Bob on The Fourth of July

July 2, 2011 at 8:16 PM | Posted in Fiction | 9 Comments
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This is another in the series of flash fiction from Chuck Wendig’s site “Terrible Minds.” This week’s mission? One thousand words, with the theme being the Fourth of July. Check out the other entries here:
Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge, “The Fourth of July.”
Right at a thousand words, by the way. I couldn’t cut another syllable.

Breathless, Bob closed the door behind him. He slid down and sat in front of it.
He lost them. For now. The Midwestern July sun beat down on him and everything on the roof of this building. He was used to it now. Wiping sweat from his bald head, he reflected that he had often wondered how people had lived before air conditioning. The answer was: The same way they lived after air conditioning.
Of course, it probably didn’t smell this bad a hundred years ago, what with all the rotting flesh walking around and so forth.
Bob got up and looked around. He had been gathering supplies for this event for the past month. Sometimes it had gone easy. Sometimes not, like today. He thought of the blood that was dried on his leg, but he didn’t want to look at the wound. He was unsure if it was a scrape from a shard of glass–
Or a bite wound.
Scenes from movies played in his head.
(“I know what you’re thinking. Did he fight off six zombies or only five? Well, to tell you truth, in the middle of all this apocalypse, I kinda lost track myself–“)
He moved the barricade into place. He was safe here now.
Under his makeshift sun shade, he drank some hot water from a bucket, and eyed his food supplies but resisted. Food was scarce starting with the second day of this whole mess, and getting scarcer with each passing day. If that was a word.
(“One word.” “One word?” “Zombies.”)
From the roof he had a fair view of downtown. There’s The Arch, there’s the ballpark.
(“Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”)
Below him the street was deserted. Downtown hadn’t changed much–if it wasn’t near the ballpark or the clubs, there was no one around. A deer walked down the street. Okay, that part was different.
It never occurred to Bob to think of the deer as food. Bob was not an outdoorsman. Bob was not handy. Bob had no skills for dealing with a lack of technology.
Bob was in marketing. How he survived all this time was a combination of miracles and dumb luck. Oh, and he was a runner.
(“Run, Forest! Run!”)
Indeed, life was like a box of zombies. Don’t open that shit up.

Darkness was something to fear lately, but now he couldn’t wait. Bob’s one original marketing idea came too late to receive accolades or a bonus. Or hell, even a mention in the trades. But that was a different world. This was to be his shining moment.
He found the prize he had risked everything for today: one of those butane lighters with the long nozzle, perfect for lighting a barbeque.
Or fireworks.
Bob took a deep breath. It was time. He went to his first set-up and prepared to light the fuse.
He heard a loud bang in the sky behind him. As he turned, he heard another, and saw the fireworks in the sky. Those bastards! This was his idea! His!
(“Nobody puts baby in a corner.”)
Dammit. Still, it was time to show the rest of the fragments of the living world that he was still here.
(“Say hello to my little friend!”)
He lit his first array. And jumped back.
The rockets took off more or less the way he had intended. He didn’t have the professional set up that official displays use, and he didn’t understand the difference.
For several minutes, he lit his fireworks off, taking note of other rooftops in the city that were doing the same. He was over being mad–it had served its purpose. On the Fourth of July, he knew now that he was not alone in the world. Over a dozen different light displays were going on.
He stopped when he saw one display suddenly explode in an orgasm of light and sound. The finale?
Hmmm. “Does the light and sound attract zombies?” he wondered. Then he heard pounding on the door and the creaks of metal and wood giving under pressure.
Oh, shit. He was on the roof. That was the only way out. A weapon–he needed a weapon. He picked up a golf club–
(“Cinderella story, out of nowhere–“)
He threw it down.
He ran to the edge of the roof. More were coming.
(“The cops are here.” “How many?” “All of them, I think.”)
The door was starting to give, and his hapless barricade was sliding. A cart with wheels, even weighted down, still has wheels. He wished he was better at this stuff.
(“Zombies mean never having to say you’re sorry.”)
Maybe if he fired the last of his stash at them?
(“If you light it, they will come. And eat you.”)
In a panic, he lit an array and kicked it over, aiming at the door. He hoped. The rockets launched and went everywhere. The flames from the exhaust lit other rockets.
And so on.
Before Bob caught on fire, his barricade gave way and a swarm entered.
(“I see dead people.”)
The zombies rushed him even as he was burning and running around. The zombies nearest him caught some flame as well, and the fireworks were still going off. All this noise drowned out the sound of Bob’s screams.
(“Get your stinkin paws off me, you damned dirty apes!”)
With flames and zombies all around, Bob’s options were limited. He ran for the edge of the roof, with a few flaming undead close behind. He ran, he jumped, and he headed for the ground, a human fireball with an ultimately useless degree.
Three zombies followed him down.
(“I want to be alone.”)
(“You can’t handle the truth!”)
(“You’re going to need a bigger boat.”)
(“Everyone thinks they have a sense of humor, but then they don’t all.”)
(“I’ll suck your cock for a thousand dollars.”)
(“I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy, Yankee Doodle do or–“)



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  1. What a finale!

  2. Really cool. I like how you inserted the quotes into the story!

  3. Crazy!!! I like Bob. I’m sorry he died. But at least he went out with a bang : )

  4. I liked the zombie-esque movie quotes. My favorite has to be “Zombies mean never having to say you’re sorry.” I’m going to use that.

  5. I see dead people – that one wins everytime. 😉

    There was no other way this could have ended. Typical marketing dude – first get pissed someone else stole your idea, then be relieved there are other humans still alive.

    Good piece. I would have preferred a few paragraph breaks occasionally, though, rather than two big sections.

    • thanks for the kind words…
      there really *are* paragraphs…but I would have to use some html to make it indent, and I’m not really that kind of zealot.

  6. Unique the way you used the quotes. Liked the fireworks idea to notify others of survivors… except for the fact that they drew the Zombies. Good job!

  7. LOL, life is like a box of zombies! Loved the quotes! Well done!

  8. HA! That was fun. I often quote lines from movies as I go about my day. Bob did it so well. A great story!

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