Count Dracula - Not scary anymore ... (Inspired by a Woody Allen story)
|In the damp, cold tower of a very intimidating castle in the Carpathian mountains of Eastern Romania; by the window, overlooking the dense forests stood a man with a very pale complexion. He was keenly observing the procession of gypsies that wound its way through the dark forest below. The man wondered if it was late in the night; or to put it in the correct perspective was it nearly very early in the morning, to leave the safety of the tower.
It was that time; which came once every twenty four hours, when dusk would change to dawn in a blink of an eye. The man decided it was not worth it. Even if he managed to get his hands around one of them, the gypsies, there wouldn’t be enough time to feed.
The man – the vampire, Count Dracula, retired to his chambers. It was a niche carved out in the rocky floor of the foreboding dungeons in the castle. The Count pulled a granite slab over the niche and cut himself off from all form of life as the first rays of sun swept across the valley. He would sleep now. Sleep till the sun went down again. No one, not even the Count himself, was actually sure what the vampire’s really did when they retired to their chambers. Did they sleep? The Count had some doubts regarding this. If he was sleeping, then he was definitely having a dream, or in a way a nightmare, of a bunch of pygmy steak walking away, whistling to themselves. If he wasn’t asleep, then he must have been really hungry; or thirsty in this case, because he was still seeing the picture of a bunch of pygmy steak walking away, whistling to themselves.
Whatever it was, whether they slept or no, the vampire had a tendency to come to life (ironically they are called the undead) once the sun set. There must be some kind of a device in them, a body clock so finely tuned, that the moment the sun’s last rays left the horizon, the children of the night came to life.
The Count would then change his form, to that of a bat or a wolf, and prowl the mountains of the Carpathians, in search of his next quarry. A smile spread across the Count’s face. How many people smiled in their sleep? This was another reason the Count was not sure the vampire’s slept. He would have to present this additional evidence in the next meet of the ‘Global Vampire Foundation’ which often debated their sleep patterns.
Nevertheless, the smile that had spread across the Count’s face was purely in anticipation of the events about to unfold in the forthcoming night. It was 13 August 1923. The date was fixed for a dinner meet at the local bakers house. It would be just the three of them, the baker, his wife and the Count.
The Count had been thirsty for a while and the baker’s wife was pleasantly plump. The Count rubbed his hands in glee (another evidence to be presented at the foundation). He didn’t know how much time had passed. Vampire’s never kept track. When it would be time, read when the sun was out, they would come to party. And it seemed the time had come. In spite of the fact that they never kept a track of time, Count was quiet sure that this day had passed really quickly.
As if on cue, the Count shifted the granite slab from over the crevice. He sat up straight in his grave, an evil smile spread across his face. He flew up to the tower from the dungeon and went tentatively to the window. Even with his kind of experience, one could not be too careful. He shifted the heavy curtain to one side, just a tad, to see if the sun had actually gone down. He had never made a mistake, had he now? The sun was out.
The Count was ecstatic. He rushed to his dresser and pulled out his comb; a portion of a human spinal cord with bones still attached to it perpendicularly, and combed his hair back with it. He brushed his cape with human hair, still attached to the head of its owner, of all the webbings and dust. He powdered his face, and realised it just made him darker. He picked out his favourite scent, called ‘Scent of a Lady’. It was a hit amongst the Vampires, this scent. It was time, he thought to himself.
He paraded down to his castle gate and made his way through the forest trail to the little town where the baker lived with his wife. On way he met his friends, the wolves. Queer, he thought. They were behaving erratically. They howled as the Count passed them; an agonising howl which the Count knew only too well they let out when they anticipated a death in the clan. Well wolves die all the time. There was no reason for the Count to spend any time on this.
Count ignored their howls and marched on towards the town. Had he been a little less pompous he would have realised that the wolves considered the Count to be part of their clan too. The Count reached the edge of the town, and was surprised to see so many people up and about. The streets of the town were usually deserted by nightfall.
The Count made his way through the milieu of people towards the baker’s house. He had to push and jostle amongst the town folks. What had the neighbourhood come down too, he wondered. Was there no respect even for vampire’s anymore? There was a time when he, the Count, was able to part the gathering of people, just like Moses had parted the Red Sea. And now!
‘Excuse me please, let me pass. I have a dinner appointment’, said the Count to a bunch of old hags who didn’t seem to do anything put just stand and peer aimlessly towards the sky.
