The Four Dick Dialog
Copyright © 2013 by Michael Litzky
Lavinia stretched out on the bed with her hands crossed behind her head, wearing fresh clothes and looking happy and human for the first time in two days, watching Sally gobble down a can of heated chili, a box of saltines and a bag of carrot sticks. “Ready for that Four Dick Dialog whenever you are, tiger,” she said happily.
Sally sat cross-legged with her back against one camper wall. It was late afternoon. Soon they would have to face their second night together in a world where completely new rules applied. She took a bite of chili too fast and burned the roof of her mouth. Wincing, she forced herself to slow down.
She was still upset about the note which they’d found stuck to the windshield when they got back to their camper. It had said, with a clumsy exclamation point after every sentence, “Thanks! We had to take our little girl home early! Because of you and your little hang-gliding tryst! You might show a little consideration for other people next time!” Then a different hand had written, “Let me just add that my husband and I fully support your right to love whoever you want. But for heaven’s sakes remember this is a public beach.”
Lavinia had had a simple prescription. “Fuck ‘em,” she’d said with a shrug.
But Sally burned, angry at the man of that couple for being prudish and arrogant, wishing that the wife hadn’t added her thoughtful codicil so she could have hated them for being homophobes. She remembered how loved and supported she’d felt by that little girl’s acceptance and imagined the child saying, “Wook, dust wike Mommy Daddy!” as the parents covered her eyes and hauled her away.
But she also blushed with shame. She’d never ever involved children in her sexuality and she felt a little nauseous. (She shut away the unbidden image of a pixie face framed by black hair, face crumpled with hurt and confusion.)
Lavinia had put her hands on her shoulders. “Babe. C’mon, special circumstances? We weren’t exactly in our right minds. I’m just irked they couldn’t see the miracle. Someone flying, and all they can do is get pissy because they’re also fuckin’? Fuck ‘em!”
Sally took another bite of chili, blowing on it first this time. Maybe it was a mercy that couple had ignored the fact that there was no hang glider. They needed to think carefully about how to reveal to the world what they had learned.
“Okay, here are the facts as I understand them. One, if you get bitten by a vampire and drained of blood but not torn apart, you rise as a vampire. You’re in some kind of hell: you can’t think, can only feel hungry and alone. You are locked out of anything that can conceivably be declared a home. Not only that, some force keeps you that way. Every time you sleep, that force tries to shred apart anything you’d regained of your humanity. At least, it happened for you during the day yesterday and it tried to happen this morning, for sure. But it didn’t happen for Ori, Nori, Oin and Gloin et al. last night, totally not fair. And it’s not just daylight or being asleep, because it started to happen for you even when you were awake last night until I breathed into your mouth. So is it something special about you that makes you a target for whatever? Or did it happen for those other creeps too and they just didn’t get flung to the doors like you did?
“Two, during the day, you’re helpless, you have to sleep and you can’t move until the sun goes down. You’re hungry all the time and you’d do anything for the least scrap of flesh that might have the tiniest droplet of blood in it. And it’s blood, specifically, that you crave. Not bile, not cerebral-spinal fluid, not lymph. Blood. You have to tell me: was that true for you? And was it red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, plasma, what was it drew you?”
Lavinia looked like a reformed alcoholic thinking about drinking binges and what it was like to wake up in a pool of vomit. “Just blood. Didn’t fine tune it more than that. I think. But shit, it’s hard to look back now and be sure I really craved it or if I was just following the mob hysteria. I was so cold and hungry for all the shit that got taken from me. Was it really blood I wanted or was it some kind of, I don’t know, life force?”
“In the parking lot, when you had me feed you back some of the blood you lost?”
Lavinia’s beautiful face scrunched into an unhappy mask. “I drank it down and I sure thought I needed it. It tasted … good? Babe, I just don’t know. I think it smelled and tasted good then, but now, I feel skanky thinking about it.”
“Okay,” Sally shrugged, accepting Lavinia’s words, “moving on, then. Three, you’re under some kind of spell that makes you not even look like the human you were. I still can’t get clear whether the vampires actually physically are different or whether it’s an illusion in the minds of any human who sees them, but until a vampire has some bit of their humanity back, they look and act the same.” She furrowed her brow. “They look like classic movie vampires, don’t they? You’ll have to tell me, I don’t know. You liked that vampire stuff more than I ever did, except for dumb Chinese vampire movies.”
“They do,” Lavinia nodded. “Black hair, funeral suits or dresses, white skin, red lips and mouths, soulless eyes. Yes. And fuck if I could tell you whether I looked like that when I was in hell.”
“Not when you first opened your eyes. You just looked sad and lost. And when you were swept out of my arms,” Sally continued, feeling the anguish of that moment flooding her again, “let’s see, I got just a glimpse of you before you vanished in the swarm outside. I think you looked like you, but then I didn’t expect anything else.” She considered it with a scholarly look while Lavinia watched her tenderly. “No, I couldn’t say whether you actually looked different and I just saw what I expected to see, or whether you looked the same as you usually do and I saw you that way because I saw the real you.
“Okay. Four, unbeknownst to all us humans over the last five years since this started, and by the way, it had to start with one vampire, so that’s actually another point, where and how did this start, but we’ll come back to that. Four, vampires have a secret craving, as strong as the urge for blood, to get into a house, to be home again. So much so that, although if invited in they will kill anybody inside the home, given a choice between going hungry and being cast out again, they’ll choose going hungry. Those vampires last night, they were beyond happy to be in a home again, they were in a trance.”
“Yeah, they were cute, weren’t they? Like a bunch of kittens. Say, gimme a bite of chili?”
Sally raised her eyebrows. “You’re hungry for food? Regular food?”
