The morning began the same as every other. I made the long journey down a few lonely roads at a time when most of the folks around were sleeping. I arrived my normal fifteen minutes early just in time to catch the coffee pot before it was emptied by my co-workers.
Then I headed down the long stretch past cubicle after cubicle until I saw the dimly lighted space I would call home for the next ten hours. Something seemed a little off this morning. The office was a lot quieter than usual. The few sounds that waffled through the air were more like muffled moans and screeching than the normal gossip I was used to.
Finally, a familiar face was in front of me.
“Have you seen them? It’s weird right?” Frank asked me as I stood there puzzled.
“Seen them? What are you talking about?”
I wondered if Frank was up to another of his office tricks. He was always starting a rumor or proposing a gag to play on the others in the workplace. Was I the recipient this time?
“They said it’s a virus. Everyone is susceptible to it but someone in the office must have been a carrier because there are a lot of people here infected.”
Okay, now I knew he was up to something. What was his hope though, that I would freak out in front of everybody? I wasn’t about to give him the pleasure of that.
“Yeah, okay. I get all worried and then someone jumps out of the closest cubicle hoping I scream or piss my pants right? I’m not falling for it Frank.” I said feeling proud.
“No, tell you what. Just go look in the break room. You’ll understand. Don’t go in though, it might not end well.” Frank said more serious than I expected.
“Fine. I’ll play along” I mumbled as I headed toward the break area.
The door was closed which was a bit unusual. Everyone was in and out all day and no one wanted the hassle of opening the heavy wooden door each trip. It was probably all part of Frank’s scheme. The door had a large window I could look in without the need of entering so I figured as soon as I peered through someone was going to jump out or spray something at the window hoping to startle me.
Neither happened. No one jumped, nothing flew at the window but what I saw made my mouth drop. There was Liz, Ronnie and a delivery guy whose name I didn’t know wondering around aimlessly on the other side of the door. At least what used to be them anyway.
Their skin was a weird gray-blue color and their eyes appeared lifeless. I could smell a distinct odor coming from the room the closer I got.
“See, it’s a Zombie outbreak. It’s been on the news.” Frank said to me approaching from behind.
“What are we doing about it?” I questioned quickly.
“Staying out of their way mostly. As long as you don’t get too close or let one bite you it can’t effect you.”
“But, but… What’s going to happen to them?”
“A couple sick days I guess and then back to the grind. Lucky bastards.” Frank’s response made my mouth gape open further than it ever had before.
“What’s going on here? Get back to work you two.” Bossman Bill screeched at us breaking the hope he was one of the affected “All these sickies we are dealing with means there is twice as much work for everyone else. No time to be standing around gawking.”
I scurried away and sat down at my desk contemplating where to start. Should I be worried? Was it just a virus that would pass? All the knowledge I had was from movies, TV and comics and in all of them zombie stories always ended badly.
Then again I really needed this job even if I hated it. I needed to worry about myself and forget all the weirdness around me. The two zombies reaching through the wall from the other side made staying focused awfully difficult.
I kept wiping off my desk as their drool dripped down. I figured I needed to keep the disinfectant handy and luckily, I had always been a bit of a neat freak anyway. I have to say the fact that the office was emptier than usual was a bit of a plus when it came to getting my work done. Even with the threat of a zombie attack I was on a roll. I was pumping out quarterly earnings reports faster than a zombie eats through a brain.
Bossman Bill even stopped by to thank me for my hard work and not freaking out about the whole virus situation. I think it was the first time he had ever said anything positive about my work. All in all it was a pretty great day. Wonder what tomorrow will have in store?