It’s nearly quarter to 1AM and the boys are arguing in the other room about what late night game to play: Call of Duty or the Zombie game within Call of Duty. A four-player limit finds me the fifth wheel, and I bow out to play some Starcraft. Kevin is sleeping behind me, having passed out hours earlier. Every half-hour he mumbles incoherent curses in his sleep, a sign my roommate’s sleeping peaceful (the boy is never happy unless he’s not), rousing himself as Ryan begins his recital in the other room. I do not know what prompts it, perhaps the excitement for digital battle, the click of electronic triggers, the tinkling of bullets on 3-D landscapes. His voice begins low, gradually crescendo-ing into a rebel shout, a call to arms for humans against the inhuman, a love-letter to the battle-borne and bullet-ridden:
“Good evening,” he begins. ” In less than an hour, aircraft from here will join others from around the world. And you will be launching the largest aerial battle in the history of mankind. “Mankind.” That word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can’t be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests. Perhaps it’s fate that today is the Fourth of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom… Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution… but from annihilation.”
Yeah, so before we begin, I should explain that texting with my family is a creative experience, a workshop for the mind. Most days I like to spice up our conversations in simple but unusual ways: reversing words (sdrow gnisrever), texting in the third person (Murph enjoyed Ridley Scott’s Prometheus), or conceiving complex stories moments from erupting in the midst of mundane arguments. As an obsessive-compulsive reader, these are some of my favorite kinds of tales anyhow. Outcasts entangled in affairs of grave importance and dire consequence . . . and zombies. You can never go wrong with zombies.
Indulged any residual All Hallow’s Eve hunger for the strange and weird with a second helping of ZombieLand tonight in the bowels of our nation’s capital. Meanwhile Mom, Kate, Bree and our cousin Kathleen learned about friendship, celebrity, and sequined hot pants at the Miley Cyrus concert next door. Having carted my group of screaming girls to the arena (Mom wisely brought earplugs), I strode off to the local theater for a flix, accompanied by a host of lucky fathers, who had managed to escape the two-hour scream-fest in favor of blood-spewing zombies.
Fascination with undead violence is a universal man-love, much like weaponry, alcohol, and mammary glands. Watching bits and pieces of animated corpses explode or disintegrate, or smashed to applesauce with giant carnival mallets reaches deep into our collective male pleasure nodes. Imagine yourself armed with only a shotgun or a Ford Excursion (a tank on wheels) mowing down crowds of incarnate demons and your lips begin to quiver ever so slight . . . Heh heh heh.
Unfortunately our arrival at the concert was not half as cathartic. In an effort to save the environment, Miley instituted a paper-less entry, which meant that we needed to swipe our credit cards in order to enter the arena. Which meant we could not give tickets to others, driving separately. Which meant I had to swipe nearly sixteen people into a venue, I myself would not see. Which meant I was confused as hell.
Luckily Dad solved most of our problems by paying others to solve them for us. As a kindness for buying the tickets in bulk, our ticket vendor guided the girls inside without any qualms or anxious glances. I was free to see my show and the girls were free to squeal and giggle loudly at theirs. We left early from the concert to emerge first-in-line for D.C. traffic, complicated by lane closures and road work, but all in all, we arrived back home healthy, exhausted, and wise enough to stay home for the next two weeks.
In the meantime, I’m off to kill some zombies on the Xbox before bed. Somehow it just relaxes me . . .