Chapter Three: Grey Matter – The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum from Crispin’s point of view, continued…

CHAPTER THREE

The intensity in the atmosphere is excruciating. Me, Crispin Dry (vending machine CEO of Dry Goods Inc., nouveau morte and bon viveur) in my element as host to a tasty morsel, exploiting all that the vast kitchenette of my Grade II-listed mansion has to offer. Chopping, dicing, blending, and mixing up the previously-mentioned cocktail, which is tailored especially for my salivating guest.

Her: Sarah Bellum – mild-mannered pizza delivery girl by night, ambitious Forensic Anthropology student by day, and incurable romantic. Apart from the very much alive Ace Bumgang, who she likes to watch from a distance through the chicken-wire fencing of Bumgang & Sons’ Breaker’s Yard – especially when he’s outside his site office with his shirt off – bastard – the only male bodies she ever sees are in various stages of decay, on the Body Farm.

Not for much longer, baby. Have patience. Braaaiiins…

I’m lucky if I get five reports a week of her routine. So intriguingly little to go on! Her best friend and housemate is quite demanding, in contrast – with her electronically-tagged boyfriend, with whom Sarah also seems to be smitten.

More competition. I suppress a snarl, as my competitive libido broils, sending twitches to my flaccid appendix. What does she see in them?

And there is her dearest one at the Body Farm, Mr. Wheelie-Bin Under The Silver Birch Tree, a domestic violence victim. His hair, hanging off his scalp, like a bad ginger toupée… Another corpse to compete with. And he comes with a sympathy angle too. I thrust the five-star restaurant quality Sheffield steel cleaver back into its oak knife-block, picturing his festering innards in receipt of the same. Well, that won’t last – I will make sure of it…

I regain my composure as I slide the completed tray along the counter. A work of art.

“No peeping,” I murmur, and she nods, confirming that her eyes are still obediently closed. Good girl. “Perhaps we should retire to the other room, where you will be more comfortable. Take my arm.”

“Where are we going?” she asks, sliding off the seat at the counter.

She had been enjoying the food game. The noises indicated that her stomach was still hinting it had room for more. She reaches out for the cold cloth of my sleeve, and the even colder press of my flesh underneath tucks her arm intimately into my side, to guide her along.

Even closer to her braaaiiins…

“Just across the hall,” I confide. “There is a very nice late evening lounge.”

“You have a lounge for different times of day?” she asks, making careful effort to keep pace with my stride. I slow down even further, to draw out the enjoyment. She bumps against me with every roll of my limp, like butter to my biscuit. If I had a biscuit, that is.

My one responsive gonad agrees.

“I have a room for every time of day, Miss Bellummm,” I assure her, heavy with implied meaning. “Turn around,” I whisper against her ear, my other hand on her shoulder, pivoting her to face me. I test the sleeve of her Pizza Heaven work fleece. What other delights could be beneath? “Would you like to take this off?”

“Er, well, actually…” she coughs, trying to sound nonchalant. “I kind of had a nap before work tonight, so this is all I have on. Er. Underneath. Just me.”

Braaaiiins!

“Intriguing,” I merely say, approval in my tone. She gulps.

I move forward just enough to help her take a backward step into the soft give of a cushioned seat at the back of her legs.

“Make yourself comfortable,” I say, and she drops thankfully onto the velvet cushions. “I will return with the drinks. And still no peeping.”

“I promise,” she nods.

“I think I will take out a little insurance on your promise,” I remark, and I undo the knot at my collar with swish of silk. “I will use my tie to blindfold you. Do you mind?”

“Is it another game?” she asks, accepting the strip of material as I place it gently across her eyes.

So willing!

“Another sensory game,” I agree. “Not taste, this time. I think your tastes are well-established.”

“Good,” she says, relaxing a little. “Because blindfolds and food combined could create a potential choking hazard.”

