Darcy grips the steering wheel of his Porsche Boxster so tightly his knuckles are white under his clammy skin. He zooms south, down the 101 with nail-biting recklessness, oblivious to the downpour swamping the City of Angels. The rain is Biblical and as hard as nails, hammering the windscreen with a smashing velocity, the noise so thunderous Darcy cannot hear himself think. He licks his lips, savoring the taste of blood that lingers and decides the best course of action right now is to cry, "WHAT THE FUCK!"
Screaming makes him feel human, and he even manages a laugh. Then, pressing the accelerator even closer towards the floor, he turns his head slightly and stares into the fractured lights of oncoming traffic that dances on the windscreen. It's a crazy night, so veering across the medium strip and smashing into the northbound traffic, ending it all in one big bang, isn’t mad at all? Well, it is ridiculous because Darcy is now immortal.
Darcy Cambridge really screwed up this time. He turns on the radio then considers asking Siri to play some circuit music - the boom, boom, boom calms him. But tonight, as Los Angeles drowns in a deluge, he knows nothing will settle his unholy nerves.
He sniffs the air, like a dog searching for a scent, and cranes his head right to face the corpse strapped in the passenger seat beside him. The body is warm and smells of hotdogs. Jesus, Darcy thinks, this is no time to reminisce about the Illinois State Fair and the warmth of his mother's hand. But he can't help it. The carcass smells so delicious Darcy wants to lean over and lick the gaping wound that oozes blood from his neck. Can he drink from someone dead? Or do they have to be alive? Darcy has no idea how to be a vampire. Let alone what to do with a corpse.
Pedro, he decides, he will know.
“Siri, call Pedro.”
There is a moment, and then, a breath later, Pedro answers and, straight off the bat, asks, "Bro' what happened to you on Friday night? You bailed on me." Pedro wants to add "again" but refrains, something he is about to regret.
Pedro is Darcy's best friend. "Man, I think I fucked up this time."
Darcy isn’t too sure how sincere his friend sounds. Pedro did roll his eyes.
"Seriously, dude, like majorly fucked up."
"You left with that guy, right? The pretentious one? Come on, girl, you need to talk." Pedro doesn’t care, and he's heard it all before. He is entertaining Darcy like a cat plays with a mouse until it is dead.
Darcy tells Pedro everything. Down to the tiniest unnecessary detail. Twice, Pedro refrained from yawning. Outside, the rain is wild, scratching, clawing, tearing, and hissing at the car. Lightning tears across the dark sky.
After a moment, Pedro responds: "So why are you calling me?"
“Dude, you’re my best friend. Who else am I going to call?”
Darcy looks right again at the box of uneaten Krispy Kreme donuts resting on the lap of his dead passenger. He wishes the hunger that gnaws at his innards could be sated by a couple of original glazed.
“Not anymore,” Pedro tells him straight.
Darcy is caught off guard. “What?”
“You heard me, dude.”
Darcy isn't so sure. The rain screams like a trapped animal, the windscreen wipers screech left to right, straining under the torrent of water. Ahead, through it all, Darcy sees the exit signs for Laurel Canyon. There are no souls on the roads tonight. Instead, they seek shelter from the storm in their homes, eating pizza and watching HBO. It's where Darcy wants to be. "What are you on about Pedro? I really need you right now."
This time there is no need to pause as Pedro expects Darcy's response. He always needs Pedro for something. "You only ever call me when you want something."
Not now, Darcy thinks. Don't be precious tonight. Darcy shakes his head. He has heard this all before, Poor little Pedro, only wanted when Darcy has no one else, blah blah blah."
“Come on, you know that’s not true.”
“When was the last time you called me?”
Darcy thinks back to a couple weekends ago when he got drunk at Mickey's and needed a ride home. He considered an Uber but was happy to save the fare. "You always said…."
"I was having dinner with mi Familia! And I'll tell you another thing," Pedro is fired up and ready to roll. The rain downshifts Pedro's mood, as it always does. "You called me because you are racist."
