Zombie Versus Fairy Featuring Albinos (6 page)

BOOK: Zombie Versus Fairy Featuring Albinos
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CHAPTER
NINE
You Might Act In A Way Contrary
To Your Best Interest

Neither of us says anything. Finally, because I’m completely and thoroughly convinced the director isn’t going to speak until I do and because I can’t think of anything else to say, I say, quite calmly, “Albinos?”

“They were just in my office,” confirms the director. “We here, in upper management, have suspected for a long time there was a group of people, beings, or entities, maybe even a mix, in charge of us, because if there weren’t, we, the zombies, would’ve ruined everything a long time ago. We didn’t know who they were or what they wanted but we assumed we were on the right track because they never intervened. That’s all changed now. They were in my office.”

Again, because I can’t think of anything else to say, I say, again, “Albinos?”

“They have very white skin and hair.”

I struggle to remember what little I know about albinos. “They have pink eyes, too, right?”

“They were wearing sunglasses,” says the director.

“Inside?” I say, shocked.

The director nods like, “I told you so; they were albinos. Inside,” he says.

“Wow.”

“I know.”

“Okay.” I have to admit it. “It sounds like you had albinos in your office.”

“That’s not the scary part.”

“It gets worse?”

“One was a movie executive and one was a record industry rep,” blurts the director, in a torrent.

I gasp. I can’t believe it. “I thought they were just a myth!” I cry.

“So did I.”

In horror, I stutter. I sputter, spit, and mutter. Then I manage to expound: “A bugaboo. A campfire story. Something you tell kids just to scare the hell out of them.”

“They’re real,” says the director, paler than usual. “I saw them with my own undead eyes.”

“Give me a second.”

“Take your time.”

I don’t pause at all. “Were they alive or undead?”

“I don’t know. I couldn’t tell. But I know this much. They were thoroughly unappealing. Revolting. I’d never eat anything like that. You could pay me . . .  I don’t know how much. I wouldn’t do it. I couldn’t.”

This is a nightmare. I can’t wake up. Movie executives? Record industry reps? I look out the floor-to-ceiling windows, trying to escape reality. Across the street, in another office building, I see a group of zombies in the process of shattering one of their own huge windows. Pieces of mirrored glass drop in deadly reflective shards. I watch as the zombies push a big mahogany desk to the broken window. The desk teeters on the edge for a moment, like it might remain. They push it more. It falls in a slow spin. The zombies stand in the opening, looking down, watching it go, and, presumably, shatter when it hits the ground forty-two storeys below.

“The albinos wanted me to talk to you, Buck,” says the director.

“Why? Why didn’t they come to me directly?” I’m relieved they went to him but I think I should know.

“Good question, Buck.” The director retakes his seat on the other side of my desk. “I’m impressed. You’re really overcoming your mindlessness. They came to me because they’re unsure about you. You’re depressed.” He tries to comfort me. “It’s not your fault. It’s a chemical imbalance. The albinos actually caused it.” He explains. “Depressed zombies serve a purpose. Apparently, it’s the albinos’ purpose. However they say—forgive me, Buck, I’m just passing this along—your irrationality makes you somewhat unpredictable. You might act in a way contrary to your best interest. You might, for example, attack them, in your fright. So they wanted me to talk to you because we know each other. We have a rapport, don’t we, Buck?”

Something about the director seems suddenly desperate but I can’t think that and I try not to even feel it because I don’t want to reveal anything to the albinos in my mind. “Sure. We have a rapport.”

“I know you probably don’t trust me,” says the director, like he’s in my head, reading my thoughts, like an albino. “
I
wouldn’t trust me if I came to myself with a story about albinos who control everything, including me. I’d wonder what the hell I was talking about. But there’s this.” The director motions at the painting of Fairy_26 on my desk.

I’ve gone from staring at it, at her, to trying to ignore her, it, the painting, and that which it represents, everything she is and means to me, so the albinos don’t know that which they can’t have possibly missed. Can they get at her through me? What can I do if my thoughts and feelings betray me? What hope do I have? None? “There’s this,” I admit, acknowledging the likeness of Fairy_26.

