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When the zombie plague struck, I was just an office schlub. You know the type. I was a coffee-fetching, doing-the-work-and-getting-no-credit, screamed-at-by-suits kind of girl who hated every damn second of her dead-end job. Well, I still have a dead-end job… undead end, I guess is more accurate. But instead of working for the man, I work for myself. So I guess the lesson is that if you find work that’s meaningful, that you love, you can start your own business and make it successful.
So what’s my job?
Zombiebusters Extermination, Inc at your service.
My husband David suggested we add the “Inc” to make it seem more professional. I guess in the old days we would have had a website and all that, too, but now none of that exists anymore, at least not in the badlands where the zombies still roam free.
I have to say, I liked being in business for myself and I liked working with my husband as my partner. The zombie apocalypse had been surprisingly good for our marriage (sounds weird, I know, but it’s true) and since we escaped Seattle a few months before, we’d been doing great.
But that isn’t to say the whole “not working for the man” thing didn’t have its disadvantages. Which is something we were discussing as we drove down a lonely stretch of dusty highway in Arizona. Why Arizona? Well, it was November and fucking freezing anywhere else. So we did what old people had been doing for generations and snowbirded our asses down South. I figured when the weather got better up North, we’d decide what to do next.
“Why did we take another job from Jimmy?” Dave asked with annoyance lacing his voice.
I looked up from the business book I was reading. We’d looted it and about twenty more from a bookstore a few weeks back. I was all about making this work, you see. Someday, I would be the Donald Trump or Bill Gates of zombie killing. Only with better hair, obviously.
“Um, we took a job from Jimmy because he pays,” I said.
Dave shot me a side glance that was filled with incredulity. “Not well. Last time I think he gave us a six-pack and we killed three zombies for his chicken-ass.”
I laughed. “Hey, that’s two brews per zombie. Anyway, he trades with everyone and brings us new business at least once a week. He may not pay us as well as… well… anyone else, but think of it as brand building.”
“My ass.” Dave didn’t even smile. “He has a lot of shit stockpiled in his basement, I know he does. This time before we start, we should tell that asshole we want payment up front. Medical supplies and some canned goods.”
I tossed my book in the back of the van.
Oh, didn’t I mention it? We drive a van. Dave likes to call it the Mystery Machine because it’s totally circa 1975, but it runs like a gem and is heavy enough to do some push work when needed. Plus, I had way too much fun painting “Zombiebusters Exterminators, Inc” on the side and “Who Ya Gonna Call?” on the back.
That one always gets a chuckle since there’s no way to call anyone anymore. If people want us, they have to post notes in the survivor camps and we go looking for them. Trust me, sometimes by the time we’ve gotten to a job, there hasn’t been anyone left to pay us. I always feel kind of badly about that, but seriously, if you haven’t figured out how to protect yourself after three months of zombie hell… well, you sort of deserve what you get.
“Look, you’re the muscle in this operation,” I said as I settled back in my seat and slung my booted feet onto the dash. As I flicked a little piece of brains left over after our last job from the toe, I continued, “If you want to strong-arm the guy up front, be my guest.”
We were approaching our destination now and Dave slowly maneuvered the vehicle off the highway into the area of what was once southern Phoenix. There were signs of zombie activity everywhere here, both from the initial outbreak in the city and more recently. Black sludge pooled in the gutters and blood streaked the walls of buildings. It was all so commonplace to us, we didn’t really see it anymore. Nor did we flinch when a single zombie stepped into a crosswalk ahead of us.
He lurched forward, his right hand missing and his arm on the same side waving in a disconnected way as he moved. He had fresh blood on his chin and he grunted and groaned loudly enough that we could hear him even with the windows partly up.
We watched him make his slow cross for a bit, both of us staring with bored disinterest. Then Dave gunned the engine.
The sound made the zombie turn and he stared at us with his blank, dead, red eyes that never quite focused. Still, he seemed to recognize the potential for food on some primal level and he let out a roar.
Dave floored the van at the same time the zombie started a half-assed jog toward us. We collided mid-intersection and the zombie, gooey and rotting, took the brunt of the impact. His skin split, sending gore and guts flying from the seams of his torn clothing to splatter on our hood and the ground around the van. He lay half-wrapped around our bumper, staring up at us as he squealed and clawed along the metal of the hood like he could somehow hoist himself up and get to us, even though his lower body was probably gone.
“Want me to take care of that?” I asked as I reached in the back for an axe.
“No way,” Dave said. “And let you get ahead on Death Count?”
I laughed as he changed gears and rolled back in reverse. The zombie fell backward and disappeared from view until my husband got far enough away. Sure enough, his lower half was gone, split off from the initial impact of the “accident.”
