Appears in Zombiefied! An Anthology of All Things Zombie from Sky Warrior Books.
The More Things Change
After the inevitable panic subsided, society adjusted surprisingly well. Though vast swaths of destruction, home to nothing but reservoirs of shambling dead and the occasional Starbucks, had been carved through every city, life went on. Better than before according to most. Housing prices stayed reasonable, prisons emptied almost overnight, and people actually starting using public transportation, due to the rocket launchers on the armored busses. Everyone was happy.
Harrison was even able to keep the job he'd had before being infected, thanks to the chip implanted in his head. In some ways, his situation had even improved. Had he still been sentient, he'd have appreciated the newfound lack of pointless motivational meetings and degrading team-building exercises. Instead, whenever the zombies on the call floor got restless, management simply herded them into Conference Room #5 with electric cattle prods, tossed in a few meth addicts, and locked the door.
The oversized red button on Harrison's phone started flashing. Spurred to action by the programming on his chip, he fumbled for it. Gross motor movements were not his strong point anymore, if they ever were. Harrison missed on the first attempt, hitting the big blue button which instead sent the caller back into the automated system. His second attempt, however, succeeded, and because today was a busy day the next caller was already waiting.
"It's about damn time I got through to someone," she snarled.
A little slow, Harrison sat silent until his shock collar zapped him into speech. (Tim, who was eavesdropping on the call for training and quality assurance purposes, had a very low opinion of zombies in general and Harrison in particular.)
"Cell phone..." Harrison groaned uneasily.
"Damn right it's about my cell phone," the woman replied. "This is the third time I've been overcharged for my service and I want to know what you're going to do about it!"
Luckily for him, the woman wasn't paying attention and continued her tirade. Tim only shocked him at 35% power.
"Urrg. Upgrade plan..." Harrison said when the woman finished.
"Just how stupid do you think I am? I sure as hell ain't upgrading my plan. You bastards need to stop stealing money out of my wallet!"
It wasn't going well, so Tim shocked Harrison punitively. Harrison's instincts took over.
"Oh hell no," the woman said, stretching the 'hell' out ridiculously. "This is one of them zombie call centers, ain't it? Taking away American jobs so corporations can screw us harder. Fuck that. Just cancel my service."
A click sounded as Tim took control of the call. He put the customer on hold, where the automated system thanked her for her patience. The bracing effect of a shock collar at 300% coursed through Harrison's mindless body, sending him into a grand seizure. If he hadn't been embalmed, an eyeball would have popped loose.
But it didn't hurt him. He was a zombie after all, and zombies are incapable of feeling pain. Or anything, for that matter. Instead, during the 45 minutes it took Tim to grudgingly handle the call, the current fused the chip in his head, flash-welding it to rotting but semi-functional brain matter. One moment Harrison's only thought was of sating his omnipresent hunger; the next, he remembered who he was.