Congratulations to Dale Bridges for his story “Life After Men,” which was chosen as a part of our New Voices series — a collection of stories from emerging authors who have not published a novel-length work. “Life After Men” is the perfect story for this time of year. It has horror, macabre, and of course the undead, but not in the way you might expect. Bridges says, “Turning the male population into mindless, bloodthirsty zombies allowed me to reduce “men” to a convenient metaphor without being too literary about it. Emily has been hurt by all the men she has ever known, but she’s still drawn to them. She loves them, but she also wants them to die. I think that’s how I would feel about men if I was a young woman.”
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Image credit: ArtGeekStudio
Life After Men
by Dale Bridges
Danny’s partially rotten head makes a totally grosso crunching noise when I smash it with my $2500 Gucci handbag. He falls to the sidewalk and sort of flops around helplessly, while I stand over him, hands on hips, and glare. For a second, his spasms remind me of the last time we frogged, almost two months ago. That was not a pretty sight, either.
“Emily!” Tiffany screams at me. “What’s your malfunction?”
She snatches the purse away from me and tries to wipe the blood and brain matter off before it has a chance to dry. It doesn’t work. She just ends up smearing everything around and making it about a gazillion times worse. She reaches inside the bag and pulls out the brick I’ve been carrying around all afternoon for just this occasion.
“How many times have I told you to use the Ralph Lauren bag if you want to bash your boyfriend’s skull in? That’s why we have it, you little strump.”
She tosses the purse into a nearby dumpster in disgust and then kicks Danny right in the goodies. Danny moans and rolls over on his stomach (also a move that reminds me of our sex life). Then, for no reason at all, Tiff goes totally nervy and starts to yell and kick him at the same time. “That! Was! My! Favorite! Purse!”
Tiffany has been a real blue-ribbon bitch this week. I wish I could say she’s just having her mensies or something, but she doesn’t cycle until next week. She’s signed up to leave on one of the evacuation boats today, and she’s all nervy because I won’t go with her. As if. There’s no way I’m getting on an oil tanker full of lezzies and sailing off to some godpiss island somewhere in the middle of the ocean. Nope. Not this necro bitch. I’d rather hide out here on the mainland and wait for a cure than hit the high seas with a bunch of nervy strumps.
Finally, Tiffany stops wailing on my ex long enough to take out her iPhone and check her messages. “What do you want to do now?” she asks, nodding towards Danny.
Obviously, the humane thing would be to put him out of his misery. I don’t know if he feels any pain, but he’s gushing blood like a stuck pig and making one hell of a mess. On the other hand, in order to dispose of him properly, we’d have to burn the body and then saw his head off and take it to a Bio Hazard Disposal Unit. By the time we finished filling out the godpiss paperwork, Tiffany would have to leave. And what kind of a send-off is that?
I shrug. “Wanna get a fruit smoothie?”
“You know it,” Tiffany says. So we head off in the direction of Jamba Juice, leaving Danny to the whims of the Sanitation Commission.
To read the rest of Life After Men, click here.