Dave lined up the wheel of the van and rolled forward again. He didn’t stop until we felt the satisfying rock of hitting the zombie skull and popping it like a melon.
Once that was done, Dave put the van in neutral. He pulled his knife from his waistband and carefully etched a new hash mark on the steering wheel, which was already covered in crevices and digs from previous kills. Pretty soon we were going to have to move on to the door.
“That’s another one for the Mystery Machine.” When I laughed, he looked at me. “So if I’m the muscle of the operation,” he said, returning to our earlier conversation, “what does that make you?”
“Silly,” I laughed. “I’m the braaaaains, of course. And the beauty.”
I fluffed my hair as he threw the van in first and we roared toward our first job of the week.
Fire-bombing had been the way our government had dealt with the zombie plague. Whole cities wiped out without warning and without waiting to see if there were survivors as the military kept its troops in the air rather than on the ground, where they could become undead soldiers.
Phoenix hadn’t escaped this “final solution” mentality any more than Seattle or L.A. or San Diego had. While some parts in the south end of the city were still partially intact, the downtown area itself was a mass of twisted burned metal and half walls.
Despite that, downtown was where Jimmy No-Toes lived. Why No-Toes? Other than that he had no toes on his left foot, I have no fucking idea.
“Watch yourself,” David muttered as he cut the van’s engine and looked at the burned-out building our “employer” for the day called home.
It had once been a barber shop, I guess, and Jimmy had found it hilarious to paint the old-fashioned barber’s pole with black blood and sludge from dead zombies. Most of whom we had killed, by the way.
I pulled my pistol from the back of my waistband as I opened up the passenger door and both of us checked around us. Guns were a great way to dispose of zombies, but the sound brought others running to check it out, so whenever possible we used other tools.
David pulled open the back of the van and I looked inside at our arsenal, collected over the past few months and tested tried and true (seriously, we should have made a stamp for these things that said SARAH AND DAVID APPROVED! Maybe next apocalypse, huh?).
“What does my lady prefer for today?” Dave asked as he flipped his hand palm side up and gestured to the weaponry before me like he was Vanna Fucking White.
I stared at the cornucopia of choices stacked and hung in the back of the van.
“Well, the scythe is always fun,” I mused. “But unwieldy in tight places like Jimmy always calls us to. Same thing with the chainsaw, and it stalled the last time I used it in Mesa Verde, which was almost very bad.”
David flinched at the memory. “True. How about an axe?”
I tilted my head as I examined the gleaming blade of my favorite axe. “No, not today. Just not in the mood for that, or the sword.”
Dave’s eyes lit up. “Wait. I know what you want.”
I gave him a look as he took off around to the driver’s side back door of the van. In a second, he was back and he was brandishing the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life.
“I call it the home-run-you-through,” he said as he held out a heavy wooden baseball bat that had a long, wicked sharp spearhead firmly attached to the end by some kind of metal twine. “And I’m copyrighting that as soon as we find a patent office, so no trying to rip me off.”
I grinned as I reached out to take the bat. It was balanced perfectly and would do the job of both smashing and stabbing zombie heads nicely.
“You do know what to get a girl for Christmas,” I murmured as I put my handgun back in my waistband and stepped back to perform a few practice swings and stabs in the air.
“Oh no, baby,” Dave said as he grabbed a machete and shoved his shotgun into the sling around his back. “This isn’t half as cool as what I have planned for our first zombie Christmas.”
I laughed, but the sound faded as he shut the double back doors of the van and we faced Jimmy’s barber shop. “Want to do this?”
Dave nodded and we inched forward, ever at the ready. The door to the shop was locked, but the glass around it had been broken, rendering the lock useless anyway, even to a really stupid zombie. Dave rolled his eyes and reached through to throw the latch and let us in.
Jimmy had no toes, but I should also mention he wasn’t exactly brainy, either. Probably why he was constantly asking for our help. He could find a pod of zombies better than anyone I’ve ever met, but he was too lazy or dim-witted or both to do anything about it.
“Jimmy?” David called out into the dusty dark of the front room of the barbershop. “Hey, it’s ZBE, Inc!”
I rolled my eyes. “God damn it,” I whispered. “That isn’t what we call ourselves.”
He never looked at me, just kept moving forward. “It’s a perfectly legitimate shortening of our name and I think it’s catchy.”
“We have a fucking brand to maintain here, David,” I insisted. “All the marketing books say—”
I didn’t finish because off to my right I heard a faint scrape. Both of us spun toward it, weapons lifted.
