Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Vampire Marriage by Sharon Frame Gay

Sharon Frame Gay's flash fiction about the practicalities of being married to a vampire.

Nowadays, there are plenty of books and movies out about Vampires. They are depicted as romantic, protective, mysterious creatures who woo their girlfriends, fight off other monsters, and dance with their loves under the stars. Teenage girls are mesmerized by the dangerous aspects of loving a Vampire, tittering in their seats at the theatre, squirming with joy and crying in rapture. They wish they had their own Vampire, and are filled with romantic notions.

I decided that it is time to come forth, come out, and confess that I have been married to a Vampire for over twenty years. It's a relief to talk about it, and I hope that my story might bring more interspecies marriages out of the closet, and into the mainstream.

Victor Plasmasky and I met over in Europe, when I lost my way on a day hike in the mountains, hurrying through the woods as the sun sank into the higher hills. He appeared on the path ahead, looking ominous in the growing twilight. His first instinct was to drink my blood, but he said later that there was something different about me that fascinated him, and he spared me. Victor likes to joke that I wasn't his "type." I saw a dark, unfashionably dressed dangerous looking man with funny teeth, so I was instantly smitten as young women often are by the unconventional.

Victor showed me the way to his home instead of the path back to the village, and well, the rest is history. We began our love affair, finding we were quite compatible. When the local villagers started up again with their "Occupy the Vampire Castle" campaign, ongoing for 500 years, Victor decided to leave his country. We made arrangements to transport him to the United States where the sidewalks and coffee shops are filled with strange looking people and ideas. We figured he would fit right in, with a little sunless tanning lotion and dark glasses. But first, nuptials were in order, and he invited his family from near and far to gather for our marriage.

Our wedding was, as you might expect, unusual. We married at midnight in a dark mausoleum, only a few candles lighting the way to wedded bliss. There were no particular vows. We exchanged rings, and Victor promised not to suck my body dry of blood while I promised not to wear a crucifix around my neck. It was simple and straightforward, and I ducked under his cape and placed my head on his cold, heartless chest with a smile. After all, nowadays with the total lack of commitment from modern men, Victor was quite a catch. Then we mingled with his family.

Make sure you like your in-laws when you wed a Vampire because they are here for eternity. If you think YOU have a funny uncle, it's nothing compared to weird Uncle Harald, who gets great satisfaction out of turning into mist and flowing under the bathroom door while I'm taking a shower. "All in good fun," he chuckles, as he writes "boo" on the foggy mirror. When he visits, I shower at the local gym.

After a brief and awkward honeymoon (more on that later), we set up housekeeping in a small town in Iowa, somewhere quiet and desolate, where there wouldn't be too many questions asked. Victor got a job as night manager of the local blood bank, stealing blood from them with regularity, fixing the books, and guzzling type "O" after hours in the back room of the clinic. Like most husbands, he was dedicated to his job and often worked late. Some dawns he arrived home bloated as a wood tick, and I admonished him for overeating. "You're getting a gut, Victor, and your fangs are stained." You know, the usual criticism a wife hits her husband with from time to time.

His insults were a little more obscure. He said things like, "You are getting too rosy cheeked. Pale down!" Or, "You look best in the dark, dear." I actually think the latter was a compliment.

Vampire humor is an acquired taste. I had to learn to live with his penchant for climbing the walls and hanging upside down from the ceiling, then dropping in front of me as I entered a room. It works every time. I shriek in alarm, jumping back and running, as he dissolves into fits of glee. He loves to bury himself in the back yard, then as I walk through the garden, shoot his hand out from the earth and grab at my ankles. This often results in my tripping, and the dogs next door baying in terror. From time to time, I retaliate by putting a sterling silver padlock on his wooden coffin so he has to scratch his way out. I think it's humorous, but he gets rather peeved.

That's another issue with interspecies marriages. Anger management. You cannot get in a fight with a vampire and win. Once when he was angry, he cut a swath through the local woods and farmlands, spinning faster than the speed of light. Several trees toppled, and the wheat crops were stirred as though they had been in a blender. This brought out the local reporters and tourists who believed they had witnessed mysterious crop circles. Scientists came from as far as England and pronounced it a "phenomenon". I am here to tell you that there is no such thing as crop circles - just pissed off Vampires throwing hissy fits.

Sometimes when we have words, and it escalates, he will snarl and bare his teeth at me. "Seriously, Victor," I say with disdain, "Seriously? You're FANGING me? Get OVER yourself." I am ashamed to say that once I got so angry at him that I made the sign of the cross. It's a horrible thing to watch your husband vaporize before your eyes. He disappeared for days.

There are practical aspects to our everyday life that might differ from a normal marriage. I have to clip his sharp, long talon-like fingernails every day, so he can comfortably hold the TV remote in his hand. I wear down vests and sit next to him under heated blankets to prevent hypothermia, and read all packaging before cooking to make sure there's not even a hint of garlic in the food I make. Every morning I scurry about, placing sheets over all the mirrors and closing the blinds, keeping the house as dark as possible.

