By N.T. Chambers
Drac awoke reluctantly with the New Orleans sunset, one eye at a time, his head throbbing and craving a lake, or at least a few gallons of liquid, to gulp, as long as it wasn’t red. The 1st of November was always predictably unhealthy for him. Lying in his tattered, over-stuffed coffin, he grimaced noticing that he barely fit its confines due to his seasonal bloating.
Ah, Halloween! So sweet, so opportunistic, so…fattening! His body ached from last night’s binging and fears of acne pirouetted in his mind, partnered with scary visions of cavity- ridden fangs. His tongue, coated with remnants of chocolate, licorice and, remarkably, peppermint, remained thick, fuzz-encrusted and immobile. He smirked to himself, “Must’ve been something I drank,” searching desperately for anything the least bit moist to drain.
The sugar-laden and inebriated faces of the previous evening floated namelessly in his memory like so many moons in an infinity of sighs. Why did he bother? Each year that singular night was polluted with amateurs, much the same as Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day – and his pancreas, or whatever was left of it, overworked and swollen, loudly threatened him with a bout of insulin shock. It was a pity that doctors refused to make any more house calls to his neighborhood he thought, while scrubbing his fangs with his tongue.
Sitting up slowly, he congratulated himself that he never bothered with children. He found their smell and squeaky voices – well, displeasing – far too jarring for his uber-senses. But adults, with their dramatic capes and wings, armed with plastic phosphorescent fangs glowing in the dark, scurrying haphazardly from party to party like so many vermin in a neon-lit alley – that was an entirely different pot-o-platelets. He smiled, recalling the utterly surprised look they all displayed when they met the real deal. Adrenalin flowing full throttle, he could distinctly hear their hearts pushing the sucrose-saturated nectar fiercely into the jugular as he savored the softflesh and rich ambrosia.
Ages earlier he had tried to mix it up a bit. One season his menu consisted solely of elderly eastern Europeans, with garlic garlands wrapped smugly around their necks. He had such a taste for pasta back then!
Another Fall he chose old Italian priests exclusively, crucifixes trembling in hand while spilling their deviant confessions, and fear-induced urine, as he dispatched them to whatever afterlife they deserved. They all tasted just a tad too metallic for his gustatory pleasure, but for some reason he always enjoyed the fragrance of incense mingled with melting beeswax. He chuckled at the memory of it.
Eventually, the New World beckoned, with its promise of an unlimited and diverse human medley.
It took some time, (and having nothing but, he had no concern), to acclimate himself to such an enormous array of flavors: Polish one night, Chinese the next, Italian each Wednesday, French whenever – such a smorgasbord!
Each quaff of blood offered its own unique saltiness, but the nuances of peppers, cumin, salsa, curry, basil, soy, cardamon and all the saporous spices that flowed within were just so…well…delectable! He truly found it to be heaven – or as close as he was ever going to get to heaven. It was little wonder his Armani tux was getting just a bit too snug for his sensibilities. Somewhat sadly, he admitted to himself that even after all these years, he was still a slave to fashion.
For an old guy, his hormones still worked fairly well and he wondered if Nina had yet arisen from her own casket and if she had been pleased by the sleek black satin gown he had draped next to her sarcophagus. It was her favorite color. He dreaded the timeless question she undoubtedly would ask:
“Does this make me look fat?”
… As if…He shook his head in disbelief and wondered if she were ever going to fully get it, but she was still a looker…soooooo. He envisioned her brushing that golden hair and pinching her cheeks for some color.
No, he resigned himself to the fact that she was never going to get it. Oh well.
With blurry vision he peered through the dreary vault’s gloom, searching in vain for his zoophagous servant, Renfield. No doubt he’d be whimpering somewhere in the shadows with his plate of fresh rats before him. He contemplated sending him out for some uncooked steaks. He’d have to be certain to spell it out for his familiar to make certain no to confuse him. S-t-e-a-k – the slave had gotten so absent-minded lately.
Had Renfield developed a taste for something new? Cats, perchance? They were certainly still in season for a few more days. He would read his mind later to discover the cause of Renfield’s recent forgetfulness, hoping that the asylum hadn’t undone his own work.
A bit later he planned that they would burn off some calories by doing a few fly-bys around the city – just to scare the locals and shake out the cobwebs from their own heads following yesterday’s gluttony.
Besides, it wouldn’t hurt to air out their dusty garments. Slightly annoyed, he decided that they really needed to cut down on their yearly dry-cleaning bills. Eternity, as it turned out, was not cheap.
* * *
N.T. Chambers has led an interesting life on the way to becoming a writer. Among many jobs held were: cab driver, bus mechanic, sales drone, pizza deliverer, wine merchant, improv actor, editor, educator, professional counselor, and, of course, every writer’s “go to” job – bartender. Each and every position helped to stockpile a wealth of experiences from which to cull ideas and characters for both poems and stories. A native of Chicago, the author has traveled extensively throughout the U.S. and currently resides and writes in the high desert of Arizona, accompanied by an elderly English bulldog named Shep.