My friend Randolpho slammed down the book he was reading. “Don’t you hate it when you look forward to reading a new book and it turns out to be a forced, contrived, hyped up mess?”
“Are there not reviews?” I asked him.
“There are, but this book won all kinds of prizes and the description sounded interesting. I got the old bait and switch on this one. It is going straight into the recycle bin. I’d donate it but I don’t want anyone else to have to suffer through this crap.”
“One could stick with blog posts because blog posts are usually short and demand little commitment or funding.”
“Nobody reads blogs,” said Randolpho. I knew he was wrong but declined to comment. I fear Randolpho will continue with his unfortunate book choices.
I was outside this morning in my backyard thinning out a few trees over planted by the previous owner. The neighbors told me that man was as a master gardener. He was nothing but a master idiot. Even I, Vlad the Vampire King knows more about gardening that that fool did.
As I lined up my tools, tied my hair back, put on my work gloves, and scanned my back yard, making a plan my cats played and watched birds. I was busy looking at a list I had made and failed to hear the side yard gate open, for when I looked up there was my cousin Sebastian standing there grinning from ear to ear.
The last time I saw him was right before I was sealed up in a crypt and left for dead. That was a little over three hundred years ago. I was surprised but did not show it.
I had little love for my cousin Sebastian. He was a treacherous being and the worst kind of Vampire. He would have parties and raid the local town and steal children for his guests to feed upon. Young men and women would vanish during the night. He tried to seduce my wife but even she knew better than to be with such a vile and callous Vampire.
He stole. He lied. He cheated. Sebastian was also charming and quick to flatter with his silk voice and beautiful fanged smile. He twisted those around him so that others would sing his praises while he left behind a trail of death and destruction. Even our Grandfather, the most cunning and skeptical of Vampires believed everything Sebastian told him.
When I became King of Vampires I banished him from my land. Years later he and his cohorts sealed me in a crypt and left me for dead. For three hundred years I hoped he was dead and gone, but it had unfortunately no been so.
“Hello Vlad,” he said with that famous smile of his. “I thought you were dead.”
“Why are you here?” I asked.
“Aren’t you cute gardening with your hair pulled back, and your shirt off looking like a model out of Men’s Health magazine,” he said with a sneer.
He called me cute yet he did not even mention my cats. “Everyone seems to think I am cute Sebastian. I neither understand or care what you mean by that,” I said.
“How I remember you Vlad with your righteous indignation, so angry yet so pure in your convictions. How you’d stand there with your golden halo of hair, eyes burning like sapphires on fire, so ready to go in for the proverbial kill. Damn you were magnificent.”
I am still magnificent I did not tell him that. I was angry due to the fact that I knew he had been involved in my three hundred year entombment, but I did not show it. It was like one of the mystery or detective books I have been reading. A friend who smiles might very well turn out to shoot you in the back, or tear out your neck with his teeth. One never knows about these things.
“What do you want?” I asked him calmly without a hint of distrust, or of the hate that had settled like a thin layer of hardened tar in the bottom of my heart. “You always want something.”
“You had everything Vlad. What do you have now?”
I thought for a second, as I often do when asked a profound question such as this.
“I have a chainsaw, two cats, a Vampire woman who loves me despite the fact I am not a king anymore, and my looks. I am also considered cute, by the way.”
“You are nothing,” he said.
“Excuse me,” I told him as I picked up my chainsaw. “I have work to do.” I pulled the cord, then the engine started, and I swung the chain saw. The cats ran after his head as it rolled down the garden path to the strawberry patch. I noticed the Peace rose was blooming with a blush of pink on white. I forgot to tell him I had flowers.
I could not leave even a Vampire body to sit in the summer sun so I quietly put my hands over him and recited a few words in the ancient language of Vampires. He turned to a fine yellow dust, head and all. My younger cat hissed and ran away while her mother sniffed at what was left then rubbed her head against my leg.
The gate opened again and in walked my friend Randolpho. He was wearing a large ridiculous looking straw sun hat, baggy yellow short pants, and a shirt made of fabric so bright it hurt my eyes to look upon it.
“What are you wearing?” I gasped.
“My favorite Hawaiian shirt. Wow, the yard looks great Vlad, but what is that horrible sulphur smell.”
I told him of Sebastian’s visit. In turn Randolpho helped me shovel the dusty yellow ashes into the garbage can.
“Sebastian always was a real dick,” said Randolpho. “Even when we were kids.”
Friendship is like flowers and Vampires. You treat it with care and kindness and the rewards are endless.
During this time of the two thousand and twenty pandemic we do not go out as much as we did. Even Vampires have decided it is better to stay in as much as possible.
My friend Randolpho and my Vampire lover Gillian have taken to sitting on my couch all night watching Netflix and drinking alcohol and blood concoctions. Tonight Gillian made something called Bloody Marys made with blood, vodka, red vegetable juice, limes, and a variety of spices.
We are beyond the point of no return I fear with our sanity being in trouble. Gillian and Randolpho are watching something called The Floor is Lava. I am both appalled and fascinated.
“Maybe the three of us should sign up for the show. We’d kick ass,” said Randolpho.
This is a strange world indeed in which we live, and even stranger times. Even someone my age, which is six hundred and seventy six years knows we are in strange times.
At this point I don’t even care. I poured more vodka in my drink. At least I am cute. That seems to be the only constant these days.
This has been the 62nd installment of Vlad’s Vampire Diary. Click here to read Vlad’s story from the beginning.