Clarence’s First by Timothy Gager and Teisha Twomey

Clarence hated that his professor made him go to the tutoring lab for the first time, as he would much rather eat. Yet, there he was sitting across from the tutor licking his lips with anticipation, his eyes on Amelia, trying to look inside them. She pulled the first of four pages between her pointer and thumb with one hand, while twirling her blond hair with the other. She knew that some of the students could be tricky customers, mentally unstable, or overbearing, so she wondered how to say what she needed about his ridiculous opening sentence on the subject of pan fried brains. She always tried to be open-minded and generous in her counsel.

“Couldn’t it be ground beef?” she asked.

“You don’t know what I’m getting at.”

“Well it appears to read like an odd cooking piece.”

Clarence snickered at her, “What does someone like you do all day?”

“I kick the world’s ass and kill zombies,” Amelia countered, aware of his put down and raising her guard. “Here,” she said. “Nonfiction describes information understood to be fact. Implicit in this, however, are the varying degrees to which the writer’s subjective interpretation of facts, and/or selective presentation of facts, end up making a “factual” work less true. Clarence shifted uneasily, as he was unguarded by her cleverness. “Um, yeah,” he told her. Clarence stared blankly past her, the wall being very white.

“An interesting way to delineate nonfiction forms is to look at them in terms of how accurately they reflect the writer’s experience, beliefs, and emotions in real life.”

“So,” Clarence said, “you kick the world’s ass and…ha, well you can’t kill a zombie, technically speaking, we… ehhh, I mean…they are already dead.” His nostrils flared as he sucked in the essence of her beautiful gray matter.

“I don’t really believe in Zombies anyway. Anywho, back to the paper. Why does the girl offer herself up to you? Doesn’t really make sense for her to do that does it?”

“She does if she knows what’s best for her…” Clarence hissed. Amelia splayed her pens on the table and tapped them for a moment, as if making every effort to drum his creepiness away, before balling her fist into her palm and cracking each knuckle self-consciously, a life-long habit.

Little did Amelia know, this was akin to Zombie foreplay, when she made the fateful choice to twist in her chair, releasing an earth-shattering symphony of snaps and pops from her spine, an undead requiem, which resonated through Clarence’s soulless body, rocking his world so hard he felt his still heart flicker for a moment.

He had never wanted something so badly in his life and envisaged cradling Amelia’s fair head in his sallow arms, bringing it near his sunken chest, before snapping her fragile neck with one swift twist. He wanted to eat every part of her, that way she could remain inside him forever and always help him with his papers. He quivered as he prepared to lunge.

Clarence had never actually tasted a human being, but had always known he was a Zombie. He remembers when he first watched Night of the Living Dead and looked in the mirror wondering why his parents never told him. When he confronted them, they waved him away, blaming his pale skin and dead eyes with anemia and a severe stigmatism. Now, Clarence knew the truth. Amelia would be his first.

He grabbed her in his arms, swinging her like a lasso then sweeping her to the floor the way one dips their partner during a waltz. Amelia’s eyes were wide and wet as he pulled at her turtleneck and tasted her at the collar. She let out a giggle as he sampled behind her ear.

“Yuck, you are disgusting!” Clarence shrieked, pulling away, recoiling in horror. The first time should have been special; he sulked, leaving her where she lay, a pitiful heap of need.

“Wait! Where are you going?” She cried out, “I love you Clarence! Don’t go! Wait! You forgot your paper…”

Clarence didn’t even bother to reach for it as he ran away, closing the Tutoring Center door behind him. “You keep it Amelia… I am going to have to rewrite the whole thing anyway.”