Darcy wants to punch Pedro. “I’m not a fucking racist.”
Pedro and Darcy are not the only two spitting chips. The rain has a temper all its own, turning furious as Darcy exits off the 101 and onto Laurel Canyon. The eye of the storm gives Darcy a death stare as it passes overhead.
Pedro's laugh is dismissive. "Here you are driving down the 101 in the mother-of-all rainstorms with a corpse in the car you can't afford. You need to figure out how to get rid of the body, right? So, you call your Mexican friend. Why me? Because in your racist head, Mexicans are cartel members and rapists and murderers, and we know how to hide a body. That is systemic racism."
Darcy is stumped. "Pedro, man, I don't think you are a rapist."
If Darcy could see his friend's red face, he'd be alarmed at how angry he is. "Why didn't you call the lesbians then?"
"Who else would I mean? Of course, Carrie. And what's her name? They probably own a shovel." Pedro pauses, and Darcy says nothing. "You know what else?" Pedro isn't waiting for an answer. "Being a vampire is such a white dude thing. You know that, right?"
“Name a TV show that has a Hispanic vampire character. Go on?”
Darcy is having trouble thinking of a Hispanic TV character, let alone a vampire. “Twilight? Surely.”
"I don't know, dude, True Blood?"
"There isn't one. Well, there was Selma Hyack in Dusk till Dawn, but that was before we were born. No, vampires are always white and look like Brad Pitt."
The irony of this statement isn't lost on Darcy, who fancies himself resembling the blonde, blue-eyed star. "Dude, I'm coming over."
"No, you're fucking not."
“Are you serious?”
Pedro is now blood red. “Man, you haven’t heard a word I’ve said?”
Darcy is distracted by the smell of hotdogs, but he gets the gist. He just doesn't think Pedro is serious.
"Even if you still were my friend," Pedro continues. "Which you're not. I can't hang out with you anymore."
"You’re unholy. I have my reputation to think of. And my career. I can't be friends with a bloodsucker."
”Dude, you work in a carwash.”
Pedro hangs up. And with good reason. Darcy did call Pedro, expecting him to be experienced in dealing with a cadaver. He is Mexican after all. Darcy forgets too that Pedro has a SAG card and two lines in an upcoming episode of American Horror Story. Pedro's uncle owns the car wash he works at on Fridays, as Pedro likes to help his family. Darcy also fantasized sinking his fangs into his friend’s jugular, hoping Pedro would taste like a taco.
Darcy checks the rearview mirror and jumps. "Shit," he says. He has no reflection. He is initially intrigued as he twists and turns his car down Laurel Canyon, the rain hampering his view of the city that sprawls below him. Then comes the shock, the horror of which is too much to bear. Being a mindless, bloodthirsty freak is one thing, but not catching sight of how sexy being undead is, well that will be hell.
“Siri, call Carrie.”
His lesbian friend will help. The phone rings. A breath later, "babe, it's Darcy. Can I come over?"
"Darcy, Hun, what do you want?" Carrie regrets answering.
“I fucked up.”
Is she sincere? "No, seriously, big time. Like really fucked up."
"Well, I hope he was worth it."
"He was cute. That's not the issue. I need help."
"Hun, it's Sunday night, and we're watching 60 Minutes."
Darcy pauses. Who watches 60 Minutes? Then the penny drops. “Oh, she’s there. “
“Hun, Betty lives here.”
“We have a child.”
“I forget that too.”
Darcy met Carrie six years ago when he moved to LA from Chicago, starting a legal career he doesn’t want. Carrie is a co-worker. On day one they met, had lunch, took the rest of the day off, and formed a lifelong friendship.
"So, can I? Come over? Please? I have donuts."
Carrie mutes him and checks with Betty. Betty considers Darcy the biggest, most self-centred, egotistical, narcissistic, misogynistic person she knows. And she is an expert in personality disorders, being a psychologist.