Trusting her to wait with patience for me, I cross the marble hall floor, back to my vast food-court of a kitchen. She won’t so much as smell anything disturbing in that room. Not even a joss stick, or deodoriser designed to mask the scent of a personal hygiene problem, or anti-social habit. Braaaiiins… Nor sound. While I prepare, I strain to hear anything other than her trepidatious breathing, the well-being of my morsel – I mean, guest – of paramount importance. I announce my return with the clinking of glassware on the tray in my hands, and the shambling shuffle of my footsteps approaching her again.

Blindfolded, she leans into the embrace of the couch, trying to appear relaxed. It’s only slightly spoiled by the fact that the back of the couch is a lot further away than she thought, so she falls through the loosely-heaped pillows in slow-motion, until nearly prone.

Mmmm – like on a slab, ready for dissection.

“I see you are getting comfortable, Sarah Bellummm.”

I tease her with the sound of her own name. I know that all she gets called at work is ‘Cheese-Bag’ or at University, ‘Bell-End’.

The ink printed on her birth certificate has never sounded so sexy.

The couch dips beside her, as I sit down casually. Her abdomen rises and falls feverishly in response, like an onset of dormant malaria.

“We are going to play a game of touch,” I say.

“Soccer?” she asks, puzzled. “Blindfolded?”

“No, the sensation of touch.” I attempt to contain my excitement. Must not lose control. “With your permission I will draw some different objects across the surface of your skin, and you will guess what they are.”

“Oh, like Draw My Thing?” she concludes. I grit my teeth as jealousy wanders pervasively through my remaining organs, flinging the confetti of minor insecurities in its path, in a cavalier fashion. One of her favourite pursuits on the internet in the evenings, while not doing homework assignments, is to try and get Ace Bumgang to Draw his Thing and email it to her. And I bet his never plays dead on him. Lucky bastard. “Do I get three clues as to what you’re drawing?”

“If you relax, we shall start,” I say at last, swallowing down my rage. “And the game will explain itself as we go along.”

“Sure,” she shrugs, and rolls up her sleeve. “Nothing on the face. Or below the wrist, in case it doesn’t wash off. People don’t appreciate seeing knobs drawn on your hand when you’re delivering their pizza…”

She breaks off with a gasp, feeling something icy cold slide up the sensitive skin of her inner arm.

“What do you think this is?” I ask, as the tingling cold sensation slides slowly all the way down again, and back up, under my deft manoeuvres.

“Er…” The cold seems to have alerted parts of her that I didn’t even know were peckish. She could use another bucket of chicken wings, never mind that cocktail. Perhaps she’s hungry for something else… I try an adjustment of my groinal regions. Damn it. Still nothing! “Um, can I ask for a clue?”

“If you ask a question, it must be in the form of a question with a Yes/No answer,” I reply.

The icy cold sliding, torturously, all the way back down from her shoulder to her wrist. So different from playing online – she understands now…

“Okay,” she says at last. Her mouth is dry – it must be almost like sandpaper by now. Is that a twitch from below? My hope of satisfaction flares, before she voices her query for a hint. “Is it to scale?”

The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum

The original Zombie Adventures. Now on sale for the summer – 0.99c or equivalent from the Amazon Kindle ebookstore worldwide. (Also available on other reading devices)

Chapter Two – Grey Matter: The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum from Crispin’s point of view – the CtrlVquel

CHAPTER TWO

I hear the Pizza Heaven scooter protesting as it approaches up the mile-long driveway to my enormous stately home, and my equally huge anticipation is turgid, almost vibrating. I’ve never called out for pizza before. Chinese, Korean, sushi, fish-and-chips, shish kebab – many times. The little two-stroke engine is making those annoying noises, only slightly more annoying than the noises that Mrs Fritatta makes when I ask her to change the sheets for me – on the occasions that I’ve had a few too many braaaiiins, or a Jägerbomb cocktail more than three inches deep.

Good Lord, the suspense is killing me… Fuck. I can already smell her braaaiins.

My black stretch Cadillac limo is parked at the foot of the steps, the engine and exhaust still ticking quietly as it cools, as I have only recently arrived home. She will have to pull in behind. My eardrums pucker tightly, straining to hear every detail.

