The Vampire Who Played Dead Chapter Twenty Two

I was in my office drinking a latte from Starbucks. Starbucks has a new scone, called a petite vanilla bean. Being petite, I got three of them. They were damned good.

Too good.

I had just finished the last of the scones when Detective Hammer and his thick cop mustache came in through my door and set a big bag of greasy donuts on my desk. He looked at my empty Starbucks package.

’’Don't tell me you had one of those scone things.’’

’’A petite vanilla bean. Three of them.’’

’’Oh, God. Any room left for a real breakfast?’’

’’You mean a real breakfast of donuts?’’

’’Is there anything else?’’

’’You are propagating the cop stereotype,’’ I said. ’’And there's always room for donuts.’’

He placed a cup holder on my desk filled with two steaming cups of coffee. Coffee had splashed out of the little holes in the plastic lids and had stained the rims. I knocked back the last of my Starbucks, tossed the empty cup in the trash, and started on the fresh coffee Hammer gave me. We both picked our donuts, sat back in our chairs, and took a few bites before Hammer got things started.

’’You work some strange cases,’’ he said.

’’Lately.’’

’’This might be the strangest.’’

’’Would be hard to top this one,’’ I said.

Hammer finished his first donut with a massive bite. He washed it down with coffee and then dug out a maple bar from the bag.

’’We made some calls,’’ he said. ’’Talked to the right people. A very strange conference ensued between the prosecutors, myself and the warden at San Quentin, and ultimately the governor himself. And due to extraordinary circumstances, Edward Drake is now a free man. All charges have been dropped.’’

’’It's hard to keep someone on death row,’’ I said, ’’when his victim has been alive and well for a year and a half.’’

’’She's dead now. At least, we think she's dead, whatever the f*k she is.’’ He looked at me. ’’What are you some kind of vampire hunter?’’

’’Slayer,’’ I said. ’’And, no.’’

’’Well, needless to say we got the DNA to confirm the boy's status as her biological son. The kid will get his full inheritance. So you did do some good.’’

I nodded, happy for the boy, but feeling so weird inside that it was hard to put a finger on how I felt about anything these days. I have now killed two vampires.

Hell, maybe I was a vampire slayer.

Jesus.

I voiced a question that had been gnawing at me. ’’Did her DNA come back with any, I dunno, abnormalities?’’

’’You mean, did she have some weird vampire DNA?’’

’’Yeah.’’

’’No. Nothing. Looks as normal as can be.’’

We were silent some more. The silence was filled with the sounds of masticating donuts. I thought of the young man who hired me. ’’How much does David know of his mother?’’

’’Nothing. As far as he knows, his mother's body had been recovered, a simple case of misplacement, and we acquired the DNA we needed. As far as the rest of the world knows, Evelyn Drake is dead, and has been dead, as she was supposed to have been two years ago.’’

’’And the father lives with the stigma of being a murderer.’’

Hammer shrugged his meaty shoulders. ’’You can't win them all, Spinoza. He was given a new identity. A new life. We couldn't do anything else for him except to say thank you and sorry.’’

’’Thank you for trying to kill a bloodsucking killer?’’

Hammer looked a little sick. ’’Right. Something like that.’’

’’Life is weird,’’ I said.

’’No shit.’’ He reached in the bag, removed a peanut chocolate cake, and stood. ’’And now I'm going to go back to work and look for human murderers and psychopaths - and try like hell to forget this ever happened.’’

’’Join the club.’’

’’I'd rather not,’’ he said. ’’Hey, did you ever collect on your tacos?’’

’’No,’’ I said. ’’But I'm ever hopeful.’’

The End


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