Robert DeCoteau writes about zombies and man he does a great job! I have read most of his “Zombie Tales: Primrose Court” series and I am hooked. What follows is an juicy, generous peak at his novel “Don of the Living Dead” So without further ado…lock your doors and enjoy this sample! After you are done, click on the cover to go purchase it!
“My attempt with this title was to put the fun back into the zombie genre. George A. Romero, the founding father of the modern zombie, always seemed to find time to include a funny or campy scene in each of his movies and somehow very few of those scenes hit the cutting room floor.
I love the scary and serious zombies, but my approach in Don, as the title might suggest, is to make you laugh in the midst of a zombie apocalypse.”
~ Robert DeCoteau ~
DON OF THE LIVING DEAD
I can’t claim to have seen every zombie movie known to man, but I have seen most of the good ones, from the old black and white George A. Romero flicks to the modern day, Resident Evil flicks. Many of them begin with the damage already done. We meet the characters sometime after their survival skills have kicked in. On occasion, we see how those characters encountered their first zombie; sometimes it’s in a graveyard, sometimes in their home, or, more recently, in a secret underground laboratory.
My first encounter was nothing like in the movies. I was sitting on the toilet.
I am one of those rare few that are so regular you could set your watch by my bowel movements, no fiber added.
It all started on a Wednesday afternoon in May. My allotted half hour lunch break was over and I was taking my mid afternoon constitutional.
After nine years crunching numbers for the same company, I had conditioned my body. I drank my morning coffee at my desk in my little cubical, ran numbers and cost analysis until twelve-thirty, took my lunch until one o’clock, and then spent fifteen relaxing minutes on the pot.
Who can blame me for taking my fifteen minutes on the clock? I’m sure everyone has the same mentality about their employers; everyone has been force to suffer with fewer benefits, less pay, and less time off. The recession has put most companies, from the giants like Wal-Mart to the lowly mom and pop stores in the same predicament. But even with all its drawbacks there are benefits to businesses during a recession. One of the benefits is that for every employee on staff there are two or three equally qualified individuals out there just waiting for the opportunity to take the job, often for less money.
My job was definitely not secure. Even with all my time working for Comdex Pharmaceuticals, I was just as expendable as the next guy; maybe more so, I was one of the highest paid accountants in the company. They could hire one of the young fresh graduates off the street for nearly half of what they paid me.
I work hard, but I see no reason to waste any part of my lunch break in the john. Other than a pen or two and maybe a few sheets of copy paper, those fifteen minutes are my only extra compensation for the wonderful job I did at Comdex. But I suppose I should quit rambling and just start at the beginning.
Lunch had been a frantic race to find Rebecca, the sandwich girl. She made her rounds in our building every day, but ultimately she seemed to forget me three times a week. It wasn’t by accident of course. I don’t know what her problem was. I mean, sure I asked her out once, but when she said no I didn’t push. I don’t know why everything got awkward after that. I’m an adult and she’s an adult, just because she didn’t want to be an adult with me doesn’t mean I don’t still like sandwiches.
That day, by the time I caught up to her on the third floor, all she had left was turkey on rye. I can’t stand rye bread. Why would anyone fuck up a perfectly good loaf of bread like that? I bought it anyway, because I hate spending the afternoon with an empty stomach more than I hate rye.
She sold the sandwich to me, but was very flippant about it, like just because I chased her down to purchase something for lunch, she had grounds for a sexual harassment suit.
As if, I thought. Plenty of other girls out there refused to date me, why would she think she was so special.
I mean, sure Rebecca was attractive and had eyes that flirted from across the room whether she knew it or not, but I don’t see how selling sandwiches out of a basket puts you anywhere close to the top of the most eligible single woman list.
Anyway, I had to eat my sandwich on the move. By the time I caught up to her, purchased the sandwich, and got my change, I had ten minutes left to get back to my office.
The elevator ride back up to the fourth floor was not at all note worthy. I got a few strange looks from the other passengers because I was woofing down my turkey on rye, but fuck them. There is no law that says you’re supposed to stand all ridged staring at the numbers above the door waiting for your floor. I was hungry and I wasted precious time chasing down the bitch that didn’t have time to date me.
I got off the elevator on my floor, humming the tune to some bluesy number that had been playing in there. I tried to remember the words but quickly gave it up, words were not my thing. Numbers were my thing.
