Wednesday’s Child: Smiling Jack

Here at the Zombie Emergency Relief Organization we believe in the power of children, even when they’re zombie children. Our Wednesday’s Child spotlight attempts to erase the stigma of zombification and introduce our readers to the amazing children we share our lives with.

Popular stereotypes paint zombies as unfeeling, uncaring, dour-appearing creatures of gloom. They shuffle along like aging inmates going to their last meal while moaning as if they’re getting a root canal without anesthetic. They flail their arms and drag their legs and generally act in a manner that causes wise people to flee. For those of you who think of zombies in these terms, you don’t know Jack.

jack smiling

Jack, an exuberant nine-year old, takes his smile everywhere he goes. His favorite activities include dance-dance revolution and karaoke. Before his zombification he took voice and dance lessons with the dream of eventually starring on Broadway.  With the help of his older sister, he developed an act that he performed at small fairs, senior centers, and strip malls throughout his home state.  Nicknamed “Little Mr. Entertainment,” he was auditioning for a reality tv show when he was stricken by the Infection. As soon as the producers heard of his affliction, they broke off contact with the family and left Jack heartbroken and mourning the opportunities the zombie virus had stolen from him.

Shortly afterwards, his parents were killed by vigilantes intent on destroying all victims of the Great Infection.  Luckily, his parents had entrusted Jack to out-of-state relatives who knew of our organization. We welcomed Jack with open arms and he thanked us by putting on our first all zombie revue. Since then, he has appeared in most of our print ads and television commercials as well as continuing to dance and sing for our community get togethers. Jack’s working portfolio continues to grow and, who knows, someday he might get a chance at Broadway after all.

The Broadway Theatre, showing the musical The ...

The Broadway Theatre, showing the musical The Color Purple 1681 Broadway, Manhattan, New York City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Wednesday’s Child: Resilient Roni

sneeze
As our staff is stricken with “could be,” “maybe,” I’m not sure,” I don’t wanna say” it’s a cold or the flu, we take time to reflect on the experience of running a facility where none of the children can catch or spread respiratory infections. According to the CDC, “nearly 22 million school days are lost annually due to the common cold.” These school days aren’t just felt by the children, often times it’s the parents and teachers that feel the impact of these walking-talking-contagious kids. Days like today help us recognize that we’re fortunate to work with children who can only spread one type of virus.
Even so, zombies are vulnerable to certain ailments, most noticeably those that arise from their state of chronic decomposition. Roni, a bubbly fifteen year old with hair like Raggedy Annie, is the zombie child most afflicted with this.
Redhaired annies aka Raggedy Ann

Redhaired annies aka Raggedy Ann (Photo credit: almost witty)

Prior to her arrival at our facility, she spent at least a month wandering the back roads and woods of Maine. We can’t be certain, but we believe she was dropped off in the woods when her parents could no longer take care of her. We base this on the fact that no other zombies were found with her and normally as new zombies are infected they link up with the nearest group. Additionally, there were no zombie outbreaks reported in the county she was found in, making it likely she was transported from another area.
By the time she was found and transferred here, she had been wandering the woods for several months. Her hair was matted and thick with leaves and dirt. Her skin was covered with tears and cuts from the underbrush. Porcupine quills dotted her legs and several of her toes were missing. After a thorough washing and disinfection, our team of plastic surgeons went to work, suturing her lacerations, attaching toes, and tightening loosened and sagging skin. When they were done, she wasn’t the prettiest zombie in the room, but she had the biggest smile.
Our greatest concern, once the surgeons were done with her, was that she wouldn’t integrate with the other children as she had spent her entire zombie life alone. Zombies that are used to a pack, for lack of a better word, adjust easily to our facility and tend to follow along in activities and mimic the behavior of the others. Without any socialization, we feared Roni would fear the other children. Surprisingly, the first day we held her in isolation, she spent the day trying to walk through the fencing and join the other children. After a number of attempts, she gave up and stood at the fence, one hand clutching the cold metal, and moaned in harmony with the other kids. The second day, we allowed her to interact with two children while five of our staff members stood by, ready to intervene if necessary. Our worries were groundless. She had no hesitation in joining the group and spent the rest of the day happily following along. By the third day, we’d moved her into our least restrictive environment where she has remained to this day.
In spite of her massive reconstructive surgery and the almost weekly repairs that must be made to her skin, Roni remains pleasant and unafraid of our surgeons, seamstresses, and other staff members. Like the Energizer bunny, she continues to bounce back.
Zombies Invade San Francisco!

