Janet C. Beaulieu
Copyright © 2000
I don't usually buy the National Enquirer, but that blustery March morning I quickly snatched it up and plunked it down atop my pile of groceries. It wasn't the usual garish headline that caught my eye:
VAMPIRES ARE REAL!
"I can't keep my secret any longer," suburbanite cries.
it was the photo accompanying the story -- a photo of my neighbor from across the street who just happened to be my best friend.
I took a look around me, hoping no one I knew was nearby, and could barely keep the blush from my cheeks until the bagger had safely stored the paper away. Then I dashed for the car and raced home. The rest of the errands would have to wait.
I shoved the perishables in the refrigerator and left the rest of the groceries to languish on the kitchen table while I sat down to read. This had to be some kind of bizarre joke. Didn't it?
"It's time to set the record straight," Jean Miller explained. "I've been keeping this secret for centuries now, and I just can't do it any longer. Nobody knows the real me.
"And I also really firmly believe it's time people learned the TRUTH. VAMPIRES ARE REAL! It's not just some old Transylvanian legend or a clever story by Bram Stoker. We EXIST!"
Miller became a vampire in the late 16th century, while she was living in England during the reign of Elizabeth I. "I was one of the Queen's ladies-in-waiting," Miller said, "and the court was full of all kinds of people from all over Europe. The cad that turned me into a vampire was a rather obscure diplomat from Spain. It was about ten years before that whoop-te-doo over the Spanish Armada.
"Anyway, he got me in a corner one night during a court ball and whispered 'I vant to bite your neck,' and I thought he was just interested in me. He was really good looking, and charming as hell, and I just fell for it. It never occurred to me that he would really bite my neck. And I don't think I had ever even heard of vampires!
"We kept getting it on together for about two months, until he was called back to Spain. And, of course, by then it was too late. My fate was sealed.
"He never even told me about vampires until the night before he left. I couldn't believe it! He had been the love of my life, and he ruined me forever!
"I've never forgiven him. We see each other once every seventy years or so, but I won't even speak to him any more."
The story went on a little further, but most of it was explanations about why Jeannie (that's what I call her) decided to go public.
I put the Enquirer down and went out to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee. My mind was boggled. Jeannie had done some weird things in her time, but this was almost beyond all belief. It had to be a hoax.
While the water was boiling I rattled around and put the groceries away. Vampires? In 1992?
I turned off the stove, picked up the phone and dialled her number. "Put the coffeepot on," I said when she answered. "I'm coming over."
"I love the way you do this," Jeannie said, handing me a steaming mug of coffee. "I mean, you just pick up the phone, announce you're coming over, and then hang up. I don't think you've ever once asked if I might be busy."
"You've let me get away with it for years," I said, "and you've complained about it for years. The truth is you really like it. It adds to the unpredictability of your life."
"Hmph," Jeannie said. "So tell me, what's going on with you? I haven't seen you for two whole days."
I pulled the Enquirer out of my handbag. "It's not my life I came to talk about," I said. "Have you SEEN this?"
"Of course I've seen it. I have a dozen copies in my study."
Jeannie sipped her coffee. "You don't believe it, right? Would you believe it if you'd read it in the Washington Post?"
"Do you think I'd lie about something like that?"
"JEANNIE, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT VAMPIRES HERE!"
"And about time, too. Every vampire I know has been in the closet for his or her entire undead life."
"JEANNIE!" I screamed.
"It's time for a change," she said blandly, looking so thoroughly undisturbed it frightened me. "I'm tired of reading all this stuff by Bram Stoker and Anne Rice and Brian Lumley and everybody else and his brothers and sisters. All of it is sheer guesswork. None of what's written about vampires has been written by a vampire. No stories, no autobiographies, no interviews, nothing. So enough, already."
"You're sitting here in your very own kitchen in your very own house at the end of the 20th century A.D. and you're telling me, your best friend, that you're a vampire? That this crap in the Enquirer is TRUE?"
Jeannie shook her head. "Yep. Drink your coffee."
I felt all cold inside and kept waiting for my heart to start fibrillating. This couldn't be real. This was really the middle of the night and I was home in my very own bed having the granddaddy of all nightmares.
"Stop shaking and drink your coffee," Jeannie insisted. "It'll steady your nerves."
"This is the craziest day of my life," I muttered.
"You'll get used to the idea. Cheer up, something weirder may happen tomorrow."
