This story was originally published in Shock Totem. Copyright is held by the author.

HEY MAN, ya gotta light? Say miss, can I drive you home? Can I have a ride? I’m in the mood. Hey buddy, you got tall. Or I’m on the ground. A couple days like this and I’ll be fine. I know my limits. I got the mood.

Oh no, don’t, don’t say that baby. You’re beautiful. I’m not going anywhere. Of course, I’m going to stay with you tonight.

Apollo is better than Legba. Legba is better than gin. Gin is better than Jesus and we all sin. Close the gates. Find the Queen of May. She’s coming for you. I said yes. Officer, I was driving a little fast. Please don’t look in my trunk. I’m in a mood. Bad mood. Very bad mood. 

In the flowers, I’m dancing. In the winter, I’m crying. You’re my bride and I’m your fool. The Black Death is killing babes in their cribs and brides on their wedding day. And I say good, baby. Good. I’ve been to the parties. They hung vampires from the stairwells. I know you’re sick and I’m going to take care of you. Bubonic plague. It’s bad. I’m in the mood. A few pretty buildings will stay open, but the city will close. You and I will just lay in our apartment with no one to carry us; none to bury us.

I see you dying. You feel me sweat. We kill rats but the flies remain. Our prayers weren’t answered. Yeah baby, I know you’re not speaking, but I wanted to say that you’re beautiful even with your lips pulled back and your eyes. I want to comfort you, but you ain’t here. Just your body; I will stay with you. I can’t move.

Hey buddy, get out. You shouldn’t wear a mask that way. I don’t have it. I’m alive. I’m just yellow and skinny. That’s not a crime. Don’t throw me on the truck with the others.

Say miss, can you roll off me? I can’t roll myself and I hear you breathing. Why you pretending? Don’t you know they gonna burn us. I know I’m dead but you’re breathing. You breathing and that’s a good thing. Don’t you roll? Come on, that’s air. It’s not just gas.

Hey man, that fire is pretty hot. Hey man, I see you think I’m just toxic waste. Hey man, before you throw me in, know this not so solid flesh. Turn the flames up higher. I’m don’t want to burn slowly. Stop laughing. I’m in the mood.


Image of Tim Lieder, from above, staring wide-eyed into the camera.

Tim Lieder has published several short stories including sugarplum zombie motherf–kers available on Kindle and audible. Through dynnuk press, he has edited amd published nine books, including she nailed a stake through his head and the upcoming emptiness under the house by romie Stott.