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Stop the Zombie Genocide NOW!

In 1968, George A. Romero released the film “Night of the Living Dead.” The film attempted to marginalize the event that occurred by claiming that they were the construct of radiation from a fallen meteor. The film has become a cult success, and was the catalyst that started a genocide that last through today. There is no possibility of ever counting the number of individuals lost since they are not even recognized by any current government. (Romero, 1968)
Zombies were not always demonized, for instance in ancient Romania, like humans, there were good (Moroi) and evil (Strigoi) zombies. After rising from the grave, they were even invited into the homes of their family members from when they were alive. But as time went on they moved on from being accepted to being feared and hated. They were treated as the villains in popular fiction, and people began to seek after and destroy them for even existing. In Haiti and other places Zombies were used as slave workers as seen in such films as White Zombie. (Butkus, 9)
So after hundreds of years of marginalization, and mistreatment, a group of “Zombies” revolted. Outside Philadelphia, they rose from their graves, no longer able to take the injustices placed upon them and their brothers. This sadly ill-advised event kicked off a genocide unseen through out the rest of the world. Since 1968 countless Zombies have been murdered day in and day out. This is a horrifying enough occurrence on its own. However what makes it worse is that this genocide is not only accepted, it is celebrated.
The entertainment industry has made fortune from the Zombie Genocide, with books, comics, movies, and TV Shows dedicated to the demonization and destruction of our living dead brethren. Few show zombies as anything other then mindless beasts intent on our destruction. Yet talk to any zombie and you would find on the whole they are anything but. Most are just intent on living their lives out in peace. Sadly few get the opportunity to. Now there are zombies that do eat the living, within the world of the living dead they are referred to as Ghouls.
As with the Genocides in Darfur, Sudan, and the Balkans, no distinction is made between one zombie to the next. They are beaten, chopped up, stabbed, set on fire and shot purely because they do not belong to the same classification of life as we do. There are no refugee camps for them, no one, no where will accept them. The human race has failed in our duty to protect those who can not protect themselves. This must not stand.
I do not advocate that zombies be left to their own, that they should not obey our laws, and should not adapt to the lands that they live in. Society is a give and take. If a ghoul should attack another person and kill them, then they should be punished just as any other human would be. Equality is the key. Until we treat zombies with equality, there will never be any incentive to end this genocide.
I remember my first encounter with a zombie. The prejudices that I was raised with raged in me to bash her head in with the bat that was in my hand. Common knowledge really, you see a zombie you kill it. Before they kill you. That is what my father taught me, and his father taught him and so on and so forth. But I held off on swinging my bat, something was not right here. My heart was pounding in my chest; it felt I was breathing much too hard, her stench making me want to gag. I was terrified, just waiting for her to snarl and snap and try to take a bite out of me. That is after all what the movies and books and comics have taught me.
She looked at me and smiled. She was saggy and droopy, but I could tell that she was once a comely woman and her smile would have been very becoming. She was probably thirty five when she died, only a few years older then me. I couldn’t tell how long she had been dead, it is different with each zombie, the rate they decompose, but she was no longer living that was for damn sure.
So I am standing there, my bat in hand ready to swing, and she is smiling at me, when I realize she is holding a ball in her hand. She tosses it underhanded to me and I catch it. Her smile is bigger now and she looks from me to the ball, expectantly. I hesitantly toss it back. She giggled as she caught it. That was the point I learned that everything I had been taught about zombies was wrong.
It was this chance meeting that I started to seek out others who felt the same as I did. We began talking and planning and organizing events all in the name, the hopes, and the knowledge that one day this genocide will stop! I joined Living for the Dead, the organization dedicated to ending this Genocide. I traveled to refugee camps, and made speeches before the governments of the world.
All to no avail. This hatred of the undead still reigns supreme. IF we are to keep any claims to humanity at all, we must unite and end these atrocities. It goes by with out being said often enough, that these poor men women and children we are killing are members of people’s families. They were doctors, and lawyers, preachers and cops. Every job we as humans have ever conceived, they have done with us.
In closing I ask you, next time you come across one of the living dead, will you raise your bat, pull back your bow or aim your gun at their head and let loose? Or will you give them a chance to be known, to live the second life they have been given in the quiet and solitude? Will you be human and show mercy? Or a monster and sow death? As Abraham Lincoln once said, “We—even we here—hold the power, and bear the responsibility.”

