A Life With Zombies

Writer and zombie afficionado Chuck McKenzie recently posted this true story to the Southern Horror Yahoo Group — a tale of an ordinary life with zombies, travel, perceptive children and Michael Jackson.

I’m generally not the sort to bore others with anecdotes about my kid, but I feel compelled to share the following conversation I had with my 5-year-old son this afternoon while he and my wife were driving me home from work. If nothing else, it goes some way to explaining why I’m … like I am. I get it from my kid, obviously … And no, I promise I’m not making any of the following up:

Max (looking out the window at a passing graveyard): Look Dad! A graveyard! (Pause) That’s where zombies come from, isn’t it?
Me (looking guiltily at wife): Um. Yeah. Kind of. Just in stories, though.
Max: Is James Brown buried there?
Me: Who?
Max: James Brown.
Me: Who’s James Brown?
Max: You know, the man who sings the ‘I Feel Good’ song.
Me: How do you know about James Brown and ‘I Feel Good’?
Max: Is James Brown buried there?
Me: Um, no, he’s buried in America.
Max: Oh. (Pause). Where?
Me (in best ‘end-of-coversation’ voice): I don’t know.
Max: Oh. (Pause). Is James Brown dead?
Me: Yes. That’s why they buried him.
Max: Oh. (Pause). If James Brown was a zombie –
Wife (in a warning tone): Max…
Max: — would he sing disco, or eat people?
Me: Um, no, he, uh … James Brown sang soul music, mate. That’s, uh … a bit different to disco music.
Max: Oh. (Pause). You like disco music, don’t you, Dad.
Me (Cautiously): Um … yes?
Max: And you like zombies, don’t you, Dad?
Me: Yes.
Max: If James Brown was a zombie —
Wife: Max, can we stop talking about zombies?
Max: — would you write a story about it?
Me: Um. I don’t know. Maybe.
Max: Oh. (Pause). You like to dance to disco music, don’t you, Dad?
Me: Um. Yes. But I don’t any more. It upsets your mother.
(Max begins giggling to himself).
Wife: What are you laughing at, Max?
Max: Daddy dances like a nob!
Me & Wife: Max!
Me: That’s not true!
Wife: Well …
Max: Your dancing gives everyone the shits, Dad.
Me (angry now): Max! Where did you hear that?
Max (after a pause): Mummy.
(Silence in car for well over a minute).
Max: Dad!
Me: YES!
Max: Is Michael Jackson a zombie?
Me (giving up): Yes. Yes, he is.
Max: That’s so cool!
Last year Chuck wrote a highly entertaining zombie tale online, adding new content diary-fashion over the course of the year. It traced one man’s experience of the zombie apocalypse in a suburban setting, one day at a time. Unfortunately that work is no longer available, but the good news is he has started a new one for 2009, Deadwalkers: Life After the Zombie Apocalypse, which you can read here. This is definitely worth following, people, as Chuck — apart from being a very funny man — knows his zombies and has a knack for targeting the humorous, everyday absurdities that bring a story alive.
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