The time was between 7:30 and 8 o’clock on Saturday night, when Jimmy Manetti drove into the parking lot of the Climaxes Nightclub, with me, Vicky the Vampire, lying curled up in a very uncomfortable position, inside the stifling, stinking trunk of my own car.
Just before we’d left the motel room at the Sangreville Motor Lodge, Jimmy told me, “I’d like you to ride in the trunk Vicky.”
“That’s not necessary Jim.” I told him, “I can duck down in the back seat, and out of direct sunlight, until it gets dark.”
“I’m sorry Vick. Once it gets dark, you’ll still be a vampire, and I just have to take extra precautions.”
“No you don’t Jim.” I told him, “I’ve got my soul back, so you can trust me; just like Pete trusts Kate.”
“No I can’t Victoria.” He said, “I couldn’t trust you the last time you had a soul, so why should I trust you now?”
I couldn’t think of a good answer to that.
I know the subtitle of the Vampire’s Handbooks says, “Being a vampire doesn’t have to suck.” During that ride back to the City, believe me it did; totally.
My nighttime drive, when I’d gone out to Sangreville at 2 o’clock in the morning, had taken me about two hours. Now we’d returned at the height of the evening rush, so the journey seemed to take twice as long, and I’d felt every single bounce and bump along the way. Like I said, it was stifling, and stinking, and the trunk was filled with fumes from the engine exhaust. If I wasn’t already dead, I would have died from asphyxiation then and gone back to Hell, where I’d now be spending the rest of eternity impaled on the pitchfork of Egbert, with whom I’m totally in love.
As we’d drove along I kept checking my watch. The time was passing much more slowly than I’d thought.
The sun must have set by now, I’d thought, but Jimmy just isn’t gonna pull over and let me out, so I won’t be riding in the passenger compartment.
So repent you sinners.
The car finally stopped moving. The engine shut off, and the trunk finally opened.
Jimmy stood above me, under the dim lighting of the Climaxes’ parking lot. I heard the sounds of heavy traffic passing by along the Sunset Strip, along with the muffled melody of live music coming from inside the Club.
He stood there looking me over, with a troubled expression on his face.
“Vicky.” He said, “You look like hell.”
“And you’re a real gentleman Jimmy.” I groaned. “Aren’t you?”
He reached into the trunk and helped me climb out. I was finally standing on the ground, out of the exhaust fumes, and in the fresh air.
Jimmy had waited ‘til no one was in the parking lot, before he’d opened the trunk and pulled me out. Now a car drove up and parked in a nearby space. A couple of guys got out of the vehicle, and headed for the Club’s entrance. They looked at me, in the dim lighting, and actually winced.
I actually heard one of them say, “Who the hell’d want to fuck that?”
I asked Jimmy, “Just how bad do I look anyway?”
He told me, “You heard what he said.”
I looked down at myself. After all those hours lying curled up inside the trunk, my dress was wrinkled and grimy. My arms and legs were also covered with grime. I was sure that my face and hair were also a grimy mess, and that I smelled like the inside of the trunk.
I told him, “Let’s use the employees’ entrance.”
We went around the side of the building. He was carrying a plastic bag, containing the six pack of blood from my office fridge that he and Pete had brought along on their journey with Kate. The returning six pack now contained five cans of pigs blood.
I told him, “You put those back in the fridge in my office. I’ll do what I can to clean myself up in the ladies room.”
We stepped through the employees’ entrance. He headed for the office, while I entered the ladies room. There were two women in front of the mirror. One of them was Julianna, Henry the D/Js fiancée, who was also his assistant in the D/J booth. The other woman was a customer who I didn’t recognize.
Julianna turned at the sound of the door opening. When she saw me she gasped and looked horrified.
I took one look at the mirror and I thought that the guy in the parking lot had been right. If I was a guy, I wouldn’t have wanted to fuck me either.
I spoke to the trembling assistant D/J. “Good evening Julianna.”
“Hu…Hi Vicky. Are you okay?”
“Yeah.” I waved my arm toward the mirror. “At least not as bad as I look.”
Now the other woman also gasped.
“No reflection.” She said softly, “Vampire.”
I stepped up to the mirror, while the trembling two backed away.
“Don’t’ worry!” I spoke with a hoarse tone. “I’ve already eaten.”
The other woman spoke nervously. “You have?”
Julianna also sounded frightened. “Anyone we know?”
I growled, “Two pit bulls and a rotweiller! I didn’t ask their names!”
The two of them were out of the room immediately.
I tried to wash off all the grime from my face, using paper towels. I’m glad we have towel dispensers along with the blow dryers.
