The Zombies are coming he thinks as he sits in his corner booth and stares at the shambling masses outside the bar's picture window. They shuffle past without knowing, oblivious to their impending doom, unmindful of him and his sinister secrets sitting feet away. He wishes he could be like them.
“Knowledge is power and ignorance is bliss…” He mutters as he notices his reflection in the glass, ghostly and translucent.
“What’s that?” his waitress asks. She could be a model with dark hair, crystal blue eyes; gorgeous breasts. Her hips curvy but not fat and she has the most delectable ass he has ever laid eyes on. To top off his fantasy she is wearing hoop earrings and chewing pink bubble gum even though he has yet to see her blow a bubble.
“Nothing,” he replies, “I am simply watching the crush of humanity as they stumble by the window and musing to myself dear, never mind...Are the Zombies coming?”
Her face, adorable and fetching with the look of several tanning beds worth of precancerous precision etched upon it looks perplexed for a moment before she responds to his question.
“Zombies? Oh! Yeah! They’re almost here…” She says, grinning her vapid empty grin and showing teeth that are white and meticulously cared for. He wonders if he can get her to come home with him today. Tonight. He wonders what those breasts might feel like beneath his cupped palms, the nipples hot against his lifeline. He decides he will take her home. He knows the key to passage with women. He has had many women in his line of work. It is a combination of smoothly integrating confidence and bullshit.
Yes, he has the key that will open this girl to him it is a matter of pressing the correct buttons at the correct times. He does not want her so that he can have some human contact before the whole bloody mess begins and tears humanity from it’s self imposed supremacy, he wants her because he wants to forget.
Thinking back to college…Tristine. She’d been a stripper at a local club and he had fallen in love with her after his first lap dance. Eventually, he found the correct balance of confidence and bullshit and got her pregnant. He’d joined the military to provide her and his child with a roof and sustenance. While he was in Iraq during Desert Storm, she took up with a bouncer at the strip bar she’d begun working at. Together they drained his accounts, stole the only vehicle they had and left town. When he returned from Iraq, he returned to an emptier house.
It wasn’t long after that he discharged from the Army and took up a security job with Rick Johansen’s firm. From there he was assigned to Picolo labs, Crypto Clearance stuff. Biological weapons, chemical weapons. Scientist Black Ops. He had earned plenty of money. He had nice clothes, nice cars. A beautiful home and all the women he could want. Now, he wanted just one. Just one, last, one.
His eyes wander back to the street outside his window. It is not his window, just his window for now. Outside, the walking dead amble past him, back and forth in their concrete pen. Lights blink and flash and the real zombies stop and go according to symbols and directions given by articles that would be alien enough to be gods to their caveman ancestors. He wonders how they might react to know that they are being led to slaughter. He wonders if they would panic and stampede like the bull or walk into the mouth of destruction like cattle being prodded towards the dark hole at the end of the corral.
The scientists and doctors will be the first to go. It is they who will see and fail to believe because it is the perversion of their science that they are seeing. To many of this background, science is pure. These are men who believe that any data is pertinent to something and they will die as that data rears it’s head and gnashes it’s teeth while they try to sort out answers they have no time to find. Few enough have developed the instincts necessary to survive such a cataclysmic series of events such as those that will be unfolding shortly.
It will be the “Good Will Huntings” that are humanities best hope now. The uncommon blue collar workers that are smart enough to be scared, gather people to them and run. These are the men who can rebuild, restructure. Unfortunately, they will be as prone to accidents as the rest of humanity and there will be no containing this.
In his estimation, there is little enough hope left for humanity, the reason he is at a bar in the middle of the city instead of his nicely appointed home in the safety of the hills. He could be polishing his guns and hunkering down for a siege but instead he is sitting at a bar and watching meat walk by him on the street outside.
