Sunday, June 26, 2011

Here is Chapter 1 of Samurai Zombie Hunter

I have not been editing Samurai Zombie Hunter as I said that I would be. I simply don't want to do it and Wimbledon tennis has not been helping. I somehow end up at home watching the tennis grand slams whenever a grand slam tournament is on.

But today, being a day off from play, I put in a little editing time and got through Chapter 1. I swear that Samurai Zombie Hunter has wrecked me, but reading chapter 1, I'm not sure why I hate it so much.

Here's chapter 1. People have told me that most of my other books are page turners but this is the first one that I actually tried to make a page turner.

What's your opinion of it? Should I hate it with the intensity that I do? Let me know. Here it is. Enjoy! (This has been updated is the first 3 comments below)


How C.R.A.P. Started

The first reported case of zombie-ism occurred in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. It is believed that a Brazilian missionary took an expedition into the rainforest and was bitten by something like a fly squirrel. There were no symptoms initially so physicians gave him a fresh round of rabies shots and thought it would be more than enough.

After 4 years the missionary showed up in a hospital in Rio with a hollowed out face and the black circles under his eyes that are now so closely associated with zombie-ism. He had extreme muscle and joint pains and curving and hardening of bones. And more than those physical symptoms, he had basically lost his mind. The doctors thought that it could be a form of rabies that they hadn’t identified and started a new round of treatments. The treatments didn’t work and eventually he died.

Now, this is the part that is more rumor than fact. It is said that while in the hospital they were able to bring him back to a relative sanity and ask him about what he had been experiencing. What he described were bouts where uncontrollable cravings which lead him to feed on the brains of unsuspecting tourists. He figured that if he stayed away from people from his perish and from his neighborhood, there was less likelihood of him being discovered.

Some of the tourists reported the incident locally, and others reported it to their embassy. But basically everyone’s approach was that ‘it was Rio.’ Most people just assumed that it was really a case of too much alcohol or some sort of sex-vacation gone wrong. And those that were taken seriously were tested for all of the germs that are usually transmitted when a human bites another person. The tourists in the end, however, always tested as clean. The victims were always alive and clean. What more could they ask for?

After the missionary showed up in the Rio hospital, people started to show up in hospitals around the world. Cities in Europe and the United States were the first to see incidents. A year later incidents started to appear in Asian and African countries.

As the global health community realized that they had a potential pandemic on their hands, they counted incidents of reported attacks instead of hospitalizations. And those were the numbers that scared the experts. In the initial year reported there were 2,000 attacks reported in the US. Keep in mind that attacks are underreported because once you have reported being attacked, you are labeled a possible health threat. No one wanted that.

But even with the threat of being labeled, the number of reported zombie attacks jumped to 4,500 the next year. The year after that it jumped to 15,000. The year after that it was at 70,000. Two years ago, the year for which they had the most recent data there were over 12,000 attacks reported in Los Angeles County alone. And a third of those attacks occurred in Silverlake the small artsy, hipster community northwest of downtown L.A.

Silverlake was an obvious place for zombies to hide because it was so easy for someone that showed physical signs of the virus to blend into the community. Sunken eyes, a disregard for hygiene, mismatched clothing; these were all signs of virility in Silverlake. In Silverlake, this was referred to as zombie chic.

There were those, however, that disagreed with this seeming cultural acceptance of zombie-ism. You didn’t have to be a world health genius to see the writing on the wall. This was indeed a pandemic. Infections were increasing exponentially and there wasn’t even a possibility of a cure on the horizon. That meant that in maybe 5 or 10 years there could be more infected people than there were healthy people. But the big question that everyone asked was ‘what do we do about it’?

The life cycle of the virus was anywhere from a few months to about 5 years depending on how healthy the victims were before they were infected. Recreational drug use quickened the appearance of the infection as did obesity. Generally healthy people didn’t see any physical symptoms for 3 years and the yoga doing, vitamin popping meditators could last on the outer end of 5 years. But there was yet to be a case reported that didn’t involve the infected person dying.

