Zombies at 6am
Steve looked around proudly; Jack had done well there. Everything was set out neatly, ready to go; the tools of their trade gleamed in the dawn light. “Nice work kid. I’ll open up the front,” he said, clapping the younger man on the back as he passed.
Jack smiled nervously. “Thanks boss.”
“Told ya, call me Steve,” he replied. He rolled up the old shutter at the front of the building and leant casually against the side wall, watching the ticket barriers for the shuffling, blank-eyed horde that showed up here every morning. “They’ll be swarming out in a couple of minutes; you ready, Jack?”
“Ready as I can be,” Jack answered.
Steve looked over his shoulder at the lad. It was his first day, and he had that ‘rabbit in the headlights’ look about him. Steve, on the other hand, had worked the post for the best part of ten years now, and he knew the score. “Don’t worry, kid. Just remember your training and you’ll be fine.” He heard some faint sounds of activity beyond the barriers, and turned his attention back towards them.
Moments later, the barriers opened and the flood began. “Zombies at 6am!” Steve called to Jack. He jogged back behind the counter, where Jack stood frozen, staring at the oncoming mass. “Keep it together kid, we’ve got work to do!” He turned their most important machine up full, the one that would dispense hot, aromatic mugs of the cure for these poor wretches’ condition.
As the first zombie reached the counter, groaning incomprehensibly, Jack unfroze. Training just kicked in, thought Steve, watching him out of the corner of his eye as he worked his machine. For the next twenty minutes, they sent dozens of mugs over the counter. Jack improved steadily with every zombie he served. Eventually the flow slowed, then stopped, and the two men had a chance to catch their breath while they watched the almost miraculous recovery of the handful of zombies that remained, sipping their cure at the tables scattered around the place.
“Hey Steve,” said Jack thoughtfully, wiping out a used mug. “You never really explained it to me; why d’you call the morning rush ‘zombies’?”
Steve chuckled softly. “Thought that was obvious. They’re all half-conscious, incapable of rational thought, and have one thing on their minds...” He pulled a zombie face and stretched out his arms, moaning, “cooo-ffeeeee...”