I made my way to my cubical eating my entire sandwich except the bottom crust; I tossed that into my wastepaper basket. I booted up my computer and made sure the spreadsheet on my screen looked like I had been working hard. My screensaver was set for twenty minutes, more than enough time for me to hit the restroom, but still have proof that I had returned from lunch and started crunching the sales figures again.
I gave Marcy a little wave as I passed the reception area. She looked right at me but pretended she didn’t see, putting her hand up to the headset she was wearing and turning in her plush leather office chair.
I had been there for her. When she and Julio from the mailroom broke up, I was her shoulder to cry on. I bolstered her self esteem. I helped her understand that Julio’s need to screw other people had nothing to do with her. And what did I get for all my trouble?
Nothing, that’s what.
I didn’t force myself on her. I mean, that’s what you’re thinking, right? That I tried to make a move on her while she was crying in my arms. Well, that’s not how it happened at all. I was a perfect gentleman. After she had somewhat recovered from her falling out with “Don Juan” Julio, she started badmouthing me all over the office, said I tried to take advantage of her. There is no doubt in my mind that it was because she had seen my crappy studio apartment and had second thoughts about me.
She played it off like I was relentless in my pursuit of her to the point of bordering on harassment. Like I got nothing better to do than beg dumb chicks for sex, so much for being the nice guy.
So that day was much like any other. I enter the men’s room at the end of the hall to do my business with my copy of USA Today under my arm; well truth be told it wasn’t my copy; I didn’t actually have a subscription. I routinely stole the copy from the waiting area, but who cares? Who really expects to have up-to-date reading material when they’re sitting in a waiting area anyway?
My usual stall was empty, thank God. This restroom only had three stalls, two the size of my linen closet and one fit for a king. It was the handicapped stall of course, set aside by society for those less fortunate. But being as there were no employees on our floor confined to a wheelchair, what was the harm in me staking claim.
I settled in. I’ll spare you all the embracing details, but suffice to say, I visited my local Mexican restaurant the previous night. I didn’t eat there, mind you; I can’t stand the ethnic music they play and watching all the white patrons attempt to apply what they remember from high school Spanish class is enough to turn my stomach. I ordered to go and went home to watch Jersey Shore.
I know, I know; what kind of single young professional would waste a Tuesday evening watching Jersey Shore? I watch it like some might watch a disaster movie. The people portrayed on that show are shining examples of everything I find wrong with America today.
It was just another bunch of self centered shallow kids cashing in on their fifteen minutes of fame. Not one of them took the time to learn about their heritage.
And fuck their heritage anyway. Mussolini sided with Hitler in World War Two, didn’t he? How the fuck did Italy get off so easy on that one? As far as I’m concerned, Italian Americans in the 21st century are a joke. They think they can embrace the word ‘Guido’ like the blacks embraced the word ‘Nigga’ and everything is going to be alright. Why shouldn’t those kids have to go find jobs and work for a living? America’s fixation on the blacks pretty much ended when Bill Cosby retired, but this new fixation on Italians made me question what this country is all about. Don’t even get me started on the Kardashians.
I dropped trou and parked my behind on the elongated toilet with the horseshoe shaped seat to do my business. I really don’t understand why the commercial toilet industry thinks that cutting six inches out of the front of the seat is going to work. Anyone willing to piss on a toilet seat isn’t going to limit themselves to that small space missing from the front and the few shlubs that would have lifted the seat think they don’t have to because the seat has that gap. So they do their best to stand directly in front of the gap to do their business. Of course, more often than not they defile some part of the seat, whether it’s due to inattention, or a lack of respect for the future users.
When was the last time you dribbled a few drops on a public toilet seat and took the time to clean up after yourself with a few squares of toilet paper? Not fuckin’ likely. That’s why I bring an individually wrapped Lysol wipe with me every day. Then I lay down the recycled paper seat cover, recycled from what? I don’t even want to know.
The article I’m stuck reading is a fluff piece, just more Obama propaganda about how the Democrats could pull us out of the recession if the Republican Party would just work with them. I figured at some point the shock of being the first African American in the White House would wear off and Obama would get down to business, how wrong I was. He talks a good game, he wouldn’t have been elected otherwise, but I feel like I wasted my vote. Maybe Hilary was a chump for staying with Bill, but in hindsight, she probably could have brought more to the Presidency. With Bill as the First Husband, it would have been like two Presidents for the price of one.
The outer door squeaked open and slammed shut. I listened to the shuffling of feet echo in the way that only the tiled walls of a public toilet can. I’m not the type to get nervous about using the public restroom, but I am the type to sit and try to picture what the other occupants are doing.
