Yelling’s only going to make things worse for you.”

“Look, if you people didn’t have all that stuff going into those trash cans in the first place we wouldn’t be in here!I mean, who ever heard of putting so many apparently dangerous substances all in the same container anyway?”Rockwell pulled a 9mm pistol from his side holster and carefully screwed on a silencer.Tony’s eyes grew wide with horror.“I’m sorry!I didn’t mean to shout.”

“You know, they soundproof the hell out of these rooms, but you can never be too careful.”Rockwell’s gaze met Tony’s, and then he looked towards Selena.

“No, you can’t shoot her.”

“My boy, I’m here to make sure we win this war.”His arm rose up to Selena.A finger squeezed the trigger, sending a round piercing through her forehead.The force of the blast knocked her head back, causing her neck to snap in two.Blood sprayed up in a weak fountain, and then slowed to a trickle.Her head lay dangling behind her shoulders.“Hmmm, I’ve never seen bones that brittle.”

“You asshole!”

Rockwell turned to Tony and fired a second round that went right between his eyes.Tony’s head slumped to the side.Blood poured from the hole onto the floor.Talbert, still standing against the wall, made a slight choking noise.

“Look, Talbert, the only way we’re going to win this thing is if we hit them before they hit us.”

“B-but sir,” Talbert swallowed hard, “was it necessary to kill both of them?”

“Think for just a second what would happen if a zombie got on to a plane out there.Do you want that on your conscience?”

“No, sir.” “Well, you get this cleaned up and call me if you have any more problems.”Rockwell opened the door and lumbered out of the room.Talbert looked at the two lifeless figures in front of him, leaned over suddenly and threw up the egg and cheese bagel he ate for breakfast.

“Goddamned war on terror.”

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