On the north side of the street, inside Mickey’s Irish Pub, Duke is pouring out bottles of high proof booze and setting them on a table beside him. Tina, on the other hand, is sitting on the floor drinking a bottle of overproofed rum as fast as she can, or faster than she can rather since she’s spilling a goodly amount down the front of her Nicole Miller.
Duke frowns down at her and then dumps one of the bottles on Tina’s head “What are you doing?!”
Tina takes the bottle away from her mouth “Martialla told us to empty the bottles out . . .” she pauses to belch soggily “. . . that’s what I’m trying to do.”
Duke smacks her on the top of the head as she starts to drink again “Dump them out, Tina! Dump them out, don’t drink them! Martialla didn’t send us over here to get hammered, she sent us over here to . . . well I don’t actually know why she sent us over here but, YAAAAAAAAAAH!”
That’s the noise you make when a zombie comes bursting out of the bathroom, slips on a pool of sticky warm beer on the floor and as it falls latches its teeth onto your backside like a donkey eating a waffle. Duke screams and flails his arms wildly, staggering around and dragging the zombie behind him like some massive rotting tail.
Tina points and laughs hysterically “The zombie bit your bottom!”
In his wild scrambling about, Duke smashes into tables and chairs, shaking his hips around violently like a cracked out Shakira (the hips don’t lie) but that zombie won’t come loose – it’s attached to Duke’s muscular buttocks like a barnacle to the hull of a ship. Duke leaps over the bar and finally the zombie comes free – slamming into the bar and tearing off a good chunk of prime rump roast for itself in the process. Tina is laughing so hard she falls over. Duke comes up from behind the bar with a baseball bat in hand and a look of savage fury on his face. The zombie slowly gets up and Duke swings for the fences – knocking the zombie’s head off clean as a whistle. Duke awkwardly rolls back over the bar and continues to angrily pound on the lifeless torso screaming at it incoherently.
He spins to face the still giggling Tina “What are you laughing at?!”
Duke goes after Tina with the bat, who takes off running, laughing all the way. Meanwhile, on the other side of the street, Elvis is nervously filling up gas cans at Pete’s Pump and Pay – his eyes darting back and forth and jumping at every little sound. He almost jumps out of his skin as the door bangs open and Martialla comes walking out of the store with an armload of lighters and handkerchiefs. She’s also got a piece of beef jerky in her mouth and she’s singing softly to herself in Canadian. As she nears Elvis, she spits out the jerked meat, making a face.
“How can you Americans eat crap like this? It doesn’t even taste like food.” She drops her armload of stuff in Elvis’s lap. “Here, you carry this stuff, I’ll get the [untranslatable Canadian gibberish].”
Elvis starts to say something but instead screeches and clutches onto Martialla’s leg when he sees a zombie slowly shuffling their way from around the corner of the store. Martialla picks up the pump handle that Elvis dropped to the ground and carefully douses the approaching zombie with unleaded ultra plus gasoline. She drops the nozzle and takes one of the lighters, flicking it on and smiling.
“[untranslatable Canadian gibberish]”
With that dry cool witticism she tosses the lighter onto the zombie and she and Elvis grab their stuff and book. The zombie lights up like a Christmas tree, you know the old kind with candles, still coming after them a few steps before it disintegrates into a flaming mass of lifeless goo. Martialla and Elvis get back to Ela and Lucien just as Tina and Duke are running from the other way with their arms full of empty bottles – and one full one. Lucien and Ela don’t notice them coming right away because they’re engrossed in singing a wildly off-key duet.
Ela is really belting out “I’m just mad about Saffron.”
Lucien is no less enthusiastic “Saffron’s mad about me.’
“They call me Mello Yellow!”
Ela suddenly cuts herself short when she sees the others returning and digs her elbow into Lucien back to shut him up “I told you to stop singing that stupid song – we need to be on the look out here! How’d you guys make out?”
Martialla looks horrified “[untranslatable Canadian gibberish]! This is not the time for making out!”
Ela frowns “What? No, I meant . . . just forget about it. What’s the plan?”
The plan is simple enough, and you’ve probably already guessed it yourself being the smart and attractive reader that you are. They start moving again, slowly and cautiously, filling the empty liquor bottles with gasoline along the way, stuffing the handkerchiefs in the necks of said bottles and distributing them to everyone along with lighters. They also wolf down a few Twinkies and whatnot that Martialla picked up for a quick burst of sugar energy.
