So We Found Thousands of Zombies Trapped in a Pit

What do we do?

AMC / Paul Spella / The Atlantic

After years on the run, two Atlantic journalists try out the Alexandria Safe Zone solar-powered intranet …

Gould: Hey man, you getting this?

Goldberg: Yeah.

Gould: Wow—technology. Click click click.

Goldberg: I know, right?

Gould: Amazing. Anyway, I know things have been pretty chill since we got here—you know, for the most part; some of these people seem kinda high-drama; I can’t really account for it. But whatever. I was just thinking we should maybe do something about that sprawling pit overrun with ravenous zombies we discovered today. What do you think?

Goldberg: Do you remember, before the Zombie Apocalypse, the Iraq War? Long time ago. Well, the Iraq War happened because people had a problem and thought they should do something about it. What is this urge you always have to do something? What do you want to do? March them out of the pit? I say, when you find a pit full of zombies, the first thing you think about should be the consequences of action, not inaction.

Gould: I don’t know, man, I’d argue the Iraq war didn’t happen because people had a problem and thought they should do something about it; it happened because people thought they had a problem they didn’t have. WMDs are scary.

Here’s what we know now:

There’s a huge pit very close to us, and there are thousands of zombies in it. Their hideous zombie rasping is attracting more and more of them into into the pit. Some are getting out. Most are being kept in by an accidental set of barriers, including a semi-trailer truck perched tenuously on a ledge that could give way at any time. And when it does, these things are coming east, straight at us. That’s a problem.

You’re right, of course—none of this is to say any old action would be better than inaction. I mean, march them out of the pit? Ha! Good one. That would be so stupid. But seriously, what do you think should we do?

Goldberg: I figure we should wait them out. No? Their flesh is decomposing. They can only stay animated for so long. It’s a positive, not a negative, that more and more zombies are being drawn into the pit. Let them all rot together. I’m thinking a couple of days of good hard rain will speed the process.

On the other hand, we could, disquieting though this idea may be, spray the pit with gasoline and then set them all on fire. Finding the gasoline and the means to spray it across a sea of zombies is going to be difficult, though. Perhaps we could fill the pit with dirt and rock. I recognize it’s enormous, but burying them would be appropriate, because they are, technically speaking, dead.

One thing we definitely shouldn’t do is march them out of the pit. That would be idiotic.

Gould: Okay, the main issue I see with waiting them out is that some of the barriers keeping them in may be weakening faster than the skin is rotting off their bones. It’s hard to feel good about that truck, you know?

We could try to torch them with gasoline—I kind of like that—but then, we really should preserve as much gas as we can. And it would take a lot. Maybe we could spray them with some other flammable liquid we don’t need so much, like acetone—or canola or something. But, ugh, you know? The logistics of immolation feel tough.

Also, if we try to bury them, it might just help them crawl out and kill us?

You’re onto something, though: The pit is a weapon. What if we reinforced the barriers where they’re weak—built up an obstruction behind the truck, etc.—and then just … maintained the pit population from there, killing only as many zombies as we need to to keep it from overflowing? It’d be work, but basically it would give us a massive, sustainable zombie trap. If we do this right … really, it could be a post-apocalyptic game changer.

That’s it. Yeah? It’s almost perfect—as long as, you know, we can keep the zombies in the pit.

Goldberg: The more you talk about it, the more I’m thinking we should do nothing. Maybe it was the moment you brought up the Canola Option. I mean, canola? Where are we going to get 3,000 gallons of canola? We already stripped the Costco bare. I’d rather save whatever cooking oil we have left for eating.

I’m thinking we should just build really high walls around Alexandria. That could do it. All of these go-on-offense schemes sound pretty dubious. I took another look at the quarry. It’s too big for us to handle. I might be game for building up the walls around it a bit, but I don’t think we could do that without getting eaten. I mean, they’ll be all over us if we try to shore up that truck.

Defense. We need to play defense. The costs of action are too high.

Gould: Look, dude, burning them was your idea. I was just trying to build on that in a constructive and economical fashion. What I’m saying is …

Hold on, I hear something.