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Vampire’s Night Out

by Arthur Mackeown

My delicate vampire’s stomach heaved as the waiter reverently placed a steaming, aromatic plate of spaghetti bolognese on the table in front of my wife.

He seemed not to notice how pale I had become and asked: “Does the lady require bread with garlic butter? Is specialty of the house, made with only the freshest ingredients...”

“Don’t you dare, Winifred,” I said to her.

“Watch me,” she said, and ordered a double portion.

Why, oh why did I marry a mortal?

“And for the gentleman? We have the most delicious Pizza Napolitana...”

I glanced up at him to see if he was trying to be funny, but his face showed only professional concern for his customer’s welfare.

“Oh, please don’t be angry,” my wife said. “I know you didn’t want to come, but I do so hate eating out alone.”

“But you know I’m allergic to...” I stopped short, unable even to pronounce the awful word.

“Why, oh why did I marry a vampire,” she sighed. “I can’t take you anywhere. I should have listened to my mother, I really should...”

“I know why,” I said, and smiled at her. “Because I bite. You like being bitten, don’t you?”

“That’s true,” she said. “Within reason. And only by you, darling,” she added hastily.

She smeared the bread with a thick layer of butter, and inhaled the aroma with her eyes closed. “Heaven,” she whispered.

I shuddered. “Just don’t expect to get bitten tonight.”

“Don’t be crude. The waiter’s listening.”

* * *

Before you ask, I’ll tell you: we met in a bar. I was having a ‘night out’, as we say in the trade. As it was obvious she’d already had several glasses of wine before I arrived, I bought her another.

She told me her name was Winifred and flung her arms around my neck when I assured her I had never before heard such a beautiful name. My intentions were entirely honourable from a vampire’s point of view.

“We get a lot of your sort in here,” she said.

“What sort is that?” I asked.

“Actors. From the studio down the road.” She giggled. “You can come up and see my autograph collection, if you like.”

“Oh, I’m no actor,” I said. “I’m the real thing.”

“You are? You look like Christopher Lee.”

“I am Christopher Lee,” I replied. “At least... I was.”

“I just loved you in Brides of Dracula,” she said.

* * *

How could I resist such flattery? My love life to date had not gone well. Lady vampires are notoriously bad-tempered. Their bite is most definitely worse than their bark, and I bear the scars to prove it. The worshipful and apparently malleable Winifred was a mate far more to my taste.

So we were married the next Halloween in an abandoned graveyard just as the church clock struck midnight. Absolutely everybody was there. Nobody you know, of course, or you wouldn’t be reading this. Even the graves gave up their dead so they could join the party. My bride was so sozzled she thought they were all in fancy dress.

She still hadn’t realised who I was when she woke up in my coffin the following morning. “Couldn’t you afford a hotel?”

“I thought this would be much more cosy.”

“You told me you lived in a house.”

“And so I do. In the cellar of one, anyway...”

“It’s a bit dark in here,” she said. “Where’s the light switch?”

“There aren’t any. I’m a traditionalist,” I answered proudly. “I don’t hold with all these new-fangled inventions. What’s good enough for the Count....

“Wait a minute,” she said. “You’re not one of them...?”

“As if you didn’t know,” I replied.

“Does that mean I’m one, as well?”

“Heaven forbid.”

“But I distinctly remember you bit...”

“Don’t worry, darling,” I said. “I was as gentle as can be.”

“That’s all right, then,” she said with satisfaction.

“What is?”

“I can still send out for pizza. I’m absolutely starving. Aren’t you?”

* * *

So there you have it. What am I to do? If I cure Winifred of her love for you-know-what the old-fashioned way I’ll be stuck with her — and her fangs — for all eternity, and I can’t just divorce her because she knows where all the bodies are buried.

Of course, I could just sit back and watch her digging her grave with her own teeth. Thanks to all that pasta she’s so huge she’ll need a coffin of her own before long, anyway. Just as well, as there’s no longer room for the two of us in mine.

Copyright © 2010 by Arthur Mackeown

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