Elise found it hard to judge the ghost vampires -- she'd made enough bad choices of her own (see: foot apparel) to find it difficult to judge ANYONE -- but she was curious as to the mechanics of failed vampire suicide. Plus, she'd just paid for nine slurpies and didn't fancy being stuck with the bill. Really. Ghost vampires should have at least SOME money. You'd think they could just scare it out of people, but then again, ninjas aside, how scary are Ben Franklin and an astronaut? Marvin, however, was still cowering behind her and seemed to find all of them plenty scary enough.
"Ben Franklin," Elise began. "Are you telling me none of you have any money?"
"Well, not exactly --" he stammered, adjusting the delicate bifocals perched atop his nose.
"Mr. Franklin . . ." she said and tapped her foot impatiently, a difficult task in her gardening shoes.
"OK, fine!" Ben Franklin yelled. "We don't have any money!"
"How does the wino usually pay for your slurpies?" asked Elise.
"It's a little embarrassing, I'd rather not say," said Ben Franklin.
"Well, then, I'd rather not give you these slurpies."
"What?" cried the astronaut. "I need my slurpie! Give me my slurpie!"
"Have a little self-respect, Neil," said the wench. "Look . . . you," she said, addressing Elise. "Usually we threaten to drink the wino's blood to scare him into buying the slurpies for us, and if he ever tries to ask us for money, we threaten some more with the blood-sucking yada yada yada . . . free slurpies."
"Why does the wino keep walking over here, if you always threaten to drink his blood?" asked Elise.
"The wine store is next door," explained the wench.
Elise closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She really needed that money for the library (her fines were monstrous, and she wasn't allowed to check out any more books until she paid), but she really was very tired. As she stood, swaying back and forth a bit, she felt something tickling her hand. She looked down, expecting to see a stray dog.
"Ben Franklin!" she shouted. He was licking spilled slurpie off of her hand.
" . . . what?" he asked, standing up straight and attempting to look nonchalant.
"That is inappropriate!"
Elise sighed. She was reaching the point where getting away from hand-licking Ben Franklin was more important than paying her library fines, and as the daughter of a former librarian, she understood the importance of paying her library fines. This, of course, didn't stop her from accumulating them, but she understood the importance of paying them, yes sir she did. She decided right then and there that she needed to put an end to these shenanigans. She was either getting away from there with her money or she was drinking all the slurpies herself, brain freeze be damned.
"Um," she said. "Can you guys wait here a sec? Marvin, can I use your phone?"
Marvin nodded and Elise scrambled back into the Slurpie King. She scooted behind the register counter, cursing Marvin when she saw that there were drink carriers back there. She placed the slurpies carefully on the counter and picked up the phone. Then she realized she had no idea who she was going to call. After all, in the face of money-owing ghost vampires – or, really, in the face of ghosts of any kind – who you gonna call? She tapped her fingers on the counter and then slowly, with a mad glint in her eye, dialed three numbers -- 9, 1, and 1.
"911, what is your emergency?"
"Erm, I'm being robbed!" Elise shouted. "I'm at the Slurpie King on Brown! Help!"
"Please stay calm, miss. Can you describe the assailants?"
"One is a portly fellow with tiny glasses and um, I didn't get a good look at the others," said Elise, deciding against telling the dispatcher that she was also being attacked by a ninja and a Pink Lady. "Please help!"
"Okay, miss, I’m alerting the nearest available cruiser," said the dispatcher. "Would you like me to stay on the line with you?"
"No, thanks!" she said, and slammed the phone down. Now to distract the ghost vampires. She grabbed the drink carriers and headed back outside. She could see the cruiser heading down the street, and mused to herself that the turnaround time for dialing 911 was remarkably fast.
"Hey, ghost vampires, what's up?" she said. “Wizard, I like your beard.”
"Can we have our slurpies now?" asked Ben Franklin. "I'm ever so thirsty and I'd hate to have to quench my thirst with BLOOD."
"Don't be rude, Ben Franklin," said Elise, and she handed him both drink carriers. She saw the ninja out of the corner of her eye, inching toward them.
"Um," she said, and nodded in the ninja's direction.
"Oh, calm DOWN, Clarence," Ben Franklin yelled at the ninja. "You'll get your slurpie in a second." The ninja slunk back to the shadows.
Elise breathed a sigh of relief. The cruiser was pulling up behind the ghost vampires and they didn't even see it. Two officers exited the car and began walking toward them.
"What's all this then?" asked one of the officers. Ben Franklin stared at Elise.
"Did you call the cops on us?" he asked.
"’fraid so," she answered.
"Uncalled for!" he shouted.
"Whatever, dude, you licked my hand."
"I'm Officer Blevins," said Officer Blevins. "What's going on?"
"Well," said Elise. "Um."
"Go on," said Officer Blevins. "Wait, is that . . . Ben Franklin?"
"AHHHHHH!" yelled Ben Franklin and threw one of the drink carriers straight at the policemen. "Suck it, pigs!"
"What the . . . " Officer Blevins ducked, but not soon enough. He was now covered in various flavors of Slurpie King specials.
Ben Franklin placed the other carrier on the ground, nodded at his ghost vampire companions, and then with a wisp of smoke and a slight smell of brimstone, they were all gone. Elise bent down to retrieve the discarded carrier. No sense wasting perfectly good slurpies.
"Did Ben Franklin just tell me to suck it?" asked Officer Blevins.
"Yup," said Elise.
"And then he just . . . disappeared?"
"Yup," she answered.
"OK, I'm gonna need an explanation," he said.
"Of course," said Elise. "Slurpie?"