If you’d like to see ‘The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum’ featured in The Guardian…

The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum

If you enjoyed The Zombie Adventures… parody novel, which I blogged here chapter by chapter last year (each post written straight off the top of my crazy head) you can now nominate it to be featured in this new Guardian series

Update: Until the end of July 31st 2013, you can download the eBook from Smashwords in their sitewide promotion for free using the promo code SW100

Octopulpy: A Zombie Parody

Pussycat Dolls vs Michael Jackson – “Don’t Cha Wanna Beat It” mash-up…

“Seven of us – a few dozen of them…” Luke muses.

There is an expectant pause. Why is there a certain lack of humorous Pimm’s reference to follow that remark?

And then it dawns on me…

“Six of us,” Carvery corrects him.

“Oh yeah.” Luke sighs. “Forgot about your girlfriend. Sorry, man.”

Of course. Miss Knob-End, the usual air-headed wit on this occasion, is in a wooden box under the deck of Lady Glandula’s gigantic barge. Awaiting any regeneration privileges that might come her way. Or rigor mortis. Whichever arrives first.

“No worries,” Carvery shrugs. “She acts up like it all the time.”

We remain at the apex of the square, or market-place, unwilling to chance another masonry assault from above. The awaiting zombies shift restlessly in the shadows.

“Are these more relatives of yours, Crispin?” Ace Bumgang asks.

“Not mine.” Crispin shakes his head, and then glances a little sheepishly over at our Nigerian cab-driver, Luke. “But ancestors of one of our party, most definitely. The original engineers of the pyramids, you could say…”

“You mean slaves?” I gasp. Both Carvery and Ace thump me, on either arm. “Ow…”

“I could try and talk to them,” Luke suggests.

Crispin looks even more uncomfortable.

“I think you’ll find the, er… introduction protocols are a little different to what you may have experienced, Mr. Lukan,” he says. “Kneeling down and touching your forehead to the ground might be considered inadvisable, for example – unless you want it cemented there permanently.”

“Obvious, in the building trade,” Carvery agrees. “Any opportunity for the competition to make off with your tools, when you’re not looking.”

“Well, what would YOU recommend we do?” I ask him, irritably. “Seeing as you’re the expert on the – stone slab side of things.”

He gives me an assessing glance.

“You’re the one dressed as their psychotic zombie queen leader,” he points out. “Why don’t YOU come up with something?”

I look down at the glittering clockwork hand, tucked safely into the belt of my gown. It merely looks as decorative as the star on a Christmas tree right now. And about as lethal.

“Maybe there’s something helpful in that book,” I shoot back, indicating Mr. Dry Senior’s leather-bound diary, tucked into Carvery’s own waistband. “Or would it take you too long to colour all the pictures in first?”

“I’ve already checked,” he says. “No tits in it.”

“Or tacos,” Ace smirks.

“Friends,” Crispin’s powerful zombie monotone interrupts, before I can make another riposte. “We are not getting anywhere by arguing amongst ourselves. I suggest we send in a distraction.”

As one, we all exchange looks, and turn to look at Homer N. Dry – currently half-disrobed transvestite zombie. Only the ostrich-feather boa remains, from his dressing-up sessions this morning.

“Homer,” Crispin announces, solemnly. “I am giving you permission to enact that little fantasy of yours, which Father always prohibited at dinner-parties.”

Home?” Homer asks, uncertainly. A look of perverse hope flickers fleetingly across his disturbing gray face.

“Yes.” Crispin takes a deep, bracing breath, his own lungs creaking and whistling as he does so. “The one about the ladies of the Villa Negra – and the French Foreign Legion…”

Comprehension sinks in. And a broad, manic, evil grin spreads across Homer’s face.

The very same chilling grin I first saw of his, on the CCTV footage in Crispin’s hi-tech security bunker, last night…

Goooood,” Homer approves, rubbing his ragged hands together, and cracking his knuckles.

*  *  *  *  *

I peek out tentatively, around a pillar.

“Go on, Sarah.” Carvery urges, and I feel the butt of the shotgun nudge me in the spine. “Homer needs an M.C, and you drew the short finger-bone. Don’t leave the creepy little zombie dude hanging.”

