Thursday, September 20, 2012


They all sat around the big granite island in the kitchen. All five of them, Tomas, Sarah, Conrad, Annie and Baylah. The new one, Larry stayed in the living room. Not the family room. That would be too close. This was a little, formal space at the front of the house. Didn't even have a TV, just some 'good' coffee table books and a small, silver music box that played 'Come On, Baby. Let's Do The Twist.

He knew they were talking about him. Vampires can hear everything. But they pretended and he pretended. Right now, he feigned interest in a big, colorful tome about Mexico before the Spaniards. Edith brought him a hot toddy.He liked that. 

Back in the kitchen, Baylah said - Sarah, what made you do this? You think we need him?.... Tomas just studied his reflection in the sunburst mirror over the buffet. You know how vain that vampirino is. He mumbled a few words in Spanish, but I couldn't tell you what they were. Annie giggled. She always giggles. Edith said - Stop kickin' the side a the cabinet. (the island rested on these cabinets.) You're gonna get it all scuffed up...... But that only made her kick harder, til Sarah said - Please, no, don't....... Annie sort a liked Sarah, a little bit, so she stopped, laid her head down on her folded arms and listened.

Sarah said - I know him. We talked. He was sick. He was gonna die. He's like twenty four years old, for God's sake. He's younger that I was. And then I went to that Selichot service with him (nodded toward Tomas) the other night. I felt I HAD to d o it. Okay? I had to. 

It's all right - whispered Conrad. He can share with me. I have two closets. There's plenty of room...... Tomas just smiled. Edith said - Yeah, no shit? Where else we gonna keep him? Tell him, Tomas. Tell him. Tell him....

Tomas cleared his throat and said - The contractors will be here in a day or so. We'll bunk in the Pines. Edith wants to visit her people anyway, so that's what we're going to do. The big closet will be his cabinet. He'll sleep in there. Is that all right with you, Conrad?

Yeah. Sure. Of course it is  - the second newest, addicted to pleated Dockers vampire said. But they all knew he was thinking about his comics. Bought a whole, ready-made collection from a guy on Pine Street. Had every Jug- Head and Archie from nineteen fifty eight to nineteen seventy four and in mint condition too. Go know what a guy's gonna do when he comes into real vampire money.

Annie said - It's gonna be just like Step Brothers. I know it. 'Cept Step Brothers can't hiss like cats and move shit with their brains.

No it will not. - said Sarah. It won't. It won't. I'm sure of it........ She raised her voice a bit, directing her words to the stranger in the living room..... Larry, dear, did you have any siblings? Ever share your room, or anything like that?

No. I was an only child. Shared with my pop-pop for a while - he said....... For how long? - asked Sarah....... Til he died. Til he suffocated. I mean til he just stopped breathing. You know how old farts get......

Annie picked her head up and smirked. Yeah, they just go 'guhk'- she said. Hey, Larry, you 'guhk' him?

Stop it. Stop it - said Baylah. Just keep  your mouth shut....... Tomas sighed deeply. He knew better. Edith said - Conrad, I'll make some room in the closet by the wet bar. In the den, I mean. Is that all right?......... Conrad lowered his head and went - Uh huh.

Okay, on to the next thing. And what about his name? - said Baylah. Look, Conrad is bad enough, but we're not gonna have a 'Larry.' We are vampires, for God's sake, not a bunch of Amway salesmen. No 'Larry.' I'm telling you. No 'Larry.'

He  likes 'Gary,' or 'Barry.' - Edith said. I know. He told me...... But the others didn't seem too impressed....... Sarah said - I'll handle this.... She got up and went into the classically Philadelphia, cherry wood retreat..... Listen, sweetie, what do you want us to call you? You know, like for a nick-name, like for a vampire name?......... He swallowed, eyed her innocently and said - 'Larry.' What's wrong with 'Larry'?

The way things transpired that night, they didn't push it. Soon he'd have to feed. Tomas would take him. And you know what a big deal that's gonna be?

So for the time being, Philadelphia's first family of night-folk had 'Larry.' Edith bought him a whole new drawer full of underwear. He likes Hanes. Tomas got him some outfits, sharp stuff, like he wears. Larry wanted Wranglers, but the fastidious Andalician pretended not to hear. Though even he almost lost it when the elderly salesman asked Larry if the new pants were a 'little too tight in the pee-pee.'

Remember a few weeks ago, when we told you vampire life really ain't so different from what you got?

Well, wake up and smell the coffee. 'Cause I'm sure you feel like ripping somebody's throat out every once in a while too...


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