The Outbreak: July 2005

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Question and Today

Do they ever die of natural causes? Has anyone seen this happen? I really haven't seen enough to know and I haven't heard anything about it, but that doesn't mean it's impossible, I guess. They obviously eat meat, but do they starve if they don't get it?

Today Amy and I drove over to Target and I bought new sneakers. My old ones had started to hurt my left foot and ankle whenever I wore them, and obviously you kind of need to have dependable footwear these days. WalMart is closer, but it's also closer to the hospital, and even though the Leopolds reported that the place is locked down tighter than anything they've seen since all this started, you know what? No thanks. The selection was for shit of course but like most of the stores that we see around here the joint was jumping. People are just happy to be able to do this sort of thing, and the bad patches in the Midwest and the West Coast don't seem to interfere with the flow of your basic goods and things that badly. The big chains appear to manage better than the little shops of course. Anyway I got some nice sneakers. We also popped in the Stop and Shop.

I wonder if I should start thinking about getting a new job? I have to try to get in touch with my old coworkers. I wonder if they're thinking about restarting the magazine. My guess is no. My guess is that the revenants succeeded where the bursting of the Image Bubble failed.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Public access

On public access the other day I saw unedited footage that I assume was taken in the Midwest someplace, some small city. A huge horde of revs--the biggest I've ever seen by far, though to be fair I've never seen a very large group all in one place; but seriously, there were probably hundreds--had massed outside some gated community with an electrified fence. You could see a bunch of their bodies already stuck on the fence and lying around it, and the ones that were left had learned to leave it alone, but they were still sticking around, apparently. Suddenly a helicopter gunship, the kind I guess that kept crashing in Afghanistan, that sort of thing, hovers down into the frame and just unloads on the zombies. And then around the cameraman a big group of soldiers get up and open fire with machine guns. They even tossed a few grenades. I've never seen anything like it--as always there was very little blood, but there were just pieces of revs flying everywhere. Some made a run through the fence, which had pretty quickly been destroyed, but for the most part they were wiped out within twenty minutes or so. It was amazing. It makes me think we're winning.

Monday, July 25, 2005

I've noticed that people are calling revs "zombies" a lot more often these days. Nobody wanted to use the z-word at first, but now you see it fairly frequently. I think there are a few reasons. When things first started happening, I imagine nobody really wanted to come to grips with what was actually going on; calling them revenants or revs took some of the boogeyman edge away from it. On the flip side, having a semi-scientific-sounding name for them also made them sound less ridiculous than something out of a b-movie, and whatever else they are they're not ridiculous. But now that we're used to the idea, the truth comes out.

On an unrelated note, I stabbed a man to death a couple of weeks ago. That's what I've been alluding to. A living man, I should say, not a revenant. It was the guy whose mother-in-law lived next door. Like I said, he came back here after all this time with a gun, in another car, absolutely shitfaced. He parked it on the front lawn and got out and sat there and waited, with the gun in his hand. Kurt was out, and we knew that if he showed up in the middle of all this the guy would just end up shooting him as he drove up in the van. Amy passed by the window at one point, going into the bedroom to use the bathroom, and he took a shot at her. It didn't hit the window, it just hit the house. But then he started hitting the front door with the bullets, and I heard some glass break and I heard Mike downstairs yelling. I grabbed a kitchen knife and took my familiar route down the deck. When I snuck up to the front yard he had his back to me, trying to crawl in the window he'd broken, and I could still hear Mike shouting for help. I just walked right up to the guy and stabbed him right in the back, with a downward motion, like Psycho. I remember wondering if I'd done it right, because of that scene in 12 Angry Men where Jack Klugman explains that real people stab each other with an upward motion. But whatever I did it did the trick--he let out this gasp, or sucked it in, whatever it was, and went still almost immediately. I almost forgot to pull him down off the windowsill and stab him in the eye, too, but Mike reminded me.

When the crew finally showed up they took Mike to the hospital, which none of us were happy with, but he's okay--just got shot in the foot. They don't seem to be planning on charging me with anything.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Amy and I had a big fight this weekend.

She was on the Tori Amos message board she always hangs out on. Of course there are no Tori concerts anymore for her friends to follow around on tour, so what they've been doing is making up what the tour would be like if it were still going on. Set lists, improvs, how the band was, what kind of seats they got, interpersonal drama, travel mishaps, the whole nine. It's really pretty amazing what a convincing fiction they've developed. They're all such funny and bright people, and they're hardly letting the deaths affect them at all. The dead fans are incorporated into the fiction as living, you know.

