Des Moines, IA

Local zombie Alex Chen, or what remains of Alex Chen, has broken ground in undead real estate. The savvy corpse has decided to sublet his coffin during the month of September, considering he will spend most of the month outdoors, roaming the countryside in search of brains and human flesh.

Landlord and mortician Ben Broxton notes that Chen’s coffin is under a 12-month lease, yet he will allow a subletter granted no problems arise.

“As long as the rent is in at the end of the month, I could care less who occupies the coffin,” Broxton adds. “Sublet or not, if the condition is not like new, Chen will not receive his security deposit back.”

Broxton’s apathy was not shared with everyone in Des Moines’ Wunderland Cemetery. Chen’s recent activity has actually caused some neighbors to encourage him to take some time away.

“Alex’ [Chen] s new addiction to eating brains has really distracted him,” neighbor Julia Ebner reports. “It makes perfect sense to me that he can profit from his living situation. Coffin rental isn’t cheap, and if you are not taking advantage of it, you better get some money back.”

“Chen has reportedly been a good tenant to deal with,” Broxton adds. “His rent is in on time, we never get noise complaints, and with the exception of his victims’ remains scattered throughout the cemetery, I couldn’t be happier…He even planted flowers on his own tombstone.”

Chen’s decision to sublet was sparked by the overall failing economy. Des Moines’ property value has been a consideration for the living and the dead, due to high taxes and property costs. “My (un)living conditions are compact,” Chen admits. “This coffin has about the same space as a studio in Manhattan,” he gibes. “And for $300 a month, it’s quite a steal.”

Chen’s move out featured him dramatically punching his fist through the earth in front of his tombstone during a rainstorm, then he emerged, piece by piece, and headed to Ace Hardware to get a set of keys copied.

“I still am looking for the ideal subletter,” Chen explains. “I have posted notices in local coffee shops, YMCA’s, and even Craigslist. Though with Craigslist, you never know who you are going to get. Probably an axe-murderer,” the zombie surmised.

“If I can’t find anyone, maybe I can leave a week later, and maybe get it pro-rated.”

Phil Biedron