“They don’t want you to put her in any danger,” assures the director. “They know you won’t. But they
do
want you to use her. I’m sorry, Buck. They want you to use her to get close to Guy Boy Man.”

CHAPTER
TEN
Think Of Zombies As A Whole

I let the director’s words fall deep into the sinkhole of my depression; I let them burst on impact; I let them splash down and swirl around. I absorb them; they seep into my recesses. The albinos want me to use Fairy_26 to get close to Guy Boy Man. How do they want me to use her? Why do they want me to get close to Guy Boy Man? What are their plans? “Why should I go along with this?” I ask.

“Depression sure snaps you out of being mindlessly selfless, doesn’t it?” remarks the director. “But I wish I could appeal to that side of you right now, Buck. Think of zombies as a whole. The albinos are really distraught over Guy Boy Man. Not only is he one of the few living people who can see zombies, he has an idea. Normally, the albinos love ideas. They buy them for cheap and use them to make obscene amounts of money. But Guy Boy Man isn’t selling and his idea is contrary to all the other ideas the albinos have already purchased, used, and reused countless times. If Guy Boy Man’s idea becomes much more popular, it could begin to unravel the fabric of our society.”

I move my shoes on the wool carpet, trying to feel the floor. “We really do like chaos, don’t we?”

“Absolutely,” says the director. “But the
albinos
only like chaos when it appears orderly.” The director sticks his hands on his bald spot, as if he knows he’s in it up to there, over his head. “You have to keep in mind I’m new to all this, Buck. Movie executives and record industry reps don’t show up in my office every day. I didn’t even
believe
in them until two hours ago.” He sticks his fingers into the congealed goo in the hair on the sides of his head and holds them there. The director looks at me through completely white eyes. “They’re so scary, Buck. They don’t take calls; they don’t do lunches; they don’t order in expensive coffees; they don’t yell at flunkeys and lackeys. I wish I could forget them. I wish I could go back to consolidation. I
understand
mergers. I
understand
acquisitions. I make deals with or buy out the competition because competition is difficult and no one really likes it. It’s the strain. It’s too much work: innovating; improving. Trying, trying, trying.” Realizing he’s gone off on a tangent, the director takes his hands from his hair and stares at the disgusting mess. “We, the zombies,
don’t
like organization, stability, and regulation but the supernatural creatures
do
and, unfortunately, we have to share the planet with them. I shouldn’t say ‘unfortunately.’ It’s in our own best interest. If we, the zombies, were able to, somehow, destroy supernatural creatures, we’d eat or infect all humans, including our own young while they’re still too physically small to be of much food value and we’d plunder our people farms and we’d wreck everything before long, levelling all buildings, filling in all tunnels, and we’d run out of things to destroy eventually and it’d get really boring and we’d slowly starve to death, probably turning on each other near the end.”

“You paint a pretty bleak picture,” I say, not looking at the work of art on my desk.

“It’s realistic. In any event, the albinos are concerned because we, the zombies, risk exposure by Guy Boy Man. Currently, irresponsible living people are discussing us with increasing frequency. The mainstream media refers to ‘zombie banks’ and ‘zombie institutions.’ Thus far, they’ve been doing it in a completely offhanded manner, most likely because the truth is so horrifying. However, even casual references are worrisome. As you know, currently, only a few living people, like Guy Boy Man, recognize us for what we are and these people, heretofore, have been unorganized. In the recent past, when groups of people learned of our existence and accepted it as fact, it was too late, because they were guests at a surprise massacre party. But if Guy Boy Man manages to convince large numbers of living people we, the zombies, exist, and are intent on turning them into zombies or, failing that, eating them, it’d be catastrophic for us. It’d spoil the meat, for one thing. You don’t want freaked out meat. You want it to be freaked out when you’re just about to eat it and when you actually dig in but you don’t want it to be freaked out the whole time it’s alive or anything. That’d just make it tough. For another thing, we’d invariably start encountering pockets of organized resistance. As I’m sure you know, there already are a few groups of supernatural creatures intent on overthrowing zombies.”

