Kate grabbed Calvin and pulled him down behind the couch. She whispered loudly at him, “It’s Mr. Wembly!”
Crouched next to Kate, Calvin peeked over the couch. The living room was littered with broken glass from the front window. The lamp lay where Kate had dropped it after clubbing Mrs. Wembly, the coffee table was overturned, and there were large slices of the broken coffee cup that had been the eventual demise of the zombie that had been Mrs. Wembly. If he had been looking that way, Mr. Wembly would have seen the smear of whatever was oozing out of Zombie Mrs. Wembly when they dragged her to the backyard after finally dispatching her. But he wasn’t looking at the floor. Instead, over all that chaos, Mr. Wembly stood in front of their flower bed peering cheerfully at Calvin and Kate. Hands in the pockets of his bathrobe, he bent forward at the waist and squinted.
“Calvin? That you?” Mr. Wembly smiled through the destroyed window. Then without warning, he shuddered and stood up straight, contorting his face into a snarl. Shaking his head back and forth, he bent over and “Aaa…PSSHHHH!” sneezed into Kate’s geraniums.
“Whew, that was a big one! Pollen must be gettin’ to me, I’ve been sneezing all morning!” Pulling a handkerchief from his robe pocket, Mr. Wembly blew his nose wetly before stuffing it back in his pocket.
Watching the thin string of snot that now connected Mr. Wembly’s nose and his robe pocket, Kate cringed and stood up. Waving through the window, she said “Hello there, Mr. Wembly. Sorry for your allergies. You should be careful, I hear that there is something going around.”
Calvin, still crouched behind the sofa, jabbed Kate in the leg with his hand. “Don’t say that, he’ll think we think he HAS it!”
“Well maybe he DOES!” Kate hissed before stepping away from Calvin and around the couch. Broken glass tinkled as she walked toward the jagged hole in the side of their house and chatted with Mr. Wembly.
“Oh, I’m sure it’s just allergies Kate, but thanks for your concern. My doctor tried to get me to get a flu shot, but everyone knows those are a government conspiracy, so I certainly wasn’t going to give in to that.”
“Oh. Ok, then.” Kate wasn’t sure how to follow the flu shot conspiracy with her robed neighbor whose wife she and Cal had just killed. Although to be fair, Mrs. Wembly was technically already dead and a zombie, so probably it wasn’t as bad as a straight out killing. It was hard to parse what she should be feeling and Mr. Wembly seemed content to just smile with his hands in his robe pockets and a long line of snot hanging from his nose.
Calvin stood up from behind the sofa, trying to make it seem as if he had been looking for something back there. “Oh hey there, Mr. Wembly! Nice to see you today. Kate and I are just….ah…cleaning up a little. What can we do for you?”
“Chores are the worst, am I right? Thanks for asking, I’m just looking for Marjorie. Mrs. Wembly, that is. I heard her get up early and go out for the paper, I thought. But I haven’t seen her and wonder if you folks have seen her out for a walk this morning?”
Smiling like he did for customers he wanted to leave the restaurant, Calvin said “Why no, Mr. Wembly we haven’t seen her this morning.” Turning to Kate, “Kate, have you seen Mrs. Wembly?”
Kate scratched her head in a gesture so patently false that Cal almost smacked her hand. “Mrs. Wembly? This morning? Well no, I don’t think so. Sorry Mr. Wembly, I’m no help to you at all!”
Smiling, Mr. Wembly rocked back on his heels. “Oh that’s OK, I’m sure she’s out for a walk. We both have been having such allergy attacks which is so odd because we’ve never had allergies before. But there you have it, getting older isn’t for pansies, am I right?”
“If you say so, Mr. Wembly.” Cal waved his hand in what he thought was a goodbye. “Well we’re going to get back to our cleaning. You have a great day, Mr. Wembly and good luck with those allergies!”
“You’re kind to say so, Calvin. And thank you Kate for worrying about me catching something. I’ll tell you, Marjorie and I were talking last night about how this country is in such danger from these…” Mr. Wembly made air quotes, but only used one finger on each side. “…vack-SEENS that are supposed to cure us of everything. I tell you, the government will have to get up pretty early in the morning to trick old Clint Wembly into taking a shot that will make him artistic.”
“Do you mean autistic?” Kate asked, Calvin already annoyed that she had prolonged this. “I don’t think vaccines cause autism, I think that’s just people talking.”
Calvin muttered to Kate, “Can you make him GO, please?”
“Oh no, Kate. I was on the Facebook yesterday and saw it on a meme. States with the highest vaccines also have the highest incidence of artism. It’s cut and dried, I’ve heard.”
“Oh Mr. Wembly, I don’t think you can get your news from…”
“OK, Mr. Wembly, it was great to see you this morning! Good luck finding Mrs. Wembly, have a great day!” Calvin aggressively waved, taking Kate’s hand and pulling her to his side where she hesitantly waved, too.
“Yes, to the cleaning. Goodbye, Mr. Wembly!”
Leaning forward and squinting again, Mr. Wembly seemed to notice the mess for the first time. “Well it looks like you do have a bit of tidying up to do. I’ll leave you to it, then! Bye now!”
Mr. Wembly turned and put his hands back in his robe pockets, shuffling back across the street. On his side of the street, he stood on the sidewalk and called out “Marjorie!” He stood still, apparently hoping to hear an answer. Before hanging his head an little and shuffling back inside.