The half-hidden Nigerian slave zombies are still loitering menacingly in the shadows. Homer, preening his leftover ostrich-feathers, is waiting patiently just at my shoulder.

“God, all right!” I grumble, and clear my throat.

I take one cautious pace out into the open, worrying that Carvery appears to have the gun trained on my own head – rather than at any potential attackers.

“I expect you’re all wondering why I called this meeting!” I improvise loudly, in my best cut-glass Lady Glandula de Bartheline impression. “Well, er… you’ve all been very loyal, and very hardworking. Putting up all these huge erections that I demand of you, and stuff. I can’t imagine what it must have been like lifting all of this stone, day after day. So, um… I have a little reward for you. A bit of entertainment.”

I step aside, sweeping an arm out, in a gesture of introduction.

“Gentlemen, I give you… uh…” My brain frazzles. Just say anything, Sarah! “All the way from… a galaxy far, far away… the exotic fjords of… somewhere-or-other… Princess… Homer Rottick!”

“Nice,” Carvery mutters.

Homer swirls past me into the empty market square, trailing feather boa, like a rhythmic gymnast. I hear the collective intake of zombie breath, as he pirouettes into the centre of the pavement.

Any minute now, I’m thinking. Any minute now – we’re all going to be eaten alive…

“Oooh, I hope they don’t notice that…” Luke remarks, right by my ear, sounding equally concerned. “He has a big wang for a dead white fella.”

“Must be a family thing,” I agree, instantly more worried, as Homer performs a cartwheel.

“That doesn’t sound like a virgin at all, Sarah,” Carvery points out, nastily.

“What?” I snap, wondering why I’m now thinking about Madonna, and elevators. “Why are you hanging around gawking? I thought you had a part in this plan too?”

“Yeah, yeah,” Carvery grins. “C’mon, Ace, let’s go shift some stuff.”

The two of them head off, on their own determined mission.

Crispin has taken out a small pair of opera-glasses, and is scanning the shadows. Some of the strange zombies are starting to move forward slowly into the open, attracted by the bizarre spectacle of burlesque gyrations, performed by Homer N. Dry.

“Any sign of the carpet-salesman?” I ask Crispin, hopefully.

“Not yet,” Crispin admits. “I think I will need a better vantage-point. The two of you stay here, and keep an eye on my poor brother. Well – having the time of his life for now, at least…”

While Crispin hurries away also, Luke and I watch the dancing Dry brother, with our own mixture of deep concern and horrified fascination.

I feel like exactly like Rachel did, on Friends

“Oh, God – I can’t not look at it…” I quote. My fingers, covering my face, are fighting each other to hide in my mouth.

“They are getting very close,” Luke confirms. Homer tickles the end of a zombie’s nose with a long feather. “They are going to notice quite soon that he has the wrong qualifications for this sort of lady-dancing.”

“Perhaps they’ve noticed already?” I whisper. “And they aren’t bothered?”

On the far side of the square, in the shade of another pillar, I spot Carvery and Ace – levering up a large paving-slab. My heart thumps in sympathy. I crane my neck to try and spot Crispin.

Where on Earth has he got to…??

“Can you see Crispin at all?” I ask Luke.

“Maybe he’s scarpered,” Luke says grimly, after looking fruitlessly around. “Maybe we were ALL his distraction.”

In the middle of the square, Homer continues his grotesque ballet – the strangest, gangliest, deadest Sugar-Plum Zombie Fairy I have ever seen…

“We should take the clockwork hand, and run,” Luke suggests. “Give it to me.”

“What?” I gasp in shock, as he makes a failed grab for my belt. “No!”

“Crispin has gone!” he insists. “We have to save ourselves!”

“NO!” I shout again, louder than I intended. I stumble backwards, trying to evade his attempts to snatch the precious clockwork hand. “He’ll be back! He wouldn’t abandon us…”

Suddenly one of the zombies in the market square gives a roar, and we all look around – to see the tallest, thinnest zombie standing over Homer – pointing accusingly.

“Oh, shit…” I mutter.

“Told you,” Luke reminds me. “It’s just not normal for a white dude to be flaunting THAT about.”

Homer twirls coquettishly, trailing ostrich-feather boa – which inexplicably speeds up, until it cracks like a whip…

…And the head of the tallest zombie pops straight off, bounces – and rolls right over to my feet, underneath the long gown belonging to Crispin Dry’s mother.