“I don’t know. Let me try.”
Sally held out a spoonful, her hand shaking. But Lavinia sniffed it, shook her head and leaned back. “Nothin’. Doesn’t smell bad, doesn’t smell good.”
“And you’re not hungry at all.”
“No, absolutely, no. I never felt so good after a regular meal as I did after all that sunlight.” Her body quivered as she thought about it and she added, “Mmmmmhhh!”
She was clearly thinking only about sunlight, not about sex, but Sally again felt ashamed and rebellious, thinking about that family watching them, judging them, not seeing the miracle, seeing only— She shook her head and pushed that cycle of thoughts away.
“Okay, that leads us to, what number was I at?”
“Big fat fucking three?” Lavinia suggested. They both laughed.
“Five, I think. You. First breakthrough in five years. My miracle, God yes, but a miracle for the world too. You somehow resisted that dark call, whatever it is. Maybe because of my love. But other good people have been loved and cried for after they were turned, I’m sure of it. Maybe because a Norse god in disguise as an old hippie sold you a protective spell some twenty years ago, how long ago was it?”
“78, 79? I could figure it out. But probably 25, 30 years ago.”
“Yeah, so that theory has a lot of, well, what would have been his point? Why you, why the talisman did nothing for all these years, was he anticipating the vampire plague? And if Norse gods are going to enter the picture, what other myths and legends haven’t we been seeing? And besides, the jacket has a quote from Wagner on it. Wagner was a German proto-Nazi, he wasn’t exactly Norse, so a real-life Odin wouldn’t quote him, I wouldn’t think.”
“Maybe,” Lavinia said thoughtfully, “it worked because I believed it would work. Maybe I had something to cling to that seemed magic to me and that helped pull me through. Cause it was touch and go at the beginning there. I still don’t really know how I got into our home that first time, I just did it. But I was that close to bolting for a hidey hole.”
“Or maybe you felt my unconscious invitation, because I did think you’re still welcome in my home, babe. Or maybe you felt my love calling to you.” Sally still blushed whenever she said something like that.
“Okay, six. Sunlight works magic on you. It starts your heart going again, it puts blood back in your veins. It puts you into an ecstasy that’s better than any sex. It lets you move during the day after all, and on your full naked body it charges you up enough that you can fly.”
“I don’t think it was the sunlight got me able to move again during the day,” Lavinia said. “You did that, somehow. When you came after me in the dark, that dream, when you called me back. It was like,” she struggled to find the words, feeling her way. “It was like you pinned me to this world again. God, I hope it was a ‘for all time’ deal. I hope we don’t have to go through that every time I sleep.
“But I don’t know how I walked again. I just knew that wherever you were was my home and I wanted to marry you and carry you across the threshold to my new home, to our home. It was five thoughts all singing together like some fucking Gay Men’s Chorus, and I had you in my arms before I even thought about what I was doing. So whether you broke a spell or cast a new one or the “paralyzed” was all in my head or whether I beat the bad stuff back, I don’t know.”
“Okay, more unknown. But you were stronger than you’ve ever been from that moment on. Jumping out with me in your arms? I don’t think you could have done even that before.”
“You’re probably right. I sure wouldn’t have tried.”
“And then you flew. Jesus Christ, I still can’t believe that. And you weren’t just nullifying gravity either, you were controlling it. The earth is, I think, 24,000 miles around and it turns once in 24 hours so the surface is going at a thousand miles an hour. If you just neutralized gravity, let’s see.” She tried to visualize it by picturing whirling a rock around her head on a string and then letting go. “We would have gone in a straight line while the earth fell away from beneath us, but we would have turned helplessly and, anyway, we couldn’t have—”
“We know it wasn’t like that, Professor Feynman, so don’t worry about what would have happened. And no, I can’t tell you how I did it. But going up it was like surrendering to the pull of Father Sun. And coming down, it was like surrendering into the arms of Mother Earth. Yang and Yin.”
“You switched from the “yang” to the “yin” because you loved me. You changed from soaring on the in breath and hovering on the out breath, to hovering on the in breath and falling on the out breath.”
“So we need to see if it happens again.”
“I can get behind that. Hubba hubba!”
Sally blushed again. That arrogant father! “Show a little consideration for others.” She tried so hard to be considerate of others. Well, except when she was telling an old man in diapers to go fuck himself, she thought, flushed with shame. And except for—
KerriAnne walked alone, as she had always been alone. The night was cold and she had nobody to comfort her. She missed her big sister so much. Hazel eyes looking at her with tenderness and affection. Someone who had loved her.
The door before her was ugly, covered in cheap white paint. She had to go out. She had no money for rent, she couldn’t stay in her home, crying for love that she would never know again. She had to go out into that awful bleak world and find some generous man who would help her with some money. She had to but she knew there was some reason she shouldn’t. But even this lonely, sad little apartment held no space for her anymore.
She pressed herself against the door. Her cold fingers slid the chain off and turned the bolt. It was hard to pull the door open; she didn’t seem to want to let go of the flat surface, like a drowning man clinging to a solid raft. But she finally slid around the edge of the door and up against the black iron of the security door.
Through the array of little holes she could see them all out there, white faces inside the black-rimmed circles. Was there a reason she shouldn’t go out into their arms? Wasn’t it safer to stay inside? But she was already turning the spring bolt and shoving open the heavy iron security door with her body.
Now their bodies bumped hers, their shoulders brushed hers, their voices hissed with hers. They weren’t frightening. They were just strangers.
KerriAnne walked alone in the night. She was surrounded by strangers, none of whom cared for her or ever would.
Like this story? Please vote for “Safe as Houses” at TopWebFiction.com.