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Ron and April and Zombies

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Excerpt from The Pawnee Journal, April 11, 2011:

Zombie Epidemic Continues to Plague Pawnee
By Shauna Malwae-Tweep

Six days after the corpse of late local resident and former Miss Pawnee 1994 Jessica Wicks shambled out of the morgue and went on a brain-eating spree at a local nightclub known as the Snakehole Lounge, the horror that some are calling the Pawnee Zombie Plague continues to spread unabated.

Sweetums CEO Nick Newport Junior continues to deny that a secret ingredient in the new formula Nutriyum bar is responsible, though friends of Ms. Wicks report that the former beauty queen had a secret fondness for the delicious snack, and had indeed consumed an entire box shortly before succumbing to the mysterious fever that led to her untimely demise.

An unnamed source at the local hospital also confirms that many of the initial victims had recently consumed food at a snack bar in one of Pawnee’s local parks, where Sweetums took over the serving of snacks in late 2009.

Today, Deputy Director Leslie Knope announced that all city parks would be closed indefinitely.

“It was a hard decision,” said Knope. “But when a friendly game of soccer ends with one team of nine-year-olds eating the other team’s brains, it’s probably safe to say that no one is having fun at the park anymore.”

Meanwhile, reports of the walking dead are now coming from as far away as Illinois...

***

Ron Swanson was always been prepared for the end of the world as he knew it. Granted, he thought it would be the inevitable result of government incompetence, and not so much the walking dead, but he was prepared.

He looked at the supplies he’d gathered: guns, ammo, power tools, a year’s supply of dried meat if he stuck to careful rationing, and at least three detailed plans for rebuilding civilization with a team of carefully handpicked survivors that would work in this exact situation.

The first order of business would be to find Leslie Knope, if she was still alive. Ron’s new civilization would need somebody willing to do most of the work. Plus, she was a strong woman capable of childbearing, which made her a very valuable asset in a world that was going to need repopulating.

Wherever Leslie was, Ann Perkins would probably be with her, which was good, as Ron would need people with medical knowledge. Then again, she wasn’t a real doctor, which was why Wendy Haverford was next on the list…

Something knocked at the door.

Likely another gay zombie had managed to breach the perimeter fence.

There were certain disadvantages to living next door to the Bulge. For one thing, zombies seemed to be attracted to the places where they had danced and gotten drunk in life, which made all bars and clubs highly dangerous nowadays. It didn’t help that the Bulge was the sort of club that would decide to celebrate the zombie apocalypse with an end-of-the-world party featuring half-price cover and $2 drink specials, which made for a rather large and inebriated pool of fresh victims when the first attack came.

The undead population around Castle Swanson was quickly growing out of hand.

Ron shrugged. It wasn’t as though they could get in. Zombies had trouble with the basics of doorknobs, let alone Ron’s system of locks. He would deal with it later once he had finished planning.

After Wendy, the next priority would probably be Brendanawicz, a decent shot with a good head for planning and just enough cynicism to balance out Leslie’s...Leslie-ness.

Something knocked again.

And zombies didn’t do the shave-and-a-haircut bit

Ron grabbed his shotgun and ran for the door.

“April?” Ron gaped at his former assistant, standing in his doorway with what, even though these things were often hard to tell with her, seemed to be a frantic expression on her face.

“Um, can I come in?” she said.

He nodded.

“Also, can you kill these guys for me?”

Ron pushed April behind him, raised his shotgun, and fired at the three shuffling corpses approaching the house, dispatching them each with a shot to the head, before slamming and re-bolting the door.

He thought one of them looked like April’s ex-boyfriend’s ex-boyfriend what’s-his-name, and wondered if he should say something. He turned back to April, who was standing there, arms folded, carefully studying the floor.

“My family’s dead,” she said.

He decided this was not a good time to bring up the zombie ex-boyfriend’s boyfriend.

***

Ron Swanson was never sure what to do in situations like these. He patted April’s shoulder in what he hoped was a sympathetic and reassuring way, before steering her to the couch and getting her a warm flannel blanket. He brought her some beef jerky and spent an inordinate amount of time in the kitchen making her a cup of tea. Tea was supposed to be comforting. At least, he thought he remembered Leslie saying something like that once.

April took the mug from him without acknowledgment.

It was probably time to say something.

