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Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Patti came to my house this evening for the
final time. Neither of us knew it was the final time
when she arrived. Our meeting began with going
over the weekly wraps for Pretty Lady and Ukulele,
. The cumulative effect of Danny’s murder, the
East of Broadway Curse, my haunting of the show,
and subsequent word of mouth all combined to make
Pretty Lady an unstoppable hit. The show is grossing
a million dollars a week, with no signs of slowing

Even Ukulele, Baby has gotten a healthy bounce
in ticket sales, as word spreads that Danny directed
that show, too. Regardless of successes running on
two New York stages, London was looming large in
my consciousness and I decided to broach the subject
with my assistant.
“Patti, there’s something we need to discuss. It
looks as though I’m going to be moving to London.”
She responded without missing a beat.
“I’ll go with you.”
“That won’t work, Patti. I’m sorry. I intend to
keep an office open here and I’ll be expecting you to
run it for me.”
“But you can’t just leave me behind. You can’t.
This isn’t what’s supposed to happen.”
Her eyes began to sparkle with what can only be described as the gleam of madness.
She took her iPod out of her handbag, disconnected the ear buds, crossed to my stereo system and, with a short cable from taken from her purse, connected her music device to mine.
“I want you to listen to this. You may have heard it before but please listen and then I’ll explain.”
She thumb-scrolled through her music library until she found what she was looking for. I was unprepared for this response and sat back to see what she was going to do. Soon the first strains of the theme song of a popular television program, Vampire Luck, began to play.
“Oh not this, Patti, please. I despise this song.”
“Gus, just listen please. Just this once, and then I’ll explain everything.”
I sat back in my chair as the words pored out of the speakers:

Let me feel your cold cold kiss
Upon my mortal skin
Sink your fangs deep, my love
Let eternity begin

Infect me with desire
Set my blood on fire
Please be my vampire

By night you prowl crowded streets
In a shroud of magic mist
Taste the city’s heartbeat
While I wait hungry for your kiss
Infect me with desire
Set my blood on fire

Please be my vampire

Take me in ever darker embrace
Make me one of the vampire race
By your side I’ll roam death’s long night
Taste me, tease me, drain me with delight
Should you ever feel alone
And curse your vampire luck
Make me your companion
In the dark eternal suck
Infect me with desire
Set my blood on fire
Please be my vampire

Should you ever feel alone
And curse your vampire luck
Make me your companion
In the dark eternal suck

Infect me with desire
Set my blood on fire
Please be my vampire

By the song’s end, Patti was swaying and singing along with the recording softly in a high pitched voice. She sounded quite mad. As the song wound down, she advanced towards me and for a moment I was afraid she was going to try and give me a lap dance. Then I realized what she was after.
As soon as the song ended I said, “Patti, what is this all about? You’re frightening me.”
She laughed aloud but it was a hollow and strange sound.“I’m frightening you. That’s funny. That’s very funny. Nothing frightens you, Gus. Nothing at all.”
“Will you please tell me what this is all about?”
“I know what you are, Gus. You think I could work with you these last few years and not figure it out. Danny knew it, too. Danny convinced me that I was right about you. He actually brought it up first. All that time we spent together working on casting Pretty Lady, he was always talking about it. Only he was planning to expose you.”
“You’re confusing me. Danny knew what? He was going to expose what?”
“That you’re a vampire. That you are immortal.”
Suddenly my nascent desire to make her my immortal companion dissipated. If only she had refrained from playing that damnable song.
“This is absurd. There’s something wrong with you, Patti. Are you taking drugs? What could possibly make you say these things?”
“Truth makes me say them. You are a vampire, and you don’t know it but I saved your vampire butt. You owe me, Gus, and dammit you’re not going to leave me behind to answer the phones.”
It was becoming clear that Patti might very well be my feeding station for the evening. I began to consider the where and how of that proposition and was only half listening to her blather until her rambling reached a climax of sorts.
“And that’s why I killed him. To stop him from exposing you, and to prove that I am worthy to join you for all eternity.”
This brought me up short in my train of thought.
“You killed who?”
“Danny. Danny Limm. Aren’t you listening to me? I killed him. He told me all about how he walked his land lady’s dog early in the morning. I stayed overnight at my mother’s place in Queens and I used the excuse of an early meeting and I waited for Danny outside his house and I followed him and I killed him, and I got away with it. That should prove to you that I’m worthy.”
“Oh, Patti, no.”
At that moment it was unclear to me which was more disturbing – Patti’s story or the fact that I had not seen this coming at all. I thought again of the young vampire from the other night and shuddered. I was apparently missing all sorts of cues and clues.
“Yes. I stabbed him and I was all prepared. I hid in some bushes in a raincoat and galoshes and rubber gloves, even though it wasn’t raining. I was afraid I was going to throw up after I did it but I knew that would leave DNA evidence and I held it down; and then that nauseous feeling passed by the time I stripped off the gloves and boots and wrapped them up with the raincoat, which I bought for cash at a thrift store.”
“Where are those things now?”
“I got rid of them. They’re long gone to some landfill someplace. It was hard and for a few days I was afraid I was going to lose it. But I can do it. I can kill and that means I can live forever.”
“You killed my director.”
I got up from my chair and began to pace.
“Oh please. It turned out fine. I watched the rehearsals beforehand. It was obvious the show was ready. He would have turned you in, Gus. He said having a vampire for a producer could only be good if it led to publicity. He was going to tell the world what you are.”
“Danny was suffering from delusions, as I’m afraid you are. I hope you made this up. You couldn’t have possibly done anything so insane.”
“I could and I did. I did it for you. And now you say you’re leaving for London? And you’re not going to take me with you? That’s not fair, Gus. I deserve to go with you. I deserve to be like you.”
“You can’t ever be like me, Patti. There’s the rub. There’s nothing I can do to make you like me.”
“You can, Gus. You can. Just do it. Suck my blood. Transform me. Make me one of the vampire race.”
I sat down again and held my head in my hands.
“Please be quiet and let me think.”
Patti stopped talking and began to hum the melody line of the song. My options were limited. That much was clear.
I could turn Patti over to the police for Danny’s murder but she was bound to rave about me being a vampire and who knows where that would lead. Suppose the cops want a DNA sample? That will never do. I do not want any more East of Broadway Curse stories associated with the show, either. There is enough of that sort of thing already. Too much of it could begin to hurt ticket sales, no doubt. I could try and have Patti committed but the law is so sticky regarding that procedure it seems unlikely. I chose the other option.
“All right, Patti. I’ll make you a vampire.”