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Zombie Work Week (excerpt)

FOREWORD: The following is an excerpt from my novel Zombie Work Week.  It is a coming-of-age, post-apocalyptic, romantic, and dark comedy.  A zombie revolution led by Michael Donovan backfires and leads to a world full of living zombies.  Punching in and out of work and then going home to watch the government controlled reality television shows meant to strike fear in their hearts and entertain them enough for them to feel as if they are a part of something.

Each chapter has two sections, one written by a man and another written by a woman. this is the female character's section, and to help the reader along, she writes in all lowercase.  The section I chose was from her point of view and is a commentary on the beauty of lies, and the dangers.  It is about a talk-show host named Donovan (who is meant to resemble Rush Limbaugh), who does not believe ozone depletion is an issue. 
 - Stephen Huczek -




lies can be beautiful things.  specifically to children.  they are told that there is an easter bunny, a santa claus, a god of justice.  each has some kind of aura about it that makes it magical and wondrous.  kids love that kind of stuff.    it all depends on how its packaged.  each of these fantasies has to bring them something they want.  that or frighten them beyond belief.  sometimes both.   

children carry these myths with them throughout their lives.  they carry them around like cherished little scars.  the world has messed with them for the first eight years or so they've spent out of the womb, and afterward they live on to show the world that they have a sense of humor.  of humility.  human existence is a fraternity (and/or a sorority) to which the initiation is a series of elaborate hoaxes, most of which end early on in life.  we are told all but the god of justice were products of some early society’s collective imagination.  after only eight or so years of avoiding the bad list, staying in bed so as not to scare away the easter bunny, keeping our eyes closed so the tooth fairy could get on with her trade. 

now, we only keep our eyes closed for one fantasy.  the god that will punish the rich and destructive and reward the impoverished and meek.  its funny, because if the lower class wasn’t told to turn the other cheek, weren’t prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, weren’t following the laws like good little citizens, if none of this crap had been pounded into our fragile little psyches from very early on, the meek would become the rich and powerful and the rich and powerful would end up meek or dead.  the working class people are the toughest and most rugged, most well-conditioned lot that can be found in this world of bullshit politics.   

this brings me to the largest pile of bullshit politics, economics, and religiosity available to the general public. “the donovan show.”   

no, it’s not mike’s show.  donovan is the guy’s first name.  donovan hart is his full name.   

he’s one of those conservative talk show hosts that has no new ideas, just a lot of pent-up anger over how people view the wealthy and over fed.  men of course.  to him women should always be poor and anorexic unless married.  if married they should be dependent and accommodating and even more anorexic. 

i hate this guy for so many reasons, but what i hate him for most is one of the mildest moments of his career.  the episode that has been forgotten by all but mike.  he’ll never tell me what day it was, because he knows i’ll go back to it and try to convince him that the whole show was so full of crap and that he shouldn’t take it as proof of anything.  mike thinks everything we see, we see for a reason.  i think a lot of what we see, we see because its in the way.   

in addition to obstructing people’s view by sheer volume, donovan stands in the way of democracy.  he stands in the way of true morality, whatever that may be.  donovan doesn’t care about businesses’ and industries’ human rights infractions as long as it doesn’t hurt him.  he doesn’t care what people do as long as they adhere to his conservative christian values.  and again, as long as it doesn’t hurt him.   

that is if he knows it hurts him.   

according to donovan, smoking is not a cause of cancer.  neither is sunbathing, since the ozone layer is still in tact as far as he’s concerned.  so, in the not too distant future, when he steps outside for a smoke after being diagnosed with lung cancer, under one of the many gaping holes in the ozone that he still will not recognize as such, he’ll be one of the few people surprised by the immediate and entire combustion of his cigarette as he removes it from its packaging.  pulling out one after another, never willing to admit to himself or anyone else that he was wrong.  

ah, i can just imagine what that nic fit would be like.  it would be just like his show.  donovan would rant and rave, but probably wouldn’t be making any jokes.  and i could let go of our political differences and actually allow myself to laugh.  and laugh.  and laugh. 

i must admit that i do laugh at his show on occasion.  even at a joke here and there, though i try not to.  usually i laugh at one of donovan‘s particularly outrageous claims.  that when companies make a big enough profit they’ll help their fellow man.  that teaching sexual abstinence alone works to keep children healthy and abortion free.  that christianity makes people kind.  and that god will clean up all of our messes.  god hasn’t even cleaned up any of his.   

donovan has helped make a mess of a few hundred thousand people who no longer pay attention to the things going on around them.  “everything you see, everything you hear, everything you feel is a lie.  i will tell you what to believe,” he says.  he’s supposedly kidding when he proclaims this at the end of every show.  it’s his attempt at reverse psychology according to donovan, but it seems pretty half-hearted to me.   

he makes it pretty clear that if you disagree with him, you’re an idiot in his eyes.  donovan knows that thinking for oneself is no longer the american pass time, given the ratings of reality shows and such.   nor should it be.  we need to start feeling as a nation again.  and in his own misguided way i guess donovan is.