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01.17.04 12:09 a.m.

It's time to start living the life you've imagined.


-Henry James


Previously in Xenology: Emily's friend Kelly worked for the Mouse. Keilaina wanted someone to kiss.

Beheading the Green Eyed Monster
It is bitterly cold out and has been since Emily left. I try not to associate these two events and know it is irrational to do so, but I cannot help myself. It is my literary inclination to apply pathetic fallacy.
Kidnapped by Mickey
It is the morning after having visited Dezi and I still reek of Annie's perfume. Women, with few exceptions, don't smell quite right to me wearing perfume. I have no grudge with other oils and unguents, but the bulk of perfumes seem hewn together from whale excreta and artificial marigolds.
I have been trying to keep busy as best I can, not in spite of the fact that Emily is in Disneyworld and thousands of miles away, but because it helps to keep busy. It is at least one part distraction and one part the need to do something other than sitting at my home and writing. Such is very occupying, but desolate.
It is not that there is no spite in my full nights; merely that it is not in spite of Emily's absence. Rather, it is Melissa's doing. A few days ago, as I was sitting alone in my room fleshing out my newest idea for a story that I've been mulling for months, she asked me if I wanted to go to Mohegan Sun. My answer was an enthusiastic, "Yes! Of course I want to go. I can think of few things I would like better right now... but I can't. I have to work." She tried to cajole me into joining them, but the tug of responsibility was too great. This is not to say I didn't deeply resent that I was foregoing an adventure for three hours of tedious, unappreciated work.
That night, I beseeched Conor's company for some manner of adventure, which he happily granted. Given the Emily-inspired frigidity of the air, we quickly realized that our adventures were decidedly limited.
"We could call Flynn," suggested Conor, "he tends to be good in the adventure making field."
"We could call Flynn." And we did call Flynn, or rather his home. Ci Ci told us he was not in and that she would give him the message to call my phone should he ever return.
Instead on an adventure, we found Wal-Mart. This is the great desperation of our time.
Meandering through the camping aisle, he observed, "This would be the ideal place to defend against a zombie attack. Where else in modern civilization does one find a citadel full of weapons and food? And by zombie, I'm not talking your 28 Days Later variety. I am talking about 'eat your brains so you become a zombie and must seek out fresh brains.' Real zombies."
"You are not wrong. And you have to figure, how many zombies can there honestly be? Only the freshly dead that happen to be above ground can actually rise. Corpses already buried might become zombies, but there is no way necrotic, embalmed tissue is going to be able to lift the lid off a coffin covered in six feet of dirt. They are staying put until they decay."
We hate the undead
"I figure, we decapitate any that are already in the store and dispose of them. Any of our waste can go in buckets. I'm sure we can get to the roof, so we can just drop it on the zombies. They hate that. Then we run out and crash a few cars into the doors, preventing any of them from getting in because zombies are stupid and weak. We leave several cars, just in case we need to make a get away. Then we just wait. I'll get a bucket of trail mix, hide in the rafters, and nap. My very napping kills them."
I picked up a serrated machete and swung it, "We are well equipped should we need to come down from the rafters. What will we do about water?"
"What do you mean?" he asked.
"Won't the tap water eventually run dry?"
"We'll just have to fill plastic tubs full of water while we can. Still, this is the ideal fortress to wait out the zombie siege. Unless people are unbelievably stupid, I can't imagine it will last longer than a month."
Only then, still beheading imaginary zombies with machetes, did we notice that the Wal-Mart drones staring at us.
So I am keeping busy and shall until Emily returns from the House of the Mouse, but is damned well better get above freezing soon. Fond heart do not radiators make. Cold hearts make zombies.

Hibachi Grill of Overprotective Friendship
Keilaina is now with Mike. We've yet to meet him and so we certainly cannot yet approve. We do need to approve and there might be a dowry involved.
More than likely, we won't grill Mike
Here is what we do know and what it likely means: She met him during a LAN-party where he won the prize of an Alienware visor, which he insists upon wearing despite her protests. Therefore, he is most likely geeky (which we do not frown upon) and technically oriented. He is eighteen to Kei's twenty-one, hardly the sort of situation of which I am in the habit of frowning upon. So, our expectation will be that he will be slightly less mature and experienced than us (bear in mind, we still find sock puppets to be great fun). He works fixing computers at Staples, which reinforces his claim to geekdom. He is supposedly shy, which could make our meeting awkward as we are quite outgoing when things are on our terms. Also, we often speak in obscure codes and allusions that we barely understand. We know things that make us feel irrationally compassionate toward him, but these are likely a private matter. Given that we have yet to meet him, that's likely inappropriate as a topic of conversation, whether or not it is a matter of public record.
We have arranged a meeting or, rather, Keilaina was invited to hang out with us and proposed to bring Mike. While this is not ideal, it might be fun to dissect him over a hibachi grill. In a figurative sense, of course.
Don't get us wrong; it isn't that we have anything particularly against Mike. We don't know him. It is merely that I lost Keilaina once to the force of an enveloping relationship with Ian. If I am to lose her again - and I will not without a fight - I'd at least like to lose her to a guy that will treat her as well as she deserves. In all likelihood, since she had deigned to be with Mike, he will integrate well into the group and we will like him. But just in case, hibachi grill of overprotective friendship.

Soon in Xenology: Sleepovers. Gasho. The Betsy. NASA Monks. The Invisibles.

last watched: The Young Ones
reading: Apocalipstick
listening: either/or
wanting: More of Grant Morrison.
interesting thought: Zombies do attack Wal-Mart.
moment of zen: being with Conor.
someday I must: Meet this Mike fellow.

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.

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