The new occupant seemed to be an old man as far as I could tell. He shuffled a few steps then stopped. A few more steps then stopped. With my luck, the poor sucker was using a walker or one of those canes with the pronged base. The kind that should have good sturdy rubber tips that would outlast the aluminum frame, but seemed to end up with tennis balls instead. Bastard probably thought he was going to stroll right into the handicapped stall. Well, the old codger would just have to wait.
He shuffled right up to the door of my stall and I could hear the thump of something on the painted steel door.
“There’s someone in here,” I said, pissed that he wouldn’t even try the other, smaller stalls. I knew the doors were wide open. How hard could it be to sink your ass down on one of those? It should be easier considering that there were two good handrails on either side well within reach.
I stared at his shoes under the door. They weren’t old man shoes. Not that there was a type of shoe that old men had to wear, but these were DCs. Who the hell wore skateboard shoes to the office? His jeans were faded and bunched up heavily at the cuff. The denim was frayed and stained along the back where it had dragged on the ground. I shook my head, whoever this guy was, he definitely didn’t work here on the fourth floor.
There was another thump on the door.
“Hey, I’ll be out in a minute,” I said.
There’s nothing worse than being rushed when you’re trying to do your business. The asshole didn’t even have the common courtesy to take a few steps back and wait like a normal human being.
If he hadn’t been moving like a decrepit, old man, I would have given him a piece of my mind, but chewing out some hadicapable kid dressed like a skater seemed in poor taste. It wouldn’t bode well for my standing in the company to chew this inconsiderate prick a new asshole only to find out later that he was the grandson of the CEO or the son of some outside consultant hire to minimize the company’s cost base.
In any case, my fifteen minute respite was ruined. How can you expect a man to do his business while your stand right on the other side of a one inch thick hollow metal door. I folded up my newspaper and reached for the toilet tissue. Just my luck, there was about three squares left on the industrial sized roll in the plastic dispenser.
While I might trust three squares of the heavily quilted, double ply toilet paper in the comfort of my own bathroom at my apartment, three squares of the semi transparent scratchy stuff common to public restrooms just wasn’t going to cut it.
“Hey, Mister, could you do me a favor and hand me some T P under the door?” I asked as politely as I could. I was at his mercy after all. I watched his feet shuffle and there was another -thunk- on the door, but that was the only response I got.
I waited for a good sixty second then started to become annoyed.
“Look buddy, if you want the stall you’re going to have to help me out here,” I said.
Still no response.
I searched the stall for any help, and finding none weighed my options. I stared at the newspaper in my hand and thought it fitting that the Obama propaganda be used in such a manner, but couldn’t bring myself to tear up the newsprint and do the deed. Knowing my luck, the high pressure toilet would get backed up and I would soon become the laughing stock of the fourth floor.
I thought about using the toilet seat covers from the dispenser behind me, but they were thin and rough with no absorbency what-so-ever; I could just imagine how they would spread my mess around without aiding in cleaning my person. That would be my last resort I decided.
Just as I was about to give Mr. DC shoes a piece of my mind, I heard the door open and slam shut again.
“Hey, Mathew, was it? How’s it going?” I heard a voice say.
“Excuse me,” the voice again, “Hey…Hey! What the fuck man…”
There was a -thump- then I heard the door to the next stall slam shut and the lock slide into place.
“You mother fucker; fuckin’ bite me, what the fuck man?” It was Colby from accounts payable.
I could see that the DCs had changed positions. I could still see the left shoe, but they were pointed towards the now occupied stall next to mine.
“You mother fuckin’ piece of shit. Why the hell would you bite me? My arm is fuckin’ bleeding now, bastard,” Colby said to his assailant.
There was a -thump- as Mr. DC Shoes banged against Colby’s door.
“Hey, somebody help!” Colby yelled then waited a moment for a response, “Hey…somebody…anybody…”
“Hey, Colby, is that you?” I asked tenuously.
It took a moment for him to answer. I think he was trying to place my voice.
“Don?” he finally asked.
“Yeah, it’s Don,” I responded.
“Hey, Don, that mother fucker out there just bit me,” he said, as if I hadn’t heard, “That fat, sweaty piece of shit grabbed my arm and took a big chunk out of it, I’m bleeding pretty bad.”
He seemed shook up, I really felt for the guy. Colby was one of those poor suckers who lost his hair in his early twenties and developed a weight problem just after high school. I gave him a moment to collect himself before I spoke.
“Hey Colby, you got any toilet paper over there?”