As I snatch up my skirts and leap aside with a scream, I see it give a much more approving grin…

Palace siege scene from James Bond ‘Octopussy’ (en Francais) – Enjoy 🙂

More mindless mayhem: The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum

Also available for all other devices, and online reading, on Smashwords

Body of Condiments: A Zombie Parody

Remix of Depeche Mode, by Reaps007 on Youtube…

I got to grips with the rules of the blindfold touch game eventually. It was the object that Crispin Dry was drawing on me with that I was supposed to guess, not the Thing he was drawing. That made it much easier, to my vast relief.

So obviously the first object was an ice cube. The second was also easy – I’ve handled enough human scalps in my time at University to recognise the tickle of tanned hide and hair. The third was harder – I hazarded an Ugli fruit, a cauliflower floret, a sock full of marbles, a stitched leather catcher’s mitt, and even an artichoke, before giving up. I was kicking myself when Crispin told me it was a shrunken human head. I should have known that one.

The fourth object was another easy guess, but it was the noise that gave it away. I felt the dig of something sharp clustered against my belly, through my Pizza Heaven work fleece, and the soft feathery tickle against my bare arm. There was an unmistakable crooning sound, followed by an uncertain cluck.

“A live chicken,” I announce, triumphantly. I hear Crispin’s echoing undead chuckle.

“I see I will have to be more creative, Sarah Bellummm,” he says, in his now-familiar zombie moan.

Still blindfolded, I hear him moving things around on the tray. I wonder if there’s any danger of that drink appearing any time soon. Typical male. They invite you in for a coffee, and it turns out they have no coffee in the house after all, just a waxworks dungeon and a complete box-set of Playboy Mansion.

I jump out of my skin, as the next sensation I feel is a mechanical vibration against my hip. My sudden movement seems to startle Crispin also, because I hear something metallic clatter on the tray.

“What is the matter, Sarah?” he asks.

“It’s okay, it’s just my mobile phone,” I say, feeling the rhythmic buzz a second time.

I squirm around to reach my pocket, and prop myself up on my elbow, pulling the blindfold up to see the number. Caller ID informs me that it’s Cramps University Hospital. Yes!

“It’s the hospital,” I tell him, and he looks disappointed. “They’ve promised me an autopsy session if a suitable research donor is found… maybe there is a fresh one in that has the right paperwork.”

“You must answer, by all means,” he says, and replaces the forceps regretfully on the tray.

He picks up a hi-ball glass instead, containing an iced pink liquid garnished with mint and lime, and I hold my free hand out eagerly to accept it as I press Connect. Ooohh – Sloe Gin Sling! My favourite…

“Hello?” I say into the phone, and take a huge gulp of Gin Sling before the sting of alcohol on my tongue reminds me that I’m not allowed into the morgue under the influence. Damn! I hope I have breath mints on me.

“Sarah, it’s me,” says Miss Blah-blah-blah, my housemate.

“Hello – what are you doing calling me, hombre?” I ask. “I’m working, I hope you realise.”

“Sarah, I’m in Cramps hospital. My boyfriend didn’t believe me when I said I had the termination today. He came round and we had a fight. We started to have make-up sex but then he said he was still angry with me, and bit my thumb off. They’re going to try and reattach it. I’m in the Emergency Room now, will you come and sit with me? I’ll make sure you get paid for the rest of your shift.”

“Oh, you mean now?” I grumble. “I’m with a customer…”

“I will take you wherever you need to go, Sarah Bellummmm,” says the perfect zombie gentleman beside me, deftly tidying the tray.

I nod, and swallow the rest of the Sloe Gin Sling. Phew. I could use a few more of those.

“I’d really appreciate it, Sarah…” Dumb-Ass whines in my ear, over the phone.

“Yeah, yeah, I’ll see what I can do,” I say, and hang up. “That girl gives retards a bad name. I need to get to the hospital. She’s had another bedroom mishap with that delightful human butcher she calls a boyfriend.”

“We must go immediately,” Crispin nods, getting to his feet and offering his gray-skinned hand to help me up. “I will take you in the Cadillac.”

I allow him to lead on, wondering hopefully if that means there will be more cocktails to look forward to on our return… At least now I don’t need to worry about the breath mints.