"You're a vampire. You've been alive since the 1500s."
"1558. The year Elizabeth became queen. I went to court when I was a little over 15, and I was almost 20 when Philip bit me. When I met him I thought he had been named for Philip II, but of course he hadn't been. He was born in 1265."
"I am in a loony bin. Any minute now the men in the little white coats are going to take me down in your cellar for electroshock treatment."
"What do I have to do to convince you?"
"I don't know," I wailed. "THERE ARE NO SUCH THINGS AS VAMPIRES!"
"YES THERE ARE! YOU'RE LOOKING AT ONE!"
I looked at her and cringed. I hadn't expected her to yell.
"Just get used to the idea," she said, calm again.
"But you're sitting here drinking coffee with me and vampires don't eat!"
"Don't act so triumphant. Vampires can eat if they want to, they just don't need to. Sometimes I really drink coffee because I like the caffeine kick."
"But you go out in the daytime and your face reflects in mirrors and..."
"No it doesn't."
"Reflect in mirrors. You only think it does."
"I make you think it does. It's called hypnotism."
"Jeannie, you're babbling."
She assumed an attitude of infinite patience, as though talking to a very small child. "Vampires are master hypnotists," she said. "We have to be to survive. Anytime we run into a situation where a non-vampire would notice something unusual about us, we just hypnotize them so that they see what they want to see. I don't reflect in mirrors at all."
I scowled. "Prove it."
She sighed. "No. You're not ready for that yet. You're nowhere near ready for that."
"Then how am I supposed to believe you?"
"Give it time. You've got to get over the shock first."
"Why the hell didn't you TELL me? Why did you let me read it first in the goddamned National Enquirer?!" I suddenly realized I was going to cry. "Never mind," I said. "I'm going home. I'm going to go home and drink an entire bottle of scotch and then I'm going to bed. We'll talk about this tomorrow."
"That's probably best," Jeannie said.
I was soused to the gills by the time Glenn got home. I didn't try to explain a thing, just staggered over to the coffee table and handed him the tabloid.
"You've got to be kidding," he said.
"Nope. She shaysh itsh all twoo."
He looked stunned and a bit perplexed. "Wead it and weep," I told him. "I'm goingsh to bed."
We talked it over the next morning despite my gigantic hangover. Glenn was having none of it. "You know how Jeannie likes being outrageous. God only knows where she dreamed this one up, but you can be damned sure she's laughing up her sleeve at all of this."
"No, she's not. She's deadly serious this time. I confronted her point blank right after I read the article. She was not kidding."
"Vampires don't exist."
"Jeannie's a vampire."
"Go talk to her yourself! This is terrible. My whole life is upside down. My whole WORLD is upside down. Tomorrow I'm going to go to work and discover my boss is a werewolf. And the next day Frankenstein will be running the checkout counter at the Shop and Save!"
"I think you better go back to bed. You're out of control."
"I am NOT!" I shrieked. "GO SEE JEANNIE!"
"All right," he said at last. "I will."
The more I thought about it the more I started to believe it.
Jeannie was self-employed as a consultant. She always said she worked best at night.
Jeannie lived alone. She had never been married, never had any kids, and never mentioned any relatives.
Jeannie ate like a bird. If all the stuff about hypnosis was for real, maybe she didn't eat anything at all.
Jeannie was an agnostic. She never went inside a church, not even for weddings or funerals.
Jeannie liked to take naps in the daytime.
I had never been in Jeannie's cellar. There could be a coffin down there!
Jeannie liked to go out at night, especially to singles bars.
I didn't like what all of this was adding up to.
"So what's it like?" I asked. "Do people just let you bite their necks, or what?"
Jeannie sighed. "It's not quite that simple. It's best if you get to know somebody before you start drinking from them."
"What if you're really hungry?"
"Well, if I'm simply starving, then I have to hunt for some derelict asleep in an alley or something, but I don't enjoy it very much. Blood tastes better if you're drinking it from someone who likes you."
"Have you ever turned anybody else into a vampire?"
"A couple of times. People I didn't like."
"If you didn't like them, why did you do it?"
"Because being a vampire isn't fun, Cathy. It's a hard, hard life, and it goes on and on and on and on, century after century after century, hunting and drinking and making new vampires. Talk about boredom -- and there's no end to it! I'd never do it to a friend."
"Thank you, God," I muttered.