He glances at the waitress again, admiring her frame as she leans over the bar talking to the bartender, a pleasantly plump but not unattractive woman who sees him staring and giggles as she tells his waitress he is staring. He decides that if the waitress chooses not to accompany him to bed, he will take the bartender instead and settles into his plush leather seat a little further. The waitress turns to him and smiles, her smile no longer vapid and empty but wet and inviting. He can imagine that her tongue must still taste like bubble gum and how it might feel as he sucks it into his own mouth. He sees her flush slightly, the blood bringing color to her over tanned cheeks and he can tell that at some point in her life she would have developed cancer but it makes no difference now and it certainly won’t matter in his bed later so he turns the thought aside and makes love to her with his eyes.
She turns back to the bartender who is doing the girl thing…the one where she, just for once, wants something that his dark haired beauty wants for herself and he knows then that he can have the waitress tonight, that she is ripe and ready and the knowledge of this wells within him like a fountain. Perhaps he will see if he can take them both, a far more difficult and complicated experiment and then decides against it. There is no more time for flirting with experiments. He wants a solid yes to just one and then he will join the meat on the street without a whimper.
He keeps his eyes on her until she turns back to face him and then she begins walking with a false confidence in his direction. There are methods to creating such false emotion and he is affluent in the language of deciphering them. He finds her behavior schoolgirl-esque and rather charming.
Confidence in oneself is a far different thing than confidence in one’s looks or attractiveness. One creates the feeling of confidence in the knowledge of a person who understands what their experiences and beliefs tell them. It is the sum of all parts and relies not on the variables but the individual’s ability to adapt to those variables.
Confidence in ones looks tend to go no further than the skin and rely heavily upon a great number of variables that shift from moment to moment with a limited level of control. His waitress is the latter and her confidence is as tenuous as a gossamer thread. This is the answer to the equation he had seen so many men struggle with: “Why him, why does such a beautiful girl want to go out with such a loser?”
The answer, in his estimation, is as simple as it is perplexing to those men who ask the question. Losers have confidence because they know they are losers. True confidence is the ability to assert your rules on society as opposed to conforming. This girl finds him attractive as she saunters to his table. He is attractive not because of his physique or intellect, but because he is confident, he knows himself.
“I saw you staring at me,” she states matter-of-factly, “can I help you with something else?”
“You noticed that did you?” He replies. He never understands why men will deny such a thing. Staring at a beautiful woman is hardly something to be ashamed of.
“Yeah, Mary noticed too…” She retorts casting a quick glance at the bartender who is too obvious in her pretense of washing glasses to not be watching.
“Mary is clearly an adept observationalist” he states as he looks directly at the waitress not sparing a glance for poor pudgy Mary.
There is a moment of doubt that crosses the waitress’ features as she attempts to decipher what he means and the realization, when it comes shortly thereafter, brightens her features. He reflects that she looks a bit like a toddler who has just found that the round peg goes in the round hole.
“Have a seat…” he offers, proffering the spot across from him to her shapely bottom and thinking that he may have just found a hole for his own round peg.
“Uh…I don’t know if I should,” she objects. “the boss probably wouldn’t be happy about me taking a break with the customers.”
“Well dear Amanda” He retorts reading her name tag not for the first time, “I am not customers, I am a single customer and you are clearly in need of a break. The Bar is sparsely populated and I am a generous guest of your fine establishment. Please dear, I daresay I could stand the company of a lovely young lady like yourself to make an old man happy in his final days…”
He can tell she would like nothing more than to sit. She has been on her feet for hours and the bar is, as he said, lightly populated. Three O’Clock in the afternoon is a place for bar flies not bar patrons and he considers it more than likely that the few bar flies that come here regularly come here with the same intentions for her that he has so recently developed.
“Are you okay? You’re not old…”
“Dear Amanda, you are right, I am not old. I just feel old at the moment, please, sit. If the world ends tomorrow and you have not taken time to know a stranger, will you feel better, or worse?” He says standing and Amanda, as if on cue, slides into the opposite side of the booth across from his own seat. Amanda spares a quick glance around the room to see if her boss is watching and he notices. Quickly he retakes his seat opposite Amanda in the booth and takes a sip from his water glass, letting the sudden motion capture her attention again.
