A snug winter night in the townhouse. Jonathon peeks through the draperies, taking in the icy drizzle. The cobbles shine like onyx. He turns to face Billy, typing away on his laptop. They're in the little library, a warm refuge. Billy works in a small pool of light from a genuine, ginger jar table lamp. Who knows? Perhaps it once belonged to a Mandarin prince? Our vampire hero, watches his mortal friend tap the keys.
He says - You do that every night. I read your 'Twitter.' I know what goes on. You work and you hope and when it doesn't happen, you work and you hope some more. Do you think they're ever going to help you? My God, don't you know by now? They don't care. You're invisible to them....
Billy - Not all...
Jonathon - No, not all. One or two. Maybe three of four. But think what you do. You mention and retweet people night after night after night who never even notice. Who knows if they notice? They never answer back. You hope for it. No, once, I take it back, Amy Schumer answered back. One time... and the timeline was jumping for weeks. A few words. A picture. I'm sure she's forgotten she did it. But she did. Alright, she did. Yet the others take it all in and never give it back.
Billy doesn't answer.....
Jonathon continues - I peek over your shoulder all the time. You don't even know I'm there.
Billy - I know you're there.
Jonathon - No you don't. You only know when I want you to know.
Billy - So why are you watching now for?
Jonathon - I just feel bad. I know how long you've been at this. What is it, six years? You have those guys, those directors and actors you tweet to. I don't know the names. The 'comedies,' the comedies, where everybody says 'fuck' more than they say 'the.' You retweet them when they ask for retweets. Sometimes you're among the first who do. And every few months you say 'Hey, if you get a chance, please click on my links and look around.'.... Do they do it?
Billy - How would I know?
Jonathon - You'd know. There'd be something. Once in a while you see them tweet to a name you don't recognize and think 'oh, look. maybe they do answer unconnected people sometimes.'... But then you google the name they're talking to and see it belongs to a guy with one and a half million followers. Have you ever seen them actually address somebody like you? I mean other than to belittle some dope over politics, or to retweet people with diseases or money problems, or a one word 'thanks' for desperate fans who gush over anything they do. Come on, tell me.
Billy (quietly) - No.
Jonathon - Then WHY do you do it? And that other one. That girl. That comedian. What's her thing? She says 'vagina,' 'vagina' and 'clitoris' all the time. Like the words to a song.
Billy - But she's funny. You saw her special. You even said she was funny.
Jonathon - But has she ever tweeted back even once? I don't care about her. I care about you. Well, has she? Has she ever helped you?
Billy looks at the keys, but says nothing.
Jonathon - They're worried about their own stuff. They're worried about their own projects. They're not gonna acknowledge you. What can you do for them? You can't even do little favors. You can't do shit.
Billy - Thank you.
Jonathon - No, I don't mean it like that. You have talent. My God, I could never tell this story like you do. You know how few blogs ever come close to four hundred thousand hits? Less than one percent. A fraction of one percent...
Billy - How do you know?
Jonathon - I asked that kid, the one from the computer classes at the library. They're open till nine. I get over there.
Billy - W-w-who does he think you are?
Jonathon - Who CARES who he thinks I am? You worry too much.
Billy - So I worry too much...
They sit in silence for a few moments...
Jonathon sighs and says - Here, I'll give you something. You never heard this. They like weird, stuff. Tell them this. There used to be a carnival that stopped around here maybe a hundred and eighty five, a hundred and seventy five years ago. A few Gypsy caravans, fortune tellers, sword swallowers, fire eaters, a sickening contortionist. I hate contortionists. And a whole bunch of crap like that. You could win a glass 'diamond' ring by tossing a little hoop over a wine bottle, or guessing a number on a crooked wheel of fortune. That got a wreath of wax flowers. I'd go and I'd watch them. Got friendly with the 'geek.' You know what a geek was? I mean the first meaning.
Billy - No.
Jonathon - Well, I'll tell you. They used to have a crazy looking guy. Ran out on the little torch-lit stage screaming and jumping and rolling his eyes. Ladies weren't supposed to watch. They'd go look at some grimy looking doxie make 'Japanese fans.' And this was always in the autumn. They'd come in the autumn. Chilly nights. People bought cider. Hard cider too. Ate hot, buttered corn on the cob. Stood around looking like smacked in the face idiots.