‘Ohh!! Im Sori...Oh it’s the Count’, said one of the old hags named Lucy Westerna, seemingly surprised.
‘Good lord, it is the Count’, said the other named Mina, fondly called Madame Mina.
The Count recognised them both. In their prime, both had served a purpose. What were they fluttering their eye lids for now? Some people lived too much on hope. While passing them, the Count could feel a distinct slap to his posterior. He couldn’t believe it. A much feared vampire of yesteryears was being eve teased by a bunch of grandmothers.
The Count made his way to the end of the lane, where the bakers lived. He knocked on the door and was received by a very surprised face of Mrs. Mary Blood.
‘Count...what a surprise. Do come in’, said Mrs. Mary.
The Count went inside the house. Half carved out turkey still lay on the kitchen table, along with various other ingredients like flour, milk, chocolate, spices, etc. It seemed the Blood’s were still not prepared with the dinner. The Count looked at Mary and saw she still looked tad surprised.
‘I was invited for dinner I presume’, he said rather defensively.
‘Ohh...ya sure. For a moment I thought we were meeting for lunch’, said Mrs. Mary.
The Count looked at her surprised. Why would he come in the middle of the night for lunch? She wasn’t very bright, this Mrs. Mary. But she would do for the night. She was fat, but presumably sweet.
‘Dear the arrangement should be top-notch...why, it’s the Count already...’, entered Mr. Blood into the living room at that very moment.
The Count found their reactions to be extremely rude. This was not a welcome befitting a Count.
‘Understandably, I am a little early. But I thought I would take the liberty of joining you folks for a round of drinks before dinner’, said the Count coldly.
‘Ahh...not at all Count Dracula! It’s a pleasure for us to entertain you in our humble abode. Sure, drinks it is. Mary, would you be kind enough to fix us a drink please’, said Mr. Blood to his wife.
‘Yes my dear. What would it be for the Count – Bloody Mary?’, asked Mary.
A smiled spread across the Count’s fact. ‘Sure, Bloody Mary – even if it’s a little early for it’, said the Count.
‘Yes dear, and fix me a same. Speak of early, I was under the impression that we were going to meet for dinner Count Dracula’, said Mr. Blood.
‘So we are!’ said the Count.
‘Sure sure, only thing is it’s nearly seven hours too early for dinner...no no please don’t look so surprised. It’s really fine. It’s actually very nice of you to drop in so early’, said the baker.
‘Seven hours early?’ asked the Count perplexed. And then he rushed to the window.
‘Ahh...i see what it is now...’, said Mary, carrying two glasses of Bloody Mary in a tray.
‘What, please explain’ said the Count.
‘Why, Count Dracula, I’m sure you intend to catch the total solar eclipse with us’, said the baker’s wife, a little confused at the Count’s reaction.
‘Solar eclipse!’ gasped the Count. The reality was dawning on him now. When he felt the day had ended a tad too early, it indeed hadn’t ended. When the wolves howled, they howled for him. The Sun was not out. The day had not ended. It was only the solar eclipse.
‘Sure Count Dracula. Don’t you see how dark it is around us’, piped in the baker.
‘Yes I see, and I also see I’m extremely early for the dinner. Er...I shall see you nice folks in about quarter of a day’s time. By the way, how long did you say the eclipse was going to last for?’ said the Count.
‘Tch tch! Nothing doing Count Dracula. There is no way we will let you go like this. The eclipse was for fifteen minutes. It should be there for two more minutes’ said the baker’s wife.
‘Only two more minutes! I really should be rushing. Come on now, leave my robe. Can you please ask your child to stop dangling from my cape? He is chocking me’ said the Count, visibly upset. This was the first time in the vampire history when a vampire would have broken out in sweat. How disgraceful. If the Foundation found out, they were sure to banish him.
The Count managed to rid himself of the pesky kid; his mind was made up to have him as a side dish in eight hours from now, and managed to pull the door open, and ran straight into the closet.
‘Count Dracula...really...you are the limits. What do you need from the closet’, Mrs. Blood burst out into peals of laughter.
‘Ohh...ya right, this is the closet. I...err...like closets’, said the Count sheepishly. ‘Which way to the door now...ahh there it is.’ he said.
The Count rushed to the door. He’d have to take the aerial route if he harboured any hope of making it to the safety of his chamber before the end of the eclipse. If people saw, well they saw.
The Count had just managed to step out of the house when the kid shrieked behind him, ‘the Sun is coming out – look mom’.
