The Zombie Food Delivery Worker by David Cook

The zombie food delivery worker pedalled his bike furiously through the traffic, dodging between snarling cars and seething trucks. The glare from their headlights bounced off the hi-vis jacket the company made him wear. The tip of his little finger fell off into the gutter and was carried away by a passing rat. This was par for the course for a zombie, however, so he barely noticed, dedicated as he was to getting his customers their meals as fast as possible.

The zombie food delivery worker had, following a great deal of long and sometimes painful mentoring from his afterlife coach, Jas, mostly replaced his all-consuming desire to gorge himself stupid on human brains with a desire to deliver excellent customer service.


The zombie food delivery worker parked his bike outside a towering block of flats. The top floor, his destination, was almost invisible against the night sky. The zombie food delivery worker hoped – inasmuch as he hoped for anything beyond customer satisfaction – that the lift was working.

The lift was not working. The zombie food delivery worker took the stairs. He would be late now. There was a chance the customer would give him a poor review on the app. His head buzzed painfully at the thought. He arrived on the top floor, located the correct door, knocked. Thud. Thud. Thud.

The door opened a crack.

‘Foooood,’ intoned the zombie food delivery worker.

‘About bloody time,’ muttered the pot-bellied, vest-wearing, unshaven caveman who opened the door. ‘I’m starving.’

The zombie food delivery worker stared beyond the customer and into the dingy flat. 

‘Hey,’ grunted the man, looking into the greasy paper bag. ‘Where the hell’s my garlic naan?’

‘Foooood?’ said the zombie food delivery worker.

‘And is this a fucking korma? I asked for a bloody vindaloo, not this fucking toddler slop. Pathetic. Fucking pathetic. Fucking late as well. One star review for you, you undead dickhead.’

Customer service, the zombie food delivery worker told himself, echoing Jas’s words. Not brains. Excellent customer service was what he desired.


The zombie food delivery worker emerged onto the rain-sodden streets. He wiped a smear of cerebellum from the corner of his mouth. He picked up his phone. ‘Hello?’ said a chipper voice at the other end.


‘Oh, dear, Barry, did it happen again?’


‘Don’t worry, my friend. It’s just a setback, nothing more, nothing less. Do your breathing exercises when you get home.’

Zombies don’t breathe, rendering these exercises futile, but the zombie food delivery worker had never been able to communicate this to Jas.

‘Tomorrow is a fresh beginning. And remember our mantra: I get knocked down, but I get up again.’

The zombie food delivery worker ended the call. He was pretty sure Jas hadn’t invented that mantra himself, but his slow zombie brain had never been able to place where he might have heard those words before. Anyway, he’d never been able to get his desiccated lips around them. He hung his head.

The zombie food delivery worker got back on his bike and cycled away. He had to get a Kung Pao Chicken to another flat two miles from here. Then he’d go back to where he currently called home, a patch of scrubland beneath a flyover, alone.

‘Foooood,’ he said to himself softly, but only a nearby rat, nibbling on part of a finger, heard him. And, being a rat, it didn’t really care.

Biography: David Cook’s stories have been published in Ellipsis Zine, Ghost Parachute, Janus Literary and many more. He’s a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee. He lives in Bridgend, Wales, with his wife and daughter. Say hi on Twitter @davidcook100.