Death-gray knuckles smacked the wire-latticed safety glass leaving a smear like a squashed grasshopper on a windshield. The zombie finished with a strangled moan.
“Was that a double-double?” I returned the undead creature’s vapid gaze with one of my own and pushed the metal lever beside me. A Plexiglas window slid open revealing a small box. “Swag first. You know the rules.”
He continued to stare, and I thought I saw recognition reflect from his one good eye, remembrance of better days when the Tim Hornet’s drive-thru meant coffee, donuts, and maybe a frosted cappuccino if the wife wasn’t present. The zombie fumbled through the pockets of his burial suit. I tapped the small photographic collage of random jewellery taped to the safety glass. Almost child-like, the creature associated the pictures with the gold band on his ring finger.
“That’s right.” I nodded encouragement then grimaced as the zombie tore the finger from his hand, dropping wedding ring and digit into the box.
Releasing the lever closed the outer window. Pushing another lever opened a trapdoor hatch and the payment dropped into a plastic container already half-filled with jewellery. Next, I placed a paper cup filled with a portion of human brain into the cubicle, slid the door shut and pushed the lever again.
Growling something unintelligible, the zombie fumbled for the cup, brought it to his rotting lips and tilted his head back until the thick slab of cranial organ wormed into his mouth.
“Always fresh at Tim Hornets,” I said as the thing lumbered away on rigor mortis stiffened legs. He’ll be back. Zombies always came back. Caffeine or brain, a habit is a habit and giving the monsters what they needed helped control the infestation, so sayeth the Ministry of Zombie Food Services.
I sighed and looked at my watch. Three more hours till my shift ended. Leaning against the lifeless coffee maker, its circular hotplates cold and dusted over with disuse, I watched the closed-circuit monitor for movement near the drive-thru window.
“Bucky, get out here you peckerhead!” What Chief Johanson lacked in stature he made up for in volume. No one knew his first name. Formerly a Chief Petty Officer in the Royal Canadian Navy, Johanson firmly believed everyone who worked for him was a deaf idiot. That went double for work-release parolees like me.
“Yeah, Chief?” I stepped into the doughnut shop’s dimly lit counter area.
Johanson charged at me like I was a new recruit. He would’ve looked ridiculous in his yellow tunic and chocolate-brown trousers if not for the pistol holstered around his waist. “Did you place the order to re-stock the brains last night?”
That’s when I noticed the refrigerated display case. Once used to keep milk and other beverages cool, it now did the same for brain-filled paper cups, only the case was empty. My gaze flicked to the cellphone cradled within the recharge dock on the back counter. The battery had lost power the night before and I’d mopped the floor while the phone recharged. The new guy, Tommy Leblanc, had knocked the bucket over, spilling sludgy water everywhere. Cleaning the mess took another hour. After that–
Terror fractured along my spine.
As franchisee of a government-subsidized Zombie Food Services Outlet, Chief Johanson was well within his legal right to sacrifice any parolee to keep the zombies at bay should the need arise. He’d already proved his willingness to uphold the law when Kenny Chan forgot the brain order. That’s how I got promoted.
“Of course, Chief.” I forced a tight smile.
Johanson’s bushy eyebrows raised in exaggerated surprise. “Then tell me, peckerhead, where the fuck are my brains?”
Tommy Leblanc who’d just closed the door to the walk-in refrigerator, snorted.
Turning on his heel, Johanson drew his pistol. A single deafening crack boomed through the one-time doughnut shop. Inches below Leblanc’s crotch, smoke trailed from a small, black hole in the refrigerator’s stainless steel skin. A wet stain blackened Leblanc’s already dark uniform pants and a small puddle formed around the heel of his shoes.
“Find something funny, pukeface?” Johanson raised the barrel to Leblanc’s chest level.
“N-n-no, I j-j-just came from the fridge is all. My nose is runny.” He sniffed as if to prove his point, but I was sure the newbie was trying not to cry.
Johanson re-holstered his firearm and returned his attention to me. “Go get ‘em.”
I frowned. “Chief?”
“The brains, dipshit. If you made the call like you said, then they must be dee-layed.” Johanson smiled, stretching out the word as though enjoying how the syllables rolled off his tongue. “So, get to the morgue and un-dee-lay them.”