"Thank me," Jeannie said.
I got up and turned on Jeannie's stove. "I'm making more coffee. I need more coffee. Please pretend to drink it so I'll feel better."
Jeannie grinned. "I always do."
I fiddled around with cups and coffee grounds.
"I always like it best when you make the coffee," Jeannie said. "Yours tastes so much better than mine."
"IF YOU ONLY PRETEND TO DRINK IT, HOW DO YOU KNOW HOW IT TASTES?"
"I drink it for the caffeine, remember? Most of the time, anyway. Not that it matters," she said. "Vampires have very acute senses. "We can tell how things taste without actually consuming them."
"Except for blood," I said.
"That's one really wonderful thing about being a vampire. You never get fat."
I poured the coffee and sat back down. "What I really want to know is if you sleep in a coffin."
"I do if I want to."
"But you don't have to."
"Not really. Not unless I haven't fed for a long time, or if I'm having a bad day and need an extra sense of security."
"So you have a coffin."
"Here. In this house."
"I didn't say that."
"Then where, for God's sake?"
"I WISH you'd stop saying that word!"
"I'm sorry. It's just all this stuff about blood and coffins. You were going to tell me where yours was."
"No, I wasn't. That's private."
"But I'm your best friend!"
"There are limits even to our friendship. One of those limits is where I keep my coffin."
"It must be down cellar. I've never been in your cellar. I think I'll go down there right now and look."
"Go ahead, if it will make you feel better."
"You're telling me your coffin isn't down cellar?"
"I'm telling you I'm not going to tell you where it is. It's in a nice safe place where you'll never find it. You or anybody else."
"I'm going down cellar," I said, and pushed away from the table.
"Bring up the hammer and a few nails while you're at it," Jeannie yelled as I headed down the stairs. "They're on the workbench. I want to put up a new curtain rod in the bedroom."
Pretty soon it was almost impossible to see Jeannie anymore. A week or so after the Enquirer hit the stands the neighborhood was overwhelmed by the media. Everybody wanted to talk to the vampire and the people who knew her. There were reporters from A Current Affair, Hard Copy, 60 Minutes, Time, Newsweek, and Fangoria. Glenn and I were interviewed and photographed over and over again until we couldn't stand it anymore and cried "Uncle!" Jeannie's face stared out at us no matter where we looked, and during the few conversations she and I had it became obvious things were not going to change in a hurry. Anne Rice was going to write Jeannie's biography. Madonna was writing a song about her. A comic book publisher wanted to create a character based on her life, and there was talk of a Jean the Vampire doll.
By this time, Glenn had reluctantly become a believer. And he didn't like what he believed. "You've got to stop seeing that woman," he insisted. "It's dangerous, you going over there all the time. Who knows what she might do?"
I hastened to reassure him that my relationship with Jeannie hadn't changed. "The only thing that's different is that she told me one of her secrets."
"You and the rest of the world."
"She's told me more."
He scowled. "Great. That's just great. Pretty soon she'll be wanting to initiate you into vampirehood so the two of you can be friends forever."
"She wouldn't do that."
"How the hell do you know?"
"She told me! She would never turn one of her friends into a vampire. She never has."
"Don't you believe her?"
"Can you believe a VAMPIRE?"
"Jeannie would never do such a thing to me. Or to you. You're paranoid, Glenn."
"Dammit, Cathy, it's dangerous."
"Pish posh. You're just not used to it yet, that's all. Give it time."
"I think you're both crazy," he muttered.
The problem was, part of me reluctantly agreed with Glenn. Vampires are not what you call nice people. My entire relationship with Jeannie all these years had, after all, been a lie. And when you have one lie, you usually have another.
Could I really believe anything she said?
And if I couldn't believe anything she said, was my friendship with her putting me at risk? Was Glenn at risk? Was she even now plotting to turn the entire neighborhood into vampires?
I decided to investigate some vampire lore and legend. Jeannie had told me that everything in print was all crap, but what if she'd been lying? What if all that stuff about turning into bats and being burned by crosses was true?
What didn't she want me to know?
Why didn't she want me to know it?
It was Brian Lumley who convinced me.
Until Jeannie, my knowledge of vampires had been limited to reading Dracula in high school and occasionally picking up Count Chocula cereal at the Shop and Save. Horror fiction was not something I found appealing.
