Monday, February 04, 2008

Prolepsis

Here is another. I have tinkered and tinkered. I will tinker some more, but in the meantime, enjoy a story about a SERIOUS SLACKER.



I needed a job. Unemployment was finally over, and it was time to get on with my life. Corporate layoffs are a bitch, and there isn't much that can be done about them. I took my year of pay, and I added six months of unemployment on top of it all. That was a year and a half that I got to do nothing. I was caught up on my sleep. I had been working out regularly. I had been closing the local pub down a few nights a week, but not in the "wobble on home" fashion, I was just enjoying a late night pint. I was beginning to feel more and more like I didn't quite fit into this society though. I couldn't hold a job, and I couldn't get to the point of actually desiring one. Why? Any number of reasons. The big one being that I haven't really finished anything that I have ever put my mind to.

Once I had a girlfriend, but I just couldn't seem to commit to the relationship. I didn't feel the need to commit to it. In exasperation, she left me, which is just as well, because I really wasn't going anywhere.

I went to college, and I got three years towards a BA but then I got sidetracked and never really got back to it.

The space that I was in now was a dangerous one. I was out of work, and I was drinking regularly. There was a time when i first started at the pub that I wanted to be one of those guys who was a real beer connoisseur. That eventually settled though, and I settled on Guiness Dark ale. That was it. There was no need to figure out the rest of the beers in that place. The idea of learning wines and the differences between the grapes and the Merlot and thePinot Noir was something that I had considered too, but I eventually settled for a general lack of knowledge in that department too.

I was good at going to the pub on a regular basis though. This seemed like a thing that I could keep up with. I had never thought that I would become one of those people who called a pub "their pub". I never thought that I would be one of those guys from "Cheers". But there I was. I will also tune it up a bit, I was going there five nights a week. I needed to keep other nights open in case I was going to go to a movie or...I don't know, go to a different bar. But I knew that I would probably wind out at this pub on those nights too. Movies weren't really interesting me at the time. When I was in my first and second year of college, i had gone to see a lot of movies. I had met some friends and we would go to the movies several times a week. But eventually, all of that knowledge about directors and actors bored me and I stopped. Eventually, I stopped hanging out with those friends too.

But I liked my Pub. It was dark, and it smelled of spilled, musty beer. The tables were some dark wood and they were covered with a thick lacquer that I would chip off with my thumbnail as the night progressed. Sometimes large pieces would come off, and I would have to peel them away quickly; and they pulled and sometimes broke, like a scab.

It was just called "The English Pub" and it was on a corner several blocks from my house. Walking distance. Walking distance is good, because there were nights when I shouldn't drive; though there weren't many. Driving wasn't really a good idea anyway; seeing as I hadn't bothered to get my vehicle registered for several months. It was something that I didn't want to draw any attention to. A fix-it ticket from a cop is no fun.

The men who I would drink with I knew by their first names only. Steve, Harold and two or three guys named Mark and Steve. There was no real rhythm to these guys, it was just that sometimes I found them at a table or at the bar cradling a pint. These guys were good for conversation. They were like plaid shirted geishas in a way. If I bought them a drink, I was guaranteed company for the rest of the night with no strings attached. Not that I am interested in a homosexual tryst, but you need to understand that these people whore themselves out for beer like the classiest dressed up crypto-hookers of the east. It was also convenient in the fact that I really wasn't in a space to invest myself in anyone.

But there were others in the bar. Other regulars whom I didn't associate with. They were in tight with the owner. They came in and drank the finest ales and ate specially cooked meals. They didn't want to associate with me, and I didn't want to really associate with them. But hey, that is how it is in the pub. You know everyone, and you draw close to some of them. I would have to say that in my solid year of pulling my almost nightly gig in that place, that I grew truly close to no one.

