Zombie Apocalypse Mambo / by Josh Guess

My sales have started to pick up the last six weeks. I'm nowhere near getting rich or even being able to write full-time, but I'm happy to see the improvement with the holidays approaching. A big, big part of this, I hope, is the renewed interest in zombie stories thanks to AMC's TV adaptation of Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead.

Most of you know me as the guy who writes Living With the Dead, my fictional, real-time blog set in the zombie apocalypse and free to read at Livingwiththedead.net. Not to plug my work too shamelessly, but collections of the blog are available on the Kindle and Nook for purchase if you've got a hankering to take the blog with you in an easily readable format and like supporting indie authors.

I've talked in a few of the collections and in various other places about how The Walking Dead (the comic, not the show) was a huge part of my original inspiration to create and continue LWtD. I, like Robert Kirkman, wanted to explore a world beyond the two hours of a zombie movie. For me, that meant going into incredible, minute detail about daily life and living in the zombie apocalypse, to a degree that even Kirkman doesn't match in his comic.

I'm not saying I'm doing it better. That's not what writing is about. I'm telling my own story in a different format, one that lends itself to going into much greater detail than a comic can. Most people reading a comic are going to put the issue down in disgust of someone talks for a few paragraphs about how to zombie-proof a window.

But dammit, knowing how to keep zombies from breaking in through a window is important to us zombie nerds. How many times have we seen some person standing next to a thin pane of glass, only to have a rotting, skeletal hand smash through it to pull them into certain death? It's a crying shame.

As my friends and I watch the new season of TWD on AMC, we chat about the various elements of the story we like and don't like, and what characters we love and hate. I, being a person who has done serious damage to their brain over the last two years by having to constantly see the world in apocalypse terms, have a slightly different viewpoint.

When Daryl Dixon goes out killing (because the word 'Hunting' implies the possibility of failure. Daryl never fails to kill.) he's always so badass. He's got his trusty crossbow, his impressively sleeveless shirts, and an attitude that just fucking DARES a zombie to come at him. You want some, dead guy? Huh?

While I love Daryl and pray daily that the producers don't kill him off (which seems likely--someone that awesome is doomed. It's zombie movie 101) I still can't help but look at him as kind of a stupid guy. I mean, yes, he has mad hunting-since-I-was-a-lad country boy skills, he can track, he is a crack shot...

But dude. Sleeveless shirt. Jeans. ONE FREAKING WEAPON. No armor, no backup weapon like a machete or hatchet. Relying solely on his wits and observational skills to keep him alive.

Of course, I'm being overly critical. I love the show with a heart bigger than the Grinch's after he realizes the error of his ways. It's just that spending so much time writing as realistic methods as I'm capable of figuring out to stay alive in the zombie apocalypse has made me look at literally everything from the perspective of the fictional me I write as.

So when I watch TWD or Night of the Living Dead or 28 Days later, it's sort of like watching them while actually living in a world overrun by the dead.

I'm a nerd, I know. Just an interesting thought I wanted to share.

Oh, and just in case you've read this and are still wondering:

The best way to secure the standard window in a home from zombie intrusion is to cut pieces of plywood to fit both the interior and exterior sides. The thicker, the better. Using L-brackets and masonry screws (if your house is brick like mine), attach the plywood to the frame of the window, inside and out. Using this as a base, add layers of plywood to the originals until both sides are flush with the walls. On the inside of the house, cut a much larger piece of plywood to cover the whole thing, then nail it into the two by fours that surround the window under the drywall. Lots and lots of nails. On the exterior, use a piece of sheet metal to cover the entire window, with at least six inches overlapping onto the brick wall all the way around. Use a drill bit made to cut metal to put holes in it, then run masonry screws into the wall, securing the sheet metal.

It'll be easier for the zombies to knock down the bricks than come in that window, I assure you.