“Have you worked here long Amanda?” He asks over the rim of the sweating glass.
“No, I, Uh…about 2 months.”
“That can be a long time in a city this size. You must do well at your job.”
“I do okay.” She says. Her reply is sheepish, reticent. She looks out the window past him and looks confused for a moment. He takes another drink, this time with the opposite hand which brings her attention back. “What’s your name?” she asks.
“My name is Maxwell, pleased to meet you Amanda” He states extending his hand towards her. She takes it and shakes, her own hand is small and delicate. He looks into her eyes and pretends that she is the only person in the room which he more or less believes her to be at the moment.
“What do you do for work?” she asks…her eyes dip to the table for a second…her confidence bolstered by his obvious attraction. She pretends to be uncomfortable with his attention but he can nearly smell her excitement.
“I,” He states with a pause for dramatic effect, “am recently retired dear Amanda,”
“Retired?!?” She asks with slightly too much exasperation. “Aren’t you a little young to be retired?” Her question gives away the underlying reason for her attraction. Here is a man in a rather nice black suit, red tie, designer shoes, well kept. He exudes confidence and wealth which is exactly what he wishes to project.
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you Amanda…”
“Oh, Really? Why wouldn’t I believe it Mr. Max?” she asks leaning forward, a manicured finger playing with a lock of her raven black hair. “Now you have to tell me…” she says smiling.
“Well sweet Amanda, until yesterday I worked security at one of our nation’s most top secret laboratories.”
“You’re not going to get in trouble for telling me are you?” she asks a bit mischievously, her white teeth biting her lower lip in a provocative way he finds nearly impossible to resist.
“I can say what I wish Amanda, I am no longer in their employ. None of us are.”
“Why did you leave your job?”
“That is a simple question with a complicated answer, suffice to say that there is a storm coming and I chose to get in it’s path when it was already too late to do anything…”
“Wait, does this have something to do with that soldier? The one at that St. Theresa Camp outside the city?” She asks, she is suddenly very alert, worried.
“I will tell you all about it Amanda, but the zombies should be here by now.”
“OH! I am so sorry, let me go get them…” Amanda says and slides out from the booth and back towards the bar. He watches her delectable bottom as it glides away from him and suddenly decides there will be no sex for him with her tonight. He will spend his final night on earth alone.
Amanda the waitress returns moments later with his drinks. They look similar to a Long Island Ice Tea with the exception that in place of a lime wedge both have a wedge of pineapple and one of kiwi on the rim. As she sets the full glasses on the table he lifts the first, removes the straw and proceeds to guzzle it. Once finished with the first, he wipes his mouth on the expensively tailored suit jacket he is wearing before he picks up the second glass and repeats the process.
“Ahhhh,” he exclaims “1/2 ounce Bacardi 151 Rum, 1 ounce Pineapple Juice, ½ ounce Apricot Brandy, 1 Teaspoon of Sugar, 2 ounces Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum, 1 Ounce light rum and an ounce of lime juice.” He states. “You have brought me my Zombies Amanda, for that I am eternally grateful.”
“”When you ordered two zombies,” she says, eying the empty glasses on the table, “I thought you were joking.”
“I never joke Amanda, even with a woman as obviously attractive as you are.”
She stares at him for a moment, not knowing what to say.
“It is okay Amanda. I had wanted to sleep with you but the zombies are coming.”
“Did you want another drink? I, uh…” Amanda asks confused.
“No Amanda,” Behind him in the picture window there is a scream as a bloody man grasps a passing woman and rips a meaty chunk out of her arm with his teeth. Blood splashes up over the picture window glass and the view of the street is suddenly stained red. “I was saying that the zombies are coming but it seems that they are already here…”
Amanda screams and screams and then screams some more...