It was only a matter of time before America’s love/hate relationship for the dead would rear its ugly head. America’s growing addiction to living vicariously through the dead — namely vampires, zombies and Keanu Reeves – took a stake in the heart last weekend in my hometown Iowa City, when an alleged zombie was physically assaulted at a restaurant for breaking dead Jim Crow laws, which were supposedly buried over fifty year ago – only to be resurrected in the 21st century.
In regard to mainstream America’s pop-lust for zombies (e.g. “Shaun of the Dead,” “Zombieland,” and The Rolling Stones), this lust has been fed from a distance, usually through two-dimensional mediums – unless you get your fix through a plasma television. But now that zombies are feeling more comfortable in their decaying, leathery skin, they are more inclined to come out of the idiot-box and expose themselves to the mainstream public, slowly dragging themselves across tabooed invisible lines and intermingling with the living.
“Brainnnzzzzzz…may I have the next dance with your juicy brain, sexy mortal?”
Such was the case at Panchero’s Mexican Restaurant in Iowa City when a patron, who for whatever reason felt threatened and called the victim a “zombie” before first punching him in the eye, then the nose – inevitably breaking the latter. Iowa City police are still searching for the suspect and Crimestoppers has offered a reward of $1000 (or the cash equivalency of pickled brains) for any information leading to the arrest of the suspect. To help bag the alleged zombie-beater, police have released the following photo captured by a security camera from a nearby blood bank:
Given when and where the alleged zombie attack took place should be a cause for grave concern. Most locals, dead and alive, know that Panchero’s is not a fertile breeding ground for zombies, especially amongst the after-hours drinking crowd, whose brains are stewed in cheap beer. Moreover, most of the clientele consist of hormonally-repressed college boys who were unable to score at several nearby meat-markets and need to fill the void with a two-pound burrito (your pun here). Granted, like most of their mortal counterparts who drink domestic beer by the pitcher, I’m guessing zombies also crave empty calories on occasion.
Because crimes perpetrated against zombies are rare (or are rarely reported by zombies; I’m guessing for every assault reported there are at least a 1000 that go unreported), news of the zombie assault was picked up by national news affiliates across the U.S. However, what the corporate-news lifeline failed to report is that Iowa City is a very welcoming community, especially when it comes to treating zombies as if they were alive and granting them the same rights and protections as their mortal counterparts.
Moreover, the zombie community has been more visibly active in Iowa City lately and refuses to stay underground — as if they were ashamed of being dead. To increase visibility during the daytime hours, the zombies staged a Zombie-Pride march in broad daylight in September, marching (if slowly dragging your clubbed feet counts as marching) from a local cemetery to downtown. They carried signs to ensure their voices could be heard, shouting lively chants such as “We’re zombies, we’re proud and we want to eat your brainzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.”
Furthermore, to help zombies feel as if they fit in to the art scene, the Iowa City Community Theater staged “Zombie Prom” the past two weekends and encouraged zombies to out themselves and come to the musical in full regalia – a zombie coming-out party, if you will.
And since the attack, leaders from the zombie community and zombie sympathizers have publicly decried the senseless attack and are pressuring authorities to treat the assault as a hate crime. After all, zombies are fairly harmless, not to mention dead, yet some zombies who have been victims of assault still manage to maintain their compassion, as demonstrated by Freddy in “The Return of the Living Dead” when he was assaulted by Tina and said:
“See? You made me hurt myself again! I broke my hand off completely at the wrist this time, Tina! But that’s okay, Darlin’, because I love you, and that’s why you have to let me EAT YOUR BRAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIINS!”
Besides, if America is truly concerned about a new class of citizens eating the collective brains of our society, I think it is safe to say we’ve already been doing that for years – slowly eating our young from birth:
(Disclaimer: no brains were consumed, at least literally, during the penning of this post.)