Keep doing the "living" thing

Films, books, TV mini series, billboard posters, and tweets are filling us with dread that sooner or later our planet will succumb to a zombie apocalypse.  In fact I expect some angst ridden science nerd somewhere is at this very moment developing a T-virus in his basement - ready to unleash its full horror into the air conditioning of some institution he has a problem with.  Or that has a problem with him.  And it will work.  Why?  Because the movies suggest all you really require is some busted DNA or blood from a dead animal corpse that’s been cursed by a shaman or something.  It's coming!  So what do you, the currently living, do to defend yourself (do not skip ahead to "it’s your job to repopulate the world, find some women!" straight away.  Let the full scope of the situation marinate slightly and take note of the following means in which to avoid becoming a chest cavity bearing, flesh obsessed, decaying former human and stay ahead of the game:

1. Never stop watching the news

How else will you know when the apocalypse has landed?  When some lumbering hulk dribbling blood and screaming "brains" comes crashing through your front door and eats your dog?  No.  Don't be the chump that gets to see his intestines devoured by ravenous blood crazed undead right at the start. The early zombies have got the jump on everyone, and they will do well.  Later on, when the living have barricaded themselves, set up laser tripwires, or are frankly a little low on numbers - those that have been turned to infinite slumber won't be as sharp.  They're just hungry and confused.  And frankly if you get munched at this point then you've done something very wrong.  Anyway, we're getting ahead of ourselves.  Watch the news, find out what area is hit first, and move onto step 2.

2. Don't be in zombie central

There's an event that kicked off this whole mess, a catalyst, and assuming it’s a home grown threat and not something weak like an alien attack or a mysterious asteroid we investigated without masks on for whatever reason, then there will be a town, or a city, or even a country where this thing hit.  Don't be there.  If you are there, go away from there.  This one is common sense.  Why stay and defend your home?  Because it has supplies?  You know the area?  You have a basement?  Man, you're crazy.  Sheer weight of numbers, your sweet scent of blood, the initial tsunami of infection... No. Refer to point 1 and don't go down first!

3. Stay mobile

If you have a car, use it.  Expect to come across traffic jams where people seem only to be standing by their cars staring into the terrifying distance, and remember airports and harbours are going to be bottle necks.  Though it’s somewhat true that there is safety in numbers, you never know if you're being setup up like cattle to take a fall for the wealthy people trying to get out of the country.  Avoid major highways and make sure you fill up on gas when you can.  Don't get too attached to your own car either, upgrade to something big that has chainsaws hanging out the side at your earliest convenience, and PLEASE for the love of all that is holy check the back seat of ANY vehicle you commandeer.  That small child sleeping in the back that got turned without waking might just be your undoing.  Motorbikes can be a very successful way to stay ahead of the game, commanding speed and agility - but you risk being overwhelmed if surprised and with little protection.  Make the call, and keep your eyes open.

4. Get a gun

In fact, get many guns.  If you managed to secure a car, load it up.  With this amount of firepower in the back you do risk crashing after trying to avoiding a little girl (zombie) who you thought you were going to hit (would have done her a favour) because she was picking up her teddy in the road (dropped due to blood clotting of the arms) and exploding in a glorious display of fire and death.  BUT because you've read this guide you will know all about the "barrel roll" (see later on).  If you are on foot, bring what you can, and in all cases the following are bare minimum: 

  • Shotgun: For close encounters, maximum damage, and cool reload factor.  The more barrels, the better. 
  • Hand cannon: Something like a desert eagle, or a magnum.  Something with a lot of stopping power.  You won't have a lot of ammunition, but this is your head shot weapon.  Use it well. 
  • Semi Automatic pistol: This will be for fight and flight.  Let off a magazine into the chest of an oncoming fiend to slow him down, and then take off like you mean it.  This gun is to send a message and to buy you time.  If you find yourself in the situation where you encounter or have trapped a spluttering nasty - aim for the dead centre of the forehead, take your time, and get it right.  Drop him and move.
  • Sniper rifle: You'll need one of these when you're picking off former colleagues from the top of your office block, or you find yourself up a power pylon or telephone mast.  Bring a lot of bullets, because this is where the fun is at.
  • Axe, club, or knife: Chose what you are best with, but I recommend the knife.  This might save your life in a tight spot.  Whether that is an unexpected guest crawling under the bottom of the toilet door or a tin of beans that you happened on.

