So it was with mixed feelings that I saw that my little tête-à-tête with Doctor Al was about to be interrupted...
Mama Lema and Donnie were approaching arm in arm, and a more curious sight was hard to imagine!
Palid Donnie, thin as a whistle and freakishly tall; Mama Lema with a lustrous amber complexion, five-foot-tall and quite as wide.
"Greta, Mama Lema," Donnie sketched a curious little bow in the ancient vampire's direction, "Wanted to meet you." Up close, Mama Lema had a massive presence - I had once met the Queen, and her regal dignity faded to childish posturing next to this woman's innate power and charisma.
Taking Donnie's cue, I curtsied awkwardly: not a graceful courtly curtsy; but rather like those gawky bobs parlor maids surely sketched to passing Duchesses in rustling silk, while their slack-lipped mouths gaped in awe.
"An honor..." I stopped myself from genuflecting, and pressed my hands together and nodded my head, smiling vapidly.
"Child," in conversation her voice was low, musical, and seductive. Mama Lema exuded a sensuality that was disturbing. I doubted that any would dare label her as obese - though by scale she surely was - she was a sculptured ode to fertility and sex in living flesh. There was nothing flabby or flaccid about her. Nothing.
She smiled, flashing just a hint of dainty fangs, and her face was transformed. The idol became a girl, with darkly twinkling mischievous eyes and deep dimples. She would surely not have been older than sixteen at the time of infection. Then I realised: 10.000 years ago life expectancy would probably not have been much more than 20 or 25. "Have dinner with me, I'm intrigued by you, and at my age, anything intriguing is worth exploring!" Her dark eyes swept over me speculatively. OMG!
"Mama Lema," I murmured, "Of course, it would be a pleasure and a privilege!"
She extended a tiny and astonishingly dainty and beautiful hand imperiously. "Come!" She turned to the Doctor. "Join us, Al! You seem as fascinated by our little newborn as I am."
The Doctor nodded. "Thank you, Mama, I accept. And yes, Greta is indeed a captivating lady..."
He raised my hand to his lips, but instead of just brushing the back of my hand with his beard, he turned it and pressed warm and disturbingly firm lips to the pale lilac vein on the inside of my wrist.
A shudder ran through me, and I gasped. The Doctor smiled and stared up at me. His eyes were dark with floating flecks of amber and gold. Where my delicious Ghoul's telegraphed frank and uncomplicated lust that set my body on fire, the Doctor's eyes were unfathomable molten pools that promised something more - something deeper that I might not be quite ready for.
So I was off to dinner with a 10.000-year-old woman and a man who attracted and disturbed me in equal measure. Both vampires. OMG! What if I ended up in some freaky ménage à trois in some alley enticed and compelled to acquiesce to their beastly lusts by the irresistible promise of virgin blood? Anxiety attack time! (Yes I know...too many Gothic novels in my teens)
Then I remembered Donnie! SAVED BY THE DOLT! I reached out and hooked his bony arm in mine. "And Donnie too, of course!" I giggled (yes, I know but I had to) "A girl can't do without her sponsor and adviser in such august company!" I admit I simpered and batted my eyelashes, but only slightly.
Mama Lema smiled graciously: "But Donnie too, of course! How rude of me...Thank you child."
I caught the Doctor looking at me with distinct amusement, as if he knew exactly what I had been thinking. There was a promise in that smile, a world of promises. I had a feeling my life was going to get very complicated by the end of this night.
I brought red wine
and walking home I stole
from an over hanging bough
limes dark and sultry
malachite green and
in the garden next door
in the fumbling breeze
heavy with velvet-skinned
The dismal little group disbanded after sipping bad coffee and nibbling at some really excellent doughnuts (the Vegan had decaff and no doughnuts cause they might have been sneezed on by a cow...)
Doctor Al hopped up to me and chatted amiably, asking how I was adapting, and making small-talk in the most charming way. And I am not being ironic or punning on his height - I was starting to find the Doctor very attractive. Wait...I was lusting after the Undertaker and now finding the Vampire Doc attractive? What kind of a cheap slut was I turning into?
