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If You Can't....

by Ryder  W. Miller

She decided she would be different. It was a fad, she had a choice. She liked the high school she went to, but she did not have to be friends with everyone. She needed to draw the line with many, but not with everybody. She could decide to have only a few friends. She was scared though they would not be able to withstand the tides of folks that was gathering.

She did not want to jump on the band wagon when it all began, but now they were a power to be reckoned with. It started here because some parents were not paying close attention. They had given up caring about hygiene. Parents were going through hell these days and didn't want to bother their children about everything. So what if they smelt funny now or their hair did not fall strait.

The zombie literary craze seemed at first to her to be a reaction upon the writer to feeling alone against the crowd. Like a group of paparazzi they could surround you and attack. They was nothing stopping them. She wondered if that would be what it would be like after she published her first book. It was one thing to be rich. Nobody or not that many people would know who you were. Fame however would be a different story. Then everybody would recognize you and some would want to talk with you. Some would even go too far to make your acquaintance.

Thats what fame probably would be like. There would be all these zombies who wanted something to do with you. She had had her brushes with fame. In some sense she had been very afraid of the power they had. Just a nod of their head would indicate that they did not want to be bothered. They also had the power to keep you away if they wanted. They had so many friends and so much money that they could harm you. She guessed that they just did not like talking too much to strangers. They probably also felt in danger. Not being able to have privacy was one of the big losses of being famous. She would have to learn more ways to defend herself after she published her first best selling book.

For the meantime she was a fan also and maybe at the readings she went to the writers considered her one of the zombies. It was now in fashion to be rotting and have visible lesions and dripping blood. She was not yet a big girl and decided to avoid the crowds. A change however was underway and the crowds were gathering.

It seemed like she had a choice. Either be famous or be a zombie. She was hoping to find a middle ground. So what if she wasn't a disgruntled fan? So what if she did not want to be part of the gang?

The zombies were confused she thought. They did not seem very logical. They did not appear to have leaders. They were like a wave rushing on the shore. They may break but there were more of them coming.

Debra decided that she wanted to be an individual. She couldn't get that idea our of her head. She wanted to stand out. She could not do so if she was a zombie. She would have to figure out how to stand out in the crowd.

She decided she would need to spend more time alone perfecting herself. Maybe she could learn martial arts so she could better defend herself? She would like to be the stone on which the waves broke. This was going to be a challenge because she really could not avoid everything. She had to go to school. The only place where you could bump into some people.

She would need to be tough. She would need to be strong. She would need to be smart. What of the prom? She would need to prepare and think things out. It was not like she had to go to the football games. She could avoid most of the clubs that met at school.

Writers were supposed to be loners. They could be a lone wolf howling a the night or the moon. They could run faster than a bunch of zombies. Oh how she hated looking at the decay and the dripping blood. Enmass there was something really scary about a bunch of undead creatures which would not take no for an answer. It wasn't like one could really kill them either.

She wondered if it was true that they could smell living blood. They weren't quite vampires who were usually loners. Maybe that is what she should be? They certainly were a lot sexier. These Twilight movies got her interested in the idea, but it did not seem like there were any at her school. She had never met any unfortunately.

She could not do this alone, but many would not stand by her side. She had to find a date. She was tired of all the boys with their immaturity and issues. She wanted to get the help of a girl. People always seemed more formidable in pairs. It was easier to make your point if there was someone with you who agreed or would back you up.

But which girl should she choose? There was Jan who had the cool British accent, but she liked the infielders. There was Trish, but she seemed a little swelt for such a mission. There was Vera. She was tough, usually too tough for her boyfriends also. The linebackers were afraid of her. She was not quiet a sidekick. They would be partners in this battle to protect the dignity of mortality. Who wanted it to continue if you were sick and decaying.

She and Vera could dress together in the same colors so people would recognize them as a team. Where would Vera be next Debra thought? She would have to find her and try to convince her to join her in this struggle. Not everybody had to be zombies she thought. They could make that point even if they needed to bust some sculls. Would they need weapons? Among the living her body was a weapon of sorts. There were people who would do all sort of things for it for certain body parts. That is part of the reason that they were still interested in men. Vera could convince the whole linebacker squad or at least she could. They may all be zombies now also.

Debra decided to go to the mall. There was a night club there that was having a party and Vera might be there. There would be a lot of zombie types around, but that should help her convince Vera.

What should she wear. She should be dressed to kill whatever that meant. What would be the right color. There was red, but that might remind of blood. So would purple and burgundy, in such a case dried blood. Orange was out of the question, because this was anti-Halloween for recent times. Blue could be used against you. Black was political, but maybe too artsy. How about yellow. Yes, yellow would give one pause and the interest in reflection. It also would stand out among the bluish grey colors the zombies were wearing these days.

Today Debra only had a yellow tee-shirt. Next time it would be a dress. Actually she could go buy that dress at the mall tonight.

Debra decided to take public transportation to the mall. On the way home she might take a taxi or catch a ride with Vera looked forward to talking with her. She like something about her brown eyes. They looked so thoughtful. They looked so confrontational. She would stare into them tonight as she told her her plan to stop the onrushing tide.

On the bus she quickly found a spot to sit and started looking through the Nook she brought. She was not sure what to read. There were so many zombie stories these days. It was annoying, especially with the gross covers. It was hard to escape noticing them. She realized that she may never be able to leave all the zombies behind. They were probably international now. The germs would have spread all over the world. One had to be careful when they went to the airport that they would catch germs.

