A Zombie’s Mother’s Day
I hate holidays. Not all holidays. I don’t hate the ones that give you a three day weekend, but the artificial ones invented by greeting card companies. One particular Mother’s Day not long ago still gives me nightmares.
In spite of all the hype, I forgot that Mother’s Day had arrived until late that afternoon. Usually, I order flowers for my wife online. It was too late for that, and showing up empty handed was not an option. After all, she was the mother of two of our beautiful children, and a third not so beautiful child. I decided to go with my fall back plan; I would buy flowers from the guy on the off ramp of exit 12. I hopped in my car a drove off like a maniac.
When I arrived at the bottom of the off ramp I began to panic. No one was selling flowers. There were two people there: one with a sign that said “Falkland Islands Vet”, and other guy wearing a suit and holding a sign that said, “Will approve your home loan for food.” I looked under the overpass and saw a flower guy loading his stuff in a Volkswagen.
“Got any flowers left,” I asked as I pulled over to the curb.
“No, man. Sold out!”
“Do you know where I can buy some?”
“You’re too late, but you might try the box store down the street. Good luck with that. I think you are a dead man.”
Once inside the store, I asked for directions to the flower department. The scene I found when I arrived was an utter disaster. I felt like a first responder at a suicide bombing. Flowers and plants were thrown about everywhere. Every stem was bent, every leaf was torn, and very flower was missing half of its petals. I desperately searched for anything that would make a gift: a small bouquet of flowers, a potted plant, or even a single red rose. Nothing was fit for a Mother’s Day gift.
Several other men in my predicament also searched in vain. We looked like zombies from the Night of the Living Dead. The ramp flower guy may be right-I am dead. I became an undead being, bereft of consciousness. My skin turned pale white. My arms rose up in front of me with my hands hanging down. My legs felt so heavy that I could move only by shuffling my feet. My head fell onto my left shoulder. I picked up the chant from the other men, “Flowers! Flowers!”
Finally, I bumped into a woman who seemed to be in charge of the department. Her hair was in disarray, her blouse was wrinkled and stained, and she wore no shoes. She was talking to the governor on the telephone in an effort to have the flower department declared a disaster zone. When I spoke to her, she put the telephone down, and gave me an exasperated look. Actually, the look was one you might see on someone’s face when they see road kill. I asked if there was a possibility of getting a corsage made from carnations. She looked down at the floor and shook her, not so much as if saying, “No”, as much as saying, “I cannot believe this guy”.
I decided to use my well developed technique that seems to help in desperate situations. I began to cry. Immediately she took pity on me. She put my head on her shoulder, and patted my back. “Perhaps,” she said, “They can make you one in the back.” She pointed to the rear of the store. She gave me hope. I now found a purpose for my life. As I shuffled in the direction she pointed, I heard her shout, “Dead man walking!”
When I arrived at the rear of the store, the scene was not much better. Two women were making carnation corsages as fast as possible. Both women had band aids on every finger. As fast as a corsage was made, they stuck in a long straight pin, and put it into a petite white box. The trash was full of flowers ruined by blood from pricked fingers.
When I asked if I could buy one of the corsages, both women immediately stopped working, and looked at me as though I was the guy in the elevator who farted. I knew I was in trouble. For a minute I considered that they might have a shotgun concealed under the counter. The bigger woman of the two came to the counter, and leaned forward, her nose just inches from mine.
“Do you realize how many high schools have their senior proms tonight?”
I did not dare to venture a guess.
She pointed to the stacks of white cardboard boxes, “We still have to make 150 more corsages, and have them ready for pick up in one hour.”
I immediately fell back on my proven technique, and began to cry. My lower lip started to quiver. Tears collected in the corners of my eyes. She softened. “Oh my God, not another crier!” she shouted. “Okay! Okay! Go find a card, and we’ll have one ready for you when you come back.”
I knew where the greeting card department was located. I had spent several seconds there on numerous occasions. I followed a line of zombies headed that direction. It did not look promising. The entire rack of Mother’s Day cards was in shambles. The few cards remaining were torn and damaged. Some had tear stains. There were no envelopes. Once again, I was surrounded by zombies chanting, “Cards! Cards!” I joined the chant.
Suddenly, I had an idea. Only the Mothers’ Day section was in chaos. If I could find another card in another section, it might suffice. I checked the anniversary section and found a card that did not use the word anniversary. On the front it said, “To my loving wife.” Inside it said, “Every year with you is better than the last one.” I had no idea what it meant. It was perfect.
Before I could finish reading the card, a zombie next to me snatched it out of my hands. The undead saw what I was doing and had followed me. Several others now attacked the one who held the card. Fortunately, there was another card in the rack, and I took it. The mindless zombies turned on me again. I noticed a store employee pushing a bucket down a cross aisle. I think she was heading for a cleanup in aisle 9. Quickly I pointed at her and said, “Look! She has more cards!” The undead beings fell for it, and started staggering after her.
By the time I returned to the two flower ladies, my corsage was ready. I returned home carrying the corsage like a cat with a bird, and presented to my wife along with the card. She looked surprised, and uttered those words that every man loves to hear. “I can’t believe you remembered.”