Coyote

I never thought I could kill anyone. Until I did.

All I wanted was some fuckin’ ice cream, man. It’d been pushing’ a hundred all week, and I was sweating’ like crazy every night, all night. And… I mean, y’ever been so hot you stick your head in the freezer just to cool off? Y’ever get stoned out of your mind just so you can forget how hot it is? Well, when you’re both, ya know, shit happens.

The last thing I remember before it all went screwy, it’d have to be standing in line in this sweatbox of a gas station, right around the corner from my place. I had that ice cream in my hand, man. Sweatin’ there in this long fuckin’ line, wondering the fuck there’s a line at two in the mornin’. Then I finally pay, step outside, and then… nothin’. No stars, no black, no nothin’. Just, nothin’. Didn’t even get to open the wrapper, man.

I remember the way the man cried. He was… how do I put it? He was fuckin’ losin’ it, ya know? I remember’ just kinda blippin’ into that, ya know? One minute, I’m all about that ice cream. The next, I’m in the middle of a fuckin’ canyon. The sun’s coming out. It’s finally cold as shit, and everything’s wet. And there’s this guy tied up next to me. He’s just layin’ there, losin’ his fuckin’ mind. Crying and screaming. Shit was runnin’ down his nose. He was choking on his spit and everything. I don’t know what happened. He looked fine. Nothing had happened. Not yet.

Maybe I’m the weird one for not acting like that.

She wore a Coyote mask, jeans, and a Ramones tee. Her voice sounded young, but something about the way she talked, I don’t know, it’s like she’d been doing this a while. Like, there’s that way people talk when they’re really comfortable doing shit, ya know? Like, they got this shit handled. No worries. Ya know? Real boss-lady type shit.

The whole thing’s really fucked up. The whole fuckin’ thing.

“Pick one.” That’s what she said. She tossed me a fuckin’ tire iron – a tire iron! And she says to me, “Pick one.”

And I just stood there for a minute, looking at her like… I don’t know. I guess like she’d just kidnapped me, dragged my ass to the middle of a fuckin’ canyon along with some dude who looks and sounds like he’s shitting himself, and then tossed me a tire iron and instructed me to, “Pick one.”

Then she pulled out a piece and aimed it at my head. So, I picked one.

She took our phones, our wallets. I had to walk out of the canyon, down the highway. Caked-up in dirt, in tears, in vomit… in bits of blood and brains and bone. I don’t know how long I walked. Maybe it was a few minutes, maybe longer. Eventually CHP pulled me over, and they pulled a gun on me too. Not that I blame him. I mean, you should have seen me.

You think she was watching? I bet she was watching.

Sleep is hard. Being awake ain’t easy either, I guess. But sleeping is harder. I should probably see someone about that. Money’s a bit tight. But sometimes when I can’t sleep, I think about her. Did she know what I would do? I didn’t know the guy, he didn’t know me. Probably. She could’ve picked anyone else in that gas station. Why me, huh? Why him? Or that piece of hers. It’s not like she fired a warning shot, or whatever. She just kinda held it, waved it around a bit. 

“Pick one.” Do you think she meant her too? Did I kill some guy I didn’t know with a fucking tire iron when I didn’t have to? Maybe if he had to pick, we’d both still be here. Did I fuck up? Does it even matter?

Terry, Please Shut Up

Terry screamed and bled out all over the carpeted floor, and Paulence and Jennda bickered.

Aside from the blood-thirsty, flesh-craving ghouls now eager to force their way into their home, it had been an otherwise boring Sunday night at home up until just a few moments ago. Jennda preoccupied herself for most of the day by arguing with strangers on the internet about the racist connotations of ordering a burrito platter from a burger joint owned by a sweet Korean couple. Paulence, meanwhile, once more pleasured himself with a flaccid attempt at something resembling a novel, which mostly amounted to several social media posts about writing his novel rather than actually writing any of it. And it wasn’t until they got around to arguing about what to order out for dinner that they finally noticed their neighbor, Terry, had broken into their home, barricaded their door, and taken to dying and bleeding profusely all over their carpet.

“Terry!” Jennda huffed. “You know we just had the carpet cleaned last summer!”

“Sorry,” Terry coughed through a mouthful of blood and viscera. “I forgot.”

“I hope you plan on paying for another cleaning,” Paulence said.

“Actually,” Terry died, “that’s what I wanted to talk to you about.”

Jennda clapped her feet and laughed. “You hear that? He wants to talk about it!”

“I’m sorry, Terry,” Paulence said. “But you’re bleeding all over our carpet. I really hope you don’t think you can convince us to pay for your mess.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it,” Terry said with a gentle wave of – and splattering of blood from – what used to be his hand. “No, I wanted to warn you about all the zombies.”

“Is that what those are?” Paulence replied, looking out at the horde looking in from the living room window.

“I thought it was the Mormons again,” Jennda added.

“It’s zombies, I’m afraid.”

“How can this night get any worse?”

“I think I’m dying,” Terry replied.

“Don’t be stupid, you stupid, stupid man,” Paulence snipped. “You’re not dying.”

“I’m not?”

“No, you’re slowly turning into one of the undead.”

“I think maybe I’d rather die, if it’s all the same to you.”

“All the same?” Jennda spat, then spat a second time on Terry. “We respect the sanctity of life in this house, Terry.”

“That’s right. We won’t kill you until you’re already good and dead.”

“Undead,” Terry corrected.

“For God’s sake, shut up, Terry,” Jennda said, spitting yet again.

“Sorry.”

“You ought to be after suggesting such an awful thing,” Paulence continued. “There’s no need for such needless suffering and violence.”

“I’m suffering rather bad, to be honest.”

“Perhaps. But have you even stopped to think about how much worse Jennda and I would feel if we were forced to help you suicide yourself?”

“I’m sorry, guys. It won’t happen again, I swear.”

“I should hope not.”

And it was about that time that Jennda noticed she had been bitten sometime earlier by Mrs. Cervix from across the hall. “Uh-oh,” she uh-oh’ed.

Paulence groaned. “I’ll go get the gun.”

“Why does she get to be mercifully put down?”

“My body, my choice,” Jennda recited.

“First you bleed all over our carpets, and now you act like a misogynistic ass to my wife as she needlessly suffers a fate worse than death? You really are a selfish bastard, Terry.”

“No wonder your wife left you.”

“She didn’t leave me – she was the one who bit me.”

“And where is she now?”

“How should I know? She’s a zombie.”

Jennda scoffed. “A woman liberates herself from an abusive, ignorant piece of shit like you, and the only thing you can be assed to do is start with the name-calling!”

“I really think it’s time you left, Terry,” Paulence firmly, but politely suggested. “Terry?”

Several minutes of deathly cold silence and Paulence repeating Terry’s name until it stopped making any sense later, Jennda bothered to notice the unresponsive Terry was, in fact, dead. “I think he’s dead.”

“Better go get the gun, then.”

Burger-on-a-Stik

I was sitting at a table in the food court of an empty mall when the young woman working the Burger-on-a-Stik found herself plucked up into the air and torn in two by a very hungry, but rather rude creature that looked like a cross between a shaved possum and an albino frilled lizard. It was the lunch rush, so you can imagine the fuss people made when the young woman’s dismemberment ate into their diminishing thirty-minutes. And with this shaved and frilled albino possum-lizard cutting all the way to the front of the line, there were more than a few choice words thrown its way. Well, one thing led to the next, and the shaved and frilled albino possum-lizard plucked up and tore just about everyone in half. Given some of the things said, I can hardly blame the poor thing for being more than a little upset. Needless to say, I haven’t been back since, and have little desire to dine there again.