Martialla is waving the full bottle around “I told you to empty them all out, can’t you do anything right?”
Tina snatches the bottle away from her and takes a drink “This one we can empty on the way.”
She drinks again and hands the bottle to Elvis who accepts it gratefully “God knows I could use a drink right now.”
They manage to avoid any major concentrations of zombies as they skulk through the streets, saving their home-made grenades for when they really need them. They can tell they’re getting close to the hospital when they start seeing half-eaten corpses with lab coats and medical scrubs in the streets. Even closer still and they begin to see people in hospital gowns, some with IVs still trailing behind them, having been run down and devoured partially as they tried to flee. Stirling Memorial Hospital itself has a jumble of ambulances out front with slaughtered EMTs and emergency patients lying in and around them. As they arrive, a nurse on the roof is being pursued by a six-pack of zombies and runs out of roof. As they close in, he leaps to his death rather than be eaten alive. The place is crawling with zombies – you can see them in every window and door – some chasing still-living victims, others enjoying their grisly feast.
Ela limps along with Martialla holding her up “See? What did I tell you, this place is zombie central.”
Martialla tries to shift Ela away from crushing her neck “Maybe so, but this is the first time we’ve seen anyone else alive. Doesn’t look like that’s going to last for long, we better get in there and save them.”
Ela snorts “Save them? We’re not here to save anyone other than ourselves, we’re here to get fixed up as fast as possible – get in, get out like robbing a bank. If we happen to save anyone along the way, fine, but we don’t even know if these things are going to work.”
Tina lights one of her improvised fireball devices and hurls it at a group of zombies hunched over ravenously devouring a man with a cast on his arm. It explodes brightly and incinerates the horrid creatures in seconds.
Martialla tips her head “Now we know.”
Tina grins as she lights another “Cocktails anyone?”
Armed with the flaming power of fire like our primitive ancestors, they head in to the hospital. Our injured friends Ela, Duke, and Lucien try to stay in the middle of the huddle for what little protection that may offer. The Moltov (or is it Molotov?) cocktails work better than they ever dreamed. In short order Stirling Memorial Hospital is transformed into a veritable zombie barbecue. And what’s better, the sprinklers come on quickly and put out any fires before they set the whole building ablaze, good job, city building code people! Slaughtering zombies by the gurney-load, they reach the emergency room. Martialla takes up a guard position at the door as Elvis and Tina do what they can for the injured parties. Which isn’t much, if we’re being honest. And I feel that we are.
Ela waves her severed foot in Elvis’s face, spattering blood everywhere “Come on man, just sew it back on already!”
Elvis tries to push it away weakly “Get that thing out of my face! Do you have any idea how complicated a procedure it is to reattach a foot? That’s major surgery, Ela, it takes hours and hours! I barely even know first aid!”
Tina comes with a scalpel in hand “I’ll take a whack at it.”
Elvis steps between Ela and Tina “No you won’t. No one’s going to do it. None of us are surgeons, trying to just sew her foot back on is only going make things worse for Ela. What we have to do is stop the bleeding. Beyond that?” He shrugs helplessly.
Martialla looks back anxiously “Whatever you’re going to do, do it! I can hear them coming.”
Ela takes the handkerchief out of one of the bottles and dumps the high proof booze on her foot-stump “Don’t be ridiculous Martialla, they aren’t coming, the sprinklers drove away any that we didn’t fry. Zombies hate water, why can’t you people get that through your thick skulls, damn it?!”
Spittle flies from Duke’s mouth as he shouts “Stop saying that! You don’t know that!”
Ela winks “Bite me.”
With that, Ela takes her lighter and delicately touches it to her bloody rum-soaked stump like the light kiss of a gossamer moth. Flames leap up and she wails like a banshee which freaks everyone else out pretty good. Mostly they scream and run around like chickens with their heads cut off (normal chickens not zombie chickens). Martialla eventually has the presence of mind to grab a fire blanket out of the wall mount and smother the flames (they have those in hospitals right? I feel like I saw one once when I was in a hospital). After a moment Ela weakly raises her head, looking as exhausted and drained as a woman who just gave birth to a really fat baby.
Her voice is a whisper of a whisper “There, the bleeding is stopped, now do what you can do for Lucien and Tweedle-dumb fuck and let’s get the hell out of here.” She laboriously drags the back of her clown-sleeve over her sweaty face. “Looks like I picked the wrong day to stop using bear tranquilizers.”