“I don’t know anything about that,” I say, quickly.

“I’m sure you don’t,” says the director, dismissively. “It’s just that, apparently, the albinos have curtailed our zombie appetites just enough to prevent us from self-destructing. That’s our natural orientation, Buck. Albinos are our super scary saviours.

There was a time when our appetite for living human flesh didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. There weren’t that many zombies and there were lots of people so everybody was happy. Well, the people weren’t happy. They were terrified, obviously. But the zombies were happy. At least, the ones that weren’t depressed. Anyway, there were a few zombies, lots of people, etc. Then, all of a sudden—what do you know?—there were fewer people and lots of zombies. Alarmed at the stomach turning turn of events, supernatural creatures got involved. I guess they really went to town on us. When it became clear we, the zombies, were going to be wiped out by supernatural creatures, albinos intervened. They took control of our mindless minds. This is where the war proper, if a war can be proper, began. It’s doubtful any zombie managed to inflict casualties before receiving albino assistance. Before the albinos got involved, zombie troops would, invariably, rush headlong into brain-bashing disasters. With albino mind-controlling help, zombies began employing military strategies. The supernatural creatures started suffering losses. The loss of even a single supernatural life is catastrophic in that community and the albinos were prepared to sacrifice huge numbers of zombies to inflict casualties on supernatural creatures. At a certain point, the supernatural creatures realized something had changed but they had no idea that ‘something’ was the albinos. They only knew we, the zombies, were no longer, at least no longer always, mindless. They didn’t know what they were up against anymore.”

“They were up against albinos,” I sigh, wondering how anyone, or any group, could threaten or destroy a group of zombie-mind-controlling albinos, thereby threatening or destroying all zombie-unkind, including me, and the director. As if reading my thoughtless thoughts, the director nods. “They still don’t know about the albinos. They only know a powerful group, like the albinos, must exist, and be involved. It doesn’t matter. Actually, it does. It matters quite a bit. It’s a valuable piece of information. I don’t know why I said, ‘it doesn’t matter.’ Wait. Now I remember. I wanted to get back to the history. Reluctantly, the supernatural creatures agreed to a truce, which they negotiated with us, or, rather, which they unknowingly negotiated with the albinos. Through us, the albinos struck a deal with supernatural creatures, in which we, the zombies, agreed, to our own benefit, not to eat all living human beings—all at once—and to infect only those living people who unmistakeably embrace the zombie way of life. In return, supernatural creatures agreed to hide us—zombies, for the most part—and our destruction—to a limited extent—from the living. Mostly the young, whom, as you’re aware, we train to become future zombies, or, failing that, taste great. The truce continues to this dark day. Thus far, try as they might, and they definitely do, no ragtag band of supernatural creature revolutionaries has been able to reopen hostilities.”

“Why would albinos interfere in a war between zombies and supernatural creatures in the first place?” I wonder, telepathically.

“Apparently, albinos use zombies as a work force and to forward their shadowy agenda. Buck, it seems you’ve landed in the middle of some serious political intrigue. The albinos tell me we’re at a crucial point in one large-scale financial transaction. This deal wasn’t supposed to happen now but it’s been hastened by Guy Boy Man’s theft of trillions of dollars from the global economy.”

“Piracy,” I correct.

“I’m sorry?”

“Guy Boy Man doesn’t steal or thieve; he pirates.” I have to be as honest as possible at all times. In my words and deeds. So the albinos in my head start to trust me. Trust is necessary for deception. I don’t know how or when I’ll deceive. I only know I will. I assume the albinos know that, too. But if I don’t plan it, if I act spontaneously and until that time, I do whatever the albinos want and then in the future I act without thinking, which should be easy for me because I’m a mindless zombie, perhaps I can protect Fairy_26 and maybe even Guy Boy Man. “How did the albinos get so powerful?” I ask. “Isn’t albinism a genetic mutation? I thought it didn’t get passed on very well.”