I nearly smiled myself before realizing Johanson actually meant to send me out into the Zombie Zone. Desperation-fuelled synapses fired within my fully-human-and-hoping-to-keep-it-that-way brain. I needed to convince this lunatic not to–
“Can’t I just call Sam Epstein, Chief?” I snatched the cellphone from the cradle. “I’m sure I can clear this whole thing up in a few minutes.” Including a kickback I probably couldn’t afford.
“You think I’m stupid, peckerhead?” Johanson rested his hand on the pistol butt. “Do you think we share the same level of intelligence, you miserable shit?” He bared yellowed teeth ground flat, a rabid dog daring me to answer. “I already tried Epstein. There’s no answer. Now, get your ass in the van and start driving.”
“Uh, Ch-Chief. C-can I go along, too?” Leblanc gripped the mop handle like a life preserver. “I-I mean, Bucky might need some h-help, and, and–” His brown eyes danced left and right as though searching for another reason to go.
I understood. The last thing Leblanc wanted was to be alone with the man who took a shot at his balls. “He’s right,” I said, more surprised than Leblanc that I’d spoken at all. “Besides, he has to learn the route.”
Johanson’s eyes narrowed in devious contemplation. “All right. Show pukeface the ropes.” He glanced at Leblanc. “Clean up your piss first. Then get me those brains.”
I nearly pissed my own pants. Driving through the ZZ with a trainee in tow was insane. I needed to come clean with Johanson–or maybe just half-clean. Wasn’t there no answer at the morgue? Why not say the same had happened the night before and I was too afraid to admit the truth? The lunatic could hardly blame me if Epstein was too drunk to answer the phone.
Reality crashed through my reasoning. Johanson would likely kill me anyway and feed my brains to the zombies while Leblanc drove alone to the morgue. Without me the idiot would get his ass chewed off before he went a kilometre. At least together we would have a chance.
Challenging Chief Johanson’s ugly smile with one of my own, I said, “No problem.”
“Glad to hear it,” said Johanson, though I saw little of the sentiment in his beady dark eyes. Before my bravado faded completely, I held out my hand and asked for the keys to the delivery van.
The Chief looked as if he might spit into my palm. “Better bring it back in one piece.” He slapped the single key into my hand.
Or what? My fist closed around the key and leather fob. You’ll shoot me? Call the Parole Office? I headed for the loading bay. If the van didn’t come back in one piece it was because I was dead already, or worse.
Leblanc mumbled something about changing his pants and shuffled off to the staff room. Johanson marched to his office, probably to prepare another parolee requisition form.
My ankle itched at the thought. The Electronic Monitor Anklet had been locked in place the first day of my parole. But unlike older models that merely tracked my movement using GPS, the EMA around my ankle was lined with Semtex. Should I decide to end my parole prematurely, a signal from the Parole Office triggered the plastic explosive, blowing off my foot, effectively ending my service to the Ministry of Zombie Food Service.
Feeling like a dead man walking, I headed to the garage, a hastily constructed cinderblock addition to the shop with stumpy utility lockers lining the far wall.
Leblanc hurried into the garage. “Sorry,” he said under his breath.
“No problem.” I shrugged, unsure if he was sorry about taking so long, or about going in the first place. I headed for a row of stumpy metal utility lockers and opened the nearest door. Inside was a row of giant yellow plastic BBQ forks with thick handles at one end and nub-like tongs at the other.
“Cattle prods?” Leblanc chuckled as he examined the electric baton. “I haven’t seen one of these since I spent a summer on my uncle’s farm.”
I took a prod for myself as well as a leather bandoleer laden with battery packs. “Zombies are easy to kill if you got a gun and a shit-load of bullets. We’ve got neither. What we do have are these hotshots. Zombies might be mindless, but they were once human. Electric current paralyzes their muscles just the same, hopefully stunning the bastards long enough to escape–somewhere.”
Leblanc took a hotshot for himself, gripping the weapon as tightly as he’d gripped his mop handle.
Opening the next door, I handed the newbie a leather collar and gauntlets. “They like to go for the arms and neck.” I slipped on my own armour and headed for the van’s cab. Once in the driver’s seat, I jammed the key into the ignition. The cab smelled of stale cigarettes, sickly-sweet dough, and formaldehyde.
After a few seconds Leblanc opened the passenger door and slid into the empty seat.
“Lock the doors, keep the windows closed, and buckle up.” I pressed the remote control on the sun visor. The van shook as the protective corrugated metal door rumbled open to reveal a broken Toronto at night.
