Saturday, September 24, 2016



Jonathon met with emissaries  of the British paranormal community at the residence of the British consul in Philadelphia. It was a polished and tailored beaux arts place directly on Rittenhouse Square. He'd been there before, back when it belonged to a Sears and Roebuck heir. The dining room originally graced a later Medici palace in France and crossed the Atlantic just prior to the start of The Great War. Higher vampires, those from 'quality' have their place in Society. Oh, people know what they are, though it's never ever mentioned. Jonathon ben Macabi, also known as Tomas de Macabea stemmed from the Hasmonean Dynasty, second in all Israel only to The House of David. It's odd, people read the Bible. They see Saul, David, Solomon and assume that's basically all there was. A few other kings are mentioned, but nobody pays any attention to them. We read about The Herodians and The House of Maccabee,  as the Hasmoneans were known, yet who realizes that Hasmonean descendants are still with us today? Believe me, our vampire friend is not the only one. After the fall of Rome, client kings throughout the empire insisted on the careful compilation of family histories. It's all they had. Some found favor at the Persian court. That empire still survived. Indeed, scions from The House of David had a court in exile there... a very lively place too... and were known in ruling circles as 'the exilarch,' or Prince of The Exile. Hasmonean heirs were about in the world as well. Many lent their names and position to Northern communities in French, or what would later become German lands. Their status, though less exalted, still meant something. Muslim and Catholic rulers on the Iberian Peninsula were intimate with the ben Macabis. Had not our Jonathon fallen into Crusader hands and been rescued by 'Papa' (an uber vampire), he'd have spent his life as a Cordoban courtier, attending dinners and symposiums at the Alhambra and taken part in royal 'progressions,' or sumptuous mounted parades throughout the kingdom.

Our son of Al Andalus was basically a snob. Jonathon knew who he was and although very careful to ask after the comfort of others (aristocrats love to appear considerate), keenly protective of his own lofty estate.

So he called for this meeting and they all came. Grigory Usipov, that very regal Russian, vampire, oligarch flew in from Moscow. Haute 'magicians' from The Hermetic Order of The Golden Dawn house in London, took a whole floor in The Ritz Carlton and a little known cabinet liaison from Washington showed up too. Each participant arrived separately in a plain, basic, Cadillac limousine. Everything was hush hush. Security was tight. In truth, the media had no idea. Some old time members of The Fourth Estate had an inkling, but also the good sense to keep quiet. A certain much celebrated magician from that Golden Dawn house threw a 'crystal fence' about the place. That venerable spell has never been breeched since the time of the first Pope Gregory.

Upon entering, each invitee was ushered up the wide stairway to the large sitting room on the second floor. Jonathon preferred that setting. Why make the situation seem more troubling than it already was? Here they could sit in club chairs and talk.  The auditorium was a place for lectures and a lecture was the last thing he wanted.

The paranormal world is an extremely volatile place. True magicians have little use for night-folk, or witches of a more rustic sort. Lesser breeds, like non-decomposing zombies were thought more diseased than enchanted. And lower forms, such as ghouls, true zombies and lucid wanderers were never received at all.

He had to make this congress of allies, as he called it, work. Grigori Usipov was to be second in command... a grand vizier, or secretary of state. Other members of the ruling council would be named at the conclusion of this meeting. Right away, the magicians were already talking ----- Oh, two vampires at the helm? Yada yada yada. Buzz buzz buzz. Jonathon pretended not to hear. Marcus Aurelius (yes, 'that' Marcus Aurelius) told him to be patient. The former emperor had friends in both camps. As a stalwart of The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, he'd always favored consensus.... Many vampires and magicians thought he should lead. But Jonathon ben Macabi was known as a gentleman of true faith. His ancient royal blood provided him with a certain cache too. A group of paranormal types from Spain already referred to him as 'el rey.' Many older attendees still resented Rome. Marcus Aurelius, as honorable as he was, could never live that down. Extreme longevity presents problems of its own. Memories never die.

So they made their plans, or moved closer to making their plans... Doctor Franklin and his group made plans too.  A certain comely, newly minted, Korean vampirina lass was already en route to her East Asian assignment. But that group never considered that the mark in question had an eager first cousin who was even worse.

Global intrigue is a hard game...

And nukes trump paranormal any day...

<more next time>


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Jonathon sits in the small library, his favorite room in the townhouse. Sarah, his consort, sits with him. They do not read, or watch the small television. The drapes are drawn, as they always are and a small, glazed, ginger jar lamp, brought back from the China Trade almost two hundred years ago provides the only illumination.

