Most of us will eat anything; we see food, we go for it—most of us. I’m picky. I prefer certain dishes. What? You may ask. How can you be picky? I’ve seen your kind, you say. Well, so have I, and as I said, most of us will eat anything. And, frankly, I am offended, Madame. I don’t have time for your preconceived notions and prejudices. My kind? How could you be so insensitive to the feelings of others?
I have a theory about my preferences, my snobbishness as my brethren might think of it. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t know why I like what I like. It’s more a theory of how than of why.
You see, when The Outbreak first crossed our borders, it came from the south, crossing from Mexico into the United States in the blood of drunken state-college students, American tourists, and Mexican immigrants. Drug dealers and human smugglers also helped. The Outbreak spread to college campuses, trailer parks, ghettos, barrios, and every corner of lower- and middle-class society—and it spread like fire, cleansing the land.
The average human being is lead by simple desires, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Have you heard of it? Physiology, safety, love, esteem, self-actualization? Any of this ring a bell? No? Anyway, you are driven by certain instinctual motivators. Once the most basic of those needs are met, such as physiological needs—breathing, food, water, sleep, homeostasis, excretion, etc.—a person may move on to the next tier, but not until the basic needs are met. Example: If your physiological needs are not met, if you do not have food, shelter, etc., you do not care about morality and creativity, which are needs at the very highest and intellectual level. Sadly, most people never attain those higher levels or even care to, which brings me to my next point.
The majority of those initially infected were of little or no means, and of little or no intelligence. What? You wonder about the drunken college students who brought The Outbreak to college campuses? I did say they were students from state colleges. You think students of Ivy League schools are spending spring break in Mexico? Come now, Ivy League mummies and daddies can afford better than that for their little sweetums.
You’ve gone and distracted me. Where was I? Oh, yes—intelligence. The average IQ in the United States is 100, give or take. Average IQ drops exponentially based on social class, geography, race, etc; and I’d wager that the average IQ of students in state-run institutions adheres to the national average. Community college? Much, much lower. So, you see, pre-infection, the average person wasn’t very bright to begin with. And you’ve seen what The Outbreak does to the mental capacities of those it touches.
Given that the majority of those initially infected fell into a category with a below average IQ, is it any wonder that when fulfilling their basic need, food, they eat what they see, without discrimination. With the infected, Maslow’s Hierarchy is obsolete. Food is their only need. It is no different with me. Food is still my only need, but, as I said before, I have preferences. My theory? I am getting to that, my child. Be patient.
Pre-infection, I had an IQ of 138. That’s two points away from genius, you see. My theory is this: the effects of The Outbreak—aside from reanimation, impervious to pain, and the hunger—involve a reduction of one’s IQ by a specific percentage based on pre-infection intelligence. What? You still don’t understand? Then, here, let me show you, my dear.
Where others would come in moaning and carrying on, mobbing you, marring your beautiful flesh with gnashing teeth and clawing nails, I will take my time enjoying the juicy portions slowly. Don’t worry. I stay above the neck; I’m old fashion that way. I will take your soft cheek first, and then your lips, your tongue. Your eyes I will slurp with abandon. Blue eyes are truly delightful. Please stop screaming, child. It does not make the pain any less. Now I will peel back your scalp, because I don’t like getting hair caught in my teeth, and crack your skull. The real treat, the one those other idiots can never stop asking for, are inside.
Brad Nelson is a former backyard samurai and blue jeans Zen master who spends most of his time now on the back porch with his pipe and a cup of coffee. He retired his sword and took up the pen after serving five years as an interrogator in the U.S. Army. Brad is also a creative writing M.F.A. candidate at National University and Chief Editor of Eclectic Flash, a new online literary journal. You can find Eclectic Flash at www.eclecticflash.com. Brad’s literary endeavors are forthcoming from a number of online and print publications—just as soon as he can decide where to send each piece.