Sarah had a bad night. I was close by, but she did maintain a bit of independence. It happened when she was giving a boost to a poor girl nursing a low fat latte at a coffee bar. You can picture it. The place is crowded. They share a table. They talk. Sarah naturally knew how hard the girl's life was. She's been following her for a while. So she distracts her. I don't know. Maybe she didn't have to distract her. Maybe the girl just got up to go pee or something. That's when she took her chance and dribbled the blood into the 'skinny' latte. The girl comes back, downs the now fortified drink and the rest will eventually be history. No, really, it will. The Pow Wow Woman says she's destined to be the fourth or fifth female president of The United States of America. Only she says by then it'll be The United States and Provinces of North America. Canada will still be Canada. Mexico will still be Mexico. But we'll all be tied together in a kind of European Union fashion. Cuba will be part of it too, so will a little slice of the moon. At least I will be able to speak Spanish on a regular basis again..... Listen to my voice. Listen to the way I sound. At times I am aware of it and at other times I am not. I lose myself in this weirdly exotic culture. I forget my origin. Yes, I speak their 'English'. But I attempt to retain the poetic cadences of Old Granada. The courtly, early Spanish. The artistically flowing Arabic. The fundamentally spiritual Hebrew. I try to distract myself from the difficulty at hand. It must have been hard for her. When Sarah left the coffee bar she encountered a much beloved cousin. Now this comely young woman had always resided in Baltimore. They had not seen each other for years. But there was a time when they were children. There was a time when things were different. Their mothers were sisters, close sisters. And they would all spend summers together in a modest, little tourist colony in the Poconos, trading secrets, exploring the nooks and crannies of the surrounding, lake-front town, floating in the pine scented water. You can imagine. But that was then. Now the cousin recognized her. She looked. She stopped. She did not utter a word. But she knew, or she was almost completely certain that she did. Sarah almost broke down. She almost spoke. Now I have heard that certain vampires can do that. They manage to preserve their human relationships. But I don't know. I had cousins too. Sometimes after almost one thousand years, I still feel only eighteen years old.....Bob is sure that Annie is focusing on him, like a shark spiraling inward. He never goes out. Not even in a group. Not even with us. Atlantic City? Forget Atlantic City. The only time he was there was when we dropped off the 'familiars.' Bob was a good sport about that. He had four or five nights worth of comps, so he let them use it. After that, I paid. They should be safe down there. Safe and quite comfortable too. I managed to get them reservations at Chef Vola and everything, But Bob, I don't know. He has visions. He has visions of a victim, an exceedingly distasteful person. It is a man, a man who made millions in the African 'blood diamond' trade. He was truly looking forward to the act. To the feeding. To the culling. All of it. But now? I just pray he changes his mind. No one skips their monthly call. It is tied to the phases of the moon. It is a fundamental element of creation. God made things that way. It is natural. It is basic. It is us. I have never known a vampire to put down this burden. I have never known a vampire to put it down and still go on. And Sarah? What did she do? She stared straight ahead and silently walked on.