“Fucking Jimmy, if that’s you come out or you’ll be shish kabob in about three seconds,” I snapped.
There was a low, entirely unzombie-like chuckle and then Jimmy himself stood up from behind a bank of barber chairs. He had long, unkempt hair and I could smell him from across the room. And it isn’t like anyone could take a long, hot, fabulous, steamy shower with shower gel and shampoo and conditioner that smelled like lilac and… oh, sorry, had a moment of fantasy there… but most of us had figured out how to freshen up in the worst of circumstances.
Not Jimmy, though I doubted he’d been much of a hygiene freak even when the world was normal.
“Nothing turns me on more than hearing you two bicker. How’s the make-up sex?” he said with a laugh.
I wrinkled my nose. “You are the most disgusting human being I’ve ever met.”
He bowed slightly, greasy hair falling over his face for a moment and blocking out the crooked, dirty teeth and the scraggly beard that completed the picture.
“Pleased for the compliment.”
“Asshole,” David muttered.
Jimmy laughed again, finishing it up with a wet, sickly cough that made me frown. As much as I disliked the guy, the fact that he always sounded like he was on the edge of keeling over worried me. There weren’t many of us humans left in the badlands, we had to do everything we could to stay alive.
“So what do you need, No-Toes?” I asked with a sigh. “We saw your note in the Sun Devil camp. It said something about a pod?”
The jovial quality to Jimmy’s dirty face faded and his bloodshot eyes went wide and, to my surprise, filled with fear. His hands shook as he gripped the back of one of the barber’s chairs.
“Y-Yeah, but this ain’t no ordinary pod, Sarah,” he said with a shake of his head. “There’s something different.”
“Different?” David said with an incredulous lift of his eyebrows. “What the hell do you mean, different? Zombies are already pretty different.”
Jimmy shook his head quickly. “But these are… bigger. And faster.”
“Jimmy,” Dave sighed in exasperation. “What the fuck have you been drinkin’, man?”
“Naw, it’s not that,” Jimmy insisted as he came out from behind the chairs and hurried toward my husband with outreached hands. Both of us flinched at the increased stench in the air that wafted ahead of him. “I swear, dude. These ones, when they look at you… it’s like they see you.”
Dave shot me a look that said he thought Jimmy was cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, but I wasn’t so sure. He looked genuinely afraid and not in the normal “I saw a zombie and I’m too lazy to kill it myself” way.
“So where did you see these… these… bionic zombies?” I asked.
Jimmy turned on me, his neck craning as he jerked out a quick series of nods. “Yeah, bionic. That’s right!”
“Where did you see them?” I repeated softly.
“Near that church by where the convention center used to be downtown,” he muttered and then let out a shiver.
I nodded. The governmental bombing had destroyed most of the buildings in the main downtown area, but the church, which was actually called St. Mary’s Basilica, had remained standing. Religious nuts called it a sign and kept trying to go there to pray or whatever, which of course brought the zombies there in droves to feed. They might as well have changed the name to St. Mary’s Feed Trough and started taking reservations from the zombie horde.
Would they require a jacket and tie for that?
I sighed. “Okay, we’ll check it out.”
Dave shot me a look, but my expression kept him from saying anything to me. He shook his head. “Yeah, but we’re going to need to get paid this time.”
All Jimmy’s fear fled his face and he looked at Dave like he was the picture of innocence. He had the gall to sound affronted when he said, “Of course. I always pay.”
“Six beers for three zombies is not a fair trade fucking system, No-Toes,” Dave barked. “We get paid in food, medical supplies, ammo, all kinds of shit by everyone else but you.”
I couldn’t help but smile. Yeah, my baby was an ass-kicker. Gotta love that in a guy. Jimmy didn’t seem to, though. His face darkened with fear again and just a touch of anger.
“I don’t got nothing else,” he insisted.
Dave moved forward. “Look, you little looting scum, I know you keep finding pods because you’re hauling all over gathering up shit to trade at the survivor camps. You can’t say anything that’s going to make me believe otherwise. And this time I want payment up front or no killy the zombies, bud.”
Jimmy shot me a look as if he hoped I might take his side in all this, but I just shrugged as I flicked a piece of lint off the blade at the end of my baseball bat. Finally his shoulders slumped.
“Fine,” he said. “I’ll go get you some shit now and I’ll give you some more when you come back with zombie heads.”
Dave smiled, ignoring Jimmy’s muttering of all kinds of slurs as he turned on his heel and headed toward the doors that led to the basement area where he kept his stash.
“Nice,” I muttered when he was out of earshot. “Very brawn, not brains of you.”
