Saturday, August 30, 2008

Technicolor Zombies

Yesterday, I finished reading Bits of the Dead, the zombie anthology I’ve mentioned here. Although it has hits and misses like any anthology, I thought the majority of the stories were pretty good. And I’m not just saying that because I have a piece in it. Since all the stories are short, flash fiction pieces of 1 to 3 pages, it also doesn’t take long to finish one you don’t particularly enjoy and move on to one you do. Especially in these days when concern about Gustav is always in the back of my mind, I appreciated the short pieces. They took me away for moments at a time from my worries, but didn’t require the lengthy concentration a novel would have. I actually wish I had a few more of these flash fiction anthologies around for just this reason.

The stories were salient enough so that last night I dreamed of zombies. I don’t remember all the details, but the gist of it was that people who were pretending to be zombies were attacked by real zombies. The real zombies had your standard gray, monochromatic appearance while the pretend zombies were done up beautifully in Technicolor hues. The fake organs and intestines they’d glued on were brilliant reds and pinks. They had bold slashes of yellow across their faces, and the pure white of fresh bones showing artfully through the fancy rags of their carefully selected costumes. The strangest part was when the pretend zombies were bitten and became real zombies, and how they hunted people now with their faces made up like zombie hookers. Outside, they were works of art; inside, they were gray and empty of all but hunger. I remember one, in particular. He was trying to eat his own fake intestines. He’d shove them in his mouth and bite down, then make a face and spit them out. Only to try a fresh bite moments later.


Lisa said...

YUCK!!! I'm laughing and recoiling at the same time! Don't read stories like that before bed anymore. This post might just give me nightmares :)

Thinking about you guys. Stay safe.

Shauna Roberts said...

One thing I've never understood about the ecology of zombies. Once all the living have been eaten or zombified, what do the zombies eat? Are dogs and cats next?

Lana Gramlich said...

The thought of biting one's own intestines is horrendously repulsive to me. Fortunately it's balanced by the image of zombie whore makeup. *L*
As for this--"The fake organs and intestines they’d glued on were brilliant reds and pinks. They had bold slashes of yellow across their faces, and the pure white of fresh bones"--it occurs to me that those were the colors we talked about in my painting yesterday. And that I'd settled on the roseate spoonbill because it had pink, yellow & white.

Heff said...

I don't know why Zombies are all the rage, but I sure dig 'em. The original Dawn of the Dead is one of my all-time fav movies.

Bernita said...

Quite a technocolour dream.
Does not most of our zombie "lore" result from very modern and mostly cinematic sources?

Gustav is now a Cat 4.

CrazyCath said...

Oh my! That is one gruesome dream! I sincerely hope that you recovered from that! I bet it would distract you from other stuff.
Again I am just thinking of you and Lana and hope you stay safe.

Thank you for your comment at mine too - and I totally agree with you. I truly hope I did not come across as "telling" people what to believe - they were just my thoughts today, and I agree with you that everyone has to make their own choices. A faith is not a faith if you are told to believe it. :0)

Josephine Damian said...

Uhhhh. you're reading books? Shouldn't you be battening down the hatches, bro? Already feeling outer bands of Gustav here.

Charles Gramlich said...

Lisa, but I like those kinds of dreams.

Shauna, I try not to consider such issues. It boggles the mind.

Lana, hum, maybe so. I hadn't considered that that's where the colors came from. Could well be.

Heff, I like zombies better than vampires for sure. I especially like the fast ones.

Bernita, I think you're right. It's like the wolfman in that. Much more recent than the vampire myth.

Crazycath, oh dreams never bother me. I just enjoy them. No, I didn't think you were preaching. I was just agreeing with your point about how everyone has to find their own way.

Josephine, mostly battened by now. But I'm always reading books. I'll be like the guy in the old Twilight zone epsiode, "Time enough at last." I'll be reading when the world ends.

Shauna Roberts said...

Zombies may actually be older than vampires. Europeans of the Middle Ages believed that dead people could sometimes come back to life, and so did several other cultures. The zombie as we know it and under that name comes from the Voodoo religion and presumably has roots in West African culture.

ivan said...


I been to Haiti.


Wondering why my actions and movements are sort of slo mo.

Mash Cool!

JR's Thumbprints said...

When I think of fake Zombies, I think of "Shaun of the Dead." I believe there's a "we'll fake our way around the zombies by pretending we're zombies" moment. The movies a real hoot.

