|[||State 'O The Brain
|||||Exodus - Tempo of the Damned||]|
Here's a little vampire story I finished today, which I've entitled, "Cell Hell." Hooray for me! Now if I can just get my damned order of books in so's I can start making some money off 'em, all will be well in my corner of the universe ... though I do wish I could replay the last Thursday afternoon, wherein I was given a crowbar and allowed to smash away at a wall to my little heart's content. Man, I wish we had another wall to knock down at the store! Remodeling totally rules! At least until you get to the part where you're laying tile until 4 am on Monday morning, but at least by that point, everybody was so tired, EVERYTHING seemed funny, so I can't bitch too much. Anywhoo, I'm off ... enjoy the story. I'm sure you will, 'lil sis ... it's right up your alley.
“Man, she had the biggest set I’ve ever seen, and boy, was she dumb, too …”
Kimberly Anne Moriarty stared at the back of the young man’s head, wishing that heat-vision was one of the abilities that came par and parcel with vampirehood, because she would have loved to burn a hole right through the guy’s brain at the moment. She peered ahead of him, trying to figure out why the line was moving so slowly; this was a ticket-line at a movie theatre, after all, not brain surgery. But then again, it seemed to her that most of the people who milled around the world and got in her way were already the victims of some severely-botched brain surgery, because nobody could ever get anything right, which always ended up slowing her down and getting in her way. If the ticket-seller wasn’t a complete idiot, rest assured one or more of the customers were, and that overwhelming stupidity resulted in her getting stuck in line behind the Abercrombie & Fitch-clad dickwad currently yakking away into his cell phone. Kimmie was irked.
She despised cell phones at the best of times because, to her, they seemed like just one more way for people to invade her privacy and bother her with their nonsense, and whenever she was already annoyed, they were a real burr in her ass. She couldn’t understand why people were so attached to their precious phones that they couldn’t leave them behind when they left their houses, and why they didn’t seem to care that they were broadcasting the irritatingly dumb events of their mediocre lives to the world around them. Hell, just a couple of weeks ago she’d gotten tangled up in a really, really stupid misadventure involving four college kids, a smelly mongrel, and a crooked bank vice-president running around a spooky old house while dressed up like a monster, and you didn’t see her babbling about it over a cell phone to everybody. If someone who had an interesting life didn’t bother people with it, people with asinine lives should be beaten for doing so.
But Kimmie, cell aficionados had told her, those phones are lifesavers! They help bring people closer together and ensure that when an emergency happens, help is only a phone call away, no matter where they are! Cell phones save lives AND make those lives even more convenient! Well, that may very well have been true, as she’d heard about such things, but if the existence of cell phones meant that she had to listen to some frat guy brag about nailing some chick in the ass over the weekend while she was stuck in a ticket line behind him, those wretched little contraptions could go hang. People had survived without cell phones, or even phones, for that matter, for thousands of years, and she simply missed the point why it was so important to always have one nearby. If you miss a call, you miss a call, no big deal. Tell your buddy about the drunken sorority girl later, whenever you weren’t in line just ahead of a young, irritated, and thoroughly unpleasant vampiress.
Her hands started to move upwards of their own accord, intent upon squashing the guy’s head like a melon, but Kimmie caught herself before she did anything that would’ve drawn more attention than it was worth. Instead, she amused herself by imagining how much damage a kick from a vampiress wearing steel-toed PVC boots could do to a young adult male’s reproductive organs. She was betting on total disintegration. Kimmie smiled.
Then her smile went completely away when the frat guy, in disgusting detail, began to describe to his less-knowledgeable phone-buddy exactly what a “donkey punch” was. She swore, some people just needed to be killed. Her hands began to move upwards again, clenching and unclenching, as she scowled ferociously.
“Oy, what’s the hold-up?” asked Mary in her bright British accent, cheerfully bouncing over to Kimmie, somehow moving with more grace than a ballerina despite moving around on six-inch platforms in a crowded lobby and having her arms full with a huge popcorn bucket, two drinks, and several boxes of candy. Before Kimmie could answer, the other vampiress cocked her head to the side, nearly dragging her blonde-streaked red hair through the popcorn, and said wryly, “Fred wants to know if they haven’t finished making the movie you’re trying to buy tickets for.”
