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Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Random Act Of Kindness

Inspired by the post on David Gaughran's blog (http://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2011/08/21/a-sneak-preview-chapter-1-of-a-storm-hits-valparaiso/), I have decided to share an excerpt from my new novel, Death Wish: Book I (DW:BI) from The Vamp Saga. Mind you it is not in the rawest form possible. I had the first two thousand words edited for free by the amazing Karin Cox, editor extraordinaire. Enjoy as the book is slated to premiere Black Friday, November 25, 2011. I would like to whip up some support now. Thank you in advance and don't be shy to tell me what you think! ;-)

“You can’t possibly be serious.”
“I am as a heart attack. I’m telling you to stay home.”
“I can’t. Every employee has to be there. If you are breathing, you better drag your sorry ass outta bed, because it is an honor to meet one so high up on the food chain, not to mention our boss and the owner of the casino.”
“Bitch, I am tellin’ you to stay the fuck home. There are other jobs. You don’t have to kiss nasty vamp ass to get ahead you know.”
“Goddamn it, Nico, not everyone can be as fortunate as you and work for the Russians or the French. Hell, I’d settle working for anyone human at this point, but I don’t have a choice, and you damn-well know it. So get the hell out of my way and let me go to work.”
I eyed my brother angrily. I knew he was tempted to try his warlock shit on me, but he relented and finally slumped down on the sofa in defeat.
He was very good looking, even if he was angry and my brother. If we weren’t fraternal twins and if he wasn’t gay, I might have been tempted to go there, but there are certain things you don’t do if you are a morally aware and ethical person—sleeping with kin was up there, along with fraternizing with vamps, werewolves and what not.
Our world had changed, yet stayed the same. My favorite French quote was now even more apt: Plus ça change, plus ça la même chose. Or, if are more partial to Italian, Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa proclaims in The Leopard: “If we want things to stay as they are, everything must change.” Yes, that quote works too.
I’m guessing life isn’t much different now than it was ten years ago, back in 2010. The only difference was that just a select few knew about vampires then, and vampires hadn’t received their rights yet.
They were crafty motherfuckers, one had to give them that much. They launched their platform and tied it tooth and nail to homosexual rights—can you believe that shit? Yep, they equated themselves with gays and said their civil rights were being “trampled upon.” Who had been eating whom all these centuries? Because last time I checked, vamps never gave a damn about humans except as a food source. But, like most homosexuals, they were highly intelligent, wealthy and a select minority. They thrived. They were able to grease the wheels and buy politicians, and fifty years after the Civil Rights Act, 1964 was passed, the Civil Rights Act, 2014 was a shoe-in; Congress passed the bill 401 to 99 and the Senate 98 to 2 (the two senators who hadn’t agreed didn’t live to see the year 2015). The law extended full civil rights, including marriage, to homosexuals and to vampires. Now the gay rights, I can understand—they’re human. Vampires, well, let’s just say something is rotten in the state of Denmark. I mean that in a Shakespearean way, not in an “I have something against Danes” way.
No one could understand how they did it, but they did. There they were—the twenty dead motherfuckers who make up The International Vampire Council—smiling with the President of the United States of America (this was before we joined the Anglophone Union due to trade issues, a crippled U.S. economy and immigration from “less desirable nations”) as he signed the bill into law. They looked so odd, with their waxy skin and slight elongated canines. You could almost imagine their fangs unsheathed, almost see all of the blood they must have shed over the centuries. Oh, it was disgusting, but like a car crash, or an old episode of The X-Factor, you were transfixed—at least I was.
So, what is my beef with vamps, you ask?
They’re sexy, aren’t they? They’ve been airing the same tired propaganda about themselves since Anne Rice, Stephenie Meyer, Charlaine Harris and Amanda Hocking, among others, have been writing books. We’ve seen the movies and the television shows. We know what they are and all about their plight. We understand their issues with us and we know their legends, and how grotesquely old they can become. We know they aren’t all killers; that they can decide to feed on us and allow us to live. We know all about their skills of persuasion—how they can hypnotize us to make us do what they want, or make us forget we have been bitten at all. We know vampire concubines take Vitamin B-12 and hope and  pray their blood isn’t so sweet or alluring that a vamp accidentally kills them one night in the middle of a sex act.
I admit it: I am a live-and-let-live type. I wouldn’t have shit against the bloodsucking undead if they hadn’t killed my father and kidnapped my mother. Yeah, she was now one of the undead, too. She was very valuable. Besides being a witch, she knew a lot of shit about vampires. She was also a cold-hearted bitch who was fucking a vampire on the side while still with our father. We weren’t sure exactly what happened to our father. Her lover was sent to ground for murdering a very “valuable” human and my mom was made a vampire for her troubles. Unfortunately, she couldn’t take us with her, so my brother and I became orphans at the age of ten.
A nice set up, eh?
