Here’s a bit from the Southern Indiana Writers’ Group’s newest anthology, a collection of paranormal stories, entitled A PAIR OF NORMAL WHAT? One of my stories is “Fangs For Nothing,” a supposedly humorous vampire story. I’ve posted bits from it before, but I’m too lazy busy to look back and see if I’ve done this bit. If I have, consider this a rerun.
With apologies to Damon Runyon.
“Fangs For Nothing” – excerpt
by Marian Allen
Now, direct sunlight is no better for vampires than it is for anybody else, but most of us can tolerate a reasonable amount. I doubt a sudden burst of daylight will do more than give this Mansfield Parker a sneezing fit, but this, I do not say. I also do not say that, if he is so terrified of regular people, he needs to get a bodyguard, and the reason I do not say this is that I am afraid Vlad the Roumanian will think I am volunteering for the job which, to be perfectly honest, I am not.
“You will be thinking that what my friend needs is a Magyar.” Magyar is our word for regular people who, for various and sundry reasons, guard us with their lives. “As a matter of fact, my friend has one of these. But my friend is beginning to doubt his Magyar’s total devotion. My friend suspects his Magyar of being no Magyar at all, but just a guy in it for the cabbage. My friend suspects his maybe-not-a-Magyar is deserting him while he sleeps, leaving him vulnerable to attack by mobs of hysterical peasants armed with torches and pitchforks.”
I try to imagine the citizens of Ithaca, New York, as such a mob, and fail.
“What I wish for you to do,” says Vlad the Roumanian, “is investigate the situation.”
I open my mouth to protest that I am a simple businesswoman, not an investigator, but my brain gets a stranglehold on my tongue and shows it what Vlad the Roumanian will do to my neck if I contradict him, and I simply make a compliant noise into the telephone.
The next day I go to Catalpa Street and put the house under observation. Of course, if the Magyar does not leave by the front door, I will not assume he does not leave at all. You know what Vlad the Roumanian says about assumptions: “Never assume. It makes you disappear without a trace.”
Sure enough, though, the front door opens, and who should come out but Jasper Caufmann. Jasper Caufmann is the regular guy I work with the last time Vlad the Roumanian pays me the doubtful compliment of asking me to investigate something for him. Why, I wonder, does Vlad the Roumanian not tell me that Mansfield Parker’s Maygar is my old acquaintance? Does he think I will take my life in my hands and turn down the assignment, if I know this? Or does he simply not consider it important, one regular guy being pretty much the same as another in Vlad the Roumanian’s eyes?
At any rate, this is none other than Jasper Caufman, so plump and pale he could play the part of a guy drowned two days ago and not need much makeup whatsoever.
I slip up behind him as he fumbles with his car keys and say, “Boo.”
Caufmann jerks so hard, his keys fly up into the air and land, with a merry jingle, on his nearly bald head. His eyes cross, and I think he may collapse in a piddle of nerves, but this he does not do.
That was fun.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: How would your main character take it if somebody slipped up behind them and said, “Boo”?