“He’s finally fucking cracked,” Dave said with a shake of his head. He paced around the cramped barber shop restlessly. “Bionic zombies? And thank you, by the way, for encouraging him with that little label.”
“You saw his face, though,” I said as I stared where our little friend had disappeared. “I think he’s genuinely scared.”
“No way.” Dave shook his head. “He’s probably just high. Or drunk. Or both.”
“He certainly reeks of it, but I don’t think so,” I said. “Whatever he saw, he believes it’s real. Are we going to check it out?”
Dave chuckled as we heard Jimmy coming back in the distance. “Of course we’re going to fucking check it out. We’re the Zombiebusters, aren’t we?”
Excerpted from Flip this Zombie by Petersen, Jesse Copyright © 2011 by Petersen, Jesse. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted November 24, 2011
Posted August 1, 2014
Posted October 18, 2013
This is the second installment of the Life and Times of Zombie fighting Sarah and David: two people
madly in love with each other fighting zombies while trying to find a place to just take a nice clean shower.
They are starting to have a nack for getting into trouble, and this time I think they are way over their head.
What's worse than a Zombie? A Mad scientist making more Zombies!!!
Can Sarah and David fight Zombies, kids, A mad scientist AND each other??!!
Posted August 8, 2012
Posted July 9, 2012
Posted August 17, 2011
Another book that was good!! It started off rather slow for my taste, it seemed as if the two were getting nowhere, and then the scientist, etc completely threw me off. I'm glad I continued reading this!! Ended up being a very enjoyable book!! Now off to start Eat, Slay, Love!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 27, 2011
Flip this Zombie
By: Jesse Petersen
Copyright January 2011
Publisher - Orbit Fantasy
Sarah and David's marriage had been in the toilet, and then the Zombie Apocalypse hit the country. They decided that it was their job to rid the world of zombies and formed a company for just that purpose.
Zombiebusters Extermination, Inc.
The Inc. was David's idea, to make them appear more professional. Sarah went from being a bit shy around weapons to becoming a virtual killing machine with any hand weapon available to her. They are spending the night at one of the safe zones and find a message left for them by a potential client. After debating the possibilities of the job they decide to take it. Little did they know that the Mad Scientist who they signed on with had a lot more than their welfare in mind.
Thus begins book two of the Living With the Dead series. If you like comedy, zombies, lots of heavy weapons and marriage infighting this is the book for you.
I'm looking forward to Eat Slay Love, the third book in this comedic rampage across middle America and the fight for Food, Fun, and the end to all Zombies.
FTC Full Disclosure: I borrowed this book from the library with the full intent of reviewing it.e
Posted June 6, 2011
I thouroughly enjoy this series thus far,funny stuff. First book was cute ,how a zombie apocalypse brings them closer together and now they are capitalizing off their survical skills killing zombies lol the humor is down to earth and its like just anorher during the zombie apocalypse. I like the authora take on the zombie genre andi enjoyed both books very much see 2 more books on their way a stand alone short and the third installment. Check em out fun to read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 12, 2011
Flip This Zombie is the second book in the Living With The Dead series. I haven't had the opportunity to peruse book one as yet, but it is not needed to sink your teeth into this book. With quips throughout the story to keep you on track in case you did not read the first one, author Jesse Petersen keeps you involved and entertained with humour, horror and humanities desire to survive, no matter what the circumstances. David and Sarah are a husband/wife team who decides to make the best out of a life-altering situation. Zombies are on the loose, the Apocalypse is upon them and their choices are limited. Combining their combat and ingenious weapons skills the two decide to create ZombieBusters, zombie mercenaries who will eradicate your infestation for a price, well, okay so they will settle for a bag of band-aids, but that besides the point. After taking on a client who wants fresh zombies for his experiments, Sarah and David learn along the way that there is a new strain of zombies, a faster, stronger and more intelligent version of what they are dealing with now. Through several twists and turns in the story we uncover the mysteries of the new strain of "super-zombies". Will David and Sarah have the moxy to destroy their new threat or will it destroy them both?? I love zombie books, they are one of my favourite genres to read. I love how Jesse brings current affair humour to the story...giggled over poor Mel Gibson being turned into a zombie on Day 4. I found Sarah unreasonably bull-headed during a time when caution should always be a factor, as well, I found her whiny, spoiled and dangerous to have around. I love David's quiet and forceful nature, a man who says what he means and means what he says and often left walking away shaking his head in consternation over the antics of his wife. I enjoyed the look into what life would be life if a zombie apocalypse did occur, the tent cities, everyone on edge, always looking over their shoulders and the suspicions that arise when everyone is in it for themselves. I cannot wait to read more...and my husband and oldest son both AGREE~!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 21, 2011
Posted January 29, 2011
I read the first in this series, "Married with Zombies" on a whim due to the silly title. I got hook by the brash writing style, main characters, and found it had the right amount of realistic description that it engaged me. I bought this book, and the author has cranked it up a notch! All of the above still applies, but there were a couple of places where I simply could NOT put the book down!! Exciting, suspenseful, engaging! Overall, a great read - especially fun on the Nook!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 24, 2011
Like the first book, this is an easy, enjoyable read. There are some laugh out loud scenes and again, fun banter between husband and wife. Its not a literary masterpiece, but a good way to enjoy the day reading. I can't wait for the next book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 12, 2011
I Also Recommend:
After reading the first book in the series, Married with Zombies, I have been anxiously awaiting the second installment of the Living with the Dead series. I'm a big zombie fan, and I've always been a little bummed that so few people take advantage of the opportunities for humor where zombies are concerned. Possibly one of the reasons I'm so in love with these books is that they are funny, and there's all the zombie stuff of course, but they have a certain mix of dark reality, humor and real people that make these books so enjoyable.
