I probably shouldn’t ring the giant bell, but it’s just so damn fun. While there’s the immediate satisfaction of making a lot of noise, it serves a lot of purpose. The Buddhist monks at this temple have been doing it for a few hundred or thousands of years. I don’t know, I can’t really remember. But also, it alerts others that there are still people inside of the temple.

And then the zombies eat them.

Buddhist temple stay - zombie attack
It’s not all fun and pacifism.
That last part isn’t totally my fault. But I guess I should start at the beginning.

I wanted to do something different. I’ve been in Korea for about a year now, teaching English, eating weird foods, and mostly spending all my time, as well as money, drinking. I suppose it’s what most "foreigners" like me do. Because what brings lonely people together better than alcohol? Apparently, not zombie strikes.

I signed up to do a temple stay in a Buddhist temple. You pay about $50 and live kind of like the Buddhists do. You sleep on the floor, eat only vegetables and fruit, wake up at 4 a.m., hang out with other people from around the world looking for some peace and quiet, bow and pray and meditate and stuff. Not drinking on the weekend was a nice relief, and everything was all pretty cool, until some monsters woke up from the dead and started eating everybody, thus creating more monsters.

There weren’t really phones allowed in here. Sure, some of the monks have them, and the main lady talks about how Facebook is bringing the world closer together, which is a good thing. I guess I kind of agree. It’s a great way to kill time in between drinking—or before, during, or after drinking. But really, does the Great Buddha really want me to re-connect with ex-girlfriends and shit?

Most of the monks have been eaten. I beat them to re-death with a baseball bat. These nice men and women may have given up their lives to Buddha, but they still love American baseball.One of the reasons I did this little activity was to get away from all the technology. I figured, I’m here in a brand-new (to me) country, I might as well try to get a little culture. Or at least have one story that doesn’t involve alcohol or banging local Korean women that I could tell my mom.

Without a phone or a laptop, I had no idea what was going on. The monks and other temple stay dorks originally tried to help some of the undead by blessing them or turning the other cheek or whatever. But they got eaten. I was lucky that I didn’t go on the nature walk with everybody. I was in the bathroom with a mean case of the dragon shits. I guess eating just fruits and vegetables for two days did a number on my digestive system.

How’d all this stuff start? I have no idea. Maybe China, maybe North Korea, maybe even the USA released a virus. Maybe it’s the apocalypse. Maybe it’s something about Jesus. I just know I’m really glad there are a lot of gardens and some really big walls to protect me. The monks weren’t kidding when they said these walls weren’t just for decoration, but to keep people (like the past governments and communists, who all apparently really hated Buddhists) out.

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Are there even governments anymore? I don’t really give a shit. I never really cared. I never voted or protested. I just wanted a job. That’s why I’m out here.

Well, the bell has been rung 13 times. I don’t know how many times I’m supposed to ring it, but 13 has a nice ring to it, so I’ve stuck with it. Most of the monks have been eaten. I beat them to re-death with a baseball bat. These nice men and women may have given up their hair, possessions, and lives to Buddha, but they still love American baseball.

The first person to turn was this guy from Croatia or Latvia or something. He was really into meditating. Some old lady bit him on the walk and he ran to tell me all about it. Or at least he tried. Within a few minutes he jumped on his sister and ate her face. Then he ran after me. Or more properly, he stumbled towards me.

Originally, I thought he really missed borscht. Or whatever the hell ex-Soviet people eat. I popped him in the face. I think I broke his nose. Instead of getting mad, he dropped to the floor and started licking up all his old blood. Or maybe it was mine; my knuckles bleed pretty easily, and unfortunately, I’ve had to use them quite a bit. Before I was a grade school English teacher, I was a bouncer. Big effing deal. I knew hundreds of dudes, and chicks, who could kick my ass. And they probably still can, if they’re not eating each other right now.