So here is the issue that all of the world health organizations struggled with; as of yet, there was still no test for zombie-ism; there was no cure for zombie-ism; and depending on the general health of the victim, the victim could go on to live 4 or 5 healthy years.

There was a catch though. Even though the physical symptoms didn’t kick in for a few months or years, the cravings started almost immediately. The US government released reports that stated that the initial cravings weren’t any stronger than that of a crack addict or a cigarette smoker. But as time went on, it wasn’t so much that the cravings increased as much as it was that a person’s resistance to those cravings wore down. And psychological studies showed that once a zombie broke the seal of satisfying their cravings, subsequent attacks were sure to follow.

The gray area that these facts created for the world health organizations was that zombies had the potential of being law abiding members of society. So is it right to treat another human being as guilty because they possess the potential of committing a crime? If a man really loves a woman and through no fault of her own she gets zombie-ism, should they be allowed to get married? Or should the woman be treated as a soon-to-be criminal that can never become legally bound to another human being?

In the US, the zombie problem was handled on a state by state basis. The attitudes in Los Angeles and New York were very different from that in small towns in the Midwest and the south. In a small town in Texas, it was said that their town’s welcome sign that read ‘Don’t Let the Sun Set on Your Brown Skin In This Town’ was replaced by ‘Don’t Let the Sun Set on Your Zombie Skin in This Town.’ So on a good note the introduction of zombie’s did, in part, improve race relations.

But on the other hand when a person was ousted as being a zombie the backlash was horrible. Zombies had reinvigorated the Klu-Klux-Kan in many areas. The practice of showing up at someone’s house with hoods and torches had become very popular again. Corpses in various stages of zombie-ism were once found lining the streets of a Selma, Alabama. And a man that shoots someone suspected of being a zombie could never be convicted in a southern court.

There was even a case where a man had shot another man. And within the trial the defendant couldn’t find anyone to say that they suspected the victim to be a zombie. But in the closing argument the defendant’s lawyer said that this was a clear cut case of “zombie panic” and the shooter got off. After the case ended it came out that the victim was sleeping with the man’s wife. But it was too late; the term “zombie panic” had become a part of American vernacular.

Zombie panic was the phrase given to an act of assault which occurred when a person thought that he was about to be attacked by a zombie. It was considered a kind of crime of passion. Soon after that case there were hundreds of cases of zombie panic which were all settled in the defendant’s favor. After a while all a shooter or vigilante had to do was mention the phrase ‘zombie panic’ and they wouldn’t even be cited for a ticket.

That is when the federal government stepped it. They issued a statement saying that ‘zombie panic’ could no longer be used as a ‘get out of jail free’ card. The president said that each case would have to be trialed and that cops had to arrest anyone that killed another person or zombie no matter what the circumstance.

That was when the Coalition for the Rights of Ascended People was formed. C.R.A.P.’s stated goal was ‘the species purity of the American people’, but everyone knew that it was just a legal front for the destruction of zombies everywhere. C.R.A.P. took the president’s declaration about zombie killers to the Supreme Court and won. There was no precedent for their decision, so this was a clear case of conservative activist judges shaping the country into their own image.

As the zombie panic cases again skyrocketed, the President’s team weighed their options and their strategy for dealing with C.R.A.P. which had become a political movement. C.R.A.P. was gaining hundreds of members by the day, and it became clear by anyone watching that they had their sights on the White House. And unless the President came up with a viable plan to deal with the zombie pandemic, C.R.A.P. would win.

Chapter 1

Sex and Zombies

“So I’m walking down West Silverlake Drive because like usual I have to park a fuckin’ mile from my place. I look across to that park on the corner and I see these fuckin’ tweaker kids chasing after this zombie bitch. And you would think the bitch is doing that zombie stroll they do, but she’s bookin’ it. And these kids are like 15 or 16 and you gotta think that they’re meth’d out, so when the zombie bitch gets ahead of them, you would think she’s free. But just as the bitch looks like she’s gonna get away, another tweaker pops out of nowhere and she has to change direction.

