Sunday, September 27, 2015

Corrupt Love

Corrupt Love
Dark Fiction by Rodolphus

Another evening wasted at the theater and Reginald was certain it was their relationship, and not the movies, that dragged his spirit, shrieking, down to the lower realms. Granted, the zombie movies were bad enough. But to hear Zoe go on, and on, and on again about the truisms in zombie movies, the greater importance of death over life in zombie movies, he just might have to think up a creative and colorful means of exploding his own head. Now that would be poetic justice.
He stared out the window at the full moon. And sighed.
He knew if he broached the subject of them splitting, going their separate ways, oh, he knew how that would end up. The same way it always did. And he did not wish to go there. Not again. Really, not ever again.
He liked Zoe well enough. There were things that worked in their relationship, some of them important things.
But the whole zombie thing.
Zoe’s massive library of paperback zombie books, more than a thousand books (and there was not a single werewolf book in there, anywhere, despite pop culture), I mean come on, should there even be a thousand zombie books available for purchase? What does that say about a person? What does that say about collectors? What does that say about writers? And every movie ever made, even the Japanese zombie movies, as well as a Czech zombie movie that did not even have English subtitles, she not only owned them—she, ahem, collected them, in their pristine packaging—but she also watched the insipid flicks, usually two movies per night seven nights a week.
And she liked everything Rob Zombie, whether it was what was unimaginably called music or what some zombies unimaginably called movies. Maybe that one didn’t count in the whole zombie fetish. But there was a certain ring in the name, wasn’t there?
Reginald even suspected her name was not the name her parents chose for her birth certificate. He had hinted that she had merely removed the “m” and the “b” and the “i” to come up with “Zoe.” She denied this, of course. And she was as likely as Obama to ever show him the document (not without a little Photoshop, that is).
She was actually getting a Masters in Zombology, which Reginald felt should not even be a 101 offering at a junior college, let alone a post-graduate degree at a major university. But she certainly excelled in her Zombology studies; maintaining a 4.1 grade average in graduate school was nothing to sniff at. In many ways he was quite proud of her.
He just didn’t get the whole zombie thing. And he doubted he ever would.
Granted, she didn’t get his Lord of the Rings fetish, either, but he didn’t major in Gimli, or drag Zoe to movies that featured elves, or faeries, or even orc-like creatures. Come to think of it, orcs were somewhat like zombies—perhaps third cousins twice removed—except that orcs talked, kind of. But Zoe refused to even watch any of the Rings, and wasn’t at all excited about the approaching release of the expanded Hobbit movies on blu ray.
Tonight she dragged him to see a special retrospect midnight showing of I Was a Teenage Zombie. Hundreds of people were in attendance, all dressed and made up like zombies, all of them chant-reciting the lines of the movie. None of her friends showed any interest when he broached the original movie from the 1950s starring Michael Landon, I Was a Teenage Werewolf, because, it was about a werewolf, duh. But that at least meant something to Reginald, because his father used to show it on their old movie projector (well, the 8-minute version, anyway).
He began to undress and suddenly she was there in his face.
“I cannot,” she began, giving more than a pregnant pause for emphasis, “believe…that you…Reggie…fell asleep during IWATZ. I mean, come on, you’re not stupid, for Romero’s sake. You’re not completely an idiot. What am I supposed to think? Don’t you care about anything important?”
“I tried,” he began, and was about to say to stay awake, but she cut him off, as she always did.
“You won’t participate in the whole role playing thing, which you know would make me happy, and I mean, come on, the least you could have done would have been to stay awake, or paint eyes on your eyelids to at least try and trick me.” She sniffed, not quite prettily. “You could at least attempt to trick me into thinking that you like me. That you love me.”
“Look, I liked the original Night of the Living Dead, you know that, and I even liked the modern Dawn of the Dead even though it’s not as good as the original. But come on, everything else…”
“Please don’t patronize me. If you start in about racism and group mentality and spiraling out of control society, and a sick food system bent on producing a real zombie apocalypse, I might bite your throat out,” she snarled, with real anger, looming over him. “You’re missing the whole point to zombies. You’re missing the death cult aspects, you’re missing all the sly jabs at religion. Please don’t turn my passion for zombies into a diatribe about a sick society. Reggie. You know I don’t like it when you turn everything into a psychology show, Reggie.”
“Would you please, please not call me…Reggie? My name is Reginald.”
“I will never call you that. That is a horrible, ugly name, and I won’t call you Reginald. Reggie.”
There. She was taunting him. Did it always come to this, with her pathetic badgering, as she attempted to get his hackles up. Well, he would not participate, not tonight.
“We need to break up,” he said. He just spat it out. Despite his resolve, he just went and said. And he meant it.
As expected, she lifted him off the bed and slammed him into the wall.
“Would you please not do this, you’re going to get us kicked out of another apartment,” he began, and got most of it out, but by then she was doing that stereotypical low moaning, that unearthly wail that froze most people in their tracks, robbed them of all volition to move or scream or fight. And that’s what kept zombies in business: no flight, no fight, just fulfillment of zombie appetite.
He pushed her backward, only a foot before her undead strength kicked in and she slammed him into the wall, again, and again.
“You are making me angry,” he said, “and I haven’t fallen off the wagon in two whole months, please don’t get me started.”
It is doubtful he got most of this speech out, because she was slobbering on him, her jaws clanking shut like steel bear traps, just missing his face.
And then he was emerged, his deeper form exposed, and he loomed over her, bristling with teeth and fur, growling his low, diesel engine chug.
“See, we’re good, just like this,” she said.
He had to admit it, as debased as the whole thing was, it did work. Sordid, really. Corrupt. In his rational moments, it seemed like a nightmare. But when they were both overcome by their true selves, there was a certain satisfaction to the whole relationship.
“Beast,” she said, keeping her low moans at least quiet enough that the neighbors above them, and those below and on each side, did not suffer myocardial cardiac infarction, thus producing an instant zombie apocalypse.
You did not want to mess with lycanthropic zombies. There had not been a bad movie made yet to prepare you for that horror.
Nasty relationship? Yes, but it had its points. Even corrupt love was still love, well, sort of. And neither of them believed in divorce. And since death would not part them, they might as well make the best omelet they could from these rotten, decomposing eggs.

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