MOTHER DAY REDUX.
The van was running and ready to leave for the Mother’s Day picnic. The other zombies quartered at the secret Joshua Tree military training camp who were going to meet with their families had already boarded the van. It was just me and Pearl standing by the open door to the van. Vida, the vegetarian zombie dog who had adopted me, was sitting at my side, intently reading the emotions between Pearl and I.
“You sure you don’t want to come and meet my mom and dad?” Pearl asked for the third time.
“Pearl, I told you–I can’t.” I replied. “The mood I’m in I’d just bummer everyone out.”
“Lazaro, I’m real sorry about your loss.”
Pearl leaned over and kissed me. Vida whimpered. Then there was a honk from the van driver.
“Go on Pearl, have fun.” I said, ushering her to the van door. “I’ll meet your folks next time. Hey, I got Vida here to keep me company!”
Pearl boarded the van and it drove off. I was left alone with Vida on the dusty parking area in the secret cul de sac hidden deep in the Joshua Tree wilderness.
It was Mother’s Day and Mr. Nez had decided to bring out the parents of the zombies training for the assault on the Oñate compound for a Mother’s Day picnic. The van would take the zombie trainees to meet their folks at the Jumbo Rocks campground where La Señora Falcón had reserved a space far enough from the other camp sites to assure privacy for our group. It was too dangerous to bring anyone near our secret hideout.
Our cook, Prudencio Ortíz, had prepared special cow brain sandwiches, spicy cat entrail canapes, and a cilantro garlic rabbit eyeball salad he had garnered from the local traps she had set. It would be a great picnic for my friends and their moms.
I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned to see it was Mr. Nez who had remained behind along with some of the camp staff.
“Mijo, your mom’s not gone,” he said. “You’ll always carry her here,” he said. He tapped his chest. “Aqui, en el corazón.”
“I’m going on a hike.” I said.
He gave my shoulder a firm squeeze and turned back to the main camp building. I walked back to the barracks where I picked up a hat and the canteen that had been assigned to each trainee and headed out into the desert. Vida ran ahead, wagging her tail, eager for an adventure.
After an hour of hiking I found myself at a large mountain of boulders. I climbed on one of the rocks, Vida managed to scramble up the rock with me. We sat together in the shade the adjoining rock, looking out into the empty desert landscape. I welcomed being alone. I needed to reflect on all that had happened to me in the past year.
Mother’s Day is what had set it off.
It was only a year ago, on Mother’s Day, that I began this journal I am keeping, my Zombie Mex Diaries. In the past year, I realized my whole sense of self and my understanding of the world had changed radically.
Instead of believing that my resurrection as a zombie was due to some special magic my mother had secured from a mysterious bruja named La Señora Falcón, I now know that I was born as a human being with a unique zombie gene. My resurrection from the dead had resulted when the zombie gene was triggered on my death at age five.
La Senora Falcón was not a bruja, but a watchful zombie emissary of La Familia, a underground society of zombies that had co-existed with human beings for the past five hundred years. She had been assigned to safeguard my childhood until the zombie metamorphosis took placed as I entered puberty.
I now know that the underground zombies are divided into two camps. La Familia is bent on unraveling the mysteries of the mutant zombie gene for the benefit of human kind. The Oñate clan of zombies, headed by the resurrected Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate, is committed to enslaving human beings and breeding them for food.
And I was now smack in the middle of this zombie war–a war I had not asked for! And so far all I could show for it was that the person I loved the most in my life, my human mother was dead. The Oñate zombies had killed her a week ago in a concerted attack on the La Familia meeting hall.
I poured Vida some water in styrofoam cup I had borrowed form the commissary. She quickly lapped it up, zombie dog or not, she was thirsty. I sipped from the canteen and recalled the cold glass of cow blood my mom always had for me at bedtime during my childhood.
I sure missed my ‘ama. I longed to visit her grave. I was told by Mr. Nez that she had been buried at Rose Hills cemetery but that it was too dangerous for me to visit her now. The Oñate zombies wanted me dead fearing that the secret contained in my mutant gene might help humanity–they would surely be keeping an eye on my other’s grave, waiting for me to show up.
I thought also about the other person that I loved, Pearl González. Like me, she possessed a special mutant zombie gene. Because of this she was also in danger of being killed any time by the Oñate zombies. At any time she, too, might be taken from me. At that moment I wished with all my heart that I was not a zombie, that was a normal person. A normal person whose loved ones weren’t in danger of being killed, a normal person who could enjoy life. It just seemed so unfair!
I don’t know how long I stayed on that rock thinking about my mom, Pearl, my life and the zombie war ahead of me. Time enough to come to some conclusions about who I was and what I needed to do.
The sun was low in the sky when I felt Vida licking the tears off my cheek.
On the trek back to base camp, I reviewed the conclusions I had come to during my afternoon of reflection and meditation. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to pull off all the plans I had come up with, but there was one thing I had resolved that I knew I would do at first opportunity.
I would lay flowers on my mother’s grave.
Copyright 2013 By Lazaro De La Tierra and Barrio Dog Productions Inc.