I bought a Dracula painting at the Thrift store yesterday. The clerk looked at me with contemptuous eyes as she scanned the price ticket. I thought I heard her whisper “That gothic child just wasted his money” as I walked towards the door.
His blood reaches out to me across the polished flagstones, pooling in luxuriance half a centimetre from the toes of my new Belle Vivier pumps, as if about to kiss them. A perfect match for their patent sheen, the colour of a good Burgundy too, what a waste.
“Excuse me–” a man in a dark suit touches my arm and I step back.
“Do you know this person?” asks the suit. There is a wire leading to his ear. A woman behind him screams, dropping her chic carrier bag.
The two rather dishevelled men walked up the street. They weren’t very big, they weren’t very handsome. They certainly weren’t very clever. Normally fate would decide that due to these short-comings they would have been given very interesting characters or gracious manners. But no! Not these two, they were both arseholes.
The local bus huffs and heaves its way into Way Stop, West Virginia. It halts with a shudder and a sigh in the mid-morning sun.
I collect my duffle bag and straighten my fatigue uniform jacket. On Main Street, there’s an honest to goodness general store, a diner, Bob’s Gas Station, a few empty store fronts and two small white churches almost directly across the street from each other. The June morning is moving toward hot. I move toward the diner for coffee and directions.
At nine years of age I met Monsignor Karavich up close when he invited me onto the altar during benediction alongside Michael Dolanski, the heroic high school halfback. Until then, the priest had been an other-worldly figure, an unreal actor on stage, looming above and orating as I knelt silently at a pew, trapped in place by my mother’s piety.
“Baaah! I see you have entered into my lay-aargh…”
“Why do you always say it like that?”
“It’s lair.” Piotr said.
“Aaah…Okay. But I don’t see why the reviews are bad. Isn’t my presence awfully scaaary?”
“Why do you wish to be scary? We’re just vampires running a hotel.”
“Aah! But all vampijours aare scary.” Vlad said.