The first Thursday in June had started well. Dean dealt with the endless line of painting contractors that began lining up in front of the door of the Sherwin-Williams at 6:30am, mixed and matched colors, sold tarps, brushes, and ladder pads, scrappers, and colored caulk. At lunch he’d skipped out from behind the counter to get a pink aluminum baseball bat for his daughter Tracy’s birthday. He expected his boss to cut him some slack when he came back a half hour late, and was surprised to be fired. Hell, he was too old to be working retail at his age. That’s what the bartender at Martin’s Tavern told him. And he agreed, knowing he’d be replaced by a college kid for the duration of the summer. Life had been a spiraling series of disappointments lately. Five hours later, after drinking everything from Gin Rickeys, to shots of Stoli with Red Bull, he felt an urgent need to head on home.
Dean pushed open the door into the bright lights of Georgetown. He stretched both arms behind him with the pink baseball bat and tried to make sense of what he was seeing. No traffic. A mass of people swaying and growling in a slow march past the bar to M street. Hundreds of them. And blood. Lots of blood. He needed to focus. There was a woman with an ax in her back. A high school kid with his head split open. A tall man with a blood stained white shirt. More of the same everywhere he looked.
Somehow while he was drinking the zombie apocalypse had begun. He’d seen enough movies to know what to do. He hefted the pink bat and began swinging it into the crowd. Zombies wailed. He loved the metallic ring of the bat as it thudded solidly against skulls, against ribs. Right and left. He poked, he prodded, finally clearing a circle in the middle of Wisconsin Avenue to make his stand. Zombies groaned and bled at his feet. Dean perfected his golf swing, scattering blood splatter and teeth across the blacktop. Some zombies fled, others tried to tackle him. He kept swinging the bloody pink bat until he was overwhelmed, and dragged to the ground.
A gun cocked. “Police. Drop the bat. Drop it now.”
Dean let go. His hands were cuffed. Somebody lifted him to his feet. Zombies were pointing at him. The evil undead were crying, screaming, yelling obscenities. There were bodies crumpled all over the street.
“It’s a Zombie Walk you fucktard.”
“C’mon,” the mustache cop sat him down on the curb.
Other cops were taking info from the crowd. An ambulance siren was coming closer.
“Drunk guy here thought they were real.”
“Nutcase. No such thing as zombies.”
“My daughter’s bat?” Dean whispered.
“That pink bat?” Mustache cop looked at Ray-Ban cop. “Evidence.”
“It’s not Halloween,” Dean said.
“Every day is Halloween buddy,” Ray-Ban cop said. “Every single day.”
About the author:
Richard Peabody is a French toast addict and native Washingtonian. He has two new books due out this fall–a book of poetry Speed Enforced by Aircraft (Broadkill River Press), and a book of short stories Blue Suburban Skies (Main Street Rag Press).