You remember how Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson had that fabulous splitscreen “walk-off” in Zoolander. Here it is, in case you need to laugh your ass off again:
Zombies vs. Unicorns is kind of like that. Team Zombie and Team Unicorn pitch story after story, and in between there’s so much trash talk that you’ll be reaching for your beer.
You may have noticed that I’m writing in second person. This is in honor of the story below. You know how sometimes you read a story collection and just want to tear out one of the stories and pin it on your wall so you can grin crazily and stroke the pages every time you walk past the living room? It’s like that.
First page of “Love Will Tear Us Apart” by Alaya Dawn Johnson:
Think of it like the best macaroni and cheese you’ve ever had. No neon yellow Velveeta and bread crumbs. I’m talking gourmet cheddar, the expensive stuff from Vermont that crackles as it melts into that crust on top. Imagine if right before you were about to tear into it, the mac and cheese starts talking to you? And it’s really cool. It likes Joy Division more than New Order, and owns every Sonic Youth album, and saw you in the audience at the latest Arctic Monkeys concert, though you were too stoned to notice anything but the clearly sub-par cheesy mac you’d brought with you.
What if he — I mean “it” — were really hot? Tall and lanky and weirdly well muscled, with bright blue eyes and ginger hair? So, he smells like the best meal you’ve ever eaten, but you kind of want to bone him too. Can’t have it both ways. You aren’t a necro. But a boy’s got to eat — maybe you could just nibble a bit at the edges? A part he won’t miss, and then fuck the rest of him. Eat an arm or something. He can still fuck with one arm. Not that well, though. Probably wouldn’t like it. Okay, a hand. Who ever needed a left hand? Then you remember that Jack — that’s his name, the mac and cheese — plays lacrosse. That’s probably where he got all those yummy muscles. You need two hands for lacrosse.
A pinky? Damn, you might as well starve yourself.
You didn’t even know you needed a zombie romance. A gay zombie romance with lotsa blood and a little bit of brain-eating, just maybe maybe? How can this be happening? The section headings form a mixtape, which you will soon be YouTubing.
Shout-outs to “The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn” by Diana Peterfreund (venomous, unkillable man-eating unicorns, but aww this one’s just a baby), “Inoculata” by Scott Westerfield (grown-ups suck but you kids are dicks), and cover artist Josh Cochran, whose endpapers fill me with joy. It’s like a bad trip to Narnia.