My Teacher is a Zombie -- No, Really! | Audio
By Tina L. Jens
Tina Jens is the author of the award-winning novel THE BLUES AIN'T NOTHIN': TALES OF THE LONESOME BLUES PUB. She's had short stories published in approximately 75 small press, web-zines, and mass market anthologies. Recent pieces appeared in F Magazine, Hypertextmag.com, Brainharvest.com, CafeIrreal.com, and she has a story upcoming in Weird Tales. She teaches fantasy writing at Columbia College - Chicago and produces the Gumbo Fiction Salon monthly reading series.
We're all in danger, and I've told everyone I know, but no one will believe me! You probably won't believe me either, but I'm gonna tell you anyway; and someday, when they find a bunch of dead teenagers and the story hits the papers, you'll remember that I told you so!
So what's the big crisis? This: There's a zombie living in my high school, in the teachers' lunchroom. It's hard to tell, 'cause most of the flesh has flaked off his face, but I think it used to be Mr. Decker, the Algebra II teacher.
No one knows for sure when he died. He just started spending more and more time in the teachers' lunchroom, and skipping more and more of his classes, until one day Principal Shiley hired the substitute full time, and Mr. Decker never left the lunchroom again.
I've never seen him up close, 'cause students aren't allowed in the teachers' lunchroom even if you're a courier delivering a message slip from the main office. You still have to knock
on the door and wait for the teachers to put out their cigarettes, fan the smoke away and hide the ashtrays.
Then Mr. Shehan will open the door just a crack and say gruffly, "No kids allowed! What do you want, anyway?"
I'll hold the pink note out and say, "I have a message for Mrs. Green."
Mr. Shehan always answers, "We'll just see about that!" then grabs the pink slip out of my hand and slams the door. One time he slammed the door too fast and the paper got caught, half of the message inside the lunchroom and the other half flopping gently in the breeze from the multi-purpose room window. I waited to see if he'd open the door again to rescue the other half of the message, but he never did.
Mr. Shehan guards the door so close that I've never really gotten a good look at the zombie, but sometimes when Mr. Shehan's back is turned I'll peek through the narrow window in the door. As far as I can tell, the zombie hangs out behind the Pepsi machine.
My brother, who's a senior -- so he thinks he knows everything -- says the zombie in the teachers' lunchroom is just a myth, a whatchacallit – "social archetype." (He learned that word in AP English.) 'Cause if it were real, it'd eat all the teachers one by one, he says. First we'd notice there were more and more substitutes. And in thirteen and a half weeks we wouldn't have school any more because all the teachers would be dead and there aren't that many substitutes to go around. He swears on his SAT scores it would take thirteen and a half weeks, exactly, 'cause he did the Algebra equation. But he's not supposed to swear, and I don't think he used the right variable, because he didn't account for the fact that the substitutes wouldn't know about the zombie and so would probably go in the teachers' lunchroom and get eaten in turn. And who knows? Maybe Algebra teachers don't have to follow the Algebra equation rules when they turn into zombies, anyway.
My friend, Josh, whose mom works in the office, says there can't be a zombie because the teachers are all still here -- except for Mrs. Hodgson who took early retirement 'cause she couldn't stand to be the study hall monitor anymore. And, according to the attendance records, only three students have gone missing this year.
That's sure not much food for a zombie when we've been in school for four months already this year. And whoever heard of a zombie on a diet?
But I saw Mrs. Hocker from the cafeteria, (and isn't that a gross name for a cook -- but I guess it's not her fault her dad had such a gross last name; but every time she hands me my lunch tray I can't help thinking that she might have actually done it, you know, hocked in the food!). Anyway, I saw her carrying a whole plateful of hamburgers into the teachers' lunchroom last Friday. So maybe they've taught the zombie that it's dangerous to eat raw meat. You can catch botulism from it, you know.
My best friend, Kara, says she saw zombie footprints in the girls' shower room after school one day. She knew it was zombie footprints, 'cause there were flakes of like, decomposing skin on the floor, and she found half of a blackened finger stuck under the hot water knob. Eeeeew!
You know what that means don't you? Well, don't you? There's not only a zombie in our high school, there's a nine-fingered zombie pervert in our high school! And I think that's illegal.
The only thing I do know for sure is, I don't act up in class anymore. 'Cause we don't have hamburgers for lunch every Friday, and I don't want to get stuck in detention alone with a hungry zombie shambling through the halls.