“I’m sure it’s someone’s incompetence holding things up,” Kimmie grunted, putting her hands back down and busying them with adjusting her long-skirted black-and-red PVC dress, deciding it was best to keep them occupied for the time being. “It usually is.”
Mary, who was dressed in a sparkling red and blue pants and blouse affair that would have made a Spice Girl envious, glanced towards the beginning of the line, using the added height the platforms gave her to get a better vantage on the situation. “Hmm, I think there’s an argument going on because they’re out of tickets for that vampire movie that just came out, and some people aren’t too happy about it.”
“Oh gawd,” Kimmie groaned, rolling her eyes, “That M.R. Jones movie? That guy’s the biggest hack I’ve ever seen! His books suck, his movies suck, and he sucks. I feel sorry for anybody that reads or watches anything by him. Have you ever read anything he’s written? It’s all total shit!”
“I wouldn’t know,” said Mary noncommittally, looking upwards for a few seconds, as though expecting to be struck by a bolt of lightning.
“So I’m stuck here in line, behind some asshole with a cell phone, because a bunch of geeks are mad because they can’t go see a cinematic turd splatter across the screen,” growled Kimmie. “The world hates me.”
“Whaddaya mean you don’t know what a rusty trombone is?!” exclaimed the frat guy into his cell phone, clearly shocked at his friend’s ignorance, though completely oblivious to his own. “Just listen for a second, and I’ll tell you!”
“I’m in hell,” muttered the vampiress.
* * *
The movie, Bride of Rat-Man II, wasn’t exactly a cinematic masterpiece, but Kimmie found herself enjoying it in a cheesy sort of way; the lead character was actually pretty likeable for a sleazy humanoid rat, the plot mostly made sense, and the jokes were really funny. It was certainly better than that worthless M.R. Jones movie, she reflected as she took a few gumdrops from the box Mary offered her. They’d just barely made it into the darkened theatre in time for the movie; it had worked in their favor that movie places usually showed about twenty minutes of time-wasting previews and brain-dead commercials before they actually got around to showing an actual movie. Their seats, towards the back of the theatre, weren’t the best in the world, but neither of them had sat in anything sticky or pointy, so Kimmie was content. She was also glad that she’d let Mary talk her into coming to see the movie, which had been heartily recommended by Donita, their eccentric gypsy half-vampire mentor, because the nuptial adventures of the intrepid Rat-Man were proving to be excellent mindless entertainment.
But just as Rat-Man was cleverly avoiding paying alimony to his ex-wife so that he could have the money to buy the new apple of his eye an engagement ring, a loud beeping chorus of the “Green Acres” theme jolted into Kimmie’s consciousness, and someone a few rows ahead began fumbling around in the dark, looking for their cell phone. It seemed to take forever, and the “Green Acres” theme ran on and on, loud enough to make the movie really hard to listen to, and when the owner finally found the phone, she simply answered it instead of shutting it off.
“Hey, what’s goin’ on, girlfriend? Me? I’m just watchin’ a movie!” exclaimed the phone’s owner, a heavyset woman with a voice louder than it had any right to be, especially since she just kept right on talking, drowning out Rat-Man entirely. It also drowned out the sound of Kimmie gripping the armrest of her chair so tightly that she crushed it into something resembling a modern art sculpture. She started to get up, snarling softly, but Mary (who was used to Kimmie’s temper and was stronger than her, fortunately) grabbed her by the forearm and gently but firmly sat her back down without a word, saving the loud woman’s life in the process.
There was a round of “shhhhh’s!” from the other moviegoers, but it did nothing to dissuade the obnoxious woman, who prattled on for almost a minute before mercifully hanging up and letting everybody return to the movie. However …
Five minutes later, just when Kimmie was starting to get back into the movie, the phone rang again. “What’cha doin’ callin’ me back, girlfriend?” squawked the woman, “Oh yeah? Is that so? Damn, girlfriend, that is important!” And so it went, once again ruining Kimmie’s enjoyment of Rat-Man’s escapades.
