I’ve made vegetarian soup for vampires before. The secret is, don’t tell them what’s in it.
A group of fingerling vampires came to my house this evening. I could hardly overlook them, although they were short. They fastened their tiny fangs to my shins and ankles and sucked vigorously, but even so I felt the blood puddling up in my shoes for as much as an hour after they took their handfuls of eyeballs and werewolf boogers and moved on to the next house – a recently remodeled mausoleum in the cemetery/crematorium across the street from Quarter’s Barbecue Emporium.
I strapped a tourniquet on my legs to staunch the flow of blood and staggered through the streets.
Weak, confused, I stopped for a Big Mac to give me strength, slit my finger with a letter opener and squeezed three drops of blood onto the three pickle slices laid neatly on top of the 100% mutilated cattle patty.
Feeling much better, I resumed my walk through the city, wanting now to find salvation, some spiritual succor.
At the mall, a group of Hare Krishnas congregated, looking displaced. Their saffron robes hung loosely from their withered vegan bodies.
“Have you seen Little Buddha?” I asked them politely.
“What? Keanu Reeves? Right!” said the eldest Krishna, whose shaved head sagged at the back of his mottled neck.
I got a cappuccino and a cherry squeeze at the food court and continued my search for salvation in the city of the damned. The undead crowded the aisles at Walgreens. In Kmart, their faces were ashen and tinted as the voices of demons cried out the blue light special again and again. At Walmart, the brains of the enemy were on sale, writhing in a vat of pickled Chinese torture water. The roast beef glistened; its juices squirmed as tenderizer tore its fibers one by one each from its brother. Dried possum lips hung from the checkout stand rack. The venom of flesh-eating African frogs was bottled and sold in the sundries department at Osco that day.
I couldn’t stand the sight of them. Sick with loathing, I went to the produce department for yams, parsnips, blood oranges, kohlrabi and teatree oil to make myself a remedy to cure these cursed imaginings.
At the cemetery, I shared them with a man in black tattered velvet. His headstone read “Justice Not Mercy,” but he would not tell me why.
His hands were long and thin, nails crusted with graveyard soil more than a century old. His teeth were blackened. His breath was foul and sweet. He ate yams and parsnips, but said the kohlrabi gave him gas.
“I was once living, like you,” he said. He scratched his companion, a molding armadillo, behind the ears. The armadillo made a wet snuffling sound, like a pig snorkeling through the carcass of something left dead in the barnyard to rot. The armadillo coughed, and sputum bubbled out of his nostrils and one eye. I offered him a handkerchief.
“I’ve had this armadillo since before I was dead,” the man in the velvet suit said. “My name’s Ned. Ned Hall. He was buried with me.”
Suddenly, the armadillo began to cry. Green tears the size of quarters ran down his face.
“Armageddon, that’s what it was,” the armadillo said, between huge gulping sobs. “Armageddon, ruination, we’ve all been damned to hell.”
“Give it a rest, would you?” said Ned Hall. He lit a cigarette. Smoke trickled out of his ears.
The armadillo continued to sob, muttering “Apocalypse, death, destruction, second coming – all I need is an open grave,” until at last he subsided, with many hiccups and whimpering sidelong looks at Ned Hall.
“I keep telling him” said Ned. “He don’t have to stay here with me in this goddamn cemetery – if you’ll excuse the expression. It’s no vacation for me either, being buried with this sorrowful dead armadillo. I didn’t know they’d bury the fool with me. I’d a told ‘em don’t bother, if I’d known he was going to whine and moan at me for the next hundred years.”
He pulled an old boot out of the grass on the grave next over and pulled it on, lacing it with a boot hook and then scraping the unhallowed mud off his sole.
“Where’d that other boot get to?” he said, starting to emit a thick greenish slime that glowed in the darkness as he became more angry.
“Hellfire and damnation,” he hollered at last. (“Armageddon,” said the armadillo.)
“Resurrect my boot, you bloodthirsty abnormal afterlife pain in the hiney,” he said to the ‘dillo, and the creature did, rooting around in the gravesite with his dead-cold snout.
Leaving the two of them arguing in the graveyard, I went to Smiths, where I found my salvation at last in supersaver double coupons good for anything in the store with an ungodly smell. I made my purchase and went home alone. Or so I thought, at the time.