Supervamp by Benson Phillip Lott
Supervamp by Benson Phillip Lott
This crazy-ass story takes place the same time “Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta” reinvents herself, becoming “Lady Gaga” (the “dopest” female pop star on Earth). A few months after, a levee bursts in Fernley, Nevada, evacuating 3,500 people. And a few weeks later, Sharon Mathew is kidnapped by the mother’s boyfriend in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire. The final of the UEFA Championships is Spain 1 Germany 0. And stock markets around the world take a plunge creating fears of a U.S. recession.
All these facts are totally irrelevant but still bear mentioning. Because only in the chaos can “heroes” be appreciated.
Velvet Rothschild has a sixteen-song playlist she blasts on brand new Bluetooth headphones. The ones her father gave her for Christmas. The ones she nearly lost (at the foot court of Kensington Mall). “Just Dance” by Lady Gaga is the first track on set; the debut single from her breakout album. Upcoming tracks include: Ah-ha’s “Take on Me”, Wham’s “Wake Me up Before You Go-Go) and a whole lot of stuff by Bjork and Whitney.
Velvet is so into the music, she dances frivolously into the kitchen, shuffles to the fridge and begins making breakfast, spinning, and swerving like she’s auditioning for a music video. She pulls out a carton of milk, grabs the box of Apple Jacks and sets a giant bowl on the counter, promptly filling it with cereal.
Eating quickly, Velvet dumps her dish in the sink, exits the kitchen and heads to the large mirror of her bathroom. Checking her rough appearance, she grabs a purple brush, combing out ruffles in her hair. There’s a vague sense “something odd” is about happen, followed by a compulsive need to splash water on her face.
The nagging idea to change outfits seriously pisses her off. And even if she wanted to, there’s no time. School starts in 30 minutes.
High school and homework are easy. This is mainly due to Velvet’s obsession with Encyclopedia Britannica. She read the first volume in elementary school, filling her mind with facts, dates, and biographies. The doctors say she has “Photographic Memory”. An ability to memorize vast information, sometimes reviewing the material just once.
Her parents urged her to attend advanced learning. Even her teachers suggested Velvet move forward. But they fail to grasp her insatiable love of superiority. That pessimistic view of so-called “peers”, plus the vanity of knowing she’s infinitely smarter, keeps her from leaving for better schools. She’s a big fish in a small pond, but at least she’s a “big fish”.
Standing at the bathroom mirror, Velvet smiles at her reflection, brushing her hair, proud of her healthy complexion. On a scale between 1 and 10, she’s definitely a solid “7”. Maybe even an “8”. But satisfaction fades as Velvet pictures sitting alone in a crowded cafeteria.
Lunchtime is unquestionably the worst time of day.
At high school, “lunchtime” seating reveal one’s social status. Being alone, not even with “nerds”, means Velvet’s a true outcast. And considering her good looks, being such a “loser” is quite puzzling. Until you get to know her.
Exiting the bathroom, Velvet walks stiffly through the hall, grabbing her hot-pink Jansport by the coatrack. She opens the front door, stepping outside, pausing the music on her phone.
Inhaling fresh air, she repeats today’s mantra, enjoying the scent of fresh cut grass: “Lookin’ cool, feelin’ cool, walkin’ cool”. She heads out her driveway, taking the sidewalk, unpausing her music.
Theoretically, she has a driver’s permit, but mom and dad revoked her BMW privileges last month. All because she backed out the garage too fast, almost crashing into their neighbor’s Mazda. They told her she needed more practice (under their supervision) before they could trust her, driving round “out there”, by herself.
The walk to school is uneventful. Dizzy is quiet, well-known and well-respected. Just a regular suburb where nothing ever happens.
In past few months, there has been a small surge of petty crime, but nothing to be too concerned over. The neighborhood is charming with a friendly atmosphere. A “middle class” community (not quite rich, but far above destitute).
Lush gardens, trim lawns, pleasant homes; all tended by cheerful owners. A welcoming path leads to the front area of Velvet’s high school. She prepares to cross the intersection, bordering the crowded parking lot. The light switches “green” and Velvet promptly steps off the curb.
Lookin’ cool, feelin’ cool, walkin’ cool…
Lookin’ cool, feelin’ cool, walkin’ cool…
Lookin’ cool, feelin’ cool, walkin’ cool…
Arriving at class with seconds to spare, Velvet sits at an empty desk, avoiding eye contact with her teacher, Mr. Frederick. Homeroom is boring beyond belief and today is no different. Fredrick immediately falls into a stale lecture as students glance at each other, rolling their eyes; passing notes and sharing texts (despite cell phones being prohibited).
Velvet looks out the window on her left, admiring the green foliage and Coniferous trees. The weather outside is crisp. A soothing breeze, moves the scenery. Velvet stares, lost in thoughts of her book: The “authorized” biography of Lady Gaga.
Of course, She hasn’t actually written it. Mainly because she wants approval first. And that meanscontactingGaga (or least, someone on her staff). And the best way to do that is getting a job with publishing house. And the best way to that is finish up all her schooling.
So, it could be a while. In the meantime, Velvet’s put together three, great working titles: “Goo Goo for Gaga”, “GagaMania” and “World According to Gaga”. All of which could change. Especially as the biography becomes more a reality. But indulging in fantasy helps pass time.
The dreariness of school takes its toll by lunchtime. The monotony tampers all critical thinking. Lecture after lecture, quiz after quiz, bell after bell. Other than need for decent grades, Velvet sees no reason why school shouldn’t burn to the ground.
Then again, if it did, there’d be no one left to be superior to!
Velvet shakes the idea, unzipping her Jansport pack. She extracts a large, blue notepad, filled with pages of top ten lists. Most consisting of “likes”, “dislikes” “do’s”, “don’ts”, “reminders”, “affirmations”, “thing’s to do” and “catalogs”, all current, all alphabetized.
