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Adventures in Banquets: The Zombie Apocalypse

So, while I was working down at the hotel, the power went out. While the experience itself was rather uneventful (if not somewhat fun), I was inspired to write a funny short story about zombies because of it. I call it semi-autobiographical because various elements of the story are actually true, though most of it's my imagination. Except for the zombies. The zombie part actually did happen. It was rather horrible. Disclaimer: All people, places, or events described in the following story have been altered from their original state and re-imaged to make them more interesting. All descriptions, of both people and places, are completely fictitious and are not meant to be taken literally. I hereby apologize for any and all offense taken, though no one should since its just a fun story. Seriously, don't anyone take this or themselves too seriously. Cool? Cool.

The Zombie Apocalypse

Early in the afternoon on September 23, 2011, the power went out at the hotel. Situated in the lower level of the building, the Banquet Department was notably the creepiest scene (and for good reasons). The following logs are slightly true accounts of how events unfolded that day. No names have been changed (but details might have been altered).

Banquet Captain's Log - 9:23:11 - 14:22

A few minutes ago, the power to the building was cut. Now running on back up generators, the halls of the banquet department are dimly lit by sporadic security lights. The schedule will have to wait to be completed for next week until I have the proper time and electricity to complete it. Luckily for us, we have no events today and it's only me, Kimberly, and Melissa here.

Kimberly has just turned her radio to Channel 1, Security Team. Apparently, we're not the only building without power in downtown Kalamazoo. My first suspicion is that we've arrived at the genesis of the pending zombie apocalypse. I had my suspicions it would be soon, but I never dreamed it would begin here in Kalamazoo. Must be from a freak accident at Pfizer.

We've taken refuge in the Banquet Office, which shockingly enough does not have a security light in it. Must have been from all the cutbacks. So we're using battery-powered LED candles from our centerpieces for light. Melissa, who was working in Coffee Breaks before the lights went out, commandeered a break for us. Chicken wings and meatballs. I asked her for a Coke, but she brought me Pepsi. My intuition says I should remember this slight for later.

We've all agreed on referring to the Banquet Office as "The Cave." When the zombies come, this alias will prove most useful, I'm sure. If we are overwhelmed by the undead while here in The Cave, I've made a plan to escape through the ceiling. I can see a faint light through the air return. Come to think of it, I've never noticed that air return before. Is this fate?

Banquet Captain's Log - 9:23:11 - 14:46

No zombies yet, but we were just forced to give up our coffee break to unsettled guests in the lobby. It was our pleasure to do so, but we sneakily made plates for ourselves before delivering the goods. Also, because we're so resourceful, we kept the tray of brownies. No one fucks with my brownies.

No word yet on when or if the power will be turned back on. Kimberly has suggested we make to higher ground, in case the zombies come. I'm fiercely territorial and won't abandon The Cave so quickly. She has agreed with my reasoning. Melissa hasn't said much yet, but then again, she's never been boisterous. If she sees a zombie, I hope she says something (a simple scream will suffice).

In anticipation of the zombie attack, I'm grateful for the training that has prepared me for this moment. I've seen all of the Resident Evil movies at least twice (except the last one) and played 3 of the 6? games. Zombieland was a great movie too. The best part was when they accidentally killed Bill Murray. Haha! Maybe that movie had the most useful information in it regarding zombie attacks. If I find a gun (Security? Jessie's Desk?) I'll be sure to remember the "Double Tap" rule. I know I'm writing this as a log, to be reviewed solely by me, but if you haven't seen Zombieland, go Netflix it! So funny.

Banquet Captain's Log - 9:23:11 - 15:18

My worst anticipation has come true; the zombies have arrived. Kimberly was upstairs trying to force the coffee shop to give her (and me) some Gelato since it was just going to melt anyway (I mean, c'mon. Give it up!) when she heard screams coming from the escalators leading to the lower level. According to her, she just dropped kicked the head off of one of the undead, knocking the rotting corpse onto the escalator. Get it, Kimbo! Not sure who screamed exactly.

They poured in from the streets, half getting caught in the round-about door. Dumb zombies, haha! Kimberly came into the office and locked the door. The lock isn't very good, but I don't think zombies can even use door handles, so we're fine. For now, at least. Only a thin sheet of dry wall separates us from them. Thank god we still have some brownies left. This might be an all-nighter.

By the way, Kimberly has a small scratch on her left leg. It might be from the zombies. She says she cut herself shaving, but isn't that something an infected almost-zombie would say? I'll give it some more time before I assume the worst.

Banquet Captain's Log - 9:23:11 - 16:09

The zombies have been pounding on the door and walls for nearly a half an hour. Two of our 20 LED candles have gone out. At this rate, by morning, we'll only have a dozen left. I kind of have to go poop, but it's too soon to break the news to the other two.

Melissa still hasn't said much, but I can tell she's determined for survival because she's used a knife she found in Nadeau's desk to whittle the baseball bat she found by Nauman's desk into a spear. Silly girl, you can't kill a zombie with a spear. I've explained this obvious fact to her, but she appears to have ceased listening to reason. Or could it be the headphones she has in? I miss Pandora.