There were darts to play, but no pool to shoot. There were other things in there, like the dirty daycare it was. There were cards to be borrowed and dice to rent. There were also strange games of skill and with that involved pegs and holes. All of these could be accessed by a mere request to the kid behind the bar.

Amongst all of these forty and fifty-somethings, was this kid who couldn't have been much more than 23 years old. But damn, could he pour a drink. He didn't seem to be in too tight with the boss. Actually, come to think of it, he wasn't in too tight with anyone. He could small talk though. So could I. It eventually got to a point where I would invest 20 or 30 minutes in this guy a night. I would ultimately spend the rest of my evening hanging out with someone else that I had purchased a pint for. This kid understood how I was. He knew that I wasn't into some sort of commitment where I would call him a friend. I liked him simply because of this fact.

It was in this whole thing that the kid turned me onto this guy from Prolepsis Industries. The kid (I can't remember his name) gave me a number to call for a job. It was getting to the point where I needed to get back to work. I knew that it was the proper thing to do. Unemployment is a wage, but it is a shit wage at best. Furthermore, they always want to know what I am up to. In Europe, they just go on the dole. Here, it is work to stay unemployed. I was having a hard time keeping up with the hoops that they were putting me through, Anyway, the kid told me to call this Prolepsis place. He had some friends who had gotten on and were talking like they were going to stay with the company forever now. He said that there was a training period and then after that point, you would be a new man. A company man. This is what his friends had become. He said that they worked at strange hours, but they all worked together as a team. They all liked each other. He also confided in me that after this upcoming Christmas season, he was going to make the call his damn self. He made mention of the fact that he never saw these guys anymore, but that they seemed to be happy. They also seemed to be taken care of in regards to a decent wage.

I couldn't get facts though. I wanted to know what this company was about, and all I got out of the kid was that I needed managerial experience. I didn't press him too hard, it was obvious that if I wanted the information, I was going to have to get it myself. Well, I'd been a manager. I'd managed. I hadn't managed for long though, because I couldn't keep up with the workload that was on my shoulders, but I could manage if I felt the need to, I was sure of it.

I had been out of work long enough and it was time to make a move. I sat on the number that the kid had etched into the back of a beer coaster for about a week. I would wake up in the morning when I felt like it and roll around in bed until I had to finally break the lethargic spell by getting up to take a piss. Then I would sit at the side of the bed and hold my head if I had a hangover, and just hold it if I didn't. Then I would assess the nothingness that I was going to partake in for the day. Going to the gym was my big deal and that was three times a week. If I didn't go to the gym, I am sure that I would have a gut like one of those geishas I support at night.

The gym was the only thing that I had been following through on. It was much more of an activity to assuage my guilt for not being a productive member of society. Sometimes, my going to the gym meant just that, going there, and then moving on in that general direction. What I was clear on was that I needed something. I needed something to hang my hat on. I needed a job or a hobby or something. I was in a space in life where I could see that all I had ever done was either half-assed or incomplete. The gym wasn't really that something that I wanted to hang my hat on. There had to be something, and I was getting antsy to find out what it was.

So one morning, I reached for the coaster and the phone at the same time. It was slightly after 9 when I awoke. I felt that calling at about ten in the morning would be a good time to call, offices tend to be up and running by that point. I was convincing myself that it was time to move on with my life. It would also be time for me to get a cup of coffee in front of me and work all of the crags out of my voice.I was rested, and I was ready to go back into the corporate game. Maybe not the corporate game, but at least get a job and start changing the way I was interacting with the world around me. A year and a half of bouncing around unemployed looks bad enough on an job application, but somehow, I was sure that two years of unemployment was about as damning as it could be.


After a lot of bathroom-mirror staredown time, I dialed the number. I got the voicemail. The message basically thanked me for my interest in Prolepsis and asked that I call back at 9 that evening.

Anticlimactic.