Velvet’s “likes”: Apple juice, allegories, anomalies; beaches, canned tomatoes, con-artists; dancing-dancing-dancing, ethics; Ethiopians, “Ernest Goes to Jail”, dog-walkers.
Velvet’s “dislikes”: Achy joints, alligators, archery; beanstalks, blowfish, bowling balls; cashews, Cookie Monster, cumquats; Fridays, fishnets, multicolored glue sticks.
Things to do (January – March): purchase a (used) rowing machine, find a missing a golden retriever, wear those cute Twist boots by Kenneth Cole.
(April-July): Get your bangs cut, stock up on Neutrogena face cream, look into how much a decent mountain bike costs (like the one your neighbor has).
Reminders – drink 8 ounces of fresh water daily, do 50 – 100 crunches every other morning, check out latest provider for Cricket wireless, convince naïve parents to buy doorbell with the surveillance camera . Volunteers of America? Renew Dad’s membership at Costco.
After what seems an eternity, class is dismissed and the bell rings for 4th period Calculus. The only problem is 4th period is way up on the top floor (of the four-story school). Velvet darts through the halls to get there, but whatever sadist made her schedule, allotted her but two minutes to get there.
Thankfully, Velvet’s in pretty fantastic shape. Otherwise, she’d never make it. The chubbier students must always be tardy. But“whatever”, that’s their problem. Afterall, being overweight is a choice. Al those idiots claiming it’s a disease are full of it. The plain fact is: it’s too many M&M’s.
Healthy diet is important to Velvet. So is steady exercise. Nothing beats a fat rush of endorphins. But sometimes she goes too far, exercising way more than she should. Pilates, Stairmaster, kickboxing; softball, volleyball, track. Nevertheless, she’s pretty damn physically fit. Despite being high school’s biggest loser.
That’s right. Velvet is an outcast. Really, the outcast. More than all the other dorks, dweebs and weird-o’s combined. Even they have fellow nerds to socialize with. Velvet’s list of friends can’t even be counted. The poor girl doesn’t even have a Facebook page. Mostly because she’s too plain-speaking – too direct. Ask her a questions and, by God, you’ll get her honest answer. Often times, with an air of condescension, proving how desperate she is to be arrogant.
Students tease Velve, calling her “poor man’s Veruca Salt”, but she’s never once considered altering her persona. Particularly, not for social status. Why waste energy? She’s gonna be the “freak” no matter what.
4th period is somehow worse than usual. Mr. Hirk-o is such a douche. The guy’s lectures are friggin’ unbearable, worse than attending Coldplay live. What exactly is the purpose of precalculus anyway? Come to think of it, what’s the point of any form of math? Not that it’s difficult, but everyone nowadays has calculators on their phones. So, why bother?
To sustain boredom, Velvet doodles idly on the blue cover of her notepad: flowers, unicorns, Mr. Hirk-o’s fat head. At one point, she tears out a blank page, listing her favorite Greek gods and mythical creatures: Abominable Snowman, Amarok, Bonnacon, Chupacabra, Frankenstein, Hopkinsville Goblin– Aeolus, Apollo, Ares.
She even tries a hand at dark poetry: Endless night, endless fright; sweetest vision, loss of sight. Walk in shadow, pure delight. Won’t someone guide me — toward the light?
After twenty minutes of solid staring, Velvet opens her Jansport, sifting through folders, retrieving her book of Sudoku. But by the time Mr. Hirk-o finally shuts (the flunk) up, everyone has nearly fallen asleep. So, he grabs two chalkboard erasers, clapping them together, jolting his students awake.
“Well, now that everyone’s up…how ‘bout nice a pop quiz?”
The entire classroom omits a serious of exaggerated groans as though honest-to-God torture could be a preferable option. Velvet scoffs, unphased by Hirk-o’s attempt at cruelty.
Boring fact: The final statement, 1 = 1, is obviously true, so x = 1 satisfies the equation. On the other hand, x = 1 is not a solution of the equation since substitution of x = 1 into it yields a contradiction (falsehood).
Finishing early, Velvet hands in her paper and decides to nap the remainder of class. Unfortunately, “napping” becomes “dead to the word, snoring” so once the bell rings ending 4th period ends, Velvet fails to hear. The rest of the students exit, leaving her zonked at her desk until the next students enter.
Clovis Harper is jock/asshole/jerk/douchebag happens to sit where Velvet’s at. The second he walks in, he marches over, smacking his textbook right by to her head.
“Yo, Egg Head! Move!”.
On most days, Velvet would pounce up, slapping his face. But the second her eyes open, her eyes catch the clock on wall. The other students bust a gut laughing as she leaps in the air, snatching her Jansport and she races out the door.
Her next class is downstairs (second floor) and she screams, “Holy bananas!”; her voice carrying as she flies through the hall, late-late-late. Like the white rabbit from Wonderland
And after all that, Velvet still gets a tardy slip, arriving at 5th period 15 minutes past the hour. Whatever. Her teacher (Mrs. Bauer) blabs about the importance of being on time, warning her this is her fourth tardy. One more and detention is inevitable. Not to mention a phone call from the principle to her parents.
Thankfully, the rest of 5th period goes well without incident. But 6th period Band-practice is a nightmare.
Normally, Band is something Velvet’s rather fond of. She enjoys learning to play different instruments and reading music. But today there’s a problem: She forgot her math assignment back in Hirk-o’s class! On her desk!
“Friggin’ shish kabob!”
Nothing worse than “linear-equations” and precalculus. Quite possibly, the most god-awful combination since Turner and Hooch.
And the worst part is, she already finished most of it. It would suck unbelievably to that stuff all over.
Linear E.Q.’s are like a box of poison chocolates.
You know exactly what you’re gonna get!
Slow and painful death.
