Tommy O’Neal put the ancient landline phone down. He turned and smiled as Mary placed a plate of fried rice beside a beautifully polished candy apple.

“You are the best,” Tommy said as he sat at the counter.

“So what do you think, Tommy?” Mary said.

“Hmm… sounds fun,” Tommy began. “…but really… what do we know.”

“Well,” Mary began as she poured Tommy a glass of whiskey. “Mr Gery Carson, CEO of the New World Group and father of Rebecca Carson. Wife has died or out of the picture.”

“What do we know of the New World Group?”

The Network says they run several financial companies for a large part of the new Commonwealth. They are based in the New York territory.”

“Of course the New York territory most big companies still work out of the remains of New York City. What does the Network know of this Petty?”

“Well, without the ability to communicate through the internet anymore I will have to ask and wait for that to come back.”

“Charlie?”

“Charlie,” Mary repeated then paused. “I can dig up information on Charlie. Sounds like he is inside. The Network will be able to find something. Give me an hour. Do you need the usual crew for this job?”

Mary smiled.

“Yes, Mary. You are a superstar. Can I get a refill?” He asked holding the empty glass of whiskey.

“No,” Mary shot back. Her smile disappeared. “I should not of given you a glass of it. Severe lack of judgment on my part.”

Tommy frowned but didn’t protest. “Thank you Mary you’re still a star.” He finished his meal and turned toward the large plate-glass windows within the front of the restaurant. Mary disappeared into the kitchen.

Outside, decrepit sky-scrapers crept into view to his left. Out front and a half mile away was the city wall protecting the residents of the mid-western territory of Gregory. Between the wall and Tommy was a flat plot of tall grass and trees that struck him as odd because of its proximity to the tall office buildings. Tommy took a seat near the front window. A leathery hand scratched at the bottom of the window and caught Tommy’s attention for a moment. The owner of the hand had found itself in front of the window years ago but was too malnourished to be of any threat. Most of the zombie had suffered the same fate. Disabled and doing a better job as plant food then a threat to humans.

They were not harmless. They have killed a fair amount of human prey. Mostly the new prisoners the do not know where to go. The zombie can still pack a punch. Even in their weakened state.

“I should find the 9-iron some day,” he says out loud. The thought appearing suddenly.

“You can’t hit worth shit, Tommy,” says a familiar voice coming from the back of the restaurant.

“Sean!” Tommy replied with a smile. “Been waiting”

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