We kept in contact, despite what happened to us once we were taken in by the system, also known as the Children’s Protection Agency. My brother was good-looking, innocuous and charismatic—he was adopted immediately. Me? I was mouthy with an attitude, plus I looked too “ethnic.” I stayed in the system. Nicolas was given a very good education and graduated from Stanford Business School. He was a child prodigy with a photographic memory and an IQ of nearly 200. Me, I wasn’t so lucky; for True Blood fans, I’m the Jason Stackhouse to my brother’s Sookie.
Don’t get me wrong, I am considered good-looking, sexy, and get my fair share of complimentary looks from both sides of the sexual aisle.
I might have looked too ethnic growing up, but as an adult it turns out I am pretty desirable after all. I have skin the color of caramel—a perpetual tan that never fades and only darkens if I am in the sun. My eyes are dark and my sable-brown, cherry high-lighted hair is curly—a flat iron is my best friend. It is probably one of my most arresting traits; I like my hair because I can change it to look like a white girl with a deep tan, or I can keep it curly and instantly look like the mulatto I am. I inherited my father’s French nose and fine bone structure, along with my mother’s blend of African, Native American and Irish features, blessing me with high cheekbones and bee-stung lips.
My brother could be a dead ringer for a young Vin Diesel, remember him? He has a full head of beautiful dark brown hair that he chooses to shave off. He looks yummy as a baldy, but I would prefer him with hair. His eyes are his most alluring trait—gray-green, they complement his masculine nose, etched facial structure, and generous mouth. He is tall, almost six foot two, and slim yet athletic at one hundred and eighty-five pounds.
I would like to think I have a lovely shape, too, but at five foot three and one hundred and thirty pounds, I have a little “junk in my trunk.” Hence why I am a dealer at Transylvania Hotel, Casino & Spa instead of a cocktail waitress. Transylvania, you get it? The vamps love irony, too bad they don’t actually get it.
My specialty is poker, but I don’t like dealing in the high stakes rooms (too many Asian vamps congregate there, and they are willing to pay for anything); I insulted a customer one night and ended up at the Let It Ride table for my troubles. I get a steady stream of customers, but my table closes early so I only work thirty hours per week—technically part time—and don’t have to deal with vamps, thank God.
What is Let It Ride, you ask? It’s a fun derivative of poker in which you don’t actually play against other players but against the House itself. Anything with two cards higher than 10’s in your three cards is a winner, and you can win even more depending on what the House is holding. The odds are too much in favor of the mark, as we call gamblers, and thus the reason the game isn’t open more than six hours per day, five days per week. I work Tuesday through Saturday, with Sundays and Mondays off. As I am the only Let It Ride dealer at Transylvania, the table is closed otherwise.
Unfortunately, tonight, on what usually is my night off, I have to go in. No choice, as the owner of Transylvania Casino, Mikkel Damgaard, is gracing us with his presence. It couldn’t have been Saturday night, oh no—he was too busy having his waxy white ass kissed at the ultra-posh, seven-star Damgaard Hotel, Spa & Casino, which sits on the most lucrative real estate on Las Vegas Boulevard, also known as The Strip. Transylvania is nothing, a five-star, pseudo-palace of a hotel located in Summerlin, a very opulent and beautiful suburb of Las Vegas, but a suburb all the same.
I should inform you now, that most of the gaming industry is controlled by vamps, and the pharmaceutical industry as well. They chased out the mob and the corporations (fear of death will do that to us mere mortals) around the same time they got their civil rights and proceeded to take over. Whatever hold the Americans and Europeans had on the pharmaceutical industry was pretty much wiped out during the stock crash of 2019. That was the year Vamp Pharmaceuticals came out with cures for every kind of cancer and HIV/AIDS. How did they ruin Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lily, GlaxoSmithKline, et al, you ask? Their cures were dirt cheap for developing countries (they damn near gave ’em away in most of Africa, Asia, Central and South America) while competitively priced in high-income countries. They managed to sink most of the pharmacy giants even before their cures for the common cold, erectile dysfunctions, and vaccinations for every known communicable disease hit the market. It’s kind of hard to discriminate against an entire race of creatures who were not only giving you drugs to help you live, but drugs to get high on as well.
Once the Prohibition Repeal of 2018 took place, vamps decided to make legal, synthetic forms of all street drugs. Nothing became as popular as vampire blood or “VA neg,” as it’s called on the streets. Contrary to what you may have heard, it’s not a psychedelic at all, but it is a stimulant that gives you enormous amounts of energy and a sex drive that is out of this world, and it heightens your senses to a level you wouldn’t believe. You can get a prescription, but the best stuff comes straight from the source—a vampire lover, if you have one—or is found on the streets, where it comes in powder form. It looks like red cocaine (due to being mixed with aspirin) and you snort it.
Instead of dealing with “crack babies,” hospitals were faced with VA-neg-addicted babies until Vamp Pharmaceutical came up with a nice little cure-all for that too, with no side effects. They began and ended an epidemic within the same year.
I know what you’re thinking: the bastards have taken over the world, but they’re wealthy and part of mainstream society—how bad can they truly be? They even came up with the nifty idea of blood banks, where humans who can’t afford medical treatment can be cured for free in return for a few pints of blood. Vamps have an endless supply of real human blood to feed on, and they have saved humanity from the brink of destruction at the same time.
