I’ve had people ask about this one, so I thought I’d put it up where people can actually read it. The story was originally published in Sybil’s Garage no. 6, and there was an audio reprint in Podcastle. This was my first short fiction sale back in 2009.
By Keffy R. M. Kehrli
Instead of washing a load of clothes, I keep going to the store and buying more underwear.
I know you don’t even believe in weird things like monsters or ghosts, and neither do I, but
I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHERE TO START!
Okay, look. There is a zombie half of a zombie in my washing machine, so I can’t do any laundry. Part of me feels really bad about not alerting you to this earlier, Mom, but it sounds crazy. I would have called you, but I think that I accidentally dropped my phone in the washing machine. I would just email you, but I know you never check yours.
I don’t really know where to go from here. I mean, it’s kind of like being the kid you thought was so responsible, and then I smash up my your car. Except this is worse because it looks (and smells) nasty.
I mean, it’s not like I haven’t washed any clothes at all. I washed my jeans out in the bathtub last week. In a way it would be better if the zombie was in the dryer, because at least I could hang things up to dry. Then again, can you just imagine how bad that would smell if I turned it on? Okay, so that’s a shitty idea.
The only way I can keep the damn thing quiet is if I turn the washing machine on. I figured that if I put in some detergent maybe it wouldn’t smell so bad and Andrew could come over so we could study. The detergent didn’t help the smell enough, but I keep putting it in since I have to run the washing machine all the time anyway, and it’s not like I can use the detergent on my clothes. It uses a lot of water, though. I guess that’s something else. I know that the idea was that you’d pay for the apartment and I’d pay utilities, but I think I’m going to need some help with the water bill.
I know you’re probably going to wonder how I got half of a zombie into my washing machine, and also which half. It’s the head. The head and one of the arms and part of the shoulder, so maybe less than half but it’s the scarier half. You know, because it’s not like a pair of rotting dead legs are all that scary.
I also have to say that having the laundry machine in the kitchen? Was a really bad idea. When the only thing in there is some dirty socks or maybe my sports bra it’s not that big a deal. When you’ve got to listen to a zombie’s skull go WHUNK-THUNK WHUNK-THUNK, well, then it’s just gross.
Basically, I’m writing you because I need a new washing machine and my water bill is pretty high. You can send a check if you want.
“No, I am not pulling your leg! After last week, I’ve had enough leg-pulling. There is seriously, for real, an honest-to-God zombie in my washing machine. I don’t understand why you can’t just look at the YouTube video! Anyway, I got a new phone, so call me back. Also, oh my God, could you change the answering machine message sometime? We recorded that when I was, like, five.”
I already told you, I didn’t answer the phone last time you called. That was my old phone and it’s still in the washing machine with the zombie. I mean, seriously how many times do you call and I just breathe at you over the phone? Never!
And, no, I don’t need you to come over. It’s not like getting the zombie out is going to fix anything now anyway. I can’t wash clothes in the washing machine ever again — it’s had rotting dead things in it! I started going to the laundromat but it pisses me off, you know? I mean, I used to have a perfectly good laundry machine at home and now I don’t.
And what, call the police? “9-1-1, Night of the Living Dead is happening inside of one of my appliances? I’ll say zombie, they’ll say corpse. I know washing machines aren’t cheap, but I had to spend all my money on the Anthropology 101 text. Please, please, PLEASE help me out!
Yes, I did get your message about the stuff I left in the garage. I don’t really have time to deal with it right now. I’m sorry that Dad wants to clean out the garage this weekend, but it’s not like I have any room in my apartment. Tell him to hold his horses. I don’t see why the boat can’t just stay in the shed a little longer.
Get a job! Are you kidding? I don’t have enough time to go looking for a job and study. Would you rather have a few hundred dollars if it means that I might fail? I don’t think so. I don’t understand why you’re being so difficult about this — it’s not like you guys don’t have a lot of money. You were just telling me about how Dad put in a new hot tub!
NO, I didn’t get rid of the zombie yet, and it scrabbles around and moans if I don’t turn the washing machine on. Like I said, I can’t just open the door and let it out. I’m pretty sure there are laws against letting zombies go free.
Plus, it’d really suck if I opened the door and it ate me or something. It doesn’t have a stomach anymore, so it’d just be chewed up Krystin pieces all over the floor.
I broke up with Andrew, by the way. He kept wanting to come over, and I was afraid that he’d think the wrong thing if he saw the zombie. He comes from a nice respectable family where parents don’t force their nineteen-year-old daughters to live in apartments with zombie infestations.
Since you asked, I’m getting okay grades in everything except for Pre-Calc. I think maybe it’s all the time I have to spend going to the Laundromatlaundromat. It’s ridiculous! It doesn’t matter when I go, there’s always some asshole using all the machines and I have to wait like two hours! Last time I went, this guy was washing about ten huge blankets and a giant teddy bear! Who washes a teddy bear, anyway? It was about the size of a St. Bernard.
I guess I’ll see you over Thanksgiving.
I don’t know where the zombie is! It got out sometime this weekend. I’ve been looking everywhere — under the beds, in the cupboards — everywhere! I even checked the basement of the building, you know, I figured maybe that it went down there because it’s kind of like a tomb.
Don’t worry, I’ll keep the washing machine door closed so it can’t get back in there. Ugh. I’m just going to assume it’s not in the apartment because I’d smell it otherwise, right?
By the way, I still need a new washer. I don’t think running it a few times is going to get this smell out. Before you even ask, Mom, I did think about using bleach. It didn’t work!
I hate zombies.
EW EW EWWW!!!
I found the zombie, Mom. I don’t know how to tell you this, but I need a new fridge, too.
(Illustration by Victor M. Rosas II.)