There are over 200 of you now which is pretty cool. I mean we could easily fill a small church hall. Welcome and thank you to the new subscribers. I’m still messing with the format here and the idea was that I was gonna write a short short story and have more gubbins about what I’m up to than in the last one. BUT I got ill. I wrote the following story while glugging Lemsip and Benylin and it came out longer than the last one, but I was too fond of it (and too tired) to try and trim it so here it is.
Nothing about my gubbins and not a single image to break up all those words. Sorry. I have been warned that Substack and certain email clients may snip the ending off longer posts (don’t panic its not that long - in fact it’s a pretty quick read) so apologies if that happens, but just click the link to read it online or in the very cool Substack app. As always let me know if you dig it.
Until next time here it is:
CODY GLUCKSMAN’S VAMPIRES
1. No one believed in vampires until a guy called Cody Glucksman walked into town that Saturday morning and let one loose.
Stalls were just setting up so it was mostly the market folk and a couple of early risers like me that had walked down to Jasmine’s for a coffee and maybe a danish.
The reason we all knew it was a vampire was because it went for Bill Turner’s neck the same way that Bill himself goes for the last slice of pizza on a Friday night over at Toni’s. Also we recognised the screaming feral woman that popped out of the dirty duvet cover she was wrapped in as Mrs Harrison, the primary school teacher, who we had all watched go into the ground only two weeks previous.
Also she plum exploded before she could sink her teeth into Bill.
Dead person. Pointy teeth. Bill’s neck. Explodes in sunlight.
Check. Check. Check. Check.
You’ll have to take my word for it, because no one caught it with their camera phones. Judy, who buys old furniture cheap online, paints daisies on it and sells it for double to tourists, got a pretty good shot of Bill covered in dust, charcoal and itty bitty bone fragments. It’s her most liked photo on Instagram.
First train of the day was only 15 minutes away, so it was decided that myself, Judy, Keith the Bike Guy and Mr C should take Mr Glucksman for a coffee to find out what he was about. We also took Bill with us as he was a little dazed and needed to wash Mrs Harrison off. Thing of it was that she’d been his favourite teacher at school, so he was doubly cut up about everything that had happened.
Turns out Glucksman had been living in his own Stephen King novel for the past three months and was sick of no one listening to him, so when he cornered Mrs Harrison the night before he decided to wrap her up in a duvet cover rather than stabbing her in the chest with a stake.
Is that how you kill them? Like in the movies? asked Judy.
Glucksman nodded. Or sunlight.
We all nodded at that as Bill came back from the restroom looking a little better and a lot cleaner. We bought him a bear-claw.
Glucksman explained that there were about 15 of these things left. They slept during the day in the old Priory building off Fairfax. He and a guy named Phil and a priest from Louisville had been picking them off, but now he was the only one left and had figured he needed some help.
Bill said what we were all feeling.
I don’t want to deal with no more little old ladies trying to bite me and exploding and stuff.
I pointed out that it wasn’t even 8am yet, so we had the whole day ahead of us to get this done and still all be back home for the new show with the chick from Lost in it. Judy said I needed to stop saying chick so much. Keith the Bike Guy said he was boycotting the new show on account of the last season of Lost being utter bull crap. Mr C said maybe we should just try using grenades on the vampires and then asked if we had enough time for another cappuccino on account of him getting up at 5am.
Judy went to get him another drink.
Grenades, Mr C?
Sure, he said. Seems to me we’d all be speaking German if my daddy had gone to France with nothing but a pile of sharpened sticks to kill them Nazis with.
We could see the logic.
Where we would get grenades, Mr C?
I know a guy. Two sugars please honey.
2. Glucksman was pissed. First of all, we couldn’t quite get a handle on his name and kept calling him Gluckman which he found infuriating. Second, it turned out he’d had this whole thing planned out and that plan involved spending a lot of time making stakes and no time at all squeezed into the back of Mr C’s Pontiac heading in the opposite direction of Fairfax, the Priory building and his vampires.
It didn’t help that he was stuck in the back seat between Judy and Keith the Bike Guy who were arguing about Lost.
They had no idea what they were doing. I read an interview where they promised that the island wasn’t purgatory and then we get to the final season and, guess what, it’s purgatory!
I really think you need to rewatch it, Keith, said Judy. It wasn’t purgatory at all. It was more sideways is all.
Sideways? What the hell is sideways? Hey, Gluckman. You watched Lost, right? What did you think of the ending?
Glucksman. With an S. How many times do I have to tell you?
I cried at the end. With the dog and everything, said Judy.
Also Mr C was old-school, so that meant to keeping five under the speed limit all the way there. He also liked to check both ways twice at Stop signs. I didn’t mind because I was enjoying the view. That was a good thing because I was pretty squashed up against the window with Bill sat between me and Mr C. I kinda regret skipping Lost though. Maybe I should binge it and try and forget this whole purgatory thing.