I figured Amy would be at this for a long time, and I was bored, so I threw a movie on the DVD player--Kill Bill Volume One. We got as far as "Bill, it's your babyBANG" before Amy said "I never said I wanted to watch this, Sean," so I turned it off. Then she got real quiet and started just staring ahead, and I said "What's wrong?" And she goes with this increasingly hysterical tone in her voice "I didn't like thaaaaaaaaaat--" and starts bawling, curls up in a fetal position. Backstory: I'd been suggesting that she might like this movie for some time. She doesn't generally like violent movies but I figured this was a very good violent movie, and she'd like the Bride character. But when I put it on just then I thought "Well, she's not going to be paying attention unless she finds herself intrigued and starts watching it, so if it seems too intense for her she'll just ignore it." This was always her strategy when we'd watch Lost--she'd always be doing something else to avoid the intensity of the show. But as she proceeded to point out to me as I explained all this, she doesn't have my ability/disability to completely tune other things out and focus on one thing (in this case blotting out the movie to focus on the computer), so she was stuck with the movie the moment i put it on. I promised her I didn't think it would bother her, because I didn't, and that I thought her using the computer would mitigate the rougher stuff, which I did. But in retrospect it was all wishful thinking on my part, like the time I thought she'd be able to handle watching Saving Private Ryan and we got about two minutes into the landing sequence before we had to turn the tv off.

What turned it into a fight was twofold. On my end, I got pissed off when she said something about how "It's like with you and serial killers--you're fascinated by them but i can't get past the victims." I got really angry about that. I can handle being told that I'm callous about movies, because I probably am, you know? Ultimately it's a movie, so if I'm callous there I'm not convinced that makes me a bad person. But about serial killers, which I admittedly am fascinated by? That's real life. Those things really happened. Those were real people who killed dozens of other real people. And i'd really have to be some sort of bastard asshole to not think about the victims, wouldn't I? What the hell do you MEAN, *I'm* able to get past the victims??? Don't you remember the breakdown I had a few months ago--a la the Ol' Dirty Bastard breakdown and the Pakistani madrassas breakdown--where I fucking sobbed on the couch after watching a documentary I'd TiVo'd on Leonard Lake and Charles Ng because their victims were all complete, whole, real other people whose lives were their own stories, and now their stories were just subsumed, just footnotes, their lives just cut off, they were there and now they're not because someone killed them and now that's the story? How unfair and horrible that was? That was ME saying all of that! I'm exactly like you, Amy! I think of the victims too! And I mean FUCK after what happened last week we're going to talk about how callous I am about kiling living people????? Who the hell

But Amy said all that was beside the point. All she was saying was that we think about serial killers differently or I wouldn't be able to watch those documentaries, just like she isn't. I guess that's fair, he says calmly several days later. But the main thing she was upset about is not that I may or may not be callous about violence (traumatized? how does shock trauma sound in terms of my relationship with violence? but I guess I can still handle watching a kung fu movie). It was that when I like something I convince myself that Amy will like it too and when she doesn't like it I find that unacceptable. First of all she thought I was being passive aggressive even putting the movie on, like I was doing it to punish her because I was bored. I assured her and I assure you this did not even remotely occur to me--I had all sorts of reasons why I put it on as I said earlier. Second she thought I was REALLY actually getting mad not because I was taking offense but because she didn't feel the exact same way about Kill Bill that I did. "And then you just end up looking for someone who'll echo your opinions about everything." So like that we're back to the cheating and the lies from college, all this horrendous emotional energy that I swear earlier that day I'd actually commented on how much less often we fight. The main argument, though this was never said in so many words, is that Amy fears that in my heart of hearts I'm a solipsist, and that I fear she's right. My protracted suicide attempt in early June is probably proof enough of that for both of us, but we try to ignore that and get through that and whatever that.

The main thing, Amy said, is that she's sick of death. She can't approach it snarkily. Even if, as I said, it's just "bad guys" getting killed. "Don't you think that movie's cool?" "Yes, but I don't think the act of killing is cool. I don't think what I did last week is cool."

Amy always has said that death is not a natural part of life. I agree with her. Death is degrading. Look what it did to us.

We're okay now, though, we worked through it pretty quickly actually, once the two of us calmed down. Saturday's post was not about how unhappy I am in the marriage or anything--it really was just the thought of Amy's sister and brother having to explain what's going on to their kids. Anyway, yeah, we're okay now. It's all Flirting with Disaster all the time on our DVD player from here on out.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

I'm just glad we don't have any kids.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Has anyone heard from Dr. John? Frequent user of the comment threads here? Last I heard from him he reported he'd been bitten, and I've spent the days since then trying to convince myself he's one of the bullshitters. Trying. There are other things I could be thinking about.

