A few months ago, I was on my way to Grandmother's house, I mean the grocery store, when I passed by my friend's apartment and the cobblestone alleyway that runs alongside her building. I glanced, saw a body, kept walking, and then glanced again because I saw a body. I mean, I wasn't sure it was a body; it was fall, so my first thought was that it was a discarded scarecrow.
I decided to investigate. Approaching, I verified that it was humanoid, but I thought it might be fake until I was upon it, and my God, it was a person. He lay supine with his arms stretched zigzagged and his legs crumpled. Two cellphones lay on the ground beside him.
Someone had run over him. In an alleyway. Was he even alive?
I considered touching him, but that felt just too creepy, and I would have dialed 911, but I wanted a second opinion, so I ran up to my friend's door. Thankfully, I knew her two roommates, too, because my friend was not home. Sarah answered her door. I could tell she was surprised to see me, so I launched right into it: "I think there's a dead body in your alleyway."
Sarah: "Wait, what? Are you serious?"
Me: "I want someone to double check."
Lena came out of her room. She had just risen from a nap. "Did someone say dead body?"
Me: "There's a body in your alleyway."
Sarah came outside with me while Lena got dressed. Sarah's face said it all: Oh my God, you're right.
"Are you sure?" she whispered. Because dead body.
I shrugged. "I'm not positive, but he looks dead. I think someone ran over him."
"Sir?" Sarah spoke to the body. "Sir? Can you hear me?"
I hadn't even though to address the body.
Sarah: "I'm gonna check his pulse."
Me: "Okay." I'm glad she offered to touch him because that also wasn't on my itinerary.
I stood behind her as she knelt, ready to yank her back when the zombie awoke. She tapped his arm. We both leaped into the air as the zombie stirred - and readjusted his crumpled form into a napping man. Like, he put his arms behind his head!
Me: "Oh my God, he's alive!"
We heard a sound from the window above us. We looked up to see Lena laughing. She joined us outside as Sarah and I discussed whether the zombie was a narcoleptic: "Maybe he just fell asleep in the alleyway."
Lena: "Have you considered he might be drunk?"
Sarah and I looked at each other. "That's a very logical hypothesis," I replied.
"Sir?" We returned to trying to wake him by auditory stimuli.
Lena and I each picked up one of the cellphones beside him. The cellphone I was holding had 14 missed calls and several texts from "Dana." The cellphone Lena was holding had two missed calls and no texts.
We all wondered which cellphone was his and/or why did he have two cellphones? This guy looked to be about our age, so he wasn't a Hillary Clinton with multiple phones. (Wait, Hillary only has one phone - on her own personal network. Lolz.)
Abruptly the cellphone in my hand began ringing. Dana was calling again.
"What do we do?!"
Dana: "Steven? Is that you? Steven, where are you?"
Me: *takes breath* "Hi, so my name is Cazey, and we just found this man lying in an alleyway with two cellphones. And he's . . . out cold. He may be asleep? Drunk? He's, like, early twenties, brown hair - oh my God, he's waking up."
Surely enough the zombie groggily sat up. Lena and Sarah leaped in: "Sir? Are you okay? Hi, we just found you here. Are you - "
Like a lumbering giant, he tried to rise to his feet only to collapse back down.
Me to Dana: "He's awake. One second."
He crawled onto his knees and managed to gain his footing. We helped steady him.
Us: "Hi? Sir? Hi? What's your name?"
He stared at us, bloody-eyed.
Us: "Are you okay?"
Zombie: "Who . . . I have to go."
Us: "Wait, where are you going? Who are you? Are you okay?" Repeat 10 times.
Dana on phone: "Is that Steven? Is he okay? Where are you all? Penny, get down!"
Me: "Are you Steven?"
Zombie stared at me. "Y - no. I'm Mike. I need to go."
Sarah: "Where are you trying to go?"
Zombie: "I need to get away. Have you seen the police?"
Lena: "Is this your cellphone?"
And then, "Wait, did you say the police?"
Sarah: "Let us get you some water. I'm going to get some water."
Zombie took the first cellphone from Lena.
Me: "Do you know Dana?"
Zombie: "I have to go."
Me to Dana: "He says he has to go. His name is Mike. Do you know a Mike?"
Dana: " . . . No. Penny, get off me! Are you sure it's not Steve?"
Me: "Are you sure you're not Steve?"
Zombie: "Have you seen the police?"
Me: "Are you a fugitive?" JK, I didn't ask that.
Zombie: "I need to go." And then he started stumbling away down the alley.
Lena: "Don't you want to wait? We're getting you some water."
Dana: "Where are you all at?"
I passed the phone to Lena to give her address and give a recap of the situation. We watched the zombie teeter over the cobblestones away from us.
Us: "Don't you want your phone?"
Lena to Dana: "He's trying to get away. Call us back on our phone."
Zombie took his cellphone and continued on his way.
Me to Lena: "What did Dana say?"
Lena: "She said she's on her way. She sounds drunk. She was at a festival all day with Steve - if that's Steve."
Me: "Maybe he stole Steve's cell phone, and that's why he's afraid of the police."
This whole time we can still see Steve/Mike/Zombie swaying as he walked down the alleyway. Sarah reappeared with water and crackers: "Where is he?"
Us: "Just down - shoot, where'd he go?"
We had been watching his figure recede down the alleyway, but now he was gone. We hurried to end of the alleyway and looked both ways on the new block. He wasn't in sight. We hurried to the left, looked up and down the streets, saw no one, and hurried the other direction to the same results. Where had he gone?
Sarah: "How far can a drunk man get? I mean, he fell asleep in an alleyway."
Lena: "I don't know if he fell asleep. He may have passed out."
Me: "That would explain why it looked like a car hit him."
For fifteen minutes, we searched for him to no avail. Seriously, I was expecting to find his body in another alleyway, passed out again, but we never relocated him. Eventually, we returned to their apartment and commenced Facebook stalking Dana - where we discovered her profile picture featuring, who else, Steven/the Zombie/not Mike. We also discovered Penny, Dana's pooch who had been in the background of the phone conversation.
An hour later Dana called Lena back.
Lena recounted the conversation to me: "She was like, 'Yeah, this is typical. I'm his girlfriend.' Rather calm about the whole thing. And she asked which alley again, so I feel like the search just started . . . . "
Me: "Did you ask what happened?"
Lena: "I wanted to get much more context, but I figured I'd let her concentrate on finding him first. And she said one of the phones is his work phone."