Sidney said...

I pulled up the synopsis and thought it must be a huge book with 38 stories until I read on in your post and saw that it was flash.

You know I just recently learned and may have already mentioned it somewhere that in play writing there are 10 Minute plays which are the equivalent of flash fiction, I'd say.

laughingwolf said...

are fake organs like fake orgasms? :O lol

once all the 'good' folk have been eaten, they still have one another to chew on :P

stay safe!

Greg Schwartz said...

cool dream! sounds like it would be a funny movie too.

if you're looking for a good dark flash fiction anthology, try Book of Shadows, Volume One. It's a collection of real short stories by a bunch of authors. Here's a review I did of it for Whispers of Wickedness. I keep waiting for them to come out with volume 2.

Greg Schwartz said...

well it cuts off the URL for some reason, but if you go to my page, it's on the sidebar under "Reviews." I think you can get the book from Amazon or

Vwriter said...

Thanks for the recommendation. I'll buy a copy and give it a read- especially since you have a story in it.

The weirdest zombie story I ever read was about vegetarian zombies.

Charles Gramlich said...

Shauna, I don't know a lot about the history of zombies. I've seen stories written in the early 1900s about them. Robert E. Howard wrote one back in the 1920s.

Ivan, hum, sounds like you're close to fitting the bill.

JR, I liked Shaun of the dead a lot. Funny movie.

Sidney, yes, it's not that long a book, even with 38 stories. I didn't think about 10 minute plays but I guess that would be a kind of flash story.

Laughingwolf, I wonder if that would satisfy their hunger, just eating dead flesh.

Greg, that sounds right up my alley. I'll check it out from you page.

Vwriter, vegetarian zombies? Now there's a twist I wouldn't have thought of.

Steve Malley said...

I want to see that Billy Connoly movie, SPIKE, about a boy who keeps a zombie as a pet...

the walking man said...

Just heard that you all got word to bug out...just got word that my daughters EMS rig is headed down to MS to wait assignment...I guess hurricanes happen even to MI. she's there by now

Best of wishes and God bless you all.

Anonymous said...

Holy old acid flashbacks Charles! Also, I trust by now you have evacuated, good luck to you and yours!

The Trailer Of Love

Greg Schwartz said...

vwriter, i think i read that story, too. was it a winner from a flash fiction humor contest?

ivan said...


Well, I could be exhibited. Make some money! :)

Charles Gramlich said...

Steve Malley, I read a story once about zombie strippers. I think it was in Book of the Dead. I haven't heard of that movie, though.

Mark, yes, they are ordering New Orleanians out, I think. But fortunately for us we're across the lake. Right now we're planning to ride it out. But my son and his girlfriend got out on Saturday. They were in town. I'm happy for that.

Wil, we would have if we were actually in New Orleans, but our house is well north of there so we think we'll be OK. We'll probably loose electricty.

Greg, now I want to read the vegetarian zombie story.

Ivan, indeed. we could throw you some fresh meat, say a "critic" or something like that!

Miladysa said...

Eewww! Disgutsing!!

Shaun of the Dead is a great film though :-D

Greg Schwartz said...

Charles, here's that vegetarian zombie story. "Attack of the Unexpected" by Nigel Macarthur. won 3rd place in the 2004 Mona Schreiber humorous fiction contest.

Greg Schwartz said...

whoops, forgot to add to scroll down. it's the third story on the page.

Charles Gramlich said...

Miladysa, nothing I enjoy better than a little dream disgust. lol.

Greg, lol. Thanks for the link. Definitely weird.

CrazyCath said...

You and Lana very much in my thoughts as I watch the weather reports over here. Hope you are not taking any chances.
Take care.

laughingwolf said...

like eating 'lo-fat' for us? :O lol

Jo said...

Oh, goodness! What an imagination!

I watched a version of "The Time Machine" by H.G. Wells yesterday, and I thought of you when they showed the Morlocks. The head Morlock was played beautifully by Jeremy Irons, as only he can chew the scenery.

Charles Gramlich said...

Crazycath, so far so good. We're being careful.

Laughingwolf, I'm eating high fat myself.

Jo, Irons was by far the best thing in that movie. I liked the parts where he was in.

writtenwyrdd said...

Man you have the BEST dreams!

Mary Witzl said...

Ooh, Charles, thanks for loading me up with that intestine-eating image! And zombie hookers? Lord have mercy.

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