The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved

The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved

Sam’s head hurt. The cause of the pain became clear a moment later when the side of his head impacted with hard plastic, probably not for the first or even second time, judging by the pain. He tried to move but found he was strapped in place and it was too bright to make out anything. After some panicked fumbling, his fingers found a button which released one of the straps holding him in place. He was in a car. After a couple more tries he managed to sit up. When his eyes adjusted, he could see Isaiah’s carefully trimmed afro poking out over the driver’s seat head rest and the back of Rosa’s dove-and-flame-thrower tattooed arm resting on the center console.

“You’re up,” Isaiah said from the driver’s seat.

“Yeah,” Sam said. “What is it this time? Ice cream? Movie set?” He looked out the window, trying to guess the time by the sun’s position in the sky. Then he checked his watch. It was 2:13 in the afternoon, which meant that they were at least a couple hundred miles away from home if the pattern held.

“If you weren’t such a deep sleeper you wouldn’t always get conscripted for these things,” Rosa said from the passenger seat. “You know that, right?”

“Aren’t we all supposed to be at work right now?” Sam asked. He knew that he slept a lot, but not that much.

“We are at work,” Rosa said.

“What the hell does that mean?”

“Remember how Brian never came back from that management retreat last week?” Isaiah asked.

“Of course,” Sam said. It wasn’t every day that one managed to escape the micromanaged hell that was the corporate hierarchy and Brian’s absence had been the best week of Sam’s working life.

“Well, someone finally got around to checking his email and it looks like Home Office has been silent since about the time we stopped hearing from him,” Isaiah said.

“Weird,” Sam said. “Did the company go out of business and they just forgot to tell us or something?”

“Not quite,” Rosa said. “Brian’s email wasn’t completely empty. He had received several merchandising directives over the past week.”

“Okay . . .” Sam was beginning to suspect that they were going to some ridiculously distant ice cream shop after all.

“But you know how it is, we set something up and then the next day get directions to undo it all,” Rosa said. “Of course you do. But those countermanding directives never came.”

“That’s strange, but I don’t see how it ends up with me ending up strapped into the back seat of Isaiah’s car.”

“We got to talking at work yesterday, and we decided that someone needed to go to Home Office, check things out,” Rosa said.

“If we’re going to keep on working, we need to make sure that we’re going to get paid, and since Home Office isn’t answering the phone or e-mail, here we are,” Isaiah said.

“That sounds reasonable,” Sam said. “So why are you here, Rosa?”

“Because I think it’s zombies,” Rosa said.

“Of course.” Rosa thought that everything would come down to zombies, in the end. “And how about me?”

“You volunteered,” Isaiah said.

“What? I wasn’t even there!” It was one thing to wake up in a car on the way to go check out a movie set in the desert somewhere, it was something else entirely to find out that it was for work.

“Exactly,” Rosa said. “You shouldn’t have taken that day off.”

Never mind that it had been his regular day off. Sam considered jumping out of the moving vehicle, but a look at the desolate landscape of Eastern Washington cut that line of thinking short. “Do you have anything to eat?”

“Sure,” Rosa said. She tossed him a Guinig. He rolled down the window and held the Guinig in the sunlight for a moment, and pulled it back inside the car when it began to warm in his hands. The smell of roasting meat filled the car. When they had first come on the market, he had found it creepy, but it hadn’t taken long for enzymatic self-cooking to seem second nature. When it was done, he unwrapped it and began to eat. It was delicious, as always. Things were starting to look up.

“Do you have any sauce?” Sam asked.

“All out, sorry bud,” Isaiah said, shrugging.

“Not even Ranch?” Sam asked. It was his least favorite, but . . .

“Nope,” Rosa said.

“Bastards.” Sam kept eating.


Several hours of driving East along the 90 took them through Spokane to Coeur D’Alene. Staring out the window at Eastern Washington during the drive had been like having his soul sucked out through his eyes, and so when they arrived in Northern Idaho with its mountains and lakes and trees, Sam could almost smell the fresh, crisp air over the funky once-citrus car freshener. He tried to roll down the window to see if his nose would confirm what his eyes were telling him, but the handle had gone into one of its intermittent non-functional sabbaticals.