Works Cited:
1. Night of the Living Dead. Dir. George A. Romero. Perf. DVD, BluRay. Image Ten, 1968. DVD.
2. Butkus, Mike. How to Draw Zombies: Discover the Secrets to Drawing, Painting, and Illustrating the Undead. Irvine, CA: Walter Foster Pub., 2010. Print.
3. United States. Cong. Congress. By Abraham Lincoln. December 1, 1862 Cong. Cong. Rept. Print.

Hey Heather,

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Madworld: Zombie

He shook his head trying to clear it. When did he fall asleep? How long did he sleep? He glanced around and saw that the fasten seat-belt signs were still on. The inflight movie had ended, and it looked like they were halfway though the next movie. Something about two young kids who get their wires crossed or something. Goddamn he hated inflight movies. Either they were edited to hell, or just pure drivel. This one appeared to be on the drivel end of the scale.
His head just wouldn't clear. A headache was forming, maybe from the air pressure or something. And for the past few days he just couldn't shake the tired feeling that has been with him. He just couldn't wake up. Shit, the headache was just getting worse. He wished he had just stayed asleep. At least then he wouldn't notice it. But he wasn't so lucky. His headache kept getting worse.
He closed his eyes, wishing he could just go back to sleep. His body ached, he hadn't noticed that before, but as he closed his eyes letting his mind drift, he could feel the dull throb in his limbs. He hated planes. Every damn time he flew in one he got sick. He was sure it was mental, but then again, it was flu season. He drifted off to sleep with out even knowing it.
A hand on his shoulder gently shaking him. Telling him it is time to get up. He doesn't want to wake up. Even in this half-sleep state he can feel the sickness, his headache raged, the ache in his muscles pounded in him with each heartbeat. The stewardess was telling him it was time to go, that they had landed at their destination. “I's sorry ma'am, I must have been really sleeping hard.” He gave her his most beguiling smile, and saw the vague look of concern leave her face.
Walking out of the planes hatch and down the steps, he is hit with a blast of warm air. Its humid too. Damn is it humid, suddenly it hits him, faster then he could have imagined he turns and vomits over the rail. “Sir, are you okay?” The stewardess asks, concern in her voice.
Catching his breath he looks up at her wiping his mouth with the back of his hand and smiles sheepishly, “Yes ma'am, just a touch of the flew I think.” She looks at him concern mixing with pity, “No need to worry ma'am, I'll be fine. Just gonna go to my room and take some flu meds, be right as rain in a day or so. Plenty of time to enjoy this beautiful island.” He smiled again, hoping there was no vomit on his teeth and walked down the steps.
He was sent to the island on an assignment. A piece of fluff really, more of a paid vacation then anything. All he had to do was get a report from some old man who witnessed a plane crash ten years ago. An anniversary piece. They gave him three weeks to do it. Three weeks in paradise. Though he wasn't the type of man to slack off on the job, he intended to take full advantage of this assignment. He was tired, had been for weeks. Not physically, not tired in that sense, but emotionally. The story about the girl did it to him.
She was ten. She should have lived a long wonderful life. She could of too, rich family, all the amenities a child could want. Lots of love in her family. And one day a drifter, he didn't even know drifters still existed really, a drifter saw her in a park. That was all it took for hell to descend on that town. She was taken, beaten, murdered and then mutilated. She was found in the park he took her in. The drifter must have spent all night on it.
There was a path leading into the little grove of trees, along either side of the path, where people could see from the street, he lined each side of it with the little girls intestines. When the intestines ran out he used her major organs, then at the end of the path, a doorway to hell. He had flayed the flesh from her bones and using bone and flesh made a bouquet of gore.
This was too much for him. As a reporter he always tried to be objective, to keep himself separate from what he saw. This one got to him. His writing wasn't the same after. And so this trip. Something to get his mind off of things. All expenses paid. The paper insisted. So he took it. He needed it. When they asked he didn't put up a fight, didn't argue, but he did ask why? This trip was bound to cost the paper lots of money. They replied that he made them more in an article than this trip would cost. So he left.
He wakes, the throbbing is back, the ache in his body wracks him, and the nausea is worse then before. He didn't even make it ten feet before he threw up all over the floor. By the time he reached his bathroom he was vomiting again. Soaked in sweat he crawled back in bed, not even noticing he was crawling through the refuse from his stomach. As he laid in bed, he started feeling hungry. He groaned, vomit still in his mouth and he wanted food. God did he want to eat!
