With chips and salsa, a cold beer, and two cats sharing the couch with him Jake studied the script to the yet untitled take on the story of Dracula.
With the sorry assed version of the story now showing on Netflix this play could either make or break his career. This version, written by his best friend Rick DeMarco, would run as a play for six month, then if a success would be made into a major motion picture, with Jake playing Dracula.
This version would take place in the present, in the early 20’s with Dracula portrayed in a sympathetic light, more as a misunderstood victim of discrimination. This be a Dracula who preferred jeans and a tee shirt to a red lined opera cape and tails. He thought he’d lobby for paring jeans with a white button down shirt with the sleeves rolled up as well. Women loved that look.
Of course Dracula would be hot. No doubt the most attractive Vampire ever to hit the stage or screen. Jake shrugged that one off but was secretly flattered.
Rehearsals wouldn’t start in two weeks but since Chloe had left him he had more free evenings. She’d dumped Jake for some guy she claimed was more spiritually grounded than Jake would ever be. Of course the guy was also richer than Jake would ever be, not that Jake wasn’t well off. Rather than party his money away with an entourage and series of huge mansions he’d settled into a comfortable older home in Long Beach a block from the beach and away from adoring fans and extra drama.
He read the script aloud for a few minutes, trying to get the right inflection in his voice.
Van Helsing: You know you must die.
Dracula: We all die eventually, but tonight isn’t a good time for either of us.
Van Helsing: You aren’t going to talk me out of this.
Dracula: Damn this script is horrible. Maybe I’ll just do that romantic Western I was offered yesterday. I grew up around horses. It would be a shoe in for an Oscar.
Van Helsing: You sure won’t get any award nominations with this script.
Jake put down the script and rubbed his eyes. He put up the chips and salsa, then grabbed another beer out of the fridge.
As soon as he sat down the door bell rang. It was 10:00 on a Saturday night. He wasn’t expecting anyone.
At the front door was a vision of loveliness, a Hollywood cliche, a beautiful woman in a short black leather skirt, a cream colored silk and lace camisole top and platinum blonde hair. Stiletto heeled sandals dangled from one hand. A smile was on her red lips.
“Irma. Wow. It’s been a while. Come in.”
Irma Snowberry. Jake had met her at a party a few years before. She was wearing a long silk evening gown the color of pale gold and silver mixed with stardust. Only Irma could wear a dress like that so well. He met her again a year later and taken her home for the night. After a night of incredible sex he slept like a dead man and didn’t see her again. The number she’d given him was out of order. He looked her up and only found obituaries of long dead women.
Irma. He doubted that was her real name. His mom had once made a comment about all of the girls his age having grandma names, but he imagined Irma must be her stage name, or just a fake name she used when she wanted to have some noncommittal company for a night.
“I was in the neighborhood and thought I’d stop by and see you,” she said with a voice as smooth as her pale bare skin. Why was he even thinking this way, like he was in some sort of bad movie or romance novel?
He felt sort of self conscience in his pajama pants and tee shirt that read Cat Dad across the front. Oh well. It was Saturday and he was at home in his own house. Comfort was the only thing that mattered. He didn’t have to look good for his cats.
Jake invited Irma in, offered her a drink, and sat her down on the couch next to the cats. The tabby cat Willy hissed and ran off. Maggy the black cat hid under a chair and sat with wide green eyes.
“I hear you’ve been offered the role of Dracula,” said Irma.
“Uh, sure. I’m reading the script right now. I’m not 100% sure I’ll take it.” Jake didn’t want to talk about the part. He never liked to talk about his roles until he was either onstage or the movie was out in theaters.
“Do you believe in Vampires Jake?” Irma licked her red lips in a way that was both exciting and kind of weird.
“No. Do you?”
“Yes, I do Jake. I do believe in Vampires,” said Irma.
Jake woke on Sunday morning alone in his bed without his pajama pants or his Cat Dad shirt. He didn’t remember anything from the night before except that Irma had dropped by and he’d let her in. He moved to get up and felt a sharp pain in his neck.
New pillows. I’ve got to get new pillows today, he thought to himself.
The cats sat on the couch curled up together. They both looked up with green eyes then ran into the kitchen for breakfast.
Irma hadn’t left a note or a phone number, or anything except lipstick marks on a wine glass. Next time, if there was a next time, he’d ask her what happened. Or maybe he’d just tell her that he was busy or involved with someone. He had no desire to see her again. She was no doubt a user just like Chloe. On the other hand there was something weird about her. He’d do more research and ask around about her.
The phone rang. It was his friend and Dracula producer Rick.
“So what do you think of the script?” Rick asked.
“You know, I hate to do this to you but I think I’ll pass on it. I just don’t think it is a good match for me.”
“You liked the idea yesterday.”
“I know, but I just don’t feel easy about it. Remember that woman Irma? She came over last night. It was weird, and you know, it has nothing to do with the script. We didn’t even talk about it, but this morning, I just feel uncomfortable with it.”
“Sounds like you need more coffee dude. I’ll talk to you about it later when you’re awake.”
Jake fed his cats and stared some coffee. He thought about Irma and all of the obituaries, then felt the two bug bites on his neck. He pulled on a sweatshirt and sat out on his deck.
The Western was sounding a lot better. Besides he liked horses. He liked them a lot better than bats.
The cats ate their food and Jake sipped his coffee, as the pages of the script were caught by a stray wind and drifted out in the wind over his deck and vanished into the Sunday morning fog.
No, it wasn’t a good time to play Dracula. Maybe it never would be.
2020 Juliette Kings