I don't even know what my name is anymore. What difference does it make? It's just a collection of sounds... a bar code that stands for me. I know who I am. That's all that matters. I am female and I'm a vampire. We've never met. The one they call 'Billy' hasn't channeled me yet. He might not even realize he's channeling me now, till he sees what he's typed up. But he's sitting in that little library, in the townhouse in Philadelphia, listening to Christina Perri. That's how we connected. I heard the music, not through the small device that plays it, but through his mind. Vampires can't always control what comes through. It's like leaves sailing on the wind.
I wander around a lot. Actually, it's all I do. Got no 'familiars' to smooth the way. There are no safe deposit boxes stuffed with money and gold and all. I walk. I kill. I sleep. Am I moral? Who knows? I don't even know who made me. He did it and he left... not right away, but soon enough. I thought he was 'the one.' All vampirinas do. Well, all vampirinas know shit. He taught me how to sublimate. At least he did that. Look, I don't even know his name. I'd ask. He'd say - Call me Jimmy, or call me Daddy, or call me Mister.... It was a joke. But I didn't get it. Maybe he had a real mate somewhere else? Maybe he was just a real bastard. What, you think they're all like your 'Jonathon?'
It was a little town in Central Pennsylvania, right by University Park... right by Penn State. I went there. Studied education. Went to bars. Walked College Avenue. Walked Beaver Avenue. Got drunk. Ate sticky buns. Slept around. Cut class. You see, I wanted to be a singer. Wanted to be like Joni Mitchell, but with a lower, throatier voice. This was the seventies.
Sometimes I sang with a group in one of the clubs. They were cool clubs in those days... dark... basic places with black light posters and little, raised stages. Platforms really, maybe eight inches off the floor. Played under hot, little pin lights. Bar sold rum and cokes and vodka gimlets and 'dark' beers. We'd step out for fresh air... smoke these little, blunt looking, Turkish cigarettes. Pretended they were weed, but they weren't weed. Actually, everything was 'hash' when I was there. I'm not even sure what that was. Could of been little blocks of processed bird shit for all I knew. I was just happy to sing. I didn't need any 'high.' Had my jeans... my knee length suede boots... my peasant shirts... beads... long wavy hair, parted in the middle, no bangs. Tried to get a whole lot of little waves. 'Angel Hair' we called it. Smelled from Herbal Essence shampoo. That was real big back then.
And, you know what? I probably would have made it through. Probably would have graduated and taught school and married some guy who had a profession because his mother and father wanted one. Might of had a couple nice kids. I think about that sometime. Also might have blown my brains out. I think about that too.
I loved walking around State College. That's what the town is called. The campus is called University Park. They touch. It's really one thing. Tree lined streets. Traditional houses. Real nice shops. Classic college food joints like The New College Diner and The Corner Room. They had a big, stuffed mountain lion just over the door, when you walked into The Corner Room. It was like an old fashioned casual restaurant. I think the lion is still there. I don't know. Never been back.
The band had a front man. I wasn't a regular, so I was nothing. His name was 'Zodiac.' That's what he called himself, Zodiac, or Zodi. Think his real name was Zandor. His people came from Hungary. Not him. He was born here. Looked like Johnny Depp but with cleaner hair. I told you. The seventies. Everybody washed their hair all the time. Dressed like Steven Tyler, but not so girlie. Well, not 'girlie.' You know what I mean. I thought we were gonna be 'it.' Be rockers and all. He knew Patti Smith, or he told everybody he did. Used to take girls, college girls like me, to this tiny room behind where the disc-jockey set up. Disc-jockey played when we took breaks. Had a little sofa back there. More posters. More black lights.
I didn't know about all the other ones. And I wasn't playing dumb. I really was dumb. One night I wasn't supposed to be there. Was supposed to be home, back in Pittsburgh. But I couldn't get a ride and had to wait till the next day to take the bus, so I just walked over. Town was all decorated for Christmas time... a lot of 'bee' lights and wreaths and trees. Like Hollywood did it. That's how it looked.
Streets were quiet. Half the kids went home already. Locals were out. 'Townies' we called them. But that didn't have a stigma, like 'Cutters' in Indiana. Cost money to live in State College. My God, corporations had conventions and retreats there. They had a big resort, Toff Trees, right on the edge of town. Jitney buses rode up and down the snow ploughed winter streets driving people west to the Blue Knob ski area. I went a few times.
Look how I wander. Look how I put things off. But I, uh, walked in there. The band was playing. People were dancing. Not so much dancing. More like standing and nodding and swaying to the music. Crystal Ship, I think it was. Band liked The Doors. The 'second' front man, Ronnie, was on. I figured Zodi was taking a break in the little room behind the D.J.'s place. Snaked back along the wall. Didn't want to interrupt the set. The corner where the D.J. set up was opposite the one where the band played. They didn't want D.J. stuff and band stuff to get mixed up. So I opened the door to that little room and went in. They didn't even notice. Just kept going at it... Like a whippet and a pudgy, little cocker spaniel humping in the street. That's what I thought. Then it hit me and I started to cry. I wasn't gonna be a singer. He didn't want me. He probably didn't want the cocker spaniel either, but I didn't realize that. He NEVER caught on that I was there. Just kept doing his exercises. That's what it looked like. Hip thrust. Hip thrust. Hip thrust. Like zumba, zumba. zumba! But I saw her open an eye. She knew I was there. Didn't phase her a bit. Just raised her flabby arm and gave me the finger. Now when the set ends, the place goes ,black for a heartbeat, or two , so I slipped out and left.
Auggie, the bartender, liked me. He said - What's wrong?... I just shook my head. Then I said - Gus, give me a bottle of wine. I'll pay you later... He nods. Hands me a Chablis. Not my favorite, but who the hell cared.
Did I go back to the dorm?... No, I walked down Allen Street, passed the movie house and left town... No more shops, or cute houses, or Christmas lights. Walked along a country road... a few houses here and there... a few Christmas lights. There were some, but mostly darkness and cold and quiet.
I unscrewed the cap and drank the wine. Didn't want anybody in town seeing me do that. So dry, like fancy vinegar. I had one of those nylon parkas with the wolf trimmed hoods. All the kids had them. Gets cold in central Pennsylvania. Had my scarf and my gloves and my knit cap. All cocooned in with my misery.... Got pretty drunk too. Started sobbing. Banged into a tree. Scraped my face on the bark. Kept going. Lost my balance and plopped down against the next tree. Had some more wine, hiccupped a few times, wiped my nose and fell asleep...
About an hour and a half later, I woke up shivering. He was standing over me. I saw the dark form of a man, outlined by the full moon. No vaporous exhalations rose up from his face. Was he breathing? I was too out of it to be scared. I said - What the hell do you want? Who the hell are you?... But he never answered. Just scooped me up, held me in his arms and walked off toward the woods. That's when I noticed he wasn't wearing a coat. That's when I felt the little pin pricks on my neck. That's when I fell back asleep....
Well, I thought it was sleep...
But I was drifting through something far different than that...
<more next time>
click THE CRYSTAL SHIP ... to see all Vampire Wonderland episodes. But to click on any individual episodes I think we now have to also click on the 'subscribe' button near the upper right of the screen. They changed things. There may be a one click link, but they haven't told me yet. I keep asking. I'll let you know as soon as I know.
click GLOVES AND MUFFLERS ... to join me on Twitter.
please leave a comment. thank you.