Footfalls scale the enormous marble steps. I wonder what shoes she is sporting now. Boooots?

In spite of the clear view of the morsel on my stoop from the security camera, my hitherto apathetic prostate leaps to attention at the press of the buzzer. Thank God, the damnest thing – it still has life in it! Ignoring the intercom, I loosen the resulting wedgie and attempt a nonchalant saunter across the grand entrance hall, hoping to build up my visitor’s own sense of anticipation.

She evidently gets a shock when the door is opened silently between us. She looks as though the world has just dropped out of her bottom. Or mine, for that matter.

Standing in front of her, my matt-black tie undone and just-dead hair hypnotically dishevelled, is me, Crispin Dry – vending machine magnate, entrepreneur, and the sexiest corpse she’s recently seen – at least, since 4.23p.m. last Thursday, in a wheelie bin under the silver birch tree at the Body Farm, or so the reports tell me…

What does she see in him? A mere Forensic Anthropology donor subject? Bastard…

“Mr. Dry!” she squeaks, terrified – and immediately thrusts the pizza box under my nose. It does not avert the even more delightful smell of nervous pizza-delivery girl.

Mmmm. Yum.

“Miss… Belllummm…” I slur, and feign innocence. “What a pleasant surprise. Do come inside. The kitchen is just this way.”

I turn in the doorway and shamble into the opulent entrance hall, beckoning for her to follow. Come hither, baby.

She has no choice. Sarah Bellum pulls the gigantic door closed behind her. I wonder if she now knows how Gretel felt, upon entering the gingerbread house…

My kitchen is vast – like a bowling alley. When I open the great refrigerator, and start selecting my condiments, I know she half expects to see the bottles deposited mechanically onto the shelf, like a set of ten-pins.

My spine tingles, sensing her tentative approach. Fuck. I never felt this alive in the presence of a woman – even when I was alive…

“I’ll just leave it right here, shall I?” she suggests, sliding the box onto the glassy-smooth granite counter-top. I picture her sliding across it herself, in turn.

I know what I’d rather eat.

Braaaiiins…

“Join me, Sarah Bellummm,” I say, surprising her. “I believe you might be famished, after your long day…”

She looks doubtful, and a flicker of jealousy flares unbidden, in my left gonad, while its master remains cold and unaffected. Bugger. It had better not fall off.

Dinner with me will scupper her usual Friday plans, of waiting outside Bumgang & Sons’ Breaker’s Yard with a Chinese Meat Feast. Ace Bumgang always pretends to be surprised, which actively encourages her for some reason, and sometimes he even takes it with him. He’s usually in a big hurry to meet up with his friends at the boys’ club, Gentlemen Prefer Poledancers – which I am privy to, as I own the place. It means he’s telling her in his own special way that he’s not settled for anyone important yet… Why is he stringing her along? Isn’t it perfectly clear they’re not suited?

“Well – I think the last thing I ate, was a sip of chicken soup, from the vending machine at your office earlier…” she admits, timidly.

“Toooo long,” I agree, and give her a devastatingly wonky nod. “Take a seat. And close your eyes. I have a surprise for you.”

A big surprise, baby. I consult my downstairs menswear department hopefully, but still an armed response from there is pending. My other appetite, however, is already open for business, at full throttle. Braaaiins.

She slips off her George and Mildred and tries to make the most of her helmet-hair as she arranges herself on the seat at the counter. I dart her a meaningful look, still foraging in the refrigerator, and obligingly she closes her eyes.

I wonder if she expects a big tip.

You won’t be disappointed, my love. Haha. My inside leg measurement remains obstinately unchanged. Bugger.

“Is that your Cadillac outside?” she asks, passing the time with small-talk, while I’m putting dishes on the counter in front of her.

“It is just a courtesy car,” I say, dismissively. “The Bugatti and the Maserati are away for servicing, and I only use the Diablo on holiday weekends, when I go hot-air ballooning.”