In all seriousness, linear equations are where numbers – or coefficients – are considered parameters of the equation, and may be arbitrary expressions (provided they don’t contain variables). And precalculus is a course, or set of courses (including algebra and trigonometry) at a level designed to prepare for calculus. And, once again, is an agony even waterboarding can’t compare to.
Doing the assignment a second time is not an option. Velvet collapses in her seat, flagging down at Mrs. Bauer, explaining her predicament.
Bauer nods along with phony compassion, explaining to Velvet how she “sympathizes” sincerely, but “unfortunately” she can’t go interrupt Mr. Hirk-o’s current class, so she’s gonna have to wait ‘til 7th period”.
“I’m sorry, hon. But rules are rules.”
Velvet bites her lip, tempted to shout back, “What rules?” Instead she slumps further in her chair, folding her arms in protest. Her eyes fixate on the clock. Minutes feel like hours. She shuts her eyes, breathing deep. But what if some idiot (Clovis Harper) mistakes her paper for garbage? What if they throw it away?
When the bell rings, Velvet shoves her way out the door. The halls arepacked with students opening lockers. Some gather by the stairs, sneering at Velvet who charges up the steps, gasping for breath ‘til she arrives at Hirk-o’s door.
Unfortunately, she forgot his last class is 6th period.
Stifling the urge to scream, Velvet smashes the wall, pounding it with her fist.
“Damn it! Hell! Mother trucker!”
Gradually composing herself, Velvet enters the neighboring science lab, walking straight up to the teacher. “Uh, ‘scuse me, can you let me in next door? I left my paper in there?”
No such luck.
The teacher, some lanky bald dude in mustard brown pants, shrugs helplessly, eyeballing Velvet’s boots.
“I’m sorry, um, Miss, but you’ll have to ask someone at the main office. Downstairs…”
Velvet grunts, turning to leave. “Whatever. By the way, nice pants.”
Storming into the main office doors, Velvets rushes the secretary behind a large wooden desk, known as “The Lady Downstairs”. A plump woman pleasantly dressed in solid-red with a bun hairdo and funky prescription glasses.
“I demand access to Mr. Hirk-o’s classroom,” Velvet states, stiffening her back to prove her seriousness. “My paper’s in there. We’re talkinglinear equations and precalculus. So please, give me the key and I’ll bring it right back.”
The Lady Downstairs shakes her head. “I’m afraid, we don’t have a copy of Mr. Hirko’s key. Perhaps you might consider returning at 11:30 p.m.,asking the janitor – Mr. Fang. I’m sure he has access to the entire building.”
(Upon the reflection, “Mr. Fang” should’ve been a dead giveaway , but at the time, Velvet was preoccupied.)
“Mr. Fang/11.30p.m. Okay, I’ll do that. By the way, what ’s your name? I mean, aside from the ‘Lady Downstairs’. I’m asking because I need to record this little interaction. You know, in case my paper’s lost and I have to explain what happened.”
Lady Downstairs hesitates, leaning back in her chair. “My Christian name is ‘Stacey Carlton’. Though a great number refer to me as ‘Eileen’.’
Velvet frowns, opening her Jansport, pulling out her notepad. “Uh, why?”
Lady Downstairs shrugs. “Who knows? Maybe I remind them of someone. Now, if you wouldn’t mind, I’m rather busy…”
Velvet retreats a step, smiling. Suddenly, without warning, she smacks the top of the desk. “C’mon, Eileen! You know what I mean? At this moment – this paper means everything.”
Lady Downstairs stares. “Now that you’ve got that out of your system, I assume you’ll go away.”
Calming herself on the walk home, Velvet eases her sullen mood, singing along with Beatles tracks on her playlist.
“I am The Egg man, I am The Walrus – Hmm, hmm – hmm, hmm…”.
Arriving at her street, she stops to tie her boots. The driveway of her house is empty and she sighs in relief. Her her parents are still at work and probably won’ be back for hours.
Her father “Charles Rothschild”is an orthopedic surgeon. He recently started working at Saint Thomas Hospital and cares little of his daughter’s activities.
“Margo Rothschild” (Velvet’s mother) is even less of a factor, selling real estate and planning weddings.
Velvet pretty much does her own thing, provided she maintains perfect GPA. Afterall, what other arrangement can there be? She’s a heartbeat away from adulthood.
Their net worth keeps them middle class, but budgeting is never discussed. It’s difficult admitting shortcomings with credit cards.
The house is modernized; a single-story bungalow with three bedrooms, two baths and a reasonably-sized front yard. The grass is healthy, cut biweekly by a neighborhood boy named “Jesse”. The white paint has started to peel and the heating system blows. Hot showers are rare.
Entering the front door, Velvet sets her Jansport on the floor, sliding off her boots (one at a time). She strolls the main hall, heading for the kitchen, starved for a pastry or two of “Pop Tarts”. Consuming three at once, she grabs the milk inside the fridge. That yucky “organic” stuff made from seeds and oatmeal.
Velvet’s parents are health-nuts, purchasing the craziest groceries. At times, she’s considered purchasing her own real milk, but the problems it would cause isn’t worth it.
The current song on Velvet’s phone is “Anything” (by “Dramarama”), followed by “Part Time Lover” by Stevie Wonder.
Once Velvet’s appetite is satisfied, she turns off her music, plopping down on the beige sofa in the living room. She grabs the remote of the Formica coffee table, switching on the TV. A rerun of “Friends” plays on channel six. Velvet watches the episode, figuring she’ll finish her homework later.
According to Wikipedia, “Friends”, the successful 90s sitcom went through several titles before settling on the official name. Some of the trials included “Friends Like Us”, “Six of One”, “Across the Hall” and “Once Upon a Time in the West Village”.
REM’s “Shiny Happy People” was the original choice of theme.