I went to the gym and walked the trreadmill for a half an hour. I tried to read the morning paper, but was distracted by a talk-show that was on the television above my head. I don't know what it was about the show that distracted me to be honest. I came back to the apartment and took a nap. I woke up in a few hours and watched some television. I have no idea what I watched, because I really wasn't paying attention. I was antsy. I had a call to make. I had to make a call at 9 that night. Just the fact that they threw me out of the loop by telling me to call back at 9 in the evening had my curiosity piqued. I wanted to know what these Prolepsis people were all about.

I even looked up the word "prolepsis" in the dictionary. The dictionary threw a bunch of definitions at me for the word, but basically stuck with the idea of anticipation.

My prolepsis with the company grew and swelled.

I was at the pub by seven. I had their calamari and fries. I washed it down with a Guiness. I ordered another Guiness and stewed it over after the meal was done. I watched the grease spots on my plate under the dim light. Something to read would have been nice, but I knew that a conversation was coming. I had prolepsis about that too.

By 8:30, I was working my way through my fourth pint. It was a situation where I was a little bit apprehensive about the phonecall that I was going to make that could actually lead to a job interview. I was self-chastising the fact that I was so far behind the eightball that I was at the company that carves the balls out of wood. So deep was my inner-process that I didn't even realize that the bartender kid was talking to me. Usually, I gave him the conversational gears as he poured my drink. He would engage or move on, but usually, like I said, it was about 20 to 30 minutes a night.

The kid was asking me if I had called yet. I told him what I was doing. I told him about my upcoming nine o'clock phonecall. His eyes widened a bit. Then and there I realized how pasty of skin he was. This was a kid who only came out at night. He poured drinks for us old-folk and he went to sleep after that. He probably got less sun than I did. This nocturnal living was taking a toll somehow, was what I mused, and then I shelved the idea.

His eyes widened and he wondered if I was going to be good on the phone, seeing as I was on my fourth pint. It was good that he was counting. That is what they paid him to do. Talking was an effort for me, but I felt that I was enunciating rather well, considering. He cocked an eyebrow at me like Mr. Spock and went on about his business. I think he was stocking maraschino cherries for those special sweet drinks that people sometimes order.

9 rolled around, and I made my way outside at about 9:15. I wanted these people to be good and sure that I wasn't too hungry for this. I also wanted to know that I was hungry enough to give them my services, but that they were doing me no favors. In this respect, the four pints really helped.

I haven't had a cell phone for years. I just got tired of keeping up with the bill. There was a payphone up the street, and I made my way there. Actually, it was two payphones back to back. I went to the first. The receiver had been yanked clean out of the metal telephone cord. Actually, it wasn't a clean yank, because frayed wires hung from the opening like tendons and gristle from an arm yanked from its socket. I walked around to the other side and pulled the phone off the hook. I cradled it on my left shoulder. I fumbled in my pocket for spare change. The receiver smelled of garlic and possibly bad wine. I let it drop away from me as I checked for my spare change with a renewed vigor.

It turned out that there actually was a Mr. Prolepsis behind it all. This was who I talked to, and he wanted top meet me that very night. I told him that 10 would be great. Then I went back into the pub. I went to a couple of the geishas and told them my predicament. I asked what the best thing to cover my breath would be. One suggested peanut butter. The other suggested cigarette smoke. I went to the kid; he gave me a pack of sugarless gum and told me to pop them right before I meet the guy and everything would be alright.

The directions that Mr. Prolepsis gave me took me a few blocks away from the pub, so I took the walk. I eventually walked up on a building that looked abandoned. It was the correct address. As I stood there and tried to look around the boarded up windows, a car pulled up. It was white, and completely nondescript. Damn these American car companies anyway; all of their sedans look the same. A Ford could be a Chevy could be a Dodge. Damn the American auto industry and its mediocre droppings of late. Why couldn’t they come up with something new and original? The window whirred down. The driver spoke out to me.
"You here for Prolepsis?" He asked.
"Yes." I answered as I walked toward him. I thought it odd the way he spoke his name to me and that was enough to get me headed in his direction. The thought of this perplexed me in such a way that I actually stopped my steps for a second and tried to focus on the driver of the car. Suddenly, my stomach was gripped with a sharp shot of acid that comes with unknown fear. The unknown fear that tells you that maybe that sound you heard in the living room at three in the morning could in fact be an intruder.
"Its ok. I'm here to do the interview. Come around to the passenger side; let’s do it in the car." He said. He had a hat on. Like a detective's hat. A fedora or whatever the hell it is called. I couldn't even see his eyes, or the color of his skin for that matter.