Okay, I really have to use the bathroom, so this is a great time to use that escape route I planned earlier.

Banquet Captain's Log - 9:23:11 - 16:43

OMFG, you're never going to believe what just happened. For real! No sooner did we get the desks stacked to escape from The Cave when the hinges on the office door broke. To be honest, they weren't in 'mint condition' before. Note to self: ask Nadeau to put a work order in for new hinges...well, I guess it'd be the whole door now. I'm missing my point.

Climbing up first, I removed the grate to the air return and we made our way into the asbestos filled rafters with only LED candles to light the way. Kimberly knocked the desks over after climbing up, so no zombies were able to follow (that way, at least). They must have been able to smell us or something as we made our way all monkey-like through the ceiling. Every once and a while, we'd bust out one of the ceiling tiles below us to get a view.

It was at that point when Kimberly asked a question that had never crossed my mind until then: "Where are we going?" Ha! Luckily for us, I've worked here a while and know all of the staircases, including the one that's near the pool in the athletic club that would take us all the way up to the ninth floor, if need be. So I took the lead (which was good since I was already leading), past the aquarium wall into the athletic club. So, there was quite a bit of non-planning going on prior to this, but in my defense, this is the zombie apocalypse, right?! We were a good fifteen feet above the floor below, so to get down from the rafters, we lept nimbly into the pool. That must have attracted our undead guests, because they abruptly began banging on the aquarium from the opposite side trying to reach us. Poor Nemo, he was so scared.

I was climbing out of the pool, holding onto one of the LED candles when I realized Melissa still had her spear. Good girl, that might actually come in handy. Who knew she was so talented? (wink, wink) After helping Kimberly out of the water, the aquarium shattered and the fish, coral, and zombies went everywhere. "Banquets to housekeeping: we're gonna need a mop." In the dim light, it was hard to make out who the zombies had been before they were reborn into walking diseases, but I'm sure I recognized some of the Sales and Catering girls. The salt bath they just took seemed to not phase them, so we took the maintenance door out of the back pool area and began our ascent from the lower level.

Instead of heading up to the higher floors, Ms. I-don't-wanna-be-here-anymore (Kimberly) decided that we should take the street exit. Yeah, Kimberly? Where the hell do you think all of the zombies came from? The banquet kitchen? I wasn't thinking clearly at that point, so we went outside, the catering girls close behind. Taking Melissa's spear, I went first out into the chaos that is downtown Kalamazoo during a zombie apocalypse. There were swarms of the undead ravaging through the streets, eating whom they may. There was no where to go, so rounding the building we reentered the hotel through the Water Street entrance.

What a blood bath! (Housekeeping, we're still waiting for that mop). Dead bodies were everywhere, illuminated by the security lights that lined the hallway. My only hope for us at that point was to make it to the roof. I knew before we started that this was going to be a difficult task and we would need more weaponage than our roughly made spear-bat (no offense, Melissa). We had to head to the Engineering shop, which wasn't too far from where we were. Not that that made it any easier. A line of the undead blocked our way in front of us and the zombiefied catering team was steadily heading up behind us. "Time to see what this spear can do," I said aloud. I think it made me sound manly.

Thank god I love the movie "Kill Bill" cuz I went Quentin Tarantino all over those zombies! Swinging the spear, knocking heads off, stabbing at random. A path was made and the girls followed me through an employee hallway to the Engineering shop, where we currently reside. That-was-awesome!

Again, we used the door-locking method to keep the dead out. There's a treasure trove of zombie fighting tools in here. It seems that our engineering team, too, has been predicting this event (and preparing for it). Melissa gave up her spear in exchange for a sledge hammer. Yes, she could lift it (ever see her carry a tray of dinners? Damn). Kimberly went straight for a large shovel, and I have chosen some safety goggles and a battery-powered saws-all (those exist, right?). I threw a couple of hammers into my back pockets just in case.

Next stop, the roof. From there we can signal for helicopters to save us. Speaking of which, yep, there we go! Got some flares.

Banquet Captain's Log - 9:23:11 - 17:35

Traffic's pretty light for rush hour on a Friday. Just sayin. From this vantage point (9 stories up), there's nothing moving down there.

Things got a little hairy after my last entry. All ninja-style, the three of us busted out of the shop in triangle formation. Too bad it was a thin hallway and we quickly came into a single-file formation. Oh well, when it's real life, it can't be all perfect like in the movies. Anyways...we were heading for stairs again, this time the stairs near the back loading dock. Putting our tools to work, we carved our way past what remained of the Security team and made it to the stairwell.

Taking two steps at a time, we made it as far as the second floor before a zombie army of guests made its way down toward us. At that same moment, the undead were closing in behind us. One grabbed for Melissa leg, but she rounded on it with her trusty sledge hammer and knocked its brains against the wall. She was all like "Ahh! Die!" and that's how we got Melissa to start talking.

Fleeing out on the second floor, we found ourselves in the banquet kitchen. This also would have been a great place to stock up on weaponry, but we were still well equipped at that point. Well, I took a knife. Never know when you might need one. Our only hope of reaching the roof now was the single operable elevator in the main lobby. "Fuck" we said in unison. We're really starting to bond from this. Just saying.