Switching on the headlights, I eased the van into the nightmare that was the ZZ and pressed the button to close the garage. I nodded at a shambling zombie dressed in a postman’s uniform, adjusted my heading and accelerated.
“Wh-what are you doing?” Leblanc braced himself against the filthy dashboard.
“Chumming the water.” The creature bounced off the crash bars welded to the van’s front end and sailed through the air, sliding to a messy stop a dozen meters away.
The undead mailman lay still for a moment then flopped his broken arm aside and tried to stand.
“If there’s one around, there’s twenty more nearby. And they’re never too picky about supper.”
True to their mindless nature, zombies materialized form the shadows like actors around a black curtain. They ignored the van, preferring to feed upon their wounded brother.
“That should make some of the way easier.” I motored down the main drag thankful Leblanc couldn’t tell just how tightly I clenched my sphincter.
“What were you in for?” I asked, more to calm my nerves than any real interest.
“Uh, dealing,” said Leblanc, distracted. “You?”
I gave Leblanc a sideways glance. Thin, with greasy black hair and haunted eyes, Leblanc looked like a junky in perpetual need of a fix. “I hacked the wrong computer.” I said.
“Cool.” Leblanc’s head whipped back as we sped through another intersection. “Is this Dundas? Why are we still on Dundas?”
“The morgue is on Grenville, north side of the ZZ.” I swerved around the husk of a burned out SUV, a fossil of what had once been a thriving metropolis. “Taking the long way along the fence-line up Bathurst then along College might seem safer because of the tighter security near the Living Zones, but it leaves us outside that much longer. Too much chance something could go wrong. Dundas to Bay is quicker.” I winked.
My assessment held true, and we turned onto Grenville without incident. Entrance to the morgue was through a parking garage door at the end of a shallow incline. While long abandoned as the official office of the Toronto Coroner, the morgue was kept open as a conduit of fresh supplies for the small chain of Tim Hornets franchises operating within the LZ. The only entrance was a large black roll-up garage door at the base of a shallow incline.
I eased up to the door, pressed the intercom and waited. The doors remained closed. “Nobody home.” I shifted the van into reverse. “Guess we can go back.”
“No.” Leblanc grabbed my arm. “I mean, try again.” He quickly released his grip at my hostile glower. “Johanson won’t like it if we come back without his brains, and I don’t want to get shot at again.”
“Relax.” I concentrated on backing up; the way was tight and I didn’t want to scratch the sides of the van. “Anyway, what can Johanson do? The place is closed. And watch the way you’re holding that hotshot. You’re gonna zap me if you’re not careful.”
Too late, I realized Leblanc meant to do exactly that. Only unconsciousness relieved the currents of electrified agony.
* * *
I awoke to blinding white light and a piercing headache.
“He’s up,” I heard Leblanc say. “Told you I didn’t fry his brain.”
Tensing my muscles to charge the sound of his voice, I discovered my arms and legs were bound.
“Take it easy, my friend.” This new voice, a woman’s, came from my left, opposite Leblanc the prick.
“What’s going on?” I squinted into the light. “Where’s the coroner? Where’s Sam Epstein?”
“Old Sammy’s kind of retired,” she answered in low, even tones. “For the sake of convenience he’s still collecting his paycheck, but he’s left me in charge.”
Was this even possible? Sam Epstein was more butcher than coroner. The city morgue had become the new Potter’s Field for the homeless and unwanted. Sam removed the brains and packed them on ice for distribution. What he did with the rest of the bodies I didn’t want to know. But Old Sammy wasn’t that old, no more than thirty, far too young for retirement. Something smelled funky and I didn’t like it. “Just who the fuck are you?”
I wanted to puke. The Rotundo crew made zombies look like missionaries.
“You’ve heard of me.”
I swallowed, nodded.
“Good, then enough of the foul language. Treat me with respect, and I’ll treat you the same.”
“Yes, ah. . .” I paused unsure how to address her.
“Call me Marion. And your name is Bucky, right?”
My vision cleared enough to see more clearly. We were in a staff lounge, with a refrigerator, microwave, coffeemaker, and message-laden bulletin board. Rotundo stood to the right. Bantam-sized with hard blue eyes, Marion Rotundo could’ve been Chief Johanson’s long lost sister, except for the immaculate double-breasted power suit and perfectly styled hair.
“Carmine.” She looked passed me and for the first time I noticed the goon standing behind me.
