Sunday, September 2, 2012

LABOR DAY EVE...THE 'DEATH' OF A SUMMER

The sun is not as strong. Night comes a bit earlier, painting the sky with smoky streaks of violet and pink. Some vampires are witness to it. Some 'thick skinned' night-folk relish the witching hour. Not day. Not dark. And unrelated to them both. 

Baylah stands just outside the entrance to The Tropicana Hotel. That's where they park. Her mortal boyfriend likes it, because it's handy, first one (no, second) in from The Downbeach, a string of jewel-box residential towns running south from A.C.. That's where Margate is. That's where they live. 

She likes the casinos. Gambling provides a certain emotional frisson little known in the life-eater world. After all, how much uncertainty do near immortals truly experience? So she takes her seat, buys her chips, nods to the others and begins.

Some pokerinos avoid eye contact, but she revels in it. She's quite adept at the soulless stare...an cold hard appraisal of scared, desperate people. They pretend it doesn't hurt, but she knows that it does. 

And she wins. She always wins. But sometimes after, she'll encounter a loser in the bar. They talk. She smiles and a few five hundred dollar chips find their way into needy pockets. You see, it's not the money. It's the 'win.' 

A couple of the casino hosts know what she is. They don't care. What, are they any better? At least she does 'give backs.' They never do. So you tell me... Who's the real vampire. 

And the air has a funny feel tonight. There's a sadness, like a slow steady slide toward oblivion. It's Sunday. Tomorrow's Labor Day. Families with kids disappear. Summer home lawns (at least those without automatic sprinklers) turn dry. Supermarkets go back to winter hours. Even the Starbucks close early. 

She sees the girl sitting on a bench. It's obvious she's lost. Very pretty, but single. Vampirinas can sense that. Maybe she's visiting her grandmother? The old lady said - Get dressed. Go out. Have some fun. Here, baby-doll, here's fifty dollars. Win something. Maybe she met up with a couple girls from 'round the pool. Grandmoms' buildings always have pools, though few of the resident widows ever use them. They got seperated, or she wasn't cool enough for them.....whatever. Only now they're squeezed in with some twenty-something, bulked-up, players, having table service at The Borgata, while she's sitting all be her lonesome on a damp, boardwalk bench. Fifty dollars goes fast. So does the eighty dollars she added to it. Some old guy, maybe fifty two or fifty three started talking to her in the gift shop. She wasn't buying any keepsakes, just maybe a magazine to read back at granny's condo. He asked her to go play blackjack with him. She demurred. 

Now she wished she'd brought a heavier sweater. Ten more minutes. She'd sit there ten more minutes...and then she's take the jitney (small buses running along 1st street parallel to the boardwalk) back 'home.' She watched all the people pass. Fat couples filled with too much chewed up buffet food. Sixtyfive year olds managing to look fifty...or maybe sixty four. Coarse slobs in flip-flops and nylon shorts loudly braying like drunk jackasses. Tight bodies on bikes swerving in and out of the crowd. Prim couples in cruise wear searching for a captain's table they ain't never gonna find.

Tomorrow they'd be gone. Old friends get together tonight toasting the summer that was and planning the one yet to come. But not everyone would make it. That's what's so sad about Labor Day. You gotta wait for the 'good part' to come 'round again. And some folks wander into a darker part of the forest before it does. This one's wife don't make it.That one loses everything. And I don't mean just money. 

Bittersweet.... That's the word. Labor Day is bittersweet. Ever see the movie PICNIC ? Well, then you know.

Baylah walks over to the girl. She says - Mind if I borrow a little bit a bench?..... Girl says - No, of course not......and slides over. They talk. Baylah gives really good small talk. Finds out she's an education major from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Was gonna do junior year in Rome, but then she couldn't. Some kind of money problem. Baylah didn't push too much. Has a brother finished third in the Para-Olympics. Not the big ones in London. This was a smaller version in Annapolis, Maryland...... Baylah said she had a boutique, some place in Philadelphia. Actually, it's her 'familiar's' place, but she's got privileges. Spent thirty five minutes with that nice, young girl. Would a slipped her a little vial of vampire blood, like maybe for her brother, only she didn't have any. Vampires rush when they're getting ready too sometimes. So she gave her seventy five hundred dollars in chips instead. Didn't make a big thing out of it. Vampires are extremely adept at misdirection. Later, when the young girl went back into the hotel to use the ladies' room, she saw the chips in her handbag and didn't even know how much they were worth. So she asked a motherly-looking woman stuffing kleenex into her purse. Lady knows right off, 'cause she just read one of the brochures from the casino. Girl don't wanna believe her. Keeps whispering - It's a miracle. It's a miracle........ Woman just looks at her. Girl says - Thank you and disappears. I do not know how she did it. But Baylah was watching from a distance, like a vampire MADAM X or something, so it could a been magic. I don't know. Hundred and twenty heartbeats later, girl turns 'em in for cash, buys granny a giant box a saltwater taffy, gets herself a big, fat fashion magazine and goes home in a cab.

Summer still died the next day, but three weeks later, that girl was in Rome......

And if you wanna know a little secret... Autumn at the shore is even better.....

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2 comments:

Nephylim said...

I loved that one. Your little bites are so easy to read and contain so much in such a small space. I love the people watching and the astute observations. It was nice to see a vampire depicted as something so much better than a monster. Yeah, this was a feel good vampire story. Don;t find too many of those.

Billy Kravitz said...

Appreciate the kind observations. A lot of our 'arcs' are like that. These vampires, regardless of how old they are, are STILL primarily HUMAN. Their bodies are still human bodies. Their brains are still human brains. Unlike the creatures on shows such as Trueblood, they do not refer to 'regular people' as humans, but as mortals...and even then, they see the irony in it. Mister Old Bones, our Neanderthal vampire illustrates that dilemma. He's different than the current 'model' if you will. True, pedestrians on the street don't think he's a monster, yet they sense a subtle variation and divergence from the predominate form. Plus, they NEVER forget their mortal families and people are NOT thought of as 'blood bags.' It's somewhat like a bee hive, each group, each 'caste' has a job to do...workers...soldiers...nurses... breeders (queens & drones). The vampires (life-eaters) believe its their job to help maintain society's moral balance. They 'cull' the wicked and preserve (via minute, undetected infusions of their healing blood)the worthy. Shakespeare would have died of plague, but they saved him. And they did and do try to 'cull' evil dictators and others, but powerful people know all about vampires and take the proper precautions. Most vampires also STILL believe the faith they were raised in and see no reason not to. They have a saying - 'Not The Shepherd but the sheepdog'..... (they're the sheepdogs)....... Occasionally one will fall under evil influence (a small percentage of vampires are 'noxious' and kill indiscriminately) but those episodes are short lived and the repentant prodigal always returns...... Plus we have the elferino-vampirinos (and elferina-vampirinas) too. Google Marianne elferina-vampirina by Billy Kravitz for many portals into their world. Indeed, most in the middle ages thought of 'guardian vampires' and it wasn't til the rise of various nationally sponsored inquisitions that they (along with witches) became accursed enemies. The blog is a loose, rambling format. I'm hoping it attracts some agents. I have screenplays similar to but different from the characters outlined here. And I HAVE tried contacting various agencies, but they will not even look at my work without a 'who sent you?'.... a recommendation by a well known friend/relation in the business. It's not as if they looked, but passed. They won't even sanction my right to exist. Sometimes I think about all the creative types who never get a break (if that is even the right term)and it's beyond sad. It's selfish and unjust...OK, that's the rant part. Once again, I look forward to your communiques. PLEASE talk about your projects too. Tell us about your work. Provide links. America wants to know.