Monday, September 3, 2012


It was still dark. Dawn was still more than an hour away. Tomas and Conrad sat in the little den off the kitchen. The house was dark. They could hear Edith snoring upstairs. She sounds just like Curly from The Three Stooges. Annie's back too, holed up in her cubicle trying to get through to some crackpot radio call-in show, but apparently they don't want her, 'cause she's kicking the wall like crazy. 

They're drinking gin. It's close to vodka and 'pure' alcohol goes down easiest. The television's on... some info-mercial about good abs. But they're not watching. Besides, the sound's turned down real low. This is bonding time. Tomas shares stories of Old Andaluz. He tells of his time in the pit, during his transformation, and the young girl he killed, plus the one he 'didn't' kill (it's all in the early episodes. go look. we'll try and put up a more direct link, but there wasn't time tonight, because I blog this in real time). Conrad listens. This is all so new to him. Having a friend, I mean. His mortal life was rough. Played nursemaid to an old abusive old grandfather. Dealt with oozing sores, rashes, boils, curses, spitting, belittlement, face scratches made by filthy, greasy fingernails and shitty sheets. Never slept more than two hours in a row. Pops wouldn't let him. 

But one day he got something in the mail. A casino sent it. An Indian Casino from near where he lived. Not that he was a high roller, but every so often his cousin would fill in for a few hours. Not a lot, just when he felt guilty, like if the rashes were starting to spread to Conrad's face and neck. That's when he played the machines. Never won much. Usually lost. but it took his mind off things and he liked it. Earned a few raffle points too. Some folks, the real addicts had thousands of 'em. Conrad had thirty seven. Thirty seven chances out of maybe eighty three million to win five hundred thousand dollars. Second prize was a Nissan Altima. Third prize was a trip to Europe. Fourth prize was free drugs... I mean free slot play. Winner had to be present for the drawing. Conrad wanted to go. Had it all set up with the cousin. Fed gramps (fried baloney sandwich and cheap potato salad). Old man yelled for days if he bought the good kind. Put on the Fishin' Channel. Turned off the big light. Grandpop hates electric bills... and waited. but it's not what you're thinking. The cousin DID come. Only two minutes 'fore he was supposed to leave, old man gets 'the pain'..... Gets it real bad. Starts moaning and shaking and sweating. Cousin starts yellin' - Call the rescue squad! Call the rescue squad!..... So they do. And the guys (one was a girl) got there in no time. They wrapped him up, slid him on a gurney, attached all the doo-dads and wheeled him out. Guy says - Don't THINK it's a heart attack, but with his age and all, you never know........ Cousin says - You go to the drawing. I'll go with him...... But gramps starts wheezing and yelling - No! No!...He knows! He Knows! He knows my history. Conrad's gotta go. Conrad! Conrad! Conrad!...... And the rescue guys start looking at him. Must a thought he was gonna collapse, the way his shoulders slumped and all. One said - Please, we don't have a whole lot a time..... Conrad looked down and  whispered - I'll go..... Cousin said - Here, give me the tickets. I'll go. Maybe if you win, like that's gonna happen, they won't ask too many questions and I'll be able to claim the prize..... So Conrad reached into his shirt pocket and forked 'em over. Then he squeezed into the medi-van just as they cranked up the siren and sped off.

Old bastid did not have a heart attack, just a near terminal (for everybody 'round him) case a the shits. And Conrad DID win the five hundred thousand dollars. Only them sons a bitches did ask a lot a questions. Cousin wasn't him. He wasn't there, so too bad... he lost. Prize went to some nasal voiced urologist. But his cousin did manage to win twelve hundred and thirty dollars on his own, though. Saw a real good Cher impersonator too.

Conrad sat in a chair lookin' out the window for days. When his neck got tired from twistin' it 'round to look out he read a Bible. Then one afternoon, when the old man was cursing 'them bitches on The Talk'... Conrad dumped a whole, ice cold container (straight from the 'frigerator) a Kozy Shack rice pudding all over his grandpop's bald, crusty head. I do not know what the old man did. Probably cursed some more and peed hisself. Conrad didn't stay around to find out, 'cause he just walked out that door and kept goin'..... Had forty eight dollars in his wallet from a scratch-off lottery ticket bought with change at the Piggly-Wiggly. Walked all the way to Wabash and Main. That's were the bus comes in. Bought a ticket to some town, got off and walked some more. Saw a little place off in the trees, like a school or a nut house or something. Went over to use the toilet. And that's how he became an almost, sort a , kind a monk..... a vampire killin' monk.... And you know how good he was at that job?.....

Tomas listened to the whole thing. Then he hugged him, poured him a little more gin and sat there while he drank it. 

Few dozen heartbeats later he helped him go to sleep. 

They were friends now..... Good friends.


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