So I watched this weird Croatian guy eat his own blood, so I left to help his sister. When I walked over, I saw Weirdo run at me again. I pushed him into a changing room and locked the door. I returned to the sister, but she bit at me. I tossed a bunch of relatively heavy Buddhist books on top of her.

I kind of guessed this was either a hoax, or something really really bad. I looked outside, and instead of praying or keeping a "watchful silence," the monks and nuns walked around groaning and moaning and trying to eat the others running around terrified.

Now, I’d seen enough late-night shitty zombie movies, so I grabbed something heavy—a little, gold-looking Buddhist statue—and hit Weirdo’s sister in the elbow. She didn’t really seem to notice or care, she just wanted to bite me. I cracked her in the head a couple of times. This wasn’t a joke on me. So I did what they did in the movies and smashed her spinal cord. She still gurgled and spat, even though she couldn’t move from the neck down. A few more swipes and she was dead.

The zombies are about 30 or 40 deep now. It’s like a bunch of crazy people trying to get an autograph of a Twilighted Vampire Justin Bieber.By then, old Weirdo was getting pretty riled up in the changing room. When I opened the door he lunged really slowly at me. Like an old geezer trying to catch a hummingbird. A couple statue wacks and he was dead. Again.

After all that, all I had to do was wait until the monks and nuns came after me. I figured, without meat proteins, their bones and muscles atrophied, making them slower and thus a lot easier to re-kill.

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An hour or so later, the entire place was mine. Whoop-dee-doo. Owning your own thousand-year-old Buddhist temple is about as exciting as owning all of New Hampshire. Sure I’m safe from zombies and terrorists and stuff, but who wants to sleep here?

Now I’m waiting for a rescue, but I figure the entire Korean military and police know of a lot more important shit to do than rescue one lone warrior Mi-Gook, the Korean word for "American" (it’s not derogatory, I swear… I think). With somebody’s iPhone, I found out a lot of people are dead. It happened really fast. It makes sense; Seoul is one of the most crowded cities in the world.

I can’t get a hold of my family, because the internet was downed a long time ago. So I spend a lot of my time killing zombies. Why don’t the zombie movies just call them zombies? Who cares? They are what they are.

My strategy is to stand up on the gate and throw the bronze Buddha statue down into the crowd. Nine times out of ten, I kill a zombie. Then you know what happens? The others eat him. I usually do this a few hours a day, a couple times a day. It’s good exercise and something to do. I don’t really know how many I’ve gotten rid of, because they all kind of look alike after a while. I don’t seem to be putting much of a dent in the population, but I feel like I’m doing some good.

I see police and soldier zombies, but apparently they ditched their guns really early on in the zombie phase. Even so, I’m not sure I’d know what to do with most of the guns. And from what I’ve seen, they’re pretty small guns.

The zombies are about 30 or 40 deep now, and I’m really happy for the bad ass wall. It’s like a bunch of crazy people trying to get an autograph of a Twilighted Vampire Justin Bieber. I keep killing them, but they keep coming.

The nice thing about living in an abandoned temple is that all the food for the monks and nuns is still here. Granted, they don’t eat that much delicious stuff, or a lot of it, but it’s all mine for the time being. I have some chocolate from somebody else’s stash, and that’s an exciting dessert. I wish I could pop out to 7-11 and buy some beers or soju. Or maybe some master Korean ninja chick with huge cans could cut through some ghouls and take me back to her dojo and we could work on repopulating the Earth.

Until then, I’ve got a lot of books to read. All of them are about Buddha, and a Korean-to-English dictionary. I’ve already read the mystery novel I brought to cruise through during my long-ass train ride. It didn’t get any better on the third or fourth read. I’ll just wait for some survivors to come and either rescue me, or totally fuck me over by opening the gates because a boyfriend or a dog might be lost in a sea of the undead. It beats the same routine over and over again.

But, right now, there are also a lot of effing zombies that won’t re-kill themselves and a shitload of effing rice that isn’t going to cook itself.

So, Namaste. Or whatever.

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