Velvet has several “guilty pleasures” on her playlist. All of which she’s deathly afraid of being discovered. We’re talkin’ really cheesy stuff. Kim Wilde’s “Keep me Hangin’ on”, Bonnie Hunt’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart”, Go West’s “King of Wishful Thinking” from the “Pretty Woman” soundtrack.
(Incidentally, “Pretty Woman” is a Disney film, initially created as a somber drama about LA prostitution. The lead character “Vivian” was supposed to be portrayed as a hopeless drug addict. Sandra Bullock, Meg Ryan and Madonna were considered for the role. As were Kristin Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker and Drew Barrymore.)
Since everyone on Earth has a cellphone, Velvet’s decided, she has to have one too. Though, her phone is strictly used for YouTube and she has zero names in the “contact” list (other than her parents).
She’s not one to spend post comments or send emails. Occasionally, some Sprint operator may call from Dubai, attempting to sell special “roaming packages”. But since Velvet has no friends, clearly there’s no use.
Once in a while, a “wrong number” asking for “Blair” might call. Aside from that, the phone is dead.
After a second rerun of “Friends”, Velvet returns to the kitchen, making herself a PB and J, which tastes rather moldy. But what other option is there? All the rest of the food is vegan. Velvet gags thinking of the smell of tofu and fermented plant.
No type “vegetarian” society in history has successfully sustained traditional culture. Mainly because it’s insufficient, providing much-needed sources of iron. Meats are “vegetized” and eggs are“powdered”. And while there may be varieties of fruits, the rest is just “gluten-free” vomit.
Velvet eats her sandwich, content with what she has. Ready for homework she grabs her pink Jansport, heading to her bedroom. homework. Time for another evening, learning what she already knows.
The janitor (Mr. Fang) starts his shift at 10:15 p.m. At precisely 11:45 p.m., Velvet approaches the entrance. Thankfully, the doors aren’t locked and she enters the building, wiping her forehead, relieved.
Her plan is to search every room on every floor ‘til she finds this janitor “Fang”, beg him to go in Hirk-o’s class and (at last) get her damn paper. Except her stomach keeps rumbling. Not in hunger, but discomfort.The “preservatives” from that PBJ are no doubt messing with her intestine. Intense nausea attacks her system like a gut-shot. Spikes of infuriating pain stop her on the staircase.
What if some disgruntled employee at the jelly factory (with amateur knowledge of chemistry) poised the entire batch of Lingonberry, mixing experimental toxins with the artificial flavor?
The idea causes Velvet to vomit, right then and there on the steps. She glares at the peanut butter puke, shaking her head in disgust. “Well, shoot! Looks like poor Fang’s got his work cut out!”
Velvet’s head is killing her. By far, the worst migraine since watching the state of the union. Stopping at Mr. Hirk-o’s door, her vision blurs. Delirium seems inevitable. The dimensions of the hall keep narrowing.
Dismissing the hallucination as hysteria, Velvet punches her own stomach, yelling at herself, “toughen up, wuss!”
Suddenly, there’s a faint sound of whistling three classes from where she stands. Jogging to the room, Velvet breathes hard, fearing collapse. Her eyes land on the janitor, mopping the floor inside: “Mr. Fang”.
“Hey, yo!” Velvet hollers, waving. “Mr. Fang, or whatever.”
The janitor stops whistling, turning to face her. “Can I help you?”.
Velvet sighs, grateful. “I hope so. I was told you’d be expecting me. My name’sVelvet Rothschild. I need you to let me in 399. I left my homework on my desk. The Lady Downstairs – I mean, Stacy – I mean, Eileen — told me she’d leave a note for you…”
Fang stops mopping. “I got the note, yes.”
Velvet sighs again. “Awesome – center that. By the way, did you know — in Japan — most schools don’t use custodians?”
Fang raises an eyebrow, smiling. “Is that so?”
Velvet nods, stepping closer. “It’s true. Instead of hiring janitors, the students are responsible for chores. I guess it’s something to do with Buddhist tradition, but who knows? Those crazy Asians are nuts! Wait, was that racist? I didn’t mean it to be.”
“Indeed,” Fang whispers, grasping at patience
“Lemme put it another way,” Velvet says, worried she’s sounding like an idiot. “According to Buddhists, cleaning is associated with morality. Kinda how Christians say ‘cleanliness is godliness’. But I mean — center that — I can’t imagine having to clean this place ontop of going to school here. No friggin’ way! For God’s sake! I can’t even clean a window!”
Fang’s lowers his mop, walking toward her. “Well, thank you for that useless information. I’m quite certain, none of it will come in handy. But, hey — at least you got it off your chest.”
Velvet blushes, aware of sarcasm. “Can you please just get me into that room?”
Fang nods. “I don’t see any reason why not. But first – you have to do a small favor…”
Velvet throws up her hands, having read about sleazebags like this online. “Oh, here we go! God, you men are predictable.”
Fang shakes his head. “It’s not what you think.”
“Oh no? Okay, what is it, then?”
Fang points at her throat. “You gotta let me bite you.”
For the first time since entering the room, Velvet notices Fang’s insanely sharp front teeth. She points herself with disbelief. “You — want to — bite — me.”
Fang puts a small space between fingers. “Just a tiny bite. Nothing detrimental. I just need a few ounces. Maybe, not even.”
Velvet freaks, backing away. “Yo, psycho’ much?Seriously — center that! I’m, like, barely sixteen. And unless I’m mistaken, it’s against the law, drinking blood from a minor! Come to think of it, it’s against the law drinkingblood – period!”
Fang gently reaches out, touching her on the shoulder. She recoils from his icy fingers. “Whoa! You’re hella freezing cold, buddy!”
“Listen, I can see your trepidation. But try to understand, I woke from my coffin late and didn’t get a chance to feed. And my emergency blood supply is missing. On my break, I was gonna go hunt outside a raccoon, or something. But I’d much rather take a quick nibble from you.”