Maybe there was some secret island that they had never made it to? Maybe when the deeds were done she and Vera could run away together. They actually could get married and would therefore be less likely to succumb to zombie hood. She entertained such thoughts as she watched the people get on and off the bus. Some of the people looked like such goons. Many people looked annoyed as the bus yanked down the street. Zombies usually did not get on the bus. When the bus jolted they could lose balance and fall. Sometimes a limb could be ripped off in the process.

She was safe now, but things would be different in the mall. Usually zombies left you alone if you avoided them. They had their own issues and adjustments to make, but they could also gather in numbers and scare the hell out of people. Hopefully Vera did not want to be part of this either.

Debra was now looking forward to meeting with Vera, but she had to make it though the mall first. This once was a large grass field on the edge of town. One could come out here to look at plants and search for butterflies. There was also a stream that ran through it. Most people just drove by. There was something to be said about standing in a field and looking at the big sky. In the city the sky was hidden by the buildings. It was part of what led to people being so estranged from the natural world. At the mall there was no sky. It was totally artificial and in most ways devoid of like. One could find the wildness inside at the pet shop, but that was not the fully appreciated or historical meaning of the word.

The Mall was insulated and interactions were controlled. There even was a cop that would keep an eye on things. People may not have noticed, but it was not filling up with zombies like some other places. If one looked closely they could spot them. One needed to pay close attention and actually search them out. Usually they were in disguise. They sort to fit in, and they made sure they had cash, but they did not want to buy things.

Debra thought of the Cranberries song about being a zombie in one's head. She expected that a lot of them would show up for the book readings. The zombie could be just one of the out of control crowd out there. They could represent the unpredictable mob of fans.

Debra walked through the front door and was enveloped in the warm air of the mall. It was not crowded now. It would be happy hour at the club and Vera might not have had too much to drink yet. Oh how she could not wait until she could see her in yellow.

The lights were not yet down in the club, but they were dimmer than mall with all its assorted strangers. Girls seemed to agree that one could not look for strangers whenever or wherever they wanted to. They would have to go to certain places to look and goggle. She certainly was not dressing up for the zombies, but she did like a little air circulation on her body every day. She liked to wear a skirt. She liked to show people that she had some milk in her. One thing about those zombies, they did not seem to notice such things so much. They did not always seem sexual.

In the night club she was now, which was not very full. There were a few dancing to the DJ. There were also a few zombies standing against the wall. Some of them were even drinking. After her eyes got adjusted to the dim light she made her way to the bar. There was a small crowd there and Debbie was surrounded. Was this the back field tonight for Vera? Debbie decided that she would have to steal her away from them.

Vera was there in a green dress with another drink in her hand and she was talking. She seemed kind of demented, but there was much affect to her mannerisms.

Debbie decided not to listen to her talk and just grab her by the arm.

A few of the boys she was hanging around with seemed annoyed when he grabbed her.

“Whats up sister Debbie?” Vera said.

“I need to talk with sister,” she said to all of them.

“Can't it wait?”

“No I need to talk with you now.” she said speaking over the guys who seemed annoyed.

When Vera realized that Debra had something really important to say to her she made her goodbyes to the backfield. She didn't really love them as much as the infielders, and there was this solidarity thing she needed to observe with other women. They needed to stick together for certain things, but at times that was not possible because there were the significant others of the other sex to be concerned about. Vera liked to make peace and usually would restrict it to flirting, but occasionally she would like to also brag.

“Come with me,” Debra said. “It is important.”

“Bye guys,” she said with a mischevious smile and followed Debra.

When they were ten or so yards away, Debra stopped them both from walking and looked into Vera's eyes. It was then she knew that she was in love. Vera's eyes were not all of the same color with tan hues and hints of green in the predominantly brown.

“What is it?” she asked.

“I am scared Vera. I think a lot of you and was afraid that you were going to turn into one of them.”


“You know, the zombies. They seem to be taking over.”

“I know what you mean. I don't want to be one of them either.”

“We need to think about what we can do about it. You mean a lot to me Verve.”

“And you to me,” she said not fully sincerely.

“We need to think about something that we can do about it?”

“Sometime soon they may all be looking for us, still being alive and all.”

“What can we do?”

“We can form a team. I think they already have plans for the pink girls. We will need to surprise them. We can probably psyche them our if we formed a team. I have been thinking about what we can wear.”

“Really. What do you think?”

“Yellow. That will catch them off guard. The will give them something to think about.”

“Yes they may be unprepared for it, but that may not be enough.”

“Yes, it would also need an accompaning message.”

"Maybe we can become like Buffy the Vampire slayer?"

"We would need super powers."

"Do you have any Vera?"

"I have my body and so do you."

"The zombies don't seem to notice such things."

"Maybe some would if we wore yellow?"

"We could be sirens, maybe."

"We could use our body parts."

"There is the infield."

"There is the backfield."

"We need to make a plan."

"I think we need to go out of town."

"Yes we need to go somewhere where we can think."

"How about Dankerville?"

"Yes, the monsters know how to live with the people there."

"They may be able to teach us something about peaceful co-existence."

"Yes, I am sure in Dankerville the subject has been broached."

"We may need to find others who will wear yellow to teach these zombies not to be so agressive."

"Yes, a weekend in Dankerville."

Debbie thought she was hoping for a honeymoon there.

Copyright Ryder W. Miller 2012

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