Max could not sleep, not a surprise, given his location on the hard floor inside a cubical at work. However, with the kind of day he had been having he really expected to be able to do more than doze. Part of it was trying to sleep in an unfamiliar area, the noises were unfamiliar and some primeval sense told Max his ‘home’ was being invaded, and kept waking him up. Around three thirty Max opted to go empty his bladder and see if that magic would help get him to sleep again. He was not the only one unable to sleep, he saw several others moving around too, and someone had made a pot of coffee, probably to bring down to Walt. He entered the bathroom and had a feeling of déjà as there was some serious shuffling going on in the stall, however, after a second the stall opened to reveal a guy named Dave, who Max didn’t really know. Dave nodded sheepishly, as if to say, “sorry about the smell” and went to wash his hands while Max stood at the urinal. He left while Max was taking his turn at the sink and Max heard him grunt just outside the door.
“What the fu--”, was all Max heard Dave say. It was enough to cause adrenaline to pump into his veins, a feeling Max had grown all too familiar with in the last twenty-four hours, abruptly he shut off the water faucet. Out of habit, he grabbed paper towels and dried his hands. He cautiously went to the door and listened quietly, he heard a slightly familiar woman’s voice whispering, “Keep quiet Jimbo! Drag him to the cube with the others; we might get a clean sweep after all. V? Have you found the ones with the guns yet? Quiet everyone, maybe we can catch them snoozing. Let me check out the bathrooms to see if we have any other naughty night pissers on our hands.”
Max tensed himself, this was it, no weapons and a zombie bitch getting ready to come in and munch him. He anxiously looked around for something he could use to defend himself. Nothing came to mind and he heard the door swing open whirling around he was stunned to see it was not his door; apparently, it was the door to the women’s bathroom. Quietly Max re-appraised his situation. The handicap bar, if he could pry that off he could bash someone with it, going into the stall he reached down, braced his feet on the ground and lifted as hard as he could. It was fastened too well, he was able to get it loose, but not break it off. Wait! A toilet plunger! A wooden rod fourteen inches long was not much, but better than having nothing. Oh and the metal trash can could be slid out of the wall too! Max backed out of the stall, keeping his eyes on the door while backing towards the garbage can. The men’s room door swung open and a large male zombie stepped in. He immediately spotted Max and swung towards him. He was slow, though, 'Thank God, a break!' thought Max. Max grabbed the trash bin with one hand while pointing the toilet plunger, rubber suction cup first, towards the zombie. He sat the stainless steel trash bin in front of him like a make shift shield. The zombie, just stood there, apparently evaluating the situation, then he shuffled back to the door, slowly opened it and left!
Max stood for a second breathing hard, and then heard the women’s bathroom door open and a female voice quietly say, “Well Jimbo, any other wee-wee birds?”
“No one.” Max heard the zombie man say. Dumbfounded Max listened to the woman's voice reply.
“Good, let’s go on real slow, V, you take point, Gap girl you are next up, Jimbo you got the rear, keep well back to cover us, the other girls will be following after me, go people, we have a cube hole up here on the left.”
‘Up on the left? Uh-oh,'thought Max, 'that is my cube. Shit.' He went to the door, it opened in such a way to allow Max to peer down the corridor towards where the zombies were heading. The zombie Jimbo was looking right at him, then turned away and shuffled back down the corridor, the opposite direction.'What the fuck is going on?' thought Max, 'He is letting me get the jump on them; it has to be a trap!'
Still Max, knew it was not going to get any better than right now. Max eased out the door, bracing it against a loud slamming noise and headed off behind, what looked like an all-girl gang.
The lead girl was fast approaching the cube entrance,'This is it,' thought Max. He ran up behind one of the three girls between him and the three zombies in the lead and swung the metal garbage can over his head, it made a resounding thud and the zombie girl dropped like a sack of cement.
When he was a kid, Max, like most of his generation, had watched cartoons. He was reminded of one in particular where the character would swing his guitar at his foes, making a grand ‘el-ka-bong’ noise as he struck them down. It was hilarious, the trash can, filled halfway, made the same noise as it smashed the zombie girl down.
