Deadweight

The class presentation that started it all . . . and the zombie outbreak that ended it

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Written by Rodolfo Boskovich, SFU Student

“OK, I guess we may as well start,” I say to a roomful of students. “So! I’m gonna talk about the different aspects of—”

The door bursts open.

A decaying corpse stumbles in, Starbucks drink in hand. Raw meat and instant noodles — the scent spreads to every corner of the room. The corpse groans incoherently as it makes its way up to me.

“Oh! Cool! Dave, you made it.”

From my seat, the prof raises his hand. I nod for him to go ahead.

“I thought you had the flu, David?” he asks, tentatively. “You already feeling, er, better?”

Dave groans and looks over at me.

“I must have read that email wrong,” I quickly cover. “It must have not been that serious. Anyways, now that we’re both here—” 

Dave’s arm falls off its socket. The Starbucks cup explodes on the desk in front of us. Scarlet and gooey, something is spreading across the laminate, enveloping my laptop.

I jerk the laptop away and start wiping the desk with my sleeve.

“Do you need any napkins?” asks the prof, getting up to help.

“No, no, it’s all good,” I say. “I got it on sale, anyway.”

“If you’re sure . . .” says the prof. “David, why don’t you start us off while he’s dealing with that, then?”

Head bobbing slowly and silently, Dave looks at his arm on the floor.

“His mom gave him that arm,” I chime in, pushing the goo in the garbage. 

“Ah—!” The prof seems somewhat abashed. “David, do you need a second?”

Dave looks at me, groans, and shakes his head. He begins groping his pockets with his remaining arm, looking for something. His hand dives inside his ribcage and pulls out a crumpled piece of paper. Gingerly, he places it in front of him on the gooey desk and starts to unfold. There’s only one word on the page.

Dave gurgles and spits something out. Clearing his throat, he shouts—

“—Braaaains!”

. . .

Hand trembling, he folds the paper back up and puts it back in his ribcage.

“I think the PowerPoint is really going to make sense of what Dave here is getting at,” I tell the class, putting the laptop back on the desk before turning back to my partner. “Right! Did you bring the HDMI cable?”

Dave looks back at me, pupils slowly swelling.

“No, yeah, that’s fine. I can just—we’ll just wing it. It’s good,” I stammer, closing the laptop. “The first aspect that we’re going to talk about has to do with, um—”

Dave’s left leg crumples, and crumbles, under him. Losing his balance, Dave bashes his head on the desk as he falls He’s lying in a pool of flesh crème brûlée.

“You know, Dave? Why don’t you just take a seat?” I urge. “I can take it from here.”

He nibbles on my leg under the desk.

“No, really, it’s fine,” I say. A shiver runs up my calf, through my thigh. “That flu looks serious, man. Just . . . take a seat.”

Dave’s hand shoots up in the air. He grabs the desk for support and sits himself on a chair.

“Before you get started, I just want to remind you,” the prof calls across the lecture hall, “I’m grading you as a group.”

“Ah—” I punch the desk. Little specks of red dotting the top . . .  “Son—! of a! Braaaains!

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