We had all moved to the same backwater town, about a half hour outside of the city, for the cheap rents during grad school. Our four households not only doubled the town’s population of twenty-somethings but comprised the entire geek scene, a new species migrating in from hipper climes. When gas prices skyrocketed after Katrina, we were in a unique position to carpool together.
We changed it up often, tweaking our rides and our schedules, using different combinations of carpool buddies to keep things fresh, but the months of carpooling strained our conversational talents and we often fell back on ye olde standby: the zombie plan.
“I’m telling you,” Sarah told us on the way home that day, “Walmart is the way to go. We weld the carts into an impassable cage structure in the entryway and hole up for the duration. We’d have clothes, food, tools – heck, they even have ammo. We could spend our days on the roof, sniping the zombies in the parking lot.”
“But how would we get there after the invasion?” I asked. “It’s half an hour away. So much could go wrong.”
“Infestation,” said Alex. “You said ‘invasion,’ like they’re some army waiting to invade our borders. You meant ‘infestation.’”
“Fine, but that doesn’t answer the question,” I said.
“Oh, but it does,” Alex said. “No bio-terror zombie infestation is going to start here. We’re in the middle of nowhere! We’ll hear about it on the news with days to spare.”
“Hang on, now,” Matt said. “If we’ve got advanced notice, we can do better than Walmart.”
Sarah scoffed. The Walmart plan is, of course, genius, and we all knew it. “What did you have in mind?”
Matt drummed his fingers on the steering wheel. “What about a fortified island?”
“That’s a terrible idea,” Alex said, bluntly. “We’d be sitting ducks.”
“I don’t believe the shambling undead are coordinated enough to swim,” Matt said.
“You’re right,” Alex said, “but obviously the virus that causes zombification is anaerobic – I mean, zombies don’t breathe, right? – so zombies wouldn’t have to be able to swim. They could just walk along the ocean floor.”
I wasn’t convinced. “They wouldn’t make it. Zombies are dead things and fish eat dead things.”
“Not so!” Alex said. “The scavengers that eat dead things only eat fresh, non-diseased dead things. They would smell the zombification virus and leave the zombies alone. Besides, even if the human zombies got eaten, things that eat zombies become zombies. An island would leave us vulnerable to zombie fish.”
We drove several minutes in silence as this sank in. “Remember that shark at the aquarium?” I said. They all nodded. The shark with the crooked jaw had teeth curling outward at a variety of odd angles. It was just the sort of shark I could imagine becoming a zombie.
Sarah shuddered and said, “At least zombie sharks can’t get out of the water.”
The car settled into silence as we pulled up in front of Alex and Sarah’s house. It seemed as good a place as any to end the conversation, until Matt said, “But if you give the shark a skateboard…”
“No,” Sarah said. “Just no.”
“Well, think about it,” Matt said. “It will give us something to talk about tomorrow.”