*  *  *  *  *

We enter the hospital via the rear transport entrance on the lower ground floor, and make our way to the elevators that will take us up to the Accident & Emergency department at the front. Two porters and a nurse pass us, wheeling a cadaver wrapped in white sheets on a trolley, and I hear a low guttural sound from my delectable zombie companion. It hotwires my adrenal glands directly to my heart rate.

“Is it the smell?” I whisper, wondering what has caused his reaction.

“The rigor,” he murmurs. The elevator doors open in front of us. “This way.”

We head into the elevator, and the doors close, sealing us alone together in the bare metal cell. I press the button, and the lift grinds into life.

The atmosphere is suddenly electric.

“What is it?” I squeak, aware that his eyes are drilling holes into me.

“I cannot go out in public like this,” he tells me.

No!

“You should have said,” I complain, my heart now sinking. “Why did you offer to come? You could have stayed behind, out of sight…”

“No – not like that…” He flaps his hands a little awkwardly, reminding me of a forlorn Edward Scissorhands. “The hospital – that corpse – it is too much…”

What could he mean? I stare bewildered into his jet-black eyes, willing him to open up to me. He casts his eyes hopelessly down at himself.

“I have a Zomboner,” he admits.

“What?” I look down at his fly, horrified, and hurriedly look away again. “Is that all? Er, I mean, not in that way, I mean to say – it’s very impressive, in fact – but what I actually mean – why don’t you just style it, dude?”

“It is my first,” he says, wretchedly. “Since passing… I would hate for it to fall off…”

I close my eyes and heave a sigh. All that mental rehearsal (with frankfurters in coat pockets while thinking about Ace Bumgang) is going to come in handy now, I tell myself.

“I’m an expert in handling dead bodies, at any stage,” I tell him, summoning up all of my confidence. “And I haven’t lost an extremity yet. You will just have to trust me.”

He looks imploringly and awkwardly at me.

“We can kiss,” I suggest, in barely a whisper. “If it will make you feel better at the time…”

He turns slowly towards me. For some reason I wonder, at the back of my mind, if those breath mints would help me now…

The original above (slightly censored). Warning: Contains Madonna, bless her 🙂

More mindless mayhem: The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum

Also available for all other devices, and online reading, on Smashwords

50 Shades of Gray Matter: A Zombie Parody ~ Chapter One (Extended)

I look in the mirror. I do it every day. Pretty much most people look in the mirror every day.

I see a girl. That’s a relief. A girl with hair, two eyes, a nose, one mouth, and as I push the hair back as I’m brushing it to check – yes, still got two ears. Phew.

My housemate, whose name escapes me most days, has forced me into this, the reason I’m awake and brushing my hair at the ungodly hour of ten a.m. How dare she go for her abortion today, and pack me off instead to do her media studies homework? Couldn’t she have had her termination some other time?

I have to go and interview some vending-machine business mogul. The company is called Dry Goods, Inc, and the owner, Crispin Dry, supplies our University with all of its vending machines. He’s notoriously hard to get appointments with. When you ring his office, you have to press so many buttons on the phone to finally get through – only to be told that your selection is no longer available, and to choose an alternative.

Miss Whatsername, my housemate, says that she’s got to get this interview for the University paper. I don’t know why, they only use it to wrap take-out cartons in the refectory. Maybe it’s to promote a new drinks machine range.

So I’m having to forgo my weekly visits to the body farm and the morgue for my own research project. I don’t even know if I’ll be back in time for work later.

She’s going to owe me big-time for this. If I don’t get to see a corpse this week, I don’t know what I’ll do. There’s one I’m rather fond of in a wheelie bin under a silver birch tree at the body farm, where I like to sit and eat my sandwiches. He’ll have changed so much the next time I see him…

I leave Whatserface, my best friend, packing her nightdress for the clinic.

“Good luck!” says Thingummyjig, as I head out. “Make it a good interview!”

“I’ll bring you back some sanitary towels,” I concede, and slam the front door.

*  *  *  *  *

It’s a long drive to Seaford West Industrial Estate, but luckily I have my father’s trusty bullet-proof Hummer in which to navigate the rain-soaked roads. I don’t think my Pizza Heaven scooter would have made it. When I put my books in the insulated top-box, it always skids over in the wet. And sometimes nasty people put other things in there, when I’m doing a delivery.

