Dispatches from the wilds of Proseambique – Suck

Being a vampire, you tell yourself, is going to be awesome. Staying young forever, heightened senses, super strength, hypnotic powers… and the chicks, man. Everyone knows chicks dig vampires. The next thing you know you’re nodding your agreement to the pale, stylish creature who looks about twenty but is about two hundred and his fangs are in your neck before you can even begin to wonder why, out of all the people in the world, he chose to make normal, boring you into an immortal.

But being a vampire, as it turns out, well, it kinda sucks.

First off, there’s the chicks. It turns out being pale and brooding only attracts certain segments of the population, and since you’re no more interested in spending hours applying make-up and buckling into the elaborate outfits du jour now than you were when you had a heart-beat, goth girls display little more interest in you than they did when you were mortal, which only leaves one real option; and, sure enough, eventually you find yourself smiling your pointy smile at Twilight fans… but that’s a mistake you only make once, after she decides, in the middle of your noon-day nap, that she wants to see you sparkle, and pulls back the curtains of your bedroom, and you spend the next month picking scabs off your face and scrubbing her blood out of the carpet.

Worse still, it turns out it’s a bit of a moot point, frankly, because your goddamn equipment doesn’t work anymore, and apparently being undead doesn’t even qualify you for rigor mortis. And if that’s not bad enough, you can forget about kissing. Sure, you can still do it, but you have to spend the entire goddamn time resisting the overwhelming urge to bite their tongue off and suck their life right out of their mouth, which is kind of a buzz kill.

Ok, it’s true, you get the delight of slaking your bloodlust, but the high only lasts a couple of minutes and then all you really get out of it is not-being-hungry for a few hours. And you’d better like the taste of iron, ‘cos that’s what’s on the menu for the next thousand years. Oh, sure, your mouth still works, so you could still eat, but your digestive tract’s as dead as your babymaker, and let me tell you something; sending an undigested steak through an undead colon is about as fun as an acorn enema.

And you can forget about wine. If you think going a little too hard on the vino is unpleasant when you’ve not had dinner, wait ’til you try it on a stomach that’s been empty for fifty years.

And then, of course, there’s the problem of bodies. Either you have to spend hours each night finding a way to securely dispose of a body, or you save yourself the hassle by repeatedly snacking on some poor sod you keep chained in your soundproof basement, but even then their constant weeping and pleading for mercy usually gets on your nerves pretty quickly and it’s not long before you’re snapping their neck just to shut them up and then you’re back to hiking out into the depths of a national park with a shovel in the middle of the night.

Sure, your new hypnotic powers seem great at first, and making money becomes a breeze, but it turns out that when you remove all the primary human drives, the need for money goes right along with it. Sure, you get yourself a comfortable couch, a big-screen TV and some very nice curtains, but getting yourself a Jag and a Rolex seems a little pointless when you’ve got no one to flash them at, and you’re sure as hell not dropping any coin on Scanpan.

Travel sucks, too. You can’t take any long flights, of course, as you have to carefully pick flights that avoid the sun, so you end up making stopover after stopover and see more departure lounges than anyone should reasonably have to bear. And don’t imagine for a second that just because you don’t rise with the sun you won’t still suffer jet-lag.

And sure, night-life’s gotten better since the advent of electricity, but clubbing’s not so much fun when you have super-sensitive hearing and can’t fuck anyone on the dance floor or digest any form or pharmaceutical. And you know what else there is to do at 2 am? Not a god-damn thing.

Finally you seek out your own kind, figuring they’ve got to have a few tricks up their sleeve for avoiding the boredom, but it turns out that any halfway-interesting vampires usually spend a century or so working their way through the literary and artistic canons and then, realising the boring futility of it all, go out to watch their last sunrise. All you’re left with are those that are so religious that they prefer eternal tedium on earth to eternal damnation below, and those that are so afraid of death (which is, after all, why most people choose to become vampires in the first place) that they just plod on wearily, hoping the future might hold something better.

The best you manage to come up with is a vampire book club, which, admittedly, isn’t so bad, since you can discuss War and Peace with actual participants of the Napoleonic war, but then, of course, they’ve all got a century or two head-start on you in terms of background reading, so half the time you don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. And that’s before you even get to the fact that every single damn one of them is more moody and broody than an emo teenager with a hormonal imbalance.

You try to forge friendships with interesting humans, but anyone with half a brain, as it turns out, is usually pretty uncomfortable hanging out with a habitual mass murderer, so you finally find your way onto the internet, hoping that under its comforting cloak of anonymity you can finally have a half-decent conversation, but you don’t even last a week before it has you almost yearning for some Twilight fans.

So finally you seek out some poor sap who seems interesting enough to maybe manage a decade of amusing companionship before he gets the shits with you and broodily stalks off, and you sit across the room from him and wait for that flash of excitement in his eyes as he realises just how totally awesome it’ll be to be a vampire, and you make sure you’re across the room with your teeth in his neck before he has time to wonder how, exactly, he came to be lucky.


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