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Friday, March 19, 2004

Suckers!

The one thing I’ve noticed about vampires is they make for poor dinner guests. Trying to get a lighting scheme is almost impossible.

While my experience of the undead is somewhat limited, I can claim it to be better than most. My Evil Best Friend Declan and I made a pact that if we ever got turned, we’d come back for the other one – a deal that over time I’m more inclined to believe he’s welched on.

I did also know a coven of vampires in the next town over while I was living in the wilds of the Fens many years back. Though if you go as far as mentioning that you’ve invited some vampires to banquet whilst you are shopping in the village and all hell erupts. Poor Mrs Clathers got completely the wrong end of the stick (ho ho) whilst in the butchers and started flinging steaks at me, before running off yelling “Unholy! Unholy!” It’s her thing, and on the plus side, I did get some prize beef for dinner. I myself have never had a problem with People Of The Night (and most certainly not the Gentlemen of that ilk) and used to throw open my house annually for drinks and a niblette for the local clan. I do see it as good PR: not all vampires are omni-sexual velvet clad monsters, and some of them prove to be quite lovely. I can state clearly that not all vampires are pallid, drawn individuals that never come out during the daytime. If that were the rule, you drop Van Helsing onto a university campus and he’s going to explode.

Plus the catering is a little easier than one may think. It’s a little misnomer that vampires favour virgin human blood; cattle blood is far fattier, and thus taste sweeter. It’s like liquid sugar to them. Blood group Resus Nougat. The only drawback is that it does stay in the arteries, and bear in mind that a vampire’s metabolism slows down at the bicentennial; you’re going to start stacking on the weight if you’re not careful. Do stand up, Angel.

If you can.

But no, my only problem with vampires per se is that wherever they travel, there always seems to be a gaggle of bats around them, flitting around like Mariah Carey’s entourage - i.e. getting into your hair, right up your nose, and the into the light fittings. Oh, and weirdly turning your guacamole dip into guano. Lord Aramantle, one of my dinner guests, took great umbrage at my swinging a broom at the now-furry chandelier, and bellowed that I should “stop batting the bat!” It took us ten minutes for us to figure out what he was on about. This little social faux pas (a prelude to the greater one to come) did invite conference about the humble vampire bat, and Aramantle was understandably well informed. It seems the little critters don’t drink human blood, instead relying on cattle and horses in the balmy climates they live. Their bite is painless, yet their saliva does not carry any detectable anesthetic, and is proving to be a mystery as to why. “They can also drink up to 80% of their own body weight, and navigate by screeching blindly,” he said, imposing an impressed air.

My witty retort - that this was rather similar to any number of drunken EastEnders cast members favoured by the tabloids - was lost when dear Mama came into the room and proclaimed that it was too dark to see what was going on and threw open the drapes to reveal the dawn.

When the dust had literally settled, we were astonished to see my dinner guests had vanished. Frankly, it looked like the time we loaded Aunt Borqia’s ashes into the blunderbuss because she said she wanted to be scattered in her garden, and Cook accidentally nudged my arm while I was loading her up. This, of course, meant her final resting place was our rather disused dayroom. By the end of it, we couldn't tell what was her and what was the maid’s slack housekeeping.

Ah, well. Never mind.

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