The Undead, A Susan Long Report

(Interior night: cheap motel room, single camera on a tripod. Susan adjusts camera and moves in front to arrange two folding chairs.)

Susan: The undead. They walk, or shamble, among us. Over two million Americans are now legally considered undead. New questions face us in this new era, and unless those vital questions are addressed, we face the probability of a second civil war.

Two of the non-living are here to help answer America's questions and hopefully create a bridge between those Americans who are privileged with life, and those who have had life taken away, but remain with us.

Mr. Smith: (Enters carrying coffee and sits in chair. Rubs nose constantly like cocaine addict.)

Susan: Mr…Smith?

Mr. Smith: Well, I'm not going to give out my real name, am I? (Laughs.)

Susan: You're not concerned about your face being shown on live television, though.

Mr. Smith: (Shrugs) Not really. No one's going to recognize me. I'm not that far gone yet. If I use enough makeup, no one even knows what I am.

Susan: So are you saying you pass as human?

Mr. Smith: Everyday. I liked being human. I mean, being a zombie's all cool at first, but then it's a drag. At first, I got into the whole 'zombie' thing, ya know?

(Laughs. Shifts to be more comfortable. Begins talking more animatedly.) Ok, this one time, I was really bored so I walked into a coffee shop in the middle of the day, right? And I was all shuffling my feet and saying 'brains'. (Holds arms in front dramatically, like an old fashioned zombie. Laughs loudly.) It was great. People were running everywhere. This one guy actually jumped through the drive-through window.

Susan: So what happened that made you want to pass as human? Did you feel hated, discriminated against, alone?

Mr Smith: Errr… no? I was bored. It just got old after a while. I couldn't get coffee without a bunch of jerks screaming and running, and you try getting a date with the acne from hell. After a while, it's just eat and sit. There's nothing else to do. I like to go make some trouble sometimes, but that gets dull too.

Susan: (Disappointed) I see. So the experience left you missing your humanity? Did you feel torn apart from your past?

Mr. Smith: Sure, why not? Hey when do I get paid for this? (Rubs nose). I got stuff to do.

Susan: After the interview. So, is there anything redeeming to being undead?

Mr. Smith: (Affecting cheesy tone) I was hooked on cocaine. And then I became undead. Now, I am cocaine free. Won't you become undead with me? (Rubs nose). I miss being alive. I can't feel anything now. No booze, no drugs. This sucks. I can't even enjoy a good cup of coffee, when I can get one.

Susan: So what are your plans? What will you do when you can't cover your ailment with makeup anymore?

Mr. Smith: (Shrugs) I don't know. There aren't really a lot of guys ready to hire zombies, ya know. I heard there are some guys in Dallas that have an underground fighting ring. I might try that. I like fighting.

Susan: That seems degrading. Do you feel that you are discriminated against? Should you have more rights as an undead- American?

Mr. Smith: (Gives her an unbelieving look) Is that what this is about? Lady, give it up. We eat brains. No one's going to hire a brain eater. I had a job for a while, but some jerk outed me. Trust me, listing 'brain eater' under hobbies doesn't look good on an application. It won't be a problem much longer anyway.

Susan: Why not?

Mr. Smith: Well, the way things are going you'll all be zombies in a couple years anyway, right? Then it'll all be one happy, rotting family. No brains left though. That's gonna suck.

Susan: That's why I'm here, to begin a dialogue between humans and zombies, so we can live together in peace. It doesn't have to end in war.

Mr. Smith: (Laughs) Lady, you are nuts. War's already here. Hey, I gotta go. I'm gonna get in makeup and go to a rave. Gonna get in the mosh pit and start some problems. That's always fun. Get me some brains while I'm at it.

Susan: Wait! There's more I wanted to ask you.

Mr. Smith: Na, this is pretty lame. That whole peace between zombies and humans junk won't work. Now, the money?

Susan: You'll find it in a safe deposit box. (Tosses him a cell phone) I'll call in 2 hours and give you the location.

Mr. Smith: What's this? (Grins) Don't you trust me?

Susan: My producers insisted I do it this way. My number's on there, if you want to do another interview.

Mr. Smith: Ya, mabey, I don't know. (Leaves)

Susan: (To camera) And there you have it. Humanity's first live interview with a zombie - pun intended.

(Exterior scene. Night. Dimly lit. Mr. Smith leans against wall 'smoking' a cigarette. Another zombie approaches. He is wearing the tattered remains of a suit, but unlike Mr. Smith his face is partially decomposed, with only one eye left intact. Bits of flesh hang from his left jowl.)