I began to step towards the vehicle again. I walked around the front of it. The lights were on me. I looked into the driver, but the light had me blinded. The thought hit me that he could gun his engine right then and there and crumple my legs. He could back up and then hit me again, and my skull would pop under one of those four wheels with the nondescript hubcaps. But then again, this was just a job interview. I was off because of the alcohol. I was thrown because this place where he'd met me was deserted. I was cagey because everything about this situation was wrong. But I went with it. Everything in my life was pretty much wrong too, so maybe it was time for it all to balance out. I smiled at this notion, paced around, wrapped my fingers under the door handle and lifted.

I could smell the cigarette smoke.

"I hope you don't mind, I do smoke." Prolepsis said.
"Not a problem." I responded. I popped a piece of gum in my mouth as I sat down next to him. My thought at that very moment was that he could tell me anything he wanted to tell me, I wanted the goddamn job. I needed to fit again. I was aware of this acutely. I needed to fit again and be able to tell people that I met at the pub or anywhere that I had a job, and what I did on the job. It seemed like the right sort of space to be in, and I wanted to get this space.

I looked over at him. The man was hulking. He was hulking in the sense that his shoulders were broad, and his pale white hands were thick and roped with veins as he gripped the steering wheel. A huge black leather overcoat engulfed him and wrapped around his upper torso, covering him down to his thighs. The leather crinkled as he shifted. The hat was still covering the bulk of his face. It was tan, like something someone would wear in the outback. It had no reason to be on his head in the city. The more I scrutinized it, the more I realized that this guy didn't match on a level that says that he didn't even fit. He didn’t fit in the same way I didn’t fit. He was obviously on the ouskirts of this very society that I was feeling thatg I needed to buy into. He was on the ouskirts and he was possibly going to bring me in with him. I realized that we were the same somehow, and this made me feel secure about the interview. I felt secure for a second, and then I began to examine him even closer. His skin was white. Not caucasian white, but white white. Comic book white. But I wanted to forgive it all; I wrote is off as a trick of the light. His skin looked almost ivory colored. His skin looked hard too, like ivory would look. It also looked incredibly smooth. So smooth that it looked sculpted...like ivory. He smiled in my direction. He didn't part his lips for his teeth, it was just a smile. I could feel his eyes from under the brow of the hat. I could sort of see them. His nose was thin, and had that same ivory look as well. He stuck out a hand. It was his left, and he swiveled in his seat to pull this move off.
"I am Mr. Prolepsis, of Prolepsis Industries." He said. More smile, yet no teeth.
"Hello, Mr. Prolepsis, my name is William Davis." I said. I gripped his hand and slid into the seat. His grip was fierce. It was meaty, because his hand was so big, but it was fierce too. It felt as if every muscle in his hand had a purpose and was exercised for that purpose daily. My light squeeze didn't even buy any purchase in his grip. This hand was the strongest hand I had ever encountered. I was musing about this and the fact that everyone called me Willie. If I got the job, I would reschool him, I thought. This Mr. Davis stuff wasn't going to work at all.

Then came the questions. How long had I worked for my last company? How much had I made? What was I expecting in regards to vacation time? Was I used to being in charge of several people? Could I hold an office down for long periods of time without any supervision? Would I be able to work without supervision at all?

