I got a call one mornin’ from a fancy talkin’ man askin’ for O’Mally’s Exterminators: Slayin’ Undead Pests, Formerly ‘Uman or Otherwise, since 1820. Said ‘e ‘ad a large infestation ‘n would pay double for a quick fix.
So, I rounded up me team: Bloody Jake, me cousin ‘n best friend (‘e specializes in beheadin’ zom-bays. ‘Is record is forty ‘n one night); Shady Brady, me youngest son (‘e’s a numbskull, but ‘as a way with a bat); Nom, our bag ‘n bait boy (‘e was only the bait ‘imself that one time where ‘e lost ‘is arm. Called ‘im Nom ever since); and meself, Timothy “Teeth” O’Mally, sporttin’ me zom-bay taser, Mr. T (‘e can fry a zom-bay nervous system t’a crisp from an ‘undred paces). We jumped inta the van ‘n ‘alf ‘n ‘our later we rolled up ta this big ol’ ‘ouse, all stone ‘n glass. Missin’ was the normal evidence of an infestation: no torn up lawn, no smashed ‘n windows, no screams or cries fo’ mercy.
“Where the zom-bays at?” Jake asked, peerin’ out the shotgun window. ‘E was pullin’ on the brim of ‘is pride ‘n joy of an ‘at, like ‘e always do when ‘e’s a readin’ the lay ‘o the land before a raid.
“Don’t look like no thin’s happenin’. No broken glass or nuttin’,” Brady drawled from the back seat, pickin’ flesh stuck onta the nails drilled inta ‘is bat ‘n droppin’ ‘em onta the floor.
“Dang it, Brady, ‘ow many times do I have ta tell ya, don’t pick at yer soddin’ bat in the van!” I shouted back at ‘im. ‘E shruged ‘n kept pickin’.
Poor Nom was ‘unched next ta Brady, doin’ the breathin’ exercises the doc told ‘im ta do before a job. Somethin’ ‘bout visualizin’ ta keep ‘is nerves together.
“Let’s bag us some zom-bys, boys!” I hollered ‘n kicked me door open. Jake ‘n Brady whooped in agreement as they piled out ‘o the van. Nom, ‘is cheeks still puffin’ in ‘n out, fell in behind.
When we got up all the stairs, Brady rang the doorbell with ‘is bat. Nom began a twitchin’ again, ‘is knuckles white from clutchin’ the bait bag ‘n ‘is watery eyes bulgin’ out like saucers. Jake gave ‘im a little slap ‘round the ‘ead to calm ‘im down. Works most o’ the time. It managed ta calm down a notch as a starch ‘n pressed butler answered the door.
“You must be the exterminators,” ‘e said, steppin’ back ta let us in. “The master is waiting for you in his study. If you’ll follow me?”
“Don’t mind if I do,” Brady said, pushin’ ahead o’ Jake and Nom. ‘E was lookin’ at all the fanciness ‘long the walls in a way that made me weary. Brady’s a simpilton, but ‘e has an eye for fine thin’s. ‘E’s tried to lift thin’s on other jobs and I didn’t want no trouble.
We were led all the way to the back o’ the house ‘n inta a ‘uge room full o’ books where this thin ol’ man sat behind a ‘umongous desk. ‘E introduced ‘imself as Mr. Montague ‘n got right ta business.
“Mr. O’Mally, what I have is a…unique situation.”
“Well, whatever it is, we can ‘andle it,” I assured ‘im. “O’Mally’s Exterminators been dealin’ with unique situations for over two ‘undred years now.”
‘E smiled, “I assure you, sir, this is a situation like none you’ve ever faced.” Before Jake could open ‘is mouth ta cuss ‘im out, ‘e added, “However, two hundred years of experience is nothing to sneeze at and you are the best in the area. All I need from you, sir, is to promise that you won’t be spreading any rumors about what you see here.”
I looked at me team, getting’ nods from Jake ‘n Nom. I ‘ad to give Brady the ol’ stink eye before ‘e shrugged ‘n mumble, “Whatever, man.”
“You ‘as our word,” I said ‘n shook ol’ Mr. Montague’s ‘and.
“Excellent,” ‘e said. “If you would sign this, Mr. O’Mally? Then I’ll have James show you and your men downstairs to the underground vault.”
Brady perked up at the mention o’ “the underground vault.” I saw Jake give ‘im a nudge with ‘is machete out o’ the corner o’ me eye as I signed the papers. Nom, on the other ‘and, started a twitchin’ at the phrase.
“Basements. Why’s it always basements?” ‘e muttered as ‘e rummaged round ‘is pack for ‘is night goggles. ‘E’d like a ‘ead lamp, but it’d attract the zom-bays like moths t’a flame – not very sneaky like.
With the papers signed, James opened a panel in the study wall ‘n gestured for us ta follow ‘im. ‘E led us inta a narrow ‘all that ran all along the ‘ouse walls ‘n down twisted staircases. We were pretty deep inta the ground I reckoned from the cold damp air, when Nom whispered, “W-w-what’s that s-s-s-smell?”
I ‘ad been ignorin’ the smell, figurin’ it was normal. T’was somat like a dumpster ‘ad been soaked ‘n pool water then left out ta dry on a ‘ot ‘n ‘umid day. It didn’t stink like zom-bays – they ‘ave a rotty, moldy smell ta ‘em.
“That would be the beast,” James said, stoppin’ short o’ a vault door nearly twice ‘is size. ‘E ‘ad to turn the combination lock with both ‘ands ‘n even then ‘e struggled. There was a “click” ‘n the door creaked open.
“Well, gentlemen, I’ll leave you to your work. Press this bell,” ‘e pointed to a button next ta the door, “when you are finished. Good luck.” With that, he walked back the way we’d come.
I unloaded Mr. T from me back ‘n pulled back on the safety ta charge ‘im up. Jake already ‘ad his macheties out, ‘is ‘at tipped back. Nom fumbled with ‘is plastic bags o’ chicken livers ‘n sheep brains, tryin’ ta guess what these zom-bay might like.
“Let’s get this par-tay started!” Brady roared, reachin’ out ‘n pulling the vault door wide open, ‘is bat slung over ‘is shoulder.
I couldn’t believe me eyes. None of us could. There, asleep on top o’ pile of golden treasures (impressive on its own) was the biggest Beastie of ‘em all: a rottin’ zom-bay dragon.