No Zombie for a Neighbor
Part Two: Another Form of Death
Annette did not pick up her phone, but I felt relief upon seeing her door open. She and one of the pizza men pushed out the body of the other. I noticed that the one with her was the one that had climbed down. Not having to worry about zombies immediately around me, I spoke to her directly without worrying about the phone.
“The water. He got some water in his mouth. That had to be it. I am boiling my water from now on.”
We had run out of the regular drinks. While Theo and I did mostly drink coffee or tea, the children tended to drink Kool-Aid. Concerned for their safety, I considered boiling the water as well.
“They were coming to my side of the street, but I sent them to you. Enjoy.”
“He is not the cute one, so I am going to have to talk to him first.”
I waved, glad to know that she was all right. Losing one of the pizza men did trouble me, but I understood that they had done properly by killing him before he killed them. Trusting that she could check out the other man, I looked to Theo with thoughts of making certain that he was all right.
We both checked out the water in the shower before stepping in. It seemed all right, and after a few concerned minutes Theo and I were enjoying the water and each other. Stepping out of the shower, I made certain that my husband knew that I had missed him.
The children were glad to see their Uncle Theo back in the house. He played with them while I made breakfast. Considering the morning activity, including Annette and I talking loudly to each other from across the street, Theo considered it best for us to stay quiet for a time. He thus stayed in the house and for a time we were just a family.
It did not bother me when Theo brought out a camera. A feeling of fright did come over me when he surprised me with the first flash. Looking at Theo I however again found myself saying that he was a good man, and it did cheer me when the children wanted to have their pictures taken with me. I thus enjoyed the time of becoming a part of the historical record of this family while telling myself that I would stay a part of the lives of these people.
Annette forced me to explain myself to her later in the day. She really was not pleased with Steve, so called me wondering about my relationship with Theo. I explained how I had been treating the men. I actually came upon Theo no different than Al. He had been a good companion, but caught away from his place of security. I however met Theo inside a protected place where he watched over children. He thus had things that Al did not, and as I got to know Theo more I found about him that I liked. I explained to Annette that it did trouble me that he went to such extents to maintain his part of our agreement, although I felt he took more risks than I did in my bare displays.
“You actually serve him coffee in the nude?”
“I did once, and he took off and ran the lines to seal off our part of the street. I thus feel that he deserves having me do it again.”
“Yeah, I guess. I still don’t believe that I could do that.”
Those words did not trouble me. What I did for my man were between me and him. Annette could certainly set her own limits with the men in her life. She however spoke as if my simple act of gratuity had been a major performance.
“Did you take off your clothes slowly?”
“We had just come from the shower and all I had on was a robe. I just took the robe off.”
“You bathed together?”
I wondered how white girls got pregnant as I replied, “Yes, we bathe together.”
Again she somehow connected a simple period of play with a major performance. She asked about me doing all sorts of things with Theo. Truthfully, I felt since we did things together to get dirty, it was only proper to get clean together. Annette however imagined that granting a man certain privileges with her would obligate her in other ways as well. It was my words in reply that actually troubled me, although I spoke them feeling they were honest enough.
“Listen, I feel that Theo is earning everything I do for him. He is not my first man, but he is the first to actually respond to what I am saying in a manner that I am forced to feel does obligate me. I however believe that I could have a good life with him.”
“I wish you well, but I don’t feel that way about Steve.”
“There has to be other men out there. I mean, Bruce Williams reports each night from a community of people.”
Those words gave Annette some peace. While she and I had different manners of treating men, she wanted to find a good man like I had. Feeling that she did not have to settle for Steve, she relaxed and ended the phone call.
As I returned from where I had gone off to speak privately, I saw Theo look up from where he sat fully clothed. “I am going to the other house. If there are more than a couple of zombies, I won’t take the risk. I would however like to know something about the place.”
I looked outside thinking to let the children spend time playing. The grass however still looked wet, and I knew that the children would probably get some in their mouths. I told the children that they would just have to play inside today, then I spoke my concern for my husband.
“Let me get on some clothes. There is no reason that you have to do this alone.”
“No, there’s not, but there is also no demand that you go with me.”
“Yes, there is. You are my husband. There are things that you will have to do on your own, and there are things that I will have to do. The rest however should be done together.”
He smiled, then said, “Get dressed.”
After again telling the children to play quietly, Theo and I left the house. We moved in a plodding fashion with each of us concerned for falling. Just as we had warned the children about being safe, we altered our usual style of moving to better assure that we would not make a fatal mistake.
We killed three zombies. Both of us kept looking to the line of rope worried that zombies might begin challenging it. They did not appear to see us, and our attacks really did not make enough noise to attract any of the distant undead. After killing the third zombie, Theo and I felt safe in moving over the fence.
No zombies could be seen inside the house, so I used my long-handled hammer to break a window. We heard an alarm go off. Afraid of summoning zombies, Theo lifted me up so I could quickly unlatch the window and allow myself inside. I was assuring him that there were no zombies when the phone rang.
“This is SPA. We are reporting a break-in.”
“First, turn off the damn alarm. We don’t need the zombies.” Theo was lifting himself through the window, but stopped with an expression of surprise when the noise ceased. “Second, what are you doing still at your job?”
“Can’t go home, and the company is presently feeding and taking care of us. Probably going to only pay us at the regular rate, but not complaining at the moment.”
“Yes, okay, we are not who lives in this house, but came in to check it. Came in through a window so as not to break a door that zombies could come through. We will probably raid the refrigerator.”
They wanted to know who I was, and I wanted to know whose house we had broken into. We thus spoke for a time. I learned that the home belonged to a family called the Daniels. The husband had not been heard from, but the lady was with her father and mother truthfully only a number of blocks away. The protection agency seemed glad to hear that we were clearing our area, as most alarms that went off gained no answer causing them to believe that zombies were slowly taking over.
After hanging up the phone, it rang again after only a minute or two. I answered to hear the voice of Mrs. Daniels. She seemed glad to hear the voice of somebody who would speak to her, as if expecting some rough grumbles of someone not caring about the home they had entered. After telling her who we were, she gave me permission to take what I needed before making a request.
“Will you check on our dog?”
She promised me that knew it had been over a week. Theo was moving about looking at the place, and nodded when I mentioned a pet being in a bedroom. I saw him move down the hall then repeated his words of suspecting that the animal was a zombie.
Mrs. Daniels exclaimed, “How can it be a zombie? It was locked in its room!”
I worked to handle two conversations. The first was just trying to get the lady on the phone to understand that none of us knew how the zombie invasion had started. The evidence clearly stated that it was not a simple case of one zombie somehow being created then biting others. The other conversation was with my husband as he worked at just cracking a door to visually check on the animal.
Theo did not curse. I tended not to either, but that was simply because I had learned to speak without such words in serving the public. If around others that used improper language, I could easily match their word choices. I however learned that my husband also had certain words in his vocabulary.
“What is it, Theo?”
“Damn dog is not that big. It forced its way through enough that I think it bit my toe.”
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