Dezi was in school again. She moved through the day slowly, plodding through the halls from class to class. She hated the hallways, but didn’t mind sitting in classes, because there at least she could watch the videos she had taken over the weekend silently on her phone. In fact, in her computer class she could do whatever she wanted because she was sitting at her designated laptop with nothing to do. Sure, there was the class assignment, but it was a design project and she was designing a site about “paranormal sightings and their rationalizations” and that meant she could upload the videos and get them on the web. Not only did it mean she COULD, it also meant that’s exactly what she was doing. Double whammy. Five minutes after the bell had rung, the teacher had already explained the assignment for the day and most of the class had settled into website design, when Dezi’s friend Reggie sat down next to her.
“Reginald. You’re late again.” The teacher, Mr. Satri stated rather sternly from behind his newspaper.
“How did he see me?” Reggie whispered to Dezi.
“I didn’t need to see you, Reginald. I heard the door.” Mr. Satri folded the paper down. “Do you have a pass?”
“It was the last class I was in, sir, it ran over again!” Dezi knew for a fact that Reg’s last class was study hall. Unluckily for him, so did Mr. Satri.
“We will discuss this after class, Reginald. Get to work.” He unfolded his paper back up to its full height. “Immediately.” Reg logged in to the computer system no quicker than he normally would.
“What the hell is up his butt today?”
“Probably the fact that you’ve been late almost every class for the last two weeks.” Dezi whispered back. “And that you told him you’d like to design a website that tells you where the best boob scenes are in popular movies.”
“Hey, now. That probably would get more traffic than most of the site designs people are working on in this class. Hell, it probably would have gotten more traffic than most sites on the internet.” Dezi couldn’t help but laugh. Reg was probably right.
“I didn’t hear from you all weekend, Dez, where were you?” He pulled up the site he was working on instead of the boob scheme—a history of trains in America—but didn’t start working on it in favor of staring across the room at a short girl with long, brown, braided hair.
“Well first I had to go to Fran’s recital on Friday night.” Her sister played the cello in the state youth orchestra. She was very good. “And then on Saturday I was doing homework so I turned my phone off.”
“Great, that leaves all of Sunday where you were ignoring me.” Reg gave up staring at the girl and turned back to Dezi instead.
“Sunday? Sunday I was...” she considered for a moment coming up with some lie; there was a fifty percent chance that Reg would laugh at her if she told him the truth. “Sunday, I was at the town square. The guy I’ve been following—”
“—you know that makes you a stalker, right?” Reg stated, offhanded, while staring at the screen.
“No! You know the guy I’m talking about! With the hat and the jacket and the weird wrappings.”
“Right. the burn victim you think is a mummy.”
“Shut up. Do you want to know what happened, or just want to make cheap jokes?”
“Well, if you really want to know what happened, then just watch the video.” She pulled up the footage from her phone on the computer and hit play. Reg sat in silence. “So? See what I’m talking about when I say weird things—”
“—that was one hell of a flash mob.”
“That’s what some other people at the square said, too, but I don’t think it was a flash mob!”
"Well, then, Miss Strange. If it wasn't a flash mob, what was it?"
"That's what I've been trying to figure out. I fell asleep watching this video but I still can't figure out how whoever was doing this... did it. The best I can figure is that there are some microchips or some remote control things or something. I don't think these—" She pointed at the zombies, "—are real. But this guy—"
"The burn victim?" Reg was already uninterested.
"This guy with the inexplicable wrappings, yes, him. He doesn't seem to have anything trickerly about him."
"Trickerly. You're going crazy, it's officially official."
"No, you know what I mean. HE looks like a real person, as opposed to something being controlled or something that should be controlled. He looks like he's in control of himself."
"You are useless to me sometimes."
"You are useless to me most of the time."
"That's wonderful. Thanks for your support."
"I support you! I just don't care."
"No. That's Reg! Ba-da-ch"
"I hate you."
"I love you, too." They sat in silence for a few moments, Dezi slightly begrudging at Reg, who displayed a complete lack of caring for his friend's newest breakthrough in a life long conquest for the truth. Reg was just angry that he had to research the history of trains instead of boob scenes in films. Until finally—
"Alright. Tell me more about this guy in the town square."
"Really. You want to hear about the guy, or are you just being nice to make up for being rude?"
"Come on. you know I don't care about being rude. I'll be rude all day. I'm bored and I want to hear this story."
Dezi sighed, and then continued the story.
She described the scene, how she had been downtown getting doughnuts because it was Sunday and Sundays are doughnuts day. And she explained how she had been looking for the man in the hat all day and by the time she was getting doughnuts she had almost forgotten about looking for him. In fact part of the reason she was buying the doughnuts in the first place was to help her forget about the lack of weird things going on around her.
"And then. Then there was a commotion in the town square and I stopped to try and see what was up because you know how there have been those weird..."
"...mentions of the abandoned factory online because you've been putting them there?"
"No! other people have been putting them there, too!"
"Shut up and listen, do you want to hear this story?"
"No I just wanted to hear about the doughnuts and your struggle to choose between Chocolate and strawberry with sprinkles when we all know every time you're going to pick strawberry with sprinkles."
"I'm not telling any more."
"Please! It was just getting good!"
"I can't tell if you're being serious."
"I am! I promise I am."
"Fine. Fine. So anyhow. There was a commotion and I stopped and saw this one guy in a jacket and a hat and all wrapped up like a burn victim, and there was this crowd of like... thirty zombies—"
"—people in stage makeup—"
"ZOMBIES there were like thirty zombies and they were all moving closer to the guy in the jacket.
And I pulled out my phone so I could catch it on video because not only was this the biggest group of zombies I had ever seen, but also they were all moving at the same time, in the same direction, and it looked like “Thriller” or something. So the guy in the hat climbed on the dry good store roof and grabbed the flag pole and started swinging it around, but it looked like he had some kind of training because he never swung once without taking out at least one bad guy, or blocking a blow.
Anyways he's fighting away, hitting zombie after zombie, and then he hits one of the zombies in the center of the crowd and suddenly the rest of them fall over all at once. Like he'd hit the boss and the little minions just followed in his defeat. It was the weirdest thing I had ever seen. And then, of course, like she does every time I'm out of the house for more than ten seconds, my mother called and the video stopped recording because my phone is old as shit. So that was the end of that."
"And what did your mom want?"
"HOW IS THAT WHAT YOU TOOK AWAY FROM THAT STORY?!"
"Desert Orchid. Reginald. Both of you, to the detention room now you haven't stopped talking once this period." Mr. Satri had apparently been trying to get their attention but the two had been so enthralled in their story and making fun of each other that they hadn't noticed.