“Hmm,” she murmurs, disbelieving. Probably picturing more guys like Ace Bumgang, who have a couple of sports cars, a racing bike and a speedboat scattered around, as petrolhead mechanics always do… but she has no idea of what lights a businessman’s candle in the motoring department. A fleet of 1.2L commuter compacts, if anything…

“I hope you are hungry,” I say, rather darkly, interrupting any of her fantasies intruding on us about Ace Bumgang. “I have an idea of your tastes already. Open wide.”

She promptly rearranges herself on the seat.

Braaaiiins! Oh dear Lord – I wish I had something to put there! Perhaps I will have to get a clockwork one…

“I meant your mouth,” I croon, hiding my regret, and she slams her knees together again, like a barn door in a tornado.

Nervously, she lets her mouth fall open, in a textbook Q.

“Put your tongue in, pleeeaase,” I moan softly.

Her tongue is like an inviting ramp. Lead me to your braaaiiins… I can almost peer right into her skull. It’s so beautiful. A man could get lost in that empty space for days…

The Q becomes an O, as requested.

Her stomach rumbles immediately in response as I feed her the first tidbit, and she chews enthusiastically.

She’s eating!

“You approve?” I ask, hopeful.

“Yum,” she nods. “Is there more?”

I will not admit to her that it is my own recipe. Not yet. I have been trying to perfect these Korean Fried Fingers all week.

“Nine more, I believe,” I confirm, as she runs her tongue around her teeth to dislodge any gristly bits. She coughs on something dry, and removes a crispy fingernail from her cheek, which I quickly brush aside. “I think we have found your acquired taste exactly.”

“Do you have anything to drink?” she asks. Her eyes are still rapturously closed, all thoughts of the tanned, toned and droolworthy Ace Bumgang evidently forgotten.

So keen! Her thirst makes my own liver turgid with agreement.

“Be patient, Sarah Bellummm,” I whisper. “I am sure I have a cocktail worthy of you.”

I shock her with my intimate tone.

“It’s as if you were expecting me,” she gasps, blushing.

“But of course,” I say, so close to her ear, she nearly swoons off the chair. I inhale surreptitiously, savouring her heady, pulsating aroma. My stomach acids pump, in a most gratifying response. “I even made sure to re-stock the vending machine in my bedroom, right before you arrived…”

Nothing between us but braaaaiiins, baby…

The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum

READ CHAPTER ONE HERE: GREY MATTER 1

BUY THE ORIGINAL ZOMBIE ADVENTURES HERE: THE ZOMBIE ADVENTURES OF SARAH BELLUM

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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

Nine And A Half Reaps: A Zombie Parody, Part Two

 

More from Reaps007 on Youtube…

The intensity in the atmosphere is excruciating. I can hear Crispin Dry (vending machine CEO of Dry Goods, Inc., nouveau morte and bonne bouche) still moving around me in the vast kitchenette of his Grade II-listed mansion. Chopping, dicing, blending, and possibly mixing up the previously-mentioned cocktail, which he says is tailored especially for me.

Me: Sarah Bellum – mild-mannered pizza delivery girl by night, ambitious forensic anthropology student by day, and incurable romantic. Apart from the very much alive Ace Bumgang, who I like to watch from a distance through the chicken-wire fencing of Bumgang & Sons’ Breaker’s Yard – especiallywhen he’s outside his site office with his shirt off – the only male bodies I ever see are in various stages of decay, on the body farm.

I’m lucky if I get five minutes a week there to study, recently. Or at the body farm. What with Miss Wotsit, my best friend and housemate, being so demanding – with her delayed birth control plans, and electronically-tagged boyfriend, with whom she seems to be smitten.

Actually, her situation would be more accurately described thus ‘…by whom she seems to be smashed up, on a regular basis.’

No wonder I never even remember her name. She comes home with a different face every few days.

With a great pang of loss I wonder how much my dearest one at the body farm, Mr. Wheelie Bin Under The Silver Birch Tree, will have progressed the next time I see him. Apparently he was a domestic violence victim too. You could tell particularly in the early stages, by the way his scalp was hanging off like a bad toupée…

…But the sound of Crispin Dry sliding something along the counter towards me dissolves that thought, as quickly as an acid bath.

