Horror struck Long Beach on Saturday, when the LBC became overrun with zombies. Most people were watching college football when terror reigned, but those who were caught outside found themselves in the midst of the uncanny. I was one of them. This is my story.
On Saturday afternoon, I was compelled, by the beautiful weather, to turn off the USC game and leave my house, so I took my cheap beach-cruiser on a ride along the ocean in the direction of the Queen Mary. I had no idea what awaited me outside of the comforts of my home.
Everything appeared normal. Strange old men were rollerblading and posing with their shirts off; a MILF was breast-feeding a baby outside of Belmont Brewing Co; and the pelicans dive-bombed the ocean looking for fish while young people played volleyball. Nothing was out of the ordinary — until I saw smoke billowing from above downtown.
Later I would realize the smoke was just the typical pollution from the Port of Long Beach, but at the moment, I thought something terrible was happening. I had a feeling the city was under attack.
A woman passing by on her bicycle warned me that Long Beach was, truly, infiltrated by zombies, and if I continued to move forward, I would be overrun with the undead. She said the epicenter of the apocalypse was located at Marina Green Park, and she referred to the crisis as [insert anticipatory horror music here] Long Beach Zombie Walk 2012.
Cautiously, I biked up to the combat zone, assuming that my city would need help to ward off the brain suckers. I knew zombies were slow and stupid; so I figured I could outrun them and knock their heads off.
But I was struck by something odd when I entered Marina Green Park. Hundreds of zombies were walking around peacefully. Of course, some of them had gorged faces, missing lips, and deep scars on their faces, but none of the zombies, at least yet, were trying to eat brains. In fact, they were walking up to the main gate to the park and paying for tickets with credit cards. Where were they getting credit cards? Ah, I guess even zombies are suckers okay with having debt.
Ironically, the only commotion happening at the dreaded and horrific Long Beach Zombie Walk was a man with a megaphone, speaking belligerently to the crowd. I moved closer to hear. Maybe he was warning the people about some sort of mutation caused by the drinking water? But all he was talking about was Jesus and redemption. He kept saying that we were all going to die, and we would, one day, have to face God. All we had left was to repent and abandon our false gods and pagan rituals. Spooky, I thought.
The zombies started to walk up to the man with the megaphone, and I thought for sure, now, there was going to be some brain eating. But that never happened. In fact, the zombies just wanted to take pictures with the Christian fundamentalist. Then from the parking lot, a group of men emerged carrying crosses that read, “Heaven or Hell,” and the zombies wanted to take pictures with them, too.
This was just too much. Where was the order? What was the plan? How were everyday people supposed to handle this situation? I expressed my despair to the police office standing outside the gate, but I think he just thought I was drunk. I waited and listened for his instructions, but they never came. I started to suspect the zombies were after something else — other than mind meat.
So I walked into the gate, and I saw hundreds of tents, food trucks, beer stands, and carnival games. The zombies were eating hot dogs from Curryworst and drinking beer. They were moaning, but also exchanging pleasant conversations with normies. That's when it hit me: the zombies were not interested in mass murder; they were interested in exchanging culture. Peace between zombies and humans? Oh, brave new world!
It turned out the Zombie Walk was actually an annual event, and incredible zombies punk bands, including The Undead Kennedys, were playing on both ends of the park. The Undead Kennedys had a singer dressed up like a dead Jackie O; he went all out with a replica pink Chanel dress. And there were makeup stands on every corner so you can imitate a zombie to blend in with the crowd. Who knew when the zombies' instincts would kick back in?
In the end, The Long Beach Zombie Walk was an incredible event filled with local artists and vendors, trying to connect with the community. There were DJs and a food truck that served fried eggs with every meal, including one with beef cheek, which was delicious. The night ended with an outdoor filming of Shaun of the Dead on a giant screen.
Occasionally, a zombie would groan out for brains, but they seemed to be going through momentary cravings. No deaths were reported. No zombies killed–or should I say rekilled? And no one took offense to the religious protesters. It was just a glorious day and a valiant attempt at fostering zombie-human relations across the world. So far, the outlook is bright. Until next year.