For some reason graduate students seemed to be decades ahead of undergraduate students, especially freshmen and sophomores. At the ripe old age of twenty three Randy had discovered that the first day of school.
He’d also discovered a small following of younger Vampires who looked up to him like they would their favorite ancient Vampire Uncle.
They also liked Randy because he was unique and exceptionally hip and trendy in his vintage clothing and wavy longish blonde hair.
Before he left home after Christmas break, wearing his favorite Levi big bells, a Heart concert shirt from 1979, and a vintage fringed leather jacket, his dad called him “Fucking Flowers.”
Randy asked what that was all about. His dad laughed and told him that now he was an adult he needed to read John Sanford books starting from the beginning and work his way up to the Virgil Flower books. Randy made a note of it and a plan to stop by the bookstore when he got home.
Being the nice guy he was, Randy had volunteered to give three young Vampire students a ride from Sacramento back to Long Beach. Two, Josh and Winslow were Freshmen. Katie was a sophomore. They’d all packed their clothes, Christmas stash, care packages from their moms, and other gear in the back of Randy’s 2012 Range Rover and headed south an hour before the sun came up.
Randy decided to impart a bit of his wisdom upon the younger minds. “Being a good Vampire is like being a good parent. You must stay relivant. You can’t get behind or you’ll be left behind.”
“I think we need to be like superheroes,” said Winslow, a dark haired young Vampire with bright blue eyes and friendly round face.
“Superheroes? Whys that?” asked Randy.
“You know, because we can do things other people can’t do. Like see in the dark, and make people forget shit, and we’re super quiet, and shit,” said Winslow.
Randy turned down the radio. “The only super hero Vampire that I can think of is Morbius. He was kind of an asshole and not even a real Vampire. Come on guys, you can do better than that. You don’t need a superhero. You just need to be yourself. You already rock at being Vampires. Come on leave the tights to Katie. Girl you rock the tights with those boots.”
“Thanks,” said Katie. She was a small girl with brown hair and freckles. Nobody would ever pick her out for being a Vampire. “I got the tights for Christmas from my grandma. Just like what you said about being relevant. My grandma is relevant. She knows what I like.”
Randy smiled. “If I was a girl I’d wear tights all the time but it has nothing to do with being a superhero.”
“We were thinking about getting some costumes made,” said Josh, a tall kid who spent a lot of time at the gym.
“Dude, you don’t need costumes. Just wear black and jeans that fit. You’re already rocking it. I know you. You don’t need to pretend. You’re already living the secret life. You don’t need to make it more complicated with daytime cosplay. You’re already superheroes.”
As they drove on the subject changed to music, favorite podcasts, dog beach stories, and spilling the tea.
Being a Vampire in the modern world carried certain responsibilities including the usual truth, justice and all of that good stuff. They didn’t need tights or capes. They just needed to keep their mouths shut and do the right thing. That was all anyone could do.
Yes, being a graduate student included being a role model, especially if you were a role model for young Vampires, or anyone else who was just a little bit different, or a little bit confused about growing up and finding their place in the world.
Maybe a trip to the vintage clothing store was in order when they got home. Randy would take all of them. They could find costumes that they could live with. The thought made Randy smile. Fashion was his superpower. That was cool with him.