Brandon asked me, did I know, according to zombie lore, you could not kill someone the same way twice, so really we ought to keep records on how everyone dies, just in case the earth belches from its graveyards an army of corpses — that way we could shoot folks who were stabbed and chainsaw folks who were shot, etc. This as we skipped stones, as we caught toads and licked them for warts, as we impaled crawfish with nails driven backwards into two-by-fours.

Later that day he said, So long. He walked home along a long winding strip of county two-lane. Until a truck ran him over. It struck him from behind — its grill gleaming in a silver smile — dragging him down, beneath its wheels, crumpling his ribcage. Blood geysered from his mouth, I imagine.

The driver drove on and left him there to be picked apart by magpies, one of them yanking a kidney seven feet from his skin — still leashed to him by a thread — pleasuring in the salty taste.

This was Tumalo, Oregon, the middle of nowhere, and an hour later he still lay there, unfound and hardening under the sun. His mother called, with anger in her voice, asking why he hadn’t come home for supper. I went searching for him and when I found him hopped off my BMX saying shit shit shit. I held his bag of a body and prayed for the day the dead walked the earth, when he would return to me.

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