Allow me to deviate, dear reader, from the topic this column usually discusses: rock ’n’ roll, of course. We’ll get back to that next week.

No, this week’s missive concerns the strange event that occurred in the fair city of Bangor during the week of Oct. 31, 2008. Strange, yes, and frightening — as strange and frightening an incident as I have seen yet in my years living here in the Queen City.

Earlier this week I was walking, with a reasonable amount of jaunt in my step, through the streets of downtown Bangor, as I do most days of the week. I sauntered, hither and yon, coffee in hand, iPod piped into my ears, ambling across Kenduskeag Parkway, admiring the ducks that splished and splashed merrily in the stream. A fine autumn afternoon indeed.

The splishing and splashing became more of a rending and tearing, though, as I witnessed a scene that will undoubtedly haunt my subconscious until my dying day. One of the ducks paddling around the water suddenly attacked one of its companions. The other ducks fled, terrified, and I watched, also terrified, as the crazed duck not only beat on its poor, defenseless flock mate, but began feasting on its brain after presumably killing it.

I stood, mouth agape, watching the horrific scene as the duck finished its gruesome meal. Then the duck turned its head, in a manner not unlike Linda Blair in “The Exorcist,” and looked at me, with beady red eyes. A few seconds later the duck flew up, heading straight for me.

I dropped my coffee and bolted across the park, with the duck in hot pursuit. “So it’s finally come to this,” I thought. “The zombie apocalypse is upon us.”

I made it across Central Street and into the other side of the park, where I encountered a squirrel with the same beady red eyes, having a mid-day snack on another squirrel. The squirrel, in between bites, took a look at me, bared its pointy little teeth and began to chase me too.

I took off again, followed by zombie duck and zombie squirrel, only to come across a Pomeranian with a little pink sweater on, foaming at the mouth and glaring at me with brain-hunger in its eyes. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised when zombie Pomeranian began chasing me too, but when you’re running for your life from the undead, well, your priorities are a little different.

But run I did, through the streets of downtown Bangor, with slavering, ravenous duck, squirrel and Pomeranian pursuing me, bent on a taste of my sweet, sweet brain meats. I was crossing a busy intersection, hoping that I wouldn’t get killed by a truck rather than a zombie, when something very fortunate happened.

One of those little tripod thingies that the City of Bangor’s parking enforcement officers drive was puttering along down the street, and came this close to hitting me — but did manage to hit squirrel and dog straight on. Zombie duck, with its one-track mind, didn’t even notice, and flew headfirst into a building, collapsing onto the sidewalk.

The parking enforcement official got out of her vehicle, looking heartbroken.

“I can’t believe I hit them! That’s awful!” she exclaimed. “Did you see that? I feel terrible!”

“Lady, do you have any idea what you just did?” I asked. “You just saved us from the zombie apocalypse! Those things were trying to catch me and eat my brain!”

Parking lady looked at me incredulously. “OK,” she said. “So a zombie squirrel, a zombie duck and a zombie Pomeranian were chasing you?”

“Yes!” I shouted. “And you killed them! You just saved us all! Thank you!” I hugged her. She didn’t hug me back.

“Alrighty then,” she said, after she pushed my embrace away. “Be that as it may, I did just hit someone’s dog. I better go find out who it belonged to.”

“Doesn’t matter,” I said. “That dog was infected with zombie plague. Let’s hope there aren’t any others.”

She looked at me like I belonged in a padded room somewhere and shrugged her shoulders. I thanked her again for saving the citizens of Bangor from being turned into mindless, reanimated corpses and took off, heading for my car. Upon reaching it, I found a parking ticket placed underneath my windshield wiper. For once, I didn’t unleash a stream of expletives.

I’ll end my story with a few admonishments. If you see a bird or a squirrel or a moose, or even your neighbor Jim, looking at you like you’d make an excellent dinner, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Maybe go to Home Depot and get yourself a chain saw or a crowbar, just to be on the safe side. And also: Pay your parking tickets.

Oh yeah, and Happy Halloween,


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Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.