Our long national nightmare is over! Errr, well, maybe it’s just started… well, maybe just for this one dude.

My first non-genre novel, self-published, designed and laid out by yours truly, with an amazing front cover image from artist Ben Bittner, is at last available for sale in a couple of different places.

I like CreateSpace.

Check it out:

Mixtape for the Apocalypse – a novel by Jemiah Jefferson

Mixtape FC

front cover

a short fiction: “Poison”

September 25, 2011

To reward all my patient fans who have been begging for more stories set in the universe where my vampires preen and emo and thrill-kill, I present a story that was written shortly after Voice of the Blood. Comment away!
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“Poison”
After tonight never again… I swear to any god you like that I won’t do this shit any more. Look at this — my hand is shaking like an alcoholic granddad, spilling my hard-fought perfect coffee mixture onto the saucer. Five sugars, three miniature white plastic trash cans of half&half. (So what? I need my cheap energy; it’s served me well in my line of work so far. Ask any cop, G.I., or IRA terrorist.) Good Lord this night is bleak, seen through the shimmery cheap windows of the Carrow’s (like Denny’s only more pathetic with its intimations of quality and family dining atmosphere). Trucks keep on passing by, or worse, stopping here. Other poor degenerate fucks like me.

“What’s brought on this fugue, this funk, my dapper young gentleman?” you may ask. By all appearances all is well — there’s just a tall skinny chap in black jeans and artfully rumpled white shirt, over there alone in that greenish booth, having some coffee and pie. But you see I’ve come to a crisis; you might say a turning point in my career. Not mid-life; the life expectancy of guys in my line of work is about four years younger than I am. I’ve outlasted and outlived most of the excitable, upwardly-moral young turks who think they can do what I’ve done.

I’ve seen legions of them die horrible deaths ripped into pieces like a Tyson chicken, jerking headless upon the ground, or simply bleeding to death from poetic wounds in their tender, porous necks. I was lucky and they weren’t. That part of it makes me sick. It used to motivate me — I’d say, This one’s for Little Lester, this one’s for Jason, Ricky, Alistair. But no matter how much blood I shed, it doesn’t bring back those young faces, those delicate hands too new to be gnarled. It doesn’t make me feel any better.

Before ten o’clock this evening, I killed children of the night. I didn’t even do it for a living, like some action-filled Fox Television horror/drama. I didn’t get paid, except for reclaiming the red-sodden dollars from the pockets of my shrivelling victims. I just did it out of some skewed moral purpose, I think; now I don’t remember. It all seems so abstract. And my concretes are all so hideous like I’ve had toomany bad mushrooms. For example, this is absolutely some of the worst pie I’ve ever encountered in all my travels.

In my thirty years I’ve killed sixty-three vampires. I’ve also killed fourteen human beings, mostly because I couldn’t help it or they were ready to croak anyway. In Minnesota I shot a thirteen-year-old girl through the forehead; she was being held up as a body shield by a particularly wily old bloodsucker from South Africa and I knew from past experience with him that he’d break her neck rather than let me get through. I watched his startled expression as I shot him through the eye and then struck off his head with a single blow of my cleaver. Took three days for me to scrub the blood from under my fingernails — that shit’s like chocolate pudding, it stains.

I would do this to myself while I’m eating. This apple pie redefines “nauseating” especially with the remarkably bad decision to have it a la mode. I don’t find it the least bit fashionable to have excrable vanilla leatherette crawling all over my pie. And I’m not even particularly romantically attached to the pie. Why the hell did I get apple when I really wanted cherry?

After tonight never again.

I don’t know what got to me about tonight particularly. It was an average attack; a suburban duplex, early evening when the vamps are awake but still rather groggy from the day’s heat. Two young women and an older man, sprawled on the coolness of a waterbed. Strangely they weren’t expecting me; many’s the time I show up ready to kick butt to find the butt-kickees gone, leaving me a note saying There’s milk and cookies by the fireplace. Love, Satan. I was alone tonight. The first girl went without a whimper; she didn’t feel a thing as her spinal column split. The second girl fought half-heartedly, broken up over the other; the two looked as alike as sisters, dressed in sleazy baby tees and stained panties.

