As someone who is usually quite sensible, I have always been fairly certain there were no such things as zombies.  Aside from our dearly departed hamster that had been buried in the backyard, only to be dug up by the dog, I had never seen anything come back from the dead.  Well, there was that one goldfish that I found swimming upside down and I was sure it was a goner, who then made a miraculous recovery.  But aside from that, I’ve always thought, what goes dead, stays dead.

But then my son came home from college and I realized, zombies really do exist.

I noticed the change the minute he woke up in the morning.  He had stayed out practically the entire night before and then withdrew to his room when the first rays of daylight began to peak through the night sky.  Of course, the fact that he seemed repelled by the sun could make him a vampire, not a zombie, but I’m building a case here so I’ll move on.

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He slept the sleep of the dead.  And when he finally arose around noon, he walked with a funny gait, stumbling through the hall as though his limbs had forgotten what they were supposed to do.  His hair stood on end and his eyes were mostly closed.  I still suspected he was among the living… until he spoke.

“Ungh,” he grunted.

“Good morning,” I replied.

“Ungh, ga,” he responded, still with his eyes closed.  He felt along the wall until his hands found the refrigerator door.  Apparently “Ungh, ga” means “I’m hungry” in zombie.

I was grateful that he sought nourishment from the refrigerator rather than from his parents or sibling.  I suspected on some level my zombie son realized he’d have an easier time getting me to reheat some leftover pizza for him than giving up my arm.

With his eyes still mostly closed, he inhaled the pizza and then held up the empty plate.  “Mowah,” he grunted at me.

We had no more pizza and I was concerned that I might arouse his anger if I informed him of this. For the uninitiated, there truly is nothing scarier than an angry teenage college zombie.  You have no idea what they might be capable of.  Anything from an intentional overdose of body spray to an endless blast of loud electronic music.  I shudder.

Deciding I had to take control of the situation, I chose to risk my health and well-being and negotiate a deal.

“Look,” I said to the zombie,  “You go take a shower and wake up and I’ll make chocolate chip pancakes for you, OK?”

He nodded and then stumbled out of the room.

Moments later, his teenage sister walked in.

I took one look at her and I knew.

“Ungh,” she said.