With these towels, I thought, I can’t do all that much to clean myself up in here. I’ll just have to wait ‘til I get home.
Home? Where is that?
Now the door to the restroom opened slowly. Another woman cautiously stepped in. She wore a stylish outfit, had stylishly set hair and carried a long, sharp wooden stake that she’d taken out of her open handbag. She held the stake at shoulder height, while pointing it at me. I felt my fangs instinctively extend.
I turned toward her and spoke. “Good evening Ms. Carolton.”
Loretta said, “So you’ve come back.”
“That’s right.” I nodded, “I was accompanied by my business partner James Manetti, who authorized Harry Edelstein to hire your Demon Snuffers Agency, as private security for this Nightclub, that is co-owned by both Mr. Manetti and myself.”
She reached into her handbag, took out a cross and held it out in my direction.
I didn’t wince. She looked startled; and like she was ready to pounce.
“It’s okay Loretta.” I told her, “Both Kate Nellington and I have had our souls restored. And by the way, she’s identified her real killer, as your former classmate Roxanna.”
“Restored?” The woman asked, “In Sangreville?”
“That’s right, by a Bruja named Pilar Mendoza, who spoke an incantation over the Consecrated Shrunken Head of the late Snuffer-Vampire, Senorita Juanita Obregon, of Guadalajara Mexico.”
“That’s right.” I smiled, “I hear she’s another former high school classmate of yours. She was honored to hear that her services were recommended by you.”
Loretta relaxed slightly, but still kept the stake ready.
“Now tell me.” I asked, “How are things going, when it comes to security, here in my nightclub?”
“So far,” She cautiously lowered the stake. “We’ve hung crosses over all the entrances; so no vampires have been able to enter, except you, and that’s because your soul’s been restored. There hasn’t been any trouble tonight.”
“What about the drug dealers and bookies?”
“Harry Edelstein didn’t say anything about them when he hired us. He said he wanted us to watch out for vampires, and that’s what we’ve been doing. We’ve hung the crosses, and that should be enough.”
“Not enough for any drug dealers or bookies,” I told her, “who aren’t vampires. They can’t be stopped by the sight of any cross. Now will you please step aside Ms. Carolton, so I can get to my office, and resume the running of my own Club?”
She moved a few steps to the side, but kept the stake raised as I walked past her with my fangs extended. Then I halted at the doorway and looked back at her.
I said, “Do you want to come with me to the office Loretta? We’ve got some business to discuss.”
I stepped through the ladies room doorway, and out onto the dimly lit main floor of the Climaxes, where the crowd was as thick, and the hired band as noisy, as you’d expect in a Club along the Sunset Strip on a Saturday night.
I put a few customers between myself and Loretta. She’d put her stake and cross back inside her handbag and I’d retracted my fangs.
As I made my way through the raucous crowd, with Loretta a few steps behind me, I found myself face to face with Yolanda. She was carrying a tray with three drinks. She was startled, and began to shake, but she managed not to spill the drinks.
“It’s okay Yolanda.” I told her. “I’m not going to harm you, or Jorge, or anybody.”
The waitress hurried away from me, and went over to the table where the drinks had been ordered. Kevin was seated there, along with Julianna, and Pete’s sister Caroline. Yolanda spoke to them, and they all looked in my direction. I looked away from them.
I then noticed one of the bookies who’d been operating at the club. He was seated alone at a table with a cocktail in front of him.
I looked back at Miss Carolton and called out. “Do you want to wait for me in my office Loretta? There’s something I have to take care of first.”
She moved away from following me, and made her way through the crowd toward my office. I headed over to the table, where the bookie was speaking with some guy, who stood beside him.
I said to the bookie, “Hello Mr. Stassen.”
Mr. Stassen was in his early fifties, plum and bald.
He spoke without warmth. “Good evening Vicky.”
“I’m not sorry to tell you this, but you’re no longer welcomed here.”
He spoke to the guy standing beside him. “Do you want to wait a minute?”
I told the guy, “You can wait for him outside!”
The guy backed away into the crowd.
“What is it Vick?” Mr. Stassen asked, “You want a bigger cut?”
“No.” I told him, “It’s over. I’ve been getting a lot of heat, and I don’t want any trouble here; so you can tell all the other bookies and dealers, that they’re no longer welcomed inside the Climaxes. You can all take your business someplace else.”
He spoke calmly. “That’ll be a big mistake on your part, Miss Milford. The people who we work for aren’t going to like hearing about this, and you’ll be sorry you kicked us out.”
Now I extended my fangs. “Not as sorry as they’ll be, if they try giving us trouble. They might find themselves having to deal with Vidamort Corp.”
He got up quickly and headed out the door. The guy he’d been talking to went with him.