The guy was the one who got me though. He jumped on my back as I was taking care of the second sister and I felt his claws try to rake through my jacket. It tore, which is why I’m not wearing it now, but didn’t pierce me. I kicked him off me and began double-fisting him — stake, cleaver, stake, cleaver, stake, cleaver. I can’t describe what he looked like when I finally lost my breath and fell backward, hyperventilating; I don’t want to describe it, I don’t want to think about it. It’s a sight nobody sane should ever experience.

And what makes me think I’m sane? I spent twelve years chopping living breathing holy creatures into Alpo. I skewered fair-skinned children with the casual aplomb of a Mussolini hollowing out a cigar with a pencil. I used to tell myself, They had a choice. Nobody forced that sizzling admixture of virus and ectoplasm down their throat and forced them to swallow… But this is all no different from the fact that no one forced me to take up the stake and the butcher-knife and hunt them down. They were seduced by the same romance, the chance to become part of something bigger, something noble, something beautiful. They were going to become angels. I was going to become a crusader, a knight in shining leather bomber jacket. We shared the insatiable desire for blood.

There’s a theory that the illustrious Dr. Van Helsing was actually a vampire.

The waitress refills my squat china cup, going back on her way, fat ass undulating in her brown dress. I watch the ass as it goes upon its way; almost a separate entity from the automaton of a server. When I turn back you are sitting across from me in the booth, hands folded neatly, smiling at me.

You’re a cute little killer, I have to admit; cascades of dark-red curly hair, freckles, poky boobs greeting me from under an innocent white T-shirt. I pretend that nothing’s happened, and begin doctoring my coffee. Three trash cans, five packets of blow. Your eyes examine me while I do this, then glance at me again.

So you’re giving it up, you say.

“I’m tired,” I say out loud. It’s not very loud.

Can I have a bite of your pie?

I slide the plate across the table with my fingertips. You bite and chew the strange substance, the golden goo sticking to your teeth, cinnamon and nutmeg catching between your fangs and your human teeth. By your expression, you regret the pie as much as I.

Should’ve gone for the cherry.

That gets a smile out of me. “So what do you want?” I ask conversationally, watching your lead-colored claws tapping out a purling rhythm on the yellow formica.

I’m glad, you say.

I shake my head. I wish I could say I was glad, but I don’t. I don’t feel anything at all.

I’ve never sat with a vampire like I’m sitting here with you, just talking quietly. Vampires have spoken to me before; they drill their hate directly into my brain, calling me every kind of bastard, every kind of pig-fucking murderer. They hate me because they can talk to me, but they can’t manipulate me into doing anything. Ricky — that South African vampire made Ricky chop off his own hand with the meat cleaver. He tried to do the same to me and I just stared at him.

The vampire had smiled at me.

The waitress brings another cup and asks you if you want coffee. You look up at her and say in the softest, sweetest voice, “No, thanks.” Then you look at me again. “It’s not ‘them’ anymore, Raymond,” you say. “It’s no longer ‘us against them’. The fight’s over.”

“And I lose,” I say.

“No, nobody loses,” you say. “You only lose when you’re fighting.” You touch a small ragged hole in my shirt. “Hm?”

“Acid.”

“That’s mean.”

“It works,” I say. “Can’t come back if you’re reduced to a pile of your constituent elements.”

You quietly laugh.

I feel better somewhere in my soul. Both of us ignore the pie, and you watch me thirstily drinking the coffee mixture, syrupy at the bottom, swirly on top. You smile at me again. Why don’t you come over to my place, you say to me. And I close my eyes and can’t think of anything I want more. I’ve always been with you. You knew it all along; that’s why you laugh, you smile; you knew all along.

We get up out of the booth. I drop four bucks on the table — the waitress doesn’t deserve more, I’m afraid. You loop your arm in mine and we desert the Carrow’s, head off down the road together.

You show me the night-dark city, and all the reasons why.

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