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I'd been expecting my ex-boyfriend to show up sooner or later, and when he did, I knew he'd probably want to eat my brain.
When the moaning and thumping started, I ignored it, thinking it was my upstairs neighbor having sex with his girlfriend again. As the moaning grew louder and drowned out the sitcom I was only half watching, I realized the noise was coming from zombies.
I threw down my Psych 501 textbook and stumbled toward the drafty window, still wrapped in my leopard print Snuggie. I told myself I was ready for this moment. Still, it didn't make my heart pound any less as I yanked open the blinds and peered out into the moonlit night.
Kevin stared at me from the other side of the windowpane. Dirt caked his face, his once-shaggy, hipster haircut matted to his head. The red of his lips stood out against his ashen face. They were either covered with blood or lipstick—you never could tell with Kevin. Now that he was living-impaired, I didn't expect death to put a damper on his womanizing.
The dark suit he'd worn at his funeral last month was pretty much intact, and his skin hadn't fallen off yet. I couldn't say as much for his two friends standing on the lawn behind him. One was missing chunks of face and a autumn leaves were stuck to his sweater. The other had an eyeball dangling down his cheek, his jaw slack and exposing a rotting black tongue. I'd seen worse-looking zombies back home in Louisiana, but the sight still made the spicy chicken wings I'd made for dinner rise up in my throat.
I covered my nose and mouth with my Snuggie, trying to block out the stench of formaldehyde and decomposing flesh that seeped through the cracks of the closed window. My voice was muffled. "What is it this time?"
"Leticia baaaaby, you know I'd only rise from the grave if it was important," Kevin said, his voice garbled in a slushy moan.
Considering the first time he'd risen had been to crash a football game at the University of Oregon, and the second time had been to crash a kegger, I knew ‘important' was subjective.
I picked up the bottle of pumpkin spice fresh air spray from the bookcase and spritzed the window, so I could breathe. "What do you want?"
"I missed yoooou. I needed yoooou."
I rolled my eyes, more annoyed than afraid now. "Yeah, you needed me so much you had sex with Sara Palmer in the parking lot of Dairy Queen."
"Baaaaby, you're the only oooone for me."
"I'm not your baby," I said. "We broke up two months ago. Why don't you go to Sara's dorm?"
"Saraaaa doesn't haaaaave caaaable," Dangly-Eye said.
Kevin frowned and elbowed his friend which caused a few of the dude's ribs to tear through his shirt.
"He waaaaaants you for your braaaaaain, too," Missing-Flesh-Face said and then snickered.
"Guuuuys, you aren't helping." Kevin's raspy voice rose.
I crossed my arms, almost too indignant to speak. "Let me get this straight--you came here to watch some stupid TV show?"
"It's the big gaaaame."
"But you didn't come to me first, did you? You went to Sara's. And I assume from the bits of gore on your face you ate her brains?"
"Um. . . ."
"Fine. We can do this the hard way," I muttered, turning back to the TV.
I wasn't a witch doctor or voodoo queen, but I had gotten my undergraduate degree in psychology at the University of Louisiana, and I had picked up a few things about magic--and men--along the way.
When I pulled the TV over to the window, they gave each other high fives with the best coordination one might expect from zombies--which meant falling all over each other. One of them lost an arm in the process. I headed for the fridge, retrieved the little yogurt cup of blood that I'd been draining from packages of chicken wings for the last two weeks, and set it on the bookcase.
All three of them had their faces pressed up against the window, peering at the TV, shouting and groaning what channel the game was on. I ignored them as I scanned the TV listings. I flipped through the channels, their shrieking reaching a crescendo as I passed the game and left the screen on some sickly sweet Hallmark movie.
I yanked the window open and poured the chicken blood on them. Before the placebo of black magic wore off, I said, "With this blood I command you: get your sorry asses back to your graves this instant, or your bones will be rooted to this spot forever and you'll be forced to endure chick-flicks for eternity."
They clutched at their eyes in agony, either because of the pregnant farm girl scene they'd just witnessed or the Tabasco sauce I'd mixed with the blood. They lurched away, stumbling into each other, wailing into the night.
Thankfully, there were some constants on this earth: one being that most men, dead or alive, would do anything to avoid watching girly movies on Lifetime.
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