So I’m watching this shit go down and she starts running next to the street. And I’m 300 feet away so I’m like ‘this shit is real,’ ya know. And just when the guys are about to tackle her, this fuckin’ bitch cuts out into the street and this fuckin’ Ram, fuckin’ Dodge 4x4 truck smacks the hell out of her. And this fuckin’ bitch rolls across the grill of the truck and flies like 200 hundred feet in the air.

And I’m standing there and I’m like ‘what the fuck,’ because this bitch is headed right for me. I’m like holy shit because I don’t know if I should move left or right. But in the end I’m just frozen there and the fuckin’ bitch lands right on top of me and knocks my ass to the ground. And I’m like ‘what the fuck? What the fuck!’

And I’m looking right at her and she has an oozing wound on her forehead. And her face is all sunken in. And she’s all pale with those fuckin’ zombie dark circles under her eyes and she’s drooling. And I’m screaming, ‘get the fuck off me! Get the fuck off of me!’

And I’m like shaking and squirming because this bitch is right on top of me. I mean her fuckin’ cooch is sitting on my nads, ya know. And I’m like ‘get the fuck off me’. And she’s like ‘Ahhh’. I’m like ‘Ahhh!’ And she’s all squirmin’ and stuff.

But I finally push her off me and I get up to my feet. I look down at her who looks fine by the way, because you know how these fuckin’ zombie’s are indestructible, right? And I get right over her, look down and scream ‘what the fuck, bitch’. And she looks up at me, smiles, points and says ‘Donavan’.

And I’m like ‘how does this fuckin’ zombie bitch know my name?’ So I scream at her ‘how the fuck you know my name, bitch?’ And she laughs and mumbles out ‘Bar Bar bathroom’ and then laughs some more.

And just then I look up and this 16 year old tweaked-out motha fucka who pulls back this fuckin’ axe and cuts the bitch’s fuckin’ head off. That fuckin’ head rolled like 20 feet. So I ran into the fuckin’ street and got down over the head and yelled again ‘how the fuck do you know my name, bitch?’ But the thing is finally fuckin’ dead and it still has a smile on its fuckin’ face.

So I check myself out for scratches and bite marks and I’m fine. And instead of goin’ home, I now walk my ass back to the fuckin’ car and drive my ass down to Bar Bar because I know this fuckin’ place. This is where me and my two boys used to trail for tail. And when I get there it isn’t fuckin’ open yet because it’s one of these places that don’t even open til, like nine. But I know the manager so I get in.

I’m like ‘what up’. He’s like ‘what up’. And tell him about this fuckin’ zombie bitch and he starts to smile. But it’s not one of those ‘ha ha’ smiles. It’s one of those ‘I know something that you fuckin’ don’t’ smiles. And the fucka couldn’t even look me in the eye after that. But he says go ahead and I check out the men’s bathroom. After I couldn’t find anything I realize that the zombie bitch probably meant the woman’s bathroom.

So I go in and I look in the first stall and on the wall is this fuckin’ picture of me carved in the paint. And this is some fuckin’ Rembrandt shit because this fuckin’ thing looks exactly like me. Like if I could take this home, I would hang it on my fuckin’ wall because it is like a fuckin’ picture. And underneath this fuckin’ picture are the words ‘for a really bad time in bed call…’ and it’s my fuckin’ phone number. Do you believe that shit?

So I scratch out ‘bad’ and put ‘mind-blowing’ and I leave with this shit stuck in my head. Do you believe that shit? Some bitch put that shit in the bathroom at my spot. But I start thinkin’ about this and the more I think about it, the more this shit is fuckin’ with my head. So I start to doubt myself. Because that is a whole lot of hate that it takes to sit in that fuckin’ stall for hours and carve that fuckin’ picture in paint. The fucka even shaded it in. I’m tellin’ you, fuckin’ Rembrandt!

So if that bitch could have so much hate in her to sit and do that, she must have been seriously pissed off at something that I did. And that’s not hard to believe because I have worked over some bitches in my day. But I started thinkin’, I’m good in bed, right? Yeah I’m good in bed.