Billy - Where was this?
Jonathon - Where City Hall is today. They used to take down the gallows and let them set up. Everybody came. Coaches dropped off aristocratic couples, young bloods from the University. They didn't go home with glass diamond rings, or wax flowers. They went home with the 'clap.' But that's another story.
Billy - Did you cure them? You could have cured them with a drop or two of your blood. Did you do it?
Jonathon shrugs - The one's who deserved it. The ones I liked. Even cured the carnie girls too sometimes. But they just came back with a new case next year anyway. (loses train of thought) What was I telling you?
Billy - About the geek.
Jonathon - Ah, yes, the geek... They had him dressed up, or almost dressed up in torn scraps, dirty rabbit skins mostly. Maybe a dog's tooth choker 'round his neck. He'd screech like an ape and go berserk. And imagine, all torch lights. The whole carnival was all torch lights. Shadows dancing. Carnies paid local boys to run around with big galvanized garden pails to put out all the fires. Just little ones. Most never got too big. Then some roustabout would throw a burlap sack out onto the stage. Sack was filled with live chickens, all squawking and flapping. Geek got down on all fours. Starts sniffing around. Works his was over to the sack. Sits down. Lifts one out. A big leghorn. They were always big, white leghorns. White feathers made for more contrast... Chicken would beat those big wings. They knew what was coming. They could sense it. And chickens don't deserve anything like that. They're good souls mostly. Take care of their chicks. Count them all the time. Show them how to scratch up fat little bugs. If one goes missing the mother goes crazy. Even the rooster gets involved. God loves chickens. He'd rather we left them alone...But the geek is a big draw. He can't leave them alone. They're the reason he lives. Curls his right thumb and forefinger 'round the chicken's neck up by the head. Does the same with his other hand a few inches down. Brings it up to his mouth. Teeth all filed to points. He gnashes them a little bit. Lets the crowd see. Birds all manic by now. Feathers flying. Grab a feather at the geek show, get good luck. You know what they say?
Jonathon - Then he grins, brings his jaws together. Carnie guy smothers a few of the torches. Doesn't want any apoplectic fits. Nothing too lurid. People dropped dead over anything back then. Everything was a big deal. Folks eating raw sushi would of wiped out half the town. Funny, raw oysters never did, though. Mortals are strange.... I have to think of something....
Billy - What do you mean?
Jonathon - We have to get those bastards to pay attention. To the blog, I mean. How many words do you have up?
Billy - Uh... eight hundred thousand words... Why?
Jonathon gives him a look - No reason....
Billy - So what happens with the geek?
Jonathon - He gnawed through five leghorn chicken necks. Bit through the feathers, the skin, the spine, all of it. Red blood. White feathers. Sports in the crowd, that means gambler types, bet how far he'd go. Held the heads up to the crowd. Beaks still snapping. Put one on each earlobe. One on each nipple. Hung the last from his upper lip. Soon as they clamp down they hold tight, especially once they're dead. That's how chickens are. Geeks were a big thing. They were cutting edge. Blood dripping down their chins. Eyes bugged out. Grinning and all. People remembered.... For an encore they'd bring out a newly hatched baby chick. Had to be a 'runt.' Human mouth isn't that big. Geek would carefully stuff it all in, look at the crowd. Face all distended. Could still hear it peeping. God knows what it thought. Five heartbeats later he started to crunch. Blood running out. Yellow fluff and all. Crowds love blood. You'd think they were the vampires. Carnie gives geek a jug of cider to help get it down. I once saw a geek die from a punctured esophagus. Convulsed a good long time too. Crowd figured it was part of the show. Carnie-king didn't tell them....
Billy - Wow.... And that's it?
Jonathon - That's it. Eating live chickens, or biting their heads off, was a growth industry back then. You could by stock in it.
Billy - For real?
Jonathon - No, not for real. I just thought you could type it up and maybe people might like it.
Then he put his hand on Billy's shoulder.
Billy - Thanks, Jonathon.
The vampire nods....
They switch on the little tv set among the books and watch an old black and white movie.
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What could it hurt?
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