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Bob: Employee of the Future

February 26, 2007

At first, none of us took it seriously when management announced that they were going to be replacing us with zombies. We all thought it was some sort of sick joke. Sure, we knew they wanted to replace us, but with technology or something, not zombies. And then we met Bob.

You see, Bob was a zombie. Not like in the movies, though. Sure, he ate brains, shambled, and did the typical zombie stuff, but he also worked at S-Mart. We never figured out how, but it worked. When he was on the clock, open to close, seven days a week, he wouldn’t so much as drool on you.

At first, Bob scared the hell out of us. The obvious conclusion was that the company was planning to use Bob to turn the lot of us into a shambling, decomposing army of retail employees who didn’t require breaks or health insurance. Rumors were even started to the effect that we would eventually be used to attack competitors. Not a pretty picture, really.

Those fears proved to be unfounded, however, as a more chilling truth sank in. Bob and the other zombies that joined him on the selling floor were simply better employees than us. They worked longer, harder, and didn’t complain about lack of decent pay or benefits. In a rational world, it would be fantastic, think of all the lives that are sucked dry by menial jobs. As things are, however, this wasn’t the case, we needed these pointless, soul-crushing jobs.

There was some talk of actually becoming decent employees, taking pride in our work. Fortunately, it didn’t get far. After all, compared to upper management, Bob and his fellow undead were downright sympathetic by comparison, and even if that weren’t true, Bob was better liked than the vast majority of upper management. All of which meant that simply working harder was not an option. Faced with this bleak situation, what choice was there?

We formed a union. All of us, even Bob. When presented with the idea of being able to eat the annoying customers, Bob joined enthusiastically, for a zombie, that is.

You probably wonder how it went.

Well, you never want to mess with a zombie on a picket line, it gets ugly.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Tom permalink
    February 26, 2007 11:48 pm

    OK, so this is basically a slightly revised short story that I originally submitted to the Escape Pod flash fiction contest a few weeks ago. I like it, and I plan on continuing it.

    A few people commented that it was very similar to a story on PsuedoPod called “What Are Dead People Supposed to Do?”. I’ve never read/listened to that story, although I intend to. I just wanted to be clear.


  2. April 19, 2007 3:53 am

    It definitely looks promising. I haven’t read the story you mentioned either. It reminds me of equal parts “Bub” from Day of the Dead and that closing scene in Shaun of the Dead with the Zombies pushing shopping carts in parking lots. And nice Army of Darkness reference, although it reads less as subtle and more as lifted.

    That said, the idea needs a lot more expanding. You get caught up in your anti-management sentiments (which you know I share), and don’t take the time to expand on what Bob’s relationship (even now it’s hard not to call him “Bub” — a name change might be in order, although I like the generic-name-concept) to his fellow employees is, inside and outside of work. Upper management is easy to hate when they’re faceless, but they’re even easier to hate when they’re shown for the gutless assholes that they really are, so tear into them. It’s one degree of funny to compare them to zombies. It’s a wholly new degree of funny to put them side by side with zombies and let the clear preference for the Zombies come out. It’s a great sketch of an idea, but before you work on the strike aspect (which would have some great zombie action, undoubtedly), I think Bob actually in the work environment has a lot of promise.

    Hope that all of this has been helpful, and I can’t wait to see more,


  3. RJNoble permalink
    August 17, 2007 5:48 am

    I enjoyed it. It was a good twist on a sub-genre that needs some good twists. Ironically I’ve been bouncing around a zombie-esqe story in my head that reversed the rolls and has the ‘W-Mart’ customers slowly devolving into zombies. It’s something that occurs to me every time I go there. Keep up the good work.

    Bob (No, really, that’s my name)

  4. August 17, 2007 11:54 am

    I’m glad you liked it. It was fun to write, and I really do intend to write more of this type of stuff in the near future.

    As for W-Mart (which I assume is meant to be a subtle reference), I have always wondered if you built one that had more exits than entrances, would people screaming at their kids spontaneously appear in the middle of the store due to the void that is created?

    By the way, I think your site is great, keep up the good work.

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