This might be a zombie.Ever have one of those days where people you never expected to see again begin popping up one after another? I've read enough stories with that sort of plot to know it isn't necessarily a good thing. Some of those people may actually be zombies; they might only resemble someone from the past. This is a particular problem with people you haven't seen since childhood, because even non-zombies aren't always recognizable. People change, and sometimes they change a lot.

To illustrate, a guy I saw last night seemed awfully familiar, but I knew the sense of déjà vu I was experiencing might not be the real thing. So I approached the situation with caution, remembering those stories and all the bad things that can happen when carelessness is allowed to take over. Initially, I feigned indifference. I commented on the weather, wondering if it might rain. I put my fingers in my mouth, and generally pretended to have no particular interest one way or the other. All the while, I watched for the telltale signs of zombiness.

Then, at exactly the right moment, I launched my attack. I asked him for the time, because if there's one thing zombies don't know, it's the correct time. He pretended not to understand the question, so I repeated it. Same result. Removing my fingers from my mouth, I began naming the inner planets, because zombies can never remember if Venus is next to Mercury, or if it's Mars. This also didn't trigger the desired response, so I was pretty sure I had a zombie on my hands. But when he began backing slowly toward the door all remaining doubt evaporated, because walking backward is how zombies recharge their batteries.

Earlier that evening, I had been standing in line at the local coffee shop when a woman I hadn't seen in years approached from the side, which is a known zombie tactic. Zombies never approach from the front, because that would give you time to think. She said "hay," which is a Zombish codeword that means "I need more straw." Zombies and scarecrows have a lot in common, because both rely on straw to pad out their clothing so you won't notice their shrunken limbs. I decided to draw her out, so I began humming an old Pink Floyd tune, which is an excellent way to determine zombiness. Zombies will never join you in a chorus of The Wall, because they can't relate to Pink Floyd's angst. She raised her eyebrows in a mock expression of puzzlement but didn't seem to know the words to the song, so I paid for my coffee and began to walk away. I could hear her repeating the codeword as I left the coffee shop, but it's best to ignore zombies when they're doing that because sometimes they want more straw than you can give them, and then they become hostile when you say you're all out.

I'm not 100% sure if the guy dressed as a policeman was a zombie, but I didn't want to spend yet another morning sitting in the back of his car, so I just played along. Some of the questions he asked were suspicious, because he was already looking at my driver's license, which clearly indicates my preferences when the time comes to donate various parts of my body. If my feet were really made of lead it would say so on my license, and that way the recipient wouldn't be surprised if his new feet didn't operate as expected. A zombie wouldn't make that connection. But sometimes it's best to avoid overantagonizing a zombie, because you never know when you might meet again, or under what circumstances. When it comes to zombies, sometimes silence is the better part of valor.


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