But it plays on your head when you see shit like that. So I asked myself, ‘who would know for sure? So that’s why I called you. You had fun when we were doin’ it, right? I mean, it was good right?”

There is a long pause on the phone.

“Lucy?” Van asks losing the nerve that the lather from his storytelling had allowed him.

Lucy sat dumbfounded on the other end. Her mouth hung open and her porcelain skin and red hair made her look like a blow up doll.

“Lucy?” Van asked again wondering if she was still on the line. He pulled back his cell phone to make sure that the call hadn’t ended. “You still there?”

“Ummm… yeah.”

“So, ummm, when we were doin’ it, you had a good time, right?” Van asked again a little more scared at what the answer might be.

“Well, that was back in college. I really don’t remember much from back then.”

“I thought you said that I was your first?” Van asked not believing her answer.

“You were.”

“And you don’t remember your first guy? Come on. We did it for 3 straight years. We were like fuckin’ rabbits.”

“Oh yeah,” Lucy conceded with disappointment over her failed attempt to evade the question.

“Well, you had fun, right?”

“Ummm… fun?”

“Yeah. Wait, what?” Van asked with the sweat once again beginning on his caramel colored face.

“It was my first time, and I’m sure it was your first time…”

“It wasn’t my first time,” Van interrupted confused how she could make that mistake.

“It wasn’t your first time?”


“I just… never mind. Look the deal is that it was a long time ago. And my self-esteem is a lot higher than it was back then. And neither of us knew what we were doing, so I’m sure that you learned a lot since then.”

“Well of course. But I’m sayin’ that it wasn’t bad, right? I’m mean, you wouldn’t describe all of the times that we did it as bad, right?”

“No… not all of it. I’m sure that if you gave me some time I could think of sometimes that…”

“If I gave you some time?” Van said with surprise.

“What I’m saying is that I’m sure that you’ve gotten better. And I’m sure that you don’t do the barking thing anymore. Hey look, you should call a woman that you have been with more recently than us, because Don, before this call, we hadn’t spoken in 10 years. In fact, how did you get my number?”

Van pulled the phone away from his face. He had a look of genuine surprise because he definitely hadn’t seen this coming. Certainly Van had not always engaged in the ancient art of foreplay. But he always considered it something that pussy boys did. And Van was no pussy boy.

And certainly Van didn’t always go all night. Not saying that he couldn’t go all night, it was just that when you pump a woman at 10 pumps a second, you tend not to last that long. But the way that Van always looked at it was that if instead of measuring absolute lengths of time, you instead measured pumps per orgasm, he got in more pumps than anyone. Van had once gotten it up to 1000 pumps. When he was done he immediately got up and scrolled through the Guinness World Book of Records online. Unfortunately, at that time pumps per orgasm didn’t exist as a category.

Hanging up the phone, Van next called Hillary. And with the lather of sweat once again glistening on his face he mentioned the true reason for his call. “So when we were together, you thought I was good in bed, right?”

Hillary was a blaisan woman that he had met while working at Kinko’s. It was his first job out of college. Back then Hillary was a little heavier than the fit girl that now talked to Van from the other side of the phone.

“Ok, the first thing that you should know is that my self-esteem is a lot higher than it was back then,” Hillary began. “So if you really wanna know, I’m gonna to tell you the truth. Do you want me to tell you the truth?”

With fear, Van spoke. “Maybe you should just stick to the generalities.”

“Ok. So, what was up with the barking?” Hillary chided.

Hillary leaned forward in her chair and elaborated. Hillary’s response was similar to Lucy’s response; which it turned out was similar to Vanessa’s response; which was similar to Candy’s response. And all of the responses had one thing in common. All of the women had somehow gained a lot more self-esteem than they had since dating Van. It was almost like being with Van was the inspiration behind them elevating how they thought about themselves.

“Do you know how cocker spaniels are all over the place?” Lilly began.

“Yeah, why?” Van asked.

“You know how they can’t focus on anything for too long and they drool all over the place?” Lilly continued.

“Uh huh,” Van replied not liking where Lilly was going.

“Well I think that you should find a woman that really likes cocker spaniels. Because they would probably be into what you do.”

