Things I’d Want to Have in a Zombie Apocalypse: Digging In

A shovel.

Yep. Average, run of the mill, decent quality shovel. Hardwood haft, good steel blade. Something I can heft and swing around all day.

‘Cause face it, in the middle of a zpoc, we may have to.

Sure, I’d love to think of myself as a fierce, hardened zombie slayer, katana in one hand and sniping undead brains with a .44 Magnum in the other. But I have to be realistic: no way.

Even if I could use those classic monster-killing weapons, there are problems. First – where do you find them? If you’re going to acquire them ahead of a zpoc, they’re not cheap. (In a lot of places, they’re not even legal.)

Second – guns take ammo, and other cleaning tools. Swords break. What happens when you lose both your weapons in the middle of the same zombie swarm? Besides horrible agonizing death, because things can always get worse.

Third, guns make noise. Odds are that’ll draw more of the undead. And katanas… well, you have to clean them. Pray you don’t cut yourself in the process.

A shovel, though – odds are, we all have one. Or can find one. It’s a blunt weapon, so hopefully you’ll spray less infectious gore while you’re pounding the zed into next week. And most of us have a good idea how to sling one around.  When it comes to a survival situation, something half-decent that you know how to use beats the perfect weapon you don’t, hands down.

Beyond that, you can’t use a gun or a sword to dig in fence-posts, dig up a garden, or dig down to hopefully clean water.

Not to mention, boyfriends. Who are all going to drag out the hoary “do you want to die a virgin?” (Admit it, guys, you will. We know it.) The Shovel Speech is traditional.

So. It’s oh-dark-hundred. The shambling hordes are moaning down your street.  Do you know where your shovel is?


7 thoughts on “Things I’d Want to Have in a Zombie Apocalypse: Digging In

  1. Things like this make me smile – but you’re right! Forget guns and high-tech gadgets, if the zpocalypse does hit the stuff you’ll /really/ want are the basic tools and supplies to keep everything else running. Shovels included. One of those collapsible military-issue entrenching tool things that can double as an axe in a pinch, too, would be awesome, methinks.

    Then again, I suppose it says something about me that I’ve been entertaining myself on long quiet shifts on trying to figure out how to turn a river traffic ferry into a floating safehouse, so..


    1. Entrenching tool would definitely be a better anti-zed weapon if you have one; the advantage of a shovel is, I know where to find it, even in the dark!

      Huh. How viable a floating safehouse would be would depend a lot on what kind of zombie we ended up with. If it were a case of “rabid still-living human,” might be a good way to go, if they don’t have enough sense to swim. If it’s a case of dripping undead bodies rising from the deep, you’re definitely going to need a deck watch for the inevitable slimy hand coming over the railings.

      BTW, if you like practical details on what we’d do and humor, you might want to check out the book “The Art of Eating Through the Zombie Apocalypse”, by Lauren Wilson. Has a bunch of neat tips, plus sea gardening under docks as one bit!


      1. I’ll definitely keep that in mind! Speaking of books, I ordered in an actual dead tree copy of ‘A Net of Dawn and Bones’ and was pleasantly surprised to get it a week or so early. Kept me spellbound for one of said quiet shifts!

        Also, the kind of ferry I’m talking about is one of these – . Carrying capacity is 60 tons, and the deck is big enough that you can fit an eighteen-wheeler on it with some space to spare. I figure it’d actually make a reasonably-sized shelter for a smallish group with a couple of modifications – some freight containers, tarp shelters or if you’re really lucky, a yoinked RV or two..


    1. The semi-traditional family speech where the girl’s father (or other guardians, sometimes) sits the hopeful guy down and reminds him that if he ever breaks their dear daughter’s heart, the father has a shovel and no one will find the body. *G*


  2. As someone that does own a katana (I have awesome friends), I have to say that cleaning is not necessarily the hard or dangerous part, but keeping the blade at battle-ready sharpness would be a lot of both. A katana requires a series of whetstones of differing qualities and a damn near perfect eye for blade geometry, or you’re going to screw up your blade and yourself in the process. It is absolutely a job for a professional.
    Which really just reinforces your point on shovels, since they are useful in so many other ways. The army issue entrenchment tool collapses to a very nice compact size, but that also means it doesn’t have much reach. I’m imagining now groups of zpoc survivors around the campfire. “What’s your preferred shovel length?”


  3. Those do sound like awesome friends! 🙂

    I’ve done some reading up on katanas for story-writing; I’m glad to know the research I did matches up with someone who’s actually dealt with the persnickety blades. Professional sword-sharpening is definitely a thing.

    *G* Oh man, I can see the arguments now; those who favor the entrenchment tool for close quarters, and the long-handled types who think “if you’re in close quarters with a zed, _you’re doing it wrong._”

    And then the long-suffering camp leader coshes them both with a blackjack before the young idiots can go running off to prove who’s best the hard way. 😉


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