I don’t know how many miles I’ve driven in the last two years but it’s a lot. Tens of thousands. You drive that much, you see some weird stuff going on with your fellow motorists. After a while you don’t even notice it anymore. You see a clown and an Easter bunny in a car it’s just two people heading to a gig. Dudes jerking off. People having sex on blankets by the side of the road. Cars that look like they’re driving with no one in them. People eating, shaving, changing, brushing teeth while driving. No big deal after a while.
The few that stick with me are; a hearse pulling a wood chipper, a cobra in the passenger seat (probably a therapy cobra) and a guy in a hatchback driving off the road and up onto a pedestrian walking bridge like it was an on-ramp.
I have a new one now. Last night I was driving by a cemetery and I saw someone digging up a grave. Which is not even the weird part.
I don’t know why I stopped. I’m not the grave police. I don’t even really understand why people get worked up about funerals and burials. Once you’re dead you’re dead. Just throw the body in the trash. But I did stop.
When my headlights swung around, the person didn’t stop digging. They didn’t look back. They didn’t flinch. They didn’t react in any way. At first I thought it was a person in a zombie costume. I thought maybe I stumbled onto a movie shoot. As I got closer, I thought it was a person in a really convincing zombie costume. Once I got even closer, I started to entertain the idea that it was an actual zombie. I saw bones sticking out. Still, they can do a lot with make-up and practical effects these days. But what really made me think this was not a fake zombie was the horrid stink. If you were making a movie, why would you need legit puke-inducing rot stench?
I noticed that aside from the digger, there was a woman sitting against a headstone drinking from a bottle of Fireball. She was all covered with dirt and sweat and lying next to her was another shovel, recently used. She had on a leather furry coat like Tom Hardy in that stupid superhero movie and a Sesame street t-shirt with a flannel tied around her waist like a skirt.
She waved her hand at me like she was shooing away a fly and I felt something. Like a warmth. Like walking in front of a space heater maybe. But over my whole body. Then she sighed and said “shit” and took another drink from her bottle.
I felt like an idiot asking her what she was doing. Her response of “what the fuck does it look like I’m doing?” didn’t help things. I asked her if her zombie was going to try and eat my brains and she got all fired up. She said that it wasn’t a zombie, it was “just an animated corpse”. She was pretty salty about it.
If the woman in the Sesame street shirt is to be believed, zombies are living people whose minds have been overthrown by ritual magic. They don’t look like dead bodies, they look like junkies. And they don’t eat brains, they eat normal food. She was pissed off like this is something she has to explain every day to people. She ranted for a while about how Hollywood has brainwashed everyone with wrong information about zombies.
I really didn’t know what to do. Who has a plan for when they meet a necromancer? I told her to cut it out. She asked what I was going to do if I didn’t. I said I’d kick her ass. She agreed that probably I could. She ordered her thing that is totally not a zombie back in its grave and we filled it in. She was grousing the entire time about all the work she did that night and how it was for nothing.
The way she talked, it seemed like she was planning on selling the totally not zombies. I asked her about it and she looked at me like I was stupid. “Of course I was going to sell them, why the fuck would I want an animated corpse?” she said.