“The Mexican Bus” — Walter Greatshell

Walter Greatshell is the author of the novels Xombies: Apocalypse Blues and Xombies: Apocalypticon. A non-zombie novel, Mad Skillz, is forthcoming. On his website, waltergreatshell.com, Greatshell says that the last real job he had was as a graveyard-shift nuclear-submarine technician, and before that he was the general manager of the Avon Cinema, a Providence, Rhode Island, landmark. In addition to writing, he currently dabbles in freelance illustration, numerous examples of which are available on his website.

In 1957 Jack Kerouac published On the Road, a lightly fictionalized memoir of his road trips crisscrossing the U.S. and Mexico. The novel was written single-spaced and without paragraph breaks on a 120-foot long roll of tracing paper that Kerouac called “the scroll.” (It originally used the real names of Kerouac’s friends and acquaintances, including the free-spirited ex-con Neal Cassady and the poet Allen Ginsberg, but their names were changed in the published manuscript, at the publisher’s insistence, to Dean Moriarty and Carlo Marx.) The book has been massively popular, influencing artists from Bob Dylan to Jim Morrison to Hunter S. Thompson, most obviously in the latter’s 1972 road novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

On the Road also seems to have exerted an influence on our next author, who writes, “This story is an offshoot of my Xombies storyline. It’s about a young guy, a college dropout, who is bumming around Mexico and has the extreme misfortune of being caught in the middle of a zombie-type epidemic—what I call the Sadie Hawkins Day Massacre. Almost every woman in the world simultaneously turns blue and goes berserk.” He adds, “I actually was a college dropout, because once I discovered hitchhiking I was done with school. I have all these notebooks of stuff I wrote while on the road, hundreds of pages of obsessive beatnik musings that I hoped might come in handy someday. Who knew it would be for a zombie story?”