"Dad, er, Doc! I'm alive! I made it!"
"It sounds as if you've chipped the paint."
"Yeah, the Sky Runner has been destroyed. I'll have to repair it later. Right now, my new friends and I have to find a way out of this underground jail cell."
"Call me when you've escaped," I replied. "In the meantime, I shall continue working on my research article for the Journal of Thermonuclear Microwave Ovens."
* * *
"Very good," I said, slightly agitated at the interruption to my research. "What will you do now?"
"My new friend Ness has heard rumors that the leader of the zombies is named Master Belch. We're going to try to stop him somehow, but we haven't agreed on a plan yet. ...It's very, very dark here, even though it's only the middle of the afternoon."
I heard three voices chattering in the background. One was a young boy, another a young female, and the third was that of a middle-aged woman. Jeff remained quiet. I took the opportunity to write a few more sentences in my article.
At last, the radio continued: "Ness and my other new friend, Paula, were just told by a local resident that a mysterious tent has appeared in the southern area of the town. Apparently it's attracting zombies and ghosts. We're going to investigate."
"Good luck," I said. "Remember, zombie bites can be very dangerous. Research shows that an untreated bite will take nearly three times as long to heal as a bite from a normal rotting human. If you need medical attention, perhaps one of the townspeople could lend you some gauze or antiseptic."
"Dr. Andonuts, now might not be the best time, but perhaps you and I could talk about our - "
The radio went dead. I added the finishing touches to my article.
* * *
"I was a lot simpler than one might think," replied the radio. "Paula just set it on fire and it burned away to nothingness."
He added, "Inside there were a few charred zombies and a jar of fly honey. According to local legend, Master Belch is quite fond of this stuff. It should come in handy later on. For now, we're going to..."
The sound of a phone ringing stole Jeff's attention. I could near Ness speaking in the background.
Finally: "Good news! One of Ness' friends says he's sent us an invention that should take care of the zombies that are overrunning this town. He's apparently enlisted the aid of a Mach Pizza delivery boy to get the device to us."
"A pizza delivery boy?" I asked. "Something tells me you might never get that device as long as you - "
"Are you Ness?!" shouted a new voice. "You know what? It doesn't matter. I've decided that you're Ness, so here's Apple Kid's thingamajig. There, I've fulfilled my duty."
"But, I'm..." Ness stammered.
Judging by the sounds of quick footsteps hitting a road, I assume the pizza man ran off.
"So what did Apple Kid send you?" I asked. "A zombie-killing airborne powder? Some kind of flamethrower?"
"It's actually something called Zombie Paper," the radio replied. "It's apparently very similar to flypaper."
It had been somewhat pleasant to meet up with my son after many years, but upon hearing this, I was sure that we would not have the chance to see each other again.
I wondered when Big Foot would arrive with the jerky.
* * *
I nodded, though I knew Jeff could not see me. I'm not sure why I did that.
"It should take a few hours to work, so we're going to spend the night at the Threed hotel."
Jeff suddenly gasped, and there was a chorus of screams from the other end of the line. An excited voice screamed, "The zombies are on their way! They're attacking!"
"A man covered in blood just burst into the tent!" Jeff exclaimed. I didn't bother to ask if it was his own blood or someone else's. Behind him, yelled Jeff, was a zombie.
The zombie took two steps into the tent before I heard it fall on the floor, irreversibly stuck to the Zombie Paper. I could hear the same man screaming, "He's trapped! It's working!"
I heard a volley of cheers. Then, a gutteral growl. The man screamed, "Maybe YOU'RE a zombie too!" All was quite for a few moments.
I knew whatever was going on couldn't have been positive.
"No, I was mistaken," he at last said. "You're just pale from hanging out in this tent all day long."
"We're getting out of here before this gets any weirder, Dr. Andonuts," said the radio. "I'll contact you tomorrow with the outcome of our plan."
"I see," I said.
* * *
"The zombies are all stuck to the Zombie Paper and the people of Threed are trying to figure out what to do with them. I estimate that normalcy will be restored in approximately 7.29 days."
I heard Ness's voice.
"I don't know why, but this flower... it reminds me of Mom."
"You've done well, Jeff," I said. For some reason I was pleased that he had taken care of Threed's difficulties so handily.
"Ness says that with the zombies gone, we can access a secret passage that will hopefully lead us to Master Belch. Threed is safe for now, but unless we do something about Belch, it might come under attack again. The entrance is in the western graveyard. It's not nearly as scary in the daylight though. I'll contact you again when we've arrived."
"Very good," I replied.
Moments later, the radio buzzed, "Dr. Andonuts, we've arrived at the entrance to the passageway. It's very dark inside."
"Do you see anything you could use to light the way?"
"I could probably build - "
The unmistakable roar of a snarling creature replaced Jeff's musing. Ness yelled something about a zombie. Paula screamed. I heard Jeff drop the radio and ready his weapon.
The sounds of combat - of metal on bone, of gunshots - filled my laboratory. Then, silence.
Radio contact was lost once more, but this time, I was sure that Jeff and I would not be resuming our communications.
I felt a twinge of what I believe to have been concern, but I can't be sure without further testing. Then I strapped my protective goggles on and continued attaching pieces to the engine of the Sky Runner's replacement.