“So...what happened?” Ron finally asked, after another reassuring pat to April’s shoulder.

“It was my sister,” April said. “She was probably infected for a while, but nobody noticed until she tried to eat our cat. I tried to warn my parents, but they didn’t believe me until it was too late.” She shrugged. “I thought I’d go to Andy, but I haven’t actually seen him since he and the guitarist from his band said they were going on a secret mission to prove that the rumor of plague transmission from raccoon to human were completely false. Besides, I realized it made more sense to come to your house.”

“My house? Why?”

“Because I knew you’d have guns, and...” she surveyed the provisions Ron had assembled. “Thirteen chainsaws?”

“A good survivalist and woodcraftsman is always prepared.”

April sipped her tea and smiled. Slightly. Or maybe it was a reaction because the tea was too hot. Again, hard to tell. “See? I knew this was the right place to be. Chainsaws are a zombie-killing classic. I’ve seen all the movies.”

Ron smiled back. One thing a survivalist and potential new world leader could always use was a good assistant. Especially one whose knowledge of contemporary popular culture might actually come in handy.

He began to tell April his plans, which seemed to cheer her in a way his comforting gestures didn’t. By the end of the night, they had a strategy. Tomorrow morning, Ron would head in to town, round up as many survivors as possible and also the keys to the hunting lodge and his secret just-in-case underground bunker, the latter two of which he’d rather foolishly left in his desk drawer at City Hall back when the mayor had ordered the evacuations.

From there, he’d come back, get April and the rest of the supplies, and head for the woods.

“One more thing,” April said, when they’d finished hashing out every detail and Ron was preparing to turn in for the night.

“What’s that?”

“I never thought I’d actually ask this, but when we get to the lodge, can you teach me how to shoo like you?”

Ron was suddenly overcome by a strong emotion that he couldn’t identify other than it definitely wasn’t rage and probably wasn’t lust. Probably. Maybe it was just indigestion. He’d had a lot of jerky during the impromptu planning session.

“Of course I will,” he said.

“Awesome,” said April.

Ron shook his head to clear it. There was that feeling again, whatever it was.

***

And that was how everything started, even though Ron didn’t realize it until the 5a.m. the next morning when he was jerked awake from a dream of sleep-fighting a pack of zombie raccoons by the smell of frying bacon.

He stumbled out of bed, got dressed quickly, and made his way into the kitchen, where April stood at the stove.

“I got hungry and couldn’t sleep, so I’m making us breakfast,” she said. “I never met anybody who had an entire freezer devoted to bacon before.”

He stared.

“There’s also eggs, sausage, and coffee. Oh, and hash browns. That was the closest thing you had to a vegetable.”

Ron had never been able to resist the combination of a beautiful, dark-haired woman and breakfast food. Not even if the beautiful dark-haired woman in question was still an extremely young woman who was also his former employee and therefore totally inappropriate.

Which is why he was surprised, but probably not as surprised at himself as he should have been, to suddenly find himself kissing April with a passion he hadn’t felt since his last encounter with his lying snake of an ex-wife.

What did surprise him was that April was kissing him back with equal intensity, wrapping her arms around his neck, pulling him closer to her. It was an embrace that seemed to go on until their bodies and minds were melding as one…

Which was probably why they both realized how strange and awkward the whole thing was and simultaneously pulled away from each other at the exact same time.

“Um...” said April, as she refused to meet his eye.

“Right,” said Ron. He grabbed two pieces of bacon directly from the pan, failing the notice that he’d burned his fingers severely in the process. “I need to get ready.”

“I’m going with you,” said April.

“No, you’re not,” said Ron. “We agreed last night. It’s too dangerous.”

She folded her arms.

***

Twenty minutes and three zombie pedestrian encounters later, Ron and April pulled into the deserted parking lot of City Hall.

“Okay” said Ron. “I’m going to run into my office, grab my keys, check for any evidence of survivors, and run back out. I need you to stay in the car with the doors locked.”

April tensed, looking like she might be about to argue again.

Ron gulped. “Please,” he said.

“Okay,” said April, shrugging.

In retrospect, he should have been a lot more suspicious about how quickly she gave in.

The Parks & Recreation Department offices were a mess when Ron got inside. Desks had been turned over, papers scattered everywhere, it looked like someone or something had decided to take bites out of various bits of furniture, the fax machine was missing, and there was a disembodied zombie hand helplessly flexing its fingers in the corner.

