Acupuncture After The Apocalypse

Zombies Who Chase You

No one dresses as a zombie anymore for Halloween. When surrounded by real zombies who chase you home from school every day, pretending to be one isn’t nearly so witty. Lots of things aren’t as amusing anymore—that’s what an Apocalypse will do to you.

This year, I notice kids dressing as entertainers or politicians from the past, from well before the Apocalypse. You’d be surprised at the number of Nixons and Elvises.

(Well. Actually, I’ve seen exactly one Nixon and two Elvis costumes, if you really insist on knowing, and maybe that isn’t a large enough quantity to make you gasp. But remember how few people are alive.)

During trick or treat hours, cheerleaders and Rubiks cubes ring my doorbell, but the best of all is a brother and sister team. Both carry identical stuffed dogs that look like little dark brown terriers. Predictably, the girls’ dog is in a basket, and she sports a pair of glittery red shoes like Dorothy’s from the Wizard of Oz. But the boy wears a business suit and a wig of rich, full brown hair styled like that of a grown man. He carries a sign that says, “VOTE FOR ME FOR MAYOR.” And in case there was any doubt, on his lapel is a campaign button for Levi Finch.

I give him extra candy.

“Thanks,” little Levi says. “And I hope I can count on your vote on Tuesday!”

He turns and trots down the front steps, away from my house and on to the next. But the girl hesitates, then furrows her brow at me. “You only gave me one piece!”

“And your point is?”  Coincidentally, I painted my face green and am wearing the Wicked Witch’s black hat. This could have something to do with our not getting along.

“That isn’t fair! He always gets more. He always, always does.”

I consider snatching the dog out of her basket and slamming the door. But her eyes tear up, and she turns away before I have the chance to do anything churlish.

Jill Riddell is a writer in Chicago. She teaches at the School of the Art Institute and has a weakness for nature, magic, and pennies abandoned in sidewalk cracks.