This story is posted in Fiction, Short Stories, and Writing Prompts.
This is another short story prompted from Chuck Wendig’s weekly challenges, this time it was called “ABC meets XYZ“. It was fun but incredibly difficult!
Content warning: There are some graphic descriptions of violence, PG-13 language, and sexual discussion if not description. You’ve been warned.
The World Ended and I Still Need Condomsby Rick Cook Jr
The first time I felt truly alive was the moment after I was almost meat, for the first time. I’ve been almost meat more times than I’ve had sex, and I’ve done both a lot. That’s not bragging, it’s just simple truth.
And the sex after the apocalypse is some of the best I’ve ever had. You don’t know release like “Oh my God we escaped the zombies today” sexual release. I’m sorry, but you just don’t.
I’m looking forward to more of it after today’s excursion into the city. It’s the only reason I’m here at all. Damian and Becka are my friends, the only two besides me that lived through the Chicago outbreak near as we can tell. We were playing hook from school the day it happened.
I’m on a supply run with Damian and Becka, but we’re not supposed to be. The supplies I convinced them we needed to go find aren’t “approved” by the camp. But damn it all I need a cigarette and I’m almost out of condoms.
Damian’s morose as usual. Ever since his girlfriend tried to eat his face he’s been such a downer. Becka’s high. She doesn’t really have a different state these days.
Me? I’m just glad to be out and about. We took the Hummer, which is a damned sorry excuse for a vehicle, but at least it’s safe, and I can pack the hell out of the back with every vice known to man.
We pull into a gas station that doesn’t look completely burned out yet, and I take the golf clubs from the back seat, distributing them to our little group. I have found, through rigorous testing, that the 9 iron has the best velocity-to-impact ratio for crushing in the skulls of the undead, so naturally I get that one.
We get out of the Hummer and spend a few minutes canvassing the gas station; Damian cracks a skull with a wood, Becka almost tears another zombie’s head clean off with the putter, and I just have a hell of a good time tearing through a few deadheads with my trusty 9. It doesn’t take long and the gas station is ours, the better to pick it clean.
Power’s been out for months, so everything’s spoiled or hot. The tobacco behind the counter is all but gone, the condoms almost untouched. Same everywhere.
“Check the stock room,” I tell Damian. “There’s always cigarettes in the stock room.”
He shuffles off, muttering something about cigarettes and slow death. I only grin at Becka.
“Why don’t you go help him?” I ask.
She sighs. “He’ll come around eventually. But not in the back of a convenience store.”
I take all the condoms I can find, fifteen little boxes of various shapes, sizes, and colors, and toss them into the backseat of the Hummer. There’s a loud crash from inside the store, and then Becka screams.
I rush back inside to find Damian backing out of the storeroom, his 2 wood locked in a fat gas station attendant’s gnarled, deteriorating jaws. Becka is hitting the grotesque zombie in the back, her panic making her forget the sweet spot.
I could easily dispatch the thing, but I have a better idea. I shove the zombie and it topples over, knocking over a rack of motor oil. The 2 wood snaps in its jaws and teeth splatter out, clacking against the linoleum floor.
“Take care of that thing, Damian, we’ve got shit to do,” I say, handing over the 9 iron. He breathes deeply and tears a hole in the guy’s fat face before going overboard. The constant thwack, whump, splat of his beating drowns out the sobs and retches coming from Becka behind the counter. She was never good at the close-quarters stuff.
I let them do their thing and then call back into the store, “Becka! Were there cigs back there?”
She stumbles out carrying three cartons of Pall Malls and tosses them at my feet. “I hope your lungs kill you before the dead do.”
“I don’t think you understand how that’s a compliment.”
“Oh, I don’t care. Get bent.” She lights a joint she’s been carrying around, one of her last I know. She’ll get over it, she always does.
I pick up the cartons and toss them into the Hummer. “Hey, Dame, there’s no extra credit for these things! Come on, we should hit another one before we go home.”
There’s no response at first, and Becka sighs beside me. “I didn’t want to say it in front of him, but he was just standing there, eyes closed, waiting for the bastard to chomp down when I went into the storeroom to find him.”
My eyes roll. “Again? I thought we were past that.” She shrugs. “Get in the driver’s seat, we’ll be along in a minute.”
I head back into the gas station and see him staring blankly down at the bloated body, its head an eviscerated mess.
“Hey, I thought you were done with the ‘I’d rather be dead’ stuff, what gives?”
His eyes dart up to mine, and for a few seconds I think he’s going to swing at me. I can see his knuckles whiten around the 9 iron’s grip, and for the briefest moment I imagine the gore dripping from the business end is just a taste of what’s about to happen.
But then he chuckles and the crazy look vanishes, and he tosses the 9 iron to me. Blood and brain matter flick off the end as I catch it. “How do you do it?” he asks. “How do you go about like it’s not the end of the world?”
“Because it’s not.”
“Look around you, man! It very clearly is.”
“I’m still here. Becka out there is still here. You’re still here.”
“But who the hell are we?”
“We’re the world, my friend. And the next time I hear about you letting one of those meatsacks do you in, I’ll finish you myself.”
“You already have, what with stealing the Hummer.”
“Please, the General will never know it’s gone.”
“I think he’s gonna notice the only armored vehicle is gone, man!”
“So what? Some of these cigarettes will end up in his tent. You worry way too much, Damian.”
He stares at me a long time, and then laughs. His laugh is so loud, so crazed, that I think he may have finally snapped. The undead roaming the street are drawn to his laugh like a fox to a rabbit den.
“Okay, it’s time to hit the road,” I say, and grab his arm. He immediately shoves me away, but comes all the same.
When we get back I notice one of the boxes of condoms has gone missing, and I don’t see him or Becka the rest of the day.
That’s right, Damian. We’re the world now, so you might as well have some fun.
This one was interesting. The challenge was to take two random pop culture properties and mash them together in a ~1000 word flash fiction entry. The idea is that people often describe some new movie, show, game, comic, whatever, as “It’s like ABC meets XYZ” so that you get an idea of what the story will be like.
So I rolled two randoms and ended up with “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off meets The Walking Dead”, and at first I couldn’t have been more thrilled with the combination, because the themes in Ferris carry to zombie worlds really well. But then I got stuck because Ferris and zombies basically just equals Zombieland. For a long time the story was called “Not Zombieland” as I tried to figure out a way to combine the two properties without completely ripping off Ferris, Walking Dead, or Zombieland, and I ended up with a weird bastardization of the themes in Ferris, and a lot of the characterizations from Ferris, just told through a post-apocalyptic lens of zombie plague. I’m pretty happy with the result, and I hope you are too!