Hank the Vampyre Chapter IV : Love is Patient, Love is Kind, Love is Gentle and Love is Blind, as a Bat.

Hank pulls into lot number 13 in Paradise Lost Trailer Park. The motor rattles, shimmies, hulas and shakes to a halt.

Flash! Greens then Blues, to Yellow Hues, Reds, then Black, then White, then Back. Television lights are flashing through the trailer window and illuminating the car’s worn interior. The minutes pass as Hank sits and stares into the night. Crickets are chirping and yearning for connection. Mosquitos float silently through the ether hunting their prey. Hank opens the glove box where there are 5 neatly stacked piles of small, weathered, 3x4 inch ringed note pads.

Each pile contains 15 notepads.

Each notepad has 30 pages.

That’s 75 notepads and 2,250 pages, if anyone’s counting.

Hank grabs the top notepad from the pile closest to the driver’s side. He pulls a pencil from his pocket, licks the tip of his thumb, and leafs through the first ten pages.

Each page has 12 lines on each side, each line is filled. Putting his notebook collection at a sum total of 54,000 lines.

On each line is a number, a date and a name.

Several hundred of the lines simply say, “Unknown” where a name should be.

The last entry reads: 68,640. March 23. Rosco Bucephelus Diggins. That was almost 6 months ago. Hank was pretty sure he was going to make it a year. That’s Rosco on the left there.

On the next line, Hank writes down the number 68,641. The date, June 12th. The name:________. Shit, what was the name? Hank can’t remember the name on the young man’s drivers license. The name: Unknown Man.

Law 10: Always ask for a name, before you drink.

Law 11: If you forget to ask for a name, pick their pocket, and get their name from their driver’s license. Yes, if there’s money you should get that too.

Hank replaces the notepad, closes the glovebox, and gets out of the car.

The storm door slams shut, he winces as the knob punches him in the back end, and steps through the door of the trailer. He’s home.

But he’s not alone.

A woman’s on the couch. She is motionless, except for the steady up and down motion of her 30lb buxom bosoms.

Soft, flowery smelling blonde hair, on Mondays.

Greasy, withered-flowery-smelling-darker blonde hair by Wednesday.

Beautiful red lips, flush pink cheeks and sparkling blue eyes, glisten in the dancing light of the television, set deep into a face, still plump with years of baby fat.

The face of an angel, atop a skin shrouded neck, resting on a palisade of soft, pink, velvety, dimpled flesh.

Hank loves her more than any other human he’s met, drained, maimed, murdered, or played spades with. He loves her because he knows she’ll never leave. And sometimes that’s enough.

Her name is Darlene Misty Jo Brandywine, and the couch is the cornerstone, upon which she vicariously experiences the world.

Plus, it efficiently wicks the dewy mix of sweat, hot wing sauce, farts and pheromones. This slippery stew of body butter, slowly oozes it’s way south throughout the day, until it’s absorbed by the couch’s microfibers, and released back into the atmosphere as a thick pungent evaporated musk.

This is oxygen lacking ether serves as the trailer’s poor substitute for air.

Who are we to judge? It smells like home to Hank.

Darlene Misty Jo Brandywine is Hank’s live-in girlfriend of 10 years. Darlene doesn’t believe in marriage. Her daddy, Cletus Bodean Brandywine, was married to her Mama, Dixie Jo Brandywine, and they were the two most miserable people in the world. Also, Cletus Bodean had a habit of being too friendly with Darlene, and heavy handed with Mama when he got drunk. Which was every night of Darlene’s life for 16 years.

Hank, and Darlene Misty Jo Brandywine, visited Cletus Bodean Brandywine and Mama Dixie Jo Brandywine for Thanksgiving 9 years ago. After some turkey, and racist ranting, Cletus Bodean stepped out for a cigarette. Hank followed, and no one ever saw or heard from Cletus Bodean again. Rumor was, he was blackout drunk n’ pissing in the pond when a gator leapt out and brought him under for dinner. The fact is, no one seemed to care. Like he was never there in the first place. R.I.P. Cletus Bodean.

Hank is the only man Darlene Misty Jo Brandywine isn’t afraid of. Darlene is the only woman Hank has ever loved.

Don’t get me wrong, he’s had sex with lots of women, and men, and things we won’t get into just yet. Hank just hasn’t loved anyone before.

Darlene is always there, right where Hank left her, and not an inch to the left or the right, or even a thousandth of an inch higher or lower than she was yesterday. Darlene is the only rock to ever anchor the drifting sailboat of Hank’s multi millennial life.

Little heart balloons float and pop around Hank’s head as Darlene unleashes her usual unending stream of verbal diarrhea. Don’t worry though. Hank likes it. Strange as it may sound, Darlene has spoken more words to Hank than the sum total of Hank’s collective communications with humans before he met her. This includes all of his previous lives, wives, comrades and Yankee Doodle Dandies. Thousands and thousands of years of conversation, literally doubled in 10 years.

“Hankey honey don’t forget that it’s your dish night, and could you grab me a diet coke, where’s that gall darn remote TV remote, Hankey Buns put some dinners in the microwave, and see if the cat is under the bed again, she hasn’t eaten her food yet today, and take your boots off you’re stomping so loud I can’t hear my show, and could you empty the litter box baby, and you’ve got red stuff all over your face and shirt Hunky Poo, were you eating Arby’s in the car again, you better wash that off before you try to kiss me, and have you seen the Roku, I missed Oprah this morning because I couldn’t find it, and for Christ’s heavenly sake Hank wash your face, and find Penelope (the cat under the bed), and come snuggle with me, I miss you, don’t forget to bring me a couple diet Cokes…”.

