The color of the universe and the walls of my house match almost perfectly. I don’t know how to feel about this. Should it make me feel more secure because in some meta way I am out in the universe even when I am at home alone, safe on my couch while I sip from oversized coffee mugs, watching the clouds roll by like massive white poodles out my window? Or should I be concerned that the universe is so dreadfully blah, instead of some raging orange or deep thoughts purple? I don’t know, but I think about it a lot anyway. I think about it as I stir my morning coffee with my pinky, because it’s cold on my porch and the coffee is hot. I think about it a lot especially then because of the name the scientists gave the universe’s color.
Sounds like a Starbucks drink. Maybe it is a Starbucks drink but I wouldn’t know. I don’t go there anymore, haven’t for a while now. It seemed cliche to me, to take my laptop, take my dizzy with stories head, take my inky words heart, to the place where everyone was doing the same. All typing. All those fingers clack clack clickety clack clack clacking on their keyboards or, for those really intent hipsters, their typewriters. Ha. A friend of mine had a typewriter. She lives in Manitoba now, where she does somersaults every morning and writes novels about snakes and cats and manages a lighthouse, spotlighting a new world every week. But yeah, she had a typewriter, and it worked out for her. Maybe I should get one too. Anyway, there’s been news this week that breaks me away from all of the cosmic latte stuff and whether or not I should repaint my walls. You know what it is?
That, folks and wokes, was decidedly the roughest transitional sentence in the history of all bad transitional sentences. Cosmic lattes to Starbucks to typewriters to Manitoba novelist friends to zombies. Ah, but how else am I to start the story? It’s been a week, that’s certain. Sort of all started when I woke up last Monday and I found a row of sharp tooth marks in the soft wood of my windowsill, like the bitemarks of a puppy, but I don't have pets. I had a betta fish named Louis Violetta, but I fed her too much after forgetting when her mealtimes were. My house plant lives above my bed, but you know most plants don’t bite. I named it Audrey 2 anyway, just because I’ve always wanted to be like Seymour, minus the whole carnivorous disaster thing. The singing, though, and the defending pretty girls against their sardonic dentist boyfriends, that was neat. Mm, getting off track again, but right, zombies. It wasn’t my first guess, okay. My first guess was that I was still dreaming, and that at any second a bowl of baked bean bologna would dump out from the sky and it would be raining canned meat like it always, for some reason, does in my dreams. My next guess was that because I hadn’t put on my glasses yet, or because I’d spent too much time doing Sharpie work last night, my eyes were playing tricks on me and my dumb face, but it wasn’t that either.
Like I said, it was zombies, and they weren’t even fourth on my guess list.
Seventeen tiny sharp razor holes in my windowsill, and I was worried about whether or not I had enough breakfast cereal to tide me over till lunch, when I would pour the exact same cereal into a different bowl and call it lunch cereal instead. Needless to say, I ignored them when I couldn’t find the solution, and went on with my day. It wasn’t until much later, about the time I got home from Waffle House with a sackful of garden picked pickles for my friend (who had an unhealthy obsession with them, for reasons unknown to me) that I realised something was wrong. A notification popped up on the top of my phone screen and I froze.
Be Warned, Stay Home
That was normal, right? It had been a rough year for the universe, certainly not a cosmic latte but instead, I don’t know, a flesh melting lava? Of course I should be warned. I slid the notification away. Of course I should stay home. I guess that meant I should cut down on the trips to Waffle House, but the thing was, when it comes to Waffle House, I abide by no laws.
Someone else texted me and I flinched. It was an article that they’d shared with me and the headline was disconcerting to say the absolute least.
Zombies Take The City, 2,000 People Infected and Dangerous, 786 Infected and Contained.
So that was naturally when everything, all the bitemarks and the smell in my attic and the way hardly anyone was out in the streets today and the way the people who were out looked at me like I was either bizarre or really, really brave, made sense.
Who would’ve thought I’d live to see the apocalypse?