Hissing, Kimmie started to get up again, but was re-seated by Mary once more, and sat fuming for several moments before she grabbed Mary’s box of gumdrops. “Hey, what are doing? Just because you’re mad doesn’t mean you should go filch my candy,” admonished the redheaded vampiress. “I’m being quiet.”
“I just need a few,” replied Kimmie, dumping a few onto her lap and giving the box back to Mary. She selected one, put it between her thumb and index finger, propped her wrist on the back of the empty seat in front of her, took aim, and gave the gumdrop a good hard flick with her other hand.
The sugary missile shot through the air like a pellet fired from a BB gun, connecting instantaneously with the back of the loud woman’s head with the force of a solid punch.
“Ooo, bugger!” murmured Mary, sounding delighted.
The woman yowled as her head jerked forward, and then she immediately spun around in her seat to face the guy sitting right behind her, cell phone still up to her ear, and yelled, “Hey, motherfucker! You wanna start somethin’?! I’m tryin’ to have a conversation here! Why do you gotta be so rude?!”
Before the beleaguered man could protest, Kimmie shot another gumdrop, which connected with the woman’s forehead, snapping her head back. She yowled again, and then shouted, “Some guy’s hatin’ on me in the movie theatre, girlfriend! Can you believe it?! I ain’t done a thing to him!” Then she bellowed, “I ain’t done a thing to you, motherfucker! I’m just tryin’ to talk to my friend while I’m watchin’ a movie, and you gotta start shit with me! I’ll fuck you up, man!”
“Ka-pow,” said Kimmie with infinite satisfaction, shooting the last gumdrop at the angry woman. This one connected with her throat, and the woman toppled over backwards, still clutching her phone while violently gagging and coughing, her conversation effectively killed. It looked as though Kimmie’s work here was done. But the vampiress didn’t yet know just how done it was.
As she started to lean back in her chair, a hand clasped onto her wrist forcefully, but it was nothing compared to the grip Mary had, and when she jerked her head to the side to see who it was, she saw an usher glaring at her. “I’m going to have to ask you to leave, ma’am,” said the teenaged figure of movie-house authority, his voice cracking in the awkward manner of puberty.
The usher motioned to where the loud woman was thrashing about trying to get back to her feet, still yelling into her cell phone. “I saw you throwing candy at that lady, and that’s not allowed,” he said with the seriousness only the wet-behind-the-ears can manage.
“But she was making all kinds of racket on her stupid phone first, and I was trying to stop her!” protested the vampiress, yanking her wrist back with ease.
“Too right,” added Mary, “She was making a bloody nuisance of herself.”
The usher straightened himself up like a first-day cop. “That doesn’t matter. You should have come to the desk and made a complaint, ma’am, and we would have been happy to take care of it. All you’re doing is causing more trouble and ruining everybody’s experience, so you’re going to have to leave.”
Kimmie scowled, hefted her soda, and barked, “Why don’t you lick my—“
* * *
“That was pretty bad, even for you,” said Mary as the pair walked down the sidewalk of the darkened shopping center the theatre was located in. “Lucille said that you put her in mind of Donita.”
The vampiress grunted and kicked a pebble down the sidewalk. “Don’t even mention Donita, I’m in a bad enough mood as it is. I can’t believe it. The manager wouldn’t even talk to me!”
“After you laid out one of his ushers with an ultra-sized soda, you’re probably lucky the manager didn’t insist you talk to the police.”
Kimmie grumbled. “Fucking cell phone assholes. I hate all of them. I hope they all get cancer from their precious phones.”
“Yeah, from all of the radiation those things give off. It just goes straight through the user’s head.”
“Oh, okay. I’ve heard about that.”
“I hope they all get head cancer, especially that big loud bitch that got me thrown out of the movie!”
“Head cancer? How awful!” She tilted her head to the side, and then nodded. “I agree, Lucille. That’s really venomous!”
Kimmie stomped her foot in anger. “They’ve got it coming! They just talk and carry on into their lousy phones for all the world to hear, and they don’t care if it pisses everybody off because they’re assholes!”
