A recent visitor to our campus asked how we keep our zombie kids in such great shape. They’d expected the air to be filled with the stench of decay and the floors to be littered with tattered pieces of rotting flesh. Instead they found sparkling clean surfaces and minty fresh smelling kids. How did we do it?
Part of it is our willingness to think outside the proverbial box.
Instead of looking to nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, and daycare centers for an answer to the decomposition problem, we looked to the food service industry. Even though healthcare facilities and children’s daycares battle everyday to keep their residents safe and clean, their residents are alive. If they scrape themselves on a sharp edge, their skin will regenerate and they’ll heal. The noxious bodily fluids they emit come out of only a specific number of orifices that can be easily cleaned. There’s no danger that having an arm stuck in a jacket will lead to the loss of the limb. It’s a completely different environment than ours.
Like our business, the food service industry deals with decomposing matter on a regular basis. Once apples are plucked from the tree or a chicken killed for a chicken pot pie, they need to be preserved. Food preservation focuses not only on making the food edible, but also making it pleasing to the eye. No one wants to eat brown apples riddled with worms. Since our zombie kids exist in a state of chronic decomposition, we thought long and hard about the types of food preservation techniques that might help us keep them at their best.
Our first attempt at freezing happened entirely by accident. After a three-day blizzard we shoveled ourselves out and discovered a zombi-sicle at the front gate. The below zero temperatures temporarily arrested the decomposition process. When we carefully chiseled the child out of a snow bank and carried him inside, we noticed he was virtually odorless and his wounds and open areas had frozen closed. Unfortunately when he thawed we realized he had massive freezer burn and several layers of skin sloughed off.
Then we turned to dehydration. Yes, the same process used to make leather and beef jerky looked promising. Certainly beef jerky has a different, more pleasant smell than a steak left out at room temperature for several days and leather is durable and difficult to rip or tear. It seemed reasonable to see if we could mimic these results with our zombie children. Unfortunately the tanning beds only served to burn their outer skin and the peeling was horrendous. The oven wasn’t big enough. Outdoor drying racks proved no better. The children had no interest in spending several days baking in the sun.
Canning, though perfect for the home cook, wasn’t an option. We couldn’t keep these sweet children encased in jars.
In the meantime, our army of surgeons and seamstresses kept attaching limbs, sewing up lacerations, and working on a type of bubble wrap clothing which they hoped would keep the damage to a minimum. High powered air cleaners and an air freshener in every electrical outlet helped to dull the smell, but if you visited our haven, you wouldn’t stay long and you’d take the smell with you when you left. We didn’t despair. We bundled up and opened the windows.
Our first Thanksgiving provided the spark to reignite our efforts to keep the zombie children intact and smelling good. The cook put the turkeys in brine and explained how the brine kept the turkey meat plump and full of moisture. She explained how additional salt helped preserve the meat, keeping it fresher longer. Stopping the meat from decomposing also stopped it from smelling. We smelled a winner of a plan.
After purchasing the large troughs used to water animals, we filled them with a brine mixture, crossed our fingers and immersed our zombie kids. Imagine our delight when they emerged with plump, resilient skin and no smell of death. We closed the windows, put away the air fresheners, and celebrated our victory over decay.
We are currently working on decreasing the batch size of our proprietary recipe so we can sell it for individual, home use. Our hope is that families who chose to raise their zombie children at home can one day do it in the hygienic, odor-free method we use at the Zombie Emergency Rescue Organization.
As always, we welcome your comments, and ask you to remember that we feed the zombie children so you won’t have to.