“No peeping,” he murmurs, and I nod, confirming that my eyes are still obediently closed. “Perhaps we should retire to the other room, where you will be more comfortable. Take my arm.”

“Where are we going?” I ask, sliding off the seat at the counter.

I had been enjoying the food game. My stomach was still hinting that it had room for more. I feel the cold cloth of his sleeve under my fingers as I reach out, and the even colder press of his flesh underneath, as he tucks my arm into his side to guide me along.

“Just across the hall,” he confides. “There is a very nice late evening lounge.”

“You have a lounge for different times of day?” I ask, making careful effort to keep pace with his attractive, undead pimp-limp. What do they call it? Crap walk? Crabstick walk? I’m glad Ace Bumgang can’t hear my thoughts, sometimes. Although the look he gives me when he espies me through the boundary fence of the breaker’s yard suggests he does know exactly what I’m thinking, and it comes with the words ‘restraining order’ attached. He’s so cute. He just knows I’m a sucker for threats like that… Cripple walk…? Hmm. Maybe I made it up…

“I have a room for every time of day, Miss Bellummm,” Crispin Dry assures me, heavy with implied meaning.

My kneecaps try to switch places, while my tongue tries to hide behind my epiglottis and escape up the back of my nasal cavity.

“Turn around,” Crispin’s voice whispers against my ear, his other hand on my shoulder, pivoting me to face him. I feel him testing the sleeve of my Pizza Heaven work fleece. “Would you like to take this off?”

“Er, well, actually…” I cough, trying to sound nonchalant. “I kind of had a nap before work tonight, so this is all I have on. Er. Underneath. Just me.”

“Intriguing,” he says, and I can hear his approval. I gulp.

He moves forward just enough to help me take a backward step, and I feel the soft give of a cushioned seat at the back of my legs.

“Make yourself comfortable,” he says, and for my wandering kneecaps’ sake, I plop thankfully onto the velvet cushions. “I will return with the drinks. And still no peeping.”

“I promise,” I nod, my anticipation at his own promise of drinks already building again. I’m parched. I could go for a fishtank cocktail right now, never mind a fishbowl cocktail.

“I think I will take out a little insurance on your promise,” he remarks, and I hear the swish of silk. “I will use my tie to blindfold you. Do you mind?”

“Is it another game?” I ask, accepting the strip of material as he places it gently across my eyes.

“Another sensory game,” he agrees. “Not taste, this time. I think your tastes are well-established.”

I wonder what he could possibly mean. Smell? I take a few experimental sniffs once I hear his footfalls crossing the marble hall floor again, receding away back to that food-court of a kitchen. I don’t smell anything in this room. Not even a joss stick, or deodoriser designed to mask the scent of a personal hygiene problem, or anti-social habit. Strange. Sound? I strain to hear anything other than the clink of glassware on a tray, and before I know it, the shambling footfalls are approaching again.

I lean into the embrace of the couch, trying to appear relaxed. It’s only slightly spoiled by the fact that the back of the couch is a lot further away than I thought, so I fall through the loosely-heaped pillows in slow-motion, until I am nearly prone.

“I see you are getting comfortable, Sarah Bellummm.”

He teases me with the sound of my own name. Maybe he knows that all I get called at work is ‘Cheese-Bag’ or at University, ‘Bell-End’. I never thought that the ink printed on my birth certificate could sound so sexy.

I feel the couch dip beside me, as he sits down.

“We are going to play a game of touch,” he says.

“Soccer?” I ask, puzzled. “Blindfolded?”

“No, the sensation of touch. With your permission I will draw some different objects across the surface of your skin, and you will guess what they are.”

“Oh, like Draw My Thing?” I conclude. One of my favourite pursuits on the internet in the evenings, while not doing homework assignments, is to try and get Ace Bumgang to Draw his Thing and email it to me. “Do I get three clues as to what you’re drawing?”

