2. Many months ago, there was a spaceship sent into orbit to test radishes. I’m not sure what was to be tested exactly—I’m sure it was mentioned on the news, but I didn’t pay attention. I remembered the bullet points: spaceship and radish testing. Now, I’m not really sure how, but apparently the guy that they sent up contracted some sort of virus and managed to beam it back to mission control at Houston. From there the virus managed to get out and spread pretty quickly. The early days were tricky: while the infected were trying to bite you and claw your eyes out, they kept screaming for help as if they couldn’t control themselves. The screams were the worst part—well, not the WORST part, but the screams didn’t help. Especially at night.
3. We’d planned to get together for a drink for a while and it looked like it was finally happening. I was sure we’d have a good time talking about this and that. 5 minutes before we were supposed to meet, I got a message saying that she’d be late. That was the last I heard from her. What was sad about the situation was that I wasn’t worried—I knew I’d been stood up. It wasn’t the first time. It had gone down exactly the same way with at least one dozen other dames. I never could make any sense out of the act of standing someone up—just say no. Just say no.
4. Most major religions called it the end of the world. They were right, but not in the way they thought. I’m a fairly religious person but church never taught me anything about a virus from space turning my family and loved ones into insane and infected maniacs and cannibals. It’s all up for interpretation I suppose.
5. A few scientists came out and said that this was all just the universe’s way of thinning the herd. There were too many humans on earth due to science keeping us alive up to sixty years longer than we were supposed to live. Some scientists said that it wasn’t right that we managed to cure the diseases that used to take out large groups of us at a time and that it was throwing off the balance. Too many of us living too long and we were all becoming too resistant to the things that were supposed to keep that from happening. Earth had tried time and time again to kill us off, they said, and failed. So the universe mixed something up to help out. The theory made as much sense as anything else, I guess...
6. A few people and I had been camping out in a pawn shop for a week or so. It was a good location because of the bars on the doors and windows and the many, many guns. In the same strip mall was a Publix that we could get to for food and water. Daytime was when we ran our errands. At first the infected were out all the time, but as time went on they rarely came into the daylight. It wasn’t like the movies, though—you weren’t just safe to go running around outside in the daytime. The infected didn’t like the daylight, but if they caught you slipping they would get you quick—snatch you right up. They didn’t melt or burst into flames or any of that Hollywood crap. No, they just didn’t like the daylight—it was easier to sneak at night. They weren’t zombies, either. In the beginning, the media tried to call them zombies, but they weren’t dead. The smell came from the rotting and the rotting came from the infection. They ate. They avoided peril. They weren’t dead, but they were dying. They weren’t mindless, but they were getting desperate...
7. When this all first started, I saw a group of them charge a moving bus. They ran right into the thing. At first I assumed that it was because of the people inside, but I soon learned that it was the movement. They basically just ran after and bit anything that moved. The infected ate dogs. They caught them and ate them when they couldn’t catch us. Cats too. I’m sure that somewhere there were groups of the infected running down deer and elk and cows. Movement made them angry, so they had to bite the things that moved.
8. I didn’t notice her at first. I was just sitting there looking out across the parking lot and I noticed her running past. She darted from car to car, hiding. There was no way she was going to get away, that was for certain. I was honestly surprised that she’d made it out there this long. Lots of people found major courage in themselves after this thing had begun and had managed to survive. But not that many people and not for that long. Most people got killed by being stupid and not knowing how to lay low. Still, there she was, hiding not 40 yards from the front of the pawn shop with the crazy people looking for her. I hadn’t heard from her since before the stand up. Still, I could find no pleasure in watching her die out there. What she had done to me had sucked, but it felt like a lifetime ago and it sure as hell didn’t matter now. The world had ended since then. I quietly wished that she’d get away, but I knew that she wouldn’t. Briefly, I even thought about helping her, but that feeling passed. If I’d learned anything over the past few months it was that this new world made short work out of heroes. Heroes died first.
J’Mel Davidson is the founder of a local improv comedy troupe called The Feminist Debutante Guild. You can send him the love— or a link to the Double Rainbow song— via email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.