So yesterday, we went to one of the exam rooms at the CPTLD. It was me, Dr. N, Richard, the other cryptothan fellow (a nice Brazilian woman) and two guards with shotguns. Serious stuff. We were all wearing plastic suits with that new ZombWeave Kevlar covering that joggers use. It was probably not not necessary. The zombie they chose to start with was not in fighting shape.
First of all, he was a triple amputee. It wasn’t undeath-related injury or acrolysis, either – these were healed stumps. The amputations had happened before the guy was zombified. He was also pretty cachectic, which most zombies really are not. Richard told me he was one of the people on whom they did the zombicillin experiments 50 years ago.
There has always been a fascination with the relative resistance to putrefaction that zombies seem to have (one of the many mysteries of zombism, along with how they move and I guess everything else). Several decades ago, there was an attempt to see whether we could use a sort of an extract of zombie tissue, a zombie lysate, in patients who had terminal infectious disease. The idea was that the zombie juice would confer some resistance to the infection in these already terminal patients. It actually worked in monkeys and rats, at least to the degree that it was tried in a few human cases. In almost none of them did it do anything, positive or negative, but two or three of them converted. It turns out that the ones that converted had all been given an extract that had included a zombie’s teeth (which you would think they would have known to avoid, right?). This guy was one of those.
The zombie wasn’t really thrashing or anything, just kind of slowly writhing on the table. Usually they put opaque facemasks on the zombs whenever they take them out of storage, but this one just had instead a clear, thick plastic shield. I could see its whole face. It looked over at me with those weird yellow eyes that they develop after the first couple of years, opened its mouth and just left it open. It was toothless. An old zombie, from back when they thought removing the teeth made them less infectious. I could barely move. No one would say anything if I refused to do it – I was in the process of framing my excuses for backing out when I leaned down and bit its arm.
I distinctly heard him say “Ouch.” Then there was blood everywhere. I don’t even know where it was coming from. I turned and bolted, went to the bathroom, threw up, brushed my teeth with my finger, and then just sat on the toilet for a little while. Richard came in to ask if I was ok.
“I’m fine. Just sitting the rest out.”
“Well, he woke up. But he’s not too healthy. When we do this again, we’ll have to have a code team ready.”
“Yeah. Sure. Can’t wait.”
Dr. N then busted into the men’s room. “It was wonderful!” she shouted in a Russian-inflected bellow from the other side of the stall. She was getting a little choked up. “This is just…just the…the most beautiful thing!”
I for one am not really looking forward to a repeat of this beautiful thing, but we are going to try for another demo tomorrow. I asked to be given a Xanax beforehand, and they are cool with that. Meanwhile, the guy I woke up did not make it. I guess in addition to the pneumonia for which they originally gave him the zombicillin, he had a huge abdominal aortic aneurysm that ruptured 15 minutes after he woke up. He didn’t even make it to the OR.