Velvet squints with disconcertion. It’s so typical something like this happens to her. All she wants is her friggin’ homework. Now this nutjob wants to drink her blood. Ha! Go figure.
“My life is eternal hunger,” Fang says, pleadingly. “You image can’t how frustrating it is? Now, lemme get quick a taste. I don’t have to bite your neck. I could sink my teeth someplace else. Like your forearm.”
Velvet goes white. “Are you like – a vampire, or something?”
Fang nods, curtly. “‘Or something’, yes. Now, will you helpme? I’ll get you inside your room.”
Velvet hesitates, arms crossed. “Okay, let’s say I believe you. My only question is, what happens what if I continue refusing you?”
Fang shrugs. “I’ll just grab your throat, anyway; tear out your lungs then snap you like a twig.”
Velvet gulps, stepping forward. “Okay, then. Just asking.”
The Muppet vampire, “Count von Count” on Sesame Street, is based on thehistorical figure, “Vlad of Walachia, (Vlad the Impaler)”. This nasty character nailed hats to people’s heads, skinned them alive, and impaled them on upright stakes. That’s basically what Velvet knows concerning vampirism.
Arriving home at midnight,Velvetquietly tiptoes to the kitchen. Her stomach feels better, but a strange lightheadedness forces her to pause. Probably, Mr. Fang, drinking more blood than he promised. He drained her so much, he wound-up supplying her with his own.
Thankfully, Velvet’s parents are fast asleep. Neither must’ve check on her when they got back. Otherwise they’d still be up, waiting for her to walk in.
The vampire ‘sickness’ mixes with the PBJ toxins, confusing her system. Her blood cells mutate, allowing her to hear a burglar — seven houses down the street!
She can sense him opening her neighbor’s garage, rummaging through boxes, eyeballing their mountain bike. Rage boils to the surface and her eyes quickly darken. She hisses like a animal, sprouting massive fangs as she races to the door.
Outside, Velvet sprints across the front lawn, speeding like a cheetah, dashing to her neighbor’s. The burglar sits on the mountain bike, preparing to ride off. His back is turned to the street. He has no idea, the predator, standing right behind him.
Velvet face twists with dilemma, opposite forces fighting for her mind: Do I just grab this guy, stomp him to a puddle and rip open his jugular? Or do I leave him for the police?
She decides the latter (with a twist), grabbing the burglar, lifting him in the air by his throat. He tries to scream, gasping in horror. Velvet spits in his face, biting his throat; draining his blood until he collapses.
Releasing him – alive – Velvet ties him with the bike chain, pleased, for once, she is genuinely “cool”. Immense power flows through her veins. At last, she’s alive. Unstoppable. Terrifying and spectacular.
Like, no one else on Earth.
Her time being “loser” has definitely passed.
A loud crashing noise wakes Nathan O’Leary. Tearing off his covers, he pops off the bed and grabs his red wool slippers. His wife “Henrietta” tosses back and forth, moaning her displeasure.
“What the hell’s going on?” she asks. “What’s all that ruckus?”
“I don’t know!” O’Leary hollers, opening the bedroom. “I think there’s someone outside, I’m not sure. Stay here! Lock the door!”
“For God’s sake, Nathan, be careful…”
Storming out his front door, O’Leary walks to the middle of the street, clutching his aluminum cane. He stares anxiously at the orange glow of streetlamps, shining dimly on the concrete, the night air: freezing. Cold sweat drips from his chin.
Another loud crash. Nathan spins, ready to swing.
My God, they’re in my garage!
O’Leary springs forward, charging at the moving shadows. His pace is fantastic. Especially for his age. The garage is dark; light switch: off.
O’Leary squints, barely identifying the pair of intruders. One on the floor (beside his bike), the other squaring off, hissing like a snake.
Shrieking with terror, O’Leary drops his cane, racing from the garage to his front door, mortified.
“My God! Its eyes! Lord Jesus, its eyes!”
Velvet can’t help smiling, listening to the old man scream. The blood on her mouth is sticky. She wipes her face, licking her lips. The coppery taste is bitter. Salty.
But the effect is magnificent!
Like ten espressos at once!
Velvet glares at the unconscious burglar, tied-up on the floor, gifted-wrapped for the cops. She remembers the sound of heartbeat, that explosive adrenaline coursing through his veins.
“Excuse the noise!” Velvet shouts, hoping the old man can hear. Instead, she wakens the neighbors. The stumble from their houses wearing bathrobes. A couple and three teenagers. Some of them grab cellphones, zooming-in on O’Leary’s garage.
Velvet hides in shadow, lifting an open box (off the shelf of the rear wall), sifting through it’s contents, locating pen and paper.
Scribbling a quick note, Velvet drops the paper on top the burglar’s chest, zipping out the garage faster than she came.
TO THE POLICE: My bad for leaving the scene! But this jerk was trying to steal this old guy’s mountain bike, so I caught him, drained his blood and left him (half dead) for you guys to deal with. I’m guessing he’ll need SERIOUS medical attention. But I had to do what I had to do. Sincerely, ‘Super-Vamp’
Poor Velvet, spent the entire night hiding from police. She manages to sneak back home by 3a.m., bitter, exhausted with no time to sleep. The rush she got, draining that burglar didn’t last. The come-down is nothing short of death.
Like a “blood hangover”.
By sunrise, she’s less “alive”, less “vampire”. Fortunately, the rays of sunlight don’t bother her like “regular” vampires. Or, at least, the ones she’s read about. Her only explanation is those friggin’ chemicals. They must’ve given her some kind of special power, granting her protection. That’s probably why she doesn’t need coffins.
She’ not a full vampire.
“Good thing I ate that nasty sandwich,” Velvet mutters, preparing herself for school. She arrives ten minutes late, having taken the long route. Just in case any cops are watching her street.
A video of last night’s attack reached Channel 6. The students from Velvet’s Homeroom, faintly recognized her. Of course no one has guts to verify.