My research was a rude awakening. I read everything I could find, to the point where the very word "vampire" made me feel vaguely ill. But Lumley!
The only reason I looked for his books was because I remember Jeannie mentioning his name, so I figured I'd better check him out. Even the covers of his books frightened me.
I picked up Necroscope at the local branch of B. Dalton started reading as soon as I got home. It was almost more than I could bear. Lumley's vampires were unspeakable.
That night I admitted to Glenn that he had been right all along. "I've been living in a dream world," I told him. "All I've been able to think during all this brouhaha is that Jeannie is my best friend.
"But you're right," I said, hating to hear myself speak the words. I reached over and grabbed both his hands and looked directly into his eyes. "We have to do something."
We decided on Memorial Day weekend. Neither of us wanted to do it, but putting things off weren't going to help anything.
We sat down Thursday night and made a list.
1. Immobilize the vampire. (I couldn't write down "Jeannie.")
That would be easy. I had almost a full bottle of Nembutal from the prescription the doctor gave me when I was having that awful bout of insomnia that started soon after the vampire stuff started.
2. Kill the vampire.
This one was harder. I have difficulty stepping on a spider, and Glenn is pretty much a softie, too. If just something like a drug overdose would do the trick, we could get through that without too much trauma, but killing vampires isn't that easy. We were really going to have to psych ourselves up.
"You go buy the trash bags and the yellow slicker outfits," Glenn said. "I'll get the tarp and the 2 x 4. We can use my grandfather's old sledge hammer. I'm pretty sure it's still out in the garage."
I dutifully wrote down my short list and was not at all surprised to see my hand shaking.
"Be sure you get Hefty Steel Saks," Glenn said. "You're going to have to hunt around town. I know the Shop and Save doesn't carry them, but they're still advertising them on TV, so somebody must sell them."
"What difference does it make?"
"Hefty Steel Saks are stronger. And they don't leak."
I shuddered. "Do you think they're strong enough to hold Jeannie? She's not fat or anything, but I bet she weighs a good 120 pounds. She's tall, remember."
"Do you have a better idea?"
I thought for a minute. "What about your garment bag?"
"My Land's End Lighthouse Airliner?" He sounded incredulous that I would even consider such a thing.
"Well, it's light, and it's big, and it's sturdy, and I know you've had more than 120 pounds of stuff jammed in it before. And it's red. That's important just in case it leaked anywhere."
"But it's my favorite luggage. You gave it to me for Christmas!"
"We'd probably better use the duffle bag, too."
He looked perplexed.
I felt myself blush. "For the head," I said.
"My Land's End luggage!" he repeated.
"We can buy more. Don't be such a baby."
He heaved his shoulders in an overly dramatic sigh. "All right."
"We've got to get rid of her afterwards."
I went back to the list and scribbled:
3. Dispose of body.
"Got any ideas?" I asked.
"Nothing to it. Tom and Betty are building that new house out in Glenburn, remember?"
"They've finally finished clearing all the land and the hole for the foundation's been dug. When I saw Tom this morning he told me they were going to pour the concrete on Tuesday."
"I don't think I like where this is going."
"What Tom and Betty don't know won't hurt them. Nobody will be around all weekend."
"How can you be sure about that?"
"Because Tom told me he and Betty were heading to Boston right after work tomorrow and they weren't coming back until Monday evening."
"I hate this," I muttered.
"All that dirt is nice and loose and digging a hole big enough for Jeannie will be a snap."
"I wish you wouldn't use her name."
"Sorry," he said. "It's just so natural.
"Anyway, tomorrow after work I'll go buy the tarp and the 2 x 4 and then around midnight I'll drive out to Glenburn and dig the hole. That way everything will be ready for Saturday."
I shuddered again.
He kept on. "Then late Saturday afternoon you can go over and visit Jeannie and make sure she gets the Nembutal.'
"I SAID DON'T USE HER NAME!"
"Sorry," he said again. "It just popped out."
"Well, watch it, dammit."
"While you're over there, I'll load up the truck with all the other stuff.'
"The 2 x 4!" I shrieked.
"What about it?"
"You've got to whittle the 2 x 4! It's got to be a pointed stake, remember?"
"Oh, right. I forgot. Maybe I'll just buy one of those pointed fence posts."
"You can't do that! What if somebody saw you?"
"So who goes to Grossman's and buys one fence post?"
