by Noah Cicero

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In the bar of the strip club.

Dave, the bartender, Frankie, Layla, and Esmeralda are all sitting.

Nothing is going on; it is the beginning of the night.

Esmeralda walks over to the pole to practice.

She does some tricks.

She looks beautiful.

She smiles while doing them.

Esmeralda hangs upside down and slaps her own ass cheeks with her hands.

Then suddenly!!!

Five of the undead burst through the door.

One of the undead scream, “Humans must die!”

One zombie charges Layla!

Layla grabs the knife used to cut lemons and stabs the zombie in the head. The stumbles back but doesn’t die.

Three of them charge the stage!

Esmeralda’s face has a look of terror.

They charge her!

She jumps up on the pole and swings around.

When one of them gets close enough she kicks them in the skull with her stiletto heel!

The zombies do not die, but they are stunned.

One fights with Dave.

Dave is about to be bitten and Frankie shoots it with his gun.

Esmeralda yells, “Hold on, I’m gonna go get my machete!”

Esmeralda runs downstairs.

She runs into the dressing room. Opens up her bag, takes out a machete and sprints upstairs.

Everyone is still fighting with the zombies. Frankie keeps shooting one of them. Dave keeps punching one of them. Layla is breaking beer bottles and stabbing them.

Esmeralda comes upstairs, chops off undead heads!

Blood everywhere!

Intestines flop on the floor!

Brain matter ooze!

A pancreas flies across the room!

She cuts each of their heads off one after another!

A large intestine slithers on the floor like a snake.

The heads are mumbling.

Fingers crawl on the ground like caterpillars.

Esmeralda says, “Fuck their body parts are still moving!”

“Grab the parts and throw them out the door.”

Everyone runs over and grabs the parts, then races to the door and throws them out.

After the parts are thrown out everyone stands around looking insane.

Their faces are contorted into a terrible look of horror.

They are shaking.

“What the fuck! What the fuck! What the fuck!” Layla screams.

“Shut the fuck up! Wait, isn’t there another one. I’m sure I saw another one come in.”

A chewing type sound is heard from behind the bar.

Frankie motions to everyone to be quiet with his index finger.

He then proceeds to slowly look over the bar.

He sees that one of those things is eating the bartender.

He points his gun at it.

He motions to Esmeralda that it is behind the bar.

Esmeralda jumps over the bar and chops its head off.

She throws the other people the parts from behind the bar to the other people like workers on a sandbag barricade during a flood.

Suddenly the bathroom door opens and a dancer walks out.

She is in a comatose.

Frankie sees her and shoots.

The dancer gets shot in the head.

Then quietly dies.

“Holy shit, you fucker. That’s Ambrosia. She’s an oxie addict not a zombie!” Yells Esmeralda.

‘I’m sorry. She fucking looks like one of those things.”

“That’s fine. She was an idiot anyway.”

“Yeah, that bitch is better off dead. I know I won’t miss her.” Says Layla.

They sit down at the bar.

Esmeralda says, “Somebody better lock the fucking door before anymore of those bitches gets in here.”

Everyone is sitting around drinking from a bottle trying to calm down.

“What the fuck are those things?” Says Frankie.

“They looked dead to me. They looked pale, they moved awkwardly, and they smelled like hell. One time I was walking around the eastside and found a dead crack head in an abandoned house and it smelled just like that.”

“But it talked. It said, ‘Humans must die.’” Says Frankie.

“We are safe here though. This is a strip club so no windows. There is no way to get in here. And the doors are three inch thick metal. This place is a fucking fortress. There’s a week worth of food in the kitchen. And a good amount of booze left by the regulars. So we might be able to survive,” says Esmeralda.

“I don’t think we will be in here for than a couple of hours. The American government is for sure going to take care of this. Our country is the greatest country in the world. They would never let anything bad happen to us,” says Dave.

“Our country would never let anything bad happen to us? Are you fucking stupid? Are you? Are you fucking stupid?” Says Frankie sarcastically.

“America is the greatest country on earth. Everyone knows that. That’s why people come here,” says Dave.

“Shut up skeezer fuck head!” Says Esmeralda.

“Lets turn on the radio and see if they have anything to say,” says Layla.

“I’ll go and get it,” says Esmeralda.

Esmeralda runs downstairs to get it.

While they wait.

Thoughts circulate through their heads at a high speed.

So quickly do the thoughts come, they collide together and make no sense.

They know something bad has happened.

Something very horrible has gone down.

They know people they are related to and their friends might be dead.

They know it doesn’t make sense that the dead are walking.

They know they didn’t like shooting and chopping up the dead people.

They aren’t sure why they were attacking them.

What has happened they think.

Why has this happened to me they think.

Why, in their life, during their period of existence in a certain span of history in a certain location did something so horrible happen.

They know too, they might die.

That perhaps, their hours are numbered.

No one speaks.

Everyone is trying to realize the implications of this event.

The magnitude of shit that has just been dropped on their heads.

The dead have risen to kill the living.

How does one even rationalize that?

