A Little Zombie Excerpt

Here’s a little something from a story I’m working on right now…


Ezra walks like a drunk sailor, or how I think a drunk sailor would walk, because like I have never seen one but I’ve heard that sailors drink a lot and drinking makes people stagger around the way my little brother does, but whatever, Ezra stumbles around the house all the time. Mostly he clings on to furniture if it’s near enough to cling to, but some of the stuff that Mom Two buys on her antiques shopping sprees is really tippy, so then I have to rush up to Ez and make sure that he doesn’t bonk his head or break some fancy Shaker end table in the process. It gets tiring, but the extra allowance is worth it. Plus he’s cute, and so when we’re out somewhere like the arcade on Folsom or the hipster park where everyone beautiful plays lawn Frisbee or whatever the hell it is, people come up to us all agog and shit because Ezra is teetering around, saying “arararar gagagaga Amuhwee” which is some apparently adorable pronunciation of my name, Emily.

Yes, our parents gave their two children E names. It is so awesome being us, let me tell you. Actually my original name was not Emily, I had to convince my parents that despite what the doctor yelled out as I was born, I was really a girl. It wasn’t easy to get them to believe me, but they’re more or less okay with it now, and I have learned all kinds of ways to be a more patient person. Maybe. The universe gave me my parents so I would learn how to get what I need, and then it gave me Ezra so I would continue to work out my core muscles. Thanks, universe, for looking out for me.

The phone rings, and it’s my friend Iggy who is also trans and who also left out extremely crappy high school because of it. Iggy has been funny as hell lately because he finally started hormones after years on the blockers and now he texts me every time a new chin hair appears. Seriously. I have like 126 texts from him, all about freaking chin hair. Guys are so weird.

“What’s up, Ig?”

“I was going to hang at Gus’s house, you wanna come?”

Gus is one of those kind of asshole, kind of cool dude you can’t ever pin down. But his parents have a pool and it is close to 100 degrees outside.

“Well, but I have Ez this afternoon. Mom One is in a delivery.”

“And where’s the other one?”

“At some fancy furniture store in Oregon, I can’t remember where.”

Iggy sighs into the phone, which I hate because it sounds gross and wet.

“I mean, can you keep him from drowning?”

“Do I have the word stupid tattooed on my forehead?”

“I don’t know, because we’re not on video, dude.”

“You are so tiring.”

“You are so predictable,” he says, and now I’m grinning. “See you in twenty.”

I hang up and pick up Ezra on my way to my room. Swimsuit, board shorts, SPF 50 sun shirt, sunscreen for me and the baby, and then I rush down to the nursery to get Ez’s swim diaper and bright green floppy hat, because nothing says baby like old lady hats and nothing says fun like trying to keep a hat on a baby’s head for more than twelve seconds.

“Gah,” says Ezra at the sight of his green and blue shark swimsuit. Ez only has four or five words, but he uses them for 800 different things. Context is key.

He giggles as I slather sunblock on him and coos at me as I strap him into his little seat that sits behind the rear tire of my bike. If I didn’t have his little carrier we would never go anywhere, and since he’s got his favorite blanket in there and a bunch of old raisins, he loves going on all of our adventures.

It’s not long before I see some strange people staggering down the sidewalk—well, actually they’re half on the sidewalk and half in the street. I pedal past them, wondering who gets that drunk at three in the afternoon.

Gus’s house is kind of ridiculous, with these huge iron gates that block the roadway, flanked by lions, and you can only get through once someone inside buzzes you in. I could totally climb the gate or the fence, but I did slip once doing it and pierced my right ass cheek, and besides, I have Ez with me today and a ton of pool-related shit.

“Let me in, jackass,” I say into the monitor.

“Screw you, buttwipe,” he replies, and the gates open. Then it’s a longish ride down the crushed rock driveway up to his enormous house. Some people have all the money, I guess.

By the time I reach the front door Gus is standing on the top step, a towel thrown over one shoulder like it just happened to land there. He is so clueless, but I give him a wave as I throw my leg over the bike and kick the stand. Ezra babbles at me and off in the distance I see Iggy scraping his way through the gates before they finish closing. I’m used to hearing a final click as they clamp down in the center of the driveway, but it’s not until later in the lay that realize they didn’t shut this time.

Iggy barrels up to us.

“You daredevil you,” I say.

“I live for the thrill,” he says.

Gus shakes his blond head, his hair is shaved so close to his scalp that I can see each individual hair at its sprout point. The haircut is new.

“What’s with the Hitler Youth look, bro,” I ask, and Iggy cracks up, holding his sides and laughing.

“She’s right.”

“I don’t even know why I invite you two clowns over,” says Gus. He actually looks a little defeated, and I feel badly for him. He didn’t ask to be rich and beautiful.

“Street cred,” I say, and I pick up Ezra under his armpits, heading into the house, making a beeline for the pool, which is a magnificent creation. It is lined in pretty blue and green glass beads, making a mosaic of waves and small fishes, and every time I come over I find a new part of the picture I’ve never noticed before. I’ve learned to hold my breath for two and a half minutes, mostly because I want to see all of the elaborate parts of the pool bottom. There’s a slide on the side and a diving board at the far end where I lost my bikini top last summer after one jump into the water. Gus’s parents clearly spend a lot of time out here because the pool chairs are made of thick canvas and easy to nap in; the large umbrellas keep the sun off in a wide circle and there’s a wet bar out here with its own soda machine and we can splurt out a pop anytime we want one. Being rich is gross and amazing all at the same time.

It’s not long before Gus and Iggy find Ez and me in the shallow end, with Ezra kicking and splashing and laughing. The pool is his favorite place.

Iggy calls out a cannonball and a giant wave of water mushrooms over us, splattering the pool deck. Gus shakes his head.

“Be right back, I gotta take a piss.”

“What a gentleman,” I say.

Iggy does his best to float quietly on the surface of the water, but as he comes near us he takes aim at me with by splashing at my face. It’s Ez who starts another round of kicking and then Iggy is on the defensive, out of float mode and covering his face with his arms.

“Stop, kid, stop it!”

“Don’t talk to him like that,” I say, and at the same time Ezra squeals from all of the fun he’s having. I love this little dude.

It’s the scream from inside the house that makes us all jump and starts Ez crying. I’m glad I didn’t drop the baby in the water.

“What the hell,” says Iggy, and he launches himself onto the deck from the side of the pool. But he doesn’t make it into the house before he backs up toward us again. And then he can only talk in a weird low voice that not even his man-hormones have given him before now.

“Em, get out of the pool,” he says.

“What? Why? Where’s Gus?” I don’t even know why the hell I’m asking these questions, but they seem to be all I can manage.

“I’m telling you, get OUT of the POOL,” he growls, and I listen because some part of my lizard brain understands that he’s genuinely afraid to speak any louder. I shush Ezra as I climb back out of the shallow end, and for now he’s calmed down and starts pulling at my hair. And once I’m in the shadow of a big bright umbrella I can see into the house.

Four people are eating Gus.

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Categories: ev's writing


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3 Comments on “A Little Zombie Excerpt”

  1. April 8, 2015 at 10:00 pm #

    And who says zombies are dead! Poor Gus…

    • evmaroon
      April 12, 2015 at 8:53 pm #

      I know, he can’t help his life circumstances…


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