For this text:

Freddy wanted me to do my Flesh-Eating Zombie thing, but after Lorna's declaration, it was beyond me.

What does "Flesh-Eating Zombie thing" mean? It means the work that the narrator is going to do?-----

Upstairs, in my office, lists were waiting – lists of lists – oh, Jesus, the paperwork ahead! I couldn't face it, and ran around the side of the house, down the garden and into the shed.

But I think Freddie wouldn't mean something like this because he is a little child and he can't understand the things his dad is doing.

Or it means he wants his dad (the narrator) to play the game named "plants VS Flesh-Eating Zombie"?...

The context is :

My wife strapped in Freddy, shut the door and turned towards me."I have a 10 o'clock meeting with Patrick Beeman. To discuss what needs to be done." I suppose I nodded. Freddy wanted me to do my Flesh-Eating Zombie thing, but after Lorna's declaration, it was beyond me. She said something else that I heard but didn't really hear, climbed into the car and drove off.

Excerpted from David Mitchell's novel "The Massive Rat"

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    This just means "to imitate a flesh-eating zombie". Perhaps the narrator regularly entertains his kid with this kind of performance. Aug 18, 2013 at 17:40

2 Answers 2


Here, “my thing” is an action that's characteristic of the speaker, something that he is known to do and that other people don't do. So “my Flesh-Eating Zombie thing” is something that the narrator is in the habit of doing and that's somewhat unique to him, and that is related to flesh-eating zombies. Presumably it means the narrator acts as a flesh-eating zombie. This could be in the sense of behaving like a flesh-eating zombie in some manner, or an act like a theatrical act: both meanings are possible, but given the context, it is probably a theatrical act for his child.


Further to Gilles' answer about "my thing" (which is a great explanation of that usage), it's also worth noting that "do one's thing" is an idiom of its own. It usually refers to the person being true to themself in some way, but may or may not be specific in the "thing" it's referring to.

do / find one's own thing, Informal. to pursue a lifestyle that expresses one's self. Also, do / find one's thing.


In this case it might be referring to the narrator "doing his thing" but in a Flesh-Eating Zombie way (i.e. doing his thing but pretending to be a Flesh-Eating Zombie at the same time). On balance I would say that Gilles' interpretation is probably correct in this instance, but "do my thing" is a similar phrase that is worth knowing about as well.

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