Job Security (Zombies Hate To Be Unemployed) – Part 2
There was a loud thud and Russell turned to see Hannah passed out on the floor. Bob jolted up to help her but Russell stopped him with a raised hand. “Just, just stay seated, Mr. Samson. She’ll be all right.” Secretly, he hoped he was speaking the truth and she hadn’t, in fact, had a fatal heart attack. He felt a ball of vile rocket up his throat and covered his mouth with a handkerchief as he swallowed it back.
Okay old man, time to get off your heels and take charge of the situation, he scolded himself. Bob may be dead, but this is still an employee issue. He’s coming to you. You have the power, Russell. You hold the upper hand. Now deal with it!
Ignoring Hannah’s prone form behind him, Russell adjusted his tie, placed his handkerchief back in his breast pocket and straightened in his chair.
“Mr. Samson, let me first tell you that I appreciate your thirty years of hard work and dedication. No one, not even death, can take that away from you.”
“No, thank you. I think you’ll agree that you’re in a,” here he struggled for the right word, “unique situation. And you most certainly now possess some very intriguing qualities.”
Bob nodded his head vigorously and there was a squishing sound, like pockets of trapped bodily fluids were shifting from the movement of his neck. “You’d sure be hard pressed to find someone else that’ll be able to work a non-stop shift like I can.”
“True. However, there are laws I have to abide by, and one of them prevents me from letting a man work those kinds of hours.”
Russell was beginning to feel more like himself with each passing second. Here was the granddaddy of all conundrums and he was about to whip its ass.
“Plus, there’s the matter of personal hygiene. I know it’s not something you can control, given your state of being. I just don’t think it would be a good idea to have you in an enclosed area with dozens of other folks who might be a tad offended.”
“I was fixin’ to change that by getting some of those colognes.”
Hannah moaned when Russell moved his chair back into her leg. “Mr. Samson, you can put a tuxedo on a sow and bring it to the prom, but everyone will still know you’re planning on fucking a pig before the night is through. You get my point?”
And there it was. The white flag of utter defeat there in Bob Samson’s eyes.
“I do appreciate the offer, Mr. Samson, but we both know it won’t work.”
They sat in silence for a bit, then Bob hung his head and rose from his chair.
“Mr. Banks, if you’re telling me no, I honestly don’t know what I’m gonna do with myself. Working for Banks Textiles is all I know.”
Russell smiled, the head man in charge, and replied, “You have a new lease on life. Now that’s something only Lazarus and Jesus got the privilege of receiving. You don’t want to waste it in some old textile mill. Go out, do things you only dreamed of before you died.” Even he was shocked by the words as they fell from his mouth with such ease. “Hell, start a support group. I hear that’s a great way to get things back on track.”
Two phone lines rang at once and Russell Banks snapped the headset back on.
“Now if you’ll excuse me, duty calls.”
Bob Samson left with stooped shoulders, too polite to argue with the man, too sad to say so long.
Three weeks later, David Benderman, twenty year employee of Banks Textiles, died of a heart attack while attending a minor league baseball game. Four days after that, he returned home, dirt stained and confused, only to be cast out as a leper.
Buford Jackson had passed away a year before Bob Samson, only to “revive” a month after Bob’s failed attempt at re-employment. Buford was the worst for wear, his skin sloughing off at the slightest contact. He was nothing more but a skeleton with bits of hanging flesh within a week. He’d worked at Banks Textiles for eleven years before succumbing to cancer of the balls.
Melinda Wahlberg found herself standing on the outside of her crypt three weeks after a vicious car accident that killed her instantly. It was hard going, what with the twisted legs and torso, but she eventually made it back to her apartment, only to find it had been rented out to a nice Mexican couple. She hadn’t worked at or even heard of Banks Textiles, but she was damn sure in the same boat as Bob, David and Buford.
They had no homes and no one to talk to but each other. They met at the church in the Serene Pastures cemetery every night after closing. It seemed a fitting place to congregate.
As the weeks grew on, more people suddenly and inexplicably came back from what was formerly known as the permanent dirt nap. Within two months, they were over fifty strong. Most folks that had come in contact with them either refused to talk about it for fear of ridicule or sold their story to such reputable tabloids as The Weekly World News.
They had becomeGeorgia’s dirty little secret. For all they knew, it was only happening here, in this run down little town forged in heat and humidity.
It wasn’t until about their tenth meeting when a realization hit Bob Samson.
He had started a support group, just like Russell Banks had told him to.
And though he had found solace in a group of outcasts like himself, it did little to mend his shattered self worth. Here he was hiding by day, lurking in shadows, and congregating by night in a cemetery with its share of hollow graves. He was back, but what the hell was he doing with his time?
“I don’t know about you all,” he said one night, “but I need to find something constructive to do with my time. It wears on a man, all this hiding.”
There were a few murmurs of agreement, then Buford stood up and said, “I feel the same way you do, Bob, but what do you expect us to do? We’re zombies, for Christ’s sake. It’s not like the rest of the world is welcoming us with open arms.”
Now the murmuring was escalating to a chorus and decaying heads were nodding as one.
Bob answered, “First of all, I ain’t no zombie. I think we need to come up with a better term for ourselves, help build our self esteem. Zombies make me think of bad movies and filthy drive-ins. Second, we need to get off our rotting asses and get to work!”
“You already tried that and look where it got you,” someone chirped.
“Sure, I tried and failed. But did you? Or you?” He scanned the pews brimming with the undead. “Before we leave tonight, I say we better have a new name for ourselves and a plan to get gainfully employed. Maybe if we all try, someone will get hired.”
“And maybe we’ll all be hunted down like dogs,” Melinda Wahlberg interjected.
Bob sighed and said, “You’re right, maybe we will be hunted down like dogs. But I’d rather that than skirting around tombstones all day and night.”
And so it came to pass that the twentieth assembly of the recently undead came to officially call themselves Re-ans (thanks to the input of Thelma Donaldson, a former historian before her brain aneurysm) and set forth to win their jobs back.
To Be Continued…
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