I Married a Zombie
are attracted to bad boys. I sure am. I gets complicated when you marry one. I
never meant to. So, I had just dyed my hair blonde (to test Grandma’s saying,
“Blondes have more fun”), but that’s just part of the story.
I first saw
him at a rock concert. Not just any one, but Lollipop-La-La, in Chicago. And,
Zed was performing: guitar,
singing, gleaming satin pants and tight vest, gold in the spotlights.
He seemed to
aim the lyrics straight at me. “Deader than a doornail, deader than a milk pail
or an iron rail . . .” Every single one of my long hairs stood on end. At the
end of the night, I jumped him. Actually, I buttonholed Zed as he bounded off
stage. His band: Deader than Dead, but I paid no attention to that – just to
his hungry eyes, watching me wolfishly. His fiery red orbs flattered by girlish
insecurities; I was 27, going on 17.
relationship swept me up like a tornado. In a few days, he visited my condo in
the suburbs. My mental powers had outstripped my emotional ones, and like pants
on fire, I vaulted to a high salary as an accountant.
In a month,
Zed was living with me.
What was the
lure? He remained a mystery, travelling often with his band. After playing in
Chicago, claiming he had to chill after stress, he went out with mates, before
crashing at the drummer’s pad.
All this created
a blank slate that I filled with wild fantasies. I built Zed into a combination
movie star and rock star. “He needs me,” I wept, having never experienced this situation
among my admittedly small sampling of men. Zed cried, complained. Whenever I
got itchy under the chains of our relationship, he flattered me. Called me
“babe” or “teeny Tina.” I felt cool and hot.
my bushy hair or the wrecking ball that I threw into any dating game. Blame my
parents, who raised me in an iron-girded cocoon.
In a few
months, Zed convinced me to elope—skip the boring relatives on both sides. I
never met his mom and dad; kept him at long-arm length from mine. Zed moved
totally in with me, but I fretted about his hesitancy to introduce me to his
pals. “Oh that bunch of losers, all dead-heads,” he’d mutter, on his way out
finally caught up with him enough to show him off to my girlfriends, they gave
me a universal verdict: “kind-a strange.”
along, stumbled through days. Grandma always said, “The way to a man’s heart is
through his stomach.” So I cooked up a storm. To change his carnivore ways to
my superior vegan ones, I experimented: pizza with eggplant and arugula. When
that bombed, I tried patties stuffed with pea proteins. In desperation, I
ventured into cauliflower crunch, garbanzo gumbo . . . and my masterpiece,
Zed came up
with inventive ways to avoid meals. I suspected him of sneaking out for
hamburgers. Ugh, all that raw, bloody meat.
know that meat is unhealthy?” I demanded. “All those dead calories.”
I did my
best to hold the marriage together, mainly from my pride. Didn’t want to admit
I’d made a mistake. Sometimes, hungering for hugs, I’d wonder if Zed had chosen
me as some kind of cover. Was he having an affair with a teenybopper, or a
married woman? I did all I could to convince him to stay home at night. He
seemed to go along.
evening we’d had a perfect (for us) time. He bought me a necklace with skulls,
to celebrate the anniversary of our meeting. We watched movies about ghosts on
TV and retired early. I fell asleep like a rock.
In deep dark
I woke to find Zed gone. Where . . .? Dread gnawing at my innards, I grabbed a
flashlight and ran into the yard. Snuffling, rooting in a corner: what?? I
aimed a beam—catching my husband’s bloody mouth. He seemed to be chomping on an
arm. Aargh. I peered around at the ground—noticed a heap. Gray dress, a tangle
of white hair.
eating Myrtle!” I accused. “How could you?” This incident had to happen, not in
the faraway city among strangers; but with our next-door neighbor, walking her
dog. “How could you embarrass me?”
was too busy munching to reply.
leaving! How can I stay with a Meat Lover??”
M. L. Fortier: An award
winning author, I have also been teaching creative writing at colleges in the
Chicago area, and currently work at College of DuPage. I have many poems in
print, the most popular being "If I'd Married Poe."