We like Halloween here at VampireNomad.com. So much so that we start writing about it and celebrating as soon as October arrives. This little story is one I wrote years ago. I don't think I've ever posted it here. If I did, enjoy it again. But if I didn't.... voila! New story!
Infamy: A Halloween Story
“Look, all I’m saying is that I do the same thing he does! He gets all the press. I just want my due.”
“I understand that, Mr. Durt, but there are mitigating circumstances to consider.”
“What circumstances?” Mr. Durt paced the room with a plodding gait. He sighed heavily. “There’s only one difference between us.”
“Blood.” The lawyer pushed his glasses up his nose and peered at his client.
“Yeah. And that’s it.”
“Mr. Dracool is claiming that centuries of history and development enmeshed his family, if you will, in their heritage. He says you have no such claim. He has substantial evidence to support his case.”
“Evidence?” Mr. Durt was exasperated. “You’ve gotta be kidding me!”
“The foreign property holdings, the folklore of the region, the centuries of precise knowledge… the list goes on but you can see in these transcripts that it is all well documented. You have no such proof.”
“We’ve been around just as long!”
“Proof, Mr. Durt, is what courts are looking for. Not emotional heresay.” The lawyer stacked papers into his briefcase and snapped it shut with an air of finality. “I can’t take your case to court. There’s nothing to go on. We’d never win. Bring me something substantial and I’ll reconsider. But until then, I must decline to represent you.” With that, the lawyer left the room.
Mr. Durt groaned and sank into a chair. He stared morosely out the lone window and his thoughts uncoiled slowly, with a hesitant air, until at last they were laid straight and clear before him. “I don’t need a lawyer,” he said then. He felt a bit triumphant. “I’ll try this case in the court of public opinion. I’ll go to the papers! All it will take is a little publicity and bang – I’ll be out of Dracool’s shadow for good.”
* * * *
The headline on the next day’s paper read as follows:
DURT: JUST LIKE DRACOOL
“Mr. Durt claims that the Dracool family have been ousting him from rightful popularity since the early 1900s. In our exclusive interview, he reveals the shocking lack of difference between he and Dracool. No longer content to wait in the wings for the dregs of Dracool’s success, what Durt wants now is equality. Story on page 6.”
The circulation of the papers spiked noticeably and the editor of The Chronicle knew a golden story when he saw one. He sent his best journalists to obtain a rebuttal interview from Dracool.
The day after Durt’s story the headline read as follows:
DURT LIVES UP TO NAME SAYS DRACOOL.
“Mr. Vladimir Dracool spoke out against claims by Mr. Durt that his family had been leeching fame off Durt since the early 1900s. According to him, Durt has neither the brains nor the style to wrest the Dracool family from their status. He says Durt is “just a cretin fumbling for his day in the dawn”. Story on page 3.”
The papers were snatched up. The public loved a battle royale. The headlines bopped back and forth like a verbal ping-pong.
DURT ACCUSES DRACOOL OF BATTY LEGACY.
Then: DRACOOL DECRYPTS ILL WILL
And the following day: DURT: GRAVE ACCUSATIONS BY DRACOOL
Followed by: DRACOOL SLINGS FRESH MUD
The public ate it up for a good two weeks. There appeared to be no resolution to the quarrel nor indeed did either party seem particularly interested in a cease-fire. Durt and Dracool merrily exchanged barbs and innuendo with a revolving door of journalists and The Chronicle circulation nearly doubled. But then came a plateau. And then the decline. There was nothing new to say. Old jabs were re-worded into new headlines and the public’s appetite waned. Until one day, nearly three weeks after Durt’s initial foray into the public arena, sales of The Chronicle suddenly spiked again. The public were in a frenzy to get at the story behind the latest headline. Dracool, in his mausoleum, and Durt, in his plot, frowned at the news. Neither had given a new interview. They ventured forth to buy copies of the paper. The headline screamed:
MR. HARRY’S MOONLIGHT SERENADE TO CONGRESS
“By the light of a full moon, eccentric millionaire Mr. Harry pleaded his case to a very special Congressional gathering last evening. The address was deemed a howling success by one party member in attendance and the banning of the use of silver in ammunitions manufacture is now the issue of the day on Capitol Hill.”
Mr. Durt’s phone rang. It was Dracool.
“Our fifteen minutes are up, my friend.”
“So, truce?” Durt sighed.
“You’ve always been the brains, you know.” Dracool chuckled.
“I’m taking the redeye to Transylvania tonight. Take care of yourself, Durt.”
“Yeah. You too. We’re bloody well two sides of the same night anyway, aren’t we?” Durt listened to Dracool’s laughter over the line before the other signed off. And that was that.
- Corinne Simpson