Thank you, my friends. It is great to stand before you in this setting: a political debate between two worthy candidates for the office of mayor.
I say two worthy candidates because I sincerely believe my opponent, the incumbent mayor, is a good man. I do not, however, believe he should continue to lead our fair city. I will explain my reasons momentarily.
First, by way of introduction, my name is Roger Hunsaker, and no, the stench of death you have caught wind of does not deceive you: I am a zombie. I lived in this city for 40 years before my natural death, and have “lived” here for an additional three years since the nuclear fallout caused myself and hundreds of others to rise from our graves in search of human flesh. I do not have a job in the traditional sense of going to an office and punching a timecard; however, my thirst for the juicy brain matter of living humans knows no bounds, and obtaining this delicacy is an activity I pursue with great zeal. I believe you will find me just as indefatigable when it comes to serving in public office.
I am aware that if I am elected, I will be the first undead mayor this city has ever had. But my friends, is it not time for a change? During my opponent’s administration, this city has seen an alarming increase in crime. The number of unsolved murders — messy, heinous murders, in which the victims’ brains are removed — is inexcusable. If this is what living mayors do for us, then excuse me for suggesting that perhaps it is time for a non-living one!
Do I have leadership experience? In fact, I command the army of zombies that resides just outside the city limits. This is the same undead army that has repeatedly and decisively beaten every group of pitchfork- and torch-bearing citizens that has come against it. Look at the scarring and disfigurement among your fellow citizens, not to mention the empty chairs at this gathering, and see that my leadership record speaks for itself.
Some have worried that as mayor, I will serve only my zombie constituents. The idea is preposterous. There is no such thing as a “zombie agenda.” Zombies want the same things everyone else wants: safe streets, a strong economy and a never-ending supply of sweet, mouth-watering brains.
Though I have operated my campaign on a rational, level-headed basis, my opponent insists on turning it into a festival of mudslinging. For instance, he has repeatedly said, in a public and hurtful manner, that I killed his son and ate his brain. The fact is, the mayor’s son made the mistake of being in my way and delicious. Would you want a mayor who backed down when challenged? I think not. I urge my opponent to stop harping on who killed whom, and who ate whose brain, and focus on the issues.
Issues like our city’s night life. What has happened to it? Most of us can remember — it was just a few years ago — when downtown was a bustling, exciting place, brimming with shops and restaurants. Now, one is hard-pressed to find anything open after 6 p.m. The few brave souls still on the street after dark walk quickly and glance nervously around them, as if expecting to be attacked or devoured. All this while our fearless “leader” the mayor quakes in the corner of his office, all his furniture pushed up against the door as a barricade, his craven fingers dialing the disconnected phone in a futile attempt to reach the National Guard.
How many of you still have jobs? With most citizens cowering in their homes for a good chunk of the day, businesses have closed and employees have been laid off. Only the stores that sell religious trinkets or shotguns have thrived.
My friends, we cannot let our city continue on its downward spiral. As mayor, I will bring our unemployment rate down to a manageable level, as I will ensure jobs for everyone in the chain of brain-processing factories I plan to establish. The sidewalks will once again be full of people in the evenings; that is when houses and apartments will be vacated so my staff can retro-fit them with surveillance cameras and automatic basting equipment.
It is a brave new world, my friends. On election day, use your savory, protein-rich brains to make the right choice.
This is the first "Snide Remarks" to venture into pure, 100 percent, not-based-on-anything fiction. It's not even satirical fiction, really, though I suppose you could say I'm making fun of politicians who have nothing but ill intentions for their constituents. But really, I just think the idea of a zombie running for mayor is funny.
I came up with this character in a ComedySportz show the weekend before the column appeared. We did a game called "Town Meeting," in which the players come up with characters and debate some ridiculous issue. I had given thought to doing a zombie character sometime, and when the opportunity arose, I tried it. I don't recall being terribly funny with it, but I liked the idea and I started to flesh out the story.
What really inspired me to write the column, though, was reading books by David Sedaris, who is unafraid of writing first-person fiction alongside his first-person true-life essays. His book have both. Prior to reading him, it had occurred to me to write something completely fictional in "Snide Remarks," but I had dismissed the idea as impractical.
Still, to make sure readers knew up front that I was 1) not speaking as myself 2) not satirizing anything, I asked the copy editors to make sure the headline said, "Zombie for Mayor: a Work of Fiction," or something like that. We also had to make sure there weren't any Roger Hunsakers around.
Roger Hunsaker went on to be elected president, and he subsequently delivered a State of the Union address.