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WARNING: Stories on this site may contain mature language and situations, and may be inappropriate for readers under the age of 18.

G, R, & D by WPM
November 20, 2010  Short stories   Tags: ,   

Hello?…is this thing on?….OK…. well I guess you want to know what I did in the war? They told me you was recording stuff about the war and wanted to know what I did. You ain’t gonna get a story about the shooters from me…I wasn’t one of those fancy-assed trigger pullers… I did my time in G,R&D. Graves, Registration, and Disposal.

You always hear the stories about the shooters, how they won the war by stacking zack up til he stopped coming. I think they even have a movie coming out about it.  I give um credit, they did do that but that ain’t the whole story, that’s for damn sure. About the time those pansy assed shooters was high fivin’ each other and heading to the rear for cold beer and hot showers our job was just starting. Them piles of corpses just wasn’t gonna disappear on their own. It wasn’t pretty but shifting them corpses is what we did.

I was a raker for my whole time in. Some of the older hands use to tell stories about how early on everyone did a little of everything but by the time I joined up they pretty much had a system in place. Rakers, Scoops, Dumpers, and those poor bastards working the fire pits.

Man, those fire pits were their own little slice of hell. Dig a trench twenty or so feet deep, line it with thermite and coal, and when the dumper trucks come along and dump the bodies you wet um down with JP8 or diesel or whatever you got to keep um cooking until they are nothing but ashes. You just keep digging the trench until the dumper trucks stop coming. I remember one guy told me that one trench outside of Topeka was over two and a half miles long. They say that most of the guys on the fire pit turn vegetarian…Ha… they can’t stand the smell of cooked meat … Ha, Ha! Well that’s just something I heard anyway.

When you’re a raker they give you a ten foot steel pole with a little pitchfork looking thing and a hook on the end. You use that to pull the piles apart. One corpse at a time. Then the guys from the scoops come and put them in the front end loaders. Scoops to the dumper trucks and dumpers to the fire pits …as simple as that. You just keep on going till there ain’t none left.

You gotta rake um out because the shooters don’t get um all. Sometimes zack will fall down and get buried. Then you come along, rake out the corpses, and up pops zack hungry as ever. That’s why you gotta work in two man teams. It’s all close in work and we used .22 carbines instead of the long rifles that the shooters got. When zack pops up you pin him with the rake if you can and let your buddy put um down. My last buddy was so quick I hardly ever had time to get um with the rake before he had a couple of rounds into zack’s head.

You only see a full up zack once in a while, sometimes you get the crawlers, you know, the ones that don’t have legs or the legs don’t work. One time we got four midgets right in a row, boing, boing, boing, boing. We laughed about that for a week. Zack midgets…Ha, Ha! Usually though it’s the kids we get. Not the older ones…the younger ones, six, seven year-olds. Sometimes we get them allot younger. They just get buried in the corpses until we rake them out. They pop up and let out that moan, but it ain’t the same as grown up zack. It’s …you know… higher pitched…like kids playing at being a monster…but these are the real deal. Kid or not they are still zack and you gotta put um down. And we did. We put down allot of kids. Zack kids, I mean. Allot of them.

I knew this one guy, he had been with us for a while, his buddy raked up three kids. His buddy said he just stood there with his carbine and let them come at him. They crawled all over him before his buddy could put um down. Course we had to put him down too but I remember he said that he just could not pull the trigger. He said he just couldn’t shoot any more kids. Funny thing was this guy never had any kids of his own … from before, you know. Maybe I could understand if he had kids of his own that …well…that didn’t make it, but this guy didn’t have any at all. He just stood there and let them get at him. I, uh … I don’t, uh … Well, that’s all I want to say about that.

We had some great parties in the G,R,&D. When we finally got finished the decon trucks would come and spray the area down with that sweet smelling stuff they said killed everything. That was the best smell in the world … that smell meant we could clean up our gear and head to the rear. They would lay on one hell of a feed for us. All the beer and whiskey you could drink and we would get hammered for a couple of days before we had to report back and get ready for another job.

