I smiled, remembering their faces, as I revved up the bike and pulled out on Rt. 29. Half a tick later, I turned right on Glebe Road, and headed down towards Ballston.
The government did something particularly smart, in my opinion, as martial law dissolved. They put people to work, doing what they’d be doing normally, even if money was useless as payment. Instead, people were paid in what used to be called “government cheese”… canned goods, dried milk, and staples the government had been stockpiling for decades.
It kept urban infrastructure as functional as possible, and made it possible for us to have electricity every so often. You can be sure it kept the military functioning, along with some fire and police departments.
People want a sense of normality when the world is going to Hell.
The Work for Life Program is why there were cars on the road with me. Industrious folks were going to work! It kept them out of my way, and I couldn’t be happier.
Of course, every plan has drawbacks. Commuters still stopped at stop signs. Zombies often hung out at intersections, waiting for people to stop their cars. Recently infected people, unaware of their status, often found themselves dragged out of their automobiles to be eaten on the roadside.
It was a situation I’d come to hate, as a freelance zombie executioner. That morning, I got a fresh reminder of why I dislike it so much.
I was barely into Ballston, tall buildings that used to be offices and shopping malls, when I saw two undead rabble rousers pull the schmuck out of his car. These guys weren’t as considerate as some—they just let the car chug off, without a driver, and crash into a building across the road.
Poor civic behavior, I say.
That didn’t solve my central moral dilemma over the tableau that was unfolding before my eyes. Two zombies, each of which is a candidate for repatriation to the afterlife, and one poor soul that they’re going to kill. The soon to be eaten party will come back as a zombie at some point, if not dealt with properly beforehand.
Here’s the question I always run into: do I save this person’s life or not? Now or later, this person is going to be eaten and die, and then return as a contributing member of the undead horde. Saving an innocent person’s life makes perfect sense, but punishing them ahead of time for crimes they’ve yet to commit?
I couldn’t really process the rest of the cerebral judo, so I stuck with the thing I was absolutely sure about: two zombies needed to die. I stopped the bike, pocketed the key, hopped off, and prepared to get down to business.
The tall one saw me coming, as he held the victim down. The shorter of the zombies began to feed by gnawing into the screaming man’s abdomen. Yes, they were fond of brains, but organs like the liver, kidneys, and heart were even more prized. More blood there than in the brain, you see.
Tall zombie gave their morning meal a vicious head butt, and knocked him cold.
“Stay out of our way. This isn’t about you.” He called out to me as I walked towards them. “Get in our way and we’ll kill you. We’ll take our time with it, too.”
“Gosh, String Bean, my penis retracted in utter terror. How will I ever go on?”
My sarcasm often goes unappreciated by the recipients. String Bean certainly didn’t look pleased. I knew this, because he whipped out an ASP baton from the back of his jeans—one of those retractable steel rods that Police Officers carry—and snapped it out to full extension.
“Oh my, String Bean! You’re happy to see me! Your pencil-thin beating tool is erect.” I kept walking towards them. If things didn’t speed up, their victim would be dead before I could save him from… more of a terrible primary death experience?
My verbal sparring partner snarled at me, and launched himself from the grassy verge. I felt it was a reasonable time to warn him off, if only to satisfy my inner sportsman.
“I’d like to explain,” I said, dodging his first attempt to hit me with his stick, “that I carry a katana because I know how to use it.”