Instead, they secretly post messages on Twitter.
BohemenianMoloch: “Ok, so I’m not 100%, but dude, it’s so her beating-up that bike thief!”
XxPitterPatter: “Who else wears those boots?”
SweetKitten369: “It’s her! I’m positive! I’m sitting here right now, looking at her. And I’m telling you…”
RoyRogerMoore5: “How can a chick take down a dude? There’s no way! Did you see him? Ass. Beat!”
MzzMurder: “I think that’s hella sexist! I’ve whipped tons of you fugly-ass dudes!”
MightisRight: “Cajun Spaghetti-o’s, I think I’m onto something.”
Babel777: “I wanna smoke a bowl.”
1st and 2nd period are a nightmare. The Twitter debate takes toll, allowing students excitement enough to start asking questions. Ridiculous Nosferatu inquiries, mostly from Stella Kaplan, Allison Cross and Julia Frohmeyer. They pester Velvet like groupies, asking dumbest nonsense.
“Can you fly?”
“Will you bite my boyfriend?”.
“Is human blood high in calories?”.
“What if you drank from a guy with AIDs?”
Velvet humors them as long as she can, but by 3rd period, she finds herself screaming like Gwen Stefani. “Look, I’m just a girl! As long as you’ll let me be!”
On lunch-break, Velvet decides to do research. All the nagging prompts her to better understand this predicament.Entering for the school library, Velvet asks the assistant to direct her for books about vampirism.
“And maybe, the section on superheroes, as well…”
The books concerning living dead fill entire shelves: “Vamping for Beginners”, “Vamping for Dummies”, “So Now, You’re A Vampire – DEAL WITH IT!”, “Chicken-Soup for the Souless”, “Why I Bite: Blood Moon Ascension”.
Velvet scans numerous “vamp manifestos”, disgruntled how useless they appear. T so-called “classics” are little help either: “Commie Vamps and the Growing Undead”, “Communal Coffins/Capitalist Mortuaries”, “Bloodthirsty Shakespeare”, “The Vampire Republican”.
Despite volumes of information, nothing suits Velvet, explaining her torment being a vampire superhero.
Glossing over categories, indexes and titles, including health and historical fiction, Velvet’s bewilderment only expands.
How many vampire books are there?
“Look at these!” Velvet shouts, grabbing an armful. Sadly, no one can help. Students from other sections watch with idle interest. Velvet looks insane, moaning and fussinging, dropping paperbacks at her feet.
“Vamps Don’t Vape!”, “Hemovore Civil War”, “Vegetarian Platelets (The problems with blood drinking)” “101 Ways to Suck”, “A Brief History of Immortality”, “The Twinkle-Twinkle Little Bat”.
It goes on and on. Except, information regarding hero vampirism, who she can bite and who she shouldn’t. There doesn’t seem anything.
Even the 20-set, vampiric-encyclopedia fails to cover the “morality” of undead. Nothing clarifies good versus evil.
“Stakephobia and the Anti-Garlic Movements”.
Analytical Investigation on Porphyria (and varied groups of metabolic disorders)”.
“Crucifix-Shmusifix (what’s the big deal, anyway)?”.
“How to Donate Left-overs (a.k.a.) The Nuisance of Human Remains”.
Frustrated, bothered and tired, Velvet ditches school, walking the usual way back home (no longer concerned over police). She pulls out her Bluetooth headphones, selecting deliberately “feel good” music: Erasure “Chains of Love”, Jamiroquai “Caned Heat” and, for some odd reason, Mudvayne “Not Falling”.
Crossing the street from the bike path to her house, something happens. A shady-lookin’ dude (tall, dark unshaven), wearing a black beanie hassles a poor old lady on the opposite side from her.
Shady-dude has a big-ass Bowie knife in his left hand. And judging by his disheveled look, clearly intends to use it.
“Gimme your shit!” Shady-man hollers, putting the blade to the woman’s throat.
The “shit” Shady’s referring to is poor, old lady’s purse. Of course, being “shady” he has to call it “shit”. All Shady-people do.
The sight of such injustice has Velvet seething for blood. She licks her lips, thrusting both fists.
“Center that!” Velvet screams. Her eyes blacken, sprouting razor fangs. Only a flicker of hesitation (from superhero side) saves him from being ripped.
Velvet dartsacross the street, grabbing Shady by his throat, lifting three feet off the ground, slamming him into a nearby fence.
Shady drops his knife, gagging. “Argh! Uhk! Eeeck!”
“Now, you’re mine!” Velvet roars, hissing in Shady’s face.
“Please…” he begs, gasping for breath.
Velvet grins, tearing a sizable bite from his jugular. Red liquid spay all over her face. Shady screams, his skin going white.
“Holy Lord in Heaven!” The old woman cries, watching Velvet slowly turn, blood dripping from her chin.
“What the matter?” she hisses, eyelids fluttering. “Ain’t you ever seen raw meat?”
The old woman gasps, racing down the street as fast she can, screaming at a passing Ford Sedan, begging the driver for help.
“Uh — your welcome!” Velvet hollers, looking back at Shady, clenching the mugger’s neck.
Combating her animal urge to kill, Velvet tosses him into a public garbage. The one at the far-end of the street.
Removing her Jansport backpack, she retrieves a large felt-tip pen. Scribbling a quick message in her pad, Velvet tears out the page and walks to the corner.
“This jerk was robbing an old lady so I tore his neck out – my bad! – I’ll go easier next time. Sincerely — Super Vamp.”
Velvet folds the paper, writing “DOUCHE” in giant, bold letters. She drops the note on Shady’s head, catching the light at the intersection.
Time to go home and chill.
SIDENOTE: Violent crime has fallen in all major U.S, cities (excluding Detroit) for well-over twenty-five years. According to the FBI, the most common violations involve domestic violence, DUI’s and theft of private property.
