NOSEY: Greetings, cybernuts! This is I.B. Nosey, your official unofficial reporter. Today I’m at the Tingling Brothers Barf 'em & Scarf 'em’s Fun O’ Drama Carnival, and… *cell phone rings. Nosey answers* Greetings, caller. This is I.B. Nosey, your official unofficial reporter—
WOMAN: Will you get a move on?
WOMAN: *sighs* I’m Connie Vines, your interview appointment. Or did you forget?
NOSEY: Whadda ya mean, forget? I’m a professional, you know, and… *swiftly checks pockets for notes* and I’m always — um, I’m — uh, always—
CV: Can’t you see me? I’m waving to you.
NOSEY: Yeah? *watches crowd* All I see are a bunch of escaped loony tunes characters munching on sloppy hotdogs. Hey! *yells at passerby who jostles Nosey* Watch the mustard!
CV: Fitting in nicely, are you?
NOSEY: Well, I — huh?
CV: *giggles* Over here to your right. I’m beside the Dollar Hollar chocolate vendor booth.
NOSEY: *yells* Are you crazy, woman? *speeds like blazing bullet — okay, more like a dud firecracker, to reach CV* Where’s… *pants* that cheap 10,000th brand-name imitator, Dollar Hollar?
CV: *gives innocent blink* Did I say Dollar Hollar? Are you sure?
NOSEY: *squints eyes* Listen, gal. If you’re trying to pull a fast one—
CV: *huffs* What are you accusing me of, Nosey? See? *shows three feet roll of paper* It says in my interview contract that I’m not to ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, eat any Dollar—
NOSEY: You forgot two ever’s.
CV: I did? *frowns and checks paper, counts under breath* Oh. Right. I won’t ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, EVER eat any Dollar Hollar candy/chocolate or so help me, I.B. Nosey will gift me with a lifetime supply of his ‘Be Nosey’ blazer wardrobe.
NOSEY: Er, read that disclaimer, huh?
CV: *nods* I’m an author. I always read the fine print.
NOSEY: *growls* Goody.
GYPSY WOMAN: Welcome, carnival goers. Would you like for me to reveal all your secrets?
NOSEY: *starts* Who are you?
GYPSY WOMAN: I’m Madame Do-Tell and you shall see what will be for I do tell you what I tell when I see what you tell—
CV: Ohh, forget it, dearie. *takes Nosey’s arm and steers him through crowd* So. Let’s begin, shall we? I’d like to proudly present my book, ‘Here Today, Zombie Tomorrow’.
NOSEY: Whoa! *steps back* Zombie? So that’s why you wanted to meet here in this — this… *gestures with arm* Zombie convention.
CV: Oh, pooh. *waves dismissive hand* Don’t get your tie in a knot, Nosey.
NOSEY: *blinks* Why not? I always wear it like a noose.
CV: Hm. Shall I? *shakes head* On second thought. Ahem. As I was saying, my book. *slaps it in Nosey’s palm* Won’t you read the short blurb?
NOSEY: Holy Marilyn Monroe! *whistles* That’s some kind of book cover.
CV: Men! *rolls eyes and grabs Nosey’s microphone* While you stare at that beautiful model, I’ll read the blurb. It goes like this: ‘Meredith Misso, Steampunk writer, is turned into a zombie while participating in The Zombie Run in Long Beach, CA. With her teddy bear hamster and soon-to-be ex for company, Meredith embarks on staying human in a suddenly not-so-human world. Fun and Sassy — readers will enjoy this G-rated romp! Next in the series: Bell, Book, and Gargoyle.’ Now. Question away, Nosey.
NOSEY: Sure. Heh heh. For starters… *leans over to whisper* Does this blonde need a dashing reporter to escort her on that run?
CV: Why? Where can we find a dashing reporter?
NOSEY: *draws back* ‘eyyy!
CV: Seriously. It’s a zombie run, you know.
NOSEY: Which means what?
CV: A man of the world such as yourself must be familiar with the yearly charity event. In fact, I could have sworn that you were clinging like a determined barnacle to one of the pillars beneath the pier.
