Column by Tad Unruh
Unruh is a senior radio and sociology major and can be reached at email@example.com
The smell of dead, decaying flesh hovers over Helmick Commons, heaviest under the lonely shade of the Olmsted Center tree on an exceedingly hot Iowa afternoon. Hordes of the undead wander aimlessly at the whims of their brain-hungry innards, looking for
the next feast.
Crashed and abandoned cars block Forest Avenue. Paul Revere’s hasn’t served breadsticks in nearly 36 hours as the virus spreads across the whole of Des Moines. It’s Saturday morning, as you slept off a rough Thursday night the entire previous day between fits of Netflix-watching.
You aren’t armed. All you have is your pair of True Religion jeans, a freshly ripped North Face jacket, torn on a door handle as you escaped Stalnaker Hall from your newly zombified roommate who had been gnawing on your R.A.’s legs moments before, and a toothbrush that in the moment “seemed like a great weapon at the time.” Oh, you Boy Scout you, always prepared.
But what do you do now? You’ve emerged groggily from your hut to see the world tearing itself apart. A real-life zombie apocalypse has happened. What was once a campus full of lively students is now a barren wasteland of the undead. People you once knew are now putrid, mindless and hungry. “The Walking Dead” are all around, but half-crazed Deputy Rick Grimes isn’t coming to save you. You are the key to your own survival.
Notice: “Get the heck out of dodge!”
If you’re a Drake student who hasn’t been recently zombified, you missed the ensuing panic while you were dozing away and lacking social media due to lost computer and cellphone chargers. Campus tore itself apart, and the likely events happened: C-Store raiding, the likes of which even the most flex dollar hoarding students unleashed during finals week have ever seen. Mass theft and consumption of all available campus bar alcohol to combat soberness in the light of the doomed campus. All the people you share a bathroom with and are annoyed by on a regular basis have become the only people to live with, unless you find better settling grounds. Here are four places that are best suited to live out a zombie apocalypse in.
1. Go west, young man, shopping center ho. If you have a car, go as far west as you possibly can on Interstate 235 and Interstate 80. If you can reach Valley West Mall, that is sufficient. Jordan Creek Town Center represents the best Alamo for your one-stop-shop zombie apocalypse needs. From P.F. Chang’s to Trader Joe’s, you have the ability to eat delicious food for nearly a year to wait out the carnage. Inside Jordan Creek is ideal as well. It is a humongous building full of supplies that with a little work can become an impenetrable fortress.
2. Scheel’s Sporting Goods within Jordan Creek is an Alamo within an Alamo. Holing up here is the most essential as it has many great bang-for-your-buck items. Because it has two exits, it isn’t entirely viable to get out of, but for the amount of weaponry, food, gear and space, it is
A. It provides weaponry (zombie repellent shotguns, Daryl Dixon-approved crossbows and zombie traps).
B. Outdoor gear (boots and footwear, warm and cold clothes, canoes — what the hell do I need a canoe for?)
C. Non-perishable food (Clif bars and trail mix for extended trips outside of the Jordan Creek fortress).
D. Sports equipment for armor and recreation to keep everyone fit.
E. Your favorite sports team’s jersey for a quick apocalypse inflation-adjusted five-finger discount.
3. Adventureland Amusement Park: See movie Zombieland. Actors/Actresses Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson and Bill Murray may or may not be included. If you really want to live, I would not trust Adventureland. If you want to have the coolest real-life zombie battle of all time, look for Twinkies and have an epic story no one will ever remember and is lost to history, this is your place.
4. Downtown Des Moines Skywalk System: If you’re alone, and the apocalypse is making you lonely you can go downtown. If these aren’t “28 Days Later” rage virus zombies, the interconnected web of skywalks in the downtown financial sector is perfect for escaping the impending doom on the streets. While the food and the weaponry isn’t ideal, the skywalks allow for innumerable space to live. You will have to go out on expeditions to get different types of food, weaponry, medicine and other things. Overall, it may be dangerous depending on what time of day the original virus hit, because it could be empty after everyone left work, or it is completely infested with rotting corporate zombies. Oh well, your choice.
5. Fort Dodge: Army bases are ideal for zombie apocalypses. It has an infinite numbers of supplies, weaponry and in-house doctors. It already has built-in defenses as well. The soldiers can teach you how to shoot, use weapons properly and become a zombie-killing machine. Here is where it gets tricky though. Who ever wants to drive to Fort Dodge, or even knows where it is? At this point, a GPS is going to be spotty, and let’s face it, none of us as college students have ever read a road map. But if you do make it to Fort Dodge, you will have a built-in support hierarchy of power, and barring any maniacal, tyrannical general a la “Dr. Strangelove,” you
should be fine.
For the record, if any of this does happen, do not take any of this advice. You could be putting yourself in extreme danger of a bad case of “zombie attack-itis.” If one would take my advice, it would be going to Jordan Creek for practicality, or Adventureland because what cooler way to die than running around a doomed theme park, or having a funhouse shootout with other humans fighting to take over the theme park. Take your pick. It’s your apocalypse.