If Velvet has anything to say, it’s gonna drop even further.
No one criminal away in her city.
Velvet’s parents aren’t home. But the weekly cleaning lady is. The lesbian from lesbian Canada. Velvet greets Velvet with a joke, but she’s busy dusting the table.
“Ms. Lezboot!” Velvet jokes, referring to her heritage and alternative lifestyle.
Her real name is “Jem”. And she loves telling people how kitchens are dirtier than most toilets.
“More bacteria,” she claims.
Recently, her facts are stranger.
“Velvet, are you aware Iceland has the cleanest country?” she asks, still not looking up. Velvet shuts the front door, untying her boots and setting down her pack.
“Nope. Sure didn’t. By the way, did you munch those carpets or clean them?”
Jem smiles. “Good one, sweetie. But can I ask you to please stop eating in here? I mean, the stains on this couch. All that ketchup!”
“My bad, Jem.”
“It’s okay. Anyway, did you know tomato ketchup can bring back ‘the shine’ to tarnished brass?”
Jem nods swiping the duster. “It’s true. They say – Oh, dear Lord! Look at your face!”
“Yeah,” Velvet mutters, touching her mouth. “Speaking of ketchup…”
Jem rushes over, glaring at the blood. “Ketchup! Sweetie, that’s not ketchup!”.
Velvet nods. “Yeah, I know. Bad day at school. Bad day period. I guess you could say I’m just going through a kind of transition.”
Jem frowns, rushing down the hall, heading for the linen closet. “Well, goot-ness (goodness)! What a mess?! I’ll get you a towel…”
As it turns out, the old woman Velvet saved has a hidden camera attached on the front of her purse. Admittedly, that is thing, now: surveillance cameras and purses.
Consequently, the entire mugging was recorded, capturing pristine images of Velvet’s vampiric transformation. This time, there can be no doubt. Velvet is positively identified (by peers and teachers) as the crazed-vigilante who calls herself “SuperVamp”.
A warrant was issued for Velvet Rothschild, leaving the authorities one simple question: “what kinda nut puts a camera on a purse?”.
While Jem fetches a towel, Velvet grabs the remote off the coffee table and flips on Channel Six. The newscaster blathers on and on while a looped video from last night shows Velvet’s shadow, tying up that bike thief.
“And now, reports of a second incident has come in, regarding a botched mugging just outside a local high school, here in Dizzy. While details are sketchy, reports that police have issued an arrest warrant…”
“Arrest warrant?” Velvet cries, gulpin nervously. “Wow, center that. How the heck did they — ?”
“Okay, found a towel!” Jem hollers from the closet. “Be right there, sweetie!”
Velvet nods, thanking her when, suddenly, her cellphone rings. She pulls it out of her pocket, looking at the screen in disbelief. The number calling has a 322 area code.
A real call. From an actual person.
Or maybe just another “wrong number”.
Swiping the screen, Velvet answers the call. “Um – hello? Are you looking for Blair? This isn’t her line, anymore….”
“No, babes! We’re lookin’ for you.”
Velvet recognizes the moronic voice, anywhere.
“The one and the same!”
Velvet sighs, annoyed. Kelly Pierson is head cheerleader voted “More Popular Than Jesus” and “Our Inevitable Barbie Girl Prom Queen”.
The incessant giggling in the background is likely Kelly’s trio of bimbos: “Bambi Laron” “Chrissy Teller” and “Hannah Smith”. Together they remind Velvet of a Keisha song.
“Well-y-well-well, then!” Velvet cries, imitating A Clockwork Orange. “What’s up with y’all — my cheeky-face Cholas?”
Kelly squeals, excited “Like, OMG! You’re like, totally famous, babes!”
Velvet frowns. “OMG? That stand for ‘Oh My Goat?”
“Wow, sweetie! You’re so adorable. Like ‘hilar’, for reals. You’re like, ‘Muppet level’ cute. Wit, real wit!”
“I couldn’t bear life if I wasn’t.”
“So, did you see the news? They say you almost killed that robber-guy! Oh, and now there’s like, some, weird purse video on YouTube. It’s got like, a zillion subscribers! Lotta “likes”, too! Seriously, you’re like — a movie star.”
Velvet bites her lip, pacing. “Well, I what can I say? I was born this way – hey! Actually… not really. It’s more like ‘I was bitten this way’, but ya know, who cares about details?”
“Okay, guess what? I just thought of something — what if they do make amovie? Like a Netflix special! I mean, why not? The make a series of just about everything!”
“I don’t know, but I’m getting a headache. Plus, I’m gettin’ called away to London for a few days. I’ll call you when I get back. Hasta la Vista, babe.”
Switching her phone off, Velvet takes a towel from Jem, walking in just as someone knocks. “Police! Open the door!”
Velvet shrieks, aggressively wiping her mouth. “Holy bananas! The cops!”
“Don’t do it that way!” Jem hollers. “The blood’s smearing everywhere! Quick, run to the kitchen, wet the towel with water! I’ll get the front door!”
“Okay, thanks!” Velvet says, zooming to the kitchen with super-vampire speed.
Jem walks slowly to the front door, answering it. A trio of detectives stand on the other side. Several squad cars pull up to the house, lights flashing (no sirens).
“Afternoon, ma’am. We’re with Dizzy PD. We’re looking for Velvet Rothschild”.
Jem stalls, inquiring about search warrants, informing them the owners of the house, Velvet’s parents aren’t home to authorize interrogation.
“Well, ma’am, we do have warrant. And until the parents arrive, we’ll simply deatain Ms. Rothschild. So, let us in.”
After cleaning her blood smeared face, Velvet emerges from the kitchen, calmly approaching the detectives.
“Did I hear something about ‘parental permission’?” she asks, smiling at the lead detective: Detective Handsome. “There’s really no need.I have nothing to hide. Ask whatever you want.”
