You are a Maine Zombies Census Agent.
This Modern Philosopher recently got to spend some quality time with the brave Agents of the United States Census Bureau who have volunteered for hazardous duty in Maine. Their daunting task is to try to give the Government some idea of how many Zombiestrudge across the state on a daily basis.
Two dozen heavily armed and well-trained men and women tackle this job every day. In the beginning, Census Agents went out solo and unarmed. The Census Bureau quickly learned its lesson when those heroes eventually never returned at the end of their shifts. The next step was to arm the Agents. Then send them out in pairs. Then in groups of three. Now, they work in trios, and the Bureau hasn’t lost an Agent in nearly six months.
“It’s a daunting task,” explained the female Agent on Red Team, the group with whom I spent the most time. “Not only are the individuals we’re supposed to be tracking trying to kill us as we’re doing our job, but they’re also being killed right in front of us. Makes it very difficult to keep our numbers straight.”
“In addition, Zombies are such a migratory group. We do our best not to count the same Zombie more than once, but after a while, and this is not at all meant to be racist, they all start to look alike,” she continued. “They just get all covered in guts, blood, and gore that it’s difficult to distinguish between them. ”
So how do the Agents keep their numbers straight? “In the beginning, we tried tagging each Zombie,” she explained with an embarrassed smile. “We quickly discovered that attaching a tag to any part of a Zombie usually led to that body part falling off very quickly. So we’d just end up finding the tag in some clearing, but the rest of the Zombie was nowhere in sight.”
The fact that Zombies are constantly losing body parts presents a challenge to the Census Agents. “I’ll see a Zombie wearing the same clothes as one I tallied a few hours earlier, but this one only has one arm. Do I add him to the count as a new Zombie, or did the one from a couple of hours ago just lose an arm? It’s mind boggling at times.”
I wondered if Census Agents were supposed to kill Zombies as part of their jobs. “Now that would defeat the purpose, wouldn’t it?” she replied with a sly smile. “We are only supposed to use deadly force when a human life is in jeopardy. As you know, this job once had an extremely high turnover rate as the counters were overwhelmed and became part of the counted. ”
“The bosses fixed that really quickly by requiring that any Agent volunteering for the duty in Maine had to first go through one month of rigorous military and Zombie killing training. Where Census Agents were once just pudgy office drones armed with only a clipboard, a pencil, and a counter, we are now all ripped, highly trained, well-armed killing machines. We go about our task with our heads held high knowing that it’s the Zombies who need to be afraid.”
I have to admit, Modern Philosophers, that I was quite impressed with all the Census Agents’ bravado. During my ride alongs, my stomach was tied up in knots and my hand never left my trusty stiletto. I’ve killed several Zombies in my day, but I’ve never purposely driven into the North Woods and followed a pack of them for hours at a time.
It was a nerve wracking experience that was as thrilling as it was terrifying. Even though my new friends from the Census Bureau gave me a job application and urged me to complete it, I don’t think I’ll be doing so any time soon.
The Census Bureau hopes to publish its most recent count on July 1.
What about you, Modern Philosophers? Do you think you have what it takes to do the job? It pays really well and you get to live in Maine…