Compromise, he thought, he reached over to the night stand next to his bed and opened a bottle of sprite he had bought on the way to his room. Sipping it slowly he wondered if he would be able to keep it down. He didn't. He was still puking when sleep came on him, sometime in the night he must have stopped, for sleep he did. And dream, he dreamed like never before...
He saw the little girl again, stitched up like a ten year old Frankenstein. Her little eyes looking at him lifelessly, she sat in a corner like a rag doll. They were the only ones there. In a big empty room, he in one corner and she in another. She was dead, dead and gone. He knew this, he had actually been on the scene, he had taken the pictures. But even as he watched she twitched, and an eerie green light slowly rose in her eyes. Brighter and brighter they glowed. And she moved, her mouth opened in a soundless scream, her body rose as if a string was attached to the top of her head. She lifted her hands towards him and began to stumble after him. All the while her eyes got brighter, and she got closer. He couldn't move, the fear held him to in place. Then she was upon him. Her mouth sought his flesh and
He awoke with a shudder. The smell of vomit, the stink of flesh and piss...flesh and piss, when did he piss himself? Must have been the dream, but even then he was too weak to move. He could feel his heart beating in his chest, it was slow, too slow. And he wasn't sure but it felt like it was getting slower. For the first time since he got sick, he felt fear, real fear. He tried to move, he willed his body to obey him, it didn't.
Realizing he was dying, he marveled at the inglorious end he was to have. He always died a hero in his dreams. Breaking down the door of a burning building, throwing a someone to safety just before the bus hits, stopping a robbery. He didn't even realize when the end came, it just did.
He died hungry.
He woke hungry.
Memories were crumbling in his head, as fast as he had them he lost them. But somehow he didn't care anymore. He rose from his bed, the floor felt different to his feet. He felt it, every fiber of it, but it was distant. It was like the memory of feeling. He touched his chest, his face, the walls, he felt them he knew he did, but at the same time he didn't. And with each passing moment he felt less. Just enough to know that he was touching it, but with each second he felt less and less texture.
Then he realized that this was not the important thing. There was something important that he need to remember, but he couldn't figure out what it was, his cognitive ability was deteriorating rapidly. Hunger. He saw the vomit on the bed, he should smell that. Hunger. But he could smell something down the hall. Lots of something. His hunger roared at the smell. He stumbled to the door. He could remember what that was, but there was a trick here, some way to open this, this, thing in front of him. He kept trying to figure out, his hands wouldn't work. And he couldn't figure out how to open this damn thing!
With frustration rising he smashed his fist against the door. Again and again. His hunger was overcoming him. He could smell it, meat. He knew what it was. He knew it would satisfy this hunger growing in him. But he couldn't get through this thing blocking his path. He smashed his fist harder and harder, it didn't move. In frustration he opened his mouth and a moan of anger, loss, and most of all hunger.
Time lost meaning to him. And then he heard it, a tentative knock on the door. A voice calling out to him, “Sir are you all right?” The smell was overpowering! His stomach roared, but all that came out was another moan. The knocking became louder, and then a pounding. The door shuddered. The voice was louder too, shrill, attached to the meat. And then the door burst open. Knocked him back, onto the floor. He didn't feel it. No pain at all. He looked at the meat before him.
It was saying something, he didn't hear. But suddenly a sense of coordination filled his limbs. Instinct took over. The only thoughts left were his hunger and how to satiate it. He leaped, catching the meat by surprise. It pushed him back before he could lay his teeth into it. He leaped again, this time his meat struck him. He heard a cracking sound and suddenly his jaw didn't work like before. But he could still bite. This time he lead his launch swinging his arms. He caught the meat in the head, shoulder neck. He just kept swinging his arms, the meat backed away.
Then it fell. On its back. Instincts told him it was vulnerable. He went in for another bite of meat. He succeeded. His teeth sank into the flesh along the side of the meats neck. Warmth spurted into his mouth, a salt to his meal. His hunger rose up in him more powerfully then before and he launched into another salvo of bites. Tearing chucks of meat from his food, he ate and ate.
He was still eating when the taste changed. He sits back and looks at the meat before him, tentatively he leans in for another bite. He let the meat fall from his mouth. His hunger wasn't satisfied but the meat had changed. It lost its smell, its taste. Then the meat moved. Slowly it got to its feet. They both heard a noise away from them. Turning towards they snarled and raced towards it...

