Posted on: December 19th, 2009 How Duane Came to Be In the Bathroom

by Jamie Grove

Duane sat on the bathroom floor, his feet braced against the vanity so that he could keep the door wedged shut. Fists hammered on the other side of the door. The reverberations made it difficult dial Petru’s number.

“I told you not to open the crate,” said Petru. Duane could hear booming house music, which meant Petru was still at the club.

“Right, you left me a note. That’s true. I’m an idiot,” said Duane. He tried not to grunt when his head bounced against the door.

Petru said nothing. His accent always made him sound bored and semi-pissed, but Duane figured his Romanian roommate was annoyed for real since he’d been chatting up a blond when Duane left the club.

After a moment, Petru sighed, “Look, I can’t get there for at least an hour.”

“An hour?” Duane screamed. “This door isn’t going to last five minutes! You’re right around the fucking corner!”

“Maybe one hour, maybe three,” said Petru. “You’ll just have to hold on.”

The line went dead, and Duane recalled that Petru didn’t deal well with confrontation.

—-

Twenty minutes before, Duane stumbled into the apartment and discovered a large, wooden crate sitting in the middle of the living room floor. There was a note on top of the crate, and a crowbar lying beside it.

Dear Duane,
Do not open the crate.
Seriously.
- Petru

Petru was always ordering weird shit online and rummaging through people’s trash. When they’d first moved in together, Duane thought it was just a quirky hobby but the volume of crap soon overwhelmed Petru’s room and spilled out into the living room. Now, their apartment looked like a psychotic curio shop: stuffed monkeys (yes, plural), urns, bordello lamps, primitive weapons, more dead things in jars. Really, Duane had become a bit numb to it all and he’d recently taken to spending time on Craigslist looking for a new place to live.

So, was the crowbar an invitation or just Petru being Petru?

Duane spent about 30 seconds puzzling over this and then he decided he didn’t care. He cracked open the crate and dug through the packing peanuts, sweeping them onto the floor. Eventually, he had to get into the crate to reach the peanuts.

It was at this point that Duane uncovered a face. At first he thought it was a mannequin or a doll. As Duane cleared away more styrofoam, it became clear that he was looking at the corpse of an attractive woman.

The woman held a small, plastic bag against her rather ample bosom. Inside the bag there was a pamphlet, a thin stick, and a vial of violet, glittery goo. Duane pried the bag free and hopped out of the crate.

My Zombie Girlfriend(TM) – “She’s Necrotastic!”

INSTRUCTION MANUAL
“My Zombie Girlfriend is designed to provide decades of dedicated service to her master. Reanimating the undead is as simple. Just apply a small amount of the included Styx Lyx Serum (assorted flavors) to her lips using the included applicator (do not use your fingers). Apply additional Styx Lyx as needed to keep My Zombie Girlfriend lively and supple. Opened vials of Styx Lyx should be kept refrigerated to prevent spoilage. Additional vials are available online from our website. The living should not consume Styx Lyx. Please keep Styx Lyx out of the reach of children and pets.”

Duane wasn’t very good at reading instructions, but it seemed like even he couldn’t mess this up. He opened the vial and the smell of raspberry filled the room. He used the long thin stick to ease out some of the Styx Lyx and smeared it on the dead woman’s lips.

The effect was instantaneous. The woman’s eyes opened and locked onto Duane’s. She smiled and licked her lips. Duane smiled back. The woman was so attractive that it was difficult to keep in mind that she was also thoroughly dead.

“You have the amulet?” the woman purred.

“Amulet?” Duane replied.

The woman rose from the crate. Her smile disappeared.

“Page two of the manual,” she said.

Duane looked at page two.

“To protect your substantial investment, My Zombie Girlfriend is equipped with a security protocol which primarily involves feasting upon the flesh of unauthorized users. Do not attempt to reanimate the undead without the Amulet of Power in your possession. As an additional precaution, your Amulet of Power will be shipped separately.”

And this is how Duane came to be in the bathroom.

Filed under: bad-ass, stories

11 Responses to “How Duane Came to Be In the Bathroom”

  1. Rachel Green Says:
    December 20th, 2009 at 1:41 am

    Marvellous!

  2. Rachel Green Says:
    December 20th, 2009 at 1:41 am

    Marvellous!

  3. Tom Says:
    December 20th, 2009 at 7:45 am

    Good stuff! It’s also a sage reminder about the benefits of power amulets. *nods sagely*

  4. Tom Says:
    December 20th, 2009 at 7:45 am

    Good stuff! It’s also a sage reminder about the benefits of power amulets. *nods sagely*

  5. Bec Says:
    December 20th, 2009 at 10:04 am

    Very enjoyable!

  6. Bec Says:
    December 20th, 2009 at 10:04 am

    Very enjoyable!

  7. On Being Published Says:
    December 20th, 2009 at 10:04 am

    [...] Read "How Duane Came To Be In The Bathroom" in Brain Harvest, an Almanac of Bad Ass Speculative Fict… [...]

  8. On Being Published Says:
    December 20th, 2009 at 10:04 am

    [...] Read "How Duane Came To Be In The Bathroom" in Brain Harvest, an Almanac of Bad Ass Speculative Fict… [...]

  9. Joanna Young Says:
    December 20th, 2009 at 10:29 am

    Music to the ears of manual writers everywhere!

    Congratulations Jamie, a great short short story.

  10. Joanna Young Says:
    December 20th, 2009 at 10:29 am

    Music to the ears of manual writers everywhere!

    Congratulations Jamie, a great short short story.

  11. suzie bradshaw Says:
    December 20th, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Jamie, That was highly entertaining!! Absolutely loved it. Thanks!

    Suzie

  12. suzie bradshaw Says:
    December 20th, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Jamie, That was highly entertaining!! Absolutely loved it. Thanks!

    Suzie

  13. deb Says:
    December 21st, 2009 at 5:54 am

    Oh, this was fun! Good Work!

  14. deb Says:
    December 21st, 2009 at 5:54 am

    Oh, this was fun! Good Work!

  15. Sweet Says:
    December 21st, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Thoroughly enjoyable! Typical men not fully reading instruction manuals. I had to laugh outloud at that.

  16. Sweet Says:
    December 21st, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Thoroughly enjoyable! Typical men not fully reading instruction manuals. I had to laugh outloud at that.

  17. Karen Swim Says:
    December 22nd, 2009 at 6:24 am

    Jamie, loved the tight pacing and the end was hilarious!

  18. Karen Swim Says:
    December 22nd, 2009 at 6:24 am

    Jamie, loved the tight pacing and the end was hilarious!

  19. Mary K Says:
    December 22nd, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    Fabulous story; highly imaginative. I was able to see the whole thing unfold!

  20. Mary K Says:
    December 22nd, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    Fabulous story; highly imaginative. I was able to see the whole thing unfold!

  21. ShortzMag Says:
    December 28th, 2009 at 12:22 am

    Hahahahaha! Really nice… The beginning is very good, but once he sees the face it gets kind of predictable… Still very enjoyable!

    Thanks

  22. ShortzMag Says:
    December 28th, 2009 at 12:22 am

    Hahahahaha! Really nice… The beginning is very good, but once he sees the face it gets kind of predictable… Still very enjoyable!

    Thanks