“If you relax, we shall start,” he says at last. “And the game will explain itself as we go along.”

“Sure,” I shrug, and roll up my sleeve. “Nothing below the wrist, in case it doesn’t wash off. People don’t appreciate seeing knobs drawn on your hand when you’re delivering their pizza…”

I break off with a gasp, as I feel something icy cold slide up the sensitive skin of my inner arm.

“What do you think this is?” he asks, as the tingling cold sensation slides slowly all the way down again, and back up.

“Er…” The cold has alerted parts of me I that didn’t even know were peckish. I could use another bucket of chicken wings, never mind that cocktail, wherever it is. “Um, can I ask for a clue?”

“If you ask a question, it must be in the form of a question with a Yes/No answer.”

Phew… I feel the icy cold sliding, torturously, all the way back down from my shoulder to my wrist. So different from playing online…

“Okay,” I say at last, my mouth almost like sandpaper by now. Mostly in trepidation of what the answer to my question might be. “Is it to scale?”

The original above… Warning: Contains human udders… ahem. Enjoy 🙂

More mindless mayhem: The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum

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

Nine And A Half Reaps: A Zombie Parody

Follow the amazing Reaps007 on Youtube…

My Pizza Heaven scooter is protesting as I ride up the mile-long driveway to the enormous stately home. I’ve never been called out here before. The little two-stroke engine is making those annoying little noises, only slightly more annoying than the noises that the gorgeous Ace Bumgang at Bumgang & Sons’ Breaker’s Yard makes when I ask him to take a look at it for me – on the occasions that I’ve ridden it through gravel, or a puddle more than three inches deep.

Good Lord, the house is huge. Like one of those ‘brownsigns’ in England, that have most of the rooms sectioned off with gilt corded rope, and that the public are allowed to wander around in at the weekends. So long as they don’t stray from the carpet and into the electric fencing, preventing them from leaving with more shiny heirloom helmets hidden down their trousers than they came in with.

A black stretch Cadillac limo is parked at the foot of the steps, the engine and exhaust still ticking quietly as it cools, as if the owner has only recently arrived home. I pull in at a respectable distance behind.

Swallowing my nerves, I take the pizza bag out of the top-box after parking up, and scale the enormous marble steps. I was rather hoping there would be a delivery slot, or at least a cat-door big enough to push the box through and run, which is my preferred tactic when also delivering to the rough end of town. I’d rather lose one pizza’s worth of payment, than my whole bike while my back is turned. Still smarting from the time I returned to the kerb just in time to see it being towed away around the far corner of the block, by four small children on a Fisher-Price musical push-along cart. Playing Old MacDonald Had a Farm… I cannot listen to that nursery rhyme since. It gives me terrible PTSD flashbacks.

But no. Just an entryphone beside the studded oak door. I press the buzzer, wondering if there is a camera as well, and if they’ll insist I remove my George and Mildred peaked crash helmet before responding. The one I still wear because I love Ace Bumgang’s face as he tells me the horrors of fixed-peak open-face headwear in an RTA. Sort of a mixture of caring, considerate, concerned, and ‘get out of my site office, you deluded stalker…’ while he pulls a sweater over his tight t-shirt, hiding those delicious-looking biceps and pectorals from my hungry gaze…

Expecting an intercom reply to my buzz, I get a shock when the door is opened silently in front of me – and for the first time I fully understand the meaning of the famous phrase ‘the world dropped out of my bottom.’

For standing in front of me, his matt-black tie undone and just-dead hair hypnotically dishevelled, is Crispin Dry – vending machine magnate, entrepreneur, and the sexiest corpse I’ve recently seen – since 4.23p.m. last Thursday, in a wheelie bin under the silver birch tree at the body farm…

“Mr. Dry!” I squeak, terrified – and immediately thrust the pizza box under his nose. Hoping to avert the smell of nervous pizza-delivery girl.

“Miss… Belllummm…” he slurs. “What a pleasant surprise. Do come inside. The kitchen is just this way.”

