Whatever Happens, Buddy, We’re in this Apocalypse Together

The zombie infection may have taken over the world, but Zachary Martin will stick by your side, whether you like it or not.


Don’t worry, pal. It’s you and me against the world, and that hasn’t changed just because I’m pretty sure you’re infected now and you’ll probably die a horrible death in the next few days and then rise reanimated to devour me alive. Friends stick together. I mean, when I shot you in the arm in the middle of the night because I thought you were one of the Walkers, who dressed the wound for you? That’s right. And when the wound became gangrenous, who was there to hold you down and amputate? Friends do that kind of stuff for each other.

I really feel like I could tell you anything and you wouldn’t judge me. Like when I told you the cleaver I used to chop your arm off hadn’t been cleaned since you used it to defend me against that swarm of undead. You know I’m beating myself up over transmitting the plague to you and don’t want say anything to rub it in, although I’m still not going to untie you or take that gag out of your mouth to find out for sure. The fall of society has really strengthened our relationship, deepened it, and I’m not just saying that because I’m all but certain you’re turning into a living corpse with a taste for my flesh.

I do have to run some errands, though. You want me to pick you up an ice cream sandwich? Just kidding: it’s dead pigeons and wild grasses from here on out. Speaking of which, I hope you don’t mind that I’ve been cutting your food rations the last few days while the sickness settles into your bones. What is it they say? “Feed a cold, starve a global zombie pandemic?” And with the potable water, I just figured you wouldn’t miss it, seeing as your internal organs are liquefying anyway. But don’t worry, amigo. I heard on the radio, before the batteries went dead, that the Coalition of Nations was close to a cure. And with the power grid going down and the roving gangs taking over, you figure that’s two less things for the provisional government to worry about. It can’t be too much longer before that serum’s ready.

I will be sorry to turn over all this ammunition and gasoline we’ve hoarded, though. I’m going to bring the ammunition and gasoline with me, by the way. Did I say that already? With you feeling all icky like this, the last thing you need is gasoline fumes in the air. I know it’s a lot to carry, but don’t worry about helping. You just stay strapped into that chair with your legs duct taped together and worry about feeling better. I’ll back the truck up to the porch and load up the guns and what’s left of the food, medical supplies, and drinking water. You don’t need that kind of stuff cluttering up the house when your capillaries are bursting one after another and drowning you in your own bodily fluids. Granted, it’ll be a lot less fun going out there alone. No one can make me laugh like you can, partner. I still remember the time I emptied your shotgun without telling you and you had to bludgeon to death that elderly man spitting diseased blood. The look on your face! It’s enough to make me wish we could start the End of Days all over again.

I’m not saying this Armageddon’s been all fun and games. You know that. We’ve had our arguments. You wasted the last of our rubbing alcohol trying to clean out your gunshot wound, and I used you as a human shield against those infected schoolchildren. I’m not even going to mention how we disagreed about whether or not to give some of our food to your starving cousin when he showed at the door, because I think that fight is still a bit raw for both of us. Friends forgive each other, is what I guess I’m getting at. I’m not saying we’ve always seen eye to eye, but I am saying even you were surprised with how easily the meat came off your cousin Tony’s bones after I killed him.

Which reminds me: Tony said he saw that convoy of survivors headed west, right? I’m just asking so I can avoid them. They sounded like a real bunch of assholes, what with their well-stocked provisions and regulated militia. Who needs the promise of salvation and a new beginning for humanity when there’s a friend like you around? Not me, that’s for sure. So I’m just going to skedaddle down to the city center and dig through the rubble hoping to find an unopened can of creamed asparagus. You just sit tight until I get back. ‘Cause I’m totally coming right back, almost certainly with a syringe full of the cure that will let us have a good, long chuckle about all this.

Illustration by Hallie Bateman

Zachary Martin is a graduate of the University of Chicago and the Creative Writing Program at Florida State University. His fiction, non-fiction, and humor have appeared in Fourth Genre, The Louisville Review, Washington Square, The Southeast Review, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and elsewhere. He is a PhD candidate in Fiction at the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program and an instructor at the Gotham Writers' Workshops.