WHO AM I?
The word spoken by the Zombie elder Mr. Nez stuck in my head. A silence fell over the large office as Mr. Nez and Pearl looked to one another.
I was desperately trying to make sense of it all. Progenitor. The seed of the zombie race that allows us to come back from the dead. And he was telling me I was one of them. So he seemed to believe. And, of course, that just opened up more questions for me.
“How do you know I am a progenitor?”
“DNA,” Mr. Nez replied.
“La Familia tracks all known zombies,” he continued. “We get DNA samples and compare them to the Familia DNA pool. We know we have six distinct family lines, originating from the six progenitors we know of.”
“Yes, I was the first, to our knowledge. Since then we have had five more born. Two in Mexico, one in the 1500s and one at the time of the 1910 Revolution. Another in Peru, one in Chile, and another one here in the US.
“And you think I am one?”
“Perhaps. We’re puzzled by your DNA..”
“What I don’t have DNA?”
“Of course you do. But your DNA represents a seventh family line we have no record of. We’ve never encountered your DNA line before. That’s why we think you’re an original, a progenitor.”
“A human mutant?” I said, still trying struggling to get a handle on the concept.
Mr. Nez was wise enough to allow me some thinking time. Pearl could see me struggling and took my hand, gave it a squeeze, and then let go. I welcomed the reassurance. Then a thought occurred to me.
“Mr. Nez. Doesn’t my father and mother enter into this in any way? I mean, DNA and all?”
“Your mom is not a zombie. Just an ordinary Mexican American. We checked that out first thing.”
“And my dad?”
“We don’t know. We’ve been looking for your dad since he left your mom. We haven’t found him.”
“Who IS my dad?’
“His name is Cesar De La Tierra. Beyond that we don’t know a whole lot. We tried background searches–we have our own private investigators. We’ve found no history. Nothing before he met your mom and once he left, he seems to have vanished from the face of this earth.”
“That can’t be. My mom never spoke much about him but…”
“We were hoping you could help us here. Perhaps you can discreetly ask your mother about how she met your dad, where he came from, where he might have gone. To our knowledge she only knew him for a few days.”
“A few days!”
Mom never wanted to talk about my dad. Whenever I asked about him, she changed the subject. I presumed it was because he had hurt her. But now I was feeling really uneasy. All this time I had just thought my mom and my dad met, fallen in love, gotten married, and after a suitable time had me. I presumed that when didn’t work out between them, my dad had left. All of this while I was still a baby. I never imagined she had just met him and then just…had me. Was my mother keeping something from me?
Damn it, who was I really, anyway?
Just then there was a knock at the door.
“Yes,” Mr. Nez said.
A man poked his head in the door.
“Mr. Nez, we’ll be ready to start soon.”
“We’ll be in–just a moment.” Mr, Nez replied. Then he turned to me.
“Lazaro, I know I’ve given you a lot to think about. But there’ll be time enough for us to discuss these things later. Now it’s time for the meeting. Let’s go going, there are members of the familia who are anxious to see you again.”
My family? All these seventeen years I had been a loner. A misfit. My only family had been my mom. Now this man was telling me I had another family, a zombie family. And who were these people that dared to call me family? And what had he said?
“Again?” I asked.
“It’ll all make sense in a minute.” he replied. Then he turned to Pearl. “You sit with Lazaro and fill him in on what’s going on during the meeting.
“Come on, Lazo,” she said. She took my hand and looked me in the eye. “Lazo, there’s nothing to be afraid of. I’ll be here for you.”
With that she led me down the hallway and into a large meeting hall–into a future I could never have imagined.
Copyright 2012 Lazaro De La Tierra and Barrio Dog Productions Inc.