Mr. Smith: Hey, Leroy.

Zombie: I've told you before, my name isn't Leroy.

Mr. Smith: (Shrugs) Gotta call you something. You could just tell me your name.

Zombie: Did you get the money?

Mr. Smith: She didn't have the money on her. Dumb as hell, but she might be useful, if we can keep this up.

Zombie: Hmm.. we'll see. You still going to get my weapons for me?

Mr. Smith: Yeah, but it'll cost you half of whatever she gives you. Why don't you just get weapons yourself?

Zombie: I can't pass for human. I could steal them, but it's easier just to buy them.

Mr. Smith: What do you care? It's not like bullets hurt you.

Zombie: No, but there's always that one guy who goes for the head. Eventually, one of them's going to get lucky that way. I'd rather do this the easy way.

Mr. Smith: Whatever, dude. Just make sure I get the money.

Zombie: (Takes cigarette out of Smith's mouth and tosses it to the ground) Poser. Your lungs don't even work.

Mr. Smith: So? I can make air go in and out. It's almost like smoking. I miss smoking.

Zombie: Sure, except you can't feel it, or get any nicotine, or smell it. Other than that it's exactly like smoking.

Mr. Smith: You need to lighten up, Leroy. You gotta live a little. (Laughs) Or be dead a little better. I don't know. Just lighten up already.

Zombie: Idiot

Mr. Smith: Dumbass.

Zombie: (Turns to go into building)

Mr. Smith: Hey, just wait to kill her until I get my money, ok? (Lights another cigarette after Zombie goes inside building. He looks at it and chunks it to the ground.) Thanks for ruining that for me, Leroy.

(Susan interviewing "Leroy")

Susan: So tell me a little about yourself. What's your name?

Zombie: I don't really use a name anymore – don't need one. What do you want to know?

Susan: How did you become infected?

Zombie: My boss fell over dead at work from what I thought was a heart attack. I tried to give him CPR, and I guess I got the virus then. Less than 24 hours later, I woke up dead. I guess he was bitten and didn't tell anyone.

Susan: That happens a lot. How did your loved ones take the news?

Zombie: They were really upset at first, but they came around after they became zombies themselves.

Susan: You killed your whole family?

Zombie: Well, that's a matter of semantics really. I would say I introduced them to immortality. None of them are complaining.

Susan: I understand that you have a plan for zombie solidarity.

Zombie: No. Where did you hear that?

Susan: Oh, around. You mean that there are no plans for zombie/human peace talks?

Zombie: Oh, that sounds like what Crazy Stan's been doing. He's been on about that for months now. We look a lot alike, so sometimes people get us confused. It's getting on my nerves actually.

Susan: (Disappointed) I see. Can you tell me a bit about the movement though? You must have some inside information.

Zombie: There's not much too it. Stan keeps trying to recruit zombies for his 'peace movement'. Not too many are paying attention though. It's just too stupid.

Susan: Stupid? That's exactly what I'm trying to do!

Zombie: Are you serious? Lady, you're just prey to me, get it? You have the brains I crave. Why would I want to give that up for some emo peace talks?

Susan: Because it's the future. Otherwise, we'll just kill each other until there aren't any humans or zombies left.

Zombie: (Laughs cynically) You mean, we'll kill you, right? We don't die, and every time we kill one of you, we get a new soldier. In a war of attrition, we'll win.

Susan: But why is it necessary? We're so much alike.

Zombie: What the…? Alike? What have you been smoking? You do know what I am, right?

Susan: You're a tortured soul, like the rest of us. A fragile bird resting on the tree of the earth.

Zombie: You're crazier than Stan.

Susan: Am I? Or all we all just crazy together? Won't you help me bring an end to all this killing?

Zombie: No! We're killers. That's what we do. We kill and eat. There's not much more to this, ok?

Susan: But that's not how it has to be. I'm sure scientists could find a synthetic substitute for brains.

Zombie: Ok, this is just getting ridiculous. Just tell me how to get my money for this, and I'm gone. You just keep on trying to make peace. It's funny.

Susan: Don't give up yet! We could unite to make a better world. There could be a new era of…

Zombie: (Interrupting) Ah, screw this. (Kills reporter.)

(Outside. Zombie exits wiping blood off his face.)

Mr. Smith: Aw, come on dude! You couldn't wait a few hours?

Zombie: She annoyed me.

Mr. Smith: I need that money. You owe me, jerk!

Zombie: (Grunts dismissively and walks away.)

Mr. Smith: Go to hell!

Zombie: Been there – am there actually. Have fun at the rave, Poser.