I was able to give the right answers to all of his questions. Each time I answered, he would nod, or grunt positively. His voice was raspy, almost like a hard whisper. The whole situation was weird, and there was no other way of looking at it. I should have known at that point that and I should have run for my life. I don't know if that would have worked though. This guy wanted me on his team. I was going to learn how badly as the evening and the rest of my life progressed.

In his querying, I became more and more aware that Prolepsis was horribly disfigured somehow, but I couldn't determine exactly how. I also became more and more aware that his line of questioning had nothing to do with my answers. He was studying me. He was looking for something. I didn't know what it was, but it was making me uncomfortable. The shots of fear were ripping through my stomach again. They were tweaking up to the back of my head. Horripilation ripped across my flesh like a raging fire. I knew I was in too deep. I was in a situation that was going to go foul, and there was nothing that I could do about it. But then I calmed myself again. The fear was there though. It was creeping up the back of my throat, metallic and warm, waiting to explode.

I watched him smoke. He wasn't inhaling. He was pulling it into his mouth and letting it swirl out slowly. He blew the odd ring into the windshield. They were solid, milky smoke-rings that seemed to go through the windshield in the way that they dissipated. He took his time and languidly inhaled and exhaled. He blew it all out of his nostrils at certain intervals. Twin plumes of what looked like dry ice fumes blowing out of a nose that looked like it might as well be painted, polished glass.

The more I thought about his skin and its apparent texture, the more edgy I got. I still answered his questions, but the fear was there. It was building in waves, and there was nothing I could do about it. I was completely creeped out by my circumstances. I was convinced that this whole interview was a charade, and that my life was going to end at the powerful hands of a strange man who's face looked like a lacquered Halloween mask.
I was at the point where I thought I was going to jump out of the vehicle and run screaming for my life when he assuaged me.

"William, based on what we have here, I think I can offer you a job with Prolepsis Industries." He said.

"'Thankyou." I stammered. I honestly didn't feel too good. I just wanted to call it a night. I also had to piss.

"First things first, I need you to drink this." He said, around the cigarette wedged to the right of his mouth. He inhaled and blew smoke in my direction. Not in my face, but more at my chest. He pulled a stainless steel thermos out of the folds of his coat. He held it with his right hand, he unscrewed the lid with his left hand and put the lid on the dashboard of the nondescript car. Then I understood the cigarette smoke. He inhaled again, hard, and blew out those twin dragon-plumes again. The contents of this thermos were foul, wretched and definitely rotten. The bacterial gas release in the front of the vehicle was choking me.

