Zombies of the Old West

I’ve discovered a new talent. I can predict when traffic lights are going to turn red. It’s simple actually. If I’m approaching a light, even if it’s just turned green, it will automatically turn red prior to my vehicle reaching the intersection.

If I’m sitting at a red light, the same rule holds true for drivers approaching the intersection from my left or right. It’s all part of the Secretary of Transportation’s new policy to help fulfill one of Donald Trump’s campaign promises, “Make America Late Again.”

If this is your first visit to Friday Flash Fiction, our 100 traffic cop (who is in no way a woman of few words when engaged in a verbal conversation) is Maddie Blythe Wisoff-Fields. To learn how to participate in this weekly exercise in madness, head over to her blog for instructions. To rent a box in the writers in FFF Hollywood Squares Authors Block, click here.


Carl shuffled through the swinging doors. Gray-faced and hollow-eyed, he made his way to the bar.

“What’ll ya have, stranger?” The words crawled from the bartender’s mouth and clung to a string of drool dangling from his lips.

“Formaldehyde. And make it a double.”

“Staying long in Purgatory?”

“Not any longer than I have to.” Carl moaned. “I’m just in town for the apocalypse.”

“You and ten thousand others,” said the bartender, picking at the decaying flesh below his right eye. “One piece of advice; stay upwind from the crowd. Old cowboys never die. They just smell that way.”


69 Comments on “Zombies of the Old West

  1. Dear Carl,

    Words crawling from the bartender’s mouth took me out and hung me out to dry. Gives new meaning to a word fitly spoken. Not sure which I like more, the intro or the story. Jan would concur with your take on traffic. We spent 20 minutes…maybe longer…being caught in traffic jam due to road construction yesterday.
    Qui moi? Verbose in conversation? (bats eyelashes) Will we be chatting again at OWL next month?
    Looking forward to the apocalypse.


    Maddie Blythe


    • Dear Maddie,

      Northwest Arkansas has grown much faster than the infrastructure. Our highway systems were designed to accommodate horse & buggy traffic, not a half-a-million people who think they need to drive eighty.

      I’m headed to OWFI in OK City they first weekend in May. It’s a great conference with around 400 attendees. I won’t make it to OWL in May, but plan to be there in August. Perhaps I’ll have a chance to get a word in edgewise then.

      Happy Commuting,

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dear Carl,

        Yes, I saw the condition of your highway system on Facebook. Oy. Don’t fall into the sink hole. And if you do, be sure to write about it.
        I’ll put August on my calendar. By then you’ll be ready for my second book, right? Of course right.
        I’ll try to let you get a word in, but make no promises.




      • Dear Maddie,

        Yesterday we had a Noah-type flood. A tile washed out near my house. It was probably eight foot in diameter and been under the road for 50 years. I walked through it many times in my youth. I had to reroute three times on my morning commute.

        I am ready for your next book, and I’m hope you’re bracing yourself for mine. Pen-L believes they’ll beginning working on “One Idiot Short of a Village” in June and we’re tentatively looking at a release date in September or October (just in time for Christmas/Hanukah gift giving). Perhaps we can do a book exchange.



  2. The scene you just placed in my mind made my stomach roll as it brought back memories of ‘sitting with the dead’ while waiting for the undertaker to take the bodies. The worst time was late August with triple digit temps and no ac. Oh, man, now I’m gonna have ta’ skip breakfast. 🙂 Good write! ❤


    • That sounds horrible, Jelli. I’m sure they ripen quickly in those temps. Perhaps you could write a tale about zombies sunbathing on the beach. Let’s hope they use coconut tanning lotion.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. ‘in town for the apocalypse’. I think a few of us might be, Russell. Keep on dicing with the traffic lights while you can.


  4. Both stories made me LOL! Although if the zombie apocalypse is upon us perhaps I should adopt a more serious outlook. (Not!) 🙂
    Love the new avatar-very scholarly!


  5. I love how your story answers questions that have always plague humanities minds: who’s conspiring to make me late? And what should one offer the dead at a party?

    Thank you. The world just took a breath. And I giggled. 😀


    • I like where you’re headed with this, Bjorn. I can see you including the “sensitive zombie” in one of your poems.


  6. Once again you get a snort of laughter out of me! In town for the apocalypse… love it…


      • Hah! Me? A damsel in distress? Do make sure my knight is tall enough and still has some life in him, ok?


      • I was picturing you wearing one of those tall cone-shaped hats from medieval days, and the knight being a snarky little smartass who stands about five-two and rides a shetland pony.

        Remember, Dale, this is a humor writer you’re dealing with, not a romance author.


  7. Ewww… That’s one reason I don’t watch “The Walking Dead”. This was a little too good a job of showing not telling, Russell. Good writing, though. 😀 — Suzanne


  8. Ahhh, finally. I knew I could rely on you to lighten the mood. Unique vision of the bartender’s words clinging to “a string of drool dangling from his lips,” totally disgusting through and through.

    Our traffic lights are a little more discriminatory. They always turn red when I’m in a hurry and stay green if I need a momentary stop for some reason. I think they read my mind. I’m considering a tinfoil hat.


    • Those blasted mind readers. You’d think they’d make a helmet a person could wear to prevent those thoughts from being intercepted.

      Thank you for having confidence in my ability to lighten the mood. Disgusting through & through is a high compliment indeed when it comes to zombie stories.


  9. Sights ~ of hanging skin. Smells ~ of rotting skin. Thoughts of zombies ~ Thanks?
    You’ve done it again! Made me smile (although I’m not sure why!) Five finger bones to you! Kudos


  10. ” FFF Hollywood Squares Authors Block” – This made me burst out laughing. So fitting. Gosh zombies! I have a story about zombies sitting unwritten in my head. If I can get over my fear of falling flesh and flesh-eating zombies long enough to write it down, it just might see the light of day. Your humorous piece is inspiring though. Smelly cowboys – ha !


    • I saw you’re picture there, in the Hollywood Squares. Now you’re famous.

      Glad you enjoyed the zombie western. Hope you find the courage to write your own zombie tale.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Gagging while laughing isn’t good for you, let me tell you. I sit here with a red face and before you know it I’ll join the bartender- Ew. And Ugh. What disgusting fun. I can see the maggots crawl and smell the stench. Did I say Ew? Great fun, Russel.


      • Trying not to puke because stench and maggots an laughing hysterically does that to a person. Sorry to diappoint, not a necrophile 😉


      • Laughter is good for the body and soul. I never was a big fan of maggots, although I suppose buzzards view them as rice when served with decomposing roadkill.


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Mandie Hines Author

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