Episode 380: Don’t Worry About Little Ol’ Me

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Zombie Cliche Lookout: An Appeal

Whenever characters are captured and in the clutches on an antagonists – not necessarily a bad guy – they’ll generally try to appeal to the antagonist in some way, often starting by clearing up any misunderstandings. After all, you don’t want the unstable looking guy pointing two guns at you to be under the wrong impression about your motives, do you?

Once the air is cleared – or an attempt is at least made – it’s time to start appealing to their good side. It’s time to bring them into the fold. They can’t kill you, because you’re one of them. You want them in your group, and you want to be in theirs. Does it work? Sometimes. Not always.

About this Episode:

So in our last installment, Murphy mentioned that his pistol was almost empty, which I thought sounded vaguely threatening. In my mind I pictured the line as a setup, perhaps like something he would say just before attacking Lou

Oddly enough, this is not at all what I intended when I wrote in initially, and it wasn’t something that really occurred to me until a couple days after I edited the episode together. I thought it was a sort of interesting coincidence, and thought it was worth playing up nevertheless, hence Lou’s response in this episode.

Discussion Question: Begging for Your Life?

Let’s say you’re in Murphy or Brent’s shoes. You’re unarmed, and this dude is pointing a couple guns at you, possibly because he’s crazy. You, naturally, want to live. Talk him out of killing you and making a lampshade out of your skin (wow, that got kind of dark there, didn’t it?).

33 thoughts on “Episode 380: Don’t Worry About Little Ol’ Me”

  1. That smile on Lou’s face means there is probably going to be some shots and a couple more corpses around. I can’t trust a guy with a smile like that! 😀

    • I’m glad someone noticed the look on his face. I think it’s super creepy too.

      • Lou’s smile reminds me of my small MOC. Here’s the link http://www.flickr.com/photos/58521764@N04/9440289459/

        • I remember seeing this one on Flickr.

  2. What can Murphy and the rest offer this guy, to bring him into their group? That is, what’s in it for him? From a position of negotiation they’re pretty weak. He’s got the fortification. He’s got the shotgun pointed at them. What’s to stop him from taking their kit, tying them both up, and leaving them for the ever-loving zombies? If I were that guy, and knowing that these two basically invaded my home, I would likely strip them of anything useful and send them on their merry way. Can you ever trust someone that breaks into your house?

    This is going to get really interesting in a hurry. What can Murphy say that will change his mind?

    • Yes indeed, Bo. Murphy is certainly negotiating from a point of weakness. The only really strong thing he could offer is companionship, but as you mentioned, that be a hard sell in light of how he came to Lou.

    • Am I missing something, was there a locked and or barricaded door involved here. Did Murphy break in?

      • It’s all about perception. In Lou’s mind, Murphy’s there to steal. He entered the store without knocking. Yes, he called out, but he didn’t have permission to enter. To you and I, who sympathize with Murphy, trust him. Lou has a completely different point of view.

    • Just reviewed the past several frames and I see no evidence of Murphy breaking in. This guy runs a store and it appears that his door was unlocked. He must know that people (both good and bad intentioned) will be coming to his store in an effort to get supplies. To me the fact that he left his door unlocked means one of two things. He has set up a deliberate ambush to rob people of their possessions once they come into his store and he gets the drop on them. OR hes open to the idea of encountering survivors in order to facilitate trade or some other interaction and hes making sure he has the upper hand before he ascertains their intent.

      • Very, very interesting interpretation here, Damage. I like where you’re going with this.

    • If his intent was just to kill them why waste time and effort talking to them and why expose himself to possible attack. In the great words of Captain Barbossa “People are easy to search after they’re dead”

      • That’s a great line right there.

        There are potentially lots of reasons for him to do this. Perhaps you’re right in that he’s looking for others, and is open to them if he can believe them. Perhaps he’s psychotic, and this is all a game? Maybe he has other issues, and believe the door was locked when it wasn’t?

      • In all fairness, however, now that I think about it, I would probably want to interrogate the first person who walked in to determine whether or not they were alone and maybe use them to draw out and disarm the rest of their party.

        • Indeed; trust everyone, but brand your cattle.

        • LOL Im going to remember that one.

          Sorry about the off meter responses, whe had one of those cross-texting things going on where I was adding more comments while you were busy responding to my previous one.

          This store owner character strikes a weird kind of chord for me.