I sent the text saying I had pickles to my friend and set the phone down, leaning hard against my counters. My fingers were cold again. I read the headline again and decided this could only be settled over Little Debbies and Netflix reruns, so I texted my buddies and partners in high sea crime. They’d be here soon, and if there was anyone I wanted to spend my last hypothetical days with, it would be them. My parents had left for the moon a few months ago, so they were safe. I would call them later, make my amends and say my farewells. Or maybe, once my friends got here, I would be so inspired to not die and become one beige splotch in the vast universal coffee mug that we would make a run for it.
Me: guys come over, the world is ending
Pickles: do u have my pickles
Me: duh are u coming to get them
Me: please I don’t want to be zombie food alone
RainbowA: yeet b there soon
Me: awesome who else will be companions in our last hoorah
Me: I have ice cream and a tv
ShipCaptain: It’s a Thursday, isn’t it?
Me: Actually yes it is
ShipCaptain: Ahh how fitting, I could never get the hang of Thursdays
Me: yeah well get the hang of public transport and get over here
ShipCaptain: will do
Me: I wish Z didn’t live in Manitoba
QueenBrocolli: dude we all do
ShipCaptain: ain’t that the truth
ZeBabs1336: Just because I’m in Manitoba doesn’t mean I can’t see your messages
Me: we’re being nice
ShipCaptain: always and forever
RainbowA: *rolls eyes*
Me: okay, love you guys, be here soon and don’t get caught up in zombieland
I signed off the chat and sighed. If only I knew for certain they would all make it here safely. I was also feeling eerily calm for an apocalypse, but you know what they say. Calm before the storm. I shot off a text to a few more folks but they said they were with family but would call me later. Later. Never had a single word seemed so futile. A green, decaying zombie hand smacked my front window with a sickening splotch of a sound and slid, sludgy skin leaving slime stains on the glass. Ah, and Wednesday was cleaning day, so now all my hard work had gone to waste.
“Alexa, play Let It Go.”
No sound. I didn’t have an Alexa anymore. Sold that baby on Craigslist after one too many three am scares. Plus I could use the money, so it wasn’t a great loss. After all, there was always Spotify. As I swiped through my dozens of playlists, a battering of dismembered limbs peppered the outside of my house. To the tune of the Sesame Street playlist I made to play when babysitting the kids down the road, I bit my nails and resisted the urge to make myself another gallon of chamomile tea. They should be here soon, I thought. Why weren’t they here? I clicked the messages app again.
Me: guys I’m getting worries lol where r u
*your message was not delivered*
My internet connection had gone out, apparently, but the tinny voices of Elmo and Ernie still played on, an upbeat tune to a somber moment. I slipped into my boots and brushed my hair with an old salad fork, reapplied ChapStick as though it were a zombie shield and headed back to my room. My suitcases, halfway open and belongings scattered across the floor and bed, would have to be coming with me. I didn’t bother packing clothes for the trip; I wanted weapons.
After all, this was the apocalypse, not Coachella.
I had to go find my friends and I didn’t know how I would do that, not exactly, but what is exact about the end of the world? Nothing, except that it’s mostly likely ending. I sent a text to my parents, saying I hoped to talk to them before my brains got eaten like overripe cotton candied ramen noodles, then stopped at the kitchen to cram the contents of my cupboard into my snacks bag. They could be a weapon too. I snatched knives and belts and an old set of bowling pins.
ShipCaptain: can we watch sherlock pls
My phone buzzed and I was never more relieved to hear it.
Me: We can honestly watch whatever you want. Are you on your way?
ShipCaptain: will be soon
Me: ah well I just left the house to save everyone
Pickles: rhonny why
RainbowA: so overdramatic I literally don’t have a car give me a sec girly
Me: sorry i wanted to drop everything and find you what
QueenBrocolli: go back insidddde and be safe weirdo
Me: but it’s scary
ShipCaptain: but do you want to die or what dude like make up your mind
Me: thanks guys love you too also though, I can’t go back inside
ZeBabs1336: why not?
I couldn’t go back inside because a.) I had locked the doors and left my keys on the stupid beige kitchen counter and b.) um, remember those bite marks were on the inside of the windowsill?
There was almost definitely a zombie somewhere in my house.
If the apocalypse had a color, what would it be, and would Lowe’s carry that paint too?
Me: why don't we just meet at Waffle House instead?