Vampires are messy by nature. Every evening when Victor awakens from his grave, he tracks dirt in on his shoes. This is "special" Transylvanian dirt, so it has to be carefully vacuumed and returned to his coffin each day. I often find the used carcasses of small animals and birds scattered willy nilly throughout the dungeon. There are blood stains in the strangest places in the house. I have to sew his clothes because good cloaks and capes are hard to find. Victor's very hard on his clothing, as you might imagine, so I spend a great deal of time at the sewing machine on weekends, while he watches football and shouts, "You suck!" at the TV. Actually, that's the highest compliment a Vampire can pay, so he is yelling it as a form of praise.

Victor says I'm not a princess to live with, either. My lotions and perfumes bother his heightened sense of smell. The beating of my heart is so loud to his finely tuned ears that sometimes he can't concentrate as it pulses through my body. Neither one of us mentions that I am getting older while he isn't, but I noticed him staring at my grey roots and expanding waistline longer than is polite.

We tried doing the romantic stuff in the Twilight movies. I jumped on his back, and he climbed tall pine trees and leaped from branch to branch, but he slipped on owl shit, and the next thing we knew, we were hurtling towards the ground. Fortunately, he used his cape as a parachute and we landed safely. We didn't try that again. Sometimes Victor flies alongside me when I am driving, making faces and distracting me from the road. Not funny. I have asked him if he would save me from werewolves, but he merely snorts. "Do you believe EVERYTHING you see in the movies? There's no such thing as a werewolf. But yes, if there was a werewolf, I would be superior." Vampire pride. Let's not even go there.

I know that you are wondering about our love life. Especially when you see the wonderful scenes up on the screen at the theatres, the vampire a gifted lover. Well, let me tell you that there simply isn't a love life. On our wedding night, Victor said sheepishly, "I'm not the only man in the world dead from the waist down." Of course, he truly was. We don't kiss much, because his skin is so cold that my lips stick to him like a flag pole in December. I tried sleeping with him in the coffin, but got wood splinters in my nether regions, and he can't stand the soft mattress on my bed. Victor says it makes him anxious to be so "fluffy". One night, he turned into a bat, flying out the bedroom window in frustration. The neighbor cat got him and shook him hard. He had a headache for hours, and flounced down to his coffin, vowing not to enter my bed chamber again. Once, I bought him a bottle of Viagra. Big mistake. I couldn't close the coffin lid on him for days! Now now, I know where your mind just went, but that's not it. Who would have thought a simple blue pill would make a Vampire claustrophobic?

We have wistful moments when we wish things were different, just like every married couple. I dream that one day we might go on a picnic with each other in broad daylight. He dreams of "coming out" to the human world, and opening a cape shop and blood bar. I wish I could have a pet, but every animal within a half mile radius of our home cringes in terror and howls mournfully when Victor comes near. All in all, though, it's probably like every other marriage. It has its ups and downs, and far less magic than we dreamed. But we love each other, tolerate our little quirks, and look forward to many more years of wedded happiness. He does not plan to convert me into a Vampire and give me the "gift of eternity." After twenty years together, eternity seems... well, rather a bit OVERKILL, wouldn't you say?

11 comments:

  1. Funny and lighthearted but with poignant observations about love. Thanks for an entertaining read,
    Ceinwen

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  2. yes i agree with Ceinwen there is more to this than immediately meets the eye. but nicely written and enjoyable!

    Mike McC

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  3. Sharon, I've been a fan of yours since "Snakebit." This piece is wonderful, too. Really funny. I love the line, "All in all, though, it's probably like every other marriage." Bravo! Please keep them coming.

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  4. Kyle Hemmings

    Funny, engrossing and a lot of great insights. REally enjoyed this.

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  5. Thank you all for your kind words. I really enjoyed writing this crazy story! Nancy, thanks for your words on "Snakebit". If you google me, there are lots of other stories around the web. Thank you all again!
    Sharon Frame Gay

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    1. Yes, I know. We've appeared in some of the same publications. Best wishes to you.

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  6. Hi Nancy,
    That's right! I remember one of your stories in Indiana Voice Journal! Small world!
    Sharon Frame Gay

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    1. I think, too, in Scarlet Leaf Review and Mid American Fiction and Photography. Small world indeed - I'm in the Pacific Northwest as well.

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  7. Nancy -
    Will take a look back at Scarlet Leaf and Mid American Fiction and Photography! And wow! Another PNW person! Love it!
    Sharon Frame Gay

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  8. That's a lovely and amusing story. I really enjoyed it! I found the bits about his family very funny.

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  9. Vampire stories are a dime a dozen. It's very hard to be original when writing about vampires. Loved the unique perspective and practical concerns that mirror virtually all marriages, including mixed-race and same race. Humor can be a great messenger, and certainly is here.

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