"Okay." Carrie reluctantly says.
Darcy wants to praise the Lord but knows it’s too late for prayer. "I'm on Laurel, just passing the Houdini estate, so I'll be less than 30."
Fifty minutes later, he pulls into the driveway of the girl's Silverlake house. He kills the engine, grabs the donuts and dashes to the front door. He moves quicker than usual. Some vampire stuff is excellent, he thinks.
He presses the doorbell. There's a chime, and a moment later, Carrie opens the door. The rain howls louder than the coyotes on heat.
“Hun, you look like death.”
"You're not far from the truth." He hands her the donuts. Carrie snatches the box, spins, and skips back inside. Darcy thinks he needs an invitation but sees the Welcome doormat and relaxes. He's already invited. "Don't worry, hun, she's upstairs with the baby. She won't bite you."
Darcy is about to chuckle and decides he is too hungry to laugh. The hunger taunts him, and he is seriously concerned about weight gain. Is being a vampire going to make me fat? He is nearly hysterical when he recalls the rippled stomach of the Undead, he met on the dance floor, with some joy. Vampires eat a high protein diet, so he is fretting for no reason.
“Donut?” offers Carries as she sinks into her soft, worn sofa with the box of Krispy Kreme.
Carrie's house is almost cheerful. Darcy hates it. Too lesbian and a little too mid-Western like his mom's. There is even a crochet blanket slung across the sofa where Carrie sits. Darcy takes a pew on the sofa opposite.
“No, that’s not what I’m in the mood for.” He eyes the two glasses of red wine sitting on a coffee table that’s between the two.
"Oh, do you want a glass? You look like you need it." Carrie offers. She hopes he says no as there is only half a bottle left.
He shifts uncomfortably, flinching as Carrie pours wine into a glass. The crimson red is too much. He runs his tongue across his lips, looking for a morsel and settles his sight on the pumping of Carrie's pulse he spies on her soft, bare neck.
"I'm not thirsty," he lies. He is so parched he can smell Carrie's blood and even the rain popping like corn as it hits the roof can't hide the hypnotic sound of her beating heart. He finds himself ever so slightly hovering above the chair; he can feel his fangs and realizes that he is about to leap and drain his friend.
Darcy snaps out of it. That was close. “So, this isn’t easy to say.”
"What is it, hun?" Carrie is concerned. He is everything Betty says he is and more, but she loves him just the same.
"So don't judge me, okay?"
"Hun, it is me." Carrie scoots forward on her sofa, eager to hear his yarn.
"I met this guy at The Disco on Friday night. I forget his name. Really hot. Carrie, if you could have seen him. Everyone wanted him, but his gaze latched on to me, and we collided like ships in the night."
Carrie cuts him off. "Cheesy, hun."
"Let me finish. This is important." He starts to feel a little awkward. "We went back to mine, and you know, we started really getting into it. He was, well my eyes are watering just thinking about it. Anyway, things started getting a little crazy. He starts to lose control, and one thing leads to another, and it happens. I didn't even realize until I saw the blood splattered on my white cotton sheets."
“What happened?” Carrie considers moving closer to Darcy. He is frazzled. And pale. She has never seen him like this, not Darcy Cambridge, the Whore of WeHo. But she is cosy just where she is.
“He turned me into a vampire.”
"Darl'," calls out Betty from upstairs. "Can you bring my wine up, please?"
"Hang on, babycakes," Carrie replies. She decides Darcy needs a hug after all. "Darcy's here, and he has been turned into a vampire."
Hearing it said out loud, embarrasses him. “Shh, don’t go telling everyone.”
“I don’t want everyone knowing.”
"Of course, I'm going to tell Betty."
Betty calls out again: “Oh. Darcy’s a vampire? How did that happen?”
Carrie and Darcy both roll their eyes like they rehearsed it. Carrie is now by his side and nestles in beside him, and Darcy shifts nervously. She smells so tasty.
