Humphrey Bogart sat in a Mexican Bar drinking shot after shot of Tequila. He was not the famous movie star. His full name was Humphrey Bogart Gelfen. His parents loved the movies and Bogart was their favorite actor. They raised a good son. He was intelligent and career oriented even though that meant giving up his dream of becoming a science fiction writer. He took the advice of his parents, “there’s no money in writing crazy stories.” Humphrey became a school teacher. He married a sweet, Jewish girl named, Shana. Although Humphrey was never religious, he learned to accept Shana’s Orthodoxy. The couple kept a Kosher house. They joined the Temple and attended regular services. Some of the religious strictures were difficult to maintain, but the rewards were plentiful: a good home and loving family. They had a son named Joshua. Life was good.
Humphrey did not speak Spanish, but Consuela understood his needs. She brought the Tequila. Humphrey drank himself into a muddled haze. The place was a carnival that buzzed in his head. An old TV sat on a shelf above the bar. The colors on the screen were florescent, dancing patterns and shapes that were animated by jangling rhythms and raucous music.
Life was good until his son became a Zombie. Humphrey remembered the story of the Golem about an artificial man created by a Rabbi. No good could come of it. The dead cannot help but destroy the living. Humphrey told himself Joshua was going through a phase — Zombies were just another teenage trend. He told his wife to stay calm and pretend nothing was wrong. It worked for awhile until his sweet Shana fell under the spell of the Zombie craze. Zombies were everywhere. America was the first to bare the brunt of the invasion. Humphrey fled. Mexico was relatively safe for the time being, but the Zombies were getting closer. Humphrey kept drinking, trying to blot out the world.
It was more than a craze. It was a televised revolution. Zombies loved TV. They entered living rooms everywhere and caused havoc. No one knew when or where they might turn up next. The newer zombies always went after brains — their victims were torn apart; but older Zombies were satisfied simply watching TV. Zombies were all the rage. People didn’t complain too much because when they weren’t killing you zombies provided copious amounts of entertainment. Nothing could compare with the thrill of a Zombie attack. People craved entertainment. A social-geneticist, Dr. Essie Zuma, discovered the gene that caused homo-sapiens deep seeded hunger for entertainment. The discovery became the key to understanding all human behavior. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs was tossed to the trash heap because Entertainment was now proven to be the most basic need, above the need for food or shelter. New industries were developed based on the entertainment value. New crises were manufactured to stimulate interest and participation. Many Zombies were developed in a lab using human guinea pigs. The drama was televised. People were excited by the possibilities of a world gone mad. Signals were sent through the air to create more Zombies. Zombie Fever captured the nation’s imagination like a brain infection, in fact “Brain Infection” was the next scheduled entertainment. Bureaucrats went wild, members of congress closed down the government, and the stock market crashed — it was all extremely entertaining. History was revised and rewritten in lieu of the endemic entertainment gene. The Roman Circus was seen as a pinnacle in human endeavor both for the audience and purported victims. The Christians who were thrown to the lions were being entertained as much as the emperor and his legions. Hitler was now considered a saint in that he provided so much unabashed entertainment. The millions of Jews and others who were shipped to concentration camps and gassed were entertainers enjoying their own devastating performances made possible by the ingenious Nazis production company. The photos and meticulous documents from that spectacular era will live forever, rebroadcast and rewritten to enthrall younger generations.
Zombies loved TV. They sat in stranger’s homes on plush sofas munching body parts and watching 3-D TV. All the Zombies had I-pads and smart phones so they could keep in touch with one another while getting news from the internet. All the while watching themselves on YouTube and keeping copious blogs describing their adventures, giving lessons on dismemberment, and giving advice on how to best enjoy brains, raw or barbequed. In the end, everyone was having a really good time — no one could imagine anything better.
The TV above the bar was sending signals to Humphrey Bogart’s brain.