A History Lesson by Michael Sullivan

Old School Desk

A petulant teenage girl stood in the center of the classroom, fists balled tight.  Her t-shirt displayed an animated caricature of Che Guevara; the long-dead revolutionary appeared almost as upset as the student wearing his likeness.  “President Obama held a clear majority of the American public as support!” cried the girl.  “The Blue Staters had no reason to resort to Zombie Warfare!”

Wild applause erupted from half the class.  A paunchy young male waited for the clamor to die down before countering.  “True enough.  But the Red States controlled the military.  What incentive did they have to introduce the Zombie Virus – an unknown and potentially game-changing weapon?”  The students who weren’t cheering before began harrumphing and pounding their desks.  Anyone looking into the lecture hall might very well believe that these scholars were on the verge of a full-scale riot.

Thousands of miles away, the wizened professor reclined in his cell.  Although the all-clear had been given decades before, he preferred the solitude of the underground bunkers.  The concrete rooms had been built for intellectuals and the influential, but were now the sole province of alarmists and private militias who were convinced that another Zombie apocalypse was right around the corner.  The professor stood and motioned for silence; in the classroom, a hologram of his image performed the same gestures, temporarily silencing the commotion.  “You see, students,” blared the speakers set into each desk.  “Even today there rages a debate as to which side of the Second Civil War set loose the first Zombies.”

The hologram paused to light a cigar; as the professor rotated it in his mouth, he reflected on how excellent an incentive this was to say in his bunker.  Smoking in public had been a criminal offense since the Robo-Nader administration.  Fortified by the smoke billowing around him, he continued:  “It’s a damned shame that the mainstream media ceased to exist just before the War began.  Nevertheless, from blogs and Twitter feeds we’ve been able to deduce the turning point of the war.  Does anyone know how Zombies were utilized in the attack on the White House in 2012?”

A tentative hand went up in the second row.  “IEZs?” asked the curling cheerleader.

“Exactly right!” boomed the speakers.  The suddenly beaming professor explained, “Chancellor Coulter devised the first ‘Improvised Explosive Zombies’ specifically for this offensive.  She began by ripping out the entrails of captive undead…”  He paused a moment as both Che and the girl wearing his likeness produced a few ostentatious dry heaves.  Liberals are so dramatic, thought the professor.  “The guts were replaced by plastic explosives and ball bearings or other pieces of scrap metal.”

The professor meandered over to his computer and produced a machine gun burst of keystrokes.  A clip from the historical docu-drama Swordfish began playing abruptly on each of the desk monitors in the classroom.  The students paid rapt attention to how much damage such a weapon could cause.  A few of the young men stroked their soul patches, impressed that John Travolta was still influencing facial hairstyles 60 years after his death in the War.

The professor went on.  “The Red State engineers were diabolically clever – the Zombies themselves were super-strong, relentless, highly infective meat-seeking bombs.  But their creators also inserted a layer of thick lead shielding just below the beasts’ shoulder blades.  Even after the explosion, a Zombie’s brain often remained intact.”

“What good would that do?” asked the chubby boy.

“Well,” responded his teacher.  “The undead can survive almost any corporeal damage, so long as their brains remain unharmed and able to take in oxygen.  Even a Zombie which has been physically separated from its lower torso can stay alive for days, attacking survivors and emergency rescue teams.”

Che had recovered his color, but the girl still looked a little wan.  She timidly asked, “How dangerous could that possibly be?  They wouldn’t even be able to move.”

“Ah!” exclaimed the professor.  “Even immobilized, they’re basically semi-intelligent land mines!  They would still be capable of infecting anyone who steps on them… That’s actually what happened to President Obama!  He survived the original blast, but an EMT was infected by the remains of an IEZ, then passed the disease along to the First Family.”

The conservative young man wrinkled his nose and complained, “I still don’t think the Zombified Obama should have been permitted to serve two additional terms!”

The professor’s hologram shrugged.  “What can I say?  Nationalized health care turned out to be very popular.  Enough of the Second Civil War, class.  Tomorrow we begin studying the Rapture of 2045…”

Authors Biography: “Michael is a mild-mannered 29-year-old currently deployed to the Middle East with the U.S. Army. Other examples of his writing can be seen here. His blog, which has almost nothing to do with zombies, can be viewed here. And if you have a fever whose only prescription is more zombies, check out my friend Tony’s zombie-themed blog right here.”

Community Stories: This is a submission to Zombie Stories by a member of the community. If you would like to submit one of your own click here or head over to the home page to view the rest of the site.


10 Responses to A History Lesson by Michael Sullivan

  1. Lisa says:

    interesting take and very good tie into todays problems.

  2. chancemuse says:

    Really like the setting and the way that you extruded the future. Keep ’em coming!

  3. anonymous says:

    I was put off by “chancellor coulter” but gave it a chance. You totally lost my interest in the final sentence.

    I like the style, I like the main idea, the rest of it you can keep.

  4. Michael says:

    Wait… I kept the anonymous critic’s interest until the very last sentence? I’m considering that a win!

  5. rusty shackleferd says:

    hahaaa! i love this story, the tie ins into real life, its kinda boring…since theres not really any action, but it had zombie obama in it so its a thumbs up

  6. jeff says:

    iez’s, i love it. and you have the makings of a great story.

  7. Brooke says:

    I really like this. I want to read more though…

  8. garrote says:

    lol exploding zombies, zobama, it would tie in really nicely to the book ’empire’

  9. Hi… sorry I’m replying a little late to this, but what is ‘Empire’? I’ve fallen quite a bit behind on my zombie fiction, unfortunately.

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