I was driving into New Haven, Connecticut to deliver a car. My cell phone rang and caller ID told me it was my never cheerful boss Riff. "This is Bill," I answered.
"That's your opinion," he grumbled.
"How can I help you?"
"Did you deliver the car to Seattle yet?"
"I'm in Connecticut."
"What? That's the whole other side of the country."
"I'm not taking the Seattle car. Remember? You reassigned it. I'm delivering to the man who has been on vacation for two weeks."
"Maybe you're right. But still..."
"Still what?" I asked.
"Still birth, that's what your Mom should have done when she had you."
"What does that even mean, Riff?"
"It means get the car delivered, my little jelly filled donut."
I hung up and consulted my GPS. I knew that I was getting close, and I had a genuine concern. I had spoken to Mr. Clarkson the day before and told him that I would be delivering today. But I had called as promised today to give him 30 minutes notice and he didn't answer or return my call.
I found the house and pulled into the driveway. I saw that the man was hard at work in his yard, being industrious and building. I parked and jumped out of the car. "Hi sir, I'm Bill Thomas. I tried to call but you didn't answer."
He didn't even look at me, but kept hard at work. "Can't you see I am busy? Been busy all morning getting ready."
I took a good look around, and noticed that what he had completed thus far looked like a strong fortification of security. There were sharpened spikes jutting out at a deadly angle all the way around the front yard. And there were booby traps and snares galore. "Ready for what, sir?"
As I stepped forward, he yelled "Stop! Do not move another inch."
I froze, scared and unsure why it was so imperative that I stop. He tiptoed over to a large pile of leaves spread out in front of me and kicked a few back, revealing a pit he had dug deeply. The leaves provided cover that hid it well. "Thanks."
"Watch yourself," he warned.
"Are you expecting company?"
"We all are."
"We are? Who?"
"Zombies. Walkers. The living dead."
I chuckled, but the man looked at me contemptuously. "Don't laugh. Don't you dare to laugh."
"I'm sorry, were you serious?"
"As a freakin' heart attack. The apocalypse is upon us, and most people will die or be converted into zombies themselves. But I will be prepared and I will survive."
"Preparedness. Ready to do whatever it takes, whatever is necessary. Get it?"
"No sir, they won't be eating my brains anytime soon. The traps I'm setting will help, but eventually I will be trapped inside my house. I'm convinced that I can hold out indefinitely on the second story of my house."
"How will you do that?"
"As you well know, zombies can't climb. That's a given. So I just sit up there with my rifle and pick them off one at a time."
"Don't you think that the gunshots would attract the other zombies and then your house would be surrounded by hundreds of zombies making escape impossible?"
"Bring it on!" he bellowed. "Clearly you know nothing about the walking dead. You should watch THE WALKING DEAD."
"The TV show?"
"More like a documentary to prepare us for the inevitable."
"The inevitable zombie apocalypse?"
He glared at me. "You scoff, I can tell you're a scoffer. But you'll be laughing out the other side of your ass when they start munching on your brain. You are incredibly naive, I got no more time for you." He marched off down the street.
"But sir, what about your car?" I stood and watched him walk away from me. I guess I had said something wrong, but I didn't know whether to let him walk and have his personal space or if I should follow him. While I was waiting to decide, a minivan pulled into the driveway. A large man climbed out and stared at the yard.
"What the hell..." he mumbled. "Who are you?" he asked.
"Bill Thomas, I'm here to deliver a car to Mr. Clarkson."
"I"m Tim Clarkson, we spoke on the phone."
I was very confused. "You're Mr. Clarkson?"
"Yes I am, and I know exactly who did this to my yard. Ralph Edison, my neighbor behind me. He has been bugging me for months to fortify my house along with him for some zombie apocalypse. Then he waits for me to go out of town and does it himself?"
I shrugged. "I just came to deliver your new car, and I can tell you its a nice one."
"Did Ralph bother you?"
"No, he was somewhat informative."
"Yes, in a very insane way. You got paperwork for me to sign?" I handed it to him and he signed. "Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go have a conversation with Ralph." He started to march across his yard, and I shouted a warning before he stepped on the leaves covering the pit. He shook his head in disgust. "This is just crazy!"
I felt the same way as I picked up my bag and walked away.