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Lullaby of Bombs Draft Two

Even in my bunk I could hear the dull rumble of the explosions half a mile to shore.  It was a back drop to my dreams, and the soundtrack to the day.  Lebanon was being bombed. Right or wrong, Israel was unleashing its fury against Hezbollah and any who may protect them.  If Hezbollah was rumored to be somewhere, it would not be long before a bomb would drop.  It would do as bombs were intended to do, destroy buildings, disrupt life, and kill innocents.  Welcome to the summer of 2006, come, take a ride with me. 
            The USS IWO JIMA was for my standards a massive construction.  The size of a World War 2 Aircraft Carrier, the IWO carried a nice tidy number of two thousand Naval Personnel and over Three Thousand marines.  She carried on her a small arsenal of death in the form of aircraft and helicopters and the ammo they used. Bombs, bullets and fuel. I found out one day we carried over a hundred thousand gallons of fuel.
Ships are dangerous places too, on a deployment of six months, a ship is very lucky if only ten or fifteen people die. Once walking along the catwalks over the fuel pits, a sailor fell into the tank. His partner, trying to do the right thing, trying to save his friend, jumped in after him. I don't know if he didn't understand the physics of gas, or if he didn't think with anything other then the desire to save a coworker, a “Shipmate” which we all are. On a ship you have to be, there is no other option. But the end was the same for them, one fell in, one jumped in, both died. You see, you don't float in gas, you sink, and die. Shortly before I arrived on board, while working in the engine room, the steam pipes burst, killing the engine-man who was working in it. His name was Hercules, so the Navy in its way, named the engine room after him. These deaths took place while the ship was stationed in port. Also before I arrived or the deployment. Ships are dangerous. Believe it.
It was a prison nicely constructed for people who were dumb enough or patriotic enough to volunteer.  You decide which.  Day in and day out we were slaves to routines every hour of everyday the same.  We wake up and go to work, we work for twenty hours a day, then sleep four hours a night. In the morning wash, rinse, repeat. Anything that deviated from the monotonous norm was celebrated and looked forward to.  Even if that deviation was the bombing and the deaths of other people.  We were that hard up.  We were that imprisoned to our routines. 
The feeling of excitement amongst the Marines was palatable.  All that was on their lips, thoughts and minds was getting into Lebanon and taking out Hezbollah I don't think they could tell you why. As far as they were concerned Israel was their Allie and Israel was bombing the shit out of the Hezbollah Their unit, 24 years ago, were the ones who entered Lebanon, and now they were up for round two.  The passageways of the ship wrung with excited chatter from the Marines, and no few number of Sailors as well.   
            I was not among them, I did not join the Navy to kill. Though kill I would if it came down to it, I can not claim any excitement at the prospect outside of video games.  And for the six months on the IWO we were deployed video games were non existent, so there you go.  I woke up on this particular morning and went about business as normal.  Get in the shower. BOOM.  Towel off.  BOOM.  Brush teeth. BOOM.  Get dressed. BOOM, BOOM, BOOM…
