Tuesday, 20 January 2009

For Scott and Vahid, Part 1

heather Years later, when pressed on the issue by the various government agencies that sort these things out, Elise would blame it all on the slurpies.

What made her suspect was not only her association, but the way she couldn't remember simple details, like the day of the week (probably the weekend) or the time of the day (definitely not night) or the weather (most likely sunny). She could only remember that she'd been wearing plaid pajama pants, a pair of ill-advised rubber gardening shoes and a heavy, gray jumper. And she only remembered that bit because it's why they mistook her for the drunk they usually relied on.

"Oi!" the one she would later know as The Captain called out when she got off her scooter. "Over here!"

She couldn't see who was calling her (yes, definitely sunny), but he had a Scottish accent, and as accents were her poison, she followed the sound of it.

In the alleyway between the Slurpie King and the Mattress Outlet, there were at least a dozen of them, all as surprised to see her as she was to see them.

"That's not the drunk," one of them said.

"Well, she's suited up like a drunk; I couldn't tell from far away," The Captain replied.

They called him The Captain because he was wearing a captain's costume. In fact, they were all wearing costumes. There was a ninja, a wizard, a Ben Franklin, an astronaut, two pirates, a Pink Lady from the musical Grease, a wench and a magician. Elise never asked but always wondered if they hadn't all died at a well-staged Halloween party.

"How are we going to get our slurpies, then?" the wench demanded.

"Patience, m'dear," said the Ben Franklin.

"Shut it, you old geezer," the Pink Lady snapped back.

Both pirates cried out with an, "Argh!"

"Quiet!" The Captain bellowed.

He made a deep bow to Elise, and said, "I'm sure it has not escaped your notice that we are ghosts. I apologize if we have startled you; there is a wino around here who dresses quite similar to you, and he usually purchases slurpies for us."

"But how can you—"

"Drink slurpies?" the Captain asked.

"Sure," Elise nodded, "let's go with that."

"There are some loopholes in ancient magic," he said. "This is one of our favorites."

Their order was pretty simple — Four Orange Ka-BAMs, three Banana-Berry Coolers, a Mangosteen Madness, and a Slim-n-Trim Kiwi for the wench — so Elise agreed to it.

It didn't occur to her to run. For one thing, being in their presence wasn't nearly as cold as ghost stories would have led her to believe. They were all emitting a warm, bluish glow. For another thing, she didn't yet know they were vampires.

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