“What do you mean by that?” Van asked devastated that even Lilly, his china doll, would be so mean.

“Well, first of all,” Lilly began again, “you only did it doggy style and you humped me so fast that I thought that you were going for some type of record.”

Van couldn’t disagree with that because he was going for a record. A true athlete never takes a day off.

“And then after you raced to the finish line you would stand up on the bed, bark a couple of times so the neighbors could hear, and then yell, ‘I’m the big dog now’.”

“Yeah, that was my thing,” Van said meekly.

“But that’s not all. Then you would get out of bed, stand in front of the full length mirror, grab onto an imaginary waist and simulate whatever you did to me while watching yourself in the mirror. What was up with that?”

Van didn’t answer.

“And the thing is that you would keep doing it until your ding-dong got so soft that your man juice would fling across the room. I would have to spend the first 10 minutes after you left cleaning up the walls, the carpet… Do you know that Mr. Fluffy Bunny still looks like he has a lazy eye from one of my nights with you?”

“Was Mr. Fluffy Bunny that pink stuffed rabbit you had?” Van asked doing his best to make it sound like she was weird for having a stuffed rabbit at her age.

“Yes, Mr. Fluffy Bunny was the stuffed rabbit that my mom gave to me when I was six. You know, the one that she gave me before she died?” Lilly said raising her voice a little but still not in an angry tone.

‘Ouch,’ Van thought.

“But you know, there is someone out there for everyone,” Lilly added trying to focus on the positive as her self-esteem classes had suggested. “I think that if you could find a woman that’s really into cocker spaniels, she might like that whole thing you do.”

Van had taken just about as much as he could handle in a day. But there was only one more person on his list entitled ‘bitchez I’ve banged’ so he figured he’d push through.

“Well, you have some nerve calling me again,” Margo said.

That response surprised Van because he didn’t remember their encounter ending badly. Sure he banged her and then never called again. But it was a woman he met at Bar Bar just before it closed. That was clearly bang, bang. The first bang was the sound of his balls hitting her clit. And the second bang was the sound of the door closing on his way out. Propositions offered at 1:58 am just after the lights at the bar turned on, could never be anything more. So yes, Van said that he would call her as he was leaving, but he was also sure that this wasn’t her first rodeo.

“What? What did I do to you? What could I have possibly done to you?” Van said feeling the lump that developed in his throat whenever he felt like he was going to be humiliated.

“What did you do to me?” Margo asked with a shocked irate tone. “Well, let’s see. You were the most inconsiderate fuck that I have ever had. First off, there was no foreplay. Second, you didn’t cuddle afterwards. And, oh yeah, you ate my fuckin’ brains!”

Van shook his head to reprocess what he had just heard. “What did you say?” Van asked feeling his day’s humiliations redirecting themselves.

“You heard me you fuck wad. You ate my fuckin’ brains,” Margo repeated at full volume and clarity.

“Don’t you ever fuckin’ say that again. Don’t you ever fuckin’ say that again!” Van yelled standing up on his side of the phone.

“What, that you ate my fuckin’ brains, you fuckin’ zombie ass piece of shit,” Margo said in a cool unintimidated voice.

Van could feel his rage begin to surface. And Van knew that after the rage, would come the blind rage. “If you say that again, I will come over there and I will fuckin’ tear your head off. You hear me? I will fuckin’ rip your head off and shit in your neck. Is that what you want? I know where you live you psycho bitch.”

Van’s anger might have been misdirected, but it was justified. Calling someone a zombie was the biggest insult that anyone could call another person. But more than that, all throughout Los Angeles and especially in Silverlake, there were these punk-ass vigilantes that prided themselves of ridding the world of zombies. And when any of the vigilantes started hearing rumors that someone was a zombie, they would show up in the middle of the night with an axe or some type of sword and end the rumor.

Van didn’t disagree with what they were doing. In fact, he liked it. His attitude on a daily basis was that as long as zombies didn’t fuck with him, he wouldn’t fuck with them. But like most people, Van thought that the world would be better off if there weren’t any more zombies in it.

