My name is Lucy.
I’m, well, there’s no sugar-coating it; I’m a zombie.
Synonyms for my current state of being might include words like undead, the reanimated, the Living Dead, undying, immortal… take your pick.
What’s that you say?
You wanna know what it’s like to be… dead?
That’s okay; you’re not being rude for asking.
(I mean, not exactly.)
Lots of girls want to know.
(Heck, I used to want to know, too.)
And nowadays I’m not shy about telling them, either.
So I guess I’ll tell you, too.
You wanna know what it’s like to be dead?
Step outside on the coldest day of the year – no fair if it’s above 30-degrees out and bonus points if there’s actually snow on your front stoop – and stand there for, oh, say an hour.
That’s all; just one hour.
60 little minutes.
Now, don’t rush through this hour like it’s some kind of multiple choice test, either; own it.
Own every stinkin’ minute of it.
Own the first minute, when it’s still “fun” to be trying this little living dead experiment.
Own the fifth minute, when you’re still warm from inside the house and your down jacket and puffy new socks aren’t quite letting the cold in – yet.
Own the 14th minute, when the “fun” factor has worn off and the cold has seeped in and your toes are frosting over and you’re starting to realize just how long 60 frickin’ minutes can be.
Then own the half-hour mark, when your teeth and chin and even your eyelashes are chattering and you’re wondering why you’re out here in the cold when you could be watching TV with your feet up and a cup of hot cocoa in your hand.
Own the 45th minute, when you are flat-out over it and don’t know how you’re going to last the next 15 minutes.
But you do; somehow… you do.
Then, after that hour – after that long, cold, frigid, frosty hour – right about when you’re dying to step back inside by the fire and warm up your hands and blow your dripping nose and slip that cup of instant hot cocoa into the microwave… don’t.
That’s right, don’t go back inside.
Do not stamp your feet on the inside welcome mat, do not go straight to the kitchen, do not pour that packet of hot cocoa in a Christmas mug full of water and insert it into the microwave and, whatever you do, do not start looking around for last winter’s bag of stale mini-marshmallows while the cocoa is nuking to a hot, velvety, frothy boiling point.
Instead, start taking off your clothes, one item at a time.
That’s right; DO NOT go back in but DO, by all means, start disrobing.
First take off your fancy leather gloves, then your monogrammed ski cap, hoodie or parka, then your poofy down jacket, then your other jacket, then your sweater, then your shirt, then your bra (if you’re a girl or… whatever), then your boots, then your ski pants, then your long johns or leggings, then your panties (if you’re a girl or… whatever) then, finally, your socks.
Are you bare yet?
Are you completely unprotected from the elements?
Standing there in your birthday suit?
Do your goose bumps have goose bumps?
Is there snow, or at least frost, between your turning-blue toes?
Is your out-y and inn-y?
Is your hair – and I mean, all of it – frozen in place?
Good; very good.
Now stand there for another hour, and another and… get the picture?
That’s right; now you’ve got it: Death.
At least… it is for a zombie like yours truly.
It starts cold, it stays cold for a couple hundred years and – or so I hear – it ends even colder (if you can imagine).
Meanwhile our skin is cold, our faces are cold, our breath is cold, our feet and hands are cold, our stomachs are cold (and empty).
It sucks, at first, but like everything else in the Afterlife, you get used to it.
In fact, you get so used to it that you forget that your skin is roughly the same temperature as an ice cream cone.
So used to it that you get lazy and bump into people in the halls at school and are only reminded that your skin feels like an ice cream cone when they look at you funny and have to rub the spot of skin where they touched yours just to get it back up to its normal temperature.
So used to it that even after the school installs new paper towel dispensers in the bathroom that have those little red sensors that detect human body heat you stupidly put your hand under there expecting – actually expecting – a paper towel to come out.
And that, dear readers, is where our little story begins…