Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Grad School, With Zombies!

I haven’t read the new book sensation, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies! yet (does one actually need to in order to get the full experience? I think not.) but I was suddenly struck with the idea of a book of my own: Grad School, With Zombies! A tender and poignant coming-of-age tale set against a backdrop of rending flesh. Ahh, so cute. And once I write it and capitalize on the Undead Jane Austen craze I will not only become momentarily famous but make a tidy profit too! What more could I want?

After all, just think of a typical day in my graduate department:

Scene: A grad student is in the lounge, half slumped over, staring empty-eyed at an open book of Lacan. Some spittle dribbles down his chin. He groans. He stares deep into the Lacan but the Lacan does not stare back. It meets only emptiness. There are Cheetos open on the table in front of him. Nothing moves in the room. He groans again.

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Scene: A young grad student rushes down the hallway, throwing terrified glances behind her. The only sounds are of the clicking of her heels on the linoleum and the rasp of her frantic breathing. Her heel turns under her and she almost falls. She scrambles back to her feet and lunges for a half open door, which she attempts to barricade behind her. She is unsuccessful, and backs up with fear-widened eyes until she is trapped in the far corner, shakily holding up her dissertation prospectus before her like a shield. Lumbering figures surround her. It is her committee! They tower over her and make clutching motions at her prospectus. Strange, unintelligible utterances drop from their mouths. Over the carnage of the prospectus defense no one can hear her screams.

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Scene: “Has anybody seen Anne?” one of the grad students asks.
“Not for a very long time,” replies another wearily.
“Who’s Anne?” asks one of the newcomers.
“Well she used to be — before —”
“Hush!”
Another one of the older grad students takes off his glasses, pinches the bridge of his nose with exhaustion. “This is ridiculous. I can’t take it any more. I have to get food!”
“No!” They shout in chorus.
“You fool — don’t go out there alone!”

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Scene: There are five of them, huddled together, barely moving. They are not doing much, swaying slightly on their feet, seemingly quiescent. Their eyes are like pits, devoid of hope, knowing nothing but hunger. The grad student eyes first them and then, behind them, the open door. Can he get past them? Could he pretend to be one of them and slip by or would they smell it on him, smell that job offer? If he could just sneak by them and out of the building he would be home free, off to a better place of life and laughter and a salary rather than the living hell that this place was. But those … things, who had until recently been his friends, they were out for blood, and a desire for vengeance sat in their bones even deeper than a desire for survival. The grad student took another step to the side, quietly, but one heard nonetheless, and first one raised a head, then another, moving quicker than he had expected, until all five of them have fixed upon him with their eyes. Those eyes. Simultaneously they all break into motion and he also bolts, straight for them, aiming for that door.

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Scene: The faculty are barricaded in the seminar room, besieged. Some are in attitudes of despair, others tear their hair and wail silently to the heavens. Others have shut down almost completely, burying their heads in their arms on the table or covering their faces with their hands. Only one stern matriarchal figure projects an outward appearance of calm. She is knitting with steely resolve. The monotonous whine of budget figures grows unceasingly louder, louder. The faculty roll their eyes around like spooked horses, as if the walls are closing in. “My god, they are coming at us from all sides! Slashing away, slashing! Will it never stop?” one shrieks, pushed to the breaking point. The matriarchal figure looks at him. “Keep calm. We must be ready — for the worst.” She reaches out to pat the knitting bag as if it held a talisman, their final hope. The faculty slump back into exhausted resignation, awaiting almost certain doom. The droning noise increases, drowning out the steely click click click of the knitting needles.

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See what I mean? This whole thing'll be great once I add the zombies! Grahhhhh, braiiiiiins!

6 comments:

Bardiac said...

I bow before your genius.

That sounds a lot like my grad program too. :(

My capcha is "paper"!!!!! How fitting!

Dr. No said...

Brilliant.

Dr. Curmudgeon said...

I swear to god, you just described at least two scenes from my own graduate career!

JBJ said...

"The true enigma is not what things 'really are' but how they 'really seem to me.' This points to the Lacanian notion of fantasy. The conclusion is thus a clear and unambiguous one: we all are zombies who are not aware of it, who are self-deceived into perceiving themselves as self-aware."
--Zizek, Organ without Bodies

I'd *definitely* suggest targeting the head. Or else explosives.

bitternsweet said...

So hilarious. So true. So sad.

I give it 4 stars and can't wait for the sequel: The Tenure Track! With Zombies!

Ink said...

Love it...can you incorporate a Thriller-type dance scene?