Chapter 35 Sculptures Sunset cast a warm orange across the great Pyramid, while below, the Emperor enjoyed a cappuccino on a concrete bench and Bummer and Lazarus battled for the remains of a three-pound porterhouse. The fiend is vanquished, but not the despair of my people. Our responsibility is legion. Look at your clothes.
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Chapter 1 Death Sundown painted purple across the great Pyramid while the Emperor enjoyed a steaming whiz against a dumpster in the alley below. The Emperor shook his scepter to clear the last few drops, shivered, then zipped up and turned to the royal hounds who waited at his heels. My city is decaying before your eyes. The air is thick with poison, the children are shooting each other in the street, and now this plague, this horrible plague is killing my people by the thousands, and all you think about is food.
Does one have to die to find dignity? I wonder. The Emperor turned to see the lid of the dumpster being slowly lifted by a pale hand. Bummer barked a warning. A figure stood up in the dumpster, his hair dark and wild and speckled with trash, skin white as bone. He vaulted out of the dumpster and hissed at the little dog, showing long white fangs. The vampire brushed a bit of rotted lettuce from his black shirt and grinned.
The vampire laughed, then turned and walked away. The Emperor felt a chill run up his neck as the vampire disappeared into the fog. He hung his head and thought, Not this. The responsibility is suffocating.
Emperor or not, I am only a man. Ah, but I must be strong for the troops. It could be worse, I suppose. I could be the Emperor of Oakland. There is a bakery in North Beach that will presently be dumping the day-old.
As the Emperor trudged up California Street, trying to balance the impotence of power with the promise of a powdered-sugar doughnut, Jody was leaving the Pyramid. She was twenty-six and pretty in a way that made men want to tuck her into flannel sheets and kiss her on the forehead before leaving the room; cute but not beautiful. She thought, My closet is starting to look like an ostrich hatchery. She was a milk-white, green-eyed redhead who burned and freckled with sun. When she was half a block from her bus stop, the wind-driven fog won and Jody experienced total hair-spray failure.
Neat waist-length waves frizzed to a wild red cape of curl and tangle. Kurt will be so pleased. She pulled her jacket closer around her shoulders against the chill, tucked her briefcase under her breasts like a schoolgirl carrying books, and limped on.
Ahead of her on the sidewalk she saw someone standing by the glass door of a brokerage office. Green light from the CRTs inside silhouetted him in the fog. As she passed the man, she looked down at her running shoes her heels were in her briefcase.
Just a couple more steps A hand caught in her hair and jerked her off her feet, her briefcase went skittering across the sidewalk and she started to scream. Another hand clamped over her mouth and she was dragged off the street into an alley. She kicked and flailed, but he was too strong, immovable.
The smell of rotten meat filled her nostrils and she gagged even while trying to scream. Her attacker spun her around and yanked on her hair, pulling her head back until she thought her neck would snap. Then she felt a sharp pain on the side of her throat and the strength to fight seemed to evaporate.
Across the alley she could see a soda can and an old Wall Street Journal, a wad of bubble gum stuck to the bricks, a "No Parking" sign: details, strangely slowed down and significant. Her vision began to tunnel dark, like an iris closing, and she thought, These will be the last things I see.
The voice in her head was calm, resolved. As everything went dark, her attacker slapped her across the face and she opened her eyes and saw the thin white face before her. He was speaking to her. Something warm and wet was shoved into her mouth. She tasted warm iron and salt and gagged again. She struggled, tried to breathe, tried to pull his arm out of her mouth to get air, sucked for air and nearly choked on blood. Suddenly she found herself sucking, drinking hungrily.
When he tried to pull his arm away she clutched at it. He tore it from her mouth, twisted her around and bit her throat again. After a moment, she felt herself fall. The attacker was tearing at her clothes, but she had nothing left to fight with.
She felt a roughness against the skin of her breasts and belly, then he was off her. With his permission, she gave up. Her heart slowed, lugged, and stopped.
Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story
She leaped out of bed and went into the living area, not stopping to turn on the light. She checked the answering machine: no messages. All the time she thought about what Tommy had said about sharing, about being with someone who could understand what you saw and how you felt. She wanted that. She wanted someone who could run the night with her, someone who could hear the buildings breathe and watch the sidewalks glow with heat just after sundown.
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Thomas Flood lands in the city by the Bay, fresh from the farming fields of Indiana, determined to write a great American novel. He rents a cot from a Chinese entrepreneur named Wong and finds himself living with five other Chinese gentlemen all named Wong as well. The Wongs are excited because they have recently learned that it is legal for two men to marry in San Francisco. Thomas has something they really, really lust for
Book review: “Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story” by Christopher Moore