Tuesday, December 16, 2014


I still like exploring the city, but minus life-eater talents and abilities, cannot do it unaided. So they send me out with a driver. One of our 'familiars' (mortal helpers) owns a livery service. Generations ago, that meant horses. Today, it means automobiles, mostly limousines or luxury models. Think I'm in a big, long Cadillac with a mirror-like ebony finish and thick, soft, saddle, colored upholstery. The drivers name is Frank. He usually takes gamblers to Atlantic City, but tonight he has me. He knows the situation, so we're fine. 

We stopped at the bank. They know me there. We give them little vials of our blood. So nobody ever has a sick day and even Miss Brody, who's sixty seven looks perhaps fifty four. Everybody wants something. Everybody gets something. I withdrew seventy five thousand dollars, fifteen 'flats' of five thousand each. All the bills were hundreds, neatly wrapped in clean, white, paper bands. I offered Frank one, but he said his boss takes care of him. We did stop at a high end optical salon, where he ordered two pair of glasses. You know the frames. Ashton Kutcher has them. George Clooney too, I think. Tony Curtis wore them in Some Like It Hot. Four hundred and fifty five dollars a pair, not counting the lenses. The examination didn't take long. Then we went the shoe store where I get my black, leather bootkins. I love that place. Bespoke (made to order) footwear is so special. My new body, though overwhelmingly the same as my old one, is slightly different. Now my left foot is twelve and my right one is eleven and three quarters. Left one's slightly wider as well. First time that shop has ever updated my 'lasts.' Old Mr. Baldwin greeted me when I entered. That's how close this body is. Looks a bit older, late twenties instead of eighteen. Though the difference is really very subtle and when I transform, the vampire blood will polish things up even more. I'm not worried. We are so much more than a physical shell... This from someone slaving with a trainer three hours a day....

Then the real night began. This close to Christmas shops close at ten or eleven. People disappear, leaving manikins all alone to stare out at ghostly thoroughfares. But after a bit other souls come out and that's who we helped. A woman with swollen ankles trudged by pushing a shopping cart laden with two over stuffed trash bags. Her coat was flimsy. Really a rain slicker. Not a coat. No warm socks. Just old, white leather sneakers. The kind meant for summer. You know how thin the soles are. She quietly sang a little song----- I got joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart, down in my heart.... Basically a good, guileless soul. .... I exited the car and walked toward her. She looked up, but didn't react. Street people know how to blend into the shadows. I could tell she was nervous. I didn't want her to be nervous. As we passed, I reached into a small, black, plastic bag I had, took out two flats and tossed them on top of the trash bags in her cart. She looked... Ten thousand dollars, nestled on two filled trash bags. I whispered - Put it away.... She said - Uh hum. ... I kept going and she kept going... Heard her whisper - Thank you...

Gave a skinny, shivering guy sitting on the steps of the old Second Bank of The United States a similar amount. He was shaking so bad. Then I took him into a waffle house and sat him in a booth toward the back. He didn't look too disheveled. Probably expert at washing up in public bathrooms and grabbing charity clothes from shelters. Still looked cold though. Told the manager, who looked like an ex-con himself, to give him all the hot coffee he wanted and eggs and pancakes too. Slipped him a couple hundred. He understood. I said - Let him stay til morning. He won't bother you.... Then I bought a couple newspapers from boxes out front and gave them to the skinny guy, so he'd have something to read... Before I left, I said - Watch your money... The guy nodded like his head was gonna fall off. Gave the waitress a hundred too.... She said - Jesus Christ! what's this for?!..... But I just left. Met Frank at the corner. Drove around for a few hours doing the same thing. Nothing new. Most 'noble' vampires do this. Sarah does it. Baylah does it. We all do. Noble just means moral vampires, as opposed to the 'noxious' more animal type.

Before he took me home I gave Frank a flat too. He didn't want to take it. Told me about his boss and all. I said - Come on. Buy presents for your kids. Boss ain't gone to know... He hesitated, but then accepted it, thanking me for the Hanukah Gelt. Frank's a good guy. Knows about the vampires and all. Knows I'm a Spanish Jew. Thinks we all say , 'Hanukah gelt.' I didn't say anything. He meant well. 

Then I was home. Sarah was already in bed. Edith was too. Left a little light on over the sink, like she always does, plus a couple battery powered candles on the mantle piece. House was quiet.

I cut off a piece of that new Asiago cheese I liked from the refrigerator, went back into the family room, sat down and clicked on the television... Deepak Chopra told me to find my inner self.

Little ghost boy from the cellar came up to keep me company. Sometimes I read to him... He likes that.


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