Short Story

The Thoughtful Zombie

(Middle Grades, 1217 words)

Recycling isn't just for kids, you know!

The zombie only wanted Joey's tongue. He would have been happy with just the tongue, a nice, rubbery one, long and pink. He'd already made the necessary arrangements; newly sharpened scissors, a sterilized needle, plastic baggies and clean bandages bulged from his shoulder bag. He'd even contemplated the thread color he'd use for the stitches. Blue.

The zombie was completely prepared. Why, he'd even procured plastic gloves and alcohol wipes to be hygenic. Not that he needed to worry about infection, but he was proud of how it showed the compassion he had for regular humans. For after, he'd picked up a package of strawberry chewing gum, sort of a consolation prize. His first thought had been to buy a lollipop, one of those huge, multicolored, spiral ones that he used to savor when he was a kid, but then he remembered that Joey wouldn't have a tongue. Giving him a lollipop would just be cruel. And the zombie wasn't cruel. He just needed a tongue, and when Joey had thoughtlessly wagged his out the schoolbus window, the zombie realized that it was the perfect one for him. Joey was obviously not taking good enough care of it. Didn't he know not to stick his head out of the window of a moving vehicle?

The zombie knew someone who would be overjoyed to have the head as well, if Joey insisted on poking it out into oncoming traffic. Or trees. Heads worked much better when they were cleanly severed. Smashed noses and bloodshot eyes got old really fast. Zombies didn't like blurry vision any more than the next guy. That's why they believed in taking care of things.

Taking care of things was exactly what the zombie planned on doing.

Until Joey decided to be uncooperative.

Which is when the zombie realized that there were a lot of other needy zombies in the world. Going to all this work for just a tongue was, quite frankly, wasteful. The zombie hated waste. So he took everything that could possibly be useful. Those plastic baggies with the little zip tops came in handy after all. It was amazing how much his shoulder bag could hold, thought the zombie, shuffling away as he chewed contentedly on a piece of fruity gum. Just for fun, he stuck his new tongue through the wad, blowing a giant bubble that popped all over his patchwork, satisfied face.

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