Lucy A. Snyder studied to become a biologist, trained to become a journalist, and now provides tech support for a university that has an extreme troll problem. Her work has appeared in a wide variety of print and electronic publications, including Strange Horizons, Farthing, Masques V, Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, Chiaroscuro, and The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Her short story collection Sparks and Shadows is due out in 2007. Visit her website.
D.E. Christman’s art has been featured in galleries, art shows, magazines, book covers, and websites that specialize in the macabre and strange. He is a full time artist and web and graphics designer. He lives in Philadelphia with his lovely wife Stephanie, his son Andrew, and the monkey on his back called coffee. You can see more of his work at his website.
Dead Men Don’t Need Coffee Breaks
Brooklyn, NY—Corporations across North America are eagerly embracing new necrotechnologies that enable them to employ the life-challenged.
“People are still a little uncomfortable with terms like ‘animated corpse’,” admits top HR consultant Mindy Axedame. “We prefer to call it ‘insourcing.’ We bring in the newly undeceased, which are an incredibly cost-effective resource for any company that needs non-managerial labor. Insourcing.”
Rick Flint, CEO of the popular online discount retailer Hawt Shawpz, is thrilled with the new employment trend. “Just last year, our entire call center was alive. We had to pay each of those 200 people $7 or $8 an hour. And they wanted sick leave, and health benefits—it was nuts. We only netted 14 million last year; I can’t afford frills and absenteeism.”
But since Hawt Shawpz started insourcing, Flint says, the company has become vastly more productive. “The dead don’t call in sick or slack off on Fridays. They don’t complain about rats in the walls. They’re never late, because we bus them in from our corporate crypt. It’s great! I can work a zombloyee for 20 hours straight for just $20 worth of pig brains.”
Hawt Shawpz system administrator Brad Janett says that running the zombloyee staff is fairly simple. “I do the most work getting them booting Linux properly and debugging their wetware programming. The disk image gives them a hundred or so phone scripts to recite. Zombloyees are usually bright enough to pick the right script, even if they’re not so good at forming words on their own.”
Janett says that the zombloyee’s cyberspiritual operating systems are extremely robust. “Pretty much the only problems we have are wetware failure. Mr. Flint thought we could do without air conditioning last summer, but then about a quarter of the call center mildewed.”
“Midwestern restaurant patrons have some squeamishness issues,” says Frites. “They just aren’t ready to accept a zombie taking their order or dishing up their chili. Zombies are great behind the scenes; you just have to make sure the public can’t see them working.”
Frites is quick to add that undead restaurant employees don’t present any health risk to the public. “There’s still this perception that they’re these oozing corpses dropping parts everywhere, but that’s completely outdated. When properly plasticized, our zombloyees are cleaner than our regular employees—all you do is wipe them down with orange cleaner every shift to get the grease residue off.”
Ed Rudge, Outreach Director for Cybermantic Staffing Solutions Inc., sees a bright future for corporate insourcing.
“There’s no limit to what businesses can do for their stockholders when employee living expenses are a thing of the past,” he says. “Every one of our clients tells us the same thing: the dead are resurrecting corporate profit margins in a big way.”
Next: Now that there’s a demand, where can businesses turn for the supply?