Conspicious Consumption


It was to be a cautionary tale about genetically modified foods causing a major outbreak that turned out to be the worse ecological disaster in world history… the Cordyceps Zombie Apocalypse. There were the zombie ants, and the codyceps fungus was already being used as some kind of health supplement. She couldn’t decide if it was a serious horror story or some kind of political parody – after all, who would really ever infuse the lemons in a diet lemonade drink with high notes of lime aromatherapy and genetic material from a tapeworm and insect-controlling fungi? No one really wanted to lose weight that badly, did they?

The Drudge (Scarier than the Grudge) adjusted her filthy coke bottle glasses and shoved back the schmata holding her hair. The Drudge, who can never seem to get enough sleep, looks in the mirror and sees bags begin to develop under her eyes. She stretches her aching, semi-arthritic fingers before tapping absentmindedly at the keyboard. This Drudge, worn out by people with petty demands, doesn’t feel inspired to write anything and is totally exhausted. She has some weird idea for a short story called Conspicuous Consumption… she renamed it conspicuous consumption after she decided that “You are what you eat,” “Eat Me,” and “You are what you… Eat Me” were all really stupid titles for a short story.

“Candice got plenty of exercise,” she wrote, “she just really loved food. When the customer offered her a home baked cream cheese icing topped pumpkin cupcake, she could not resist. A little drool came to the corner of her mouth…”

“Crap,” The Drudge screeched into the empty room, heard only by her cat, who scampered nervously away from her perching spot dangerously close to the computer monitor, “it’s all crap! Crap!”

In the story, a Monsanto-type corporation had come up with a new, magically slimming food to address the problems of an increasingly overweight America. TheDrudge had just finished reading this article about Zombie Ants in National Geographic…

saw a video on YouTube about Cordyceps…

The mad scientist at the research lab for the Monsanto type corporation develops an intelligent, controlled tapeworm, controlled of course, by the Cordyceps Fungus. This harkened back to the tapeworm diet pill advertisements of the 1920s, but no one would allow anyone to sell tapeworms these days, so the Drudge would have to figure out if the laws had changed, or if the mad scientist simply somehow put tapeworm genes into a tomato.

“Tapeworm genes in tomato,” the Drudge quickly scribbled in her notebook. That sure sounded creepy to HER.

She had some other notes in there a bit earlier. It said, “Chubby size 16 female foodie protagonist lusts over food and describes it in extravagant detail. One of her friends has lost a lot of weight. She asks her if she has a tapeworm, and the friend says “sort of” and begins to describe the exciting new Monsanto type Frankenfood she’s been eating that has tapeworm DNA and whatever that disgusting fungi Brian sent me that YouTube link to genes.” Scribbled in a different color ink – and clearly, added later, were the words “Cordyceps Fungus” near the last. “Everyone is eating to become thin. Then, the Cordyceps Fungus starts erupting from their bodies, eating them from the inside out, reanimating their corpses. They run around with Cordyceps Fungus sprouting from their face, and this is basically a short story that is a cautionary tale about genetically tampered with foods – with ZOMBIES.””With Zombies, Damn it!” the Drudge yelled aloud to her cats and no one at once. She began to type once more. She wrote…

“Candy was a big girl, and nothing like the evocations of her stripper’s name. Working for the Department of Sanitation as a garbage removal specialist, Candice “Candy” Brown made an intimidating figure standing behind the dump truck in her beige overalls, calves like ancient tree-trunks occasionally peeking through between pants leg and work boot when she bent over to heave the garbage can into the back of the dump truck.”

“Crap,” she yelled again, “it’s no good.”

If she couldn’t think of something quick, the story of Candice “Candy” Brown and her infected sister Dorthea Brown and the mutant cordyceps fungus tapeworms will never come to life. She chewed on the end of her ink pen – although she typed up her story, she had a notebook where she made notes about what she might want to do. She picked it up and looked at it now.

“The codyceps fungi erupted from Dorthea’s eye…” said the note.

“Ewwww, gross!” The Drudge said aloud.

Her cat gave her dirty looks for interrupting his nap.

~ by Sumiko Saulson on April 2, 2012.

8 Responses to “Conspicious Consumption”

  1. Arrrrghhh….. urrr… arrrrrrrrgggghhhh!

  2. Ok, finally remembered to read this.

    First of all…there is a really great zombie story called “Eat Me”. Ha! By Robert R McCammon. I read it in a zombie-story collection called The Book of the Dead years ago, and it’s always stuck in my head, with sort of a, “zombies are people too!” sort of ring.

    Of course, there’s also a book called that, but it’s about a completely different sort of food fetish…

    • I know… it’s an intentional tongue-in-cheek reference to “Eat Me” by Robert R McCammon – when they had the Famine episode of the TV show Supernatural, that kind of reminded me of Eat Me, only, with human instead of Zombie involvement. My dad gave me the Book of the Dead in 2004, so I read it then during a Greyhound trip to Los Angeles, but the book itself came out in the late 80s. +2 Geek/Goth points to Jody.

  3. I don’t know… the lady at Marcus said I should start having contests. But then I’d have to force you to pose with the merchandise and put a caption that says, “You, too, can win on Things That Go Bump In My Head!” – fortunately, I never had that hideous “Team Crazy” mug made. I think the lady at Marcus meant I should give away a book, like a sensible writer who isn’t a total spazz.

  4. You can get them on Cafe Press, that’s how I got my Secret Chicken mug.
    Oh, I was gonna say – I’m gonna get your book for my tablet for now. When I’ve got more $$, I’ll get the print ones and your fancy signature and all that.

    • You mean Solitude? Or one of the other two ones? If you have Amazon something-something for Kindle, I think Amazon Pro, you can check out Warmth and The Moon Cried Blood from their e-library for free for 90 days. Amazon Pro isn’t a musclebound prostitute with a bow and arrows, it just sounds that way.

  5. Oh so cool… do you mean Warmth, the one with the zombies?

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