Hollow Be Thy Name

Our father, who art in heaven,

A hot shower with clean water. For as long as I wanted. And central heat with clean, fluffy towels when I get out. White cotton towels like angel’s wings. Clean sheets and a woman who wasn’t trading it for rations. There’s heaven for you. That’s all. Nothing more.

Hallowed be thy name;

Did I say hollow? Did I think it? Oh crap…

Thy kingdom come,

If this is thy kingdom, I wish I’d bet on the other team! We looked forward to this for two thousand years? You sold us a load!

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

So you want us to kill Zack. I get it. But really, is this going on up there too? I really could use something to look forward to besides frozen Zack.

Give us this day our daily bread,

And peanut butter. Crunchy.

And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us.

I killed six Zack today. One of them took down Boondoggle. Right in the calf. That guy was always making impossible things out of rope. He had a real talent for knots. Sorry, but this one is asking a bit more than I can take today. I don’t know how we’re going to replace that guy. He was cool, in his own weird way. Zack’s going to pay for that tomorrow. I don’t give a damn.

And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

Too late for that. How many deadly sins did I commit today? Wrath, lust, sloth, greed, glutton, and envy. Six out of seven. All but pride. Just like yesterday and the day before.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.

Thine maybe, but not ours. We’re cold and hungry and under siege and losing for ever and ever.  We’re not going to make it through January. If the Z’s don’t get us, winter will. We could really use some intercession if you’re not too busy. Or maybe a cargo plane full of supplies if it’s not asking too much.




Father Joseph was always struck by the beauty of seeing grown men tear up in the sanctuary at the sound of the most fundamental of all prayers.

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?”

Memories in Cadmium

Who was he?

He was beautiful once–a creature drawn to our time from the days of marble and soft sunlight on the Mediterranean–beautiful, and mine.

When I close my eyes I can still feel his hands on my neck, or his lips pushing through the tangles my hair to whisper meaningless phrases that to me meant everything; mine was a happiness that I would never had had the hubris to dream I deserved.

The first time I sketched his picture he was playing with my feet, laughing and tugging at my painted toes and teasing while I tried to focus on the charcoal and textured paper perched on my naked knee. The sketch was good; the strong jaw was captured in a thick line of black that faded gentle gray beneath the softer curls of the hair outlined in pale drags of pencil to create the illusion of his flaxen locks. He continued his kisses in an exodus to my shin while I drew, relishing in my ever-so-slight frustration at capturing a moving target in shades of gray.

Continue reading ‘Memories in Cadmium’

Who Will Tell Our Stories?

Where have all of the great writers gone?  Aren’t there more stories to be told?  Just about the only way to escape the madness is to lose yourself in a good book.  I’ve read all of the books we have here.  I want new stories.

Over the years, the salvage teams supplied us with hundreds  of books.  The Zone’s library is pretty good, but  everything in it is old.  No one’s publishing anything new these days.  I guess it’s understandable with the undead around.  Where have all of the writers gone?  Are they off somewhere thinking up new stories?  Have they been taken?

I wish they were here.  They could just take a look around this place for inspiration.  We’ve got some real characters around here.  I hope where ever they are that they are writing.  Someone needs to tell our stories for future generations, if there are future generations.

It’s a Small World After All

We used to talk around the fires. Anything to alleviate the boredom, to pass the time. Old TV shows, old romances, old cars, old adventures. It was a way of bonding, a way of getting to know the guy that was going to be standing next to you on the lines the next day, a way to remember we had things in common, a way to keep from going insane.

I remember one game people used to play to start debates: Would You Rather. You were given a choice between two equally unpleasant outcomes, and you had to decide which one you would choose. Would you rather lose a leg or your ZED arm? Would you rather work night watch in June when the zombies were moaning or December when the wind was blowing? It went on and on. Hours of pseudo-fun until we’d trudge back to our cots.

The one I remember now was “Would you rather be bitten by someone you knew or a stranger?” The debate went on and on. I said that I’d rather be taken out by someone I knew. There’d be some solace in that. All I ever saw out there were strangers. Syracuse was just too big. I just didn’t know enough people. They were all strangers to me.

I wasn’t like some of the people around who would brag about how they killed their ex-bosses or the lawyer who put them into or couldn’t keep them out of jail. I didn’t choke up like some people who had to talk about what they did to their spouses. I didn’t randomly run into buddies from down at the bar or ex-girlfriends. I just never saw anyone I knew.

Continue reading ‘It’s a Small World After All’


I always write under a pen name. No one can know who I am. It helps with the marketing. Without marketing, I’m talentless. Hungry. The mystery helps keep me fed. Outside the fence, I’d be zombie food. Inside, I’m a ghost. It’s better that way.

