Zombies, the walking undead seem to be springing back to life in large numbers at the moment, if you believe the headlines in any case.
While the impending zombie apocalypse has preppers – those preparing for the apocalypse – stocking up on zombie ammunition, here at Highpants we thought we would take a different approach.
Partly driven by a boss always looking to save money, our new lord of the underworld, and partly to learn the truth about zombies we set off on an adventure of discovery, we would be hiring a zombie intern. ‘Zombies may just be the workforce of the future’ the boss thinks out loud, ‘finally the boss gets to chain someone to their desk’ i think.
Being busy behind the scenes here at Highpants, a full site rebuild underway, its all hands on deck, Zombie hands included. With the Zombie Apocalypse guide handy the hunt for a zombie intern was on.
The website ZombieHire was one of our first stops in the hunt and we struck gold early. Easily the friendliest employment agency we have ever had the pleasure of dealing with. This made us quite hopeful of the quality of intern the zombie staffed agency could supply.
After studying a dozen zombie CV’s we settled on Bob, with a background in IT and one remaining good eye for graphics he seemed like the perfect re-animated intern, being only recently deceased sealed the deal.
The day after signing contracts and confirming dates the agencies manual arrived titled ‘So You Hired A Zombie Intern‘, it seemed to be a slightly satirical guide that lays down the ground rules for our new employee with no pulse.
There are only three ‘must follow’ recommendations. Firstly restraint is required, the manual recommends a 5 foot piece of stainless steel heavy gauge chain and ankle clamp. Next on the list is a can of yellow spray paint to spray a circle 6 feet out from the zombies desk and chair. Finally feed your zombie every hour (or time period specified).
Be Prepared, Zombie Apocalypse
With the agencies recommendations in place and after a visit from the zombie health and safety representative, a zombie ergonomics specialist of all things, we had everything in place for our zombie intern to get to work.
Always wanting to be prepared we thought it wise to see what other preparations should be taken. Our first stop was the CDC, The Centers For Disease Control website has recently and most conveniently released the Zombie Apocalypse guide, one of the most accessible and popular pieces of emergency literature ever published. The combination of legendary pop culture topic with a comic novel layout gives you the most read emergency document in history. It also happens to illustrate the dangers and best actions in case your town is over run by Zombies.
The guide itself is serious and very real. Released in May 2011 the CDC hoped to engage discussion about emergency preparedness, the importance of having emergency kits ready. The guide generated so much buzz it crashed the CDC‘s servers. It is also responsible for many of the zombie headlines during the second half of 2011.
The zombie guide has been so popular that the CDC has become synonymous with the living dead. This was painfully demonstrated last week when the CDC were forced to respond to the zombie apocalypse questions from the media. The Huffington received the following response from the CDC.
“CDC does not know of a virus or condition that would reanimate the dead (or one that would present zombie-like symptoms),” wrote agency spokesman David Daigle in an email to The Huffington Post.
So, according to the CDC there are no real zombie virus’s. With a strained undertone they explained that in all seriousness Zombies aren’t real therefore there is no Zombie Apocalypse nor is there a Zombie virus.
Bob begged to differ, claiming the CDC would hear from his Zombie Union and their Zombie lawyers. After the recent spate of cannibal murders in America many other people seem to agree with Bob, causing the CDC to start receiving a huge volume of queries regarding the zombie apocalypse, which led to the need for the CDC to respond to the Zombie Apocalypse media pressure.
Being prepared sadly isn’t enough though, you also need to have a response just in-case your Zombie intern gets all up in your face looking hungry. Two recent zombie protection products were added to the CDC specification HEM (Highpants Emergency Kit).
Specially developed Zombie ammunition has been delivered from the Californian ammunition company Hornady, the last line of defense is the head shot. Hornady released the Z-Max series of bullets in late 2011 and have been so popular that they’re having trouble keeping the stock on the shelves. With tag lines like ‘make dead permanent’, the bullets are bound to be a hit.
According to Steve Harnody “Well, head shots or brain stem are the only effective shots on Zed so we focused on rapid fire quick recovery rounds.”
Just in case we can’t get the head shot required by the Z-Max ammo we have also ordered a Russian Zombie Ray Gun. This again is a real invention that even Putin has mentioned. The Russian weapon was initially designed to turn unruly groups of protestors into moaning zombie packs but the electromagnetic nature of the weapon should also make it effective on Zombies. Theoretically if the juice can be turned up high enough the zombie should become a baked bean in the microwave, splatter.
Bobs first day
Zombies in general don’t smoke cigarettes, they have no need for addiction, not to say they can’t smoke they just don‘t. Morning tea saw Bob join the lads in the smoking club, the back alley smokers. Let off his desk chain for 15 minutes, like all of us he was happy to just get out of the office for a minute. While a practical joke in this setting is common fare for the new guy, its usually not necessarily a funny joke, its the reaction that stands in for the punch-line.
