Saturday, August 27, 2016

A VAMPIRE'S LAMENT --- "On the Town" - Some Other Time! - Eileen Farrell, Leonard Bernstein . 8/27/16




They're getting ready to go out. Franklin's about to take his first life. All by the book, an evil doer and all that. He brushes his hair, cut short for the occasion and studies his image in the mirror. Jonathon got him a nice suit from Boyd's... light weight... summer wool. Franklin wanted seersucker, but Jonathon told him no one wore that anymore... not in cities anyway... maybe for country or seashore weddings.

Besides, Jonathon's mind was on other things. Odd, Franklin had the look of a well preserved eighty four year old, but to his creator, he seemed like a child....

Jonathon said - Time will pass different for you now. People will flash by like sparklers. Valued friends, and you will have valued mortal friends, will die and fade away. You'll try to remember... Sometimes you'll remember, but no matter what, names will disappear and whole lives will be gone... lost... just dissolved back into the ether. The very style of faces will change. Who looks like George Washington today? Who looks like John Quartermaine?

Who was John Quartermaine? - asked Franklin.

He was a friend. Had a bookshop where The Continental Bar stands today. I used to go in there. This was in the eighteen fifties. Bookshops stayed open later than most establishments. Men worked. Men had responsibilities. Booksellers had to wait for other businesses to close up for the day. Browsers stopped in on their way home from work. The little bell by the door would jingle. Some came by after dinner. He didn't know I was a vampire. Took him about ten years, maybe a little more. He aged. I didn't. We talked. We talked all the time. Sometimes we'd go to the oyster bar out front of Bookbinders. He'd order cold lobster, or a plate of little necks. I'd make do with two or three fingers of gin. Vodka was practically unknown then. An abolitionist he was, a committed abolitionist. Sincere too. He knew I was a 'Hebrew,' as he put it. I think he was a Judophile, if that's a word. A lot of old line Protestants were back then. Viewed us a the fundamentalist's fundamentalist. Not the immigrant types. I'm talking about long established Jewish families. You knew them from Mikveh Israel (old Rite of Spain, Orthodox synagogue)....

But why are you going on like this? - said Franklin. I'm already more than three hundred years old. I've 'lost people' too.

As a 'human' - said Jonathon. This will be different. And it might go on for far longer than three hundred years. Look, all I mean is love them and value them and write everything down. Now you can record it. Now you need never lose them. They'll be locked in time, but they'll still be there.... Do you know what I mean?

Do you miss that Quartermaine gentlemen? - asked Franklin.

Jonathon nodded.

Franklin said - I think I understand.

Then he straightened his suit coat, turned to his vampire progenitor and said - Well, Mister Macabi, shall we go?.....

And they left..... Soon he'd independently take a life for the first time... Soon he'd learn just what being a vampire meant...

Centuries would pass, but he'd still be here...

Could you handle that?

<more next time>

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