The Woes of the Zombie Man – Chapter I
During which the reader becomes acquainted with Boris and his beloved buddy Bugger
Due to the abundance and the enormity of the festering boils that had plagued him his whole life, Boris Buford had long been the butt of many jokes and the source of many nightmares. Thanks to a rare and, as far he knew, incurable skin disease, the entirety of his body was covered with grotesque pocks that closely resembled the open wounds of a bullet-riddled carcass of any kind. Outbreaks of red and green cysts stood out against the pale casing his body was wrapped in. His oozy limbs constantly swelled with pus and caused him no small amount of discomfort. The terrible ailment had bothered him to the point of anguish in his youth, and at an early age he had become fearful of his peers and the ridicule they produced, so he had learned to keep to himself in an effort to avoid scaring people or hearing newly invented nicknames for himself or any one of the thousand other unwanted annoyances he knew all too well that came with participating in society. Conditioned to be distant, he decided not to bother people with his gruesome presence. Becoming a homeless recluse, he chose to suffer alone, thereby suffering a little bit less. Boris was fully aware of how unappealing his visage was to others, and although it saddened him to admit it, he found his own reflection rather frightening and had made a habit of avoiding mirrors. Folks around town knew him as the Zombie Man, which only added to his already insurmountable grief. Needless to say, he was somewhat of an ugly duckling.
Bleak Boris Buford was born and bred beside Biloxi in Boonesville, a small municipality slightly less populated than you’re imagining it to be, and he had never once stepped even a single foot outside the county line. He existed mainly in the shadows of alleyways to keep himself from being seen by others, though sightings of him were reported from time to time, and were always thoroughly discussed. The misfortune of the Zombie Man was well known throughout his hometown and was frequently talked about. Boris became something of a myth and rumors spread viciously, adding to his macabre mystique.
His mother and father had abandoned him when he was still a child, because – and this cannot be stressed enough – he was as nauseating as is visually possible. Even at such a young age he was offensively taxing on the eyes. One day his parents had had enough, so they up and threw him away. In a garbage bin. Mr. and Mrs. Buford shed many tears at having deserted their only child; not from the guilt, but out of self-pity. Though his parents were right in thinking he was an awful excuse for a baby boy, they later admitted that perhaps they could have handled the situation with more tact. Nevertheless, Boris somehow survived and grew up to be an amazingly unattractive young man, and an even uglier adult.
His only friend in the world was Bugger, a sickly flea-ridden mutt with a terrible case of mange. Boris had bonded deeply with the hideous dog, and he cherished the animal’s friendship more than anything. Constantly praising the loyalty of his companion, he would embrace and pet the gross beast day and night. Caressing his pal was often quite painful, as both creatures usually had ulcers leaking from head to toe, but that had never stopped them from expressing the camaraderie they held so dear. They were inseparably close, both at heart and in physical proximity, at all times. The appalling exterior of the two monstrosities did not agree with the beautiful love they shared, as Boris and Bugger both possessed kind and gentle souls, but to see the two of them together was such a horrific sight even the most righteous nun in the world would have found it difficult to show them any generosity.
Having so little to do with his fellow man, Boris was between jobs, and had never been employed at all for that matter. Living so many years without money had made him resourceful. Painstakingly, through countless woeful tribulations, he had grown accustomed to dumpster diving in order to provide for himself and his amigo. In fact, the duo had first met while excavating a trash can behind a diner, and it was then they had shared their first meal of foul fowl parts. Rummaging through the waste supplied them with anything and everything their hearts desired, as long as their hearts desired discarded junk and rotting leftovers, which had never been the case. Still, ransacking trash receptacles sustained them. Occasionally, on certain nights as infrequent as they were exciting, when another mouthful of garbage scraps could not be stomached, Boris would steal. It was on a night such as this that he set his sights on Gitcha Goods, a corner store, and it is here we will join the pair of vagrants as they prepared for the famous caper during an instance that will be recounted now.
more by S.P. REILLY
photograph from unsplash.com