Now that was done. I made my way through the crowd, to the opposite side of the floor, where I finally entered my office.
I’d hoped to be alone at last, at least for a few moments, but that would have to wait. My office was already occupied by Jimmy, who was seated behind my desk, and by Harry who stood beside him, along with Loretta Carolton. I groaned again as I stepped up to the desk.
Jimmy said, “So we’re all here.”
“If we’re having an official meeting,” I snapped, “of which I wasn’t informed, do you want to get out of my seat, Mr. Manetti?”
I think my fangs must have still been extended. He got up out of that seat really fast. The others moved away quickly too.
Then, after the ride back from Sangreville, bouncing and banging around in the trunk of my car, I finally got to sit down in a comfortable chair.
Jimmy, Harry and Loretta now stood a good distance away from the desk.
“Well,” I said, “here’s one advantage to having a pair of vampire fangs. People will make room for you.
“Now to get down to business; I just threw out one of the bookies. I told him to let the other bookies and drug dealers know that they’re no longer welcomed in here. I also told him that if any of the ‘Big Boys’ tries to give us trouble about that, they might find themselves dealing with Vidamort Corp.”
The other three looked uncomfortably at one another.
Jimmy asked, “Does that mean that you’ve decided to sign the Club over to Vidamort, Vicky?”
“What it means,” I told them all, “is that I’d like to hear some suggestions, about what’ll have to be done, to keep that from happening.”
Loretta spoke. “Well it’s like I told you, we’ve got crosses nailed over every entrance.”
I told her, “That’ll keep them from coming inside the Club, but it can’t stop them from harassing our employees or regular customers, when they’re outside the Club. They can follow them anywhere.”
She suggested, “Supposing you hand out crosses on chains to all your employees and customers? If they wear them around their necks, that should be enough to keep them from being harassed. We can supply them to you.”
I said, “I’m not sure just how effective that’ll be, but it’s worth a shot.”
Now Jimmy’s cell phone rang. He took it out of his pocket, put it to his ear and listened.
“Hi Pete.” He asked, “How’s Kate?”
He listened for a long moment.
Then he said, “You want her to learn how to control her blood lust?”
I said, “Let me talk to him.”
Jimmy came over to the desk, handed me his cell phone, and quickly backed away.
I then spoke into the device. “Hi Peter. Controlling a new vampire’s blood lust is a good idea.” I quoted Roxanna. “’Can’t have a brand new vampire going off the deep end and biting the first live person she sees.’ Could you put Kate on?”
I waited a moment, until I heard Kate’s voice.
“Listen.” I told her, “If you want help controlling your bloodlust…”
“Not all that much!” She told me, “Pete’s just being a real wus.”
“That’s okay. Believe me, I know what you mean. I feel the exact same way. But you do understand that you do have to keep out of trouble, don’t you?”
She sighed regretfully. “Yeah. I know, I know, but…”
“Do you still have all the blood that we left you in the cooler?”
“Yeah. There’s plenty, the problem is, that I wish that there wasn’t.”
“Listen.” I told her, “When I was being held at Vidamort Corp, I learned about an organization of born again Christian vampires, that’s helps vamps like us, when it comes to controlling our bloodlust. It’s called ‘Blood Suckers Anonymous’. They meet regularly at ‘The First Presbyterian Church of Vampires’.”
Jimmy and Harry looked startled again, while Loretta Carolton nodded.
Jimmy said, “’Blood Suckers Anonymous’?”
Harry repeated, “‘Born again Christian vampires’?”
Loretta said, “She can trust them. They know what they’re doing. There’s a congregation right there in Sunnydale. They meet for worship on Sunday nights. They’ll be meeting tomorrow night at 9 PM.”
Over the phone, Kate said, “That’s good to know. I'll keep it in mind.” She hesitated, and then added, "For future reference."
I asked "'Future reference'?"
Kate asked, “How are things at the Climaxes?”
“Well, as of right now, we’ve got everything secured, but that’s just as of right now.”
“Then listen Vicky. Pete and I have been in contact with someone who’s a member of the Demonic Order of Beelzebub. With their help, you’ll be able to easily defeat whoever, or whatever Vidamort Corp. sends against you.”
I said, “You’re trying to get me help from a Demonic order?”
“That’s right. Tell me Vick. Are you still in love with Egbert?”
“Forget it Kate!” I shouted. “Don’t have anything to do with demons!”
“Hey! I am trying to help!”
“If you really do want to help, then stay away from demons. Don’t bring any of them to the Climaxes. Stay away from demons; and if you want to help yourself, ‘repent you sinner’! Then attend Worship at the Vampire Church tomorrow night.”