I'd had enough. The situation was officially too weird and it was time to get out. Drink something? This was ridiculous. I had obviously been dealing with some sort of pervert for the past forty-five minutes. I was also stone-cold sober at this point. The adrenaline had balanced me somehow. I reached for the door handle. Prolepsis was quicker than me though, and hit the all-lock button with his left elbow. He simply leaned back and it was done. It was as if he had practiced this move a million times before. His left hand came forward, fast, holding a chrone .45. The gun moved at me so fast that when I realized what had actually happened, I pondered the precision of the motion. I should have been clocked with the muzzle of the gun, but it had stopped just short of the bridge of my nose. It was pointed to the center of my face. It was then that Prolepsis lifted his face so that the light could hit it. He smiled and I saw his golden teeth. They weren't yellow; they were gold, shining, like the metal. The teeth were also sharp. I couldn't tell if these fangs were part of the dentistry that he'd obviously had done, or if his mouth was naturally shaped to carry this sort of chopper. His skin was taut. Tightly adhering to his face. Uncannily so, thereby giving it the illusion of being a buffed porcelain or glass. His eyes were small, beady and wide-spaced; almost to a defect level.
"Mr. Davis, I am going to ask you again to drink this." He said, with a smirk. He drew on the cigarette again and gave the twin-plumes.
"No, ok? Hell no. This is ridiculous. Let me out of the car." I said. Panic had set in. I concluded that I needed a weapon. Something to hold that would make me think that I at least had a chance against this huge man with a gun. I had keys in my pocket and my wallet in my back pocket. I was in a seated position, and reaching for my keys would have been complicated. Furthermore, what was I going to do once I got them? This man could obviously overpower me every step of the way. I considered my surroundings. I hadn’t checked the glovebox, and maybe there was a tire-iron beneath my seat. As I was scheming, Prolepsis pulled his whole gun arm to the left slightly. Then he brought it back against my cheekbone, hard. It felt like a sting or a pinch, right under the eye. Then the dull pain kicked in with a throb. For the half foot that he had used to clear the distance, he sure packed a wallop. My head had recoiled. I don't know if I screamed or grunted, but I now was angry. I hadn't been this angry in a long time. Something was loose within me, and I wanted to kick this guy’s ass. I do go to the gym, and I knew that I was going to be able to give this guy some sort run for his money. I took a gamble that this guy wasn’t going to pull the trigger and blow my head off. I took the gamble that he really wanted me to drink this stuff and I was useless to him as a corpse. The thought that was plaguing me was how much damage he was willing to inflict upon me in the process. I swung my right fist around, in a perfect arc, clearing over the dashboard and a mere inch from the windshield. I planted it firmly in his left eye. Everything that I had went into that punch. He must have seen it coming, but he made no motion to stop it. My fist exploded in pain, and he didn't even flinch.
Still holding the gun in my face, he pulled it back a bit. Then he pointed the gun to the ceiling of the vehicle. He turned his hand so that I could see his fingers wrapped around the handle. I could see his palm balancing the handle. Then the whole thing shot forward and hit me square in the face, hitting the bridge of my nose; knocking me back. I heard shattering. My forehead took part of the metal as well, but the most perplexing pain was the back of my head, as I realized that the force had broken the window behind me.
I shook it off.
I brought my left leg up. I thought that I might be able to put a kick to his stomach or groin. His beady eyes were wide open now. He dragged on the cigarette hard, and put the muzzle of the gun to my left knee. I thought I detected a smirk on his face. The cigarette stayed in his mouth, and I saw the plumes again.
Then he pulled the trigger. There was a clang as the bullet blew out of the bottom of the vehicle. Then my nerves kicked in and I realized that he had just put a bullet through my knee. I lurched forward, an involuntary convulsion, and I received another crunch from the pistol that bounced me back. I needed to see my knee, which hurt like I had never felt before. I needed to see how torn it looked, but ever time I leaned forward, he bounced me back with a pistol crunch to the face.
My nose was broken. Twin rivers of blood funneled out of my nostrils. Prolepsis matched this with his twin plumes of smoke. He reached forward and put the gun to my right kneecap.
"Are you going to drink this or not?" He asked.
"Fuck you." I said. I honestly don't know where I got the strength to curse him, but there it was. The gun came up and rested against my left shoulder. He pulled the trigger and I twisted in the seat and the bullet blew through me and lodged in the car-door metal behind me. The pain was more as if someone had hit my shoulder with a sledgehammer. I couldn’t feel the precise area where the hole was. I was assessing my physical condition when he pounced. With one hand (his left) he held my face down. I am not quite sure how he was able to pry my mouth open with one hand and hold me down, but he did it. I felt two smoky fingers in my mouth, and I knew that my skin would rip if I didn't comply and open. The other hand came forward and spilled this greasy cold liquid over my mouth. It entered and filled my reluctant oral cavity. There was a salivary explosion on my part. I felt the glands on the insides of my cheeks squirt so hard that it hurt. The drink felt like it had tendrils. Feelers. They pulled at the back of my throat, these coagulated fingers. They also wrapped around my tongue and held it in place. Then, they felt like they were actually piercing my tongue, anchoring in. More saliva. I coughed, and with that opening in my throat, the fingers shot down into my throat, pulling the rest of its oleaginous self down after it. It tasted like rust. Like blood. Like snot. I felt the lumpy tendrils shoot deeper down my throat and pull its slick, unctuous self down further. Then it was done. It was in my stomach. All my muscles relaxed. I was paralyzed. Prolepsis let go of my face and relaxed. I could still smell the stuff on my lips. It smelled rotten. It smelled putrid. My nose curled as I realized that it smelled faintly pubic. I drooled, feeling my salivary glands jet and jet some more. My throat hurt from the forcing of the object. My mouth was open and slack, and I felt the ribbons of drool hit my chest. I felt no pain from my bullet wounds. My nose no longer felt broken. I felt warm. Content. I then fell asleep.