There was a few seconds of silence before I heard him go to work on the dispenser next to him. He seemed to be struggling and I felt guilty for a moment. It was hard enough trying to get more than a few squares from the dispenser without it breaking, let alone enough to do a thorough job. Luckily, Colby was a like minded man and when he handed me the paper it was a wad big enough to stuff a pillow.
I don’t know why businesses insisted on using the cheapest single ply bathroom tissue possible, it’s not like anybody is going to think, well, I only use about ten squares of the good stuff at home so I’ll do the same here. Fuck that, you use more than enough to get the job done, after all, you ain’t paying for it, right?
I took the huge wad of paper Colby was offering up from under our dividing wall. I quickly pulled off the pieces soaked in his blood and let them fall to the floor.
“Thanks,” I mumbled uncomfortably as I did my wiping, grateful that my newspaper and toilet seat cover were now safe from the abuse.
There was another -thump-thump- on Colby’s stall door.
“Fuck off, man,” Colby yelled, then, “Help, somebody help!”
He was starting to sound a little hysterical.
“What gives, Colby?” I asked as I fastened the button on my slacks and buckled my belt, “Did that guy really bite you?” I didn’t know Colby swore so much, but he didn’t sound like he was practiced at it, so I guess it was the situation.
“Yeah, he fuckin’ bit me,” Colby’s voice echoed in the tiled confines of the restroom, “Sweaty bastard sunk his teeth right into my arm.”
“Why?” I asked.
Now that seems like a dumb question, but back then, it was the only sane one; people don’t just go around biting strangers in the john.
“What do you mean, why? I don’t fucking know why. He just bit me,” Colby sounded like he was close to tears. “Fuckin’ punk kid named Mathew. I just cut him a check ten minutes ago.”
“He works here?” I asked a bit surprised.
“No he doesn’t work here. The little shit participated in a one day drug trial down in the labs.”
Colby was calming down a little now, but I could tell he was still clenching his teeth in pain.
“When the drug trials are over the researchers send the test subjects up here to accounts payable and we cut them a check. That little bastard out there’s name is Mathew Stubs.”
I climbed up on the edge of my toilet and looked over the wall separating us. Colby was sitting on the toilet holding his injured arm. Blood was flowing freely down his wrist and pooled on the floor beneath his hand. I watched as the blood crept along the grout between the tiles on the floor, wondering how good of a job the janitor would do in cleaning.
“That’s a pretty bad wound, you better watch out that it doesn’t get infected, especially in a place like this,” I offered in the way of advice.
He looked up at me shaking his head.
“Help!” he called out again.
I tried to look over the wall at the man standing in front of Colby’s door, but it was too far for me to see.
“Do you think he’s crazy?” I asked Colby.
“How the fuck should I know,” Colby responded.
I tried again to get a look at Colby’s attacker.
“Maybe he has rabies or something,” I said.
“Look, Don, none of this is helping, why don’t you hop down off that toilet and go get security?”
“Fuck that,” I said. I didn’t have the knack for swearing either, having a six-year-old will do that to you.
“Help us!” We both yelled. We waited in silence hoping our combined voices would attract someone’s attention.
“Hey, Colby, do you got your cell phone on you?” I asked after a few minutes of silence.
He didn’t answer, but I could tell he was fumbling around in his pocket. I heard him pushing buttons and then he sighed, finally saying, “No signal.”
I looked at my watch 1:28, my screensaver would be displayed in all its glory by now. A sure sign that I should be replaced by a young go-getter for less money. I shook my head in frustration. Whatever Colby had done to piss this guy off didn’t involve me.
“Hey, Mathew,” I said to the man outside Colby’s door, “I’d go get some help if I was you. You hurt Colby really bad and he could press charges for assault.”
“Fuckin’ right I’m going to press charges,” Colby shouted, “Fuckin’ bit a chunk right out of my arm.” I could see over the wall that Colby was getting pale and sweaty.
I stepped back down off the toilet and tried to find a comfortable way to sit on the edge of the seat to wait for rescue. Several minutes passed with the only sounds being Colby’s heavy breathing and Mathew’s occasional –thump- on his stall door.
“What’s he doing?” Colby asked me after a few moments of silence had passed.
“I don’t know. I can’t see him,” I told Colby.
“Well, I think he’s sick or something. He looked pale and sweaty to me. You should climb up on the divider and have a look.”
“What am I Spiderman? You climb up and have a look.”
“Don, don’t be a pussy. I’m bleeding like a stuck pig here, just hoist yourself up onto the divider and look over my door, see what that bastard is doing.”