Hammers, shovels, and saws-alls swinging we left the kitchen and out into the second floor atrium. The zombies must have heard there was a buffet here, because the first floor lobby was full of them. Running to the left, we made for the brass elevator. When it arrived, we were being overwhelmed by the undead from remaining stationary for so long. I had to cut off a few hands and Kimberly had to smash a few faces, but we finally got the door shut. Then Melissa spoke again (for real) "We can only take the elevator to the 8th floor!" Shit, I should have realized that before. The 9th floor is all locked down and stuff. 8th floor it is, then.

The 8th floor seemed to be vacant of our undead friends, but the world was falling down around us. From the window, we could see the court house on fire (someone must have given them matches) and the streets were lined with both the animated and the unanimated dead. Taking a right, we proceeded into the emergency stairwell. It was an emergency, so I deemed it okay. Note to self, send Security an email letting them know.

Floors below, the zombies did not have time to reach us in the stairs before we emerged on the 9th floor, still not yet on the roof. That lay on the other side of the building. Our premier guests staying on the 9th floor (all zombies at that point) would have to feel the wrath of Melissa's hammer, Kimberly's shovel, and...the damn battery died in my saws-all. Luckily, I had a couple of hammers in my back pockets and used them all karate-like. Just short of the East tower, we took a maintenance door that led up a small stair and out onto the roof. Finally.

So, I realized shortly after arriving on this rooftop (great view, by the way) that there's no guarantee that a helicopter would ever come for us. I'm a little distraught, so I think you can cut me some slack?! Kimberly's a little mad at me but Melissa is surprisingly understanding. We'll be zombies soon, if we don't get the hell out of here. We're heading to the parking garage (I kept my car keys on me) and we'll make our way out of town from there. I hear Pennsylvania is nice this time of year. You know, with the mountains and the trees all changing colors and junk.

Banquet Captain's Log - 9:23:11 - 18:02

Why am I still documenting this? Oh well, old habits die hard.

Kimberly found a good length of rope in one corner of the roof that was used to hang a gigantic banner a few months ago for the K-Wings. Good news for us. It took some convincing, but we’ve decided to rappel down the side of the building to the roof above lobby. It was either that or zombies.

I quickly flashed back to the half-semester that I took rock climbing in college 6 years ago. Fixing the rope to an air handler (I think that's what its called. I really have no idea), Kimberly went first. Tying the rope around her waist, Melissa and I slowly lowered her down seven stories with only a few screams from her. Great, thanks! Now all of the zombies outside know where we are. Next was Melissa, again with no hiccups. I was tying myself up, when the roof door busted open and zombies poured out! For serious, you guys! Throwing caution to the wind, I grabbed the rope and tossed my happy ass over the side of the building and began climbing down as quickly as I could.

The zombies did not like that one bit. Several tried climbing down after me. Lol, silly zombies don't know that zombies can't climb. A good dozen of them fell over the side of the building as I continued my descent, making quite a mess below me. Even though they were definitely dead upon impact, I noticed Melissa wasted no time in making sure they were really done for by smashing their heads in. I guess that "Double Tap" rule applies with hammers too.

To my detriment, the zombies began tugging on the rope; pulling me back up. I was just at the third floor too! This was not going to be good, I thought as I took the knife I found in the banquet kitchen and cut the line.

Okay, so I know I didn't die or anything (thanks, god) but I landed in zombie mush. Talk about eww! This shirt's gonna have to be dry cleaned when we get to Pennsylvania.

It was beginning to rain hardcore zombies at that point, so we made our way to the edge of the roof overlooking Rose Street. My plan was working brilliantly! The skywalk that led from the hotel to the parking ramp was one floor below us, so we carefully dropped down onto its roof (I know, there's a lot of roof-action going on) and traversed our way across Rose Street to the ramp. Melissa hammered the glass wall open, allowing us entrance into the parking ramp.

As it happens to all of us, I...forgot where I parked. Well, I mean c'mon. I usually park on the fourth floor, but that was full when I got here, so I had to drive around for a while. Not to mention that I've been attacked by zombies for the last couple of hours. Yes, there were zombies in the parking ramp, but we were warmed up by then and they really didn't stand a chance. Quite unfair, really.

Passing the fifth floor going down, we spotted my car. A gold Sunfire with a Sangha Yoga bumper sticker (O-yeah!). We climbed in quickly as I apologized for the mess in the back seat and I started the car. I quickly reconciled myself that I would have to scratch the paint job by hitting several dozen zombies. Getting to the pay gate, I had to fish a dollar out of my change cup (hope you like the pennies!) and we took off leaving the hotel and its zombies behind.

Now we're holding up in gas station near the highway. I had to use the bathroom again. Sorry, I have a small bladder or something. But hey, they have big gulps.

Since the banquet department doesn't exist anymore, I will conclude this last Banquet Captain’s log. We're heading into the unknown. Well, at least we have GPS.


Copyright Jerry Givens 2015 | All rights reserved

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