Remember, you'll be staying on the move and running out of bullets fast so any opportunity to swap out, upgrade or reload MUST be taken.

5. Learn the barrel roll

This is the action of rolling one's body in a manner that looks totally cool while at the same time serving the purpose of getting somewhere fast in a relatively protected state.  Forward rolls, side rolls, all rolls in fact are considered time saving and awesome.  Particularly important is the "rolling out of the car should there be an issue" roll. Don't be afraid to use it.

6. Get a non-zombie friend

Facebook is testament to the fact that things are better with friends, and defending yourself in an apocalypse is no different.  After all, you'll need someone to stay guard while you sleep (unless you've already found explosive trip wires), and who knows if you choose your last stand buddy from the opposite sex then you might just find yourself getting bare ass naked and letting off some of this tension.  However, in this situation, take the knife.  You never know someone well enough in this environment to risk being venerable and unarmed.  If you're doing the dirty and suddenly things take a turn for the worse and your liver or blood are mentioned then drive that knife deep into their forehead and find another friend.  This one has gone bad.  Friends also tender general banter, gallows humour, and should they be better equipped or have given you a steady stream of excellent advice... well, you could always betray them. Police men, army types, and law enforcement personnel are excellent companions... until they're eventually killed trying to save you.  It what's they are there for, so leave your conscience at the door.

7. Find a radio or communications tower

When humans are faced with an existence threatening situation, they will go underground and start using radio's to find "friends" (see above).  This will be essential to your survival.  Remember Die Hard?  If McLane wasn't talking to Al the whole thing would have gone to hell in a hand basket!  The people on the radio want to help you, but don't be fooled - they are looking for useful characters or professionals to help rebuild the human race and forge a plan to take earth back.  Say that you're a teacher and you're certain to get the nod.  Let them guide you too their location (almost always completely safe), find some spectacles so you look smarter than you are, and keep your head in the game - we're not in Kansas yet!

8. Trust no-one, and everyone

You must be an excellent judge of character to continue the "keep living" thing and avoid being one of the walking dead.  The guy spewing crap about the end of days, human sacrifice, repenting sins, and carrying nothing but a cross and some beads is literally about to get mutilated by a host of unfriendly.  The chick covered in blood riding in a 4x4 with armour plating, a boot load of guns, and heavy metal music pounding out the stereo is totally a friendly (and possible lover, see point 5) and after a quick scan of the back seat (always) you can let her lead you to safety.  Inevitably, her ex-boyfriend will be the guy on the radio guiding you home, but you can cross that bridge (a swift shotgun butt to the nose) when you need to.  Keep your head around attractive women that are scantily clad with exposed rib cages muttering something about eating your insides (not as cool as it might sound), and don't bring any loud mouth macho types into your group.  They get people killed.  Be the smart guy at the end with the string bean arms, spectacles, and the heavy metal chick - because he's the guy not watching himself being digested.

9. It’s your job to repopulate the world, find some women 

At the end of the day you may very well be the last viable man alive.  You've found the human resistance, some egg head has developed a cure or the army have finally picked up their game and started turning the tide - and as the outright hero every woman aware of your feats knows you are made of "the right stuff".  Take advantage, and bring forth a new age a little you's.  You owe it to yourself; it’s been a tough week.

General Helpful hints: 

  • Zombies, like most people, are susceptible to having their brains blown out.  This defeats them outright, so be mindful of this in any given situation.  It's not just guns you'll need; you will need to be resourceful with your environment too.  Could that tree stump be raised on a rope and attached to a trip wire?  A heavy blow to the head with an inanimate object saves your bullets.
  • Remember your favourite lines from movies, or better yet create your own, and use them when you enjoy a particularly satisfying kill.  These will be how you are remembered.  Aim for something macho like "Hasta La Vista, baby" rather than something that could be taken in the wrong context like "how do my balls taste".  If in doubt Schwarzenegger quotes are your friend.

Good luck out there, and see you at the radio tower in area 51.  I'll be the one smoking a cigar and wearing ears as a necklace.