“Dude, we’re almost there. Relax,” Isaiah said. Sam relaxed.

A few minutes later they pulled into the sole open visitors spot in an apartment complex parking lot, in between a motorcycle and a boat that were both under beige vehicle covers. Sam got out and stretched, reaching down to touch his toes and loosening his shoulders. He opened Rosa’s door and shook her by the shoulder until she grogged awake.

“Are we there?” she asked.

“We’re somewhere,” he said.

She got out of the car and stretched, yawning with her eyes shut and hands above her head. The movement made her shirt ride up, showing her flat stomach and the top of her hips. Sam quickly looked away before she opened her eyes. A guy in jeans and a Hawaiian shirt was walking across the parking lot towards them. He was moving fast, purposefully, and for a moment Sam worried, but as he got closer, Sam could see his smile.

The man and Isaiah met in a hug, and kissed each other. Sam didn’t know what to think, he looked over to Rosa who just looked bored.

“Guys, this is Jimmy,” Isaiah said, pivoting so that the two of them were joined at the hip, facing Sam and Rosa. “He’s letting us crash at his place tonight.”

“Cool,” Sam said, then added, “Dibs on the couch.” He had planned on a boring afternoon followed by an uncomfortable evening trying to sleep in the backseat of Isaiah’s Corolla. This was much better.

“What happened to chivalry?” Rosa asked.

“It died when you kidnapped me,” Sam said.

Jimmy gave both Sam and Rosa a welcoming hug, then led them inside. When everyone was done with the shower and toilet, Jimmy and Isaiah took off, saying that they wanted to do some recon of Home Office and that they would be back with pizza.

“I never realized that Isaiah was gay,” Sam said after they had gone and it was just him and Rosa.

“How could you not?”

“I don’t know . . . I just thought that, you know, gay people dressed better,” Sam said, fully aware that he sounded like a complete asshole.

“And you wonder why he never talked to you about it,” Rosa said.

True to their word, Isaiah and Jimmy returned a couple of hours later, with pizza. Paper plates, beer, and napkins were distributed, and for a while no one spoke as they ate.

“So, what’s the plan?” Sam asked after a few slices had been consumed by all and the pace had started to lag.

“I didn’t see anything odd about the building, but it is Sunday, after all,” Isaiah said. Rosa looked disappointed at the distinct lack of zombies. “I’m not saying that we don’t go in armed, but on the off chance that the place isn’t overrun by zombies I’d prefer that I don’t end up in prison.”

“That’s fine, I brought a Leatherman and some other tools,” Rosa said. “Even if we can’t make it back to the car when the zombies come for us, I’m sure that we can fashion something once we’re inside.” Her comments made Sam wonder just what sorts of other things she might have in the back of the Corolla.

“Sounds good, but I’m still a bit fuzzy about the plan,” Sam said.

“What’s there to be fuzzy about?” Rosa asked. “Tomorrow morning, we gear up and the go and check things out. Were you expecting blueprints and synchronized watches or something?”

Embarrassed, Sam kept his mouth shut.

“Then it’s settled. We should all get some rest,” Isaiah said.

Jimmy smiled and it took Sam a moment to figure out what was so funny. If he hadn’t been so tired, the loneliness would have been crushing.


Sam didn’t sleep well, and woke up before dawn. He stepped over Rosa’s sleeping form and headed for the kitchen. After rooting around in Jimmy’s pantry and fridge, he came up with the components for bacon and pancakes, the foundation of all successful meals. The frying bacon worked its magic, and by the time it was done, everyone was at the table, waiting like unnaturally patient hounds. Jimmy made a pot of coffee. They ate in silence, due more to the insanity of what they were about to do than Sam’s skill at cookery.

The office was in the middle of a cluster of glass-sided buildings, indistinguishable from its neighbors except for the Tomorrow Shoppe logo at the top. Sam began to suspect that nothing was wrong, there were cars in the parking lot and the lights were on inside. He was glad that they hadn’t all dressed like Rosa in her motorcycle jacket, but had instead opted for jeans and long shirts or sweaters. They gathered at the back of the car and Rosa distributed everything that would fit in a pocket: multi-tools, folding knives, zip ties, and miniature first aid kits.

“Everyone ready?” Isaiah asked.


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