          About three miles down the road from my families hunting property there was a ramshackle two story building with a party store on the first floor and an apartment on the second. If you have ever been to rural Michigan then you can probably imagine the kind of place Im talking about. The store was run by a guy in his early forties who also lived upstairs. If I remember correctly his parents owned the place but had retired down south and he was running the show. Real paranoid type, lots of military surplus cammo and black-helicopter conspiracies along with the girly beer posters and biker magazines. Rea Michigan Militia wanna be. He was only there for a few years after we bought the place, building is empty now but still standing somehow.

        • Sounds a lot like where I grew up. Backwoods Michigan. Lower peninsula though.

  3. Different types of assailants require different responses, less we inadvertently trigger escalation.

    First step: catch your breath. You’re in fight/flight/freeze/faint mode. You’re amygdala and the rest of your Limbic system has been hijacked by the threat. As wonderful and necessary adrenalin is, it makes you susceptible to rash, lethal decisions. Take that conscious breath takes only a second or two, but oxygenating blood and brain will give you a chance to actually start thinking again.


    “Panic Kills”

    Memorize these and repeat them everyday until they become as natural as, well, breathing. Preparing for hazards. And crisis is like, say, preparing for a Tough Mudder competition. You prepare extensively before hand, so the day of the race you can trust yourself to have the resources you need to get through.

    Assessing Assailants: for most you’ll have to rely on intuition, but if buy that extra second on time to calm down the brain, you can listen to that intuition. Intuition is part of our survival mechanism. Observe, listen think, decide.

    Assailant Typology:

    Panicked/anxious. trigger-sensitive, unpredictable, accident prone, as much afraid as you as you are of him/her. Respond calmly, slowly, use black ‘n white simple language.

    Sociopathic/psychopathic (cold, blinkless eyes). Objectifies pray. You are an animal, insect or an object to be used, abused, misused, and discarded when you no longer serve the assailant’s needs. Don’t be fooled by high functioning language. You’re not engaging in dialogue, but a one way street monologue. Here talking buys you Thinking Time. Beware of coming across as condescending, over fearful, or trying to appeal to their “humanity.” Logic and what the perp stands to benefit by keeping you alive is a good way to go. No, they don’t care that you are a daddy of 3 kids and gramma is in the hospital.

    Narcissist. Self-aggrandizing, self-important, often high functioning, but at the core an insecure kid needing to be told (s)he’s important, greater than. This one, ever so carefully can be appealed to at the ego level. They “need” to be told that they are clever, strong, leadership material. Berating others peals to them

    Plenty other types, but you get the idea . .

    • Oh man, great stuff here Luis!

  4. Murphy’s negotiations really need to include the critical question: “Have you been bitten or scratched by one of those things?” Otherwise, there would be no point at all in negotiating with anyone who’s about to become a zombie. I’m hoping Dave will address this sooner rather than later, because despite the fact that the guy has the upper hand right now, Murphy would need to know such critical information before asking him into their group, and this may well change the perspective of the guy currently holding the gun, too! 😀

    • *Asking should be accepting, sorry. 😀

      • Very good points, BrickVoid.

  5. I think you wont have to worry about the lampshade issue ….the electricity is out. Although it may smell like cooking pork rinds if it were to shade a candle?

    • I’m missing something here.

  6. It appears to me, that in most zombie stories, ( the last of us, rot n ruin, your comic, etc.) humans seem to be the real threat to the main characters. zombies seem like a minor problematic obstacle in these types of zombie fiction. Anyone else agree?

    • I agree, human animal instinct is more dangerous than the Z. They reminds me of world war z quislings.

      • That was definitely an interesting aspect of WWZ.

    • That’s a very prominent theme. I go back and forth on it. I like both human and zombie enemies, myself. Can’t make things too easy for the survivors, right?

  7. Hmm about ten past the hour these comics normally post here – just a quick heads-up in case Dave needs to hit something with a wrench! 😀

    • Sorry, BrickVoid. I took a couple days off. I announced it last Monday, but probably should he done a reminder. We’ll be back on schedule on Wednesday.

  8. Dave, I’ve got a great idea for a Discussion Question:
    ”What are we doing for recreation in the ZA?”
    Kind of like in Zombieland, I have a few thoughts about it after watching the movie recently.

    • Not a bad idea.

  9. I see a simple reason for Lou to let them in and talk to them before killing them, if that’s his intention. Intelligence.

    He may not have left the store for days and needs to know what is going on out there.

    On the other hand maybe he’s looking for like-minded people and he’s just being cautious.

    • Excellent point, Mike.