“Untie our friend here. Now that he knows the situation he’s not gonna do anything stupid. Isn’t that right, Bucky?”
Carmine was more of what I expected from a goon, essentially a block of flesh barely squeezed into a cheap suit. He chuffed garlic into my face as he untied the constraining bonds.
I rubbed feeling back into my wrists and ankles. My fingers brushed the EMA and I pulled them back like they’d been burned.
“I know what you’re thinking, Bucky.” Rotundo smiled like my high school guidance counselor.
“You’re wondering how long you’ve been unconscious. Maybe Chief Johanson called the Parole Board. Maybe they’re using that little GPS to search for you right now. Or not.” She reached into her coat pocket and pulled out a small box with a stubby antenna. “Jammer. You’re invisible to everyone except those in this room. More importantly, your leg won’t go boom.” She smiled as though expecting me to thank her.
I didn’t. “What do you want?”
“Direct. Terrified, but direct. I like that.” Rotundo’s laugh was like peanut brittle, sweet but nutty. “What I want, Bucky, is for you to deliver a message to Chief Johanson. Tell him he’s got a new business partner, and, if I might borrow from Shakespeare, he must now pay for his pounds of flesh.”
I frowned. “Pay?”
“Please, don’t insult my intelligence. The jewellery Johanson collects from the zombies. He’s found a nice gold-laying goose, and since I’ve become his only supplier, I want my cut. Some golden yolk, if you will.”
Of course. The box of trinkets collected at the drive-thru window. The swag was supposed to go to the Ministry to help offset operating costs. Johanson must be skimming off the top. Sammy Epstein must have been on the scam, too.
And parolees like me, what did we get out this? Johanson shot Kenny, and sent me out on this ludicrous hunt for brains.
My heart hammered in my chest. The bastard.
“What’s in it for me?” I asked.
Rotundo flashed teeth too perfect to be real. “I do like you much better than your friend, here.”
“Hey,” Leblanc protested. “I did exactly what you wanted, Marion.”
Eyes still on me, Rotundo said, “That doesn’t mean I like you. And call me Ms. Rotundo. Tell you what, Bucky. I’ll give you the same deal I gave your colleague.”
My nerve endings still ached from the hotshot’s electrical current. “He’s no colleague of mine. If I get out of this, you’re a dead man, Leblanc.”
“Screw you, fucky-Bucky. You’d have done the same.”
Maybe Leblanc wasn’t too far off the mark, but that didn’t give the prick the right to shock me. I swore revenge, but first I’d have to play Rotundo’s game. “What deal?”
“Freedom.” Rotundo reached into another suit pocket and pulled out what looked like a thin chrome-plated wrench. “Recognize this?”
I nodded, unable to believe the treasures Rotundo possessed. She held an EMA key to unlock my anklet. “So, I give Johanson your message and you let me go?”
“Not exactly. Come back with my first payment, then I let you go.” Rotundo’s eyes became hard garnets. “And just so Johanson understands how serious I am, here’s something to take with you. Carmine, if you will.”
Carmine, who had moved behind Leblanc, allowed a long silver blade to slip from the sleeve of his coat. With a grace unexpected from someone so huge, he swung the short sword in a powerful arc.
Leblanc’s severed head plunked to the floor. The rest of him crumpled like a rag doll, blood spurting from the stump of his neck.
Rotundo waited till the bleeding slowed to a trickle, then bent down, and slipped a cellphone from Leblanc’s pant pocket and handed the device to me. “Let Johanson know you’re on your way back. We don’t want him calling the PO, right?” Without breaking her smile, she grasped Tommy Leblanc’s head by its oily hair and tossed it into my lap. “And don’t forget this.”
I found my voice and screamed like a child.
* * *
Fifteen minutes later, I was in the delivery van heading back to the Tim Hornets. Still hoarse and shaky, I needed time to think and chose the more circuitous route along the LZ.
Johanson was too tough and too cheap to give in to Marion Rotundo’s demands. He’d probably been skimming for years and must have stashed away quite the fortune. All he needed to do was tie up some loose ends then disappear to some zombie-free tropical island.
With Leblanc dead, I was the only loose end needed tying up.
Christ, I was in deep shit and thanks to the EMA around my ankle I couldn’t even run.
I was a dead man–a dead man driving.
Abandoned buildings passed by like rows of rotting teeth. A pharmacy with shattered windows, a boarded-up army surplus store, a gutted flower shop, the entire inner city had become one enormous concrete zombie.
