“Deck the Malls with Bowels of Holly.” By Scott M. Baker follows the trials of Jack an injured Iraqi war veteran (and Baker’s favorite character)working as a Mall Santa. While working his shift in Santa’s village; with Sammy his dwarf best friend, and Meghan the photographer dressed as an elf with black high heels disaster strikes. An infected reindeer begins to bite mall goers, turning them into Zombies.
This is a great short story. If the set up appeals to you there will not be disappointment. Jack is a well crafted relatable schlub of a hero. After Baker establishes the cast of characters, the action starts quickly and while it is never scary, is creative zombie killing fun. Jack wields an array of makeshift weapons including, but not limited to a metal candy cane in order to save the panicked mall goers. Baker crafts a terrific series of actions set pieces. The greatest strength he exhibits here is that of space. The reader can easily follow Jack’s movements through the zombie infested Santa’s village.
As a fan of zombie smashing in the mood for a Christmas read I cannot imagine doing better. This story is currently available in Christmas is Dead: A Zombie Anthology.