Hank walks to the bathroom and washes his face in the bathroom sink, strips down to his wife beater tank top, striped undershorts, and slips on some flip flops.

Walks to the fridge, and grabs a can of Busch beer. Pops 2 frozen dinners into the microwave.

Walks back to the fridge, tosses 4 ice cold cans of diet Coke to Darlene.

Walks to the back of the trailer, pulls a 40lb ball of hissing hair from under the bed.

Walks back to the kitchen, removes the lid from a 60 gallon capacity garbage can sitting in the center of the kitchen floor. It’s filled to the brim with crushed cans of Diet Coke, Busch beer, plastic sporks, and frozen dinner boxes. Hank grabs it by the handle, kicks open the door and walks out, garbage in one hand, fur-ball in the other.

Hank tosses the cat into the bushes by the trailer and lights up a smoke before making his way to Paradise Lost’s communal garbage bin.

This is dish night, when the can is empty, the dishes are done.

It’s been Hank’s dish night ever since Darlene put on her 460th pound two years ago. They celebrated with bacon wrapped hotdogs and a 3 gallon tub of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. Darlene refuses to eat vegetables unless they’re fried. She’s on year 7 of her Diet Coke weight-loss plan.

Diet Coke has yet to ask her to be the face of their new ad campaign. Which is a shame, because Darlene’s got a pretty face.

4 hours, 16 beers, 18 Diet Cokes, 5 Tv dinners, and 4 TV episodes later, Hank is drunk as a skunk, drooling, and snoring into the belly of his fleshy body pillow, Darlene Misty Jo Brandywine. The Queen of the castle is still seated upright, snoring, drool dribbling into Hanks ear, clutching an empty Diet Coke can in her left hand, and the remote in her right. All is right with the world.

You know how you can tell if two people are really in love? I’ll tell you, it’s when they unknowingly snore in unison and in harmony. Hank snores the high notes, while Darlene snorts the low notes and improvises on the butt tuba. Hank and Darlene, the human bagpipes, playing your favorite love songs every evening from midnight to six.

Hank wakes up. He puts a pillow behind Darlene’s head, brushes the hair off her sweaty brow and gives her a kiss. He walks to the bedroom sets his half empty beer next to the 15 other half empty beers on the nightstand and slips beneath the covers. His ribs ache (don’t forget he embodied the deer that got hit by his car! Yeah, he still feels that and I knew you’d forget) and in his mind he replays the human’s last words, “Just make it stop. Just make it stop. Just make it stop. Just make it stop”. You get it. Hank got it too.

2 hours later Hank wakes up, loads his toothbrush with extra paste and scrubs off a fuzzy red and yellowish layer of beer, bits of chicken wing and dried blood from his dentures. Hank taps at the acrylic resin which was used to replace all, except two, of his teeth. I bet you can’t guess which ones? Once white, they’re now stained from years of coffee, beer, cigarettes, gallons of blood and the occasional chew.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> At this moment you should be hearing Harp strings and seeing a Blurry Screen. Anything that helps you visualize traveling back in time should be inserted here. Ok, here we go >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> and stop.

Flashback. There was a day long ago when his last ‘human’ tooth fell out. Hank, then Alexis Dubois, fashioned a makeshift set of teeth out of wood which astonishingly remained in his mouth for 10 and 7 years! That’s a fancy olde timey way of saying 17. Upon his next subterraneous awakening, Hank made it his first order of business to find a barber-surgeon. That’s an olde timey word for dentist. Eventually he found a barber-surgeon who, for the right price, wouldn’t ask how he came about losing all but his razor sharp canine teeth. The shady gentlemen he picked made him a wonderful new set of pearly whites. That was a long time ago and he’s still wearing them. They don’t make things like they used to. I mean wooden teeth sound pretty cool but there’s nothing worse than tongue splinters. Those things never come out.

Ok, let’s go back to the present. Ready, Go >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> this is us traveling through literary time >>>>>>>>>>> wheeee!!! >>>>>> >>>> Ok, done.

After brushing, Hank lights a cigarette, scrambles some eggs, plates the leftovers and sets them on the couch next to Darlene. He digs the remote from the crack beneath her robust and sweaty booty and places it on her lap. He never asks how the remote gets there. He just knows it’s going to be there and fishes it out. No telling how long it would take her to find it after she woke up.

So you should have realized by now that Darlene’s TV is perpetually in the “ON” position.

Here is why: The last time the TV unexpectedly turned off Darlene actually stood up to find the fuse box. Two steps into her quest the floor collapsed and poor Darlene was laying on her back, like a grounded skin blimp, underneath the trailer! They don’t make plywood floors like they used to. 7 hours later, upon arriving home from work, Hank discovered Darlene, still lying on her back, crying and staring up through the Beluga whale sized hole in the trailer floor. I won’t even tell you what had to happen to get her out of the hole. Let’s just say the trailer isn’t parked the same way it used to be. The next day Hank installed a gasoline powered back up generator.

Stats on trailer upgrades since:

4 sheets of 1 inch thick plywood

supported by 5 car jacks,

66 nails

and 2 rolls of duct-tape were mounted beneath the floor of Darlene’s 6ft square domain.

Problem solved.

This morning, Darlene is still snoring, her empty diet coke in hand and drool glistening on her chin. She’s right where Hank left her. Hank loves the steadfast predicability of his darling Darlene. He kisses her sweaty forehead and drives to work.