Dry Goods House is a huge monolith of connected storage containers, converted into offices on the seafront industrial park, an illegal immigrant’s dream. Mirrored glass windows inserted into the corrugated steel keep out any prying eyes.

The revolving doors swish as I enter the Customer Enquiries lobby. A brain-dead-looking blonde is sitting at the stainless surgical steel counter.

“I’m here to see Mr. Crispin Dry,” I announce. “I’m Sarah Bellum. Miss Thing from the University sent me.”

“I’ll text him,” says Miss Brain-Dead, picking up her phone. “Have a seat.”

She eyes me as I sit down on the plastic chair between two vending machines, one for hot drinks, the other for snacks. I feel over-dressed. Maybe stealing my housemate’s Christian Louboutin studded Pigalle pumps and Chanel suit had been taking it too far. The receptionist looks cool and comfortable, in turquoise blue overalls and a neon yellow hi-visibility industrial vest.

“He’s on his way down,” she says, after a moment. She reaches under the desk. “You’ll have to put this on.”

I get up again to accept the hi-visibility yellow vest she hands me, which has VISITOR stencilled on the back. I pull it on grudgingly over my borrowed Chanel.

The adjoining door creaks, and I turn, still adjusting my Velcro.

I know, the moment I see him.

The black suit. The pallor of his skin. The attractively tousled, unkempt bed-hair. The drool. That limp… oh, God, that limp…!

“Crispin Dry?” My voice catches in my throat.

“Miss… Bellllummmm,” he moans softly, extending a dirt-encrusted hand.

My heart palpitates wildly, noting his ragged cuticles, and the long, gray, prehensile fingers.

“My housemate,” I begin. “Miss Shitface – she couldn’t make it today. Got the uterine bailiffs in…”

I grasp his outstretched hand in greeting. So cold… and yet so mobile… a tingle crawls deliciously up my forearm, and I snatch my hand away quickly, scared of showing myself up. His jet-black eyes glitter, equally cold, and his upper lip seems to curl in the faintest suggestion of a smirk. Or is it my imagination?

“Were you offered a refreshment, Miss Bellumm?” He gestures towards the famous vending machines.

I shake my head, and he turns to glare at the receptionist. She cowers visibly, and I’m sure I hear him emit a long, low, guttural sound. The receptionist scrabbles in her drawer and holds out a handful of coin-shaped metal tokens.

“I’m fine, really…” I croak, although in all honesty, my throat does feel terribly dry.

“Very wellll…”

My knees feel weak as he holds the door open, and beckons, his head at a quirked angle.

“This way, Miss… Bellummm.”

How he rolls my name around his mouth makes my own feel drier than ever. I stumble hazily through into the corridor, hearing the door creak closed again behind me, and the shuffling, shambling sound of his footfalls in my wake.

“Straight ahead, Miss Bellumm.”

His voice is like sandpaper being rasped over a headstone. It tickles my inner ear and the back of my throat, sends chills down my vertebrae. It resonates with my deepest darkest thoughts.

Things I had not even entertained notions of while eating sandwiches under the silver birch tree, beside my dear Mr. Wheelie-Bin…

His arm extends past me to swipe his security card in the lock of the next door, and a waft of his moss-like scent washes over my strangely heightened senses.

“Go through, Miss Bellumm,” he practically whispers in my ear.

The door clicks open, and I step through. Murky grey daylight filters through the tinted windows from the seafront, and I gasp. Another brain-dead blonde is banging her head repeatedly on the steel wall, not three feet away from the door.

“Debbie,” Mr. Dry says. Is that a tinge of disappointment, or disapproval in his voice? “Take Miss Bellum’s coat. You will not need the yellow site vest either while you are with me, Miss Bellumm.”

Debbie turns to look at us, her flat bleached-out bloodshot eyes registering nothing. She holds out her arms to accept the navy-blue Chanel and hi-visibility vest as I shrug them off, feeling exposed now in my Andy Warhol Marilyn Monroe t-shirt. Miss Brain-Dead Mark II takes my jacket with a soft grunt, but goes nowhere, turning back to face the wall instead, contemplating the smear where her head had been rebounding off it just a moment before.