Monday, July 11, 2005


The new Twin Towers have been built, and the revs have started a small outbreak in it. I need to get across Manhattan to where Amy is (a hotel?), but I left my cell phone in my own room. Soon I find myself struggling to figure out which direction I'm walking in--it's supposed to be Manhattan, but it feels a lot more like New Haven; more green, more residential areas, fewer skyscrapers. Then I see two huge explosions, one in each tower. There are now huge outbreaks going on in both towers. The zombies are spilling out into the streets and I'm afraid to be below 14th Street but I've decided that I'm going to risk everything to be able to protect Amy. I end up trying to cut through some bar or something to get where I'm going, and when I get to the street behind the bar it's full of guys in business shirts and ties with their sleeves rolled up and ties wrapped around their heads like bandanas, wielding torches and bats and swords, chanting about how they're going to wipe the revs out. There's some sort of weird ultra-modern cathetdral with a glass spire nearby, up on top of a small grass slope. I manage to get to my hotel(?) room and find my phone, but by now it's dark out. The kitchen knife is in my hand.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Remember the guy who we got in the fight with when he came by to find out how his mother-in-law was? He came back, with a gun.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

How does it feel, suck suck suck

I'd never seen a revenant actually kill a human being before Monday. I'd seen revenants. Too many. I'd seen people who used to be human beings and weren't anymore. I'd seen dead bodies, like real dead bodies. I don't really remember too much of the coverage at the beginning but it seemed like they never showed anything actually happening--the self-imposed clampdown was almost instantaneous. I might have seen something there, I suppose. But I'd never seen an actual killing take place in real life, in front of me. Until Monday.

We were woken up in the middle of the night by this huge incomprehensible racket in the street. It took us a minute to realize it was the immigrant family on the corner, the one whose dad yelled at me once for parking in front of his house after I voluntarily offered to move the car since I saw they were having work done. I was like man, you have the whole corner, you can't TELL me where not to park! This man was now dead. I'm going to assume heart attack. And they'd taken him as far as the car (parked not where I used to park btw) when he started moving again. I don't know why they didn't immediately put a knife through his eye, which from what I understand is the easiest way to do things. A Muslim thing? That's if they are Muslim, which I guess I'm not sure about. They could just be some other Eastern European/Balkan/former USSR culture I don't know about. But the old women are always covered and there's that masjid up Newbridge that clearly used to be a Friendly's. The point is that this man came back to "life" and when I looked out the window he was attacking another man while the rest of the family tried to pull him off. But he had such a good grip on the other man's head because his thumbs were dug into his ears, as far as I could tell. The man's head was tilted back and screaming and that's when the zombie-man bit his neck.

There's the slightest delay before blood really starts to flow. There's that split second where the stage manager goes "okay, you're on!" and then out it comes.

Anyway Kurt was on his way out already and shot them both. A few of the girls went after him but he just sort of pushed them away, hard, and backed back toward the house with the gun facing the family. who thank god had thought better of going after him into the house. But we boarded up the windows anyway and they're still boarded up. Amy and I used earplugs for the rest of the night.

Apparently and you'll fogive me if this doesn't seem very urgent considering what I saw which required nothing but a dad having a heart attack, but apparently they can semi-hunt. They don't just wander aimlessly unless they're very new to the surroundings, which is why even when things were at their worst you didn't see too many except in the big swarms. Once they see that nothing is there they hide out someplace and wait for a target. They lurk is I guess what I'm saying.

We are thinking about moving in with my parents.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Did I mention this yet? When we were in Boston I got in a big fight with my cousin Meg. You can't blame her for being so upset, so I don't. But I just wasn't in the mood to hear how this was America's fault, you know? For the past three or four years I already felt like I was going completely crazy, like the Omega Man. You don't know how it feels to know that everybody you know disagrees with you on something fundamental, something that if they are right and you are wrong makes you stupid, crazy, or evil. I don't think I'm any of those three things. I may be stupid I guess. I have some mental issues too. I've done some evil things, yeah. So maybe I'm wrong. And shit, this is Meg's thing--I remember that one time we were talking about the Simpsons and she kept enthusiastically endorsing the show because of the way it shows how we're all just stupid Americans. But how could this be ANYONE'S fault? It's the tsunami's fault, or the earthquake's fault. Nobody did anything to deserve this. What did that old lady next door do? What did Chris do? What did Ken's mom and Dave's parents and Caitlin's boyfriend's sister do? What did Dr. John in the comment threads do? I guess I should reply directly to him, but I can't bring myself to do it. Everyone I know who's died was killed right away. You hear about the wasting away and it just sounds, like, I don't know, I can't deal with it.

This is probably less coherent than mormal because I am exhausted. Things got much worse around here over the past couple of days. Teach me to be optimistic, ha ha. It was that bigb storm a few days ago. The flooding on the roads cut people off, and when there were accidents no help could reach them, and before long it started to spread and spread. We had revs wandering around the neighborhood for the first time in I don't know how long. I'm worried that it spread that quickly. Those pockets of disaster should have been sealed, shouldn't they? It's like we all just got lucky when things died down. Now I feel like they could get worse at any time, like we're just balanced on a see-saw, and things could get piled on the other end at any moment and things will sink. Or go up, I guess, to follow that particular analogy, go up and buck us off. Anyway I was up all night and I'm still up.

That traffic-accident explanation's too facile. Something must have happened around here, I know. Gas leaks, carbon monoxide, untreated diabetes, heart attacks, falls, untreated cancer, on and on and on.