< VIII >

A few nights later Nosferatu enters the diner and sits down with Ako.

The Arabs and the middle-aged black lady are there.

Nosferatu orders a cup of coffee, a rare steak and hash browns.

As Nosferatu puts ketchup on his hash browns Ako says, “Nosferatu, people are talking.”

Nosferatu does not stop applying ketchup on his hash browns.

Ako continues, “Leo came in here and asked me a bunch of questions about you.”

Nosferatu starts eating his hash browns and says, “These are good hash browns.”

Ako says, “Leo wants power and he also wants to know how you got the virus. They think if they can find out than they will be able to make a pill or some shit that will allow them to walk outside during the day. Then he went on about the scientific possibilities of this new age. Nos, seriously, can you walk in the sunlight?”

“Have you ever seen me walk around during the day?”

“No, but I'm never out during the day.”

“That's true.”

“So can you?”

“I can do many things.”

“Nos, I'm your friend. You can tell me.”

“Once Ako, I was bored. So fucking bored. It was the mid 1800s and I was in America drinking in a bar. And I thought it is time for another experiment. I like to experiment with humans. They, like us have many possibilities. I don't mean, like getting a good job, but something more. I looked for a human, a total pathological liar. Most pathological liars don't have confidence, but I was looking for one with confidence, one that could convince. I eventually found one. Oh, he was nuts. He was sad. One of the saddest creatures I've ever met. He was so sad he didn't even know it. He was convinced if he could just make meaning, he would have meaning. Not knowing meaning came from the outside. I made all these little gold plates and wrote ancient letters all over them. And showed them to him saying a great many things. Then I translated the plates telling him a bunch of crazy shit, I mean absolutely crazy shit. Much more insane than there being vampires caused by a virus. And he believed it. Well, I don't think he believed it. But I knew with such a good story told with some confidence told to some very sad lonely people, they would tell themselves they believed it also.”

“You're saying you're the angel Moroni who visited Joseph Smith?”

“I was really bored.”

Ako says, “Nos, you have to listen to me: Leo wants the power. And you don't want it. You should just let him have it.”

“They are all short, flaccid penises.”

Discouraged Ako says, “So why don't you allow Leo to lead then?”

“None of them understand the art of being a vampire. We are a people that may live forever and do not get sick. We don't even need to eat. But all they want to do is sit around and be vampires, I find that really lame.”

“I fear Leo may try to harm you. He is getting a lot of them against you.”

“Then he is leading?”

“Well, I guess.”

“I do not want to lead them. If you cannot lead yourself I do not enjoy your company.”

Nosferatu finishes his steak, stands up, and says, “Tell them that if trying to kill me gives meaning to their meaningless lives, than so be it.”