Just 24 hours ago, I had been debating whether the moldy apple was better than the half eaten banana some smartass had pulled a used condom over. Now, I had a place to stay, and had even gotten the chance to get cleaned up for once. Oh, and don’t forget the food. The Father did his best, but, the Vatican didn’t really want to front the money to build showers for the homeless. I hadn’t seen Connie since the crazy shit went down at the college. She stuck by my side the whole time, so I wasn’t entirely surprised when she showed up looking for help with a murder. Well, I guess she wasn’t looking for help so much as questioning witnesses, but it got me off the streets, even for a day or two.
She brought me a bunch of Daniel’s old clothes and some toiletries. Shit, I hadn’t seen a decent shave in about a year and a half. When she mentioned the idea of ‘bodyguard’ work, how could I say no? That’s about where the sane part of it ended. As we delved deeper into Manny’s death, Connie started to tell me that it could be a war between the “Red Court” and “White Court” vampires. Okay, fair enough, that thing was pretty weird. I figured it was a trick of light though. Being outside during the most bitter winter in five years didn’t do much to keep you from seeing shit.
Oh, and to top it all off, she’s a wizard.
That’s right. I said “Wizard”. Like Gandalf; if Gandalf were a woman.
I have to say, I didn’t believe a word of this as we went around asking questions around town to figure out just what the truth was.
The vampires were one thing, but I could have done without seeing the fucking Pole again. Once I got on my feet, I’d be sure to send him a big ass phallic cigar, just as a show of good faith. A big ass for a bigger asshole.
Connie seemed pissed as we left the White Court club. Something about succubus’ or something. They were pretty hot though. I guess they can mess you up just as much as Dracula though, hell, they got to me a bit even while I was there. After being on the streets for so long, I might just take getting fucked by a vampire. It’d be a story to tell at least. Connie nudged my arm enough to get me to focus on the conversation (far harder than it looks… heh, “hard”… What, a guy can’t be a little immature?).
The Red Court guys were more my speed. Rough guys. Big bad monsters. Something a shotgun can do something about. We dealt with them about as easily as we could have expected, without guns, surprisingly. Connie tells me that guns will kill, but that it’d be better if we talked it all out. Group therapy sessions and all that. Well, not quite, but it had the same feel.
It didn’t seem like any of this was caused by the vamps, or at least, they weren’t letting us know that. Connie seemed to be a magnet for bad juju, ghouls and shit attacking us. Her story was becoming more and more plausible, especially after the demon in the parking garage. It seemed I was getting dragged into a darker and more mad world than I had thought. Not that I minded. I had no problem fighting. Fighting had been all I’d known, even back in civilian life. Fighting for survival, fighting myself. It was all the same. Just some giant war that you never woke up from. If anything, I was doing some good by keeping Connie safe, or at least, as much as she’d let me. She seemed able to handle herself pretty well.
Daniel took care of her well enough. I figure it’s the least I can do for the guy. I still don’t really know what happened to him. The papers said one thing, word on the street gets murky. I haven’t really had the balls to ask Connie yet. With all the things I’ve learned this week, I wonder how true the official story was. Maybe someday I’ll get around to asking.
For now, there was work to be done. We’d tracked down Asshole Zero, my little pet name for the guy behind the covert ops in vampireland. He was holed up in a warehouse, above the Surplus store. Real fucked up guy. Sacrificing animals for his power. Hell, he was killing people with magic, which Connie said is pretty much a commandment of being a wizard. You know, something written on old musty paper that said “Take lives you will not.” or something. Luckily, it didn’t apply to me.
Watching Connie get slammed by wave after wave of fire was kind of surprising. That hoodie she wore really protected her. She said it was magical runes and all that, but a part of me wanted to think Daniel’s spirit was still with it, guarding her from the attacks. I was able to slip off into the shadows as he continued, hell bent, on trying to kill her. I took the liberty of ventilating his skull for him.
I talk shit, but that’s not easy to do. Not the first time, nor the hundredth. Taking a life is something I never wanted to have to do again, but he was so single-minded on killing us, I had no choice. I won’t argue about taking his blood money. I’m sure the Father appreciated finding six hundred bones in the donation bin.
I wanted nothing to do with that money. Probably cursed for all I fucking know.
After all of that finished up, I fixed up the Tonka Truck. The doors were from various other models, but they fit just the same. Hard shit in the middle of the winter, but we needed a decent vehicle. Did some job hunting. The Pole is still blocking me all around there, if he even has to. Most people don’t want big imposing marines at the front counter of McDonald’s. Think they’re going to go crazy or something.
Fuck, chasing vampires and Boogey men around, maybe I am. I’d rather be insane with Connie at my side than in the street somewhere, so that’s something. Can’t thank her enough for getting me out of there. I’ve been doing my share of work around the house with my downtime. Fixed up the porch foundation a bit from where I slammed the ghoul into it. Replaced some of the shotgun holes from that whole fight. Plywood isn’t too expensive it turns out.
Been reading some of Connie’s books too. Some books on mythology or something. She says they’re mostly stories, but I figure I can’t be too careful. Gunny always said to know your enemy. Maybe someday I’ll get the chance to do some real recon. Stories will have to do for now I guess. Even found a couple of “Miss-shelved” romance novels. Connie seemed pretty quick to take care of those.
Connie seems to eat a hell of a lot for such a small woman. I swear, I’m going to start taking bets before she orders at Wendy’s. I could be a rich man….
It’s nice to have some company. Even Chip is fun to have around, the pudgy little bastard. Really likes Doritos, it turns out. Luckily, I’ve been able to hide those from Connie. I’ve been busy talking to Jason too, a couple times a week. After Connie’s explanation of The Sight, I figure it’s the least I can do for some young kid. I can’t begin to know what he’s seen, but I can listen, and that’s a start. I try to relate to him, do something fun for him. He says it’s been getting better lately. He’s been learning to control things a lot better. When I ask him where he learned it though, he just tells me “The Internet”. I don’t imagine that’s something you can learn off of there, though some of my old buddies said you could find some awesome porn on there, if you could get it to load more than half way. Me and the kid have been getting along pretty good. He can look at me a fair amount, without turning away. Turns out he’s actually a pretty smart, observant kid. We’ve all got our demons and our secrets I guess.
He asked me about the war last time. Asked me why it hurt so much to hurt other people. It took me a bit to respond. I took a sip of that chai latte that Amber gave me (Hippy shit is actually kind of growing on me.). The profound guy actually stumped me for a minute. I sighed, replying “Sometimes, pain has to happen for us to grow I guess. Me, I always think about times I’ve seen family in pain, or friends. Even though it hurts, I try to hold on to that. Keep it up there nice and tight so that when I go to pull the trigger, I know I really have to do it. I think it hurts so much because we know there’s other people that give a shit about the person we’re hurting. Sometimes, there’s no choice though. You can’t turn the other cheek forever, you only get two of them.” He nodded, as if I’d imparted some righteous wisdom that he’d had to ponder over, then laughed. “Well, we got four of them, actually.” he said with a laugh. I laughed right along with him. Maybe he was helping me as much as I was helping him.
Sometimes, it has to happen though, like with that other wizard. I HAD to protect Connie. We tried talking him down. At that point, they’re just a rabid dog waiting for the bullet from animal control.
All I know is, the warrior in me ain’t dead yet, and I think I’ve got a new lease on life for now. For now, me an Chip are going to watch some old silent movies on Connie’s old TV set. If I can get the vacuum tubes to stay stable.
I even grabbed some sour cream this time. Oo-rah.