Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Next Vampire Story

by Matthew Sanborn Smith

"We don't have much time," Van Helsing insisted as darkness approached. He clutched the young man's arm for emphasis. "There are things you need to know if you're going to survive till morning! Everything you thought you knew about vampires is wrong."

"You mean they don't suck blood?" Jimmy asked.

"Well, no. Of course they suck blood. They wouldn't be vampires if they didn't suck blood! I meant everything else."

"You can see them in a mirror, then?"

"No. You can't see them in a mirror."

"How about sunlight destroying them?"

"Yeah. Sunlight's pretty bad. But - -"

"Running water?" Jimmy asked.

Van Helsing put his hands on his hips. "For a provincial lad, you certainly seem to know a lot about vampires."

"Well, this is just basic stuff here, I mean everybody knows this."

"You lie! I've spent my life climbing mountains to find mystic tomes and tricking demons in contests to learn what I have! This is arcane stuff! How could everyone know about it?"

"You know, movies. The occasional novel or whatever. Scooby Doo."

"They make vampire movies?"

"Yeah. Only about a million of them over the past eighty-five years."

"I like documentaries," Van Helsing said in his defense.

"So, wait a minute," Jimmy said. "What did you figure I thought vampires were like?"

"Well, I assumed you bought into the old folktales and such. Vampires like ice cream, for instance. When they go dancing, they really hop more than they dance and they're mad about Hummel figurines. Vampires are skillful drywallers and when they gather together in the places of the dead they stage mock swordfights using Wiffle bats and garbage can lids."

"Where exactly did you grow up?" Jimmy asked.

"Long Island."

"You destroyed any vampires? Yet?"

Van Helsing looked at the sidewalk. "I gotta . . . I gotta couple of good leads. My cousin's ex-girlfriend, she just moved to Colorado. She's got this guy in her neighborhood." Van Helsing bent his fingers like claws. "Kinda creepy."

"You wanna come over for dinner?" Jimmy asked. "My mom's making spaghetti."

"Yeah. Yeah that'd be great. Garlic's always good, right?"

"We can cut through the park here."

"Okay. Do they have any documentaries on vampires, then?"

"I don't know of any. I think there's a documentary on the making of a vampire movie, though. I can check Netflix for the title if you'd like."

"Thanks. I'd appreciate that."

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