NOSEY: Uhhh… *tugs at collar* Who? Me?
CV: But, oh, that can’t be right. Must’ve been that phony Dollar Hollar imitator, hmm?
NOSEY: Yeah. Yeah. Must’ve been. *gives nervous chuckle* So, uh, Ms. Vines. What’s this stuff about ‘steampunk’? I mean, steam? And punk? Is that some kind of brat who has a bad hair day?
GYPSY WOMAN: Sit at my table, Mr. Madman Blazer, for Madame Do-Tell insists that you do not resist...*pauses, and then twitters* I am also a most humble poet, yes?
CV: *glares* Are you following us? Set up your own interview time! *drags Nosey through mob* Honestly, what’s with some women wanting you all to themselves?
NOSEY: *teeth gleam in smug grin* I’d think that’s obvious, heh heh.
CV: Well, I did ask, didn’t I? But, regarding your steampunk question — Let me explain, milacku.
NOSEY: What’d you say?
CV: That means ‘my darling’. *gives Nosey an air-kiss*
NOSEY: Oh. Heh heh. *waggles brows* Sure it does. I knew that.
CV: Hm. Anyway, steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery, inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century.
NOSEY: *nods* Uh huh.
CV: Steampunk works are often set in an alternative history of the 19th century’s British Victorian era or American “Wild West”.
NOSEY: *nods* Uh huh.
CV: *reflects* Or…in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power. Imagine the two of us floating above the clouds in a lighter-than-air airship, shouting to be heard over the drone of the propellers. And the clothing, milacku. You, in your Mad Scientist Howie Lab Coat. I in my dark blue beaded flapper dress… there is a wonderful little Steampunk coffee shop in downtown Burbank. *gives provocative flutter of lashes*
NOSEY: Nothing doing. There’d be too many zombies there.
CV: Would that be bad?
NOSEY: Looka the freaks here! *points to wildly dressed crowd* This ain’t my kind of party, lady.
CV: But, Nosey… *glances from people to Nosey and back again* Your outrageous blazers fit right in.
NOSEY: *snarls* This hip reporter don’t mess with zombies. I’m I.B. Nosey, the official unofficial reporter. Hey, I’ve got a reputation to think of, ya know.
CV: *opens mouth, closes it, then says* So what can we do to save your official unofficial reputation?
NOSEY: *snaps fingers* Got it. Make ‘em eat what they think is some kind of special Gum Drop Island candy. Yeah, but something nasty has gotta be added to the mix. Quick, share. What ingredient will repel a Zombie?
CV: But you don’t want to do that.
CV: Consider. Why would you like to repel a hoard of Zombies? Think of these as future fans.
CV: *clasps hands together* Yes! They’d be eagerly awaiting your next interview… your next brain-flavored candy.
GYPSY WOMAN: Hurry, for Madame Do-Tell offers special for two seconds only—
CV: You again?? Nosey, through here. *pushes Nosey toward horse barn*
NOSEY: Yikes! Wait. *slips, and then gives foot vigorous shake* Aw, man.
CV: *crinkles nose* Did you have to step there?
NOSEY: Ms. Vines. *expels breath* So far this interview stinks. You get my drift?
CV: Big time. *coughs* But get with the program, Nosey. This is Fun O’ Drama, after all. Remember?
CV: Anyway… *pulls Nosey along*…back to my book. What can I tell you about my wonderful heroine?
CV: Stop staring at the funnel cake display and look at me! *bongs Nosey on the head with his microphone*
NOSEY: Hey! *rubs head* Ow. Why’d you do that?
CV: Getting you to pay attention. Remember my book’s cover? And the gal with the legs?
NOSEY: Heh heh. Sure. You described her as sassy, eh?
CV: Sassy and Fun!
NOSEY: Er, but what’s sassy about her? Her loud mouth?
CV: My heroine is lively, bold, and full of spirit; cheeky…*giggles* just like me! And as you very well know, my intrepid reporter, cultured women are never loud-mouthed.
NOSEY: *arches brow* You don’t say.
CV: I do indeed.