Believe me when I tell you they aren’t doing it to be altruistic. They couldn’t give a damn about us; they have been complaining for years about the quality of human blood and how far it has slipped. Their “magic” cures for humans were to help them, not us. They wanted better tasting blood. Imagine being stuck in a world full of Budweiser when you remember what Beck’s, Heineken and Carlsberg taste like. The unique flavors of Belgian and German lagers. The subtle differences between Swedish and Danish, or Mexican and Chilean beer. Well, that’s where vampires found themselves in the early part of the twenty-first century. Human blood tasted like shit. We were polluting our environment, low-income countries were experiencing industrial revolutions, and everything had gone from sugar to shit. They had to expose themselves to help us or face their own extinction.
Vampires en masse were committing suicide or going to ground. They no longer wanted to live. They found themselves in the same existentialist crisis humans had during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Blood had no taste, and humans would soon be extinct at the rate they were destroying their own environment. Mother earth heaved from too many souls aboard and shitty health to boot. What could the vamps possibly do?
Well, for one, the oldest twenty—who hadn’t gone to ground—decided to stop the war with the humans and become part of society. They became politicians, bureaucrats, and company owners; stockholders and taxpayers. The International Vampire Council officially helped with the creation of the new G6 (or Global Six as it is known). Once the European and African Unions fell apart in the second decade of the twenty-first century, the IVC personally aided the formation of new inter-country and continental unions.
The Anglophone Union (AU) is part of the Global Six, and is still ruled tentatively by the United States. Unfortunately, Americans aren’t citizens of the U.S. anymore, but of the AU, which consists of the States, all the former Providences of Canada (except Québec), New Zealand, Australia, England, Wales, Scotland, Israel and a united Ireland. The other members of the G6 include the Francophone Union (FU members include France and its former colonies like St. Martin and Guadalupe, Québec, the French-speaking part of Switzerland, formerly Belgian Wallonia and Monaco); the Great Nordic Regional Union (GNRU members include the almighty Germany, Austria, all the rest of Switzerland, the formerly Belgian Flanders, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, and the entire Scandinavian region of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland); Japan (mostly controlled by centuries-old Japanese vampires, who were quietly converting as much of the population as possible to prevent the dreaded race-mixing); China (the new “old powerhouse,” due to the manufacturing of cheap but inferior goods) and India (technology kings supreme).
Despite the vampires’ sphere of influence, the world is still a hot mess. It’s biblical how fucked up things are, but life has never been smooth sailing—we live in the world of the twenty-four hour news cycle, where television and computers are updated every microsecond. That is a lot of news to ingest. People get their kicks from their eReaders (“dead tree” books are so 2010), 300 terabyte computers and 80 terabyte iPods—yes, they’re still around, just more compact than ever, as are cell phones and lap tops. The pesky devices can fit in your handbag—I don’t mean a Birkin—and with the push of a button they can become full use, life-size devices. Advances in technology have included iPad and eReader devices that use the same technology of the now defunct laptop, not like those old monotone Kindles we had when I was growing up. Those used to be the shit—I do remember that much.
Okay, so now you know more about what the world is like now, I can tell you what my brother and I were fighting about. He doesn’t want me to go to work tonight because he has a “bad feeling.” What the hell does that mean?  I have no idea, as he’s the warlock, not me. I didn’t get any special abilities from either of our parents. I’m not a mathematical wizard like Dad and I’m not a witch like Mom. Nope, all the good shit went to Nico—and all I’m left with is well, the crappy throwaway genes. There is absolutely nothing special about me whatsoever.
I’m smart but not super smart like my brother. I do have common sense, which isn’t so common as we all know. I should realize my brother would never warn me about anything (let alone call me a bitch) unless it was serious and he truly did fear for my life. Unfortunately, I am barely hanging on at the moment. I am living with him and Drake (his boyfriend) because my ex and I broke up. I can’t afford a place of my own so I have no choice. I am trying to save up but it’s hard and life hasn’t exactly gotten easier.
Now that all these stupid Unions were created in the world, it’s not just American idiots competing for the same tired ass jobs. You have your fellow Canucks, English, Welsh, Scots, Aussies, Kiwis, Irish and Israelis to worry about too. Yes, we can travel to anywhere in the Union but let’s face it: most people don’t have wanderlust. Though we are part of this grand Union, the vast majority of us have stayed put in the countries we grew up in. The only thing I have in common with a chick from Sydney or Manchester or Edmonton is we all speak English, full stop. We can still even tell which part of the Union fellow citizens come from because there has been no blending of peoples . . . most have stayed right where their ancestors have lived for hundreds of years. To be honest, the only people doing the moving are vampires and low income immigrants who now have residency permits and can work anywhere in the Union. The dream about “freedom of movement”, the same tired ass line used to justify the former European Union and our current one, is a just that, a joke and a dream. 

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