Randall Jenkins always wanted to be a private detective. Too bad he only became really good at it after he died... When Randall Jenkins is kicked out of high school for being a zombie, he needs a way to make a living. Enter Private EyeZ: The Zombie Detective Agency. As one of his first cases, Randall is surprised when his old pal and teammate Brock Thornton shows up, offering him three crisp hundred-dollar bills to follow Brock’s girlfriend, Brandy Hutchins. So why does Randall feel like he’s the one being followed?
I finger the three hundred-dollar bills and look across my desk at Brock Thornton. “You’re paying me in full? In advance?”
Brock looks like his name sounds: tall, dark, and lazy. To prove it, he’s just handed me three hundred dollars to stalk his girlfriend.
“My dad says it’s good to motivate your employees.”
Brock’s dad being Brock Thornton Senior, he of the Thornton Auto Mall out on Route 6. And the Thornton Auto Store off Highway 16. And the Thornton Auto…well, you get the picture.
Brock’s eyes are so dull he doesn’t even realize he’s just insulted me. Then again, it’s hard to insult a non-human. At least, according to folks like Brock. And in a little town like Beaver Falls, North Carolina, there are a lot of people like Brock.
He looks around my office, which is small and cramped but clean and professional. It’s got the desk, the three chairs—two on his side, one on mine—and my (still drying) certificate of graduation from the Allied Security School on the wall. Above the certificate is my freshly printed business license for the Private EyeZ Detective Agency. In case you’re wondering, the giant, all-caps “Z” stands for Zombie.
He checks out the magazines on the coffee table—The Reanimated Reader, if you must know—the fake plant on the window-unit air conditioner, the dusty fedora on the coat rack by the door, then circles back to me. “This what you do since they kicked you out of school?”
“What else can I do?” I ask him.
Brock shrugs. He’s not big on answering questions. “I dunno. I see your zombie buddy Jim Phillips bagging groceries at Greenbriar’s Grocers on Main. That seems pretty steady.”
“Did you say anything to him?” I ask.
His face wrinkles like a centipede just tickled his you-know-what. “What for?”
“Because he was the best wide receiver you ever had, Brock, remember?”
“Because you drove to school together for two years straight. Because he was your friend.”
Brock runs a big hand through his feathery blond hair. “Look, just because the law says I have to let zombies bag my groceries doesn’t mean I have to be nice to them while they’re doing it, okay? No matter how many touchdowns they scored for the Beaver Falls Bearcats.”
I nod; he’s right. It doesn’t.
“So why are you being nice to me, then?”
“Am I?” He snorts.
I shrug. “Not really.”