At the moment of eye contact, the fear that the stranger at the bar will ramble on his tired anecdotes is a certainty. The old man raises his beer to you with a tan, weathered hand, the sign of a man who still enjoys working outside. His cheerful jabber starts just as another blood-warm Florida evening commences. The sun masterfully flourishes a multicolored dusk and then slyly winks goodnight, the gesture of a con-man who may never return.
Son, did you know Hitler had a thing for wolves and Disney? That’s right! It seems that the Nazi bastard was fascinated with wolves, only fitting I should think, and he’d walk up and down doing that silly goose step, whistling “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf,” from that old Disney cartoon, which rumor says he watched religiously. I’m only reminded because the bartender was whistling that very tune just now.
Lord it’s hot. Spring’s just starting and Summer’s already lickin’ her heels. That time of year again. Time to start planting and landscaping and gardening. But it’s also the time of year for vermin and varmints. I don’t have to tell you do I? Got to start protecting my plants, my property, and my wife from mosquitoes, worms, flies, caterpillars, snakes, and vampires.
You see, I own a handful of acres down in Homestead, just a few miles south of hear, near the Everglades, so, of course, I got my share of varmints. I’m always weeding, spraying insecticide, fixing the fence, and what not. I swear my work’s never done. If I have one thing finished, something else needs -
What? Yeah, I said “vampires.” Do you ever have troubles with them? Pesky critters, always lookin’ to suck blood. Damn undead are feistier then swarm of horse flies. But I don’t know if anything’s as vicious as a Florida mosquito. They’re smaller then their northern cousins, but damn they are mean!
Am I serious? Hell yeah son! Have you ever been bitten by one of them mosquitoes? Oh…the vampires. Yeah, they’re pretty bad too. Have to clean their bites out pretty good otherwise – it gets ugly.
In fact, I’ve got to start preparing this weekend. Yes sir, my wife will be out planting flower bulbs, and I’ll be walking the yard, mending the fence, sticking up crucifixes and hanging garlic, which I grow myself, around the windows. It’s a pain, but work don’t get done by complaining.
Yeah, the crosses and garlic work pretty good, but don’t put any stock into that running water business. Also, those critters will get on your property whether or not you invite them in – silly old wives tales.
Now let me tell you about the fruit I grow. My specialty is apple-bananas. They’re just bananas, but they’re called that because they taste sort of like apples. I love cutting them up and putting them in…
What? You sure are interested in vampires son. But I guess there ain’t any good sources of info to look up. I’ve never seen them on the National Geographic or PBS. I think they need to have a guide book on the subject, like one of them Audubon Society bird guides, with color pictures and everything.
That’d help, ’cause like everything else, there’s different species of vampire. Yep, you have your common mutt variety, wandering around, hissing, making a nuisance of themselves. Usually the crosses and garlic take care of them. But there’s this other type, the Nosferatu. They are a royal pain in the ass. They can turn into bats and the like, so they fly right over the fence. I had to install this big old zapper I keep plugged in all night. It’s hell on the electric bill, but damn they love the light.
I hear there’s an Asian breed of vampire and they’re migrating to America. They can turn to mist! It’s mighty hard to keep that out of your yard. I swear they are going to be worse then them Japanese beetles we have all over the place. But I’ve got a guy who’s going to install top of the line weather stripping in my house, for wholesale. That should keep those Jap undead out of my house.
I’ve got one last resort to fall on though. Lean in a little closer son. Here’s the trade secret for confounding vampires – and you ain’t going to find it in them Dracula movies, no sir. Just leave a handful of seeds outside your doors and windows. That’s all it takes! Those suckers have some sort of compulsion; they just sit down and start counting the seeds until they’re done. With any luck the sun comes up and you have a mess to sweep off your front porch, but problem solved!
What? Sure it works – just as sure as a spoon of sugar will cure hiccups – just as sure as salt will kill a zombie. Yep, dries them up like slugs. My wife says that a pitcher of beer, left in the garden, will do the same. But I just can’t bring myself to waste that much good beer on slugs – or zombies.
Did you know that the living dead are neither living, nor dead? That’s right. And when you’re left with an undead carcass, you got to dispose of it with fire. And don’t let any critters near the flames! Not a dog or crow or even a toad. An undead corpse is as dangerous as that of a rabid dog. Best to stand by the fire with a rifle and shoot anything that crawls near. You’ll thank me later.
I don’t rightly know if you can classify them as vampires, but I was recently plagued by a succubus. She’d come to my bed at night – and she wasn’t after blood. No need to blush son, it’s the most natural thing in the world – just not when a winged she-demon hovers over your bed. Well, I couldn’t spend everyday exhausted, too much to do, but darned it all if I didn’t know how to get rid of the monster. You’ve got to be smart to beat the Devil son, so I threw away my Viagra. Didn’t please the Misses, but it confounded that forked tongued Jezebel, yes sir!
Well, I better get moving. Tomorrow’s a new day and I’ve got chores to do. If one thing’s been done, another always needs doin’.
(c) Joshua Alan Doetsch, All Rights Reserved
Tags: Bloodlust-UK, Dracula, Joshua Alan Doetsch, Short Story, Vampire, Vampire Fiction, Varmints, Writers
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