“Don’t go to all that trouble. Let’s go see a movie or something. It’s summer,” I said, sounding suddenly spontaneous.
“Um okay. But I have already started it. We can eat dinner then go to a movie.”
“Nah. Let’s just have movie popcorn and mentos.” I was already searching for show times. “How about ‘The Purge’?”
“What’s that about?” she asked.
I wanted to make a joke about the after effects of an eggplant surprise but I bit my tongue.
“One night a year the laws are suspended and anyone can kill whoever they want without fear of prosecution,” I said while fantasizing about my plans for a certain Charter cable customer service representative should such an occasion ever present itself.
“That sounds violent. Isn’t there a Brad Pitt movie?”
“You mean World War Z?”
“Yes. That’s the one,” she said dreamily.
I didn’t even point out her obvious contradiction because I was afraid I would end up sitting through two agonizing hours of “Nutless Love Letters” or one of those movies she heard about in her Bible study. Neither of my daughters had plans so we all went to the movie together.
The first trick when attending a movie with my wife is jockeying for a seat. No one really wants to sit by her because she gets confused and asks too many questions. Sure enough, as the movie started and the opening credits began to roll, the words “Plan B” appeared on screen. She leaned over to me. “What’s that supposed to mean? What happened to Plan A?”
“I believe that’s the name of the production company.”
The movie has a simple premise. Brad Pitt is a retired UN investigator. While he carpools through a morning traffic jam with his wife and two daughters, all hell breaks loose. Zombies are attacking and spreading their deadly disease. Once they bite a human it takes about ten seconds for the human to turn into a zombie and join a marauding gang. Imagine someone handing out free samples of Monistat 7 or cat food at your local Wal-Mart and you get the picture.
My wife kept shielding her eyes and asking me: “What’s he going to do? What’s he going to do?” So this is where I started to get sidetracked. I spent the rest of the movie imagining how I might respond to this new zombie zeitgeist.
To be honest the movie probably would have ended much sooner. Shortly after the attack starts, Pitt gets an urgent call from his former boss at the UN. This is how it would have played out in my house.
“Don’t anyone answer that,” I would have sternly instructed.
“But it’s Terry,” my wife would intone.
“Terry who talks too much or Terry with bad body odor?” I would have inquired.
“Your old boss Terry. And it’s the third time he has called. It must be important,” she would have said as she picked up the phone and handed it to me without even consulting the permanent “Do Not Answer” list otherwise known as the “Eternal Shit List.”
Thinking fast I would have tried to sound deathly ill as I answered in a pained whisper: “Hello.”
“Hello Agent T-bone. Terry here.” We both have names that begin with “T” but, according to my script, I am obviously the alpha male because I have the cool nickname.
I am barely able to muster an acknowledgement. “Make it quick. I don’t feel so well.”
“What happened? Did the zombies get you?”
I couldn’t really lie to him in case I were to run into him at the grocery store later. But it had to be severe enough to duck his new assignment.
“I think it was just a baby zombie. I should be better in a few days but my Doctor told me to avoid travel.”
“We need you to find the source of this zombie outbreak and come up with a cure. The fate of the entire world rests in your hands,” he would plead.
I would give a brief pause only because I am not sure I am up to the task. The closest I had come to a zombie experience was the time my brother woke me in the middle of the night when we were about ten years old. He had a flashlight under his chin and he whispered in an ominous voice: “I’m not really your brother. And those people downstairs aren’t really your parents.” I believed him for about a month afterward, and unsuccessfully tried hard to believe him on intermittent occasions since then. I’ve also waited in line at the DMV with expectant teenage drivers on several occasions so I was probably as equipped as anyone.
Then I thought about the time I tried to assemble a plastic Fisher Price basketball goal for my 4 year old son and sent both of us to the emergency room.
“I’m probably not the guy for the job,” I would say. But after much arm twisting and a failure to negotiate even a modest raise from my previous salary I would have to break the news to my wife and kids.
Brad Pitt’s wife gave him a long, sensuous kiss. Not my wife.
“Oh. Okay. If you’re by Target I need you to pick up the prescription for your bunions,” my wife would call to me. The Navy SEALS who were sent to accompany me would snicker and I would try to ignore her. I can only hope her inhumanity never makes the final cut.
Before he left, Brad Pitt duct taped a magazine around his forearm so he could throw a deftly placed shiver to the throat of a whole parade of zombies. Not so easy for me. First my wife would want to cut out a few recipes from the magazine before I could use it. And forget about the tape.
“Where the eff is my duct tape?” I would ask in an exasperated voice.
“I let Karen borrow it to hang up signs for her garage sale. You want me to call her?”
Aaaarrrrgggghhhh! Looks like I’ll have to rely on the SEALS.
There is one particularly tense scene in the movie when Brad Pitt and two SEALS are trying to ride bicycles in the dark, through pouring rain down a runway scattered with sleeping zombies.
I leaned over to my oldest daughter and commented at how implausible such a scenario seemed.
She agreed. “Yeah. We would never be able to find 3 bikes with fully inflated tires.”
Brad Pitt went to South Korea then Israel then Finland in search of a cure. He ended up at a facility run by the World Health Organization where he hatched a plan to inject himself with a virus. This would cause the zombies to avoid him since he was not a healthy host, thus buying him, and the rest of those inoculated, time to eradicate the zombie population. So that’s it? You just need the zombies to avoid you while you hatch your plan? Brad Pitt’s got nothing on me.
My plan is simpler and less expensive. I would have invited the zombies right on over to my place for dinner. On the menu: Eggplant surprise. World saved. The end. Roll credits.