Mary shrugged. “Well, I’m always talking to Fred and Lucille, and since they’re voices in me head, it’s like I’m on a phone with two other people. It’s not much different than that.”
The other vampiress hung her head and shook it. “It’s different with you! Fred and Lucille never get your attention by making the ‘Green Acres’ theme come out of your ears, and you’re never obnoxious about talking to them! You mind your own business and keep it quiet, and that just makes me even madder, because you’re probably at least half-crazy but you’re a lot more thoughtful than those idiots! And I don’t want to kill you like I do them … at least most of the time.”
Mary grinned and gave Kimmie a hug. “Thank you. That was very nice.” There was a pause, and then the redheaded vampiress grunted, “Oh, don’t be so sour, Fred. A backhanded compliment is still a compliment.”
“Yeah, so don’t get bitchy,” grumped Kimmie, stepping down off the curb and into the street, heading towards the parking lot.
“I’ll be right with you … me shoe’s come untied,” said Mary, kneeling down on the curb and tending to her laces.
Kimmie stopped and glanced back at her. “I don’t know why you bother … it’s not like you ever trip over anything. Your balance is unnatural, even for one of us.”
The other vampiress grinned. “Well, I’ve got a reputation to maintain, and I wouldn’t want to bugger it up by tripping over a shoelace, now would I?” She finished knotting the long laces, then looked up Kimmie. “It just wouldn’t—look out!”
Kimmie frowned, looking down the street but seeing nothing. “What are you—“ she began, but was interrupted when a little BMW going entirely too fast for a parking lot area plowed into her from the other direction, sending her flying with a startled squawk.
Mary frantically hopped to her feet. “Kimmie! Oh, bloody hell!”
The car skidded to a stop with a screech of tires as the airborne vampires tumbled into a thicket of bushes rising up from one of the concrete planters dotting the parking lot, and a shocked yuppie came stumbling out of the car, nearly falling over himself as he untangled himself from his seat belt.
“Ohmygod! Ohmygod! I hit somebody!” he yowled into the cell phone he was still holding to his ear. He ran around to the front of his car, which was now sporting a pretty fair Kimmie-sized dent. “Oh shit, you should see the front of my car! I must’ve hit her hard! Somebody help!” His head jerked this way and that as he looked around for assistance. But the parking lot was currently empty since all of good movies were still running in the theatre, so he saw nobody but Mary.
“Hey you!” he yelled at the vampiress, who stared at him in irritation. “Go call 911! Hurry up!” He shifted his phone to his other ear and said, “No, no, hang on a second. I’ve got to go check on the girl. Now what were you saying?” He started over towards the bushes, and then glanced back at Mary. “What are you waiting for? Go find a phone and call 911!”
When he reached the bushes, he leaned over and called out, “Hey girl, are you all right?” There was a pause and he said, “No, really? You gotta be kidding me!” into his phone.
Any further conversation was halted whenever a hand shot out of the bushes and grabbed him by the throat, turning his words into strangled grunts. Kimmie’s head and shoulders popped up a second later, twigs and leaves sticking out of her shoulder-length pink hair at odd angles, and the yuppie nearly wet himself at the look of incredible rage on the vampiress’ features. He started to struggle and flail around, incoherently squeaking into his phone, as Kimmie stomped out of the bushes, her outfit torn and shredded from her impact with the car and then the bushes. A broken branch jutted out of her thigh, having gone straight through her skirt and into the meat of her leg; a slow trickle of blood ran down her leg and onto her boot. She looked down at the branch in annoyance and then savagely ripped it out of her flesh, flinging it across the parking lot with disdain.
“Asshole!” she hissed, though it wasn’t clear if she was addressing the branch or the yuppie.
“You’re all right!” exclaimed Mary, hurrying up to her. “Good thing we’re built stronger than the average girl, eh?”
“Good for me, bad for him,” snarled Kimmie, her hand snapping out like a cobra strike and yanking the cell phone from the yuppie’s hand. “Gimme that!”