Was I becoming a player? An image of the Undertaker's wriggling pussy-tickler sent a shiver up my spine, even as I pondered on the distinct advantages of a man whose elegant mouth and mobile lips were naturally ever so close to the business district. All one would have to do is flip a skirt... I felt a hot flush of embarrassment tint my cheeks deep violet.
What was this? From maudlin middle-aged celibacy to brazen trollop in two easy steps?
Ok...Let's just take a deep breath... I had to keep this runaway libido under control!
"Why?" The question just popped into my head, "Why?"
Why DID I have to keep my libido under control? That was a bloody good question.
It wasn't as if being "good" and "faithful" and "ladylike" had brought me great benefits, had it? On the contrary.
I thought about Sheila and her unashamed sensual sampling of the smorgasbord of available men - and some not so available. I had always disapproved, to be honest. I had felt she took after the lecherous, lascivious Valginsky side of the family. FRANK's side.
Could it be she took after ME?
Had I been secretly suppressing my inner slut all these years? Had the vampire virus erased my morals and my inhibitions? I was ready and very eager to find out!
In these confusing times of conflicting interests between what is supposedly healthy for the mind, and good for the soul where does the thinking person stand? "Things fall apart, the center cannot hold, mere anarchy is loosed upon the world"
Do we ponder God as superstition or as an intellectual possibility that brings us comfort on the cold dark nights of the soul?
The very core of every religion is free will: The right to ask exactly that question, just like Pink Floyd did: "Is there anybody out there?"
We can ask, and somewhere deep in our hearts we hope to hear a whisper of response.
Yet....Is not the very fact that we hunger for the answer answer enough?
No matter who or what we are, we all reach for the same comfort in the dark - and share the ultimate ambition of standing in the healing warmth of a Light that loves us.
The massive woman stared at me thoughtfully. "You must ban this killing fury from your heart, Greta, or it will devour you."
"I know killing is forbidden, Donnie told me about the VA rules... Vampires must feed without taking life."
The woman smiled quite sadly. "No Greta, I do not tell you this because it is a law among vampires; I tell you this because you will lose your humanity. I would tell you this even if you were not one of us."
"Yes, Mama Leme," I whispered, thinking of how easy it would have been to kill Rosa. How satisfying. "I think maybe I already have."
"Embrace it!" Shrieked the mustachioed fat man in Cuban heels next to the Vegan Vampirella. "Embrace the darkness and our Dark Lord will shower you with power!"
Dr Al sighed and exchanged an agonized look with Mama Leme.
"Eggbert," she called sharply. Her voice doubled in volume and authority. "In twelve thousand years of life, I have yet to come across any "Dark Lord", or any demonic forces, Satanic cults or anything similar in connection with true vampirism. 12.000 years, Eggbert´, I've been a vampire for 12.000 years."
The man's lower lip jutted out under the curled mustachios. "He does so exist! That is what I signed on for, see? Not to be some oversized fat greasy leach!" Tears started to slide down his very pink and rotund cheeks. "I wanted the Dark Mystery! Sinister power, meaning in my life. I was that tired of being the neighborhood joke!"
His fat shoulders shook, with choked sobs "Eggbert Valentine Hopwood the fag in the corner tea-shop. A joke in purple silk reading Tarot Cards for the local old biddies at five o'clock tea."
He raised a tormented face. "I can't even score at the Gothic vampire gay bars! We don't LOOK as good as the fakes! No-one believes that I'm the real deal! And I can't get thin, or have a hair implant, or shave off this stupid mustache and this goatee that makes me look like a massive wanker..."
Dr. Al hopped down and walked over to Eggbert and placed a consoling arm around him.
"I'm ridiculous, Al! Ridiculous! Just, please lemme be a dark and dreadful Satanist, please?"
Oh boy...What a collection of absolute winners! I just couldn't wait for the next meeting and all the titillating revelations yet to come!
Whoppee! Acne Through the Ages: A Social Study of Teenage Angst... So not!
I wobbled my head at volcano-face and allowed my gaze to drift around the semicircle of chairs. Gries, a sour-looking girl with long black hair, a shortish fattish man with a goatish beard and Mephisto eyebrows, my dearest friend Dr. Al, and in the place of honor facing the group, a gigantically obese woman with incongruously dainty ankles and tiny feet propped up on a foot-stool.
