Unlike previous Halloweens (2002, 2003, 2004), I've gone for a laugh rather than a scare…unless you find gay panic scary. Okay, so 'Don't Worry' is supposed to be scary, but I really didn't handle the brain-being-taken-over thing very well.
New York Times bestselling author T. L. Mancour gave a lot of help with this year's offering. If it, heh, sucks it's my fault and not his. Terry's posting some killer Firefly/Serenity fanfic at fireflyfans.net. Please read it.
Thanks, Screwthe! You're all kinds of shiny.
And You Can Quote Me
© 2005 Ray Adam Latiolais
“Thrall?”, I asked.
“That's the plan.”, replied the fell undead creature with a used car salesman's smile, “Can't be a top without a bottom.”
He didn't look like Chris Sarandon, but he had the same kind of bland handsomeness and plastic bonhomie. And a suit that had never been anywhere near a men's warehouse.
“Umm, yeah. No. I'm not going to be some bloodsucking freak's slave for eternity. Eternity?”
“It will feel like it,” he allowed, “but I'll destroy you eventually. A couple of centuries, let's say. A long and unpleasant life.”
“'All would live long, but none would be old.'”, I muttered automatically.
This gave him significant pause.
“Franklin.”, he supplied. “He should have been hung. Separately.”
I waved a crucifix in his direction. A gift from my mother. She's concerned about my amoral soul. It's silver and very Catholic. A lot of bloody thorns and whatnot. She won it playing bingo. The vampire was unimpressed.
“It doesn't work if you don't believe.”, he said while admiring his manicure.
So the plastic glow-in-the-dark Jesus probably wouldn't help either.
“I think I've read a story,” I said, somewhat desperately, “or maybe it was a 'Twilight Zone' episode… a greedy victim offered to pay off a vampire-“
“I think it was a story. Money won't work either. You're a materialist, but you're not greedy. Money is a means, not an end. Offering to pay me to go away won't make me burst in to flames.”
“And you would know this about me because…?”
“Not just yet. Your wife told me all about you. She's already my thrall. She came voluntarily. The promise of keeping her looks and figure-“
“Which I've paid for.”
“-for a few centuries appealed to her.”
“Yeah. That sounds like her. How did you meet her?”
“I'm with the firm representing her in your divorce.”
“Well…nah, it's too easy. Bang her yet?”
“Yes. She's not as good as she thinks she is, but with a little training she'll be suitable. By the way…?”
“I like boys too.”
Not That There's Anything Wrong With That ™, but I just find other men…icky. Especially if they're undead.
“Well, hell. Ain't that just the icing on the cake.”
“I'm going to enjoy turning you. In more ways than one.”
“You're about as funny as a country and western song. That's going to be worse than the prison sex.”
That hit a nerve.
He hissed and moved snake-fast in my direction. Being a veteran smart ass, I was already moving.
The remnants of my grandfather's coin collection were in the next room. I got through the door and slammed it shut. He hit it hard enough to shake the jambs. Then he hit it again reducing it to splinters. Between his assaults I managed to grab the 1963 Franklin half-dollar coin. I whipped around and pointed it his direction. He came to cartoonish, windmilling, tiptoe halt. He hissed again and covered his straight-to-DVD face.
If it doesn't work when you don't believe then it does work when you do. I hoped.
On the obverse of the Franklin half-dollar is my favorite founder, Benjamin Franklin. Franklin believed in hard work, and so do I. He was a scientist, a philosopher, and, unlike too many other Founders, he owned no slaves. I don't care for a lot of pre-20th Century thinkers, but Franklin's work is worth adding to my intellectual toolkit.
On the reverse is the Liberty Bell. As much as I dislike the current administration…and the previous administration too…the one before..hell, as much as I dislike the Guv'ment, I believe in the universal liberty that we like to pretend the Founders gave us, but is our natural state.
As an added bonus Franklin half-dollars were all minted prior to 1965 so they're 90% silver. Silver is inimical to supernatural evil. I hoped.
“'Eat to live, and not live to eat.'”
That earned another hiss and he seemed to shrink a little.
“'Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.'”
He was changing rapidly.
“'Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy-“
“Please!”, he gasped, “No more.”
I stopped. Not out of mercy, mind, but I was running out of Franklin quotes and didn't want to lapse into Shakespeare.
The vampire didn't look remotely human any more. More like an evolved mole rat or something. The suit still looked good though. I started thinking of the creature as an “it”.
“How is it you entered my home without an invitation? I thought You People had to be invited to enter a home.”
“Not just yet. Your wife gave me permission.”
I thought for a moment.
“What time is it?”
“What care I for time, mortal?!”
“What's with the watch then?”
“Oh. It goes nicely with the suit. It's 11:53. PM. 5:53 GMT. Do you need to know the phase of the moon or the ambient temperature? It's got a dial for…”
“'Haste makes waste.'”
“Supernaturally speaking, when does the day begin? Midnight or dawn?”
The much reduced figure looked up at me from its crouch on the floor.
“Midnight. Why? Dawn and the sun are still hours away if that's what your thinking.”
“'Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.'”
It writhed in agony.
“Okay, that was just mean!”, it spat through clenched fangs.
“Yes, it was. Thanks. My divorce was finalized today. The effective date is tomorrow. What happens when the person who gave you let to enter a dwelling no longer, um, dwells there in any legal sense?”
It thought for a minute.
“I don't know. It's never come up.”
“Great! I love empirical survey. Let's find out, shall we?”
Most of the furniture had been sold to pay legal expenses. Probably paid for that damned suit. I pulled up the rickety chair left over from my college days and sat.
It looked like it wanted to start trouble. The vampire, not the chair.
“'Neither a borrower nor a lender be.'”
“That's Shakespeare, not…your hero.”, it said as it began to rise.
“This is a silver coin, y'know.”
It sank back to the floor.
Oh well…it had been worth a shot.
I kicked the chair over and threw the coin at the creature. It screamed and smoked when the coin hit it. I grabbed a leg of the old chair, stepped on the far one, and ripped it from the seat. It split cooperatively as I pulled leaving one end nice and pointy. Firmly gripping the other end I kicked the creature in its throat. Weakened by the silver coin, it landed flat on its back . It screamed silently and arched its body when the stake plunged into its chest. There was a flash and I saw spots.
When my vision returned there was a man shaped pile of dust in a nice suit on the floor. I recovered Ben, a little worse for wear. Then I got a dustpan from the kitchen and disposed of my ex-wife's boy…fiend. Puns yet.
The suit wasn't my size but the watch is really nice.