The Count slammed the door shut.
‘Ya right...the sun is coming out already...You folks were right...I should stay back till dinner. But let’s make it really dark in here. Can you turn down the blinds please’, said the Count.
‘Blinds...What blinds?’ asked the baker confused.
The Count looked around bewildered and realised to his horror that there were no blinds in the house, ‘Ahh...I see, there are no blinds eh?’ he said.
‘Well then, I’m going to stay in the closet in that case. You know I really liked the closet in the first place’, said the Count, rushing towards the closet.
‘Count Dracula, stop being ridiculous’ said the bakers wife, amidst further fits of laughter. ‘Isn’t he the funniest?’ she added further to her husband.
‘Funny, yes...but queer too’, replied Mr. Blood a little amused at the Count’s antics.
‘I like closets. And this one is particularly nice. Sweet smelling and feels like satin. I am fine. You folks need not worry. ‘l’ll see you once the sun goes dow...err I meant once it’s time for dinner’, explained the Count earnestly.
At the time there was a knock on the door. It was the mayor and his wife, who had just dropped in to greet the best bakers in the town.
‘Hello there Mr. Aushwitz, and Mrs. Aushwitz too...it’s so lovely to see you’, greeted the baker.
‘Ahh Mr Blood. We were just passing from here and thought of dropping in – courtesy call you see’, replied the Mayor.
‘And what a time too...even the Count is here. He was due for dinner, but he has graced us with his company much in advance’, added Mary.
‘Count? You mean Count Dracula is here? Where is he but? It’s funny. I don’t recall seeing him out and about ever in day time’ said the Mayor, a frown creasing his face.
‘Yes – it took us by surprise too...but he’s locked himself in the closet’, relied Mary.
‘In the closet! What is he doing in the closet?’ asked Mrs. Aushwitz bewildered.
‘He’s just behaving funnily, that is all. Count Dracula, we have company. Mrs. and Mr. Aushwitz are here. Would you be courteous enough to come out and meet them?’ said Mrs. Blood a little cross with the Count now.
‘The Mayor is here, too? Greetings, Mrs. and Mr. Aushwitz. I shall meet you over dinner. Opps, I’m sorry Mr. Blood, I invited them on your behalf. Trust that’s fine’, replied the Count.
‘Well Count, greeting’s to you too. It’s a perfectly nice day now that the eclipse is over. Why don’t you come out and we can go take a walk about town till dinner time’, proposed the Mayor.
‘That’s a ridiculous idea. Why would you want to run a risk of burning...I mean tanning. I suggest we all play a game of hide and seek...so you folks go hide and i’ll seek you’ll. No no, I insist on seeking. I’m good at it. Do it for a living, you see. And please lets have complete silence and stay hidden till I manage to find you’ll’, replied the Count, amidst exchange of surprised glances.
Mrs. Blood had had enough of Count’s juvenile playfulness, and she turned to Mrs. Aushwitz to exchange the neighbourhood gossip. Mr. Blood, too, ignored the Count’s presence and discussed politics with the Mayor. Considerable time had passed and the foursome sat at the small table near the closet, immersed in general discussions, oblivious to the Count’s presence.
The Count on his part was only too glad to be left alone.
‘The eclipse was beautiful, wasn’t it?’ said Mrs. Aushwitz.
‘Ohh yes it was...what a day it has been’, replied the baker.
‘I agree, it’s been terrific today’ added the Mayor.
‘Terrific!’, said the Count and immediately regretted it.
‘Good Lord! The Count! We totally forgot about him. He will chock in there’, gasped Mrs. Blood.
She rushed to the closet and tried to yank open the door. The Count held it from inside, as if holding onto his life. He shouted,
‘Let go you pesky woman. Can’t a man have some peace?’
‘Well, you could have peace in your own castle Count. Don’t you take that tone with Mary’, roared the baker and rushed to his wife’s aid. ‘And it’s about time you came out of there’, he further added.
The mayor and his wife had also joined the Bloods and were egging the Count to come out. Finally, the baker and his wife managed to pry the closet door open. Sunlight streamed into the closet. In front of the eyes of the Bloods and the Aushwitz, in a flash of a second, with a blood curdling scream, Count Dracula was reduced to ash.
Mr. Aushwitz smiled, turned to the baker and said, ‘Congratulations Tom! The plan worked.’
‘Congratulations to you Sir! The choice of the day for invitation was yours. We finally got the leech.’