A nice side effect of the strike was the loudness of the noise, Max had meant to scream out a primitive war cry, but somehow it came out as a faint gurgled squeal, definitely not the noise to wake the whole office as he hoped. The 'el-ka-bong', however, woke them all up effectively. As Max was readying a blow against one of the other girls, he heard Stewart screaming, “Get the fuck off me Steve! Get the shotgun, you Tom, you! Oh for fuck’s sake!” followed by the sound of her nine millimeter gun discharging, the girl, V, came reeling out of the cube opening and the third zombie, pushed her and the second girl past the opening into Kirkpatrick’s reception.
Max pushed forward into the second girl, who still hadn’t quite figured out just what was going on, she was slow, slower than the three women in the lead and dressed pretty nicely too, in a blouse and mini skirt. Max could have admired it on a living body, that thought led to revulsion and he pushed her all the harder forward, screaming, “Stewart I am behind them, there are five or six left!”
That got the other two girl’s attention, they turned on Max like slavering beasts and his all-out charge abruptly ended, at least he had the trashcan between him and them. Even if he could not raise it over his head to whack them, he could use it as a lousy shield to keep them a whopping eight inches away from his fleshy parts.
Stewart appeared behind the girls and Max ducked, mini skirt girl number one suffered what was probably her second fatal wound in the last twenty-four hours as the back of her head was forced through the front of her face. Then Max saw one of the faster moving zombies jump Stewart from behind, after that, he was busy dealing with mini-skirt zombie number two or was it number three? She was strong and Max had already been through a lot that day, she jumped up on him and her momentum, if not her mass, knocked him over onto his back. A shotgun blast echoed in the confined space of the office, but Max’s girl kept on coming. He tried to flip her over using an old high school move from his wrestling days. He had a moment to reflect that he never thought that wrestling would come in handy, but hey, just goes to show that everything you learn has a proper application.
The mini-skirted girl went flying, a testament to Coach Julian’s training and the laws of physics. Once again, Max was up and on his feet. He reached down and grabbed his trash bin as another shotgun blast echoed in the hallway. Stewart was screaming something, Steve was screaming and even Tom was yelling as he pumped the shotgun for a third shot.
‘Was that zombie called V? No the other one,’Max thought had taken a gut shot from the side and was struggling to rise to her feet, she appeared to be watching Tom and while this was distracting Max the girl he was fighting took the opportunity to rush him. He bashed her with the trash can, maybe breaking her arm, probably not, it was not a good enough shot, it did make her scramble around defensively, it was enough that Max was no longer on the defense and he swung the trash can around and around trying to keep her at bay. The shotgun went off again and Max heard Stewart say, “For fuck’s sake Tom, shoot her in the head!”
By this time the cries started coming from Kirkpatrick’s office, the door was shut and the screams were something Max knew he would never forget. Stewart was back on her feet and yelling more at Tom, then came to stand by Max, pointing her pistol at the mini-skirt girl number three, who promptly ducked into an open cube. Stewart did not fire, but turned and took three steps up to Steve, saying, “Gimme that!” As she jerked her secondary pistol out of his hands, she held it up in front of his face and said, “Safety! Off!” While sliding the safety to the off position, then handed the gun back and said, “Now go make yourself useful while I track down Max’s new girlfriend. Tom, go clean up the mess in the office, save who you can.”
Max and Stewart headed to the open cube when Max saw the girl climb over the walls to the next cube down the row, then the next. Stewart took a shot at her when she was making the second jump, and Max thought she had winged her, but the girl kept going, a few steps further and Tom was calling out, “Stewart! Is this a five shot or three shot? I think I am out!” The door to Kirkpatrick’s office opened and Tom immediately fired towards the head of whoever was there, yelling “Fooled ‘ya! You dumb fuck!” the body toppled backward and the door was slammed shut again. Tom fired through it near where a woman’s head might be, leaned over to Steve, and quietly said, “I am out, I gotta reload, they open the door you hold ‘em off with that little twenty five.”
Meanwhile seeing the zombie girl fleeing back towards the stairs, Stewart said to Max, “She is running. We gotta go help the others if we can. C’mon.” Max followed her as she reversed course and headed back to the reception area. Tom was reloading shells into the bottom of the shotgun and Steve was watching the door. Occasionally a head would peek through the opening of the door, but Steve did not fire at it. The screaming had turned to groaning inside the office. Max heard a woman’s voice call out, “Throw down your weapons, and you won’t be hurt!” from inside the office.