Crispin Dry takes my arm to steer me past, the unexpected contact eliciting another gasp from me. Those long, cold, prehensile fingers, closing around the soft warm flesh of my tricep…! I trip along the next corridor, trying to keep pace with his rolling, loping gait, like that of a wounded panther.

“My office…” he hisses, swiping his security pass a second time, and ushering me through.

It is black. Everything is black, from the desk, to the leather seating, to the vertical blinds. The only colour in the room is a giant white canvas, on the wall facing the long window, upon which a modern meditation in red is represented.

“You like my art, Miss Bellummm?” he murmurs, seeing my open gape at the piece.

“It’s yours?” Wow – now I’m really intimidated. The only art I see is on custom car bodywork when passing the breaker’s yard, hoping to catch a glimpse of the fit mechanic. “It’s beautiful…”

“I call this one… ‘High-Velocity Spatter’,” he confides in a husky voice. “Sit.”

I plant my quivering haunches onto the soft leather, and start to take out my notes. The only sound otherwise in his office is the eerie call of gulls, from the windswept pebble beach outside.

Crispin Dry watches me, calculatingly. He circles around the sofa opposite, not yet seated.

“Would you like something to drink, Sarah Bellumm?” He moves languidly towards the huge, black, state-of-the-art vending machine in the corner.

The sound of my full name on his lips is like the opening of a beautiful white lily…

“I am a little parched,” I admit. “Yes, please, Mr. Dry. Thank you.”

“What would you like?” His hand hovers over the illuminated keypad. “Tea, coffee, hot chocolate? Iced water? Chicken soup? Gin and tonic? Bubblegum? Breath mints?”

Mmmm – a vending machine with everything!

“A chicken soup would be lovely,” I hear myself say, and my stomach grumbles in agreement, recalling the last slice of cold Pizza Heaven pizza I ate for breakfast, many hours ago.

“Chicken noodle, chicken and sweetcorn, Thai chicken and lemongrass…?”

“Yes please – the last one…”

I watch as his clever fingers dance over the keys. There is the faintest hum from the machine. In a trice, a large fine china mug appears, steaming, on its own saucer, garnished with fresh chives and coriander. There is even the traditional porcelain soup-spoon on the side, intricately decorated.

I wonder what sort of businesses he supplies this particular machine to. All that the University ones dispense, is various colours and temperatures of pond-water à la Styrofoam. We must be at the very bottom of their budget range.

He brings it to the low onyx table in front of me, and presents it with the gallant flourish of a red napkin. Something of the gesture, and the way he arranges himself laconically on the sofa opposite, makes my heart sink slightly.

Oh no. He’s so gay…the way he’s fidgeting his earlobe in that I’m-ready-to-listen way and stroking his knee with his other hand – that’s at least fifty shades of gay…

I struggle to focus on the list of questions that Knobhead has written out for me. I’m starting to worry that maybe I won’t enjoy finding out the answers to some of them.

“It’s very hot,” he says, in a warning tone. It startles me.

“Hmmm?” Am I always this jumpy?

“The soup, Miss Bellummm.” His mouth twitches in the corner, and his black eyes crinkle slightly. It’s as if he can see into the dark shadows at the back of my own mind.

“I can get started with the questions while it cools down,” I say, brightly, batting away the shadows in my head at his curt nod. Definitely gay. I look down at the sheet of paper. “Now… the first question. Is it true that you employ foreign child labour in the construction of your vending machines?”

“No.” The answer is as cold as ice, and as solid. “There are other ways of manufacturing our machines to a budget that is mutually beneficial, to the product consumers, and the workforce.”

“Right…” I scribble this down, in my best pizza-order shorthand. “And is it also true that you sub-contract your perishable goods supplies, for human consumption, out to companies who deal in black market foodstuffs and out-of-date stock?”

“Our sub-contractors are fully vetted,” he assures me. “If any sub-standard products are finding their way into my machines, it is usually the fault of the site owners, outsourcing to cut-price vandals who access the machines without our endorsement. Quality control is of paramount importance in this business.”

The aroma drifting up from the soup is certainly backing up his argument. But still…

“Are you saying that the recorded cases of food poisoning at Cramps University, and at other sites, is the faculty’s fault?” I ask.