"All right, all right, I'll get a 2 x 4. They're stronger, anyway. We don't want the damn thing to break."
"Jesus, I hate this," I said. "I'll be glad when this is all over."
"It will be in a couple of days. Now read the list of all the stuff we need back to me. I want to be sure we haven't forgotten anything."
"Tarp, 2 x 4, iron mallet, Land's End luggage, Hefty Steel Saks, yellow slicker outfits, Nembutal."
"Axe!" he yelled.
"We forgot the axe! How are we going to cut off her head without an axe?"
I felt myself blanch.
"I'll buy one at Grossman's," he said.
"But we've got an axe."
"But we've got to get rid of it after we're through. You don't think we're just going to bring it home and hose it down and put it back in the garage, do you?"
"I think I'm going to be sick," I said.
Jeannie looked pale and bleary-eyed. "I was taking a nap," she said. "You woke me up."
"Sorry. I didn't think you'd be napping on Saturday afternoon."
"Well, I was," she said. "So you make the damn coffee. I'm too sleepy to be trusted with hot water."
"No problem," I said. I handed her the new Stephen King novel I'd just finished. "I came over to bring you this. I know how much you like his books and thought you'd enjoy reading it over the long weekend."
Jeannie looked abashed. "This just came out! Thank you!"
"What are best friends for?"
She settled onto the couch and started paging through the book. I went out in the kitchen to start the coffee. While it was brewing I emptied all the Nembutal capsules into her cup. A few minutes later I carried it into the living room and put it into her hand.
"Drink up," I said.
I finally had to use the memory buttons on Jeannie's phone to call Glenn. My hands were shaking so badly I couldn't Touch-Tone the right keypads.
He picked it up on the first ring.
"She's out like a light," I told him. "Better get over here quick before I lose what little courage I've got left."
Glenn is strong, but he was huffing and puffing by the time he got Jeannie all the way down the cellar stairs. Then he stood and stared at me.
"What?" I said.
"The tarp!" he yelled. "You forgot to spread out the goddamned tarp!"
"Oh," I said. "I forgot."
"You DID bring it down here, didn't you?"
"Then, DO IT, dammit! I can't stand here holding her all night!"
I fumbled with the heavy blue stuff. It was hard to handle because it was so big. After what seemed an eternity, I managed to spread it out across most of the cellar floor.
Glenn laid Jeannie down in the middle. "You watch her," he said. "I'm going upstairs to get the rest of the stuff out of the truck. You get your clothes off, and if you see her move, whack her with the hammer over there on the workbench."
"Take my clothes off?"
He looked at me as though I had lost my mind. "Yes, Cathy, take your clothes off. Then put on the yellow slicker suit."
"This is going to get MESSY, Cathy."
I started shaking again. "I don't think I can do this," I muttered.
"We're doing it," he said. "I'll be right back."
I barely had time to change before he returned. He spread everything out on the far end of the tarp. "Anything missing?"
I pulled the list out of my pocket and started checking: "2 x 4, iron mallet, Land's End luggage, Hefty Steel Saks, Glenn's yellow slicker outfit, axe. That's everything."
"Ok, good. You keep your eye on her while I get out of my clothes. Hand me my slicker suit."
I gave it to him and watched Jeannie. She had begun to snore softly. He shucked his clothes and wriggled into the slicker outfit, then walked over and stared at Jeannie. "This is hell," he said. "Go open the Steel Saks, will you?"
"All right, all right, I'll open the Steel Saks."
"And get me a Magic Marker."
"Magic Marker? Nobody said anything about a Magic Marker."
"SO WE FORGOT, ALREADY! Go upstairs and poke around. I'm sure you'll find one somewhere! And hand me the mallet"
I scurried up the stairs and tried not to listen. It didn't work. While I was rummaging through a desk drawer I heard the rustle of a trash bag, then a loud THWACK! A minute later I heard the rustle of a trash bag again. "Cathy, will you get down here with the Magic Marker!" he yelled. I heard panic in his voice.
I realized when I heard the THWACK! I had frozen in place. I peered into the drawer, saw the required instrument, grabbed it and headed back downstairs, dreading what I thought I would see.
Jeannie's head was covered by several Steel Saks. A puddle of red had begun to seep from underneath them. I gulped.
Glenn was sweating. He spread another of the Steel Saks over her chest. "Give me the pen," he said.
I gave him the Magic Marker. "You killed her," I said stupidly.
