So, the very cool J.J. Anderson featured me on his blog for my flash fiction writing! Go forth and check out his blog, including the parts that aren’t about me! But then come back. Because I love you and we gots shit to do together today.
Aside from the awesome factor of this gentleman carving out a chunk of his blog for yours truly, there was a moment of head scratching where I thought to myself, “Self,” I thought, “haven’t you written a bit more flash fiction than all that on your Fiction page?”
And then after another moment of head scratching, I thought, “Why, yes. You have.”
Part of it was J.J. attempting to track down a bit of Twitter flash fiction he’d seen and lost in the abyss of The Timeline, which happened to be about killing a chicken. I thought, “I just wrote a blog post about not doing that.” My second thought was, “And I wrote a piece of flash about doing EXACTLY that.” I sifted through the Engine of Search (that’d be Google) and found it. And posted it on my fiction page where it belongs. Which has really nothing to do with this post at all. This post is a whole other thing.
You’re welcome for that ramble.
This post is my ineligible contribution to last summer’s End of the World Flash Fiction Contest, which I ran in July. It was a highly successful and awesome contest, and I had fun creating my own entry just for the halibut. The prompt was, in essence, happenings that occur the day before the end of the world. My preference was for human snapshots, moments that show they don’t know what’s coming — but you, O Wise Omniscient Reader, you do. I hope I captured that essence in this flash fiction piece.
Additionally, this happens to be my 500th post. *nostalgic sniffle*
I thought about doing something extravagant, like tooting a kazoo on YouTube or painting my face with gold. But then I thought to myself, “Self,” I thought, “you’re a writer. Your 500th post could totes be a bit of your writing. You know, the fiction kind. As opposed to the other kind that normally pollutes people’s eyeballs with this blog.”
(I usually don’t use the word “totes.”)
So here you go, gentle viewers. Here’s my little snapshot of the day before the end of the world. I hope you enjoy. And happy 500th postiversary to me!
by Emmie Mears
I hear the chuffing growl of the engine just as the cherry of my cigarette hits the filter. It’s close, but I can’t see it. But I know what it is.
“Shit.” I stomp on the butt and kick it into the grass. “Shit.”
I come around the corner just as the tow truck lifts my battered Buick onto its back axle.
“This yours?” The driver’s mouth is pinched and puckered like a dog’s asshole, and she spits on the ground before I can get the image out of my head.
“I was just having a smoke. I gotta get back on the road. My kid graduates tomorrow.”
“I’ve already done the papers, Mister. Sorry.” Her hand is creased like her mouth, and it feels like leather when her skin brushes mine as she offers a business card.
“Look. Please? I haven’t seen my little girl in five years.” My fingers jab at the healed track marks at the crook of my left arm, and as the driver’s gaze follows, I pretend I’m slapping a mosquito. “I gotta be there.”
“Maybe you should’ve left earlier.”
I snort a laugh. “Yeah, maybe. Ended up losing my job anyway.”
Her jaw slackens as she takes in my appearance. I know what I look like. Boots like barely tanned leather. Jeans I had to scrape the cow shit off of before the laundromat owner let me wash them. White button down I got for two bucks at the Second Run Thrift Store and spilled mustard on at dinner. Yeah, I know what I look like. Burned out cowboy who took too many do-si-dos with needles.
“Where’re you headed?”
She nods. Hope tickles my chest.
“Yard’s open all night. You should hit the Texas border by four or so. It’s not the end of the world.”
It’s half past ten. “How much to get my car out?”
Could be worse. Could be five. This way, it’s fifty bucks less than I got to my name.
“Where’s the yard?”
“Five miles down Route 15. Turn right there,” she points. “And just keep walking. You’ll see it.”
“Can’t I hitch a ride with you?”
“It’s not allowed.” She slams the door of the tow truck and tips her hat at me. “Good luck getting to your girl.”
The sun’s long gone to sleep, but the Mississippi air smothers me before I make it a mile. My white shirt soaks through in minutes and clings to my chest.
It’s almost midnight before I make it to the yard. My stomach’s sounding like the tow truck, but I hand over my two fifty-three to the attendant, grab a Slim Jim and a Coke, and snatch my keys from his hand.
“Second row,” he says.
Little Lou’s graduation is at one. I’m gonna make it.
I crank the air as soon as the engine turns over, and it cools my skin and brightens my mood as I speed west.
I’ll be there.
Tomorrow I’ll make things right.
If you’re anything like me, you probably first heard the word “parkour” and imagined some sort of vastly posh mode of putting your vehicle into a state of immobility whilst you take care of various errands. Like “valet,” but with more pizazz.
My good friend and newly minted ZAP Strategist Larz Yerian was thoughtful enough to be concerned about all our safety in the event of zombies. He’s even got the answer to the question of what you do when you’ve got a half-decayed once-human dribbling unmentionable viscera on the pavement and heading your way with a groan.
You use parkour and get your ass out of there.
There is a slumping behind you and some gross gurgling. You run down the street, glad that you’ve improved your endurance over the years. But more creatures appear down the side streets, hemming you in. You backtrack, only to face the original zombie. They fumble toward you, dead eyes glinting hungrily.
