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Remember that movie scene where the hot-chick zombie had her boob hanging out? You know, that one you rewound and watched four or five times before letting the movie go on? Well, real zombies aren’t like that. I just had to get that off my chest (pun intended).

Real zombies are nasty. I don’t just mean ‘They eat brains! Nasty!’ type nasty; I mean ‘What’s that smell? (retch) (gag) Nasty!’ type nasty. I’d bet you could smell one from damn near a mile away, if there weren’t so many that you already smell them everywhere.

I was in Hawaii when it happened. Hawaii smelled good back then. Even the jet-fuel stink at the airport smelled good compared to what Hawaii smells like now. I’ll never forget that first whiff of stench...

We were hiking the Kalalua Trail on the Nā Pali coast in Kauai when it hit us. My friend Mark gagged. I puked.

Now, I know everyone has their own theories about where the parasites came from, and who and what was affected—and why—but I firmly believe those of us who puked that first time survived the initial infection. I don’t know why. Everyone I’ve asked puked that first time.

Mark turned about twenty minutes later. I know the only bites he had gotten were ant bites. We were both covered with them after climbing the cliffs, and there was no one and nothing else around, so I know he was not bitten by a zombie. Did the ants carry the parasite? I don’t think so. I personally think it was that initial putrid, vomit-inducing tsunami of stink that rolled across the island.

You know, that one the government says never happened, it wasn’t involved in, and anyone who says they smelled it is a liar? Well, call me a liar. I’m freaking lying about smelling it because I’ve got nothing better to do in our post-apocalyptic world than to go around making that shit up.

Anyway, when Mark turned, I thought he was joking. Just like everyone else, I didn’t believe my first. We were talking about the awful smell that was ruining our vacation when he got real quiet and started shambling around all jerkily. He came at me with that open-mouthed vacant stare, arms outstretched like a cartoon sleepwalker. I thought he was playing like he was dead because of the smell. I mean, it really did smell like something… well, dead.

I didn’t realize he was coming in for a bite to eat. I just stood there and let him come at me. He would have gotten me too, if he hadn’t slipped on a muddy tree root and fallen down a thousand feet off a cliff.