Print Edition: November 28, 2012
EIC’s journal. Date: February 10, 2013. Location: The Cascade offices. Abbotsford.
I can’t believe it’s come down to this. When we saw his first tweets, we doubted.:
@CactoidSean: Superflu outbreak at SFU #barfipelago2? #zombies?
@CactoidSean: Gettin’ hungry for brains #justkidding
@CactoidSean: But seriously, anybody got any brains I can grill up?
We hoped against hope. But
@CactoidSean was on the scene every step of the way. Every horrific step.
It was from ex-opinion editor Sean Evans that we first heard about the roving bands of walkers stalking Burnaby mountain. He was only there on that fateful day, December 21, 2012, because of a registration error. But at the first whiff of trouble, his journalistic instinct kicked into overdrive. Like a young Anderson Cooper—in that trauma turned his hair suddenly and prematurely silver—Evans courageously sent daily dispatches along with the ragtag team of The Peak editors who had holed themselves up in the library. We tried to convince him to leave. We told him that time was running out. We even ponied up for a helivac, but he still refused to leave.
The last discernable text I received from his number: “I can’t. The people have to know . . .”
Then came a jumble of characters, a bizarre code more confusing than a message from a teenager hopped up on Coca Cola and Jelly Bellys: “#yolo”.
That’s when we knew: the Sean Evans was no more. A couple hours later, another one of our contacts broke the news. Sean had gone for a walk and never came back.
In the next few weeks, dispatch after dispatch spoke of a terrible new scourge wreaking havoc across the GVRD. They called him, simply, Boxhead. This was no ordinary slow ambler: Boxhead formed a gang, he used logic and strategy to snare his prey. And he was making his way east.
We first spotted one of his scouts snooping around AfterMath. Ironically, the formerly beleaguered campus pub was the only restaurant to survive the end of the Mayan calendar. Brad tipped us off. He’s not a man that tolerates walkers of any sort.
“Caught one of Boxhead’s guys,” he told lieutenant Joe Johnson. “You can tell because of the box . . . on his head.”
Lt. Johnson told me that Brad showed him the carcass: “It was wearing plaid and a bow tie.”
I suddenly realized exactly who we were dealing with. Joe itched at his eye patch. He didn’t need to say any more. I knew we were in trouble.
The few dozen survivors rallied at U-House for an emergency meeting. It was chaos. It put the infamous SUS EGM of November 28 to shame. People were shouting frenzied ideas, others were hurling curses and insults, still others were predicting our certain doom when Boxhead’s hordes of checkered-shirt hipsters descended on campus. After hours of weary debate, newly-deputized Sheriff Amy Van Veen had a radical suggestion: a pre-emptive strike.
Twelve hours later, Cpt. Bayrock returned. She was minus two lost squad mates, but all-important package in tow. She handed it to me and I made sure we had what we were looking for.
There it was: a weather-beaten iPhone 4S.
We set a trap. Boxhead’s iPhone was hidden in plain sight in the spot he would first think to look: The Cascade offices. We decided it was safest to isolate him from the rest. Boxhead would be hopeless without his smart phone. We drew lots: Sheriff Van Veen, Cpt. Bayrock and I were chosen. The waiting game began.
Around 3 a.m., we heard a rustling near the newsdesk. Papers were being strewn this way and that. Boxhead picked up a chair and hurled it into the wall.
Amy shot the lights on to phase him for just a second. It was all we needed. I gripped the late Paul Esau’s old cricket bat with both hands and wound up.