Throat aching, I pressed my forehead against the steering wheel. “God, get me out of this and I promise I’ll go straight. Hacking just isn’t worth all this. Nothing is.”
I looked up in time to see two zombies standing in the middle of the street, caught in the headlights like frightened deer. Instinct took over from common sense. Instead of running them down with the van’s crash bar, I reefed on the wheel and headed directly for a derelict bus. “Oh, shit!” I jerked the wheel the other way, the van listing as tires left the ground. Panicked, I adjusted my steering and the frame shuddered when rubber again touched pavement.
Leblanc’s head bounced like a medicine ball around the floorboards by the passenger’s seat and unwound from its blood-soaked rags.
I pulled my gaze from the sight and jumped on the brakes with both feet, holding tight to the wheel as the van fishtailed to a stop.
Harmless halogen beams speared the zombies who closed upon the van with the tenacity and speed of rabid turtles.
“So much for praying.” I eased off the brake and steered away from the dynamic duo of death.
Under control again, I reached over to secure Leblanc’s head and spotted the yellow handle of a hotshot poking from underneath the seat. I fantasized zapping Johanson and Rotundo with the cattle prod. The image made me smile then laugh hard and loud until my sides hurt and tears filled my eyes.
“I’m going to die.” I wiped my eyes dry. What was I going to do, fight Johanson, Rotundo, and zombies? No one could do all that alone.
I looked at the hotshot. Did it still have a full charge? Rotundo had my bandoleer and without it I’d only have the one battery.
It would have to be enough.
Slowing the van, I made a quick U-turn back the way I’d come.
* * *
“Back already?” Carmine’s voice crackled over the static of the morgue’s call button.
“Johanson says he accepts your deal,” I shouted into the speaker. “He says it’s better than going out of business. Open up. The Chief says he needs those brains.”
The metal garage door clanked open and I backed into the morgue’s loading bay, a low concrete dock for unloading stretchers from ambulances and hearses. The garage door rumbled shut before I turned off the motor.
Barely breathing, I stepped from the van and headed toward the dock. I left the hotshot on the passenger seat. Marion Rotundo would just take it away then have Carmine behead me in punishment.
Rotundo waited with Carmine by the van’s rear door. Both casually sipped coffee from Tim Hornet’s cups. “It’s good to see you again, Bucky,” she said and made a point of pressing the button on the EMA jammer before shoving the device into her pocket.
Clumsy from fear, I clambered onto the dock. The band around my ankle felt like a thousand pound weight.
“What’s that?” Carmine nodded at the van’s door. Water seeped from the bottom and dripped to the loading bay floor. “Gas leak or somethin’?”
My heart froze and I struggled for calm. “Ah, Johanson made me load some ice to keep the brains fresh. Must be melting is all. Now, you’re going to let me go, right, just like you did for Leblanc?”
“Of course.” Rotundo’s smile was like nitrogen. “The same deal, exactly.”
My skin prickled as though kissed by arctic winds. I imagined Carmine slide out his blade, felt the gleaming steel hiss through the air, heard the sound of metal slicing through the tendons of my neck. I shuddered with awareness. Rotundo never meant to let me live, but something deep inside me had wished for some honor among thieves.
The truck bed tilted to the right.
“Did you see that?” Carmine reached inside his coat with his free hand.
Acting quickly, I stooped down and unlatched the crescent-shaped lock for the roll-up door.
“What’s wrong, Carmine?” Rotundo turned to me, concern invading her implacable stoic manner.
“What are you up to, my friend?”
“I’m not your friend, Marion.” I heaved on the long dirty canvas strap tied to the door’s handle. “But I got some new ones for you to meet.” The door arched smoothly along well-greased rollers.
“Fucking Christ!” Carmine had his gun out and fired madly into the rear of the van. Like a blessing, the gunshots deafened me to the unearthly moans of my new-found friends. The first zombie fell, but others reached out, grasping and clawing like at the gangster’s clothing like Velcro.
Flame belched from Carmine’s gun again and again, but most of his bullets ricocheted off vintage WWII helmets strapped to zombie heads, or embedded within flack-jackets protecting rotting chests. When he emptied his clip, he exchanged gun for sword, swatting at decomposed necks as yellow broken teeth champed at his exposed flesh.
All too little, too late.