Zombies Invade San Francisco! (Photo credit: Scott Beale)

And, to give you an idea of what our work is like, in a normal residential children’s facility, one would spend this time of year looking for lost mittens and misplaced boots. We spend our time looking for missing fingers and misplaced toes. Keeping Roni intact is a big job, but we are up to the challenge.

Remember, we feed the zombies so you don’t have to.

Zombie Emergency Relief Organization

Wednesday’s Child: Madison

Photograph of a toddler holding a mop with a b...

Photograph of a toddler holding a mop with a bucket (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every Wednesday we shine the spotlight on one of our zombie kids in an effort to cut through the negative stereotypes that abound regarding zombification. Madison, a toddler, has been a resident here since our earliest days. Much of her story remains unknown to us as we woke up one morning to find her, strapped in a shopping cart seat, on our doorstep. She was loved. We know that because her clothes were clean, her hair adorned with a big pink bow, and a laminated name tag hung from her shirt proclaiming, “Hi, I’m Madison.”

Whether it was her young age or our suspicion that she was never put out to fend for herself as a zombie, Madison was non-aggressive and eager to please from the first day. She would sit quietly in her high chair during feedings, eyes wide open and interested in the meal, but never lunging at the food or noisily clamoring for it. Her table manners were an inspiration as, early in our existence, we weren’t entirely sure of the capabilities of these children to exhibit self-control or good table manners.  She became the standard by which we measured the progress of our other children. Without her and her outgoing, playful attitude we may have never realized the freedom we could provide these children in a secure environment.
Over the Christmas holidays,  Madison became fixated on our janitorial staff’s’ cleaning carts. She started to follow the housekeepers and mimic their behavior. Armed with an imaginary dust rag or mini mop, she’d cheerfully play at wiping down counters, cleaning floors, and washing windows. After a few days, the housekeepers cut down a mop for her and gave her a small carry-all filled with sponges and rags.  Each morning they would wheel in their cleaning carts and present Madison with her supplies. Her squeals of glee filled the common area and, as the days went on, they provided her with cans of furniture polish and bottles of window cleaner. Amazingly enough, she used each of these gifts appropriately, never using the furniture polish on the windows or the window cleaner on the wood. For Christmas, the housekeeping staff chipped in and purchased Madison a cleaning outfit like theirs. Her smile when she opened that present warmed the room. While the other children opened their presents and filled up on our seasonal brain treats, Madison slipped into her new uniform and cleaned up after them. At the end of the day, despite the Holiday festivities, our common area was spotless. Madison’s decision to slip two cleaning pads over her shoes earned her a new nickname, our little Roomba.

Roomba

Roomba (Photo credit: pboyd04)

The recent loss of a housekeeper due to retirement left us wondering how we would fill the gap as many people are too fearful to work with our zombie child population.  Surprisingly the housekeeping staff asked that we not replace their missing member, they were content to keep Madison on as part of the team.  The money we’ve saved from this small change freed up the funds to add ten additional beds to our facility.  Madison deserves the credit for allowing us to expand and give more zombie children a normal childhood.

Remember, we feed the zombie children so you don’t have to.

Zombie Emergency Relief Organization

Wednesday’s Child: Lonely No More

Welcome to Wednesday’s Child where we feature the story of one zombie kid and ask our visitors to look beyond the effects of zombification and see the child within.
zombie child

zombie child (Photo credit: skamama)

