The zombies are coming. (Henry Perez/Xpress Magazine)
The zombies are coming. (Henry Perez/Xpress Magazine)

It had been years since the outbreak. I had not seen an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia since the start of the apocalypse. Mac had just lost his “mass” and Frank did not want to do the dishes. I wish my problems were as petty in these times of suffering. My short, dry sentences (that you need to read in a Max Payne-like solemn tone) should reflect that.

During my daily search in the Castro for canned food and some god damn Wi-Fi, I saw something horrifying. It was an old poster for the Folsom Street Fair, the last one before the outbreak. But next to the poster was a herd of zombies. A flock? A horde? I am going to go with a business of zombies.

Turned at such a young age. (Michael Leri/Xpress Magazine)
Turned at such a young age. (Michael Leri/Xpress Magazine)

This business of zombies was creeping ever so steadily towards me. I panicked. I peed a little. But that could have helped because I disguised myself as one of them fit right in. Another terrified survivor blending in by sheer luck (and the lack of hygiene) handed me a pamphlet, one telling me that this was the first annual Zombie Walk in San Francisco.

The Zombie Walk is a popular thing to do in other big cities like Toronto, but San Francisco has never seen one until now. People “dressed” up as the living dead patrol the Castro district in search of “canned food” (I am assuming the flyer meant brains) for people less fortunate than themselves.

One of the zombies I stumbled across had a great disguise. He could have fooled me. He almost did. Good thing I did not have a shell or two loaded into my shotgun. His name was Greg Todaro. Greg just moved to the city in January and wanted to join because of his love for the long-dead TV show The Walking Dead.

Greg Todaro trying to feed on a local zombie cheerleader. (Michael Leri/Xpress Magazine)
Greg Todaro trying to feed on a local zombie cheerleader. (Michael Leri/Xpress Magazine)

“It was a lot of fun,” says Greg, as he tried not to disturb the business of zombies. “Some of the people in San Francisco get surprised by us but some take it in stride, and we are just walking around like everyone else.”

Greg’s enthusiasm was the end of him since nearby walker noticed and began to gnaw on his neck. I kept my cool and played dead – and peed again.

The business of dead San Franciscans began knocking and grunting by nearby restaurants on the street, disturbing the customers as they ate their rations, and took pictures of the passing once-living humans. These distractions allowed me to sneak and shamble up to the front of the pack where I met the lead zombie, Ilan Kaim.

Ilan wondered why his kind did not have a Zombie Walk in San Francisco; so he took it upon himself to start one.

Ilan Kaim right before he tried to feast on my flesh. (Michael Leri/Xpress Magazine)
Ilan Kaim right before he tried to feast on my flesh. (Michael Leri/Xpress Magazine)

“It allows people to express themselves and have good time,” groans Kaim as his few ounce of humanity oozed through his rotting pirate costume outfit.

His aim was not only fun but to gather food for the people in need, which came to fruition thanks to a food bank in Marin.

A zombie’s natural instinct is to spread its disease, which is what Kaim plans to do with the Zombie Walk until he breaks a record. Infecting a few dozen people for just one year is not enough for him.

Other survivors managed to break free from the zombies, one of which was Jennifer Xiao, who said she was lucky to be alive. Her courage was put to the test when she was take selfies in front of the desiccated piles of flesh.

“I’m glad I survived,” says Jennifer between breaths of relief. “I just wanted to take pictures with the zombies. I’ll definitely come back next year.”

I wanted to say the same. That I would return next year for supplies and the chance to live on the edge when the near-apocalypse already has me teetering on its pointy tip. But I cannot. I was foolishly bitten at the end of the journey as I tried to document this first annual Zombie Walk in San Francisco. I will turn soon but as I wave farewell to my humanity, maybe next year I can say hello to the chance to walk among my new undead brethren.