We had a hell of a party when they cut us loose for good too. I don’t remember most of it so it must have been good. They sent us through all the shrinks when they demobed us but I only wanted to get out and get hammered. I remember the shrinks sayin’ that I might have some nightmares but that they will go away after a while. Ha … I never had nightmares even when I was in like some of the guys did. I guess I am just lucky.

I don’t much like to be around little ones though. I went to see my sister right after I got out … her and her kids. I couldn’t stand to be around them, the kids, I mean. I just had to get away from them. Pissed my sister off something fierce but I just could not stand to be around them. I don’t like being around any kids … you know, they just bother me. But I got a clean bill of health from the docs… so I’m OK. Not like the stories you hear about some of the guys. I’m doing OK…just fine That is all I got to say. You can turn that thing off…I’m done here.


  1. Great story! I never thought about the cleanup afterwards…

    Comment by Gary Hidalgo on November 20, 2010 @ 8:47 pm

  2. Great tale from the “regular workin’ stiff” point of view.
    Well done.

    Comment by Vlad on November 20, 2010 @ 11:44 pm

  3. Good story. It not all glamour int he ZA is it?

    Comment by Pete Bevan on November 21, 2010 @ 1:32 am

  4. Brilliant! Simple but well thought out and rounded. Loved it!

    Comment by Barrett on November 21, 2010 @ 2:30 am

  5. That was amazing, everything you don’t think about in a zombie outbreak put into something so genuine. I could actually believe this happened.

    Comment by Zombie_Hunter_6 on November 21, 2010 @ 4:46 am

  6. Talk about post traumatic stress. Imagine the poor guy walking out of a store or something & some little kids come running at him (you know the little ones always want to race). If he’s got a weapon on him…I liked this it fits well in the WWZ book format.

    Comment by D.Mc on November 22, 2010 @ 4:07 am

  7. Brilliant! Thermite; JP8; demob; I have a feeling you are prior service. Also, this just felt like a war story. That disattached method of story telling with a, “Can you believe this S**t..” approach. I’ve heard a bunch of those over the last 20 years. When you were talking about the burners it reminded me of burning crappers back during ODS. We would use any combination of propellants we could to keep it going. Almost expected this to start with “There I was…No S**t.” like every other drunken war story. Great work my friend!

    Comment by RandyB on November 22, 2010 @ 7:13 am

  8. Fantastic story. One of the best I have read and from a different perspective. Keep it up!

    Comment by Pete on November 22, 2010 @ 2:07 pm

  9. I enjoyed this perspective. Lots to imagine and ponder in a part of the z-War I hadn’t ever given thought to. Well done.

    Comment by brycepunk on November 22, 2010 @ 11:02 pm

  10. Well done, man! Well done.

    Comment by Jim on November 23, 2010 @ 11:47 am

  11. Great work. In every branch of service, there’s always a crappy little, unglamorous little job that someone has to do. You do a great job bringing to life one of those jobs. Like the glitch this guy has at the end about little kids. That’s be rough. Reminds me of a couple friends (Vietnam Vets) who have the same issues with Asian people. Very realistic and well thought out.

    Comment by D.M. Youngquist on November 25, 2010 @ 8:27 am

  12. This is straight out of the graves registration in the Army. Most gruseome classes I was in.

    Comment by Mac on November 26, 2010 @ 5:45 am

  13. Great story. What I found especially satisfying about it was the voice of the character. I would imagine that during the long walk east, not everyone had the acuity for service on the front line, and that there probably weren’t a lot of refined folks on graves registration. That comes through here in a way that wouldn’t have if the character sounded as educated and literate as the writer must be.

    Comment by T.C. Abernathy on December 6, 2010 @ 6:48 pm

  14. If Brooks ever does a reprint of World War Z, this deserves to be included.

    Comment by Eljay on December 22, 2010 @ 11:54 am

  15. Liked it…. not enough build or revulsion though….. coulda hinted and some people being around kids after being released and just breaking…..

    either way i enjoyed it. i love this website. i realy still bealive the onlly way WWZ will ever be any good in film format is if an internet group like this submitted their own short films both based and inspired by the book… (like we do with written stories)its the only way it will ever have the diversity of max brooks characters and style. im dreading the release of the movie…. well thats enough off topic coment for me 🙂 nice fun short read

    Comment by Andrew on January 6, 2011 @ 12:01 am

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