The zombies were restless. I should have seen it coming.
The cowboys had barely cleared the screen, and a steer lingered among the credits. The randy teens from Camp Crystal Lake were laughing in the wings, chugging beer and smoking pot, practicing their fart jokes and flashing the guy in the hockey mask. They really shouldn’t do that, but you can’t tell teenagers anything. One of them shouted, and the steer moved off, stage right.
Anyway, the sci-fi cop guys were on next. Car crashes and explosions. Rotoscoped laser beams and chest-bursting alien puppets. That part made the zombies moan and point. I checked my list and called for the next reel.
Popcorn danced by, twirled with a long-legged soda and box of Sugar Babies. Zombies gagged. A teen in a smoke haze led the whole band of miscreants to the concession stand for munchies.
Screams grabbed my attention away from the screen. One of the zombies was jaw-deep in the hairline of one of the teenagers. Hockeymask Guy was chopping and chopping the braineater, but he aimed too low. Body shots wouldn’t stop it. A shot rang out, and the zee’s head popped open, and I looked around again. The lantern-jawed lead sci-fi cop blew the smoking end of his gun barrel.
Horns honked. The screen was white. The next reel hadn’t loaded. There were shouts from the audience. Doors opening and closing. That was all the temptation the zombies needed. I ran for the projection shed as they stumbled into the parking area.
Inside the shed, one of the girls from Camp Crystal Lake was having monkey sex with a cowboy; their antics had switched off the projector. I hit them with my clipboard until they ran out the door. The cowboy gave up trying to pull his chaps back on and drew his sixguns and started firing into the zombies.
I got the reel moving. Night of the Living Dead. The zombies turned away from the audience parking area and shuffled toward the screen. Some of the former audience joined them, dragging their feet, blood on their t-shirts.
I lined up the next reel, got the teens back to the wings. Checked the cars and restrooms for stragglers. My manager winked a flashlight at me and I headed over to the concession stand. He handed me a large Coke.
“Don’t you just hate these all-night festivals?” he said.
I shrugged. “Nah, at least it isn’t raining.”
(c) 2009 by Tony Simmons
"366 Days" continues