“Fuck you, asshole! Why don’t you just go away?” Colby yelled frantically at Mathew.
Colby was a nervous wreck now. I couldn’t imagine what he was going through. The last fight I had been in was in the fourth grade, I lost that one, but she didn’t even draw blood.
I sat there zoning out on the wall that separated us, doing the multiplication table in my head, and wracking my brain. There had to be some way out of this. I mean Marcy was what… thirty feet down the hall. My desk was another fifty feet beyond that. It was business as usual out there and here we were trapped in the restroom by some rabid skater kid.
“Don, get your ass up there and tell me what he’s doing,” Colby cried, then calmer, “Look the kid is like five foot nothing, he won’t be able to reach you, just peek over.”
“Fine I’ll have a look,” I said, more to calm him down than anything. I glanced at my watch, 2:09.
Now I wasn’t the most athletic guy in the world. Like most thirty-something Americans, I was about twenty pounds heavier than I should have been and I hadn’t used my gym membership in more than a few months. I paid for a full year in January, but life had interrupted my new year’s resolution before Valentine’s Day rolled around.
Still, it shouldn’t have been so hard for me to spring up onto the edge of the divider and balance myself there while I shifted into a good vantage point above Colby’s door. The alloy frame of the divider was digging into my knees and I tried to roll my left leg to disperse my weight as I inched into position over the scene below.
I was finally able to catch a glimpse of my first zombie; of course, at the time, it was just the guy who’d had a beef with Colby. I know what you’re probably thinking, how could you not know it was a zombie. Well let me tell you, when they are that fresh, they look like everyone else. This guy was a little thin and maybe a little bit pale, but other than that, he looked much like any average Joe on the street, except he had blood on his mouth from biting Colby.
“He’s just standing there,” I said down to Colby. The guy tried to walk forward thumping his face against the stall door a few times, “he definitely ain’t all there, that’s for sure.”
When I got no response from Colby, I looked down at him. He appeared to have passed out. I backed up and slid my body down the divider into my stall again. I sat there on the edge of the toilet seat huffing and puffing. I really needed to get into shape. After several more minutes had passed, I had caught my breath and I noticed Colby wasn’t breathing hard anymore.
“Hey, Colby?” I asked into the silence.
Mathew thumping the door a few more times was the only response. He had moved back to bang his face against my stall again. I could see the tips of his shoes from where I sat.
I briefly weighed the idea of lying down on the floor and trying to slide under the alloy walls of the stalls to the area by the urinals. If I was quiet, I might be able to get out of the restroom without Mathew even knowing I was gone. There was about a foot of empty space under the walls and I didn’t think I could manage it. I’m not a fat guy, but squeezing under there would be tight. Plus, Colby had bled all over the floor in his unit and I wasn’t keen on the thought of squirming through that puddle.
I then pictured myself wedged under that wall with Colby bleeding to death on the toilet above me when help finally came. I could just picture the rest of the office holding back their laughter as the fire department dismantled the aluminum alloy wall pinning me to the tile floor.
I figured since I had already been climbing around the restroom like it was my own personal jungle gym, I would make my way across the top of the stalls and then lower myself down to the floor. I hoped this weirdo only had a thing for Colby and if I just stayed out of it, I’d be all right.
I pulled myself back up on the wall, taking a moment to look down at Colby. He was sprawled, back against the chrome pipes behind the toilet. The thin hair on his head was matted with sweat and his face was pale. His bloody arm was rolled palm up and suspended between his knees. Streaks of blood ran from the angry wound on his forearm down to his wrist where it dripped into the large puddle at his feet. There was a lot of blood.
I felt like an idiot shifting around on top of the stalls just inches from the ceiling. If someone had walked in at that moment, I would have been hard pressed to explain myself. Slowly, I crossed the stall Colby occupied, moving from our adjoining wall across his door to the next wall over. I pushed the door of the last stall shut so I could use it to cross to the last wall, but also to keep Mathew Stubs out.
As I got my knees on Colby’s other wall I felt his hands grip my right leg. I flipped my left leg over the divider and yelled as my crotch was planted firmly on the one inch wide partition. Slipping sideways, I lunged and caught the last wall with my left hand, stopping my fall. I hung suspended above the toilet, clinging to one wall and straddling the other. My muscles strained, I wouldn’t be able to hold myself up for much longer.
“What the fuck, Colby,” I shouted, tugging at my leg, trying to break his grasp. I felt pressure on the toe of my dress shoe, “let go you asshole.”
