Chapter One: In Which I Get My Zombie On

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I like to collect things. I started with stickers and stamps, and then graduated to comic books and travel-size soaps, shampoos and hand sanitizers. But my favourite collection is my range of drug pens.

My mom's a doctor and every week a parade of pharmaceutical ((note:  Pharmaceutical (pronounced: Farm-a-suit-ick-al): it's kind of a big, fancy word for medicine) sales people come to her clinic to ask her to prescribe their brand-name (expensive) medicines instead of the generic (cheap) pills. They always give her little mementos like pens with the names of the drugs on them. And since Dr Mom only needs so many pens, she gives them to me.

I've collected two hundred and thirty-three drug pens, ranging from Aspirin to Zoloft. I have pens for depression, acne, high blood pressure, arthritis, and onefor nasal follicle overgrowth (that's an adult way of saying: ay too many nosehairs). My favourite pen is for a drug called Gastellex, which treats 'aggressive flatulence' (an adult way of saying: really bad farts) and it even makes a fart sound when you click it. You get all the funny fart sound without the actual smell or unseen poo particles spreading around the room. It's funny and hygienic! Win-win. I have pens for all sorts of ailments and diseases, but I don't have a pen for death.

In fact, there is no drug pen for death because (and yes, I have checked Wikipedia) there is currently no known treatment, therapy, ointment or cure for death. Hence, no pen.

People die and they don't come back. Death is the series finale of life, and there's no reunion show. It sucks, but it's true. And unless it happens to guys like Darth Vader's boss or Osama Bin Laden, it's pretty sad.

Death is a one-way street with no U-turns and no exceptions

But now there is an exception. Me.

The zombie.

It's the best description for my condition. And not to be a stickler for detail – but once you're dead, there isn't a whole lot left to be a stickler for – I've decided to come to terms with the label. Sure, there are other words I could use: reanimated, walking dead, living dead, resurrected. But none of them feel quite me.

Reanimated sounds like I've been escaped from the Disney vault.

Walking Dead is that scary TV show, and I'm pretty sure it's a registered trademark.

Living Dead, well, that's literally a contradiction in terms.

Resurrected, maybe, but let's face it, that one's got a lot of Jesus connotations.

No, it's zombie all the way for me. I've been given a lot of labels in my twelve years of living – neurotic, sensitive, precocious, shower-hogger; and while I may still be all of those things, my new defining characteristic is probably that I'm technically dead.

I have no pulse, am legally deceased, and was even buried in a coffin that was very hard to climb out of. At this point, I should give Mom and Dad a major shout-out for not going all cinders and ashes on me. They cremated Gran when she died and then put her mortal remains in a ceramic urn. Thanks, guys, for not buying me a one-way ticket to Urnville!

So, instead of adorning the mantelpiece with Gran, I dug my way out of what I'd later learn was a very expensive coffin using my NinjaMan throwing- star belt buckle (and thereby reducing its resale value on eBay). Of course, no one had thought to bury me with a set of house keys. When I finally made my way home, with the driest throat ever, I ding-donged the doorbell like I was trick-or-treating at my own house . . . and waited.

And waited.

It was a balmy Sunday morning. The gentiles were in church, Mom was in the back yard replanting her flower beds, and Dad was probably on the fourteenth hole.

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