The ledge to your left! One foot there to propel you toward the railing of the fire escape, then over the railing and up the stairs. But the building is still surrounded, so from the roof a quick dash and a jump to the next building’s roof with a nice roll. Parkour just saved you from being zombified.
Parkour, you think, that’s hard! Sure, but like any physical activity, you start gradually and work your way upward. And you too can be a traceur (practitioner of parkour).
Parkour isn’t about crazy flips and dangerous tricks. It’s about moving efficiently from one place to the next regardless of what may be in the way.
So let’s go over some basics that could save your life eventually, but for now are just a fun way to work out.
There are several sorts of vaults, and their purpose is to get you over a low
obstacle in an upright position. I’ll let Epic explain the basic progression on the most basic vaults.
Wall Runs and Climb-Ups
This combination of moves will get you up a taller wall. Again, Epic has the best tutorials.
On that particular wall, Epic turned it into a sort of vault at the end and swung his legs to the side to land lower than the original wall. Alternatively, if the wall does not drop off, or if it drops off too far, you should ‘top out’ by planting both feet symmetrically between your hands on the edge.
Landing and Rolls
Perhaps the most important part of parkour is how to land safely.
Simply jumping off something is a good way to sprain and ankle or hurt knees, especially after doing so repeatedly. Again, Epic shows us how best to land and roll.
But it’s hard to just jump right into all of these moves. That’s where conditioning comes in. The two most important exercises are simple: push-ups and pull-ups. However there are a few more good ideas, so we turn to my instructor, Ryan Ford as he walks us through many important parkour conditioning exercises.
Follow this link for a list of beginner conditioning videos. Each one works a certain area of the body for more efficient movements.
So that’s it. Mastering these moves and conditioning with these techniques will place you well ahead of the pack. And ideally, parkour shouldn’t cost you a dime. You don’t need a gym membership, only some useful architecture and the willingness to get banged up at first.
Your wrists and ankles may become a bit sore. Rolling may induce some dizziness. Anything on bars will cause calluses and even blisters. Progress slowly. The pain goes away and it’s definitely worth it in the end.
Don’t become a zombie. Become a traceur.
Strategist Yerian is a long time friend of mine, writer, and fitness enthusiast. He kicks ass. You should follow his blog.
We’re on to Round Two of EOW Chosen voting! Congrats to our two advancers from yesterday, N.E. White and C.F. Waller!
Afsaneh Khetrapal, “Long Overdue” versus Jeffrey Hollar, “At Journey’s End”
You can read these entries HERE.
Eleni Sakellis, “Honeymoon at the End of the World” versus Ruth Long, “Original Sin”
You can read these entries HERE.
Now are you ready to rock? 😀
I can’t work out to the beat of my own heart. I need some tunes to get going. Plus, I love the training montage in my head complete with a horde of zombies slavering at my heels.
So here are my favourite bits of music that get my blood and body pumping. Enjoy!
1. Albannach — Self Titled
I listen to the full album during cardio sometimes. Not only does it include a nice 4 minute warm-up before plunging into high-energy drumming, but the album has highs and lows that make intervals natural and fun. Just try and tell me this music doesn’t light a fire under your kilt.
When I’m coming to the end of a cardio workout and want to power through another fifteen minutes? Get ready.
2. Rob Zombie, Dragula
Ever since I first heard this song on the Matrix soundtrack, it’s been the “Fuck yeah!” song for me. (By the way, you can find that on YouTube too — it’s a killer remix that’s even darker and grittier. Which you need when you’re fleeing or fighting zombies.
3. Rob Zombie, Never Gonna Stop
This song gets me moving. I have it on a playlist right after Dragula, and it keeps the pace up, keeps me going toward the goal.
Love Rob Zombie. Love him.
Time for a serious throwback…
3. Powerman 5000, When Worlds Collide
Talk about intervals. The build in this song is perfect for short, high intensity bursts followed by steady, controlled action. Plus, I still remember seeing it on TRL way back in the day with Carson Daly. I think that was the same summer as Nookie.
4. Orgy, Stitches
Holy throwback — this might have even been the same summer as Nookie and When Worlds Collide. This song is great for keeping it controlled and steady for a few minutes.
5. Miss Kittin, Kittin is High
Miss Kittin just rocks in general. Her music keeps a pulse throughout, and it will get you through the tough parts in a workout. Need a little female badassery? Look no further…
6. Miss Kittin, Barefoot
Kick some ass barefoot tonight.
Need I say more?
I need music that makes me feel dangerous. Which makes sense, considering I need to imagine zombies chasing me to want to run.
I also switch it up between Muse, Meshuggah (if you want to get REALLY hardcore), and a few others.
What’s your favorite Zombie Apocalypse Preparation soundtrack?
- Zombie Apocalypse Playlist: Five Rob Zombie Songs for Fighting the Undead (loudwire.com)
- ZAP! The Zombie Apocalypse Preparation Fitness Programme (emmiemears.com)