Her name was Lilly Belle, and she was about as beautiful a woman as I have ever seen. She had tar black hair running down the middle of her back and she had these big bushy eyebrows like Brooke Shields. She had a mole above her lip that reminded me of Marilyn Monroe. I ran into her in at The Brass Monkey after about twenty bottles of Dixie beer. “Hey there, Honey,” I said in my suave voice. “They call me the Love Zombie.”
She looked at me like I’d just asked her to French kiss a porcupine. “Does that line ever work?”
“It works on the kind of girls who will go home with a guy like me.”
“Those aren’t ladies.”
She had a point. As I was quickly finding out, it wasn’t like it was in the old days when all you had to do was walk into a bar, scan the room until something pretty looked your way. Ever since I died things have become a little more complicated. It ain’t like the stories you read in books or see on TV or in the movies.
Take all those vampire stories for instance. In Fantasy Land, being dead appears exotic. All these chickadees wetting their panties over these pale dead monsters. The real world is nothing like that. Pale guys have nothing on a man with a tan. Pale means you don’t get out much. It suggests anemia, and anemia is not a turn-on. I can’t emphasize that enough.
Then there’s me. I’m a little green. I can’t tell you how many women walk away from me in bars once they notice my skin color is not a result of poor lighting.
And that’s nothing compared to when they find out I don’t have a heartbeat. You can forget it. In vampire stories, sleeping with some sexy dead dude seems exotic. In the real world, there’s a thing called necrophilia--vampire novelists should look it up.
Here’s what a vampire personals ad would look like in the real: Single Supernatural Paranormal, pale, cold and stiff, seeks sexy necrophiliac to keep me warm at night. Must be okay with cannibalism.
How many women do you think that ad would attract?
Well, maybe a few. There’s always a few who are into the weird stuff. Just like there are always a few who are into a guy like me. I tell you though, it takes a special kind of lady to hook up with a zombie.
Lilly Belle was not that kind of lady. She left me at the bar, sucking on an empty beer bottle. I would have ordered another but I was tapped out, so I threw a handful of peanuts into my mouth, and swiveled around to check out what was left of the scenery. To tell you the truth, there wasn’t much to look at. It was getting near closing time, and most of the patrons had skedaddled. Earnestine and Willy had gone home fifteen beers earlier. I saw a few good-lookin’ ladies mingling about, but they was all paired up with dudes. Then I looked down at one of the tables near the bandstand--the band was long gone, and that area was all dark and deserted except for this one lone figure dressed in black. She had curly blonde hair and she had her head down on the table like she was asleep. I took one last sip off my bottle, found one last swallow of foam, and then slipped off my bar stool and headed in for the kill.
“What’s the matter pretty lady? Your boyfriend leave you all alone?”
She looked up at me with these big sad eyes, like at first she couldn’t see me, but then her expression changed--like a flicker of curiosity passed through her mind--and she lifted her head off the table. “Who are you?”
I thought about calling myself the Love Zombie again, but my previous result had been less than satisfactory, and I didn’t know if this chick knew Lilly Belle. I couldn’t stand the thought of those two birds yapping about my cheesy line, so I just told her my name was Bo.
“Hey Bo, you wanna buy me a beer?”
I was just trying to piece together how I was going to either a) buy this chick a brewskie with approximately twenty cents in my pocket or b) convince her that she didn’t really want a beer, when c) the lights came on and the bartender cried out, “That’s it, folks, you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.” I was happy to go with that one.
“I didn’t even hear last call,” she said.
“What’s your name?” I asked, but damned if I can remember what she said. She gave me a smile. As we shuffled toward the door, I regaled her with the tale of my recent demise and resurrection. Long story short, we took a little walk out into the parking lot, and that’s when I remembered I didn’t have a ride back to Skwerly’s shack. Earnestine and Willy had gone home in the pickup but I had been certain in my abilities to find a nice girl to drive me home. Unfortunately, she never had the chance.
As we were going out, Skwerly was going in, or at least trying to, he was in the midst of arguing with the bouncer.
“What choo mean, you close at two a.m.?” He asked the hulk standing before him. He looked at his watch, a big homemade piece a junk that looked like it came out of a 50s sci-fi movie. “It ain’t but one fifty nine!”
No doubt Skwerly would have argued for the remainder of that minute had he not spotted me trying to sneak by him.
“Hey, who dat over dere? Is dat my zombie?” He forgot about the bouncer and wandered over.
“Who dis pretty lady?”
As I had forgotten the girl’s name, an awkward silence followed. The girl swayed and smiled. I said, “This here’s Skwerly,” and she said hey.