Also, someone had toilet papered the place.

Ron had just found his keys in the mess on what had once been his floor when he heard the noise. A familiar, ominous shuffling sort of noise. He looked up at the figure standing in front of him.

“Councilman Dexhart, how can I help you?” Ron asked, knowing it was too late, and Dexhart was well beyond help. The councilman was a strange greenish color and seemed to be missing an ear.

Dexhart uttered a moan that sounded like nothing human and rushed at Ron.

On a normal day, Ron would still know the exact location of everything in his office and how each piece could best be used as a weapon. On a normal day, Ron would be facing the enemy, not down on his knees suddenly realizing that his left pant leg was now caught on something sharp and pointy, seriously impeding his ability to run or reach his shotgun. On a normal day, Ron’s mind wouldn’t have been on the events in his kitchen earlier that morning, and he would have a least remembered to shut and lock the damned door.

But this was not a normal day, and he was probably doomed.

Or so he thought, until he heard the distinct sound of a gas-powered chainsaw firing up in the next room.

The next thing he saw was April Ludgate rushing into his office, brandishing said chainsaw over her head.

He watched in awe as she sliced through the zombie councilman’s head, then neatly separated it from his shoulders and kicked it out the door and into the remains of Jerry’s desk.

April turned off the power tool. “You okay?” she said.

It occurred to Ron that this small, yet surprisingly strong, young woman standing in front of him, panting and covered with blood was the most beautiful sight he had ever seen. And that included every bacon-wrapped turkey leg and free breakfast bar he had ever had the pleasure to lay eyes on in his short, nearly-prematurely-finished life.

“You saved my life,” he said.

“I know,” she replied. She knelt down beside him, and attempted to help him up.

They were both less surprised this time when it turned into another passionate kiss.

One that ended with April ripping all the buttons on Ron’s shirt off.

They rushed out, leaving Ron’s pants in his office, still stuck to the sharp and pointy whatever-it-was. He wasn’t going be needing them any time soon.

***

The next few hours passed in a haze of lust and the occasional zombie killing.

They found Dexhart’s empty office and made love on his desk, April on top, riding Ron so hard that the desk, a sturdy veteran of many multi-person sex scandals, finally gave up and collapsed.

They found an empty supply closet where April took his cock in her mouth and pleasured him until the were forced to move again after Ron’s moans finally drew the attention of a couple of zombies who where formally workers from the sewage department.

They found a nearby conference room, missing a door, where Ron bent April over the table and fucked her from behind while she kept the doorway covered with a shotgun in the event of another sudden attack.

Ron could never properly describe later what they did in the mayor’s office, the erotic experience was too intense for words, but he happily bore the scars on his back until his dying day.

When they finally remembered the master plan, put on what was left of their clothes, and went back to the car, it was already late afternoon.

“So,” April said. “Ann’s house?”

Ron nodded. “Ann’s house. I figure if Knope and company are still alive anywhere, it’ll be there.”

“And if they’re not, Ann’s would make a great place to spend the night,” said April. “I used to house sit for her, and her furniture is surprisingly sturdy.”

Ron put his hand on her knee. “Good thinking, woman,” he said.

They drove off into the sunset, past a pack of small, undead soccer players feasting on a raccoon.

The zombie apocalypse had come.

Civilization had ended.

There was a small chance they were the only two survivors in the entire city.

It was going to be a brave, beautiful new world.

 

***

Excerpt from The Pawnee Journal, April 12, 2211:

Pawnee to Celebrate Founders Day
By Leslie Anne Perkins-Swanson-Ludgate-Knope-Wyatt IV

Today marks the day the citizens of New Pawnee celebrate Founders’ Day, the day when our ancestors and founders, April Ludgate and Ron Swanson, assembled a brave band of survivors and led them to war and eventually victory against the zombie menace.

They also ushered in a new era in American government. If it weren’t for them, the great state of Indiana would not be governed by what is now know as the Swanson Method: one man or woman, chosen by the people and the results of various contests of strength and cunning, to decide who to nuke.

Ludgate and Swanson’s love, and their visionary leadership, is featured in song, story, and in a number of alternately erotic and graphically violent murals in the old Pawnee City Hall. Let’s look at some of them now...