Read by Robert Welling
Don't get me wrong, I knew the risks. We all did. Sure, like everyone else, I never thought it would be me – right up until the moment it was. And certainly not in such a goddamn dumb-ass Comedy of Terrors way.
If this is to be warts and all, I should admit that I wasn't originally a fan of the zombie genre. It’s hardly something that befits someone with a degree in English Literature, even if it is only from community college. Financially, I could see the merits, but before me it was just a few poorly-lit, shakily-held, brutish and downright nasty Youtube clips. Not that mine aren't brutish and nasty when the story calls for it, which is often, but I'd be very disappointed if you thought they were poorly lit.
I might have to brain you with one of my two ZAFAs.
I do wonder who exactly I'm talking to here. I mean, I'm not talking to those two, not the 'actress' whose brains are decorating the far wall, nor her crippled ‘girlfriend’ propped up at the exit. If things had worked out differently, I’d be talking to my Assistant AD, Claudia, who’d be winking back at me from behind the camera, but as it is, she’s ... indisposed. I guess I'm talking to whoever stumbles across this footage. I'm hoping that you'll have the wits to piece it all together, maybe put it out as a making-of documentary, or director's comments, or something. In which case I'm also talking to a much wider audience, assuming they ever get past the main feature; my first and only starring role. Maybe I'd better backtrack; some of you might not even know what a ZAFA is.
Ever seen two zombies having sex?
You have to make sure they’re both well fed, which is ... ethically dubious at best, and it helps if you dose their meal with Viagra, but once you do, it's pure paywall gold!
George A. Romero zombies don’t fuck. The question is: why not? Sex is a primitive, base urge, you don’t need to be able to hold a conversation or know how to handle a knife and fork. All you need is a guy zombie and girl zombie, with their rotting brains not entirely focused on food.
I guess that’s why Romero's zombies don’t fuck – they’re always hungry. That and they're fictional, of course. On film, they're too busy chasing the few remaining bits of live flesh. No chance to sit, to scratch at their wounds and turn brain-mush to more romantic thoughts.
I wasn’t the first to make zombie porn, and despite this cautionary tale, I won’t be the last. But I reckon I was and still am the best, and those two Adult Film Awards (Zombie category) – my ZAFAs – back me up. I had high hopes of a third, but things have gone a little off-book. So this; this is my improvised and final gift to you, my sick and perverted audience, but it'll have to be someone else who does any post-production editing.
My first ZAFA was for Romero & Juliet. I guess that thing about Romero zombies not fucking had been on my mind a while. Sometimes I wish I’d been a little less clever-clever with the name though. What’s in a name? you may well ask. But it’s not Schindler's Fist, is it? Or Pokeahotass. Or even Clitty Clitty Bang Bang. And it’s definitely not Shaving Ryan's Privates. Romero & Juliet is just a tad too subtle. The sort of thing you might pick up and not even notice the changed spelling. The sort of thing my grandma might pick up, when she saw my director’s credit on the cover. She has not spoken to me since. But then, a stroke will do that to you.
So anyway. Romero & Juliet. It was an uncomplicated thing, a mere thirty-seven minutes long. Three cameras, two zombies, one blood-smeared balcony scene. But it set a new standard, without which there probably wouldn’t even be a Zombie Adult Film Award.
It’s all about quality. Proper sets. Proper lighting. Candles, a four-poster, silk sheets. Not actual silk – anything that looks like silk will do, but remember you’re gonna want to burn them: you're gonna want to burn the whole damned set. Now picture a zombie chick in a night gown lounging on that four poster. It’s best to find a girl-z already in her nightgown, because trying to dress a zombie... well that’s a whole different genre of snuff flick and one with an even shorter life expectancy for the director.
It also helps if the girl is quite obviously a girl. Sometimes, depending on the state of decomposition, it can be kind of hard to tell. So for the more mainstream of audiences--if there is such a thing with zombie porn – choose one with long hair and big tits, and your casting work is done.
You might think I'm relaying this kinda calmly given the circumstances, given the outrageous fortune that has led me here. My calm is of the bottled, pharmaceutical variety and I'd not be able to record these last mortal thoughts without its assistance. I did, I admit, initially panic when the supposedly bullet-proof glass shattered, but it didn't take long to realise how this would all turn out. There were never more than a couple of outcomes, really, and in both of them, I don't live long enough for the drugs to wear off.
My second ZAFA was for MacDeath. And for anyone who's just starting off in the industry – the plural of ZAFA is “fuck yes I have two awards!” As I’m the only one who does, it's my name that gets projects green-lit, which brings me neatly back to my comatose assistant, Claudia.
She worked with me at the tail end of the budget production of “Tits and Groan-icus”. My usual AD had to be replaced halfway through the shoot – torn limb from limb during the zombie orgy scene while trying to right a toppled camera. His own dumb fault – well-fed my ass. At least I gave him an acting credit. Not that he was acting.