All the while, Skwerly’s just staring at her like a Doberman stares at a piece of steak. “You sho’ is pretty,” he said, which was, like I said previously, a bit of a stretch. “Where ya’ll going?”
The girl looked at me, and as I had no good answer at the ready, I just shrugged.
“I know where ya’ll going. Ya’ll going home wit me.”
That’s how we ended up riding home in Skwerly’s Dodge Dart. There was a great big hole in the dashboard where the radio was supposed to be, Skwerly having taken it out for one of his science projects, but that didn’t stop him from swaying back and forth and singing at the top of his lungs, “Oh, girls jus wanna have fu-un. Yeah girls just wanna have fun.”
We all three crammed into the front seat, with the girl in the middle, and I could tell by the way he turned and sang to her, that he was putting on his best moves, like he was serenading her or something. He nuzzled his face into her neck, and I had to reach over and grab the wheel to keep us from steering into a ditch.
I’d have to find a way to shake him loose.
Well we get back to the shack and Skwerly puts on a CD and as the Bangles start to sing, he goes to pop open a box of wine. I take the opportunity to slow dance with the girl to “Walk Like an Egyptian.”
She’s putting her body up against mine and grinding her pelvis into my frontal bone, and I start to think maybe this girl’s into me after all, but then here comes Skwerly carrying the box and three coffee mugs full of the pink stuff.
“Woo-eee, look at dem love birds,” Skwerly says, only coming out of Skwerly’s mouth the last word sounds like boids. “Look at dem love boids. Lemme get some of dat action.” And the girl turns and looks at him in a way that causes me some concern, like maybe she’s into it.
Skwerly dances his way into our huddle and passes off the wine mugs only I have to reach off to the side for mine, while he moves in real close to the girl with hers, and whispers something into her ear, and all of a sudden they’re the ones slow dancing and I’m a third wheel. The odd man out! The girl giggles at whatever it is Skwerly said, kind of a fake shocked kind of laugh, like he said something bawdy that she hadn’t heard and done a thousand times before, but then again maybe she can’t understand him. I know I can’t understand him half the time, and sometimes I laugh to try and cover it up.
I stand there for a second, sipping on cheap wine and staring at Skwerly, wondering how in the hell I’m gonna ditch this cock blockin’ sum bitch who seems hell bent on poaching my hard-earned tail. I abide by the age-old adage of finders keepers. I drained my mug and danced in on the girl, trying to ease old Skwerly out. Damned if he doesn’t move to her backside and grind her butt like she’s the meat in a man sandwich.
The girl is starting to register the effects of the wine, and I’m a little worried she’ll pass the point of no return. I may be a scumbag, but I don’t abide screwing no drunk girl (not too drunk a girl anyways), and I ain’t gonna let Skwerly do it neither.
“Say there Skwerly. It looks like the lady needs a refill,” I say, if only to buy myself some time. When he takes her cup I say, “Oh, and I need one too.”
“You ashhole,” says Skwerly, like I’m the one bustin’ in on his groove and not the other way around. “Da Wine is right deh.” He pointed to the box on the table, but I play it cool.
I get up close to his ear and say, “We can’t serve this honey Boone’s Farm, Skwerly.”
“Why not? I likes it.”
The girl’s not listening to any of this. She’s just swayin’ to Bananarama.
“I hid a bottle of vodka in the back of the freezer. Why don’t you mix up a batch with some cherry Kool-Aid."
At this, the life returns to the girl’s eyes, and even though I can tell by his squint that Skwerly don’t trust a word I’m sayin’, the girl only has to repeat the word, “vodka,” and his expression changes.
“You want some dem tater spirits, Baby?”
The girl just looks at him all blank-like, but all the while she’s swayin’ to the music, she starts hiking her skirt up above her thighs.
Well, Skwerly’s eyes bug out of his head, and I must admit my eyebrows are climbing up my forehead.
“Look at dem, Boy,” Skwerly says, slapping me across the chest. Then to the girl, he says, “Show us yo poo-nanny,” and damned if she doesn’t lift that skirt up to her waist.
“She ain’t got on no pannies!” Skwerly cries out, wild as a loon. Sure enough, she’s showing us a rough little patch of Velcro, and you don’t even have to squint to see the vertical sliver--the entryway to the magic kingdom.
Well, Skwerly reaches out his hand for a stroke, but I slap it down. He looks at me like I just punched his favorite dog.
“First the vodka,” I say, and for once the girl backs me up. She’s still wearing a big smile on her face, but she lowers her skirt to hide her glory, and waves a no-no finger at him.
“Vodka,” she says again.
Skwerly starts nodding his head like a jackhammer, and he has a big dumb grin plastered across his face, and he tells her he’ll be right back.
