Night of the Living Bed

Posted by jdg | Wednesday, January 28, 2009 | , ,

At six o'clock the other morning my daughter starts pounding on my chest and asking me over and over to tell her about Night of the Living Bed. I moan and turn away, wrapping a pillow around my ears.

Hours later, I ask my wife why I dreamed about my daughter interrogating me about some zombie porno movie. "She woke up excited and all she could talk about was zombies," Wood said. "I told her you liked zombie movies. I guess she misheard one of the names."

"This is not cool," I say. "I never should have bought her that stupid zombie finger puppet."

* * * * *

She is always asking about monsters and ghosts and strange creatures, and she seems less scared by these things than the idea of losing a meatball. She loved stories of ghosts last fall, and now zombies seem cool because they take the whole idea of ghosts a step further: they're not just dead people, they're dead people in dirty clothes who want to slurp down your medulla oblongata like a jumbo shrimp. Plus they try to get into your house and aggressively recruit you to join their ranks. Like Mormons.

I would describe my daughter's interest in zombies more as fascination than fear. She actually begged me to buy her the zombie finger puppet---a female one holding a brain---but when we got it home she told me to hide it in her closet. A few days later she whispered to my wife, "I know that zombie girl is in the closet." So I brought it downstairs. Even with the puppet exiled among boxed Christmas decorations and piles of ill-fitting clothes, I still have to field random questions concerning zombie lore throughout the day. Why do zombies only want to eat brains? Why do they shamble so? Are there child zombies?1 What about zombie fairies? What happens in Night of the Living Bed? I recently made the mistake of showing her the Thriller video, which BLEW HER MIND because she had no idea that ZOMBIES CAN DANCE. "Do zombies take dance classes?" she asked. Then, as if we were Filipino prisoners with nothing better to do with our time, we had to practice zombie choreography in the living room. I didn't sign on for this.2

Watching the Thriller video, all I could think was God that looks just like Detroit. The Hollywood fog looks just like the smoke drifting from steam tunnels you see everywhere. The shambling hordes of walking dead, not so different from the slightly less-animated crowds of drunks, crackheads, and whores shuffling around 3rd Street just south of MLK. I made a mental note to avoid that particular block in the future, lest I face extreme disappointment from the backseat when all the guys with the facial fungal infections and tattered clothes reaching slowly towards our car won't dance without financial or pharmaceutical compensation. Local hipsters recently staged one of those zombie walks, but they had to do it in the suburbs because if they'd tried it in the city I don't think anyone would have noticed. Detroit always kind of feels like the zombie apocalypse, but with more wheelchairs. Our lepers make Molokai look like Club Med. Here haggard souls bang on the boarded-up windows of old houses looking for copper pipes instead of brains. But they probably wouldn't turn down brains if a local hospital paid $3.00 a pound for them.

Sometimes, after a lot of her silly zombie talk, the kid needs some reassurance: "You've been around for 31 years and you've never seen a real zombie, right?" Right, I tell her.

Just don't look out the window, kid. Ever. This bed doesn't need another squirmy little person in it every night.

1I swear if she asks me to tell her "The Story of Zombies Go to the Mall" one more time I am going to order this.

2I know zombies rank right up there with pirates and ninjas and robots in the hipster pantheon of beloved ironic personages (has Dave Eggers opened a zombie store yet?), but I swear other than buying that stupid puppet and playing that video and answering her questions I have not encouraged this in any way. But now that I've put it that way, I guess this is all my fault.