            I don’t know if the sound of the explosions were just in my head or if they really did river beat through the ship as they seemed.    I heard it.  It was real enough to me. Or it could be just bad memory. That is entirely possible. It has been a few years now. But I maintain that I am not bat shit crazy and that the bombs were going off. Since I am the Narrator I get what I want in that respect. Enough said there. 
            The barracks I lived in housed over 90 other male sailors.  All of us E5 and bellow.  It was a maze of bunks stacked four high with curtains to protect you from the prying eyes of others.  Our bunk space that we had to sleep in was only as wide as my four-arm is long.  I tested this theory often.  Boredom does things to you.  Out side the maze of bunks, through seal-able watertight doors, was the ship at large. 
            Tubes and wires and boxes lined the passage ways.  Pipes full of steam surround you on all sides, were a pipe to burst or be punctured, a jet of steam would shoot out at five thousand psi. If it burst completely, then the area it was in would be filled with scalding, killing steam in seconds. If it was punctured, then a jet of steam would shoot out strong enough to cut a man in half. Its happened, it happens, its the way of life on a ship. Walking down the corridors is a tight fit for two people to walk abreast one another.  Claustrophobic are not good matches for ship life.  And really, I do hope you like the color Grey.  You will see a lot of it. 
            Shortly after arriving at my office someone came in and talked to my RP1.  She then came and asked us if any of us were interested in volunteering to go to another ship and helping evacuees.  My partner declined so I accepted.  I had an hour to pack for three days.  Food and what not would be provided on the other ship.  Good enough for me. 
            The helicopter ride was quick, cramped and exciting.  The last helicopter I was in was designed to be flipped upside down and sunk in the water.  Needless to say, this helicopter didn’t do either of that.  I am not complaining mind you, I think I’d rather not like being dumped into the ocean in a helicopter  They are a real bitch to get out of.
            We landed on the ship.  It was going to be decommissioned soon and then sold to India.  Within months of my landing on it in fact.  It was a good thing.  The ship was rotting away at the seams.  The engine room had about a foot of standing water covering the floor.  Its funny, I can remember details about the ship, it housed a full complement of five hundred sailors, and it was made in World War 2.  But for the life of me, I can not remember the name of it.
            Over the next two nights, we took on over 1800 evacuees from Lebanon and transported them to Turkey.  The experience was surreal, but it is a story for another day.  We returned from Turkey and as the ship prepared to take on another group of people a helicopter came and took us home.  Home.  There it is.  The crux of this story.
            How is it that someplace that imprisons you can become your home?  Despite the routine, the daily grind, I befriended people there.  We were a floating city, there were allies to be had, enemies to be made and loves to be found.  We were all caught up in the machine but even then we lived our lives and fought our own battles. 
            That night I went back to my bunk, cold and lifeless as it was.  I crawled into my sleeping bag and I went to sleep.  I didn’t like being there.  I wanted to leave.  But for the time being it provided all I needed and more to live.  I had a home, it came with a price, but it was my home.  I closed my eyes and continued to hear the ever distant, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM.  And there I slept with my fucked up lullaby.

