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Las Vegas. Significantly off The Strip-- Adeline Street and 4th, behind the McDonald's and RadioShack. Brief, but potent moments of Kung Pao Pork waft from the Chinese buffet across the way. The Nevada sun is hot enough that splotches of spackled asphalt sticky up like gum under shoes. The humidity is so high that it seems to our heroes, that they are walking the inside of a mouth. Zombie 02 swears he can see the Two Scoops! Raisin Bran Man in the sun, but Zombie 01 persuades him that it is but in fact God winking knowingly. Hello God! They wave. Zombie 01 explains about angles and perspective, the tendency to see John McCain in a cornflake or a bunny rabbit cloud. The sun, Zombie 01 assures Zombie 02, is as unforgivingly relative as a woman’s period.
Latino kids ride skateboards with purple-tipped hair that mismatches their honey complexions. “Fitty-tray!” one yelps as she kickflips onto a curb. “Frontside nosegrind!” She slips, lands head first in a heap of discarded banana boxes. She pukes trying to get out. “Raaargggh,” Z01 tells the bob-haired sno-cone lady. She chews on a coffee-stirrer as she works the syrup plunger. Bob-Haired snorts at Z01 and Z02’s power ties. Around her thumb is a blue garbage-bag twist tie. Z01 hands her a slimy black fiver. “Raaargggh,” he tells her, his eyes definite, and he places his wallet on the counter, daring her to stiff him his change. Z01’s wary for spit when Bob-Haired hands him a Popeye sno-cone. He squints from the afternoon sun. “Raaargggh,” and he takes a strong pull on the straw. His cheeks collapse inside his mouth and he has to blows like Dizzy Gillespie to poof them out.
“Raaargggh,” Z02 asks Bob-Haired. He points at his own hair while he sips on his own Banana Rumba sno-cone. He accidentally pulls a significant clump of hair lose. “Raaargggh?”
“Fuck you. I don't need to take your shit," she snorts. "We're closed," and she closes the doors to the shack's windows. Z01 and Z02 hear the dead-bolt clack on the other side. "Buy some deodorant," comes a muffled plea.
Z01 and Z02 walk the length of choppy parking lot to Z01's canary yellow Corvette. "Raaargggghhh," Z01 points out the tinted windows. "Raaargggghhh." They drive the length of Xavier, a short strip of specialty stores, turning slow like a knife through cheese, careful for pedestrians. The Corvette stops at a red light as pedestrians cross. The fuel pump is anxious, forcing timed spurts of gas into the engine, revving it slightly like a heart beat. A young couple holding hands step hurriedly along the crosswalk even though the light has turned green and the Don't Walk sign is flashing. Z02 honks his horn, flips them off, drives on.
"Raaargggghhh," Z02 asks, "Raaargggghhh?”
Z01 rolls down his window and laughs. A piece of lung falls from between his teeth. "Raaargggghhh?"
“Raaargggghhh? Raaargggghhh? Raaargggghhh?"
"Raaarggghhh. Raaar, gggghhh; raaarggghhh." Z02 stares out the window.
Z01 turns on the radio, a small box with seaweed green LCD screens. The song is fast with a sharp, rhythmic beat intercut with electronic shrieks and yelps. He looks up fast, his eyes are wide like flying-saucers, and he grabs Z02's thigh when he points. His fingers sink deep into the rotted flesh. "Raaargggghhh! Raaargggghhh?"
Z02 ducks, grabs his ankles. His movement is too fast and his face hits the gearshift. The stick sinks into his eyesocket and after much effort is dislodged. Z01 laughs. More lung. "Raaargggghhh, raaargggghhh! R'rgh raaargggghhh, raaargggghhh." He turns the radio dial forward along the band until Louis Prima croons and Z01 decides to sing along with Prima. "Raaargggghhh. Rus arr raaarggghaaahooo."
"Raaargggghhh, raaargggghhh. Raaar, gggghhh. Raaargggghhh!" shouts Z02 angrily, shaking his forefinger. This vigorous movement dislocates Z02's finger from his hand.
It lands in Z01's lap. "Raaargggghhh, raar. Raaarggghhh." Z01'ssuggestion to Z02 may seem rude, but is just, fair and perfectly reasonable considering the price that Z01's dry-cleaning will be.
The Corvette slides into an exit ramp onto the interstate. As Z01 guns the gas, the yellow dashes of the road stream into one continuous streak. Z02 has the seat reclined; watches the graffiti-ed streets, the people walking. The road stretches out before them with promise. The leather of his seat groans with his shifting weight.
Jared Hegwood is working on a zombie translation program.