Sunday, October 31, 2004

Post 0. Chapter 1

Chapter 1:

Bruce Napoleon, Vampire Veterinarian, pulled his Volvo up to the side garage of the all night emergency pet care center where he worked, alone, on the night shift. Bruce loved looking after animals of all shapes, sizes and in all states of healthfulness. He loved working with the animals and making them feel better, or, alternatively, ending their pain for them.

Bruce also met a lot of his kind this way. Not all of them were about death and nightclubs and leather. In fact it mildly upset Bruce that those kinds of vampires got all the attention, The vast majority of vampires were kind, studious lovers of life that kept to themselves and tried to make their best of their immortality. Immortality is a burden in a lot of ways, it is hard to make friends or lovers outside the people, so many turned to animals; and animals got sick, old or dead with alarmingly mortal frequency.

That's where Bruce came in, since he was the only undead veterinarian in the entire county, he enjoyed a select clientele consisting of the creatures of the creatures of the night. Since most of the undead peoples were nocturnal by nature, they liked visiting a vet who was willing to conduct normal, everyday, pet care and business when it suited their delicate, light sensitive, constitution, and who didn't have to ask any weird question or make interminable small talk about the wee hours of the night.

Bruce also felt it gave him a unique insight into a side of vampires that most never saw, the fierce love and devotion that most of his patients enjoyed from their masters was clearly a moderating effect on owner. Vampires that owned pets, he reflected, were much less likely to sire new vampires, as the pet served that vital need of domination in such a happy, submissive way.

Cats weren't that popular among vampires, as you can imagine. Revenants, those spirits who haunt thinking they have something left to do, tend to favor cats. Cats are pretty good at taking care of themselves while the Revenants find their keys or whatever keeps them around. Unlike poltergeists, who couldn't stand cats, Revenants were always into the shop picking up ointments and special foods and toys for their cats. You always know when a Revenant has "given up the ghost" because the local paper will feature a story about finding 20 cats abandoned in an apartment or something similar. The only problem he had with Revenants is that they rarely spay or neuter their cats, which in Bruce's mind was just cruel, or, frankly, a good way to stock the fridge.

Revenants always needed things delivered, as they were very bad about being instantiated long enough to do much more than fill a food bowl or sign a credit card slip. Since Bruce charged extra for that service, he didn't mind that at all. Course, revenants tipped poorly, unlike most of the undead, they generally left this immortal coil before they got a reputation as a poor tipper.

Procrastinating, Bruce sat behind the front counter and played some solitaire on the computer rather than update the inventory for the day shift. Bruce worked alone, in fact he hadn't had an assistant in ages, and he was pretty happy about that as it would be very difficult to find an undead willing to do the job. The pay wasn't much and the chances of advancement were limited, sometimes a mortal would apply for the job, but that cramped Bruce's style with the undead and he was frankly afraid for their safety with some of the clients. Some undead just weren't cut out for hanging with the mortals. They had no restraint.

Bruce himself had no real problems with this. Even in mortality he hadn't had much trouble staring down a plate of fries, so maybe he wasn't one to judge. It wasn't that he didn't like human blood, it was sometimes the only thing that hit the spot. The fact was that consuming human blood was a fast trip to stake-ville, and thus he to pains to avoid partaking of humans.

He'd been to the parties like all the other vampires, taking a nip here and there from those who wanted to become immortal, but that was pretty harmless. Also, he needed a wee bit of humans blood now any then, but he was very careful to not make kids disappear or what not...that's more the city vampire style. The short lived city vampire style.

Bruce suspected that some of the local townfolk knew he was undead. He was wrong, for if they did they'd have strung him up and not brought their dogs and cats in for help, but he thought that they were beginning to accept him as an equal. Albeit an equal with a problem with the sun and a taste for rare meat, but still... No leather on this vampire, no sir....no stupid slicked back hair either.

He was a bit pale though.

"Hey Bruce, I didn't hear you come in.", Bruce's collegue, Karen Davidson noted as she walked from the back examination areas.

"Yep, got here about 2 minutes ago, how're the patients?"

"Fine, no new overnighters tonight, I had a call about 20 minutes ago from someone with some questions about their Cat, the phone kept coming out, I think they'll be coming in though, I told them to."

"What's up?"

"Said the cat was bleeding from a cut in its side, got into a fight or something, some infection worry, I think."

"Okay, sounds good, Thanks, what do you have going on tonight."

"Oh, not much, Mark and I are going to catch that movie, 'Laguna Beach'"

"Oh, you'll like it, it's pretty funny."

"You've seen it? You don't strike me as a romantic comedy kind of guy, Bruce."

"Well, I like beach movies, what can I say....fun, sun....anyhow...have a good time"

"Yeah, I will, I'll see you tomorrow night, then."

"No you won't, I've got the weekend off. Jerry's working."

"Oh, alright. See you Monday then."

Karen disappeared into the back offices, and shortly after head the back door slam shut on her way out.

"Thought she'd never leave."

Startled, Bruce said, "Goddammit Julian, why can't you just use the door like everyone else? And will you please let me see you. "

Julian appeared on the other side of the counter, fading into a slightly solid wisp of a figure, "Sorry Bruce, it was hard enough staying corporeal long enough to get here in the first place. You know how hard it is for us to drive. Very draining. Can you get Tangy out of the car for me? She's sick."

"You could have taken a cab."

"In this town? Do you know how hard it is to get a cab out here, much less one that isn't going to ask questions? This isn't New York."

"You said you didn't like New York Cabbies. We're you the one who called earlier?"

"Me? Nope, but Tangie's been having some problems."

"Tangie? She's the tabby?"

"No, the Siamese. Tommy's the tabby. "

"What about Tangles"

"He's the tomcat."

"Okay, bring her in....oh, sorry; is the car unlocked?"

"Yeah, she's in the backseat. Thanks Bruce."

(All pre-written 10/31/2004) Go read the next post!