And he turns in the doorway and shambles off into the opulent entrance hall, beckoning for me to follow. It looks as though I have no choice. I pull the gigantic door closed behind me, feeling as though I now know how Gretel felt, upon entering the gingerbread house…

The kitchen is vast – like a bowling alley. When he opens the giant refrigerator, and starts selecting his condiments, I half expect to see the bottles deposited mechanically onto the shelf in front of him, like a set of ten-pins.

“I’ll just leave it right here, shall I?” I suggest, sliding the box onto the glassy-smooth granite counter-top. It sparkles with quartz and mica – not superheat-treated granite then, I find myself thinking… my mind wanders like this unpredictably at times.

“Join me, Sarah Bellummm,” he says, unexpectedly. “I believe you might be famished, after your long day…”

Damn. That will scupper my usual Friday plans, of waiting outside Bumgang & Sons’ Breaker’s Yard with a Chinese Meat Feast. Ace always pretends to be surprised, which is sweet, and sometimes he even takes it with him. He’s usually in a big hurry to meet up with his friends at the boys’ club, Gentlemen Prefer Poledancers – which is endearing, as it means he’s telling me in his own special way that he’s not settled for anyone important yet…

“Well – I think the last thing I ate, was a sip of chicken soup, from the vending machine at your office earlier…” I admit timidly.

“Toooo long,” he agrees, with a devastatingly wonky nod. “Take a seat. And close your eyes. I have a surprise for you.”

I slip off my George and Mildred and try to make the most of my helmet-hair as I arrange myself on the seat at the counter. He darts me a meaningful look, still foraging in the refrigerator, and obligingly I close my eyes.

Gosh, I hope this means a big tip.

“Is that your Cadillac outside?” I ask, to pass the time with smalltalk, while I hear him putting dishes on the counter in front of me.

“It is just a courtesy car,” he says, dismissively. “The Bugatti and the Maserati are away for servicing, and I only use the Diablo on holiday weekends, when I go hot-air ballooning.”

“Hmm,” I murmur, only half-believing him. Probably only got a Ford Focus and a Renault Megane in his garage… I make a private bet that the Cadillac is rented, just for show – utilised to pick up innocent girls when he’s in town. I mean, guys like Ace Bumgang, you expect them to have a couple of sports cars, a racing bike and a speedboat, I mean, petrolhead mechanics always do… but not a businessman. A fleet of 1.2L commuter compacts, if anything…

“I hope you are hungry,” Crispin Dry says, rather darkly, interrupting my fantasy that Ace Bumgang is The Stig, which would explain why he’s always so elusive. “I have an idea of your tastes already. Open wide.”

I promptly rearrange myself on the seat.

“I meant your mouth,” he croons, and I slam my knees together again, like a barn door in a tornado.

Nervously, I let my mouth fall open, in a textbook Q.

“Put your tongue in, pleeeaase,” he moans softly.

The Q becomes an O, as requested.

Something tickles my lower lip, sticky, and fragrantly barbecued. Mmm – chicken wings! My stomach rumbles immediately in response, and I chew enthusiastically.

“You approve?” he asks, and he sounds hopeful.

“Yum,” I nod. “Is there more?”

“Nine more, I believe,” he confirms, as I run my tongue around my teeth to dislodge any gristly bits. I cough on something dry, and remove something curved, almost fingernail-shaped from my cheek, which he quickly brushes aside from my own fingertips. “I think we have found your acquired taste exactly.”

“Do you have anything to drink?” I ask. My eyes are still rapturously closed, all thoughts of the tanned, toned and droolworthy Ace Bumgang forgotten.

“Be patient, Sarah Bellummm,” my dream zombie whispers. “I am sure I have a cocktail worthy of you.”

I am shocked by his intimate tone.

“It’s as if you were expecting me,” I gasp, feeling myself blush.

“But of course,” he says, so close to my ear, I nearly swoon off the chair. “I even made sure to re-stock the vending machine in my bedroom, right before you arrived…”

And the original above… Enjoy 🙂

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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