All they know. Is that the dead are trying to kill the living. That is a fact, that is empirical. They don’t need to know anymore.

They know they must remain alive.

They know that it is better to be alive, then to be undead, or whatever those things are.

Esmeralda brings back the radio.

Places it on the bar and plugs it in.

The radio plays. It is Katie Couric.

Katie Couric says, “There is a zombie invasion. Zombies are all over the Youngstown area attacking living humans. Be very cautious of them. There is no way to kill them. You have chopped them up into little bits and light them on fire. I have received a message from your congressman to play for you.”

The Congressman says, “Do not worry citizens of Youngstown. The zombies will soon be killed and you will be able to return to your way of life, of drinking, doing narcotics, having promiscuous sex, giving birth to illegitimate babies, collecting well-fare, working your ass for five fifteen an hour, and hating yourself. All these aspects of your life will return. But we must stay alert. Do not approach the undead. I’ve heard that several tree hugger hippies have thought it a good idea to try to make friends with the undead. It will not work, no matter how you talk to them about Ghandi and pacifism they will bite you. Do not fuck with zombies! I repeat, don’t fuck with the zombies. Thank you, your congressman.”

Katie Couric returns, “Market professionals have phoned me to tell the public not to worry. Things will be better after the undead invasion because a lot of the undead had jobs; even some zombies had jobs with health care. And that since those humans have become zombies. Those jobs will open up. So don’t fret. This will have a happy ending after all.”

Everyone looks very confused by the announcement.

Layla gets up and starts breaking shit.

She breaks bottles and throws chair.

She’s crying badly and says, “This is fucking bullshit. This is fucking bullshit! I can’t stand being alive! Humans fucking suck bad enough! And now even the dead ones suck. This is so fucking stupid! Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck!”

Layla sits down the floor, puts her head in her arms and cries.

Esmeralda goes over and sits next to her and comforts her.

“Don’t worry ladies I’ll take care of you. I’m a trained marine. I was trained to fight in a war, and what we got here is a fucking war. But I’m okay. I’m not scared. I’ll fight every one of these undead fucks bare handed if I have to, to protect you ladies,” says Dave.

“That dead motherfucker was about to kill you if I didn’t shoot it. Are you fucking retarded?” Says Frankie laughing.

“Shut up. Just shut up. Don’t worry the marines will be here soon,” Says Dave.

“The marines are coming to save two strippers, a black man, and a white trash skeezer. They’re gonna save the rich people first. Hell Youngstown is the last thing on their agenda,” says Frankie.

“No, the marines will be here soon,” says Dave.

“From the floor Layla screams, “Shut up skeezer!”

“We need to calm down. Okay, we need to calm down. What is everybody’s name? And tell a little about yourself. Because if we gonna be trapped in this strip club for awhile we should get to know each other.”

“My name is Frankie. I grew up in Youngstown on the south side. My dad left us when I was four. My mom and grandma raised me. I still live on the south side. I have no wife or kids. My favorite foods are mozzarella sticks and cheeseburgers. I like to put barbecue sauce on my cheeseburgers. I’m in my junior year of biology at YSU. And I like to sprint race my 87 Monte Carlo at the track.”

“My name is Layla. I have one ten year old. I have two brothers; one is drunk all the time. The other one is the pen. My baby’s daddy is also in the pen. My mother won’t speak to me because I robbed her house. My favorite thing to do is ride roller coasters. I like to swim and like riding four wheelers.”

“Hmm. My name is Dave. I was in the marines.”

“What was your job and be fucking honest. I don’t believe you were special forces,” says Frankie.

‘Hmm, cook. All right I was a fucking cook.”

Everybody laughs.

“You were a fucking cook,” says Esmeralda.

“Shut up!” Dave yells.

“Whatever skeezer, keep going,” says Layla.

“I live with my mom. I take care of her and pay the bills. I like to read Tom Clancy novels.”

“Tom Clancy sucks,” says Esmeralda.

“Tom Clancy rules! Shut up. My favorite thing to eat is pulled pork and carny fries. And I’m a virgin and ladies I don’t want to die being one.”

“In hell,” says Layla.

“I guess it’s my turn. I have a six year old. I spent most of my childhood in foster care. My mom is a crack head. Don’t know who my dad is. Neither does my mom. It can be assumed I’m a trick baby. My favorite styles of music are rap and country. My favorite foods are chili dogs and candy apples. I’ll eat a steak when I got the money. I had a dream of owning a bar but I don’t think enough people are going to be alive to go to it now.”

“All right, so we all know each other. What are we supposed to do now?” Says Layla.

“Not die,” says Frankie.

There is a noise from behind the bar. The bartender stands up looking insane and vicious.

“Fuck, she’s one of them!” Yells Esmeralda.

The bartender jumps on the bar, jumps at Dave.

Dave punches her in the face.

She flies on the floor.

Esmeralda runs over, cuts her head off.

They throw the body outside.

“I guess we shouldn’t let those mother fuckers bite us,” says Frankie.

“I guess not,” says Esmeralda.

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