“I didn’t … see you! I … swear!” choked the yuppie, frantically grabbing at Kimmie’s wrist, to no effect.
“Yeah, I bet,” said Kimmie snidely, glaring at him with undisguised contempt, and the yuppie let out a squawl of terror as her eyes started to glow red with anger.
“Go stand watch. I’ve got some business to take care of,” she said to Mary, and then dragged the kicking and struggling yuppie back towards the bushes. “Shut up!” screamed the vampiress, “You’re only going to make this even worse on you than it already is! You picked the wrong night to be talking to your boyfriend on the phone while you’re driving, buddy, that’s for sure, and you picked the wrong girl to run over, too!”
Mary glanced around the parking lot, wincing at the volume of the yuppie’s screams and Kimmie’s bellowings. “Oh, she’s beyond mad, Lucille,” she said absently. “I think this is what the Americans mean when they say three strikes and you’re out. It looks as though this bloke ended up being the unlucky one with cricket bat still in hand.”
“What’s your number?” roared Kimmie from the bushes, and she was answered by an unintelligible wail from the yuppie. “I SAID, WHAT’S YOUR NUMBER?! TELL ME YOUR NUMBER OR I’M GONNA GET REALLY MAD!”
The yuppie screeched something that sounded vaguely like a series of numbers, and a few seconds after that, he really started screaming. “Hold still, damn you!” the vampiress barked.
Mary’s blue eyes grew huge and she turned away from the bushes. “Well, that’s a scene I’ll be taking to me nightmares … that’s just bloody horrible.”
* * *
Doctor Lansing poured himself a cup of coffee, still shaking his head. “You know, working third shift in an L.A. hospital has exposed me to all sorts of human oddities, and after about the third year, I thought I’d seen it all,” he said, turning back to the young intern eating a sandwich on one of the doctors’ lounge couches. “But I’ve found that no matter how long you live in this city, it still finds ways to surprise you.”
He ran a hand through his greying hair and sat down on a chair across from the intern, who looked at him in curiosity. “Rough shift, Doctor?” asked the young oriental man, unconsciously pushing his glasses back up on his nose.
Lansing hesitated and then replied, “Not so much rough as … interesting, Jim.”
Jim raised his eyebrows in a silent question, and Lansing chuckled. “It was the damnedest thing I’ve seen in a long time, that’s for sure.” He took a drink from his coffee and then said, “This guy came in a few hours ago, pretty roughed-up and almost completely hysterical, right? So I figured it was drugs, even though the guy was much better dressed than the average crackhead, but hey, it takes all types, I figured. So I got a couple of the big orderlies to help me out and I started to examine him, and all the while he was hollering about running over a vampire in his BMW and her getting revenge.”
Jim smirked. “Heh. Drugs, right?”
Lansing shook his head. “Possibly, but I’m not sure, since I haven’t gotten his bloodwork back yet. But if you ask me, he had a few wires loose in the main control room, if you know what I mean. I finally had to have him sedated he was getting so wild, afraid that his vampire girl was going to come and get him again. So once I had him quiet, I continued my examination, and I noticed something.”
“You’re not going to believe me.”
“Try me. I can go check out the reports, after all.”
“True enough,” said Lansing. “Well, I was tending to some of the cuts and scrapes he had, because it looks like somebody shredded him up pretty good, and then I heard a phone ringing.” He paused and took another drink.
Jim frowned. “So? Phones ring all the time in hospitals.”
Lansing couldn’t quite smother a chuckle. “Not inside of patients.”
The doctor snickered. “I shouldn’t laugh, I really shouldn’t, but I’ve never seen anything quite like it.” After another drink of coffee, he said, “After that initial ring, the phone started ringing constantly, and it took me a little searching to find it, but I finally figured out where it was coming from. I can understand why the poor guy was so hysterical, though.” Lansing looked over at Jim and met eyes with him. “Somehow or other, somebody had shoved a cell phone up this guy’s ass. And it’s just a hunch, but I think whoever did it is the one that keeps calling, over and over again.”
Moral of the Story
Please be considerate and careful with your cell phone usage, because you never know who you might piss off.