When Claudia said she had an idea for my next film, I was happy to listen. Said she'd already done the ground work – scoped out a location, sourced props, even knew where she could get hold of the two zombie actors required. The two girl zombie actors required.
That made me pause. I mean, for starters, where was she going to get lesbian zombies from? How was she even going to know they were lesbians?
But I didn't kick up too much of a fuss. If it tanked, I'd just pull my name from the project, which, depending on how the filming went, was either going to be called The Taming of the Screw, or A Midsummer Night's Scream.
The set up looked okay, cameras already in place, a big panoramic window for us to film through. At first it was Much Ado about Nothing. The two girl-zs just lurched around the room, ignoring the couch, the bed, the various medieval-looking dildos. I shot Claudia a “What did I tell you?” look, but she just shrugged. “Give it time,” she said.
And then one of them fell onto the bed, tits up, and lay there flapping her limbs in the air like a beetle on its back.
This is the thing about the zombie apocalypse, another difference between reality and Romero: zombies are brain-dead. Like, totally fucking brain-dead. They starve away to nothingness unless food happens to wander within a couple of uncoordinated steps of them. This is why most of the outbreaks were so easily controlled, why the lights are still burning, factories still running, internet still up, porn industry still filming. Hardly the sort of apocalypse that has us re-inventing slings and arrows. More people died in the stampedes than actually got bit by zombies. There are still flare-ups, of course, but generally speaking good hygiene, interval training, and a decent handgun should see you safely through.
Unless of course you go looking for them. Unless of course you decide to film them having sex.
Anyway. Back on set, the ineffectually struggling girl-z had attracted the attention of the other one, who'd stopped banging her head against the wall long enough to swivel it in the direction of the bed. Clambering onto it she nosed her way towards the prone figure until they were in a 69 position, and then they went to work.
Colour me surprised. Colour me fucking amazed.
Until I realised that if I were to tell you they were “eating each other out”, this wouldn't be a euphemism. My heart sank.
Then I felt a hot breath against my neck, and a gentle soft pressure against my back. It was Claudia, her pupils wide and her cheeks a-flush.
So what if the zombies were munching rather than licking? It all came down to what they looked like they were doing, and it was obviously working its icky magic on my bisexual AD. I tweaked the remotes to make sure the close-ups didn’t give the game away and turned to give Claudia my full attention.
So I couldn't really tell you when the zombies gave up doing what they were doing and decided to go looking for fresh meat instead. Maybe I give them too much credit: they might have simply got bored and gone back to banging their heads against the wall.
Against the supposedly bullet-proof glass.
Three times is all they knocked, I know that, from the coitus-interrupting noise. And then it splintered, and then it shattered, showering us with shards.
We might have survived if I hadn't had my pants around my ankles at the time, and with them, my 9mm semi-auto.
I still got to it before they got to us, but only just. Blew one of them away as the other seized hold of my arm. Didn't have enough in the clip to do more than cripple her, but by then it was too late.
Ragged teeth marks oozing blood on my wrist. A pale echo of Claudia’s torn out throat. I didn’t even see that happen, didn’t see the fatal blow. I placed the reloaded gun into the gaping wound, angling it up towards her brain, but I couldn’t ... just couldn’t pull the trigger.
What right do I have to decide whether being dead is better than being just undead? Zombie or not zombie? That is the question.
Instead, I got busy. Laid Claudia’s twitching body on the bed. Propped the still struggling girl-Z up against the door, to stop any unwanted interruptions.
I can feel the poison burning up my arm. Up to my shoulder now – it hasn't got much further to go. Blissfully, the rest of me is going numb, except down below, where it appears the handful of little blue pills has started to kick in. Time to wrap up, time to stumble over and join Claudia, where the lights still blaze and the cameras still point, ready to capture whatever happens next.
Like I said: there were only ever two outcomes. Will Claudia wake up hungry, or horny? If she’s peckish, then that’ll be the end of me, the freshest meat in the room, and this will be a short. If she’s patient, and waits for me to revive, then perhaps we’ll still get to finish what we started earlier, and you’re in for a rare televisual treat, the perfect zombie screen couple and – as far as it can possibly go on a fucked-up day like today – ‘All’s well that ends well’
Fading fast now. The things I do for you guys. Still, it's better than shooting myself in the head, I guess ...
Lights! Camera! And ... urghhh ... Action...
© Liam Hogan, 2014
Liam Hogan is an internationally-performed author, having been read at each of the Liars' Leagues: New York, Hong Kong, London, Leicester and Leeds. He's written about vampires, aliens and talking rats, and done more deals with the devil than is probably healthy. Despite all of that, this ... this is a first. And probably last. He blogs at http://happyendingnotguaranteed.blogspot.co.uk/
Robert Welling: Drama Centre graduate who has played the title role in Orestes at The Scoop, Romeo & Juliet at The Dell, and Demetrius in A Midsummer Night's Dream at Middle Temple. Short film credits include Cygnus, which has been accepted into the Cannes Short Film Corner.