I stopped outside his door. "Knock knock," I said. "Hey Jake. It's me."
He looked up from whatever he was reading. His face was paler than usual. And covered in blood and skullmatter. "Raawraagh! Grrowgh!"
I stepped back a bit. "You know, if this is a bad time, I can come back later."
"Nrraarr." He put down his book.
"Cool, man. Thanks for your time. Listen, this won't take too long. Just wanted to talk about a few things." I took a seat on his suede beanbag chair. I really liked it. I think he got it from the Pier 1 across the street from the apartment. "First," I told him, "you're a great roommate. You always have rent on time. The past couple months, it's been paid in bloody petty cash, as if you stole it out of a hundred peoples' pockets, but in these economic times, we take what we can get."
I could see I had made him angry. "Grrarrrrgh."
"Hey, hey, hey. I'm paycheck-to-paycheck myself. No worries."
I had to do my best to appease him before I got to hard part. "I really like this suede beanbag chair. You get it from the Pier 1 across the street?"
He nodded and spat up blood.
"That's great. They have really great deals there. Some of my coffee mugs are from there."
There was kind of an awkward silence. It smelled like rotten flesh in the room.
I went on. "Remember a while back when that zombie bit you? When he was going for your brains?"
That perked him up a bit. "Braaaaaaaaains!" The only thing he seems to talk about these days is brains.
"Yeah. Right. You remember. Cool. It's just, and don't take this the wrong way, okay? It's just you haven't been the same ever since then."
"Braaaaaaaains!" He gnashed his teeth and stuck out what was left of his tongue.
"See? That's it. That's exactly what I mean. It's like all you can think about anymore is brains. You used to be such a good roommate. You used to clean the kitchen after you ate, but now you leave bits of people's insides all over the place. You expect me to clean that stuff up? That's pretty disrespectful."
He looked hurt. Confused. Undead.
"I'm sorry, Jake. I might be coming off harsh, I know. But, my God, do you realize how hard it is for me to fall sleep when you're tearing one of our neighbors apart limb from limb? You know I have to wake up at six a.m every morning for work, right?"
Now he just stared at me with those black, vacant eyes.
"And speaking of work, what happened to your job? I know you said that everyone at the office was killed when the zombies swarmed around your building, but have you even sent out any resumes? You used to have ambition and goals. You used to want to start your own business. Now you just hang out with a huge mob of other zombies and attack schoolbuses and shopping malls. Didn't you used to want to start a production company?."
Jacob gargled and snarled. "Grrrhhawwwrrr!"
"Yes, you're allowed to be depressed that you're technically neither living nor dead, but you're not allowed to treat the apartment as if it were your personal zombie den. Have you even taken a look at the Apartment Chores Checklist I put on the fridge? I didn't make it for my own health, you know. I made it so I wouldn't be the only one on my hands and knees scrubbing out your bloody footprints from the carpet."
He nodded in agreement. Or maybe one of the vertebrae in his neck gave out.
"Good, I'm glad we see eye to cloudy, emotionless eye. And I don't want this to change anything between us. We're still totally fine. If you wanna have guests over, that's still cool. Just if you're gonna have somebody crash on our futon, would you give me a heads up whether it's a buddy of yours or just someone you killed and partially ate in our living room? Thanks."
Another awkward pause. I'd said all I had to say, but I wanted to let him know I still wanted to be his friend.
"Well, thanks again. And 'The Jersey Shore' will be on later if you wanna watch with me."
I know what zombies like.