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Van Helsing’s Miraculous Mouthwash

by Arthur Mackeown

Good afternoon, ladies. Welcome to my modest establishment. Please feel free to browse to your hearts’ content. And where are you from, if I may be so bold?

London? How nice. I dream of visiting your fine city one of these days. I shall not ask what brings you to our little town; I already know. You’re here to see the old count’s castle. Why else would the world outside bother itself with our little backwater? I suppose we should be grateful to Hollywood and that dear Mr. Stoker for finally putting us on the map.

At what hour had you planned to visit? If you are staying overnight, may I suggest this evening at sunset? You might even get a glimpse of the count himself then, although it’s more likely to be the mayor posing for photographs with a mouthful of plastic fangs. He may regret that if Old Red-Eyes — the count, I mean — ever gets to hear about it. But I digress.

The main thing is that our esteemed visitors have nothing whatsoever to fear... unless, of course, the moon is full, as it will be tonight. The old gentleman does tend to get a little frisky at full moon.

Do not look so alarmed, my dears. We have never lost a tourist yet. You will be perfectly safe as long as you have a bottle of my special formula, which offers complete protection against any eventuality at an absolutely rock-bottom price. One is not obliged to buy, for the count, like the crocodile, feeds but rarely, yet in the past he has displayed an unfortunate predilection for attractive young ladies.... I did mention the full moon, didn’t I?

Is my formula effective? How can you ask such a question? Of course it’s effective. Read what it says on the bottle: ‘Van Helsing’s 100% Proof Garlic Mouthwash. Guaranteed to drop the most Ravenous Vampire at Fifty Paces!’ It also has other benefits, but I will not embarrass respectable young ladies like yourselves by enumerating them.

Did we say one bottle, or two?

* * *

Hello again, ladies. May I say you are looking positively radiant this evening? It must be our mountain air that brings such a bloom to your cheeks. You have arrived just in time, for I was about to close up for the night. Did you enjoy your trip to the castle yesterday? You did not? Now, that is most unfortunate. Is there anything I can do to make amends? Perhaps even a free month’s supply of my special form...

I beg your pardon, my dear? Are you questioning the efficacy of my formula? If you have any doubts, I will gladly refund... What do you mean, it’s a bit late for a refund? Oh. Yes. I see. Well, that does look rather nasty. It... it is not too painful, I trust.

And you’ve got one as well, have you? Can I guess how you got it? Er... a particularly large mosquito, perhaps? They can be so troublesome at this time of year. No? Something a bit larger than that. Not the mayor, surely? But that only leaves...

Wait a minute, why are you both smiling at me like that? I don’t... Oh, I get it. You’ve been pulling my leg, haven’t you? It’s payback for my flogging you that fake mouthwash. Well, I suppose I did have it coming.

And those plastic fangs are a nice touch. That good old British sense of humour, what? You really had me going, there, I must admit. For a moment I actually thought they might be real...

Copyright © 2014 by Arthur Mackeown

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