Handsome looks at his fellow detectives who nod in unison. “Alright, Ms. Rothschild. Can you tell us –”
“Oh my God!” Velvet shouts, interrupting. “Please call me Velvet.”
“Alright, Velvet. We’re investigating an incident that occurred not three blocks from here. An apparent vigilante assault where victim’s trachea was torn, copious amounts of blood consumed. We have surveillance printouts of the assailant’s face, clearly visible. We have two witnesses. Not to mention an entire high school, teachers and students. All corroborating you as the perpetrator. We’d like to have you come with us, answer a few questions at our station…”
Velvet winks, remaining silent.
“Young Lady, this is serious.”
Velvet throws up her hands, temper: rising. “Hey, you guys come to my house with loaded guns. And you honestly believe I don’t think you’re serious? Anyway, what’sthe point asking questions?You guys obviously knowwho did it! So, what do you think I’m gonna say? ‘It wasn’t me, it was the one armed man?’ How ‘bout I blame it on my evil Twin? By the way, that mugger nearly knifed that old lady. So what’s the bigdeal? I drank a little blood from some scumbag — who cares?”
Detective Handsome smirks. “The big deal is, it’s against the law. The city of Dizzy, along with every other city on Earth, does not condone vigilantism.”
“What about Gotham?”
Handsome sighs, rolling his eyes. “Gotham City is fiction! There’s no such place, for God’s sake!”
Velvet snaps her fingers. “Shoot! There goes my Batman-defense!”
“Ms. Rothschild, you put that man in Intensive Care! And there’s another victim last night with similar injuries. He’s also identified you as the perpatraitor. So, let’s cut the BS. Because if either victim dies, your lookin’ at murder one. Now face the wall and put your hands behind your back…”
Velvet giggles, batting her eyelashes. “Oooh, you cops are kinky.”
After being booked on $25,000 dollar bail, Velvet finds herself alone in the interrogation room, waiting for a public defender.
According to fellow inmates from booking, her attorney will be more a public “pretender”, not public “defender”.
A real lawyer costs thousands of dollars which she’s certain her parents don’t have. She’ll be lucky if she makes bond.
Detective “Handsome” is kind enough to bring her an “Arizona” while the others sit across from her, awaiting permission to question her.
The room is dark, but Velvet doesn’t mind (being part vampire). She decides to go on without representation since she knows she screwed anyway.
Afterall – they have videos.
“Handsome” switches the recorder on, asking her to “please begin”.
“Okay, but it’s doubtful you’ll believe me…”
“Why don’t you tell us what happened? In your own words…”
“Detective, I feel I should tell you, you have beautiful neck veins.”
“I think I’ll take that as a compliment.”
“Anyway, I forgot my homework, went back last night, got bitten by a vampire, came home, heard a guy steal – or sensed it, anyway. So I raced over to stop him, flew into a rage, tore open his throat, went to school the next morning, looked up vampirism, couldn’t find anything useful – Oh, by the way, I ate this moldy sandwich, which I’m convinced gave my super powers, conflicting with my acquired vampire instincts – then I saw this creepy dude with a big-ass knife, robbing some old lady, I bit his ass, too, threw him in the trash, went home, you guys show up – now, I’m here. Any more questions?
The detectives stare at her, faces blank.
After a moment, “Handsome”, composes himself, sits up in his chair, clears his throat and asks, very politely: “Um, could you repeat that?”
Velvet smiles, cocking an eyebrow. “You have really pretty eyes.”
Global news stations pick-up the story, the nation is outraged after news of Velvet’s arrest is confirmed. Dozens of protesters carry signs of misjustice: “If the police won’t protect us, why not Velvet?” A Twitter sensation posts headlines in all-caps: “COPS SLAM VAMPIRE SAVIOR”, “NO LOVE FOR SUPER GIRL”, “MYSOGINISTIC EXPLOSION IN POLICE DEPARTMENT!”, “‘LET SUPERVAMP DO THE JOB YOU CAN’T!’, “VELVET ROTHSCHILD HAVING ARRESTING OFFICER’S SECRET LOVE CHILD?”
Hollywood gets involved after an HBO documentary is made, “Paradise Never Found”. Former vampires like Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, and Robert Paterson convince Gary Oldman, Tom Cruise a dead Christopher Lee scream at town hall podiums.90s musician Eddy Vedder and The Dixie Chicks join Lady Gaga hold a “Free Velvet” concert. Producers talk ideas for “Real Vampires, Atlanta”.
Never mind Velvet is from Dizzy.
Fans wearing “SuperVamp” t-shirts, attack arresting officers, calling them “sexist”,“vamp-ists” and “racists” (though no one knows why).
Velvet appears before Judge “Van Halen” (no relation), staring wearily at the angry mob outside his window. “Well, well this quite a circus! Worse than OJ!”
The new team of A-list team defense lawyers (thanks to GoFundMe donations) file a series of motions, accusing “gross misconduct”.
“The arresting detectives clearly failed informing Ms. Rothschild of her Miranda rights before their interrogation. Nor were her parent’s notified to grant permission. And what right do lesbian cleaning ladies have, allowing detectives on private property that isn’t hers?”
Judge Van Halen calls a meeting in his chambers.
“Considering how these are nothing but assaults (where both victims lived) and considering the enormous pressure from the media, not to mention – The Dixie Chicks! I think it best we find quick resolution and get this girl outta here!”
The prosecutor nods, agreeing. “Personally, I just want Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt to stop calling me on my cellphone!”
A plea-bargain is reached, assigning Velvet 6-month probation. She will provide 100 hours community service and assist authorities, apprehending all criminals (within city limits).
After successful completion, she may return to high school and submit that damn paper on linear equations.
“If there’s one lesson here it this,” Velvet says, waving to her fans. “When life bites, bite back. And if you get arrested, make sure Hollywood’s on your side…”
Copyright Benson Phillip Lott 2020