Idol

I walked away from God sometime ago. The reasons are myriad, none of the in honesty, justified, but all of them deeply heartfelt. God did not walk away from me. He pursued me, never giving up on me, or allowing me to harden my heart beyond repair. Over the years, He has brought me back to Him. And in so, has given me a new desire to not only pursue Him back, but to know and obey Him better.

It is in trying to know and obey the Lord that I began to read the bible through from the beginning. And thus, after my brief introduction, I come to why I am writing today. While reading from Genesis, and currently reading Exodus, I do notice one (of many) prevailing themes in God’s message:

Exd 20:4 “You must not make for yourself an ”uc">idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea.

God commands that we have no idols, and yet it has been laid on my heart that we as Christians very well may have done just that and built ourselves and idol. So ingrained in our Churches that even bringing it up may be seem as blasphemy by some. I speak of the Cross.

I see in churches a vast emphasis on the Cross. And while I do not deny the important deed done upon one, the salvation of mankind through Christs sacrifice, I do believe we have made idols out of the Cross. Please allow me to explain myself. What Christ did for us, I can not even put into words the importance, the glory, the joy of that sacrifice. Wordsmiths better then I have failed to describe it and give it the weight and duty it deserves while describing it. But Jesus dying for our sins, taking our punishment, and raising from the dead, thus securing our salvation before the Lord, is and (I pray) always will be the most important thing that has ever happened, that has ever been done for me, in my life.

I do not deny Gods place in this act, please do not think I do.

Nor, please believe me, do I think I am somehow superior or better than any other person here. I am aware of my failings and of how unworthy I am for this gift that God has given me in His grace.

I pray that what I say IS of God and not a perversion of a truth I am trying to convey.

We, and I do mean WE as Christians the country over (I am inclined to say the world over but as I am not as traveled as I wish I can not say for sure) have put too much of our attention and worship to the Cross and not on Christ Jesus who died there. We have songs dedicated to the Cross, most of us have them in our homes, many (myself included) have tattoos depicting it. We worship the Cross.

And there lies the problem. We worship the Cross. Yes we worship God as is right and good and called for. We worship Jesus for the same reasons. But we worship the Cross as well, and that is not right, it is not good, it IS idolatry. Our focus our praise and our salvation should rest upon Jesus and God, not a man made tool for Jesus’s brutal death. Yes he died on it for our sins, but the greater thing to me is the man who died, not what he died upon.

I hear few sermons that do not at some point bring up the Cross, they usually somewhere in there say to “Remember the Cross” I hear even less Songs of worship that don’t. The tattoo I got was even based off of one such song. The words of which that inspired me to get the tattoo were “I know what I am worth, I remember the Cross.” Beautiful sentiment but I am beginning to believe that it is wrong. Should it not be, “I know what I am worth, I remember Christ” maybe not as flowing, but much more true.

I am told to lay my sins at the foot of the Cross, not in the hands of Jesus, but at the foot of the Cross. My friends, my brothers and sisters, I am not saying that we are intentionally doing this, I do not blame anyone for this, nor do I think this is some grand scheme from man. I do however think it is a grand scheme from Satan. Lucifer is the great deceiver, and in my experience the deceptions that worked the best and were the hardest to see were the ones closest to the truth.

We are earnest in our worship, but over time, Satan has, I believe, warped our view, slowly turned our attention from Jesus to the Cross he died upon.

Again, it is my great failing that I cannot put into words adequately what is placed upon my heart. And I am aware that I may be the one deceived, that we are not idolizing the Cross, and I pray I am the one who Satan has duped. But I fear that this is of God, and that we are all idolizing something that is SO close to the mark but still SO off.

I offer this in humility, perhaps instead of focusing on the instrument let us all strive to focus on God and Christ Jesus more.

And please, if I am wrong, if there is a Biblical basis for this that I have missed, educate me. I strive to be a man after Gods heart, but I am still a man. Washed clean of my sins and forgiven, but still failing to be perfect.