At first, I tried humor. I thought people had enough seriousness in their lives that they’d want a way to laugh, to forget. Man, was that ever a miscalculation. It bombed. Every single joke rang hollow. It was forced, forgettable, and uncomfortable. I tried short sketch comedies, like the Saturday Night Live we all loved at some point in our lives. The audience shrank to thirty bored people, clapping more out of respect than joy. The actors looked embarrassed. It was uncomfortable all around.

I tried writing a soap opera but my heart wasn’t in it. I’d never really seen a soap opera, and the plots would have gotten absurd but I stopped after two weeks. No one cared.

Continue reading ‘Audition’

Ha-Ha, You’re Dead!

We ran in such a panic. It was scary.  The monsters kept growing in numbers and circling us.  There was no place to run to, and I didn’t know where to go!

I closed my eyes and covered my head with my arms.  Then Amelia hit my head really hard and yelled “HA HA! YOU’RE DEAD!”

I started to cry.  Not only did I just lose, but my head really hurts.  I miss my Mommy and Daddy.  I want to go home. I hate these other kids. They’re so mean to me.

Forgotten Seasonal Shadow

Feb. 2nd

Happy Groundhogs Day!

If the groundhog was smart he’d keep in his burrow. Unless he was a early riser, then in that case that poor groundhog was as good as Z-chow. Although the sun was covered by snow clouds you could see the sun beaming through. I prayed Spring would arise early. No more pedaling through snow. Of course the blood stains and the prints in the snow give me a future route to my migration. Though the constant nose bleeds from extreme cold winds give me away for them Z’s….It started raining, I guess it was always ture what they say about Syracuse weather. For such a unknow holiday it makes me sick of white and begging for green. February should be known as “Cabin Fever” month.



P.s. The Z’s seems to be grouping and heading to the Carousel. I’ll meet them there. Locked and loaded. Hope that groundhog made the best of his holiday.

Undeadstiny USA!

“We’ve got to call this place something. ‘Syracuse’ just doesn’t cut it anymore.”

“Hancock Internation-ghoul Airport?”

“No. That’s awful.”

“What about Zentral New York? Or Undeadstiny USA?”

“Yeah, that’s it! Let’s name it after a mall! I want serious suggestions.”

“OK, then what do you think of Zombiecuse or Zombiedoga County?”

“I like Unhhhnhhhhpstate New York better.”

“I get what you’re saying, but I’m all out of ideas.”

“I’ll know the right name when I hear it.  But Undeadstiny USA?  Really? There’s got to be something better.”


How about I tell you a story?

There once was a man… He was just a man, not a great man, not an evil man, nor was he a good man. He was just a man, because most men are. It is hard to look at someone for who they really are. Many can see what you appear to be, but few can touch what you really are.

He stumbled through life, like most men do. He passed from thing to thing. He wandered from place to place and he lived from hand to mouth. He sometimes wondered where his calling was, why he was here, and what he should be doing, but not often. He watched his life go by bit by bit. He did not know such a word as destiny.

He lived and loved and he wore it all out. He drank too much and gambled with things more precious than he knew. He threw around love and life and youth like they were cheap stakes. He was tired a lot. Few people know what it is like to be truly tired. He fought all the wrong fights and never knew when to quit.

And when he lost, as he usually did, he’d sit in the open and still night and ask, “God, why does it always rain on me?”

And when the night was just as still and cold and no answer came, he would curse drunkenly and find some hovel to wait in until the sun woke him for another day. Another day to wander and watch pass by.

And when the Panic came he ran and wandered and lived hand to mouth. He gambled and drank and fought and lost. And through the darkness, fear, and hunger he would ask, “God, why does it always rain on me?”

And he would curse soberly the silence and wait for the sun to wake him for another day. Another day to fear and watch pass by. Another day to run; there always was running to be done.

The world around him crumbled along with the hopes and prayers of all those that he met. Even so, he managed to love and drink and gamble. With the days he lost his youth. With the drinking he lost his loves. He lost a lot of things.

He lost more than the young man he had been would have thought possible and he realized why he was there and what he should be doing. He understood the power he had all the time and the waste of his watching. He felt the loss, but that night as he lay beneath the stars he did not question the sky or curse the silence that followed.

When the sun woke him in the morning he felt strong and he left the protection of the fires and the walls to find this word called destiny. He left the gates to fight his monsters and the creeping death outside. He took it straight into their teeth. He was the unstoppable force and they the immovable object.

The immovable object, however, is a fact. The unstoppable force is a passing rage. The man who was just a man died that day and no one will ever remember his name.

You can’t fight the storm. You can never fight the storm.

I thought you always liked it when I tell stories?