Flip this Zombie focuses on what David and Sarah have been doing since the world fell apart and picked itself back up and moved on a little. Considering their zombie killing tactics learned early on, they've set up shop as the go-to-guys for all your zombie killing needs! The plot of Flip this Zombie dips into the dark reality that not all people are good - and if given the opportunity they could very well do some very bad things. But you have the ZombieBusters to call on for help, laughs and a decapitated zombie. There are some seriously awesome parts that I will not spoil, I'll just tell you to get ready to reread some parts and laugh!
I laughed. I got a little squeamish. And I think I'll be sleeping with the lights on tonight.
Posted January 1, 2011
FLIP THIS ZOMBIE, by Jesse Petersen, is the second book in the Living With The Dead Series. In the last book, Sarah and David discovered that zombies were taking over the entire West Coast. Now they are working as freelance zombie hunters. They come across a scientist who wants to find a cure but nothing about this man is as it seems.
My favorite zombie-hunting couple is back! This time they have taken their talents and are using them to their advantage. They set up residency in a survivor camp and by day they hunt zombies for supplies. They soon run into a scientist who wants the couple to bring back live zombies for experimentation. After accepting this offer, they run into The Kid, a smart-mouthed twelve year old, and they all work together for The Cure.
Just when they thought their relationship issues were over, they are soon brought out again by Kevin, the scientist. David and Sarah both have differing ideas on what his motives are and soon they are at each others throats. I loved how The Kid added to the tension. He was adorable and at the same time, a major brat.
Petersen definitely has thought long and hard about zombie hunting. Her descriptions of fighting and capturing the zombies are extremely inventive. Once again, this book proved to be another masterpiece in this series. I found myself laughing way too hard at times and also pulling for this couple to survive. I can't wait for the next book, Eat Slay Love.
Posted December 30, 2010
I find Jesse Petersen's series fabulous so far. Flip This Zombie continues nicely from the first book (Married With Zombies). David and Sarah are a fabulous couple and I am positive you will fall in love with them as they go through their trials and tribulations.
Jesse's writing style is great, as are her detailed descriptions of the landscape, the couples feelings, and she has hit this one outta the park.
I urge you to read Flip This Zombie, as well as it's predecessor, Married With Zombies. You will not regret it. :)
Posted November 9, 2010
David and Sarah believe they can make a go of their marriage and form a business after learning so much about Living with the Dead (see Married with Zombies). They figure there must be a lot of paying customers In Arizona who would hire them to exterminate zombies; ergo Zombiebusters Exterminators, Inc. is born with the vision of being the Trump or Gates of Zombie killing.
Research scientist Dr. Kevin Barnes hires the pair to catch a live zombie specimen so he can conduct field work in his efforts to find a cure for the plague. Sarah is attracted to the handsome scientist. However, the pair realizes the zombies are changing into creatures more dangerous than those they first battered as the new generation is faster and contains cognitive thinking skills. However, they capture one with the help of eleven year old Robbie who demands a cut.
Humor and gore come together in this entertaining straightforward urban fantasy as the couple reconciles their differences indirectly due to the fear factor of zombie marital counseling. The story line is fast-paced though quite bloody linear while Jesse Peterson offers suggestions to the successful business mogul to make a profit and staying alive. Fans who appreciate an irreverent tale will add to their contact list Zombiebusters Exterminators, Inc. as "who ya gonna call?" the duo driving the "doobious" Mystery Machine.
Posted April 17, 2011
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Posted April 2, 2011
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Posted May 3, 2011
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Posted January 28, 2011
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