Once again it was night. Night had fallen.
Well, search not so much fallen
as crept in, medstore
first pretending to be late afternoon, all non-chalant and don’t worry about the long shadows, that’s just an illusion like when the moon seems so very very big, but it’s not really, don’t trust your eyes it’s always the same size regardless, trust the scientists (sorry about the zombie apocalypse, our bad, true, but it was just the one time);
then masquerading as twilight, and not that kind of twilight, the kind that says it’s not really twilight despite that sparkly emo dude with the lipstick and that other kid all ab-y and wolfy and that plaid girl with OMG eyebrows tipping up, then dipping slowly in tandem, capsizing into a sea of teenage underexpression:
eyeroll down/head tilt left/micro-gape/,
which team shirt do I wear;
should I wear a shirt;
Yes, I’ll wear a shirt;
and finally full on-night, no apologies, no “Sorry, I was just joking about it not being night, it really is night, so very sorry here’s a coupon redeemable at Cooks and Franni’s, home of world famous cauliflower sauerkraut.”
No. It was night. It was on.
The thing about Cauliflower.
Not just any cauliflower, but the kind of cauliflower you could write a novel about. Its floral brocade inspired temporary thoughts of online dictionary cross-referencing of the words “floral” and “brocade”; image searches and comparisons of similarly intriguing vegetables and their mysterious real-world doppelgangers.
That Sunday night I had discovered a new use for cauliflower. You see, zombies like to eat brains. They go apeshit for that stuff. No one knows why, but that doesn’t matter because chances are if you’ve stopped to think about why zombies eat brains,
A zombie has eaten your brain.
It’s interesting about cauliflower though. You see, I used to be really into math. They used to call me “Mathies” at school, and however imaginative and downright bizarre that may have been for a junior high sobriquet, the name stuck. Everyone was coming to me about “e” and volumes of rotation, and fourier transforms. And of course kicking me in the testicles.
I didn’t care much about the fame. And I really wasn’t the math guy they thought I was. I did like chaos, however. Not the kind of chaos inspired by the zombie apocalypse, but true chaos, the pure mathematics of describing complexity in a manner digestible by our human brains.
Take a cauliflower. Look at the surface, its lobes and ripples. Hey wait—it has a (brain) stem. Look at the surface again, check the fringe under a microscope—more mini-cauliflower shapes with lobes and ripples and stems. Check out one of those microscopic cauliflowers. Lobes, ripples, stems. Again and again, all the way down past the limit of detection. An underlying order to chaos. Here’s an equation to descri—
Oh. A zombie has eaten your brain. Next time, don’t ponder the equation–have your shotgun ready.
Or some cauliflower.
All this time, no one was sipping iced tea and intellectualizing the zombie apocalypse. No one wanted to get to know the zombie, understand its motivation in this scene or that.
We just needed to get out. We ran. We hid. We fought. We sacrificed our own. We thought, but only two steps ahead. One steamboat, two steamboat. All there was time for.
Yet here I was, cornered in the produce section of Cooks and Franni’s,
Thinking about why the cauliflower section had become so much more interesting to the zombies than eating my brain.
In this final two-steamboat countdown before the last pass, was Math actually relevant? Were zombies also somehow consumed with or consumed by true chaos?
Or did cauliflower just look like brains, and zombies were just really, really stupid.
It didn’t matter anyways. Because Lizbeth was back. And instead of cauliflower, she had a shotgun.
“Mathies.” She spat my name out derisively, with flecks of spittle leaking from the corners of her sad, angry, beautiful mouth.
Then she sank a sand-bucket’s worth of shot into the first zombie’s head detonating it like a fresh cantaloupe run under a bus.
“Quit stalling and get those supplies, you idiot!”
I lurched forward as if smacked in the back of the head with a tennis racket. I scanned the aisles for Toiletries. There’s a funny thing about toiletries—
“Go!” she screamed, pulling out an incendiary grenade.
I proceeded to Toiletries.