Phoenix – Fear of a Zombie Planet


As far as I can tell, there was – maybe – one zombie. Zombie might even be too strong a word. Meth head who got off an emergency stretcher is probably closer to the truth. Unfortunately, the shambling corpse-like person had the bad sense to do this in front of St. Luke’s Medical Center in Phoenix.

Why was this such a bad move? Because Arizona was just dying for an excuse to go apeshit on everybody.

The “zombie” made it about seven disjointed steps before an EMT pulled out a 9mm and exploded his head. What’s that, you say? EMTs don’t carry guns? No, not as a rule, but in Arizona you don’t even need a Concealed Carry permit if you’re over 21.

When the cops arrived, there was no question as to whether the medical professional had made the right call. The only information anyone needed was to know how many people might have become infected. Everyone waiting in the ER who had anything that resembled a bite or a deep cut or a rash or a stomach ache was taken outside. No time to verify the symptoms. Summary executions were more merciful than becoming a monster trapped between life and death with an unholy appetite. And, if there was some collateral damage, well, those folks wouldn’t have wanted to be around for the end anyway.

The last line of reason was Sheriff Joe Arpaio, so of course, no one stood a chance. When he got word, he immediately razed Tent City. Can’t have criminals going undead. They’d be, like, way worse than normal undead.

He made the announcement in front of the Korean War Memorial. “They’re here,” he said. “They look like us and you don’t know who to trust. Probably came in from Mexico. Good night.”

And with that, everyone disappeared. Holed up, as it were. They tucked themselves into well fortified rooms, barricaded their doors, and kept only a single window open to shoot out of. The streets of Tempe and Mesa and Glendale and Chandler became eerie long cul de sacs of silent cookie-cutter houses. Occasionally, a single shot would ring out when someone who hadn’t heard the news would come outside to get the paper or mow their lawn.

Some took the roofs of malls and convenience stores. Some invaded the retirement homes to take over the towers, though the residents of the Park Regency and Sunrise at Gilbert and the Friendship Village were only too happy to be handed weapons and told to aim between the eyes.

Obviously, there were more than a few bunkers around town. There was canned food and armored trailers and gas masks for whatever reason. And ammo. Like immeasurable shit-tons of ammo.

It wasn’t long before the survivors had managed to isolate themselves completely. Of course, by survivors I mean 97 percent of the population, but that still meant about 44,000 dead in a week, so not bad. The bodies didn’t so much pile up as trickle across the streets as one person or another would brave going for a walk. But soon there were no more ventures. No one that wasn’t part of humanity’s last stand. Everyone was locked away in their own private paranoia, growing ever more suspicious of their families and waiting to go out in a fiery blaze against a mindless Hispanic … I mean, undead horde.

Somehow the end they always dreamed of was way less satisfying in person.


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