The first lesson we learned on day one is, Zombies don’t feel pain, or hot and cold. Setting the back of Bob’s pants alight simply didn’t register, no reaction no punchline. A few minutes of Bobs smoldering ankles was enough for us all, we doused Bob out out and went back to work, not a word said. He didn’t seem to notice and we weren’t laughing.
The second lesson we learned was you really must feed your zombie intern regularly. Accuracy is essential, every 63 minutes seemed to be Bobs schedule. A minute later and we had a grumpy Zombie on our hands. Still throw him a chop or steak every every 63minutes and he will just keeps working away.
Talking to Bob from the correct side of the yellow line the conversation inevitably turned to how he became a zombie. Initially we received the very zombie response of silence. No response at all and after very tactfully steering the conversation from ‘where are you from’ to ‘how you got here’, and finally how did you become a zombie. A little pointless, tact is wasted on a zombie.
Zombie mythology is full of many mechanisms for converting the living into the living dead. Hollywood has tried them all, from radioactive crashed satellites to virus’s, and now in Hollywood Miami the most popular modern cause, the drug induced zombie cannibals. The CDC chose to invent a new disease when they created the Zombie Apocalypse guide, solanum the new zombie virus.
Strangely enough there is little need to invent a new zombifying causes, nature has her own ideas it seems. The prion disease CJD is said to have stupefying effects on sufferers. Creating a zombie like aimless state, it is fast acting and will kill the patient which makes it a poor zombie pathogen. There is also a fungus that zombifies ants, turning them into a zombie ant army for the host fungus. Not to forget the most famous natural zombie cause, the puffer fish toxin used in Haiti to create there zombified individuals. The combination of tetrodotoxin (TTX) and datura is mixed into a powder that is introduced directly into the bloodstream inducing a death like state. When the victim does return to life the are in a dis-associative zombie like state.
The most unusual real world zombie disease has to be the recently re-discovered nodding disease. While there have been outbreaks of this affliction in the 60’s and 70’s it hadn’t been seen for a long time, outbreaks in Northern Uganda are occurring in places that have never seen the disease before.
Called nodding disease due to the early symptom of nodding, other symptoms include seizures, aimless wandering, becoming violent, loss of speech, partial paralysis, and personality changes. One of the more unusual symptoms on the list sees the sufferers setting fires, becoming hypnotized by the flames, they will compulsively start fires when-ever left unattended.
Tragically the disease has recently seen large outbreaks that seem to strike children, mostly in the 3 to 11 age group. The cause and cure of the disease are still unknown, some epilepsy treatments have been tried but to little effect.
Also tragic is the lack of press coverage and medical industry interest in this emerging disease. The African nations that are afflicted by Nodding disease have a point when they asked the UN if medicine should be about profits.
Bob eventually chirps up, ‘Bob not virus Zombie, Bob family Zombie. mom and dad zombie, brother zombie. Family zombie, grand dad zombie, great grand dad zombie. This went on for a while as he slowly reeled through 6 generation of zombie. Continuing on to say ‘And great great great great grand dad was cursed, turned into zombie by a demon.‘ Still we all looked at each other and thought, virus.
Inevitably the conversation turned to the zombie cannibal outbreak in America at the moment. While three cases doesn’t technically justify an outbreak it is at least a cluster. Caused by the most modern of all zombie causes, the recent spate of zombie cannibals are being attributed to the new over the counter drug Cloud Nine. A synthetic stimulant similar to amphetamine.
The DEA lists the possible side effects of Cloud Nine as agitation, irritability, dizziness, depression, paranoia, delusions, seizures and panic attacks. Rudy Eugene was the first high profile case. High on bath salts he was chewing the face off a homeless man when the Miami police shot him. The zombie tag was applied due to fact that Rudy took round after round and just kept chewing away. The news footage set youtube records. A second case in Hollywood Miami saw a 21 tear old try to bite the hand off of a police officer. In a third case Louisiana man Cal Jacquneaux bit off part of his victims face in an attempted robbery with a zombie cannibal twist.
Bob took exception to these recent cases of Zombie cannibalism. Not being above a bit of cannibalism Bob took many hours to explain that he doesn’t require Cloud Nine. Resolute that these cases were giving zombies a bad name he went to great pains to explain that they are actions of the living and their magic potions. The dead have no need for drugs, no ups or downs, good days or bad, no happy or sad, everything is just even, till your head separates from your shoulders of course.
We could only afford to keep Bob on the books for a week, the painted circle has now been removed and the boss keeps the chain on the bookshelf in his office. He occasionally rattles it to see if we’re awake.
Bob seemed to have enjoyed his week, we literally put him back in his box, wooden box, and sent him back to the agency. We all survived intact, had a laugh and on a practical side we all feel a little better prepared for that Zombie Apocalypse. As an intern bob was a great conversationalist, if only a little slow on delivery. Now it’s just nice to be able to relax around the office again, our buddy Bob was a zombie after-all.