"HRNNNNNNNNNNNNG!" The moan echoed through the bathroom. The stall was shaking with the force of the zombie's blows.
I knew it was a mistake to go into a different bathroom. I should have waited. I should have.. I don't know. Held it. And now it was too late.
I watched the floor, waiting for the pool of blood to reach me. Not that I could see the pool of blood yet, but I knew it was there. Somewhere. Spreading slowly from the stall at the end, carrying it's zombie pathogens closer and closer across the ugly tile floor.
I thought I was prepared for the zombie uprising.
The day started off simple enough.
I woke up to my alarm. I didn't shout "FUCK" at the top of my lungs like I usually do because we have company with little kids. While I am not opposed to teaching my nieces how to cuss, I am not sure how my brother would feel about it, so I held back.
Probably a mistake.
Not cussing first thing in the morning always throws me off.
I fixed my one slice of crunchy peanut butter toast and one piece of strawberry jam toast (both dripping with butter of course), cracked open a Diet Mountain Dew, and sat down to read my book. Three cats and two dogs milled around waiting for me to acknowledge them, but I ignored them.
At 7 I showered, and I was actually out the door at 7:30 (on time for once) and headed south to work.
I was in my desk at exactly 8AM, logged into my work email, reading blogs, checking facebook, checking Google+, reading the news, and working on Diet Mountain Dew number TWO for the day.
By 9 AM, I was ready to get started with my real work, so I got up to go to the bathroom before I peed my pants.
Two Diet Mountain Dews in the morning have that effect on me.
I work in a place with cubicles. I may have mentioned this before. I will now attempt to describe it in more detail without giving away any actual information about where I work, or what I do for a living, and without giving away any trade secrets by mistake (because I don't actually know any (of which I am aware (I don't know, they may be secret))).
Back in the dawn of time (somewhere in the 1990's I think), my Corporate Job Place was built, and some time later, an addition was added to it in order to make navigation more difficult. The ceiling is between 15 and 40 feet high in this particular cubicle farm, with padded grayish-cream colored cubicles set in neat little rows (they are the color of old lady teeth). They are a bit over five feet high, so if I stand on my tippy-toes, I can see the foreheads of other people walking around in the alleys between cubes. I am very good at identifying my coworkers by their foreheads.
Every three or four rows are taller cubicles that are maybe 7 feet high. These cubes have doors, but no ceilings, and they call them "offices". The top two feet are made out of Plexiglas, and remind me of snot-guards they put over cafeteria food.
Everything is identical: Carpet, padded walls, drop ceiling, hanging fluorescent lighting, and there are little signs on the ends of the cubicle rows with number letter combinations so that you can find your way (if you are a wizard and can read that kind of thing).
Anyway, for me to go to the toilet, I need to walk through rows and rows of oddly quiet cubicles to the main hallway of the building. At the north end of the hallway is the closest bathroom.
Today, that bathroom was getting cleaned.
I stood there, looking at the bright yellow cart and doing the pee dance while I tried to decide what to do.
- Go upstairs to the bathroom directly above
- Walk down the hall 100 yards to the next bathroom
- Hold it
- Piss on the floor
Going down the hallway, I passed the glassed-in humidity control rooms with robots (and I believe it is where they are developing the zombies) to my left. This area reminds me of the Hive in Resident Evil, only not filled with zombie water. Yet.
I walked into the girl's bathroom and stopped dead.
It was dark.
Not so dark that I couldn't see, just... dim. Not bright. It wasn't just the flickering florescents, either. The tiles were a dark pre-stressed terra-cotta color, instead of the medicinal light gray of the other bathroom, and it made the stainless steel stalls look sinister (OK, alltogether now, say, "Sinister stainless steel stalls" 5 times fast).
I had to go.
I walked into the first stall and locked the door.
The first thing I noticed was that there was a pile of used toilet paper on the edge of the bowl inside. I waved at it. Well, I waved at the toilet in general, as it is a motion detection type of toilet and I was trying to get it to flush.
When that didn't work, I searched for the little override button, found it, and pressed.
The wheezing toilet trickled through a ridiculously un-satisfying flush, failing to move the toilet paper.
Fuck it. I had to go NOW.
It was such a relief at this point, that I may have groaned slightly in pleasure when I finally released.
And that's when I heard it.
Somewhere off to my right deep in the bowels of the bathroom, I had woken up a sleeping zombie. It must have wandered into the handicapped stall before I had come in, and accidentally locked itself inside.
Could I sneak out before it broke loose? It was passive when it was alone, but as soon as I entered, it started moving around again. These bathroom stalls were NOT going to keep me safe from a zombie.
"HRNNNNNNNNNNNNG!" The moan echoed through the bathroom.
I thought about just darting out and running into the main hallway. I could run faster than most of the engineers out there, and it was sure to get distracted by the easier meat (and bigger brains), but that left me with the problem of pulling up my pants and washing my hands. I couldn't leave the bathroom without washing my hands. I was raised better than that.
The toilet I was sitting on decided at that moment that it was time to flush with a great big WHOOOOSH!
I jumped up, yanking up my pants and darting from the stall. I shoved my hands under the sink, which today decided it would be scalding hot rather than icy cold. I frantically rubbed my hands together under the spigot, pumped the foaming soap like a madwoman, then rinsed quickly but thoroughly.
I waved my hand in front of the paper towel dispenser, and it made its loud WHIRRRRRRRRR noise as it spit out slightly more towel than I needed.
I ripped it off and dried my hands and was just tossing it in the trash when the stall on the end opened.
I turned to meet my fate. I had no weapons, nothing. I was zombie meat.
It was one of the managers. She use to be mine, actually, maybe three or four bosses ago.
"Hi," I said, groping for something to say. The adrenaline pumping through my system, I had to force my fists down. "Lovely weather, don't you think?"
"Yeah, it's so nice to have cloudcover."
"Yeah," I said. "See you."
I walked out of the bathroom and back into the blinding brightness of the main hall, and I couldn't help but wonder: What was she doing in there, having a baby?
Today, I have learned an important lesson. I must be boy-scout-like in my preparedness. I must ALWAYS be prepared. Because the zombies are coming, folks. They're coming.