Almost there, Mr Gluckman, said Mr C.
Glucksman, said Glucksman. With an S.
3. Bill was silent for the whole journey, but the moment we pulled into the scrap-yard he let out a whoop and shouted, scrap-yard!
Aside from Mr C, the rest of us had never been here before, but apparently Bill’s daddy, Trim Tim Turner, used to bring him out there once a month as a treat. I could feel Bill getting more excited as Mr C pulled up opposite an old RV that I guess hadn’t moved since Jimmy Carter was president. As soon as I was out of the car he rushed past me heading towards the rear of the yard.
I’m going to the pile!
None of us knew what that was, but at least he was over the whole exploding teacher thing.
Mr C leaned through the open window of the Pontiac and leaned on the horn until a rake thin dude in filthy overalls and a beard too big for his face stepped out from the stacks of wrecked automobiles.
Nice RV, I said.
It’s not an RV, said Patrick. It’s a 1963 Clark Cortez Motorhome that once belonged to Mr Vincent Price the Hollywood actor.
It never struck me as funny then because I hadn’t seen it, but a few months later I saw an old Vincent Price horror movie where he’s the last man alive in a world full of vampires. It was pretty good. I wished I’d taken a look inside, but we were in a hurry on account of the vampires and the new TV show later that evening.
So what can I do you for, Mr C?
Mr Gluckman here has a vampire problem. You ever sell those grenades?
Never did. You said vampires, correct?
15 of ‘em.
Patrick took out a bright blue kerchief and wiped his hands.
Two cases should do it.
Well even though the grenades are what you’d call surplus, that only applies to the United States military as they can replenish their stock at will. An entrepreneur such as myself ain’t gonna be getting any more any time soon. Plus even though this particular product is second-hand I guarantee they’re in the same tip-top condition they were in during Operation Enduring Freedom.
Mr C spat on the floor.
How much, Patrick?
Mind if I ask your age, Mr C?
77 in August. God willing.
Kids? Close relations?
Had a sister but she passed few years back. That’s it.
So how would you feel about trading two cases of grenades for that Pontiac of yours? Only when you no longer need it of course.
After I’m dead you mean?
You want to scrap it?
You want to sell it? Maybe to some collector?
Can you keep her five under the limit?
And look both ways twice at Stop signs? I added
Yup and yup.
Look what I found in the pile!
Bill came running back holding a large but slightly dented bowling trophy.
Is that Trim Tim Turner’s boy? asked Patrick.
Sure is, said Mr C. He spat in his own hand and offered it to him.
Throw in the bowling trophy and we’ve got a deal.
4. Turned out Mr C’s trunk was filled with vintage model soldiers.
I do most of my trade online, he said, but I do enjoy the social aspect of a good weekend market stall.
He probably put a new dent in the bowling trophy when he slammed it shut, so Bill took one case of grenades on his lap while Mr Glucksman took the other. No one seemed to mind how slow Mr C drove on the way back and Judy suggested that he look both ways three times at Stop signs.
5. We got to the old Priory building off Fairfax around 11am and if you ever wondered what would make a good vampire hideout then this was it. The floor above and its roof had collapsed a decade or so ago, but the ground floor seemed sturdy enough even though most of the interior walls were long gone. We soon found the large metal plate that Mr Glucksman had said covered up the entrance to the basement.
I call it the nest, he said.
Bill had brought his case of grenades with him, but faced with the practicalities of using them, none of us were sure where to start. Did we pull the pin on all the grenades at once, which seemed risky, or just pull one each and hope for the best?
Here, said Judy. Lift that up.
Bill, Keith the bike guy and myself slowly raised the metal plate and Judy popped the pin on a single grenade and smiled at me. Thinking back I think this was the moment. She dropped the grenade back into the pile and then pushed the entire crate into the hole with her foot.
Now run, she said.
We dropped the metal plate with a loud CLANG and then ran/half-carried Mr C back outside where Judy was waiting.
We were supposed to say something, said Mr C.
Where’s Mr Gluckman?, I asked.
There was a huge blast and we watched, with more than a little worry, as the metal plate made its way skywards above us.
Fire in the hole. That’s it, said Mr C.
And then it was quiet.
6. You did it without me, complained Mr Glucksman.
Thinking back he did have a right to be annoyed. After all these were his vampires and we hadn’t even noticed he wasn’t with us. Where he was was in the undergrowth looking for a nice thick stick. He was sharpening it as he walked back towards us, eyes locked on to the flying metal plate, and the disappointment on his face was palpable.
Maybe there’s some left, Mr Gluckman.
He was getting a twitch above his eye every time one of us said his name now.
It’s Glucksman. With an S, Judy, I said and put an arm around his shoulder. Let’s go see what’s what.
