Medical Microfiction: Necrophagous

The Humans Bite Back

Life sucked for the survivors of the zombie apocalypse. First they ran out of fresh vegetables, then the non-perishables dwindled. When they got down to Ramen noodles and Twinkies, they turned to cannibalism, because nobody wants to eat that crap.

In retrospect, someone inevitably had to try it. But when the first survivor fried up a zombie steak, everyone was astounded by how darn good it tasted. We’re talking bacon-wrapped shrimp levels of tastiness!

That solved the zombie problem but introduced a new one: once you’ve eaten something that delicious, how do you ever go back to bland old bacon?

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English: Uncooked pork belly bacon strips disp...
Bacon: the King of Foods, at least until you try zombie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Necrophagous is a word that means feeding on corpses or dead matter. Generally in nature, this refers to scavengers such as vultures or hyenas. They’re nature’s recyclers, helpfully cleaning up dead creatures that would otherwise just spread disease.

This story’s about another kind of recycling. Jason calls this concept “reverse zombies:” the humans eat the zombies. It’s fun that the humans have become a different kind of manic, flesh-eating beast by the end of the story. I like this idea, although thinking about the mechanics of it all is giving me a headache. In a zombie situation, I’d personally be wary of trying zombie meat not just because of the cannibalism aspect, but because of fear of getting the virus myself.

Depending on how the zombie virus behaved, it’s theoretically possible that it might pass through your digestive tract harmlessly. Zombie bites suggest transmission through infected saliva; perhaps the rest of that sucker is fine dining! I know there are some diseases that operate this way, but I’m drawing a blank this morning. Can you think of an example of something harmless to the digestive tract that would be harmful if exposed to the bloodstream? (Edit: EvolGeneius says the substance we’re looking for is venom! Check the comments for the fantastic explanation). I think the HIV virus might fit the bill, but don’t quote me on that.

In case of a zombie apocalypse, what’s your plan for keeping the food supply up? Are you willing to dip into the dreaded Twinkies and Ramen?

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2 thoughts on “Medical Microfiction: Necrophagous

  1. Venom! Venom is a specific kind of toxin that is characteristically administered through a wound to do its nasty work, but since it’s usually a protein, it gets broken down by the acid and enzymes in the stomach and doesn’t do harm if eaten. Cooking also destroys the venom. However, eater beware! If the venom is not cooked thoroughly and there is a wound in the upper digestive tract (e.g. ulcer), the venom can still enter the body and mess things up!

    1. Okay, that is awesome!! I knew something like this existed. I’ve added a note to the original post mentioning it for everyone’s benefit. Because we need to pool this information, in case of an actual apocalypse.

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