Nine year old Jaime was brought to the ranch this spring after state troopers found her in the woods of North Dakota. This adorable little girl was the only child in a herd of twenty-nine zombies targeting rural cattle farms.  When the state troopers first corralled the cow-killing zombies, their mission was extermination. After the first volley of bullets, a small form walked out of the milling mob and approached the fence. The hardened state troopers couldn’t find it within themselves to kill a small child in cold blood, even if she was a zombie, so they called us.
Jamie is unusual in that we don’t know her real name or where she came from.  When she was captured her clothes bore no markings and she didn’t register on any databases of missing children.  It’s theorized that Jamie was injured in the first wave of zombie attacks, meaning her family was overrun and either zombified or killed.  This makes the job of identifying her much harder.  Many of our charges are victims of the second wave of attacks, isolated incidents that only harmed the child and left the rest of the family intact. These children have names and a history, Jamie has none. No one knows how long Jamie ran with the roving group of zombies she was captured with or how far away from home she wandered.  We continue to search for her past and hope someday to connect her with any surviving family members.
Prior to her arrival at the haven, Jamie’s only zombie interaction was with adults. As the only child in a large zombie pack, she would have had to rely on the scraps left by adults. Her short legs and lack of power meant she would always be on the edges of group feedings, perhaps able to snatch out a morsel, but never able to obtain enough food to grow strong.  At her first weight-in we were shocked to see her weight was 32 pounds.  Our first priority was ensuring she ate well and gained weight.
Her early struggles to fit into the zombie haven centered around her recent history of constant hunger and deprivation. She stole food from the others, physically threatened those that approached what she considered “her” food, and tended to isolate herself rather than play with the other children. After several weeks of progressive feeding and ensuring she had ready access to food, she started to relax and be less aggressive with the other z kids.
It took several more months for Jamie to make the transition from a closely watched, restrained environment to a more independent lifestyle. Jaime is now on the Yellow Team and enjoys chasing and being chased by her peers during free time outside. With a safe community of children like her, Jaime has become a docile, content child again.
The miracle of working at the Zombie Emergency Relief Organization is watching the process as primitive, violent children turn into trusting and trusted members of our community.
If you recognize Jamie, please email us at feed thezombiechildren@gmail.com. We can’t reverse her zombification, but we’d like to give her back her name.

Wednesday’s Child

Zombie Walk 2010-9442

Zombie Walk 2010-9442 (Photo credit: Ping Foo)

On Wednesday we focus on a single zombie child to help people understand that they are children first and zombies second. The Great Infection did not discriminate when it chose its victims and many of the victims were innocent children. This is the story of one of them.
Sophia, a 16 year old girl, was found shuffling the back streets and alleys of rural Vermont. Because of her short stature, 5 feet even, and slight build, 85 pounds, Sophia was able to hide in dumpsters, discarded cardboard boxes, and ditches. She carried no identification and had no tattoos or scars to distinguish her from the thousands of other children who were left orphans after the Great Zombie Purge. Upon containment the local authorities were unable to identify her. No great effort was made to find her family as, at first, the town’s zero tolerance policy for zombies meant Sophia was slated for extermination. Luckily, a kind woman referred Sophia to our facility and we were able to travel to Vermont and negotiate her release.
When she arrived at our haven, Sophia was fearful, easily provoked and ravenous: all indicators to the Z Team that she had been feral for some time. Even so, our team uploaded Sophia’s picture to our website and the website of other organizations seeking to reunite feral zombies with their families. Sophie’s paternal grandfather, Chip, saw one of the pictures and instantly recognized his granddaughter.  His story was too familiar. Sophia had been infected with her parents over five years ago and though he’d traveled extensively attempting to find them, each sighting led to a dead-end. He despaired of every seeing his family again.
When he heard news of Sophia’s capture, Chip flew from his and her hometown in Oregon to the haven to be reunited. No one knows the details of the perilous cross-country walk that Sophia endured, but Chip was able to piece together that Sophia’s parents were killed during the Utah Uprising. Chip didn’t have all the details, but he knew Sophia voyaged more than two thousand miles on her journey to the East Coast. The trip wasn’t easy. Though she found some zombie sympathizers, for the majority of the time she walked alone.
Upon Sophia’s arrival at the haven, she required major cosmetic repair. The weather and rough conditions had left her skin cut and bleeding. A fight along the way had left her missing a small part of her scalp and a few toes. Our medical team sprang into action and repaired her body. Intense behavioral retraining helped Sophia adjust to her new reality and she became one of our most dependable, friendly zombie children. She no longer eats human flesh, attacks passersby, or moans constantly. Through our organization’s retraining and equipment, Sophia has transitioned from a moaning shambler to an adventurous leader who is active in our community.
Her grandfather, Chip, visits the ranch as often as possible and brags to his friends about his granddaughter Sophia, the cross-country shuffler.  He hopes that someday medicine will find a cure for the Infection, but until that time he is happy that Sophia is in a safe, secure facility living a fulfilling life.