Elvis and Tina move to apply their poor first aid skills to the injured party members but just then a cabinet bursts open and a form comes flying out at them. With a shout, Duke turns and hurls one of the last flaming missiles they have at the wildly failing blur, but Martialla’s hand – quick as a striking Canadian snake – snatches it out of the air. She yanks out the “wick” as the attacker is revealed to be a screaming man. Martialla puts her hand out and knocks him down with a stiff arm. Rather than a ravenous ravenous zombie (the hit sequel to hungry hungry hippos) we’re dealing with a short balding man with a trim salt and pepper beard and glasses in a white coat. He cowers on the ground and covers his head like in those old duck and cover videos from school. Which would totally protect you from lava.
“Don’t eat me! Don’t eat me!”
Tina kicks him in the hip awkwardly, hurting her own foot and hopping “Christ! Don’t do that! You nearly gave me a heart attack! We’ve got enough problems without you jumping out at us, asshole!”
The doctor fearfully peeks around his fingers like a kid watching a horror movie “You’re alive?”
Ela manages to sit up and looks down at him “For the time being. Thanks to me.”
And then there are seven. And Dr. Jablonski is a highly valuable edition too, being an ER doctor. He’s able to patch them up well as can be, given the situation, and even better he’s able to shoot them full of all kinds of happy things that make the pain go away. By the time he’s almost done working, Elvis and Tina are clowning around with the x-ray machine as he’s working on Duke’s arm, shoulder, and ass. He even packs Ela’s foot in a special organ transplant cooler so that if they get out of there and find a working hospital, there’s a chance that it can be re-attached. They set out from Stirling Memorial in high spirits (you know, for a zombie death march) but they’re down to their last few cocktails and they have to use them to get clear – the zombies don’t seem to mind the fire sprinklers at all. Once they get outside they’re weaponless again, aside from the axe and a baseball bat – both of which Ela insists that she carries.
Martialla sputters and points at her footless leg “But, but, you, your . . .”
Ela slaps her sharply “Shut up Martialla, everyone knows about your tilted uterus! I feel fine now, better than fine, I feel great! And even with one foot off, I’m a better fighter than any of you are.” She sets the axe down emphatically and leans on it. “Now, which way do we go from here?”
Tina points north “What about the airport?”
Ela out of reflex starts to slap her and tell her to shut up, but she pulls up and bites her lip “Wait a minute, what did you say?”
“Ponce DeLeon airport is just a few blocks from here.”
Elvis’s voice crackles with hope “Can anyone fly a plane?”
The good doctor raises his hand timidly “I can fly a small prop plane, I don’t have my license yet but I’ve logged a hundred hours or so.”
Tina is so happy she kisses him, much to his startlement. That’s a word right? That’s the good news, the bad news is that getting even a few blocks in a zombie-infested hellhole is easier said than done. They try several different roundabout ways to get to the airfields, but they find that there are zombies everywhere – and they’re all hungry. The crew is too weapon-poor and injured-rich to fight their way through, so their only chance is to displace and fallback and try to get there from a different angle. They cut through the Dobb’s Animal Park (ignoring Ela’s screaming about zombie goats) but find their way blocked again. They’re about to turn back again when Martialla spots something.
Martialla grabs Ela’s shoulder and points “Hey, wait a minute. Check that out.”
“A toy store? What do we want with a fucking toy store?”
“There could be something useful in there, I’m going to check it out.”
Ela snorts “Fine, we’re leaving, I wish I could say that you’ll be missed. Send us a postcard when you get to hell, okay?”
Duke points the other way across the street “But look over there, True Value hardware, I bet there’s something good in there. You guys go check that out while Martialla and I go to the toy store.”
Lucien frowns “Why do you want to go to the toy store?”
Duke shrugs “Toy stores are fun.”
Ela covers her face with her hand “Jesus Christ, I’d rather lose both my feet than listen to this crap.”
Despite her annoyance, they split up and go their separate ways. At the hardware store, Ela, Lucien, Elvis, Tina, and the good doctor add a sledgehammer, a few spades, and a second axe to their arsenal. As they’re distributing the haul, Tina comes up from behind the counter with a Cheshire-cat like smile on her face.
They all turn to look and she lifts up a chainsaw “I just hit the jackpot! Oh yeah baby yeah!”
Ela slaps her across the face viciously “Put that down before you kill yourself, or even worse someone who matters! A chainsaw is a tool, it isn’t a weapon. Leave it behind! I command you!”
Tina laughs “You stupid fool, a chainsaw isn’t a weapon? Haven’t you ever heard of a little movie called Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers? Or of a fellow by the name of Leatherface?”
Lucien is deep in thought “Were you in Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers, Ela?”
Ela slaps him and then wheels around to slap Tina again, even harder “No chainsaw! It’s not useful as a weapon, it’s too unwieldy! A chainsaw is not a sword, you can’t swing it at someone and expect that to do anything! Besides, you need fuel for it, jackass! Come on, let’s go! Leave that thing behind, Tina, or I swear I will bite your nips off. I mean it!”
Tina looks downtrodden for a second and starts to put the chainsaw down, but then she stops and puts it on the counter instead. She takes a bottle of gasoline she had hidden in her dress somehow (Victoria’s Secret Pocket?) and takes the handkerchief out of it. With a sublime grin she takes the cap off the chainsaw and pours in the gas. She carefully screws the cap back on and sneaks out after the rest of the crew – trying to hide the chainsaw behind her back and failing miserably. Meanwhile across the street in the toy store, Martialla is grabbing all manner of things as Duke is jumping on a pogo-stick and trying to dribble a basketball at the same time.
