I hope you all enjoyed reading “A Very Zombie Christmas” as much as I enjoyed writing it. It is, without doubt, the most fun I’ve had writing a short story since I burst onto the (local) scene with “Murder-Oke” in 2006, as evidenced by the fact that at no time during its composition was my editor, Jack Wright, waiting on the other end of a 3:30am email, awaiting a chapter that was 6-days, 23-and-a-half hours overdue.
As in all of my published fiction, I rely on your knowledge of Cape May’s geography and history to do a lot of the descriptive heavy lifting for me, using 10 words to describe a scene instead of 1000. This allows me to keep the prose lean and propel the story forward as efficiently as possible.*
I also usually hue as closely as possible to “reality” in these twisted little jaunts, often running ideas and facts past Jack Wright and Cape May historian Ben Miller for accuracy and/ or referring to their published works (before completely twisting them to fit my fictional narrative), but in this story you will likely notice a few instances of my requiring your suspension of disbelief; I know you can’t see most of Cape May from the roof of City Hall, but for the purposes of this story, you can. I have also greatly altered the interior of City Hall and the Cape May Police Department to fit my narrative needs. I also know a shuffling zombie would not make it from a vaguely described area of Washington Street to the beach behind Henry’s in the time allotted in this story, but… I needed a zombie on the beach. So there!
I am also aware of a few leaps of logic the story takes. But as opposed to getting bogged down in chronicling the minutiae of the person-by-person spread of VOX-23, I instead decided to just plow forward and conserve my (limited) storytelling space for, well, storytelling. Hopefully, compelling storytelling about characters you care about and get invested in, rather than being distracted by the technical stupidity of the storyteller.
It is my hope you will forgive me these narrative leaps and still be able to enjoy the story.
And one more note; “A Very Zombie Christmas” was originally conceived as a series of 5-6 unrelated stories, each chapter a self-contained little slice of life amid the Zombie Apocalypse. But after finishing Chapter 1 and letting it stew a few weeks, I realized I just couldn’t leave that little boy sitting in that playground all alone, hence Kermy Torres, Chris Kersh, Carol Wiggins, et al.
Lastly, when envisioning Carol Wiggins (the name is an amalgam of Carol Burnett and her classic character Mrs. Huh-Wiggins, though I have no idea what inspired that) feel free to use the visage of the beautiful wife of a certain Exit Zero writer.
Also, the character of “Chris Kersh” is loosely based on Elaine’s Dinner Theater actor Kris Kirsch, who is tall and ropey, but at no time has owned a zombie dog. At least to my knowledge.
And Kermy Torres is a name I borrowed from a Morey’s Piers co-worker. Despite a vague physical approximation, the rest of the characters is fictional. I just thought they had really cool names, and since I stink at making up names (Carol Wiggins?) I took them.
Every other character in the story is 100% a figment of my imagination.
(*All statements about brevity in my writing are lifted for these final chapters, as it is being offered exclusively on the Internet, which is pretty big, so I will therefore RUIN it by running on and on with all kinds of flowery, exquisite, unnecessary prose that makes me feel more writerly.)