Three hundred years into the apocalypse, centuries-old zombie queen Creature Comfort and the love of her afterlife Dara Licked leave their salt factory in Utah and find themselves beneath a gussied-up Lady Liberty, surrounded by a race of fabulous drag queens. Humanity (what's left of it) is in dire trouble, attacked by unseen menacing forces, and only Creature can possibly save the day!
Thus starts this hilarious tale of mystery and heart-pounding adventure, of friends old and new, of what it means to be alive and, most importantly, in love.
Though queen, I wasn’t God, and didn’t feel the need to lip-synch my way through that role either. You see, I could’ve turned dozens of them, hundreds, but to what end? What gave me the right to inflict consciousness on the unconscious, to breathe life, or at least the next best thing, into the dead? I mean, think about it: yes, they were trapped out there, trapped in their own skin, unthinking, unfeeling, but what was so great about living in a salt factory for presumably thousands of years, your friends and family all gone, life as you know it equally as kaput?
And though I could’ve easily sent a great many of them to their maker as well, to put them out of their misery, that wasn’t my job either. Plus, it’s not like shooting ducks in a barrel. These were still humans, undead zombies though they were. And killing someone, and/or rekilling, even an undead someone, was never fun and only to be done out of dire necessity. Like when a horde of them was chasing after you, eager to rip into your flesh. Gives me the chills to think about it. Or at least would if my body wasn’t already as chilly as a San Francisco summer, minus, of course, that oddly sizzling power plant of mine, which never seemed to warm the surface of things, nice as that would’ve been.
So, yes, I had to choose well. This was, after all, an important decision. And, okay, I’ll admit it, a rather selfish one, but, come on, I had been through an awful lot -- emphasis on the awful -- and deserved at least an iota of comradely from someone who enjoyed a little Britney from time to time. Heck, I would’ve settled for a Celine fan by then, shudder the thought.
In any case, thirty odd years into my reign, I began to circle the perimeter of the fence, seeking that special someone out. And, yes, staring into the face of death, thousands of faces of death, in fact, is enough to turn any stomach sour, even my long-still one.
The groaning would amp up as I passed, dead eyes fixed on me. The fingers and hands poking through the fence, purple from death and red from the sun, would cease gripping for nothing but the air in front of them, only to start up again as I eventually strode by. And to each of the undead I would give the once-over, eagerly looking for a tell, something, anything that would give them away.
But guess what? After thirty years or so, pretty much every zombie looked alike. Death, of course, isn’t pretty, but even less so when you’re standing in the sun for that long. Kind of like an undead Republican convention: all one color, all with the same flicked-off minds.
Still I looked, circled, one day after the next, hunting for any new face that would manage its way to the front of the line. Weeks on end went by, months, one year, two. Yes, fine, it filled the monotonous void, but also had me growing ever more despondent. What if I was forever to be alone, just me and a handful of zombie brethren and a couple of hundred somewhat-fawning humans to keep me company? It was sort of like being able to watch TV, but the only station you could get was Fox News.
And then two years, ten months and fifteen days later -- fine, I was counting, so sue me (and good luck finding a lawyer) -- there he finally was, at long last.
My heart would’ve stopped beating had it not done so all those years prior when the sun suddenly went kerpow on my ass. I froze in place, my eyes on his, his on mine. He was about my age -- or at least the age we were when we, you know, died -- my height and slim build, sandy brown hair and eyes the color of a summer sky (minus the ever-present bloodshot streaks). And then, glory be, I scanned downward.
“Britney,” I whispered, reverently, barely managing to squeak it out. A grown man wearing a Britney T-shirt, and vintage Britney at that, could only mean one thing. Unless he was merely being ironic, which I knew straight boys sometimes did, but prayed against it just the same. Plus, I felt something else, a twinge if you will.
I walked up to the fence, loud groaning enveloping us for fifty feet all around, less boisterous groans at the periphery and even more groaning, of course, beyond that. His hand had already been poked through the hole, fingers instantly coming to rest on my shoulder, a spark running through me as sure as any bolt of lightning. He was the one; I felt it, knew it down to my very soul, tamped and stomped down as that sucker might have been.
“Follow me,” I commanded, ever the queen.