by D.D. Maurer
Maybe I should be more thankful.
After all, she’s still alive. Sort of.
That’s what I tell my sister-in-law, Gina. But all she does is complain about the smell. Gina also complains about how her sister has changed. And how she moans. And how I continue to keep her — my wife, Janice — locked in the basement.
I’m trying to be rational, a good husband. How can I divorce her? I can’t leave her. I made a promise. It was ‘til death do us part. Janice isn’t dead.
When I try to defend my actions, Gina has progressed to screaming out her answer, which is always the same: "She’s a freakin’ Zombie!"
My wife is a zombie.
It’s hard to believe. I mean, it’s Janice downstairs in the basement, but, not really. Especially when I see the rotting flesh peeling from her cheeks like the rind of an overripe muskmelon. But, then, I look at her wedding ring. It was the ring I put on her finger on our wedding day. A finger now that zombie Janice has ripped off and thrown in the corner.
At least I know where the ring is.
I told Janice that the homeless guy we saw on our trip to New Orleans didn’t look normal. She told me pshaw and insisted that she give him a few bucks. She gave him five dollars. He gave her a three-inch bite wound on her shoulder.
She slathered antibiotic cream on it and we came back home to Toledo. Then she got the fever. I told her that she should go to the doctor. She made an appointment, but couldn’t get in until Thursday. By late Wednesday morning she was a zombie. I guess I’d say she went from Janice, the loving wife and mother of two, to zombie Janice, the putrefying, cataract-ridden, flesh-eating, soulless corpse, over a period of about an hour. Maybe it’s when all she could say was "Brains! Brains!" I thought she just had a stuffy nose and was only saying my name, which is Brian. Boy, was I wrong.
The kids are scared of their mother. They agree with their Aunt Gina and think that I should quietly dispose of her. Or call the police. Or get a priest. But they don’t understand. A man has to make an effort to make a marriage work, even when the wife no longer nibbles playfully on her husband's ear, but instead tries to chomp off the nearest free appendage.
Maybe I should listen to my kids. After all, Janice has become dangerous. Last night she ate our cat. She didn’t eat the tail, though. Maybe tails are too tough to eat, even for a zombie.
I don’t know; is it murder to dispose of the undead? They’re not dead yet, but they’re not alive, either. I’ll have to ask my priest to see what he thinks. But I’ll have to ask him the right way (so he won’t think this is what happened to us). Maybe I’ll tell him it’s a piece of fiction I’m writing for a contest and I’m doing research. Yeah, that’d work.
Well, I better go. Here come the kids with the squirrel. I had them trap it in the backyard for Janice. It’s funny in a way: she never used to like to eat game. She complained about the taste. She had to turn into a zombie to learn to appreciate the rich flavor of the bounty from the woods. Except for the tails. She spits those out.
Copyright March 2012 Synecdoche, LLC