“So, are you a vampire couple now?”
Darcy frowns. "He fucking got up and left. Dug his fangs into my neck, sucked my blood, turned me into a vampire, got up, showered, and said, ‘sorry, it was a mistake,’ and took off. I don't even have his number."
Carrie takes a swig of wine. “You probably deserve it.”
“Carrie, come on!”
"How many times have you used that line? 'Oh, this was a mistake, dude?' One day it was going to come back and bite you. I didn't realize it would be so literal, but there you go."
“I didn’t turn them into vampires and just dump them without as much as a handbook. I don’t know how to be a vampire!”
” Vamp, vampire? I mean, “Carrie snickers at her own joke.
Darcy starts to sob, taking Carrie by surprise. "You're going to be okay. We are here for you."
"The worst thing is," he cries, not that he can cry, but he tries. "I have no reflection. How will I know how I look?"
"But hun, you have eternal youth. You are now beautiful forever."
"But what's the point if I can't see myself?" Darcy's eyes plead for an answer. Betty returns to the room. "You didn't have protection?"
Carrie eases Darcy off her. That's enough, she thinks and takes a swipe at her wife’s ignorance. "Vampirism isn't an STD, babycakes."
Betty ponders this for a moment longer than a woman with an Ivy school educational should. “Oh, I guess you’re right. More wine?”
Betty refills the glasses. Now Darcy can smell them both, and they smell like cotton candy and funnel cakes. "Have you told Pedro?"
Darcy flinches a little. That fucking beaner. "Yep, and he went all weird on me."
Betty looks at Carrie and nods her head. "Well, it does change things, you know?"
"What changes things, Betty?" Darcy asks, his eyes darting between the two.
“You being a bloodsucker, undead, a vampire. I don’t know if I want you to come around so often. We have a child to consider.”
"I'm not going to eat the baby," Darcy says. There's a wild sensation bubbling up inside of him, a grotesque grumbling in his tummy. He is not a squeamish eater and does enjoy the veal chop at Rao's.
Carrie reaches across and grabs a donut from the box, looks at it and asks the obvious question. "Hun, what were you doing at Krispy Kreme?"
Darcy looks towards his feet and sees he isn't wearing any shoes. What is happening to me? “I was hungry.”
Betty laughs. "Since when does Mr Six Pack eat donuts?"
Darcy fidgets a little. She's right, he would not be seen dead in a Krispy Kreme. (Again, the irony of this thought isn't lost on him.)
"It wasn't the donuts I was after."
Carrie wipes a crumb off her chin. "Remember Carrie when we were doing our stint at the public defenders last week. I had to represent that scumbag who spray-painted the word 'faggots' on the Ru Paul Drag Race billboard up on Sunset. The kid who got a slap on the wrist, and we were both as mad as hell?"
"Well, he works, um worked, at the Krispy Kreme at Burbank. And I was hungry. "
Betty looks surprised. “No judgement but you ate white trash?”
"Betty, we don't eat people, we just drink their blood."
"Until they are dead," Carrie deadpans. "So, how was it?"
“Having your first kill?”
Darcy smiles. "Hot, I guess. He wasn’t my type, but I was drinking his blood, not fucking him. He tasted nice, like hotdogs.
"Can we see your fangs?" Betty asks, leaning forward.
"It's okay." Darcy listens to their hearts, allowing the beat to arouse his bloodlust. Blood porn, he thinks. Before he knows it, his fangs are out. He flares them for both girls to see, throwing in a sneer for theatrics.
"Wow, cool. How sharp are they? Can I touch them?"
Darcy retreats his fangs. "I need to get going but can you girls please help me?”
Betty looks at Carrie and reaches for her hand. She does not like Darcy, but he is in a pickle, and she would do anything for a friend of Carrie's. Even Darcy. "Of course, anything."
“Do you have a shovel I can borrow? “
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Definitely more bite than Anne Rice!