Stewart replied, “Hell no honey, you just step out here and we will end your unnatural life for you. Nice and quick.”
Laughter greeted her words, “Not a chance, sweetheart! Max you out there?”
“Yeah, who am I talking to?”
“So, you survived so far, eh Max? That guy, Steve too. Better than I would have thought, or was it just luck so far?”
“Who the fuck are you?” Max called back.
“Oh, just little ole Nancy, you remember me, right? Marketing.”
“Yeah, yeah, you tried to take a bite out of me yesterday, how could I forget?”
“Bingo, Maxo! Right in one, you guys gonna blow or end up like the other norms in here?”
“Let them go Nancy, let them go, I know you can, you don’t need them!”
“Oh, but I do need them Max, oh but I do. This is powerful Max, like meth to an ice-head, only worse. I can’t give you back your buddies, they are all dead, my crew got a little too ‘over-zealous’, there was one still alive before your friend did that very naughty trick with the shotgun. So, it is his fault she died, what a bad man he is!”
Tom looked sick in the pale light, but Stewart was quick to say, “Tom, they were probably dead anyway, you heard her, ‘meth to an ice-head’.” Then to the others she asked, “Do we believe her or blow this joint? We have at least one behind us and what if they left a door open somewhere when they came in?”
“Fuck! Fuck! Fuck. I don’t know if she is telling the truth, maybe they have hostages?” Stated Max. Calling out he said, “Nancy, prop open the door so we can see if you have any others still alive in there!”
“Oh Maxy, that is just a ploy to try and blow my fucking head off, and you know it! I would rather you came in after them, it will make my job easier if it comes to fighting.”
“Fuck, don’t believe that bitch Max, she was in marketing!” whispered Steve.
“I know, I know, I know. How can we leave if there is a chance any of them are still alive? I know Dave is dead, and it does not look too good for Walt either, but all the others? I mean could they kill that many people that quickly?”
“They were sleeping Max; it wouldn't have been much of a fight. We gotta decide man, the door behind us could be wide open.” said Stewart.
“Fuck, why do I have to decide?” complained Max
Stewart just looked at him, as if reading the hopelessness on his face, and then said, “We leave. Now. It’s not worth one of us being chowed by fucking superwoman zombie in there. Let’s go.”
Max just looked at Stewart, noting that no one was actually leaving yet, not even Stewart, then chocked out, “Not worth the risk, let’s go.” He felt a strange mix of relief and cowardice wash over him at the same time.
With that, they started easing backward. Stewart made Tom give her the reloaded shotgun and whispered to him to lead the group back towards the stairway. Reminded them to watch out for the girl who got away, and that she was going to try to take a shot at the woman in the office, by waiting for fifteen or twenty seconds after everyone else had gone out of sight. Stewart hid in a crouched position in the cube opening and aimed the shotgun at the hole in the door. In the poor light, she was pretty hard to see and Maxed wished Nancy a violent, sudden end as he backed off towards the stairs. About halfway down towards the stairs, they came across a lot of blood, but no body of Dave, the other 'naughty night pisser' whose blood they assumed it was. No zombie girl and no Jimbo either. Max warned the others that he had seen a male zombie run off this way too, and that Dave was now possibly a third zombie they would have to deal with.
“Shit this just gets better and better. How long do we wait for Stewart before we go back?” asked Steve.
“About three minutes or if we hear anything.” replied Max. They waited in grim silence waiting, for anything. After about two minutes Stewart came down the hallway to them, she was coated in blood, and smelled like road kill that had been lying in the hot sun. Noticing Max’s wrinkled nose she shrugged, “You have been worse, in fact you are not all that clean now, but I wasn’t bit, you weren’t either, right?” Max shook his head ‘no’; Stewart shrugged and continued, “So everything will be okay.”
“Not for the rest of the crew in the office.” said Tom
They all turned to look at him, and one by one, gave him a ‘what can we do?’ sort of look. “I think they were all dead already,” said Steve, “Let’s get to the cars and get out of here.”