I woke up hungry. I was on a dirty couch. My head was half-balanced on the arm-rest. The smell that I took in was fecal. Like my head was resting on someone's used toilet paper. The smell of bowels was so sharp that I sat up, violently. I looked at my surroundings. I was in a prison cell. A prison cell with a dirty brown love-seat and a hole in the floor for whatever waste I chose to drop. There was a door to the right of me. The walls were brick. There was a florescent stick of light crossing the brick ceiling. I knew that the door was locked, but I lurched at it anyway. The motion made me sick. I vomited and missed the hole in the floor. What came out was my bile and a bunch of scorched flesh. Flakes of it. Only they weren't flakes, they were chunks and strips. I sat there on all fours, observing my vomit, and pondering what exactly it was that had caused this when the door behind me clanked and opened. Prolepsis stood there, with a knife. One of those overkill looking blades with snakes and eyeballs and serrated edges that you see in a head shop.

"You have had the traditional primer, and now you have to have the second course, which will put you in my house." He said. With that, he held out his right forearm and plunged the knife into it with his left. He never broke eye contact with me, and it was at that moment that I noticed that he wasn't wearing a hat, and he was bald and pale. I then noticed that he was wearing a very worn, black turtleneck sweater, black jeans and what looked like steel-toe boots. The man looked like a really pale neo-nazi.

The wound that he made wasn't entirely visible to me because I was underneath him, but I could see his blood bubbling up, in the form of some sort of strange balloon. With a quick slash, he severed something in the wound and then picked up the blood clot. It dangled like a water balloon.
He bent at the waist and put the clot that was the size of a racquetball next to me.
"Eat that." He said.
"No." I said.
"The thing about the elder's blood was that it needed to be put into your mouth in order for it to do its deed. My blood is a little different." He said with a smile. I looked down at the ball of red in front of me. It lolled about and then, I thought I could perceive eyes and short, stubby legs. It took the form of; I don't know...Pac-Man. The beady little eyes focused on me and it launched itself at my face. It impacted with a splat. I reached up to pull it off, but it was like running my fingers through water. Then I felt the tendrils again; this time going up my nose. I felt my sinus cavities probed. All I could see was red. Red snot before my eyes. I fell back. I could feel my right shoulder partially falling into the toilet hole in the floor. I struggled to get up, clawing at my face and ramming my neck in the toilet hole as I struggled to sit up, stand, anything. The peace hit me again. The fatigue and the relief. At that moment, I realized that I had no bullet holes. I had no wounds to speak of, just this live-liquid thing slurping its way up my nose. I felt it hit the back of my throat and roll down. I tried to cough on it, to send it out my mouth. But it stuck to the back of my throat, like a tar. It worked its way down into my stomach and there was nothing I could do about it. I sat back, against the love-seat. My eyes were clear. I turned to look at Prolepsis one more time, but he had already left. The thought hit me that he must have seen this sort of thing a hundred times before. Then I blacked out again.

