I am old enough to remember Vincent Price’s collaboration with Michael Jackson. Now Vincent Price, he was a scary mofo but at least it was all an act; Michael became genuinely scary — but about the most frightening thing about Thriller was that it proved that even the undead were better dancers than I was. Nowadays, though, not even the wildest screams of perky Ola Ray seem adequate for the horrors that confront us, so why in hell would you want to watch (or read) fictional horror when you can just peek out the window? Jump-scares by Chthuluesque monsters on the telly frighten me a lot less than news reports of boogaloo bois prepping for the Day of the Rope. But we must prep, because the zombies are coming.

You want to protect the ones you love, don’t you. We want to be safe in your home. As every plane trip (remember those?) reminds us: you put your own mask on before helping others. Don’t make the mistake that cops refer to as ‘tombstone courage’. Take real precautions, and not just from the virus. Sure, cops may come when you call. They still want to serve and protect the community, but a lot have become more circumspect now that the you, the community, don’t give a shit about them anymore. As I was once told, you want to be the oldest soldier, not the best soldier. Many LEO’s have taken this to heart. If this is seems tantamount to betrayal, just remember you demanded this. Now the wolf is at your door. Have you prepped for this?

Fear may be the mind-killer, but how much more frightening if you didn’t distrust everyone? Not only because they might accidentally kill you with a sneeze. You can mitigate that risk with good hygiene and social distancing, but what about that over-friendly neighbour who persists in inviting you over for coffee. Or offers you a lift to the shops. Who always seems to be, you know, around. He’s probably just working from home, that must be it. You’re being paranoid, he’s just friendly! But what about those packs of young men, all hoods and facemasks, what the fuck is that all about?

We don’t make new friends much anymore. For good or bad, who you’ve got is all you’re getting for now. But how well do you know them? What does the husband of your wife’s best friend really Google at night? Small mercy if it’s just porn. Chad’s hardly going to wear his QAnon t-shirt at weekend barbecues. Surrounded by so many people, yet so isolated. A friend posts an all-caps rant about ANTIFA — what do you do? You get in his car and he’s listening to redneck radio — what do you do? You begin to wonder if he’s training just to stay fit, or if he’s also begun to prep. And who is he scared of, the zombies, or you?

“Darkness falls across the land. The midnight hour is close at hand.”

Vincent Price, Thriller, 1984

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