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Tuesday, September 20, 2011


I entered the house tonight after feeding and
found Mr. London, as I have come to think of my
British counterpart, sitting in my living room in one
of the wine-red colored wing chairs. He greeted me
with, “Hello, mate. How’s tricks?”
“There are no tricks if you know true magic,” I

“I hope you don’t mind me letting myself in?”
“Would it matter if I did?”
“Of course it would matter. I’m trying to work a
deal with you. I want you happy.”
I took a seat facing him from across the room.
He looks the same – narrow shouldered, thin angular
face, dark brown hair slicked straight back from his
brow, and dark glasses. He was wearing black jeans
and a Hawaiian shirt with red and blue macaws on a
black background.
“No offense, but you look like a tourist.”
“No offense taken. I am a tourist. I’ve been
taking in the sights and sounds.”
“And I like Atlantic City better than here. New
York is not what I expected. It’s like a shiny knife with
a dull blade, seems to me.”
“On what do you base this assessment, if I may be so bold as to inquire?”
“Just a general sense of the energy here -- seems kind of flat to me, if you know what I mean. Not a lot of anticipation in the air. Plenty of greed, plenty of raw wanting, but not much sense of promise.”
“Does this mean you’re rescinding your offer to swap territories?”
“No. I’m ready to swap tonight. As I said, there’s Atlantic City. I could see myself spending a lot of time in Atlantic City. Hunt there much, do you?”
“Not really. Not ever, to tell the truth.”
“Not ever? You’re joking, right?”
“Truth is – I’ve never been there. I know it’s close but . . . “
“Never been there? As in ‘never, not at all’?”
“Yes. Never as in not at all. I just never went.”
“”But it’s like an orchard full of ripe fruit. Body disposal is not a problem. The ocean is right there. Everyone is transient and despair is rampant. If you paid attention you could feed off the prospective suicides almost exclusively, just help them along.”
“I thought you like a sense of possibility. Isn’t that what you just said?”
“I do, mate. There’s no shortage of optimism where ever there’s a casino. It’s just that the optimism is short lived more often than not. There’s quite a line up of casinos there. I can’t believe you’ve never been.”
“I guess show biz is enough of a gamble for me.”
“Yeah. Well, I haven’t a clue how you can stand it. It must be maddening.”
“What makes you say that?”
“You go out and suck some bloke’s blood, and then settle in for an evening of make believe and overly sweet song and dance routines. That’s strange.”
“Are you a theater critic or a gambler?”
“I’m what the blood sacks call a vampire. And so are you. Best not to forget that.”
“What makes you think I would forget that, if I could?
“There’s something about your whole set up. You layer deception on top of deception, all so you can spend time among humans, so you can gain their trust and admiration. They’re sustenance, the blood source. You shouldn’t play with your food.”
“People can be excellent company. Don’t you ever get lonely?”
“If I did, I’d get a dog.”
“Sorry. I simply don’t see the point of being contemptuous.”
“Now I’ve gone and insulted you and that was not my intent at all. I should be encouraging you in your theatrical ways. I should be selling you on the virtues and opportunities that dear old Albion represents. I admit it – conversation is not my strong suit. I’m a gambler, not a tout.”
I said nothing in response. There was nothing to say.
“Now don’t get all sullen on me, mate.”
“What’s your name?” I asked.
“What’s the difference? I plan to change it to something American if I relocate here. You certainly would not recognize my name, if that’s what you’re after. I don’t maintain a flashy public profile.”
“But you do have a name.”
“Of course I have a name. I’ve got to exist in society, too. Not to the degree that you strive for, but I’m not a hermit.”
“It would be nice to have some way to address you.”
“Call me Norman then.”
“All right, Norman. Thank you.”
“You’re quite welcome.”
“I’m a gambler, too, you know, Norman.”
“Of course you are. Everyone is to some degree or another.”
“I just made a ten million dollar bet on my show Pretty Lady. And by all appearances, it was a good bet. It’s going to pay me some serious returns for years to come.”
“Ten million dollars? That is impressive. I’m glad for you. Of course, you know the tariff isn’t quite so dear in your line of work where I come from?”
“Theater production in London is not cheap. It’s less expensive, but it’s not a bargain by any means.”
“No. I suppose it’s not.”
Again, I lapsed into silence. This was a long time to spend with another of my kind, one on one. I was unsure what to make of him.
“I’m not getting a read here, mate. Have I blown the deal?”
“I’m still considering. I understand the advantages for me – a much more theater-friendly population and all that. What I don’t get is why you want to come here?”
“Why do I want to come here? It’s paradise that’s why. Have you got time for a quick flit?
“Where to?”
“Where you’ve never been. Come on. It will be a lark.”