The pressure increased as I curled my toes up and yanked my leg out of his hands. I fell, a mass of flailing arms and legs, landing hard on my back half on the toilet in the cramped little space two stalls over from where I started. I had the wind knocked out of me and could feel a giant Charlie horse just under my left shoulder blade where I connected with the edge of the U shaped seat of the porcelain toilet.
“You are a fucking asshole,” I yelled at Colby’s shoes, not more than two feet away from my face as I laid on the floor in his blood, “That wasn’t funny, you bastard.”
Colby didn’t say anything. I could see from where I laid on the floor that Mathew was on the move again. He was shifting toward my new stall using that old man gate of his. I scrambled up to my knees and slid the lock into place just as he reached the door.
It took me several minutes to recover most of my composure and some of my dignity as I twisted and turned, trying to right myself in the close confines of the little cubicle. I took a few moments to rest on the edge of the plastic seat. I cupped my hand over my scrotum through my slacks, wondering if I had torn it or if it just felt like it. I was missing my right shoe and probably would have bruises all over from the way Colby had grabbed me and from my fall.
“Give me my fucking shoe back, Colby,” I said as I stepped up onto the toilet and looked over the divider, I was pissed now. Sure, they were only Payless dress shoes, buy one pair get the second half off, but I felt like a dumbass sitting there with only one.
Colby was standing in the next stall reaching up at me with my shoe in his mouth.
“Quit fucking around,” I said, snatching at my shoe, I had to jerk hard to break it free from his clenched teeth, “Jesus Christ, Colby, how can you joke around at a time like this? You could be fucking bleeding to death. I’ve got you’re fucking blood all over me now,” I added as I looked at the smears all down my right leg. I was sure that his blood was all over my back from lying on the floor, but I couldn’t very well turn my head around to see how bad my shirt was stained.
Sitting back down on my toilet, I untied my shoe and put it back on. There were ragged teeth marks in the fake leather, but it was better than not having it. I hadn’t had time to do my laundry over the weekend, so the thin, black socks I was wearing were old and had a few holes in them.
I took a minute to rest after my ordeal. My watch showed 2:46. Damn near two hours had passed and nobody had come to rescue us. Hell, nobody had even come to use the john.
I climbed back up onto the edge of the toilet seat. My legs were very shaky now from all the exertion. I leaned close to look down into Colby’s stall. There was something not right. Colby had pulled some awful practical jokes around the office over the years, but he was also kind of a clean freak, so having my shoe in his mouth was more of a joke on him than me.
I peeked over, and then snatched my head back quickly, nearly slipping off my precarious perch. Colby was reaching up at me again, his outstretched fingers just inches from my face as he thumped against the wall between us.
I heard his assailant shuffle at the door of my new stall and thump against it with his face. I could see his DC shoes under the door again.
“Stop playing around, Colby,” I admonished him, “If you want me to get help, you’ll change your attitude quick.” I wasn’t going to rush out of the restroom and just leave him with this maniac, but I did deserve a little respect; I mean, shit, I was crawling over the toilets for this accounts payable piece of crap and he had the nerve to pull a stunt like he did. I mean what kind of dumbass bites a man’s shoe and thinks it’s funny?
I stepped up onto the chrome fixture to get a little more height and peered over to Colby’s side again. His movements were slow and jerky. The wound on his arm had turned black and was ringed in layers of purple, brown, and yellow bruising. Colby’s eyes were what finally clued me in; they were glazed like a Krispy Kreme donut, and I don’t just mean the white parts, both of his entire eyes were glazed, iris, pupils, everything.
I could still see traces of color underneath, like you can see traces of the yolk through the milky, white exterior of a poached egg.
I’m not embarrassed to say I cried, not for Colby. I mean sure, Colby worked in the same office and we got along alright, but it’s not like we were close friends. I didn’t even know his wife’s name…wait, was Colby even married? Anyway, you get my point.
My tears were induced by a veritable tsunami of emotions. Fear was a driving factor. Revulsion, is that an emotion? I think now that I was grieving. Sure, I hadn’t lost anybody or anything yet, but as I looked at Colby, I knew… I knew that because of what had happened to this balding, borderline obese, accounts payable drone, my world would never be the same.
I may never get to hold my son, Bobby, again. I may never get to apologize to my ex-wife for all the things I didn’t do when our marriage was falling apart. I may not even get out of this God forsaken men’s room alive. Picturing myself dead, but moving around like Colby and making it out of the men’s room brought on another torrent of tears.