Gouge Addiction, or, The True History of Brenda True: Who Was Seduced By A Zombie, To Which Is Appended, A Concise Allegory of the Bird Flu Pandemic


They picked up the M11 for half a day. Only two cars passed in that period, the first going away from Malton and the other towards it. As they were resting in a dip, they didn’t notice the second car in time to get a good look, and be sure if it wasn’t the same again. Lottie thought so. Still-flaming husks, and the welcoming victims of those accidents, shepherded them West across the countryside.

“I saw one where a spaceship explodes in orbit, raining billions of tonnes of toxic sludge onto the planet. Everyone north of the equator becomes one of them.”

“I saw one where the virus only works on adults. So it’s effectively kids and teenagers trying to survive in their world.”

“Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him!”

“I saw one where they rose and layed down again without ever committing a single act of violence.”

It is hardly possible to express the ardour of it. There was plenty of courage, and before long, plenty of certain chums sacrificing their lives to facilitate the continuance of other chums’ lives (in the considered opinions of the survivors). There is a piece of cinema which is important for anyone who burns to know, but know safely, from an armchair, what Lisa looked like in her final moments. It is the bit in the Coen brothers’ Fargo in which the character played by Steve Buschemi is shoved relentlessly into a wood chipper. If you look at the state of Steve Buschemi at the end of Coen brothers’ films, you will see there is a tendency to divide him into increasingly tiny pieces.

Their main themes were God and the infection. A peculiar manners developed within the transmission of practical information. Quite a lot was said very clearly but very indirectly. The pronouns “they” and “them” had unmistakeable reference.

“I saw one where a hot pink meteorite plunges from the sky in the middle of a drive-in movie. Any woman who smells the rock becomes one of them, except sex-crazed.”

“I saw one where the only thing worse than the corny ‘the dead take over’ concept, or the ‘the dead become a metaphor for consumerism’ trope, which would have been poignant, like, forty years ago, was its twee hipster equivalent. You know, the I-know-I’m-writing-a-story-about-the-dead-because-I’m-making-a-comment-about-the-dead-stories. Look, you can make a ‘comment’ about whatever you want, but the ultimate take-away is that in the course of doing so, you just wasted a considerable amount of your creative life for the sake of giving the world another goddamn zombie story. And yes, my qualifications for a zed moratorium include zed love stories, zed noirs, zed mysteries, zombie teen lit, zed westerns, zed dramas, zed comedies-of-error, zed with cance-AAAAAARGH! AAARGH! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAArgh. Eugh.”

Where they could they followed they waterways. They drank from the streams, and the infected proved a little less swift at crossing than they.

One river, unmarked where they followed it, was their companion for two days. Light grasses wrapped round Joe’s legs. Lazy foam gathered at its quieter edges. “I’d be interested to know,” he once said carefully by its banks, “what you think of the modern church’s dependence on relationship language for our experience of God.”

“I don’t know about dependence,” said Brenda. “You’re so fucking aggressive about God.”

“Preference, whatever. Show me the scripture where it says, ‘A personal relationship with the proprietor – that’s how you get into the Kingdom of Heaven.’”

“Ephesians 5. The church as the bride of Christ.”

Joe grinned, his tongue between his teeth, and waved his head side-to-side. “Yeah, OK, OK! But it seems possible to me that it’s a very cultural, you know, twentieth century thing, helpful for a lot of people, but not necessarily the key to like understanding experience of God for everyone, and possibly even alienating for some?”

“I dunno Joe, God knows you so intimately … all knitted together all Joe-ish … it’d be almost rude of Him not to give you the opportunity to know Him.”

“God as creepy social media stalker.”