Hey folks! Below is an extract from my new short story, Send My Regards To Stephanie. It’s (hopefully) a humorous, tongue-in-cheek look at a certain trend towards…well, you’ll see.
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Many things change in the world. Politics, economics, fashion, entertainment, language; hell, I’ve seen it all with my own eyes. It’s hard to keep up. Luckily, there is one constant that you can always count on, if you’re a man like me.
Teenagers are, and will always be, fucking stupid.
Sure, nowadays every child from eight up is a technological whiz kid – able to hack into government databases, access any information they’d ever need on a smart phone, shit like that – but they still lack that one, basic thing that keeps them safe: a sense of how everything actually works.
We were worried for a while in the late nineties and into the new millennium. A lot of my brothers and sisters died when plucky kids got up to date and discovered how to defend themselves. All thanks to a goddamn TV show. Thankfully, that’s all forgotten about, and kids have started going old-school, turning back to books and cinema.
It came as a shock to us. Suddenly kids weren’t running scared. It wasn’t the cocky, vitriolic last stand kind of not-running either. Not a case of predator becoming prey, hunter becoming hunted. This one girl, been scouting her for a couple of weeks, learning her routes, saw me and smiled. Smiled. She stretched out her arms to me, and took a step forward. Fucking bizarre.
Then, Jerrod worked it out.
Jerrod’s never really taken the change well. In ’69 he dragged us all to Woodstock. We sat in the van, windows covered in plywood, until the sun went down. Jerrod sat there, listening to the muffled, muted guitar licks, dreaming. He tried smoking pot, but, you know, it doesn’t really work. Circulation problems.
Anyway, he was out one night. Another late showing at the picture house. He’s fucking meta, is Jerrod. Always talking about the way the meatbags ‘portray’ us. The things that go bump in the night. So he’s trying to choose a film to watch, to pass the time on a pissing-it-down night, and picks a random movie. Sounds like his kind of thing. A revolution of the classic story.
Best thing he ever did. Comes back to the house with a pair of thick-rimmed black glasses and skinny jeans.
Goddamn it, we nearly ganked him there and then. Some crackpot theory about how to get the best out of the new world, how he would drag us ‘kicking and screaming into the present’. He’d come back with this shit every couple of months. Thought we should try and form a band after watching Queen of the Damned.
But he talked us round. We didn’t kill him. Instead, he got us to come with him. Next night, we all went to the old cinema, its ceilings bloated with damp and corridors locked by rusty padlocks. The one thing they don’t tell you about turning, about getting the old pointy teeth, is that your sense of smell goes haywire. It’s why you don’t really find vampires in the sewers, ever. Gretchen retched as we entered the building. Luckily there was nothing to puke up. Smelt like rot, like ripe dairy, like stale bread. An overpowering stench of burnt sugar from the old, disused popcorn machine.
The screen was empty aside from the nine of us and a couple down the front. A pair of junkies, vacant eyes staring at the flickering, out-of-focus picture. They occasionally turned round, distracted by our hyena cackle. David was flexing his claws as well. He hadn’t transformed in a while. I suspect they thought the red eyes, talons, and sinew-dashed wings were a bad trip. In any case, they didn’t say anything, and they didn’t leave screaming.
We sat through the film, as best we could. It wasn’t easy to swallow. It was like if we’d tried to feed on those meth heads. Nasty aftertaste, FYI, drugged blood tastes like windscreen wiper fluid.
But, goddamn it, Jerrod was right. This was big. It would make everything so much simpler.
That night, we went shopping. Thank god for the internet – any old ghoul, ghost, or agoraphobic can go on Amazon.com and get their dirty mitts on the entire Cure back catalogue, or the Dune anthology, or a new laptop, with nothing but an ‘inherited’ credit card and an address.
But what did we order? Well, we happened to purchase a certain series of novels and movies about a vampire in love.
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So, there we go. I’m going to finish this short story over the next few days, and then will either post the rest up on here, or leave it for you lucky ladies and gents to read at a later date. My first short story collection will be uploaded in .pdf and (hopefully) on Amazon for you Kindle users. Not all the stories are as light-hearted as this, some of them are a lot more maudlin in feel. There’s going to be a few laughs along the way, though.