Austin Durant was spending Saturday morning with a pot of coffee and a folder full of research materials. His mind was on the article he was writing, but also on the end of the school year, his latest landscaping project, and his girlfriend Elizabeth.
He stopped at the sound of the doorbell, then sent to answer. He hoped it wasn’t anyone trying to sell him anything. Two large men, dressed in black, stood at his front door. No clipboards.
Austin looked them up and down. “I’m going to assume you’re not from the Sanders campaign,” he said.
The men pushed their way through the door. Austin backed away.
“I don’t know why you guys even bothered to knock. Can I get you anything?” Now more than anytime he wished his old German Shepard Dogs Lucy and Mina were still alive. They would have ripped these guys to shreds, or at least barked a lot. After three years he still couldn’t bring himself to get another dog. But this wasn’t the time to reminisce about lost loves – he had Vampires in his house.
Who would have thought that Vampires would be at his front door at 2:37 on a Saturday afternoon in May? Sure, alright, he was a part-time, sometimes Vampire Hunter, but not on Saturday afternoon. The plan was to do a little work on an article about the California art colonies in the 1880’s, then do a little yard work, then go over to his sister’s house to eat tacos and watch Dead Pool. Such is the life of a single History Professor slash Vampire Hunter.
“You know guys, this is a bad time for me. Why don’t you come back later, say in about a hundred years.”
The Vampires stepped forward baring their long sharp fangs. Austin started to calculate in his mind how to distract them so he could get his sword. Then the doorbell rang.
Austin put his hand up. “Excuse me for a minute guys.”
The Vampires stepped back and withdrew their fangs.
At the door stood Austin’s fifteen year old neighbor Ryan. A tabby cat with white paws stood next to him.
“Hey, Ryan. What’s up?”
“I, um, forgot my key to my house. My mom said you had a copy.”
“Sure, wait a second.” Austin looked at the Vampires. “Don’t even think about it.”
He got the key from the kitchen drawer and brought it back to Ryan. The boy thanked him then looked inside the door.
“Seriously dude, you have some creepy friends.”
“They’re not my friends,” said Austin. “Just some guys dropping off some stuff for a research project.”
“Uh, thanks for the keys.”
Ryan and the cat left and Austin turned his attention back to the Vampires. “OK guys, time to go. I have things to do, places to go, tacos to eat, and if you don’t get the hell out of my house I’ll add Vampires to kill to my list. Got it?”
The Vampires showed their fang again. Then the doorbell rang. The Vampires stepped back into the shadows.
Austin opened the door. Dave the mail carrier stood there with a package. “Hey, Austin, I just need a signature.”
“Good, I’ve been waiting for this,” said Austin as he signed the deliver slip. It was a packet of letters from the artist Julian Rix to a woman who would eventually break the artist’s heart. Austin put the letters on the table in his entry way and turned his attention back to the Vampires.
“Sorry about that. I told you this was a bad time,” he said to the Vampires. “What do you guys want? I don’t have all day.”
The two Vampires showed their fangs and stepped towards Austin. “Listen, I don’t want any trouble. I don’t have a problem with you. I don’t even know you. In fact, my girlfriend is a Vampire.”
The Vampires hissed through their fangs, then stopped. There was a soft knock at the door.
Austin stepped back. “Excuse me, somebody is at the door.”
At the door Austin’s neighbor from down the street, a guy named Bob stood with a clip board. “Hi Austin, I have the petition to close the street on the Fourth of July.”
“Yes, I’m looking forward to it. Just let me know what I can do to help.”
“Sure thing,” said Bob. “Feel free to invite your friends.”
Austin looked around to see the Vampires had moved just behind him in the entry way. “Sure thing. Hey guys, you’re invited. Bring your favorite pot luck dish and some sparklers. It will be fun.”
After Bob left, Austin turned his full attention back to the Vampires. “I know you didn’t come here to borrow a cup of sugar. What do you want?”
The Vampires showed their fangs. “No, I’m not going to do this today. You’ve already waited almost an hour of my time. Either I kill you, you kill me, or you leave. What is it?”
The doorbell rang again. “Shit,” whispered Austin. He opened the door. There stood two college students with a clipboard. “Hey, I know you. How’s it going Tiffany?” The girl was in his California history class.
“Dr. Durant. I didn’t know you lived in this neighborhood. We’re here for the mayor’s campaign.”
“Good for you. I encourage everyone to be politically active. I think a few other groups will be out today as well.”
The kids talked with Austin about politics and school. All the while Austin could sense the Vampires behind him, lurking in the shadows of his living room. He then wished the kids good luck as they went on their way.
He turned back to the Vampires who were now looking at his book shelf and talking quietly to each other.
Austin approached them. “So do you want to do this or not?”
“You have all of Steinbeck’s books, I’m impressed,” said the taller and paler of the two Vampires. “Too bad I have to kill you.”
Then the door bell sounded again. Austin went to the front door. His neighbor Joe who lived behind him was there.
“Hey Austin. I’m fixing the fence so Sammy and Shadow can’t get out. Do you mind if I go into your yard for about a half hour?” Sammy and Shadow were two shaggy dogs of unknown breeds.
“Sure, I’ll help you out. Give me a few minutes. I’ll meet you in the back yard.”
Austin turned to the Vampires. “Guys, we’re going to have to do this later.”
The Vampires looked at him with frustration on their pale faces then slipped out the front door and vanished into the cloudy afternoon.
Well, this is the first time I’ve killed a Vampire with boredom, thought Austin. Then he put on his shoes and work gloves to meet Joe by the fence.
As with most of the Sunday Short Stories, this was written in about a half hour. And yes, I am in a roller rink on Sunday morning doing this. It is amazing how weird organ music can put a writer in the zone. ~ Juliette
For all of the Austin and Elizabeth stories click here.