NOSEY: So if your Meredith is such a cultured woman, why is she about to have an ex?
CV: Now, now, Nosey. Meredith’s almost “ex” was, is, her husband. Can you imagine the stress a zombie transformation can place on a marriage? Not to mention her supply of make-up.
NOSEY: *frowns in thought* Now that you mention it…
CV: *gasps* It’s that woman again. What’s she after?
NOSEY: *gulps* Um, she’s eyeing my pocket. *slaps protective hand over bulging blazer pocket*
CV: Well, come on. *steers Nosey in different direction* Wish someone would turn her into a zombie.
NOSEY: Hey! *brakes to screeching halt* What’s with all this zombie yak anyway? Couldn’t you write about… *shrugs* I dunno. Hummingbirds?
CV: Why? Hummingbirds are aggressive little creatures.
CV: Whereas Zombies are just zombies, going about day-to-day business. Your quest does give me, pardon the pun, food for thought.
NOSEY: Ugh. *blanches*
CV: Yes. How about… *has lightbulb moment* There might even be Zombie Reporters! Reporters dressed in mind-numbing prints such as yours.
NOSEY: Hey, now wait just a—
CV: Milacku, move a little closer. What is that nasty gray stain on your jacket lapel? I do believe I have a Tide stain stick in my Gucci handbag. *searches through bag*
NOSEY: What stain? *scans the sky* Don’t see any pigeons. You see any pigeons? *shakes finger in CV’s face* Ms. Vines, you keep any bomb-dropping pigeons far, far away from my famous tweedy-weedy blazer.
CV: Be quiet, Nosey. Ah, ha! *holds up Tide stain stick* But back to your question. I heard that renowned Doctor Oscar Lebensteinenski of the Romanian Feline Institute in Targu Neamt Romania—
NOSEY: Gimme a break! *throws up arms* What are you chattering about, woman?
CV: The Carpathian mountain range, of course. Anyway, said Doctor has been conducting research on this very subject. *nods* His team has done ground-breaking work on repelling Zombies.
NOSEY: But I just asked earlier—
CV: Don’t interrupt, Nosey. Don’t you know that’s rude? As I was saying, under this Doctor’s work, cats and kittens have been trained under a top secret Romanian government project called F.A.S.T., or Feline Alert System Technology. FAST cats are able to repel Zombies.
NOSEY: Why didn’t you tell me that before?
CV: Well, I’m telling you now. *smiles prettily* The good Dr. Lebensteinenski has been able to link a common vaccine and genetically alter the kittens so that as long as they are vaccinated for Rabies, Zombies will never come near your home. They secrete a pheromone that repels the Zombies and is very pleasant and calming to humans when the kitten is held by its owner.
GYPSY WOMAN: Come with me, or you be sorry, you long-nosed, smelly shoed walking windpipe.
NOSEY: *screams* Don’t sneak up like that! And, uh… *edges away* Why you giving me the evil eye? I didn’t do nuthin’. Ask Ms. Vines.
GYPSY WOMAN: Yes, you did nuthin’. You refuse to be honored by my imaginary skills, plus… *lips smack hungerly* you hog all Gum Drop Island chocolate in your pockets. Yes?
NOSEY: No! I mean— *gives weak chuckle* Aw, c’mon. Can’t a guy enjoy his chocolate yummies for the tummy without you lady gals getting bent outta shape?
CV: Nosey! *gasps* You carried around Gum Drop Island candy and never offered any to me? Well, I’ve got news for you, mister — I am definitely bent out of shape! *steps closer to Madame Do-Tell* Sister, I’m with you. Do your stuff.
NOSEY: But - but—
GYPSY WOMAN: Feel the wrath of my insult! I make you Zombie Tweedy-Weedy Dingbat! *jabs thumbs in ears, wriggles fingers, and sticks out tongue*
NOSEY: Aaacckkk! *turns tail and speeds away, slinging gravel on fire-eating man’s blazing hot lunch and leaping lickety split through band of tail-holding elephants*
CV: *calls out* That’s right! Run, Nosey, quick! Or you’ll be Here Today, Zombie Tomorrow!
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