Fear can make a guy do crazy things. Fear of death can make a coward into a hero. I’d run on nothing but terror and adrenaline when I crashed the van through the front window of the abandoned army surplus store. Once inside, I’d covered the van’s storage area with a tarpaulin, filling my makeshift pool with cases of bottled water liberated from a nearby vending machine. Using Leblanc’s head as bait, I’d herded a dozen zombies to the store then tossed the head into the back of the van. The zombies followed the scent of fresh brain like lemmings. Once all were inside, I’d pressed the hotshot into the pool of water, stunning them en masse.
It had taken nearly an hour of repeated stuns, and my leather gauntlets saved me more than once, but I managed to strap on their body armour.
Then I’d taken my army back to the morgue.
Crouching low to avoid Carmine’s wild shooting, I leaped off the dock and scurried to the passenger door. I reached for the hotshot when the window exploded into a thousand tiny granules.
“You little fucker!” Rotundo stood on the dock, pointing a nickel-plated pistol. “I’ll kill you myself.”
I launched into the van just as bullet hits peppered the door. Whining softly, I crawled to the driver’s side. From the side view mirror I saw the way was clear and eased out the door with my hotshot in hand. Slowly, I headed back for the dock.
A choking scream echoed through the garage and I peered around the side of the van, my eyes stinging from sweat. Four zombies lay on the ground, their helmets punctured with small black holes. The rest feasted upon the gory mass of flesh and guts that had been Carmine. Near the feeding frenzy, a Tim Hornet’s coffee cup lay in a pool of sticky blood.
Rotundo was nowhere to be seen and my first thought was that she’d escaped. The press of a gun barrel against my skull told me I was wrong.
“Fucker.” Rotundo was surprisingly strong and easily spun me around to face her. The gun barrel seemed as big as a cannon. “You’re zombie food.”
I looked passed the gun at the dishevelled suit, the grime-smeared face, the pure panic in her eyes. She looked just like me and the thought helped take the fear of dying away.
“What’s the matter, Marion, nothing to smile about?” I squeezed my eyes shut and waited for the bullet.
Marion’s gun was empty.
Like awakening from a nightmare, I remembered I still held the hotshot. Jabbing the electrodes into her stomach, I pulled the cattle prod’s trigger.
Rotundo collapsed into a fetal position.
Not wasting time to savor my victory, I rifled through her pockets until I found the EMA key. Prize in hand, I headed for the driver’s door when a hand gripped my ankle. I looked down at Rotundo, her face a mad grin of smeared lipstick and insanity. In her other hand was a switch blade.
Before she could stick me, I swung the hotshot like a golf club, driving the handle into her face. She released me and howled with pain. Blood spurted from her mouth and she spat out a broken tooth.
From the dock, half-decomposed noses pointed in our direction like hunting dogs from Hell.
Understanding the inevitable, I jumped back into the van, jammed the lever into DRIVE, and crashed through the closed loading bay door.
* * *
“Where the fuck are you?” Chief Johanson’s voice blasted through the cellphone’s earpiece.
“Me and Leblanc are going to take some time off,” I said. “Permanently.”
“Really? You disappoint me, Bucky. I thought you were smarter.” To his credit, Johanson actually sounded genuine. “See you in hell, peckerhead.”
I disconnected. I’d used the EMA key to unlock my anklet and slipped the explosive ring around the gate to the Live Zone. For a moment I wondered if Johanson would make the call to the PO. A few seconds there came an ear-numbing bang and the gate swung open.
After wiring it shut the best I could, I made an anonymous call, reporting the breach. It was the honest thing to do. I’d made a promise to go straight and meant to keep it.
Smiling, I tossed the phone away and headed for civilization wondering what country life was like.
Copyright © 2013 Mike Rimar
Originally from Kitchener, Mike Rimar now lives in Whitby, Ontario with his two daughters.
Despite its contrary spelling, Mike pronounces his last name as rhymer. Beyond that he is a man of mystery, even to himself. That he writes at all is most baffling. Only an average student, he can barely spell, grammar makes his head hurt, and science is far from his best subject. He is a taco puzzle wrapped in a tortilla shell enigma.
He does like a good cooking show and has been observed staring at non-stick frying pans far too long to be healthy.
You can find his work in Orson Scott Cards InterGalactic Medicine Show, Tesseracts 15, Writers of the Future XXI, and more recently in Masked Mosaic: Canadian Super Stories, and When the Hero Comes Home 2 e-version. His website is http://www.mikerimar.com .