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Word Count: 30219

Not much progress today. As much as the character of a corporate sponsored Zombie Hunter intrigues me, I wasn’t able to write much. Also, I discovered Assassin’s Creed: Revelations multiplayer, and that…well, it was a time sink. Every damned November, all the good games come out and battle with my ability to focus.

There was a silence between the man and me then, as we stared at each other. He still didn’t trust me, for whatever reason. I got the sense that trust didn’t come easily to him. But, as the silence lengthened, a smile crept across his face.

“Ah hell,” he said. He seemed to have made a decision. The gun lowered. He slung it on its strap over his shoulder. “Sorry about all this. The name’s Ak” — he pronounced it “Ock.” He extended his right hand. I lowered mine and shook his.

“Brains!” Now is your chance. Now is your chance. Now is your chance. Westy’s voice was urgent, desperate, and hard to resist. My grip tightened on Ak’s hand. I had a hard time letting go.

“Pleased to meet you, Ak,” I said.

Ak winced. “Hell of a grip you got there.” He grabbed my right hand with his left and pried it loose. “But you’re all skin and bones.” He held my wrist in his hand, his fingers easily encircling it and then some.

“I, uh, I haven’t eaten in a while.”

He let go of my wrist, put his hands on his hips. “Looks like you haven’t eaten in months.” He tilted his head sideways, trying to see past the shadow the brim of my hat cast across my face. “Or years.”

“It’s a medical condition,” I said. It wasn’t entirely untrue, just not the entire truth. “I’m naturally gaunt. Never have to diet, at least.” There was the lie. I tried to change the subject: “You look awfully familiar.”

Even in the dim light I could tell the man was embarrassed. “Yeah, I hear that a lot, but you know, I’m still not used to it. Ever since they put my face on that beer bottle, I got everyone coming up to me all the time, askin’ for autographs, wantin’ to take photos with me, tryin’ to get me to take care of their Z infestation. It’s gettin’ to be so I can’t go out in public anymore.”

“Beer bottle?” I wondered. And then it dawned on me. “Holy shit! You’re the Zombie Hunter!” For it was him, the tattooed, gun-toting man that graced the labels and tap handles of Zombie Hunter beer. “I’m a big fan!”

“Brains!” This man hunts us. This man kills us.

“This man is a fucking living legend!” I said this to Westy, but made as if I was addressing an imaginary crowd so as to not raise suspicion that I was stark raving bonkers.

“Please, I’m just an ordinary guy. I just happen to be really good at killing the undead. Those beer guys really made a big deal out of all that.”

“I love your beer!”

“Yeah, it’s not bad,” he said. “I’m more of a High Life guy myself.”

“Yeah, me too,” I said. I was nearly beside myself. I never got to meet celebrities and now, here I was, just sitting around, shooting the shit with the Zombie Hunter. How cool was that? “I mean, no, I’m like, I’ll drink whatever, you know?”

“Uh, yeah, sure,” Ak said.

More awkward silence fell between us during which time Westy took the opportunity to pipe up.

“Brains.” This is the Zombie Hunter. Do you know what that means? He hunts zombies. We are a zombie. He hunts us.

I had to had it to old Westy; he was really getting the hang of conversational sarcasm.