Lullaby of Bombs

Lullaby of Bombs


Even in my bunk I could hear the dull rumble of the explosions half a mile to shore.  It was a back drop to my dreams, and the soundtrack to the day.  Lebanon was being bombed. Right or wrong, Israel was unleashing its fury against Hezbollah and any who may protect them.  If Hezbollah was rumored to be somewhere, it would not be long before a bomb would drop.  It would do as bombs were intended to do, destroy buildings, disrupt life, and kill innocents.  Welcome to the summer of 2006.  Come, take a ride with me. 
            The USS IWO JIMA was for my standards a massive construction.  The size of a World War 2 Aircraft Carrier, the IWO carried a nice tidy number of two thousand Naval Personnel and over Three Thousand marines.  It was a prison nicely constructed for people who were dumb enough or patriotic enough to volunteer.  You decide which.  Day in and day out we were slaves to routines.  Every hour of everyday the same.  Anything that deviated from the monotonous norm was celebrated and looked forward to.  Even if that deviation was the bombing and the deaths of other people.  We were that hard up.  We were that imprisoned to our routines. 
The feeling of excitement amongst the Marines was palatable.  All that was on their lips, thoughts and minds was getting into Lebanon and taking out Hezbollah I don't think they could tell you why. As far as they were concerned Israel was their Allie and Israel was bombing the shit out of the Hezbollah Their unit, 24 years ago, were the ones who entered Lebanon, and now they were up for round two.  The passageways of the ship wrung with excited chatter from the Marines, and no few number of Sailors as well.   
            I was not among them.  I did not join the Navy to kill. Though kill I would if it came down to it, I can not claim any excitement at the prospect outside of video games.  And for the six months on the IWO we were deployed video games were non existent so there you go.  I woke up on this particular morning and went about business as normal.  Get in the shower. BOOM.  Towel off.  BOOM.  Brush teeth. BOOM.  Get dressed. BOOM, BOOM, BOOM…
            I don’t know if the sound of the explosions were just in my head or if they really did river beat through the ship as they seemed.  Since if they were in my head and could not be heard as clearly as I heard them would bring into question my sanity at the time I conveniently choose to gloss over it from this point.  I heard it.  It was real enough to me. Or it could be just bad memory. That is entirely possible. It has been a few years now. But I maintain that I am not bat shit crazy and that the bombs were going off. Since I am the Narrator I get what I want in that respect. Enough said there. 
            The barracks I lived in housed over 90 other male sailors.  All of us E5 and bellow.  It was a maze of bunks stacked four high with curtains to protect you from the prying eyes of others.  Our bunk space that we had to sleep in was only as wide as my four-arm is long.  I tested this theory often.  Boredom does things to you.  Out side the maze of bunks, through seal-able watertight doors, was the ship at large. 
            Tubes and wires and boxes lined the passage ways.  Pipes fool of steam surround you on all sides, it’s a tight fit for two people to walk abreast one another.  Claustrophobic are not good matches for ship life.  And really, I do hope you like the color Grey.  You will see a lot of it. 
            Shortly after arriving at my office someone came in and talked to my RP1.  She then came and asked us if any of us were interested in volunteering to go to another ship and helping evacuees.  My partner declined so I accepted.  I had an hour to pack for three days.  Food and what not would be provided on the other ship.  Good enough for me. 
            The helicopter ride was quick, cramped and exciting.  The last helicopter I was in was designed to be flipped upside down and sunk in the water.  Needless to say, this helicopter didn’t do either of that.  I am not complaining mind you, I think I’d rather not like being dumped into the ocean in a helicopter  They are a real bitch to get out of.
            We landed on the ship.  It was going to be decommissioned soon and then sold to India.  Within months of my landing on it in fact.  It was a good thing.  The ship was rotting away at the seams.  The engine room had about a foot of standing water covering the floor.  Its funny, I can remember details about the ship, it housed a full complement of five hundred sailors, and it was made in World War 2.  But for the life of me, I can not remember the name of it.
            Over the next two nights, we took on over 1800 evacuees from Lebanon and transported them to Turkey.  The experience was surreal, but it is a story for another day.  We returned from Turkey and as the ship prepared to take on another group of people a helicopter came and took us home.  Home.  There it is.  The crux of this story.
            How is it that someplace that imprisons you can become your home?  Despite the routine, the daily grind, I befriended people there.  We were a floating city, there were allies to be had, enemies to be made and loves to be found.  We were all caught up in the machine but even then we lived our lives and fought our own battles. 
            That night I went back to my bunk, cold and lifeless as it was.  I crawled into my sleeping bag and I went to sleep.  I didn’t like being there.  I wanted to leave.  But for the time being it provided all I needed and more to live.  I had a home, it came with a price, but it was my home.  I closed my eyes and continued to hear the ever distant, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM.  And there I slept with my fucked up lullaby.
I’ve never volunteered for a race before. The opportunity never came up I suppose. Though that is a bit of a lie. The opportunities came up but I just never paid attention to them or had too much going on. Or I was just being lazy. I am sure the lazy part has more to do with it then anything. See I am an inherently lazy person. If I have something to do, I work hard at it, but when I don’t, I just shut down. I don’t want to do anything.