That’s the noise you might make if a zombie jumped out of one of those big cages for rubber balls and tackled you off your pogo stick – intent on chowing down on your liver like it was a corndog. Which it might be, who really knows what’s inside a corndog?
Duke desperately shoves the snapping mouth part away from his own face “Martialla, help! Help!”
Martialla comes to the rescue with a ball bat – splattering the zombie’s head all over Duke’s upper body. Duke takes a moment to comment on how funky he feels (Ghostbusters) as Martialla helps him up. They hop on a Razor scooter together and whiz off to meet up with the rest of their friends. When they do, Ela sticks out her foot (the one still attached to her body) and sends them flying head over heels as the scooter comes to an abrupt halt.
“God damn it, this is serious!”
Martialla lays on her stomach, trying to get her wind back “That’s much faster than walking, we should all get them.”
Duke is holding his knee and wincing “And it’s not stupid, that’s a Razor scooter!”
Ela hacks the scooter to bits with her axe “Oh yeah? Well now it’s garbage! While you idiots were playing grabass at a toy store, we were getting real weapons! Here, take these!” She tosses a spade and the second axe at them.
The doctor whispers to Elvis “Is she always like that?”
Elvis shakes her head “Nah not always, sometimes she can be a real bitch.”
Lucien cocks his head “What’s that noise?”
Duke looks around “I hear it too, what is that?”
It’s a weird combination of a whish-whoosh sound with a rolling kind of sound. They all stand still and listen in confusion and wonder for a moment, but soon enough the mystery of the mysterious sound is revealed to them. The entire DeLeon High School in-line hockey team comes skating around the corner and whirls to a synchronized stop on a dime – pounding their hockey sticks on the ground and dislodging little bits and pieces of gristle and blood onto the pavement.
Martialla gasps “What in the unholy crimson heck is that?!”
Ela hefts her axe “Zombie roller hockey players from hell! Looks like I picked the wrong day to quit inhaling the fumes from burning brake fluid.”
Zombies on roller blades might sound amusing in theory, but YOU’RE not the one across the street from the putrid animated bodies of the De Leon High School Explorers inline hockey team – staring with their vacant white eyes and seeing their eternal and ungodly hunger for the still-quivering flesh of the living reflected back at you. Martialla, Ela, Duke, Tina, Lucien, Elvis , and some doctor guy are – and they don’t think it’s funny at all. Okay, okay, full disclosure they DO think it’s a little funny, but chalk that up to stress and exhaustion and the giddiness brought on by several hours’ worth of soul-wrenching terror. Elvis and the doctor have shrunk to the back of the group fearfully as the rest clutch their weapons and wait for the inevitable onslaught – Ela at the fore with her fire axe in one hand and the cooler containing her severed foot in the other. The Explorers, little bits of skin and fat hanging out of their torn and bloody uniforms, are skating around in a classic double figure-eight pattern knocking around a severed head with their hockey sticks.
Ela whispers to herself “What are they waiting for? Why don’t they attack?”
Duke glances around “Maybe they’re waiting for reinforcements or something, are zombies that smart? Do they plan? We should attack them before they get here!”
Martialla shakes her head “Wait a minute, who cares why they’re not attacking us, why aren’t WE running away from THEM?”
Everyone looks around at each other for a second and then they take off running, at which point the Explorers finally break formation and start skating after their prey.
The doctor looks back fearfully “They’re gaining on us!”
Ela takes a quick look back “How is that possible?! They’re zombies for the love of god! How can they be gaining on us? How can they even use skates? They should be falling down, not catching up to us!”
Just then the lead zombie – whose helmet is cracked and has some brains spilling out – takes a picture perfect Happy Gilmore style slapshot, sending the severed head flying and hitting Martialla in the back of the legs, knocking her down and sending her domino-tumbling into Elvis and Duke, knocking them down as well.
Ela waves her axe “Quick, form a circle so they can’t get at anyone from behind!”
They start to raggedly and uninspiredly spring into action to circle the wagons, but Martialla gets to her feet, dusts herself off, and gestures for them to be still. She straightens out her bloody Sueno Beach Video Rental shirt reminding us to “Be Kind, Rewind”, words that everyone should remember in these trying modern times. She reaches into her pockets with a steely look of determination on her face.
Martialla stares down the skating hellions as they hurtle towards them “No need, I’ll take care of this, leave them to me.”
Martialla flicks her hands out in front of her like a magician revealing an empty box where his spangly leotarded assistant once was and sends a barrage of brightly colored marbles flying out of her pockets onto the street in front of the zombie hockey players intent on dismembering and devouring them. Ever try to skate over marbles? Take it from me, sweet reader, it doesn’t work, as these zombies quickly find out to their dismay. They fall like drunk penguins – or actually more like zombie hockey players tripping on marbles – and hit the ground hard. Martialla laughs and pumps a Tiger Woods-esque fist pump in victory.
She raises her arms “Score – Martialla ten, zombies zero!” She turns to gloat at Ela “See? See? I told you the toy store would be a good idea, but noooo – you can’t listen to anyone else, can you? You’re the big badass leader and you don’t listen to anyone, huh? Well who was right, Ela? That’s right baby, I was! Me, Martialla. Martialla was right and youuuuu were. . . YEAAAAAAAAH!”
That’s the noise you might make if a zombie roller hockey player had crawled close enough to grab you from behind by the ankles as you were gloating. Ela leaps into action, knocking Martialla out of the way with a cooler to the face and then hacking off the zombie’s hands at the wrist. Martialla scrambles back and quickly pries the still grasping hands off her legs, throwing them away with a shudder. Ela looks down at her coolly as the rest of the zombies are still flailing about in the field of marbles and raises an eyebrow.
“Can we go now or did you have more to say?”