‘It’s difficult to explain,’ the Suit said, then tried to anyway. Apparently, a regular Zombie, on recognising a doctor in its presence, would press its face up against the glass window to try and get a bite at its next meal. This patient, though, appeared more passive; less aggressive, more contemplative. Intrigued, rather than terminate the Zombie the docs continued testing – further doses of their medication coupled with a nice chunk of homo sapien.
The results were incredible. After a short period, he started to remember who he was. He started to gesture. He started to speak. Eventually the dude could pass for normal in every way apart from the eyes. Those never change, the white eyes. Still, a couple of contact lenses and you could always say you’d had a heavy session the day before.
The plot thickened, reaching the middle action scene where a twist is required to stretch out the running time. This research had been conducted in secret and without the knowledge of the all-seeing eyes of the Preservation. Details reached them, somehow, and they shoved into position, sticking their ‘Nothing to see here!’ placard in the grass on the way to shutting down the building. The Preservation decided it was impossible to implement these findings and so they torched the entire concept before anyone could even consider doing anything with it.
At least, so we thought…. Script writing 101 there, dudes. The Suit had the room eating out of his hands. Execs would have written a cheque for the idea there and then if this guy wasn’t being 100% super-fucking serious.
He kept going. An insider discovered that the tests on this bizarre Zombie-Human reversal continued in secret, now overseen by the Preservation, and they found that the more frequent the delivery of human flesh alongside the supposed cure, the more the test subject became human. No matter what, a Zombie could never completely return to their old self, more like a car crash victim that was still shaken up and had forgotten names, faces, dates. But he could pass for human. Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean, for example. That’s the kind of unhinged, brain-damaged performance that the average person could say ‘Wow, that’s some good acting!’ but Johnny might have been a missed dose away from devouring the entire cast.
If you think this doesn’t sound like an acceptable solution to the problem, you’ve just drastically underestimated the sleaziness of Hollywood agents.
A patent had been created. The cure could be mass produced. The insider had no use for it at the time, because all his clients were dead. DEAD dead, rather than Zombie dead. But he figured that one of us assholes might get involved in something somewhere down the line and so thought it might be a good thing to have. He bought a small amount, just in case. Eventually, he used it. He found a bigger market than he expected.
The Suit then relayed the names of four rich-ass Zombies who were currently being propped up by the cure, the flesh and the Church of Zombology. Seriously rich, seriously recognisable, probably more so than me.
The Suit paused to allow this to sink in. Essentially he was telling the room not to worry because a meat/drug cocktail would keep their clients alive and the cheques rolling in. With this stuff flowing through them the agents could pass them off as stressed-out, coked-up, walking props. And their brains wouldn’t, y’know, work properly, but this is fucking Hollywood, home of some of the stupidest, best-looking beings ever to stumble around the Earth. It was an easy sell.
I look across the room at this guy. I’ve had a few Belvederes. At this point I’m one of the biggest film stars on the planet. I could have found out who killed JFK if I gave a shit and this guy’s telling me that there’s a way to reverse NZ, at least temporarily. Needless to say, I didn’t believe him.
I strode forward, ice cubes clinking in my glass as I moved. ‘Listen man, those are some of MY PEOPLE in there. I don’t want to let them go. But they’re gone man. They’re gone. Leave them. Leave them.’
It only strikes me when I repeat it now that it sounds like a line of dialogue from a terrible script and I’m worried that maybe that’s how I spoke in real life for a long time. ‘It’s my fruit salad, dammit’, or ‘This isn’t just for the benefit of this fridge, it’s for the benefit of all fridges’. It maybe answers why Harvey was so wary of sending me in to pitch meetings before my name was already on the poster.
‘Don’t you understand, Captain? This buffet table is haunted!’ That’s an actual fucking line from one of my early roles, I swear. How did I ever get here, dude? Fuck it, I’m nearly dead. Are you still reading? Good.
Anyway, one of my fellow actors piped up to shout me down. She was into this, big time. ‘But Tommy, we have a chance to do some good in the world, to make a difference. If we can help just this single room, we’ll be changing things for the better.’
Blargh. She was making a plea to join Angelina at the fucking United Nations and it was clear it was too late. There was too much at stake, too much to be gained from this bizarro-world option that was no longer even being considered by those in the room, they were already thinking about the best way to get it into the bodies of those on the other side of the door.