I was fifteen and attending Lincoln Middle School when by total accident, I met my first zombie. I mean, a zombie other than myself.
Here’s how it happened.
One Sunday afternoon, after church I’d gone home with my mom, eaten a delicious lunch of tripas, and then had gotten permission to take the bus downtown to multiplex theater. I had heard about a new movie, Dead Man Walking, and at this stage in my life I was really hungry for anything that might affirm or validate my zombie identity.
Well, as it turned out, the movie was not about zombies at all, but about some guy who was on death row and how a nun was trying to save him from being executed. So why call it Dead Man Walking? It was certainly not the uplifting zombie film I had hoped for.
About half way through I got bored and decided to leave. I went out the back entrance to the theater that led into an alley. I decided to walk through the alley, who knows perhaps I would find something dead I could snack on.
As I approached a dumpster I smelled something awfully familiar. Pachouli! Someone was wearing Pachouli. Then I heard strange, gutteral noises coming from behind the dumpster.
“Hello!” I called out.
The noises stopped. Then I saw a face appear from behind the dumpster. It was a white kid, maybe two or three years older than me, and when I say “white kid,” I mean this guy was pasty white. He was drooling and he held a dead rat in his hands. He has obviously been eating it before I disturbed him.
The kid dropped the rat and took off running away from me down the alley.
It took a moment for what I had seen to sink in.
The kid was a zombie like me!
Before this, I had never considered that there might be other real zombies in the world beside myself. Mom had explained how through the good services of Señora Falcón I had been resurrected from the dead. Mom had explained that the bruja had used special incantations
and blasphemous ingredients to get me jump-started again.
But it had never occurred to me that there might be other zombies walking around.
And now there was no mistaking it. The Pachouli–he must have body smell problems just like me and hit on the same solution. The pasty dead look, his sunken eyes, and he was eating a dead rat–just like I do as often as I can. Could it be that la Señora Falcón had resurrected more than one kid? I mean, who was this lady anyway?
After finishing off the rat he had dropped, I hurried home and immediately quizzed my mom about Señora Falcón.
“Mijo, I don’t want you to talk about that woman.”
“But who is she?” I demanded. “And how did you find her? And how did you know she could do what she did?”
My ‘ama was quiet for a long time. Then she started to tear up and then started to sob. Finally, in between the sobs, she told me.
“Mijito, I’ll never regret doing what I had to do. I would do it again if I had to. I love you so much!
“La Señora Falcón?”
“Señora Falcón used to attend our church. But the minister found out she had pagan beliefs. Brujeria. He kicked her out of the church. The day of your funeral, she attended. I was crying uncontrollably and she saw this. I guess she took pity on me. After the service, when you had been lowered into the ground and I was alone walking to the car, Señora Falcón came up to me and said she could help. The next night she performed the ritual and you were resurrected.
Mom was silent for a moment and I considered what she had told me.
“Well, where is she now?”
“I never saw her again,” my mom replied. I could tell she was telling the truth.
“Well, do you think she’s still around?’
“Who knows Mijo. But let’s not ever talk about her again. Okay?’
“Sure mom, I said, hugging her. “I didn’t mean to upset you.”
That night, as I lay in my bed trying to sleep, all I could think about was Señora Falcón. Had she resurrecting other kids? Is that what she did for a living? If so, how many other zombies were there running around in Los Angeles? I was suddenly possessed by a single obsession.
I had to find la Señora Falcón!
Copyright 2012 Lazaro De La Tierra and Barrio Dog Productions.