Luc Reid writes about the psychology of habits at The Willpower Engine. His new eBook is Bam! 172 Hellaciously Quick Stories.

Susannah Mandel’s short story “The Monkey and the Butterfly” is in Shimmer #11. She also has poems in the current issues of Sybil’s Garage, Goblin Fruit, and Peter Parasol.

Jason Erik Lundberg‘s fiction is forthcoming from Subterranean Magazine and Polyphony 7.

Jason Fischer has a story appearing in Jack Dann’s new anthology Dreaming Again.

Archive for the ‘Disco Zombie’ Category

Brains You Cannot Have

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

This story is the second in the Disco Zombie series.

The girl in the glittery black halter top shouted something.

“WHAT?” shouted Barry over the music. If you could even call it “music”: it was nothing but thumping and shouted rhymes. When did that become music? Barry would have killed to hear a good falsetto harmony–maybe some Bee Gees. Then again, he had already killed three times that night.

“I SAID, GREAT COSTUME!” she said, nodding and pointing at him. “DISCO ZOMBIE! I LOVE IT!” Then she shouted something else he couldn’t quite catch.


“I SAID, ARE YOU GOING TO EAT MY BRAINS?” She laughed, throwing her head back, letting her hair ripple down over her shoulders–but carelessly, like she didn’t even notice.

For answer, Barry shoved her behind the speakers and pressed her against the wall with his body. The thumping and shouting was still audible, but it was more distant, directed out and away from them.
“Wow, you’re strong,” she said. “You gonna kiss me? Take off the mask.”

Barry didn’t have a mask to take off, so instead he grabbed her head and squeezed with his fingers to crack her skull open the way he had cracked the other three skulls. Nothing. The others had been like eggs: this was like trying to crack a bowling ball.

“What are you doing?” she said. “God, why does it always have to be the weirdos?” Then she stretched her mouth wide to show two bone-white fangs and plunged them into his throat. She came back up, gagging, seconds later.

“Is that formadahyde?” she choked. “I haven’t tasted anything that bad in ages.” She made uncomfortable motions with her tongue. “So that makes you what, a real zombie?” She looked him over. “You preserved pretty well, all things considered.”

“Do you remember Disco?” Barry said.

“I remember Disco, the Mashed Potato, the Charleston … back in the 1720’s there was this hornpipe craze like you wouldn’t believe. But yeah, disco was something special.”

“We should dance.”

“I want to eat first. Hey! You know, if you and I go in together, it’s like a two-for-one special.”

“You don’t like the brains?”

She made a face.

They shared a personal injury lawyer in a back alley and went for a walk under the moon. Later, she invited Barry back to her coffin, and at dawn they fell asleep there, dreaming of the black, gaping pit of infinite time.

Disco Zombie

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

Barry woke up feeling claustrophobic and irritable in a pitch black, stuffy place where something stank. Above him, something hard was in his way, and in annoyance Barry punched it. He was surprised and pleased when his hand smashed through easily, and surprised and pissed when dirt poured through the hole onto him. Aggravated, Barry bashed and clawed his way up through what was left of the hard thing and through the dirt above it until he broke through into an open space. It felt like forcing himself out of a birth canal.

He found himself outside in a misting rain and some hazy moonlight, and now that he was calming down, he began to notice strange things–like the fact that he had just clawed his way up from underground when the last thing he’d been aware of was passing out after doing too much coke at the disco, and that his gold pantsuit was rotted nearly to rags, and that he had forgotten to breathe and it didn’t seem to be bothering him.

“Good morning, disco zombie!” someone called out, and Barry turned to see a skinny woman standing nearby, the ground around her scattered with heavy books and with candles that flickered under the protective shadow of a beach umbrella.

Barry took a step toward her, a strange, salty smell drawing him forward. Brains.

She stood up, snicking out a knife. “Hold on there,” she said. “I need you to do me a favor.” She held up a little baggie, and even through the bag he could smell that it was coke–which was funny, because when he was alive, coke hadn’t smelled like anything.

“You knew I’d care more about the coke than the brains,” Barry croaked.

“I made a point of using a legendary addict,” she said. “It’s how I’m going to control you. You play nice, or no coke.”

He thought about it for a moment, stepped forward, and cracked open her skull with his fingers. The knife jerked into his chest and probably damaged something, but whatever it was, it didn’t seem to be something he needed.

The brains were perfect: warm and savory. Afterward, Barry did the coke and wondered what the favor would have been. Then he went out to look for a disco.