I’m taking a break this week from The Worry Curse to celebrate Thanksgiving with a bit of nonsense. Enjoy your holiday!
Gray smoke poured from the apartment buildings and ribboned through the screaming crowd. Smells of burning meat filled Marla’s nostrils. The icy pavement stung her bare feet as she joined aimless runners overtaking the dawn-blushed sidewalks. Many still wore pajamas, their open terry cloth robes flapping about as they wove among honking drivers.
A crepey-eyed woman with a half-head of curlers grabbed Marla by both arms. A false eyelash fluttered at her brow as she gasped. “He tasted the meat before it was done! Why did he eat the TURKEY? Now he’s–“
The woman glanced over her shoulder and shrieked. A sixtyish man charged toward her, raising a butcher knife over his shoulder. Red flesh bubbled out of his neck, expanding and drooping into a wattle.
Marla sprinted toward an elderly woman shuffling behind her walker. The lady turned and her crimson neck jiggled. With a hollow, bruise-circled glare, she belted out a turkey call and drew out a handgun.
A bullet whizzed past Marla’s ear as she fled into the street. She darted between a motorcyclist and a Land Rover. A projectile crashed through the SUV’s windshield and exploded. Marla ducked into an alley. She gazed at the chaos and backed toward a dumpster.
A grimy hand grabbed her elbow and yanked her down. “Get outta sight. You can hide here with me. Just don’t call attention to my spot.” The blonde-bearded man pushed his lavender spectacles higher on the bridge of his nose. “You didn’t eat yet, did ya?”
Marla shook her head. Hugging her knees, she rested her trembling chin on the flannel of her leggings. “What’s happening here?”
“They knew they’d get us with turkeys, man.” He pulled a package of crackers from the pocket of his army jacket and handed it to her. “Nano-technology infused in the birds. Be glad you didn’t taste any.”
She spoke through a mouthful of crumbs. “I’m a vegetarian. My parents made a tofurkey, but my brother insisted . . . and now he’s, whatever you call them.”
“Know what I’m calling ’em?” Earthy scents wafting from his beard, he leaned in, wagged his brows, and whispered. “Tombies.”
Squealing brakes and sirens continued to swell from the roaring crowd outside the alley. “So they’re like, cyber-turkeys infecting people with nanites?”
“You bet your electric carving knife they are.” He slapped the side of his Birkenstock sandal, perched on his lap due to his cross-legged position.
“I don’t believe this. What are we gonna do?” Marla raked a hand through her frizzy bedhead. “Why aren’t you affected, by the way?”
“Been paranoid for years.” He took one of her crackers and straightened his spine. “I’m finally right. It’s the Tombie Apocalypse, man. We paranoids and vegetarians are in this together.”