"No, I didn't kill her; she's a vampire. We're GOING to kill her."
"I think I'm going to throw up."
"You don't have time to throw up. Come over here and hold this trash bag steady."
I did as I was told. Glenn looked down at Jeannie's chest, then up at the trash bag, then down, then up, then down again, then made a large X on the trash bag over an area approximating Jeannie's heart.
"Wouldn't it be easier to do this without the trash bag?"
"Without the trash bag I'd have to LOOK AT HER. Do you think I can look at Jeannie and drive a pointed stake through her heart?"
"DON'T USE HER NAME!"
"Oh, SHUT UP, Cathy. Just SHUT UP! Go get the 2 x 4."
I obeyed very quietly and handed it to him. He handed it back to me, his expression one of utter exasperation. "You're not making this any easier, you know," he said. He positioned the stake in my hands so it was poised point down directly above the X. "Now just hold the damn thing and DON'T MOVE!"
I clutched the stake like a madwoman and scrunched my eyes up tight. The blow of the iron mallet hitting against the stake drove sharp wooden splinters into my hands. I yelped.
"HOLD THE DAMN STAKE!" He swung again, then again. More splinters jabbed into my palms, and I felt tears squeezing out from under my eyelids. Glenn was breathing hard. His slicker suit was covered with blood. I made it a point not to look at mine.
"Almost done," he said. He reached down and moved the trash bags on top of Jeannie's head so that her neck was visible. "Stick a trash bag over her legs, will you?"
I turned away and pulled a Steel Sak out of the box. Behind me I heard something go CHOP!
Instinctively I whirled around, only to see Glenn swing the bloody axe down towards what was left of Jeannie's throat. I whirled around again, then vomited profusely onto the Steel Sak.
"GIMME THE DUFFLE BAG!"
"I'm throwing up," I choked.
"GIMME THE GODDAMN DUFFLE BAG!"
I wiped my mouth and got the duffle bag. I wanted to keep my eyes closed but was afraid I'd step on Jeannie, so I opened them. Glenn was drenched. "Just a couple more minutes," he gasped. "Unzip that thing and hold it open, will you?"
I did as I was told. Glenn squeezed the Steel Saks around Jeannie's head, picked the whole mess up, and shoved it into the duffle bag. He didn't have to tell me to go get the Land's End Lighthouse Airliner. I gave it to him and opened the zipper. We wrapped the rest of Jeannie in the remaining trash bags and struggled to shove the body into the luggage. It took a couple of minutes.
"I think I'm going to faint," I said when we were done.
"You're not going to faint. I need you. Go take the duffle bag upstairs."
"If I lay one hand on that thing I'll throw up again."
"GO. TAKE. THE. DUFFLE. BAG. UPSTAIRS!"
I moved blindly towards the bag.
"Take the slicker suit off first," he said, almost kindly this time. "And take your clothes with you. When you get upstairs, put the bag down, get dressed, then take the bag outside and put it in the back of the truck. I'll be up in a minute."
I looked at the carnage covering the cellar floor. "What about...."
"I'll take care of the rest. Go."
I went, hoping somewhere, in whatever reality Jeannie was now, she realized that what we had done had been done out of love, so that she would finally be free.
After about five minutes, I heard several thumps from the back of the truck. A second later Glenn climbed in the cab with me.
"One more thing, then we're done," he said. "You've been great."
"I wish I felt great," I said, sniffling.
"I wish I felt great, too," he said. "Let's go to Glenburn."
It was midnight by the time we finished burying Jeannie and making sure the excavation was smoothed out tidily so that there was no visual evidence of our clandestine adventure. We drove home slowly, not speaking, overwhelmed by our ghoulish mutual deed. Inside the house we stripped, took a long, hot shower together, and fell exhausted into bed. We even managed to sleep.
I slammed the car door shut, locked it, and dashed into the Shop and Save. Food didn't exactly appeal to me at the moment, but I felt an overwhelming desire to do something mundane and normal.
I wandered up and down the aisles, filling my shopping cart with things I did not need. When it would hold no more, I headed for the checkout counter and, luckily, managed to find a short line.
I moved to begin unloading the cart, when a familiar photo caught my eye. There, on the cover of the National Enquirer, was Jeannie, and next to her the headline:
VAMPIRE WOMAN ADMITS HOAX!
"I did it for the money," she said.
E N D
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