Aberzombie & Fitch

“You look like death mate.”

It started as casually as that.

“You’re no Christian Slater yourself,” I replied, and turned back to the computer on my desk.

“Funny, but seriously, you look like you’ve crawled out of a grave. Good night last night was it?” Jim’s whiney southern states accent didn’t suit sarcasm all too well.

“You really shouldn’t come to work hungover, you know. You’ll give the school a bad reputation.”

“No more than usual,” I spat back tersely and, with ten minutes before my lesson, headed to the toilets to check on my appearance.

He may have been a busybody and a bit of a dick, but Jim was right, I looked like shit. It had been a pretty heavy night, yet nothing to write home about. A few happy hour drinks in the British pubs around Sakae and then on to iD Café for a bit of a dance. iD is always something of a meat market, but we got there late and there wasn’t much more than scraps left over. I’d had a bit of success with a Brazilian girl I recalled, as I fingered the violent love bite on my collarbone, but when I came back from the bar with drinks, she had disappeared.

I’d been disappointed at the time, but when I saw her outside with some other dude, pretty much eating the poor guy, I saw how rough she looked, and was relieved. She looked the type you could catch something from. Mind you, I’ve had worse.

“You look like death warmed up, Fitch.”

“Please, don’t you start as well. I’ve heard it all from Jim all ready.” As pained as I sounded, I couldn’t be too mad at Maiko, she was just far too cute.

“Well, why don’t you go for a lie down for an hour? Your students have called in sick, your lesson’s cancelled.”

“All of them sick?”

“Yep, there’s a bug going around. I hope you’ve not got it too.”

I thanked Maiko and watched her sashay away, her hips swaying, that perfect arse that you could just take a bite out of. Suddenly a flash back of last night’s dream came to me, a vividly sexual dream in which I had been eating… from? Surely from… Maiko’s naked body.

In the staffroom I lay down on one of the sofas, shook the disturbing dream from my head, and stretched out. I was a little disappointed at the lesson’s cancelation as it was with the gaijin hunters, middle aged women who have a thing for foreigners, bored with their salaryman husbands, who liked to flirt outrageously with me.

It was totally harmless of course; nothing would come of it, but they enjoyed the frisson of forbidden sexuality, and I was getting paid to pick up compliments from attractive older women. They had fun, and for me it was the best job in the eikaiwa. Mind you, despite this, the hangover was really kicking in and I was feeling progressively worse. I was quite glad for the rest.

When I woke up things felt, I don’t know… different. Things certainly looked very different. The lights were all out, bar one flickering in the hallway, and most of the furniture was upturned. Had I slept through an earthquake? I wasn’t sure. All I was sure of was that I was hungry. Really hungry.

In the hall I found that the snack vending machine had fallen face down, trapping the food within. There was no one around other than Jim’s dismembered corpse. I briefly considered eating what was left, but all the good bits had gone.

Strange, I thought. I’d never considered eating Jim’s decimated body before. But I suppose tastes change. When I first came to Japan, I didn’t like natto, and now I love the stuff.

I was feeling tired again, lethargy creeping in, but I shuffled slowly onwards, driven on by my intense hunger. The scene in the street outside was one of absolute carnage, burning buildings and cars, the sounds of screaming everywhere. I turned the corner onto Hisaya Odori when a young woman ran straight into me, knocking herself to the ground. I grunted that she should watch where she was going, but she just froze on the spot, screaming hysterically.

I considered telling her to calm down, but instead just picked her up, smashed her skull on a wall and ate her brains. Hmmm, another new experience. But then, that’s what Japan’s all about isn’t it? New experiences.

That should have sated my hunger, but it didn’t. The girl who I had just cannibalised seemed one of those ditsy girls who live for all things kawaii, with no thoughts in her pretty little head other than fluffy cats and double eyelid tape. Not too much sustenance unfortunately, and so I soon found myself craving another brain. It was so damned moreish! But where to get it? Not even in Japan can you find human temporal lobe in a vending machine.

I lurched into Yamachan where the waiter, with not even an ‘irashaimasse’, very rudely attacked me with a kitchen knife. Fortunately his aim was poor and he merely severed my left hand at the wrist, leaving me free to wrench his head from his neck with my remaining hand, scoop out the insides and do the same to a young family cowering under a table nearby.

I don’t recall if my missing hand was much of a hindrance, or if the loss of it came as much of a shock. As you probably know, either from reading the news or from your own personal experience, the brainlust at this time would have been so strong that I had neither the mental capacity nor the desire to think of anything else.

As it happened, even if my mind hadn’t been focussed on nothing but the ingestion of grey matter, I wouldn’t have had the time to mourn the loss of my hand, as the moment I stepped out of the restaurant I was hit by an army truck, bundled into the back of it and whisked away to an internment camp with a load of other, what you would call, zombies. (We prefer the term ‘ambulatory post deceased’).

On the base of it, those camps sound pretty terrifying; a load of undead wandering around the place, crazed on a desire to devour human flesh, but it wasn’t all bad. We were given three square meals of animal carcass injected with human DNA every day, and in the evening we could sit in the communal rooms and play PlayStation (and if you were to sit a hardcore gamer and a zombie side-by-side, the only way to tell the difference is that the zombie probably smells marginally better).
The toughest part was giving up the brains, however I was an ex-smoker and honestly, getting off the fags was probably harder. Actually, I decided to start smoking again as, I figured, I’m dead all ready, what harm could it do?

Once the craving for brain dissipated it became easier to function once more. I was able to stop shuffling and move at a regular pace, and I could once again articulate in English rather than just moaning nnnnggggggggg all the time which, let’s face it, can get somewhat repetitive.

Now life is pretty much back to normal. I spend my evenings at the British pubs which have been re-associated to reflect the post-dead community, serving happy hour pints of Cerebral Cort-Ex brain substitute beers, and then it’s on to iD, which is even more of a meat market now than it ever was. In an even realer sense.

As for work at the eikaiwa, that’s got even better. For a start, I no longer have to put up with Jim’s derisory comments, what with him being dead and all.

Unfortunately I don’t get so many lessons with the women coming for gaijins any more, but instead my classes are full of Zombie hunters and, while it may be a little unethical, I’ve got dates pretty much every day of the week. I suppose the only downside is when Maiko stings me with a cattle prod for trying to take a bite out of her sumptuous behind, but you have to take the rough with the smooth.

Life, as they say, is good. Death, however, is even better.

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