The director just looks at me for a while with blood on his hands. “Buck, they were in my office for less than two hours. We talked business. I don’t know anything about albinism. I’m not a scientist. I didn’t even know ‘albinism’ was a word until you used it. And I certainly don’t know anything about their history.”

CHAPTER
ELEVEN
Why Does Barry Graves Care?

I’m interested,” I say, about the albinos’ history.

“I’m sure they’re flattered,” dismisses the director, wiping his bloody hands on his pants. “Look, Buck. I don’t need
albinos
to tell me Guy Boy Man is a problem. I’m mindless and I’m clinically depressed but I’m not suicidal. I have suicidal ideation but I’ve never acted on it. Anyway, we’ve been working on the Guy Boy Man situation for a while now. We’ve started committees, task forces, and working groups. We have lawyers working on it around the clock. Our communications experts are still looking into ways of subverting his message but Guy Boy Man seems to have foreseen every potential attack and he’s set-up defences in advance. We thought we had him with hate speech but he says he doesn’t hate people who belong to other religions; he just thinks they’re bad, wrong, unclean, inferior, and, ultimately, doomed to the fieriest depths of hell. He said he’s sure they feel the same about him and he’s right. Additionally, he argues, making fun of the most deeply held and cherished beliefs of other religions, along with their rituals and traditions, is one of the most deeply held and cherished tenets of
his
faith. Game over. Man wins.”

I look down at the shiny top of my walnut desk. In its gloss, I see the director. I wonder if he can see me in the desk too. Staring at the director in the polish, I reflect on Barry Graves, the good-looking zombie, the husband of Chi’s best friend, Deepah. Barry and I aren’t really friends. I suppose we get along as well as any two zombies whose wives are best friends but we’re not close. He’s been shot in the face, twice, and he’s been handsomely burned. He’s a real ladies zombie. He’s always flirting with women in the office. I think about his concern for me: pouring tomato soup on my head; making it look like I threw a Molotov cocktail; giving me a pep talk before I spoke with the director. Why does Barry Graves care? Is he having an affair with my wife? Did he think Chi would leave me if I got fired? Was he worried Chi would pressure him to leave Deepah so he and Chi could be together? Why does Barry Graves care?

Why does anybody?

“Should we surrender?”

Would I care if Barry Graves and my wife were having an affair? Don’t I want to get away from her and Constance and Francis Bacon? Don’t I want to get away from everything of which they remind me? My surrender. To everyone else’s happiness. And seeing how miserable we are despite my sacrifice. Staring at the director, the sparkling zombie in the glistening top of my desk, I wonder if the albinos have a way to resurrect us all.

“No,” he says. “We can’t. That’s not an option. God. I can’t believe it’s come to this.”

I look up at the director. “What, exactly, has it come to?”

“Albinos!” he exclaims, his face vacant.

“Right.”

“A movie executive!” he cries, expressionlessly. “A record industry rep!”

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay,” says the director, trying to regain his composure. “I’m just having . . .” He focuses. “We, the zombies, up to this point, have made no overt overtures to Guy Boy Man. We assumed he’d become one of us eventually. He’d become part of the system. He’d accept responsibility. But it appears Guy Boy Man doesn’t take anything seriously. Even that in which he believes most deeply. That’s what makes him so dangerous. He’s completely unpredictable. He does whatever he thinks is most amusing. He could give it all up tomorrow or he could raise an army.”

“He’s a human teenager,” I agree.

“The thing is,” broods the director, “he wouldn’t have to do anything differently. In public, he could rail against us all he likes. But in private, he’d accept our friendship. He’d stop ramping things up. He’d provide us with information every once in a while. We need intelligence. Already we’ve had reports of highly illegal black-market condom factories popping up.”

BOOK: Zombie Versus Fairy Featuring Albinos
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