"You were a total loser and I saw you for what you were." Prolepsis said. My eyes opened. He was sitting over me in a metal chair that he had straddled backward. I was back on the love seat.
"You had nothing better going on, so why not become like the rest of us?" He said. He held out a mirror for me to look in. I saw my reflection. I saw how taut my skin had become. I saw how my lips now curled back. I saw my teeth, which looked yellow and worn.
I coughed. The flavor of the mucous that I purchased was that of blood. I was really having a hard time grasping what had happened.
"And now you are a vampire." Prolepsis said. "At least, you will be when you finally make your first kill. Until you make that kill and drink that blood, you will simply be the undead. There is nothing really special about you yet."
"The mirror. I could see my reflection. This is all some stupid trick. Some horrible prank. Some joke." I yelled. "Some asshole is going to come out with a camera and tell me I am on...what the hell was that show? Scare Tactics or something." I yelled. The blow that I felt across my face sent me to the left of the couch with a force that should have torn my head loose. I shook it off. It didn’t hurt like a punch like that should. I considered all of the wounds that Prolepsis had inflicted and how they weren’t there anymore.
"Accept your fate. When you do, you can enter into the compound and meet the rest of us. We have all had our eyes on you for some time now. For the record, you can see your reflection in the mirror because you haven't taken a human down yet. Once you have some blood coursing through your system, things will be different." He said. I retched. More bile, more strips and hunks of burnt flesh mixed in.
"Those are your old innards coming to the surface.” He mused with disdain. “There will be more. Your system is rebuilding itself. You will soon digest differently. Hunger will feel different to you. The cravings for cooked foods, and the olfactory responses for such things will be gone. The sooner you get on with your first kill, the better." He stepped back toward the door. "I am leaving the door open. We will be out in the compound, waiting for you.” He said. It was night outside the door.

I had no desire to go out and meet these people, whoever they were. I laid back on the love-seat and pondered my situation. I pondered what was being required of me.
Here I was, now with what seemed to be immortality. All I had to do was finish the deal and get on with living. I needed to get my first kill down. I decided to sleep until daytime and then escape. I felt that if I wasn’t a vampire yet, that the sun wouldn’t harm me.

In the morning, I stumbled out of my cell. The sun was bright, and I was aware that I hadn’t been spending much time in the sun recently anyway. The ground was dusty and I worked my way toward what seemed to be gate of some sort. There were buildings all around, some the size of the brick outhouse that I had been in and some that were larger. Prolepsis was right though, the place was a compound. There were vehicles about that were covered with blue tarps. There was a chain-link fence around the entire area. Black plastic was attached to the fencing so that no one could look in and I couldn’t look out. I continued towards what seemed to be the main entrance. It was a fence gate and it was padlocked shut with a chain. Razor wire ran across the top of the fencing all the way around the property. The property itself was about the size of a football field. I had absolutely no idea where I was. I looked about and saw what appeared to be a tool shed. I made my way towards it. It was indeed a tool shed and I found a pair of bolt cutters in a five-gallon paint bucket in the corner. There were tools of various shapes and sized strewn throughout the shed. There seemed to be no true order for the place and the bulk of them were rusted and had been left alone for some time.

I took the bolt-cutters and made my way to the fence. I broke a link in the chain that was wrapped around one of the posts and worked my way out of the compound. As I stepped out, I recognized the strip of highway that I was on. I knew that if I hitched a ride, I could be back to my house in less than an hour. Turning, I looked back at the compound. There was a large metal sign attached to the outside of the fence which said PROLEPSIS INDUSTRIES. To this day, I have no idea what they really do in there.





I worked my way to the highway and stuck out my thumb. I knew what I had to do, and I had no real intention of doing it. As I walked with my thumb out on my way into the city I came to the conclusion that there was going to be no first victim. Food was no longer an issue for me. The idea of taking a person down and drinking their blood was consuming me, but I just couldn’t do it. I needed to fit into some sort of society, but the vampire one wasn’t the one for me. It was pretty obvious that the society that I had fallen out of wasn’t working for me either. Now that those two ideas were exhausted in my brain, I deciI went onto welfare.