That’s when the metal plate that we’d all taken our eyes off landed right through the windshield of Mr C’s Pontiac.
Well, fuck me sideways, said Mr C.
We let Mr Glucksman take the lead this time and went to have a look into the hole to see what was left of his vampires.
7. The smoke took a minute to clear but Mr C had brought a torch from under his car seat that did a pretty good job of lighting the basement up as we all peered in.
There were bits of vampire scattered everywhere.
Stakes, sunshine and leftover grenades from Operation Enduring Freedom, said Judy.
Was that Iraq or Afghanistan?, I asked.
Even Mr C couldn’t remember and then Keith the bike guy said, Afghanistan, with no question mark.
We all looked at him.
But it also covered the larger War on Terrorism following 9/11.
No one said anything.
What? I know more than just bikes. Ihave a New Yorker subscription.
Is that you, Cody?, said a voice from the hole.
8. Father Lehane?, said Mr Glucksman.
Mr C moved the torch around until he found the priest. He didn’t look like a priest, but that was mostly down to the bright red and slightly too tight dungarees he was wearing. I guess only existing in darkness and living in the basement of the old Priory really narrowed down your shopping options.
I thought it would be you, Cody. Did you build yourself a bomb now?
Grenades, said Keith the bike guy.
Wow, said the priest. Well, they certainly did the job.
Quicker than stakes and sunlight, said Judy.
You made some new friends, Cody.
Mr Glucksman did the introductions, but Mr C seemed agitated and said he was going to see about his car’s windshield.
So what happens now?, said the vampire.
It was a good question. It was one thing dropping a crate into a hole and running away but blowing up a priest who, according to Mr Glucksman had been exactly where we were just a few nights ago was a whole different thing.
Are you sure you’re a vampire, Father?, asked Judy.
The priest showed us his teeth and shrugged.
Do you want me and Bill to try and hold him while you stake him through the heart, Mr Gluckman?
It’s Glucksman. With an S, said the priest. He hates that.
Mr Glucksman pushed the stake away and shook his head.
Maybe there’s a cure?, I said.
There’s no cure for Nazis, said Mr C and dropped the second case of grenades into the basement.
Fire in the hole!, he shouted as we ran/half-carried him back to the car.
9. The drive back was pretty chilly with no windshield but we didn’t complain.
Mr C dropped us at the market and said he was going right back to see Patrick about getting his windshield repaired. Mr Glucksman thanked him for his help and offered to pay for the damage, but Mr C scoffed and said he’d get the repair for free on account of it was Patrick’s grenades that caused the damage. We all waved as he drove off with his hand raised in the air.
It was around 1pm so we asked Mr Glucksman if he wanted to join us for lunch, but he decided to get the next train home. He said he hadn’t showered in a few days (no one had wanted to mention it) and wasn’t even sure he still had a job to go back to. So we shook hands and off he went.
10. Everyone who had been at the market that morning asked us how we had got on.
Pretty good, we said, but we were hungry so agreed to spill the beans later on the WhatsApp group that Judy had set up for the market stall holders. She invited me to the group after we sat down at a table in Toni’s and said she was thinking of asking me to look after her stall from time to time anyhow so that made me eligible.
She offered to pick up the tab as Ben, sitting next to his bowling trophy, finished off the last slice. I’d already paid while she was in the restroom because everyone but me had missed a day of work so it seemed fair.
Keith the bike guy got back to his stall to find a chick, sorry… I mean a girl, waiting patiently for him with the broken brake on her BMX.
Did you ever watch that show, Lost, he asked her. They’re still dating I believe. So that’s nice. Just don’t mention the last season of Game of Thrones to either of them though. Just don’t.
Mr C got his windshield fixed up good as new and just this morning leaned on his horn as he drove past my porch while Judy waved at him. We think Patrick will have to wait a good long while to get his payment for those grenades.
Bill sat for his certificate a few months later and is now a teaching assistant in Mrs Harrison’s old class. We think she’d be pleased as punch to heat that if she wasn’t all exploded and stuff.
Judy still sells her repainted furniture to tourists, but now has a little store on the far corner of Main Street. In fact I use one of her chairs to write in the evenings and while it doesn’t have much in the way of lumber support, it sure does brighten the room. And yes I did get around to binging Lost and she came over for the first time to watch the finale with me. Dang if she wasn’t right about the whole sideways thing and we both cried at the end. What with the dog and all.
Maybe actually that was the moment.
Mr Glucksman’s vampires? Well we thought that was the end of them. Is that clock right? Jeez. I gotta get back or Judy will have my guts for garters as they say. Tell you what. Buy me a coffee the next time you see me and I’ll tell you what happened the following winter with the whole monster and bank robbery thing.
How do you do it? It's so good. Best entertainment out there.
First thing I've read through till the end in an age!