Brian Barrymore is not a normal zombie - he doesn't live in the underground sewers surviving on the brains of rats, lizards and (once in a while) living humans. Instead, Brian spends his days working at the head office of a multinational company.
In this English B1 (intermediate) graded reader, we watch as Brian tries to live a normal life while keeping his true nature a secret from his workmates.
CHAPTER 2: A day in the life of a (working) zombie
Brian woke up at seven. He was in a great mood.
He got up, washed his face, brushed his teeth and got dressed. Next, he started to do his make-up. Normally, he hated this task. But today, he whistled happily as he began to remove all signs of being undead.
One of the challenges of succeeding as an undead professional is the fact that because you have no blood running through your body, your skin looks deathly pale. Also, skin of the undead doesn't grow like living skin. It peels off easily if you don't take good care of it.
Brian's make-up routine is the same every day. He starts by using moisturising cream to help make his face less dry. Zombie skin is easily sunburned, so Brian uses a moisturiser that includes sun cream. He then puts foundation (one kind of make-up) all over his face, ears and neck to make them look smooth. After that, he uses concealer (a second kind of make-up) to help hide the dark spots and circles around the face and eyes that are common signs of being a zombie. Finally, he uses lipstick (a third kind of make-up) to add a light red to his colourless lips.
With his make-up complete, Brian moved to the kitchen. He opened the fridge and looked across the rows of plastic boxes that were labelled either 'pig', 'sheep', 'chicken' or 'duck'. He grabbed one of the boxes labelled 'sheep' and a carton of milk and took them over to the kitchen counter. He put some sheep brains into a bowl and poured milk over the top, before eating with a spoon.
A zombie's diet is very simple. Brains. While Brian chooses to eat his breakfast with milk on top, the milk has no nutritional value for him. It's purely a lifestyle choice.
Brian's wide range of brains is unusual for a zombie. He used to work on a farm outside town in exchange for food. The family who owned the farm knew Brian was a zombie and weren't afraid of him. In many ways, it was an excellent job. He had plenty of food, he got a lot of exercise and he didn't need to change his appearance (but that's another story). Today, Brian still visits the family each weekend. Every time he visits, he buys a supply of brains to take home and keep in the fridge.
While a zombie can eat brains hot or cold, they absolutely must be eaten fresh. Many zombies have lost their lives (again) by eating rotten brains, which lose their freshness within twenty-four hours. Brian found that by refrigerating the brains, he could eat them safely up to a week later.
After breakfast, Brian packed a lunch box of duck brains in his bag and left his apartment at around a quarter past eight. He caught the 395 bus and arrived at work half an hour later.
"Good morning Brian", sang the smiling receptionist as Brian walked in.
Rachel gave great smiles. She didn't just smile from the mouth. Her smiles seemed to involve her lips, her cheeks and her large blue eyes. Her arms and hands often joined in too. She gave full-body smiles.
"Morning Rachel", replied Brian, returning the smile.
He walked over to the staff kitchen and put his duck container in the fridge. Brian was always careful with his lunch as he didn't want other staff to find out he was eating brains. He used plastic lunch containers that people couldn't see through and always labelled them with his name.
Brian's day went quickly and by five o' clock he was still in a good mood.
He caught the 395 bus and went back home. For dinner, he felt in the mood for pig and warmed some up in the microwave. He then sat down in front of the TV and watched a few episodes of his favourite zombie series.
There were a lot of zombie films and TV series to choose from and Brian was a big fan of all of them. They were very unrealistic, of course, and always used living actors who pretended to be zombies. But, despite this, Brian was fascinated by them.
At around eleven, Brian got changed, brushed his teeth, removed his make up and went to bed.