Eight of us in all. And with that inimitable aura of misfits. These were not the stylish and elegantly erudite, self-satisfied creatures that populated the Vermilion Club. These were the geek-vampires. And I was one of them.
Dr. Al smiled at me broadly and winked. "Greta!" He cried, "Welcome!"
The obese woman cleared her throat and all conversation ceased.
"We are here tonight in honor of the Ancient Law. We are here tonight in Brotherhood."
"Mama Leme!" The respectful murmur rose around me, I nodded awkwardly and mumbled under my breath.
"We who live on Life, are the ones who most revere it. We who drink from the Chalice are commanded to protect it."
More reverent murmurs. "So the Gods and the Spirit in the Blood command." The woman's head swiveled as she looked at each of the little group straight in the eye. She gazed at me a second longer, with a glimmer of a curious smile. "Will any Profess tonight?"
The thin girl lifted a thin, languid hand. The woman nodded at her. "Speak my child."
The girl flipped her hair and bit her narrow lips.
"My name is Sandra and I'm a Vampire. I was Converted in 1968."
"Hi" "Hello, Sandy" "Cheers.." Greetings drifted around the room.
"It has been a week since my last Infusion, and I am due in two day's time." She twisted her fingers together and sobbed. "I don't know how I can do this again...Each time it becomes harder and harder to...The taste, the smell...Can any of you understand?"
With Rosa's blood still echoing in my system, I most certainly could. "I do, yes I do!" I cried. They all turned to look at me in blank astonishment.
"We...Well..." I stammered in embarrassment, " I know how hard it is to stop - how enticing the taste and scent of it is...How irresistible...That rich, thick, salty taste.." The very thought of it brought a surge of saliva spilling into my starved mouth. I'm ashamed to say some may have dribbled out.
The girl gagged, pressed her hands against her mouth, and looked at me in undisguised horror and disgust. "How can you? Stop? I can hardly start! I'll have you know I am a Vegan!"
OMG! This must be the person Dr. Al had spoken about. I murmured a vague apology and sunk deeper in my chair. Next to me Gries stirred his bulk and rumbled.
"I don't get this Vegan shit. You hungry, you eat. If there's fruit, you eat; if there is meat, you eat - and if all there is is man-meat you better pray you are fast enough to eat, and not get eaten."
Personally, I agreed. Nothing was quite as satisfying as a delicious filet mignon covered in perfect pepper sauce, or a wall-to-wall T-bone sizzled on the griddle...Well, unless it was human blood, but that was a recently acquired taste.
Sandra's mouth pursed even more. "Please! Have you no conscience? We suck life from people, we are worse than carnivores! We, we..."
"Oh for the Lord's sake, get a life! Or give it up!" This from tomato-soup-face. "You were Converted when? 60 years ago?If your conscience so plagues, why don't you just find a wannabe serial killer on the Internet to chop off your head? It's quite the rage this season!"
Sandra looked furious. " I don't want to die, I just don't want to live like this!"
Dr Al interjected "We've been over this before, Sandra. It's your choice. Live or die, we must all make peace with our conscience - nothing in this world survives without taking life. In fact, the only true innocents are the very creatures you feel no qualms in devouring. So unless you too find a way to live from photosynthesis, I suggest you sit down and shut up."
Sandra did. Donnie stirred next to me. "My name is Donnie and I'm a Vampire. I was Converted in 1873."
Greetings wafted around us. "Through my incompetence, a woman was Converted without consent...And because of this one man is dead."
The huge woman in the center spoke. "Dead? Dead how?"
I hear myself cry out "It wasn't really his fault at all! It was mine!"
"My name is Mama Leme and I'm a Vampire. I was Converted before the Dawn of Time. Who are you, child?" Those dark unfathomable eyes drew me to my feet like a recalcitrant teen called to the carpet by a wise but stern schoolmistress.
""My name is Greta and I'm a Vampire. I was Converted three days ago." There was absolute silence.
"It is not Donnie's fault. I killed my husband." I took a deep breath. "It's not Donnie's fault because I did not kill him because I am a Vampire, I killed him because I wanted to. And I rather enjoyed it."