“I am not saying anything, Miss Bellumm,” he muses, his eyes still faintly entertained, his head still quirked. “But you are, it seems.”

I stare down at the page. Twat. That last question was me, my stupid mouth running away with me. Not one of Miss Fucktard’s questions at all. Double twat.

“Moving on,” I say swiftly, aware that his eyes are mentally dismembering me. I look at question number three. “How do you explain your current one thousand percent increase in profits in the current financial climate, Mr. Dry?”

“With excellent book-keeping.”

I look up at him, uncertain whether this is merely a stab at humour. He is still lounging on the sofa, the jet black of his eyes resting on me steadily. My own eyes follow the line of his jaw, and the rumpled Bohemian mane of hair, still intact. His square shoulders in that black suit make me feel weak. What’s wrong with you, girl? He’s still walking around and talking! You’d be bored sick of him within minutes, same as all the others…

I press on with the questions, covering the various charges of tax evasion, pollution, carbon footprint, and illegal immigration, and he has a cool answer for every single one. I’m relieved to turn the page, and find the closing questions are brief.

“…Finally, Mr. Dry. Can you tell me your favourite colour?”

He indicates the décor of the office.

“Black,” he confirms. “With a little fetish for red, occasionally. And sometimes…”

His face darkens. He looks away.

“White?” I suggest, thinking of the painting.

“When black meets white, there is a certain shade – a very delicate and vulnerable shade – that illustrates humanity in its most primitive state.”

“You mean gr…”

He puts his finger to his lips.

“Best left unspoken.” Those black eyes burrow into my head. “A colour for the mind. Not for the lips. Only… under very special circumstances… should the matter pass the lips.”

He’s bonkers. Just what we need right now. Another gay eccentric. I return to the final questions.

“And what music do you listen to?”

“Soul.”

“And last question. What car do you drive?”

“I have a number of cars, all black, and a chauffeur, who drives very sedately. You must allow me to take you on a tour of the rest of my complex some time. I may have an opening for a new PR girl soon.”

Outside the window behind him, something turquoise blue and neon yellow crashes wetly onto the pebble beach from above. Without looking around, he produces a remote control, and closes the vertical blinds. Automatic halogen lights phase on overhead, so there is no change in illumination inside the office.

“Thank you, Mr. Dry.” I’m on my feet in that instant, suddenly wary of being in an enclosed office alone with him. Those dark shadows have all sprung to attention in the back of my mind, at the closing of those blinds. “You have been very accommodating, but really I mustn’t keep you any longer.”

“Indeed?” he asks in turn, rising out of his seat. For the first time I notice how tall and manly he is… was, I correct myself angrily. “Keep me for what purpose, I wonder?”

So arrogant!

I just nod, blushing fiercely, and head for the door.

“I will have to show you out,” he reminds me, taking out the security pass again, and lurching forward to accompany me. “It has been a pleasure, Miss Belllummm.”

His voice is driving me crazy. And his hand on my arm again, guiding me out of the door and into the corridor. I practically scamper ahead, snatching my coat back from Brain-Dead Blonde Mark II.

“Thank you for your time, Mr. Dry,” I say, back in the near-safety of the lobby. There is no sign of Brain-Dead Blonde the receptionist, and I can’t wait to get away. “It has been very educational.”

“I’m sure it will be,” he agrees, with a courteous nod. “Au revoir, Miss Belllummm.”

I run to the Hummer in my pointy Pigalle pumps, and lock myself in. I can see gulls flocking to the spot on the beach outside his office, on the far side of the building.

Those shadows in my head – I fight to control them. How dare he hijack my fantasies, my pure and innocent thoughts of the dead? How dare he make a mockery of it all by walking around in broad daylight and touching me??! There ought to be a law against that sort of thing…

As I drive home again, all I can see through the rain bouncing off the road in front of me, is his gray and amused, sardonic and demonically attractive face.

See the movie ‘Secretary’ (trailer above) for the original Mr. Grey, if copyright law is what lights your candle… and you may find a few more movie tributes, amongst those in the following zombie parody… 🙂

To read on, see the opening chapter ‘Filthy Shavings of Gray Matter’ in The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum:

The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum

Available on Amazon Kindle worldwide – click for Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.ca or Amazon.com

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