The White Stripes

“Ron, what on earth is that smell? It’s everywhere!”

“You want a burger or you want to puke? If it’s puke, go over there. Don’t barf on my meat.”

“Krezner was getting worried about a cholera outbreak. Or E. Coli. I don’t know what. It’s hideous.”

“It’s better than how you smell. Be quick, pal. I got customers waiting with less refined palates than yourself.”

“It’s driving me crazy. I can’t figure out if I want to eat it or vomit. Just tell me what it is.”

“Well, business has been good lately, so we’re running low on rat. The Z’s are picking off the deer and the cattle are long gone. So I need something that’s like rat, but not a rat. C’mon. Figure it out. Haven’t you seen all the kids with coonskin caps running around lately?”

“Yeah. That damn Davy Crockett brigade. I can’t stand those little brats.”

“Did you see the what the new kids have to wear until they’ve passed their trials? The black and white tail? That single white stripe? It would be a shame to let all that perfectly good meat go to waste.”

“No–oh my God… …Well, I guess I’ll just have one then. Make it a small one, though.”

“That’ll be five silver. They’re half price until I can get them filleted just right.”

A Hero Among Us

“Kids these days, they’re really missin’ out, Ron.  Back when we was young, we had all sorts of superheroes to follow.  Superman, Captain America, even that plastic guy.  Each month was a new adventure.  They’d fight some super villain, and in the end the good guy always won.”  I say as Ron nods to appease me while tending to his grill.  “These days, we could use Superman.  He could take care of this whole problem in an hour.  And all he’d want in return was to see us smile and feel safe.  Wouldn’t even ask for any payment.”

Ron throws another fresh burger over the hot coals and stares past me towards the main gate.  As I continue, I am interrupted by a loud thud next to me.

“Would you mind keeping the guts away from my meat?” Ron asks his newest customer sarcastically.  The man responds by tossing his blood stained ZED into the nearby grass.

“Sorry, Ron, sometimes I forget where I am,” the man replied before removing his helmet and pads; placing his protective gear next to his seat.  “It’s just that I’m starving.  I worked up such an appetite today;  I got 27 kills on my own.  How’s about double bacon cheeseburger with the works, some fries, and a milkshake?”

Ron laughed as he served up a freshly cooked burger to the man and left him to eat.  He made his way back over to me and said, “Who needs Superman when you’ve got the Corps?”

Steve Golden, Retriever

“Hey, it’s Steve, isn’t it? What’s the matter, mac?”

“I have the most depressing job in the Zone, Ron.”

“I hear that from a lot of people who are trying to score a free burger. Go cry on somebody else’s shoulder–I cook rats for a living.”

“I go out and pick up the pistols that squad leaders leave with bitten members of Corpse Corps.”

“You’re right. That’s depressing. Is it bad when you find them? Do you bury the bodies there or bring them back for cremation?”

“Well, that’s just it. There’s never anyone there. There’s always a bullet in the chamber. They never do it.”

“Not me, man. If I get bitten, I want someone to take me out.”

“You’d be surprised. It’s a lot easier to say that than to do it.”

“No way. I’d do it. I’d pull that trigger and go to a better place than this one.”

“Every one of those Z’s is someone who didn’t pull the trigger. Either that or they had a brother, sister, son, or daughter, mother, father, or so-called friend who couldn’t. The unquenchable human drive to survive is what caused this plague.”

“And it’s also why we’ll survive it. How’s your burger?”

“Best I’ve had in months.”

“Glad to hear it. Only twenty bucks for a member of Corpse Corps and I’ll throw in the bun for free.”

“You’re a frakking thief, Ron… Pass the salt, will ya?”

At Ron’s Grill

It’s funny to think about them.

They eat, they shit, they spread disease.
They breed, they fight for their young.

They start all over again with the eating, shitting, spreading disease, and breeding.

Then they solve any problem that stands in the way of their eating, their shitting, their breeding, and their young, but not much more than that. That’s all there is for them.

But they’re really good at it.

And then they die.

The next generation comes along and eats and shits and spreads disease and breeds and fights for their young.

And dies.

The smell of their flesh brings people from out of the woodwork, moaning and crying for a mouthful of fresh meat.

It’s funny.

Until I started setting up my traps and Weber, I never noticed how much we had in common with rats.