Now that, I am sure, is because of my depression. I do suffer from that. But that is a story for another time I suppose. I am doing what I need to do to fix it at least. Running is a big part of that.

I wanted to run the race, I wanted to test my strength and race. But my knee was still injured, and well I am broke. So I volunteered with my running group. I am not too sure they knew I was coming, so I just went to the first aid station I found. They were unloading boxes each filled with six gallons of water. There were twenty or thirty of them in a quad-com. So I joined them. I figured that if I couldn’t find my crew, I might as well volunteer where I was.

The people were nice, all of them worked in a plastic surgery office. Those are big here in Reno. Why work to be skinny when you can just have someone make you skinny. Now granted, in times of desperation I considered doing just such a thing. I can understand the need people have to look better, and the fear they have of trying it on their own and not being able to succeed. We chatted about random things as we unloaded the quad-com, and soon enough the thing was empty.

As luck would have it the race coordinator pulled up then and offered me a ride to where my running group was volunteering. I arrived there, and once that quad-com was unlocked, unloaded that one as well. Tables set up, water out, Gatorade mixed and out, oranges, and bananas sliced. We were ready for the runners to come. And come they did.

The first runners, the leaders of the Marathon, came and went, too focused on their run to stop. Once the main body of marathoners arrived, we started passing out water and encouraging the runners. We had this. We worked a system out that enabled us to get water, Gatorade, oranges and what not to everyone who wanted. We rocked. No one went with out water. That’s the way to do it!

We refilled and restocked when they were gone. Any minute now the half marathoners would be here. The fore runners came and went like the Marathon’s. And then it hit the fan. It could best be described, I think, as a horde. Like zombies, grim and determined, some bloated, and others wasted away to nothing. And of course everything in between. Instead of the groan for brains, I heard an over whelming groan and cry for “Water!” or “Gatorade!” and my favorite, “Got a Bloody Mary?”

They shuffled towards us, more and more coming in a seemingly never ending wave. We passed out water, running back and forth, filling up Dixie cups full of water. But then the real horror came. The Marathoners returned! The Half Marathoners were still coming, and now the others returned. We were besieged on both sides by runners. Desperately we watered and hydrated them. By the end we had lost one of our volunteers. I don’t know what happened to them, but they were gone. I suspect that they were swept away by the crowd.

And then it was over. The hordes were gone. We had a steady trickle, varying from manic, to ghoulish. But even that group soon slowed to a trickle. And the next hour was filled with waiting and cheering the groups of one or two that came through. And that is how I survived the runners. I must say harrowing as the experience was, I would do it again.