Johnny America


Af­ter The Zom­bies Came: Day 121


Jen­ny sat at the oak ta­ble and stroked her un­ban­daged fin­ger­nails over a large brown knot. She picked up a dusty copy of Read­er’s Di­gest, flipped through its pages, and set it down a few inch­es from where it had been rest­ing since De­cem­ber. Ab­sent­mind­ed­ly she drew fig­ure-eights in its dust­less foot­print. She picked up the cork leak­ing red on­to a dusty stack of Marie Claires and twirled it slow­ly like a pen­cil. She looked across the checker­board kitchen floor at her man Stephen pat­ting a gravy boat with a cot­ton tow­el and thought about of­fer­ing help, but de­cid­ed to stay a spec­ta­tor. Did he al­ways whis­tle while dry­ing dish­es, she won­dered. Two months to­geth­er and this was their first meal on chi­na. The farm­stead they’d dis­cov­ered seemed to be an oa­sis: a pantry of dry and canned goods, a cel­lar hid­ing five cas­es of cheap wine, the own­ers sui­cides by sleep­ing pills. This morn­ing she’d stum­bled in­to a dou­ble-long spring trap Stephen had set the evening be­fore but failed to men­tion. This would’ve stopped one of them from get­ting you, she’d cursed him as she pried her blood­ied calf free, but it won’t stop me. By the time she reached the house her flush of rage had passed. He’d been cook­ing three squares and round­ing all the pa­trols for a month as traces of the trap’s in­cisors scabbed, blis­tered, and scarred her leg, she mused, but the eti­quette of guilt and blame does­n’t linger long when zom­bie hoards roam the hills. They’ve nev­er fed here, she told her­self. It won’t be in their mem­o­ries and they’ll on­ly pass through by chance. She re­peat­ed this mes­sage over, over, will­ing her­self to be­lieve. She watched Stephen scrape at the bur­nished residue cling­ing to the cop­per sauce pan. She’d eat­en two pounds of Lil’ Smok­ies and Bar­be­cue sauce and was think­ing of to­mor­row’s canned lasagna.

Filed under Zombies, of or Relating to on August 14th, 2007

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