Now, I know right then I have to act fast, lest by date for the evening ends up on the floor getting plowed by a deranged redneck other than me, so I grab her by the waist with one hand and pull her up to my chest, and with the other hand I work up the backside of her skirt. I say, “You and me need to get out of here."
She shows me a little twinkle in her eyes. “You don’t want to share me, Baby?”
I think about this for a second. It’s true I have no desire to have Skwerly’s penis in my immediate vicinity, or to put my own appendage into close proximity with his, but at the same time I notice in her face a slight resemblance to a certain barnyard animal, a lengthening of the jaw reminiscent of a horse, or perhaps a sheep, and for one brief instant I am not sure if my heart is all into the night’s entertainment, but then again, she is here, and she is waiting for an answer.
“That’s right, Darlin’,” I say, and I take her hand and drag her out the back door, but not before I scoop the keys to Skwerly’s Dodge of the coffee spool.
She walks limp through the flood lights protruding from the back yard, and I can tell the girl don’t really care where she goes. It’s a warm night, not too hot, and less humid than usual. No sooner than we hit the darkness of the tree line, I hear Skwerly calling out for us on the other side of the house. As I suspected, he noticed his keys missing, and goes out the front to stop us from stealing his car, while unbeknownst to him, we are snaking our way down a grown-over trail, heading down to another property I know that’s not far away. As we venture out into the woods, with only a half-eaten path and the moon to guide us, I can still make out Skwerly yelling, “Hey Where’d ya’ll go? I want me some poo-nanny!” At this, the girl and I both laugh.
There’s this little tree stand I know of that will mark the perfect end to this the first day of my Zombie Life. I tell the girl about how Ernestine and I sometimes come to this spot to poach deer. Technically, it’s Earnestine’s granddaddy’s land, but he sold the hunting rights, so technically she has to ask permission from a stranger to hunt the land. “Screw that noise,” she always says, and these are the words ringing through my head as we climb up into that tree, and as I lay the girl down on an old blanket stored for just such an occasion. I strip off the girl’s blouse and look down at her pale naked titties, hanging loose in the moonlight. I know what Skwerly would say.
“You ain’t wearing no bra!” I say in my fake Skwerly accent, and the girl giggles, causin’ her titties to bounce side to side.
I won’t tell you the rest of what happened. I may be a zombie, but I am also a gentleman.
Later that morning, I woke up and the girl was gone. When I got back to the shack, I found out that Skwerly’s car was gone too. I thought maybe Skwerly had done got some action after all, and then maybe took her home, until I went inside and found him sitting in his ripped-up recliner, red-eyed and drunk as piss
“Hey there, Skwerly. What’s shakin’?”
“What’s shakin’? What’s shakin’? You an ashhole, that’s what’s shakin’?”
“How’s that, Skwerly?”
“You took away the skank!”
I wondered if he knew about his car being stolen. “Oh yeah. Sorry about that Skwerly. She had to go meet up with her sister.”
Skwerly’s eyes narrowed down to slits. I could tell he wasn’t buying what I was selling.
“You know sumpin’ deh zombie boy? You gonna need another dose of Formula real soon!”
“How’s that, Skwerly?” I was still new to life among the undead. Until then I didn’t know about the Formula; all I knew was that I had once been dead, but now I was alive, and I saw reason to question how or why. “What are you gettin’ at?” I asked in an annoyed voice.
“What I’s gettin’ at is you need my Formula to stay alive.”
Now it started to dawn on me that I was at the mercy of a crazy sum bitch, and I had just given him all the reason in the world to hate my guts 'til his dying day.
“You know that Formula, it ain’t cheap,” Skwerly said, matter of fact.
“No suh. It ain’t.”
I had no idea of whether or not he was telling the truth or not, but I made a vow to myself right then and there to find out more about it. “How much does it cost?”
“It gonna cost you two hunert!”
“Two hundred?” I let out a whistle. “I ain’t got that kinda money.”
“Well you better got it, else you gonna die all over again, and this time I ain’t gonna be so nice as to bring you back.”
“Well shit,” I said, “How much time do I have?”
“You pay me on Fridays.”
“Fridays?” I asked, emphasizing the s. It was Tuesday.
“Every Friday. Two hunert dollahs,” Skwerly said, “or you is goin’ to the sweet hereafter.”
“That’s kind of steep, ain’t it?”
“You don’t like it, take yo’ self to the hospital. See what they charge you."
“Do they have the Formula?”
Skwerly let out screeching cackle. “Hell no, de’ ain’t got no Formula. De’ ain’t gonna save ya. They’s gonna charge you about six thousant dollah to tell you you is already dead.” He cackled again.
It was kind of hard to argue with his logic.
“Well shit,” I said again. It was all I could think of to say.