The mindset in Los Angeles was a lot different than it was in the Midwest and the South. For the most part, people were still arrested when it wasn’t a clear case of zombie panic. In other words, the zombie had to be foaming at the mouth for the cops to simply walk away. In cases where the victim wasn’t showing clear physical signs like the distinct circles under their eyes, then the cops would ask a lot of questions. You still had a good chance of being released but you had to have a really good story to support the evidence.

Silverlake though, was considered the zombie ghetto. So if you had a real problem with zombies, you moved. But even with Silverlake’s zombie status, house prices were still outrageously expensive. It wasn’t really families with children moving in though. It was more likely zombies and inter-zombie couples. Inter-zombie couples had a very hard time renting and buying homes in communities with a lot of kids. But in Silverlake they were just like everyone else.

It was averaged out that there were 10 zombie attacks everyday in Silverlake. A few occurred during the day, but most occurred at night. Some occurred after a zombie would get really drunk at a bar and start making out with someone. In that case flirting often turned into kissing which then could turn into a bathroom stall encounter where the victim learned that they weren’t the one that was going to bite off more than they could chew. But in these cases the zombies could be forgiven. Who hasn’t gotten really drunk and done something that they regretted and would never have done if not for that 4th glass of ‘adios mother fucker.’

The attacks that were most hated and that were most likely to get the zombie’s head cut off happened on dark sidewalks and alleys. In Silverlake there were a lot of houses and apartment buildings that were separated from each other by alleyways. These alleys feed the garages of all of the buildings on either side of it. Those zombies who had plans of satisfying their cravings often lurked in the shadows in those unlit alleyways. And when a car drove by the zombie made its way to the driver’s driveway.

Often times the attacks could be avoided if the driver was paying attention. But around 2am when the bars closed, often times people made bad decisions. As if they needed it, this was another reason that ‘Mother’s Against Drunk Drivers’ gave for why people shouldn’t drive drunk.

When the zombie was able to sneak up to the unsuspecting driver, the result was often quite horrific. A zombie feeding wasn’t a pretty sight. Zombies are often joked about as being slow, but if anyone had seen a zombie attack they would reconsider their assessment.

Once a zombie was able to get within 5 feet of you, the attack was inevitable. And even for a drunk person, a hungry zombie standing 5 feet away was impossible to miss. Zombies breathed harder when they were about to attack. It had something to do with a rush of adrenaline that made them purposefully hyperventilate. The hyperventilation supposedly over oxygenated their blood which allowed them to chew for a long time without taking a breath. So when a person heard that breathing, that hallow, haunting, blood curling breathing, they knew that their time had come.

Some people couldn’t help but spin around and see the wide almost glowing eyes of the attacking zombie. In this case the victim had time to scream because the zombie had to grab you by the ears and work you to the ground while you flopped around like a helpless rag doll. But in other cases the breathing was all the person had to hear to know that there was no point in struggling. In these cases the person just closed their eyes and tried to think about a nice place as the zombie grabbed their skull and forced them down onto their knees.

The first bite was often a painful one, but if the person could just hang on a little longer they knew that in another second that zombie would bite in far enough that the feeling of sweet release would come. The human body was designed to pass out during such pain. And once out the zombie let the body fall to the ground and that’s when the feeding really began.

The brain wasn’t a blood rich environment but there was more when the zombie sucked on it. The blood was like the marrow of the brain. It was the favorite part. And after the person passed out that is where the zombie suckled.

Sometimes, if the person was unlucky, that one attack would turn into an orgy. In an orgy, other zombies came from all around, feed and then did other things to the person that most people didn’t want to recover from. It wasn’t unheard of for a group of zombies to penetrate the victim. Sometimes they would use the openings provided by nature. And in other times they would make their own openings. Brain matter was an incredibly satisfying material to stick things into, but it took a special type of zombie to do something like that.