They communicate telepathically, sometimes whispering a word or two when precise elaboration, or detail is necessary. Most nights they go their separate ways, but not this night.

Jonathon - I should have let Doctor Franklin die. He loves his life more than he fears the vampiric burden.

Sarah - Why not sublimate in there and destroy him? Just pass through his body and that'll be it.

But she knew, as soon as she thought it. Jonathon 'took vows.' He never kills indiscriminately, but relies on 'visions' sent from above and even then, when he takes a life, it is a 'culling' and not a killing. Sarah follows that philosophy too. It's all she knows. Jonathon made her a scant four or five years ago. Occasionally she speculates, but that's as far as it goes.

Jonathon spoke. He said - Destroying an evil doer never destroys evil. Someone always rises to fill the void. Franklin wants to rule the world, or at least control and influence a good bit of it. He thinks he can sculpt humanity like a stone. Trouble is, stones don't have souls. That's what we are, even night-folk.

How complicated you make things - said his consort.

He poured a bit of chilled vodka into her glass. They drank.... Then they drank some more and stared into the middle distance.

Jonathon said - I love this room. If I was sealed in here, like a genii in a bottle, I could survive. I'd lay on that sofa and read every book, beginning with The Trials If Gillgamesh and ending with THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS....

I've been meaning to ask you. Why no books more recent than THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS? - asked Sarah.

I promised Jackie Susanne. You know she was from Philadelphia, don't you? - said the tipsy vampirino.

God, I'm glad vampires don't have to pee - went Sarah.

Yet we always feel as if we've just had a good one... a good pee, I mean - said Jonathon. Remember when you were mortal and you had such a good pee, you could walk around with a relaxed urethra and nothing would drip out?

Yep - said Sarah. It's why people become vampires. We feel like that all the time...

That's not why people willingly become vampires, though - said her creator.

It's not? - asked Sarah.

No - said Jonathon. Most don't become vampires willingly. They are brought over when near death by more or less compassionate vampires, or desperately beg for it to avoid death. Others are beguiled, or seduced.

You mean like me? - she said.

He didn't answer, at least not that question. But he did say - Unto every generation saints are born and thirty six is their number for eighteen is the number of life and they are more than mere mortals. It is for the Lord alone to know their names. Thus any soul we meet might be one of their number. That's why we don't kill on our own. Never know if it's one of the blameless...

Is that a Jewish belief? - she said. Maybe I've heard you say it before, but I don't know. I don't pay attention to what you say...

Thank you - he said. Then he poured them both some more vodka and went on. Among their number, the saints, I mean, is The Messiah....

Does this happen in every generation? - asked his consort.

Uh huh - he said. And you don't want to be the vampire that kills the Messiah...

I don't get it - said Sarah. Doesn't The Messiah get bored waiting around for his time to come?

No. He lives a regular saintly life. He doesn't know he's The Messiah. Others see it in him.

Like Miss Congeniality in Miss America? - she asked.

Don't be funny - he said. What kind of vodka is this? Remind me to ask Edith. But the thing is, there's always one human on Earth worthy to be The Messiah. That's why they've killed so many people throughout history. Satan doesn't want him to come.

Is that why? - she said.

It's what they taught me - he said.

You are one complicated vampire - said Sarah.

He just shrugged...

Sarah thought for a few heartbeats and asked - But Doctor Franklin is a vampire. He's not mortal. Can't you just kill him?

I told you! Someone else will just be the new Doctor Franklin...

Like the new Doctor Who?


Who! Who! - she said. And you know what else? Where's that beautiful vampire voice, the sound, the cadence you usually have?

It's the vodka. It'll be back...

You know, I read that NASA will make a big announcement Monday about something they say on Europa - said Sarah.

Maybe the manta ray people waved back? - mumbled Jonathon.

I forgot about them - went Sarah. So what are we going to do about Doctor Franklin? I mean he's programming those killer vampires like Doctor Goldfoot and the Bikini Bomb...

Jonathon snorted, thought about drizzling a bit more vodka into his glass and reconsidered.

Vodka provides night-folk with a bit of release. ... If you're spiritually constrained, like Jonathon, you need that.

But now he had to sober up... and go face Doctor Franklin...

Back when Cressida was 'Aura' she was a friend of his...

Now he didn't know...

So he got up, went out of the house into the cool night air and started walking...

Vampires, even thousand year old ones, like Jonathon, don't know everything... but they have personality and sometimes that's enough...

<more next time>


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