Zombie cravings were an interesting thing. Yes, the craving was centered on feeding. But what it sometimes meant to a zombie psychologically was a release. It was a release from all of the constraints that they had to adhere to on a daily basis. So if a zombie became shunned in the light of day, if they became one of the untouchables that the healthy didn’t even look in the eye, then there was also another feeling that came with the craving to feed. What also came was a craving to be acknowledged. What came was a craving to be considered. What came was a craving to dominate. And what better way to dominate someone than to literally fuck their brains out.

More than anyone else these were the zombies that had to be destroyed. So in times when a vigilante watched an orgy of this magnitude, it was the ‘fucking’ zombie that the vigilante chose to follow home. After feeding what usually followed for the zombie was a sharp feeling of regret. This meant that the zombie wasn’t as careful getting home as they were finding their victim. Often times the zombies didn’t bother to check if they were followed. So when the zombie arrived home, unless in a gated building, it was easy for the zombie hunter to sneak in behind them.

The zombie hunter knew that they had to be patient. They often waited for the zombie to fall asleep. Brains, like turkey, was a sleep inducing food. After a good feeding all a zombie could do was unbutton their pants and fall asleep. That was when the zombie hunter snuck into their room and made their move.

Van rolled over in bed with the airy feeling that there was someone else in the room. Still partially asleep he looked down his bed at the door. In a sleepy haze he saw the silhouette of a man carrying what looked to be a samurai sword. The man’s silhouette hinted at a lust for death.

Van immediately rolled over and dove for the lights.


  1. So, I'm not sure if you want honest feedback, but I'm going to give it to you anyway because I can see you are frustrated, and I don't want you to be. Hopefully, you will see this is a friendly gesture and not an attempt to attack you.

    I think you need to cut almost all (anything more than a paragraph is probably too much) of the origin story for the zombie outbreak. Let me explain why. First, you already skipped it at the front, and I, as a reader, was already with you all the way up to the point where you tried to insert it. Zombies were being chased and killed by people--that actually gives me a lot of backstory. People aren't afraid. They're actually pretty pissed off at zombies. And zombies aren't the end-all-be-all. Zombies are dying. Of course, so is Van's self esteem, but I'm with you, man. Totally.

    I was reading poor Van's story, and I was digging it. I'm not a big cusser, but I was finding the dialog humorous. Then I hit the Rio substory, and it COMPLETELY pulled me out of the chapter. How far did it remove me? I skipped over several paragraphs. Read a bit again. Skipped over. Etc. until I got to "Van rolled over in bed..."

    In my opinion, there's only two ways to do this kind of back story and not lose your readers. The first involves just making a prologue before Chapter 1 and going "Here it is, jerks." This is probably the worst thing you could do and it will take some massaging to do it right (or you could literally just regurgitate it there and leave it).

    The second option is to show this backstory in pieces and only when it's in any way relevant to the ongoing story conflict. Believe it or not, it's not that important to your book. And if there are pieces that are important, you can use dialog or something to bring these out of characters. For instance, the samurai could say "I am here on behalf of C.R.A.P. You're afterlife is forfeit." or something like that, and the character could give us some backstory as he is being chased (or killed).

    This brings me to the 2nd thing you might want to think about changing. Your chapter is third person omniscient, and it shouldn't be. We're either with Van as he's calling or we're not. In this dialog you are both with Van to describe his reactions, and you are also with his past girlfriends to show theirs. The reader cannot tell where their perspective should be.

    In my opinion, these two things (1. remove the zombie origin story entirely and 2. stick to Van's perspective only--the dialog is showing the girlfriend reactions just fine) will make your chapter flow much better. This isn't terrible, and you're not a terrible author. Hang in there.

  2. "You're afterlife is forfeit." should obviously be "Your afterlife is forfeit."

  3. Hey Rex,
    It is a great suggestion to shift around the backstory. I moved everything (up to the end of C.R.A.P.) to a prologue.

    I'm not sure about changing the third person style because the entire book is written in that style, and I did it for a greater purpose. But I'll see if the editor agrees with you. If so I'll change it.

    In either case, I thank you for your perspective. I think it has made the book stronger. :-)

  4. Hey, no problem. Sorry I didn't catch you a month or so earlier, but I'm glad to hear you are back on track. Cheers!