Photogenic Blues

By Gabriel Ricard

HOPE I DON'T HURTZ YOU

Jamie realized that would be the only possible use his last name could ever hope to bring him. A vague, threatening piece of graffiti. He sighed, no one bought an intelligent, well paced book with gorgeous characters by an author named Jamie Hurtz. He planned to one day sit down and work out any potential names that connected to Jamie. He poured the last of his fourth and final bottle of warm beer into the glass and stared at it. His distaste for beer actually made it a task to get drunk when he felt the need to. He drank it down and tried to ignore the dull pain that increased in his stomach once he had started to it.

He finished it with the most effort he could manage. Reaching under his pillow, he found his cigarettes and ashtray, sliding them out and lighting one. The lighter surprised him, working on the first attempt. He placed it near his crossed legs and reached up to the VCR, turning off the video game system that had been in limbo for the last several minutes.

I need to find something to do before she gets here. Jamie stood up. Noticing his door was slightly open and closing it. He wasn't in the mood to have his parents catch him smoking again. He repeated to himself again that he needed to find some way to allow time to move by more quickly. Anything to bring the day to an end would satisfy him, the saddest part of his life he imagined. Looking forward to nothing more than going to bed. He noticed his script, his first effort at the form and picked it up. He had been worrying about it excessively for several weeks after finishing it. For one thing, he couldn't remember if he had seen this idea in an actual movie of some kind before.

He was also concerned what Marisa would think of it. She had stood as his sole inspiration in writing the entire thing. he knew her kindness was mostly drawn out of her desire to have a story about her told. "Something that'll blow the fucking roof off what people think they know about my people," she had told him once.

Despite being personally pleased with the finished product, he remained terrified that she wouldn't approve. He had put out his cigarette earlier and lit another, always smoking more when he was locked in fear of anything that hadn't happened yet but would soon.

He tried not to question himself while sitting down and getting up almost immediately to resume pacing. That was the worst thing he could do to help himself, debate in his mind what Marisa saw in him as a writer. He didn't believe himself to be any better than most people he knew who scribbled poetry ripping off R&B songs or the people who wrote that horrible fan fiction shit he saw on the Internet all the time. If he thought about it anymore, he knew he would convince himself for the infinite time that he was going to let her down because he was a bad writer.

The doorbell rang from downstairs, startling him. Enough that he almost dropped his cigarette. He kept the cigarette in between his fingers and rubbed his almost hairless scalp with his free hand. The rest of his body was uncomfortably cold, except for his hands and it was always that way when he was irritable or nervous. He hear it ring again, groaning he put the cigarette out and made it to the door quickly. Thankful despite everything else his family had gone to Wednesday church service.

She struck his eyes first, as she always seemed to. His poor ability to interact with girls kept his exposure to them at the absolute minimum. Based on this, he found Marisa to be one of the most beautiful girls he knew. She was three years ahead of his current state as a high school senior. He had not even seen her around until three months ago.

"Are you going to let me in?" she smiled, her thin lips barely creating the effect.

"Yeah, yeah." Jamie dragged his hand across his scalp again and opened the door further. "So…um, where have you been lately? I haven't seen you in like what? a month?"

"I was out of town," she took off her jacket. A aged piece of leather she told him had belonged to one of the Sex Pistols. He had no idea who they were, though he believed her anyway. "I did try to call, but your dumbass phone just rang over and over again."

"Oh ok, well I'm sorry then. I just missed you is all." No one ever called his house. Not even to talk to his mom or sister, she being was almost as unpopular as he was though she at least being seven had the years to work on that.

"Well I almost missed you," she grinned more broadly than before. Jamie almost never saw her this happy. Believing she had some kind of personality to maintain, she was usually sarcastic and, spoke as if she hadn't slept in several years. She also rarely smiled.

"I suppose you want to see the script." He reached into his pocket, realizing he had left the cigarettes up in his room.

"Of course, that's why I came by."

"Oh not even wanting to see your writer friend?" he offered her a weak joke with matching expression. Jamie slowly walked up the stairs, looking behind himself to see Marisa close behind. Her jacket resting on the lawn chair next to the door.

"Your room still smells like Windex," she remarked slowing herself to a single step and standing in the middle of his tiny room, seemingly possible to resemble a perfect three-dimensional square if it was removed from the house.

"I still don't get where you think that."

"Well you live here, you're probably used to it. Where's the script?"

Jamie picked up the cigarettes and lit one. Without asking, Marisa took the pack from his hand and lit one for herself. She tossed the pack close to it's original spot on the bed. Jamie said nothing about them, "What would you say if I told you I wasn't quite finished with it yet?"

"I'd say you're either a liar or you're incredibly lazy, I told you I wanted it by today."

"And what's today?"

"The 17th."

"And what day did you say you wanted it exactly?" he looked around for an ashtray.

"The 17th."

"Shit."

"Look, I can't be here all night. Can you just show me the script?"

he gave a small, quiet sigh and picked up the script. It felt heavy in his hands and he suddenly felt the urge to drop it. Hoping it would burst into flames. He kept it and handed the stapled collection of computer paper to Marisa.

"Thank you sweetie," Jamie actually felt his body flinch. The word 'sweetie' was laced with blatant and unnerving sarcasm. She flipped through the entire script and yawned. "Can I have a moment alone with my baby?"

Jamie kept himself from asking what she meant by that. He merely nodded and walked out of the room slowly. Turning his head, allowing him to not take his eyes off her until he had left the room and closed the door.

He closed the door a second time, feeling his face begin to tighten. The irritation setting in as it had been almost an hour. It wasn't all that long and he knew it. If it ever became a movie it wouldn't see more than forty-five minutes of screen time. She verbally assaulted him before he even stepped into his room, barking at him to get out.

He imagined twenty more minutes passed before the door opened. He saw her bright, pleased eyes and his heart betrayed him. He smiled too. "So do you like it?"

"'Like' doesn't even begin to describe it." She moved away from the door, allowing it to open completely.

Following her into his room, he suddenly felt as if he had not been in his room in years. He alerted his mind to the fact that if she did like the script, and wanted to reward him with sex, that it wouldn't be now, guessing his mom and sister would be home soon. He closed the door and turned around, "So what was your-"

The rest was lost in his throat, he barely saw Marisa's right hand strike him in the throat. Thrusting his arms upwards, grabbing at the ceiling, he fell onto his bed and scrambled against the wall. He tried to regain a normal breathing pattern. "What the hell?"

She held the script up, the pages fell together. "I told you to write the definitive vampire movie. Something that would tell the truth for once. And what do you show me? A fucking Ed Wood tribute!" she threw the booklet at him, it crashed against the wall and sprawled itself beside him. "Killer Lesbian Vampire Seduction? What the fuck were you thinking?"

"I didn't know you were so serious about it," Jamie set up and wished desperately he could keep a better distance from her.

"Of course I am, I thought you had talent. You don't know how long I've been looking for someone who isn't going to make some piece of bullshit."

"You're acting like you're a fucking vampire yourself! Why would this be so important to you." It was giving him a dull, nagging pain to talk.

"You mean you never figured it out?"

Jamie watched, the anger flashed away from her face, only for a moment. She looked surprised. His heart suddenly picked up. Watching as her eye teeth extended, a little more than itch, but now carrying sharp ends.

"Do you get it now?"

"You're a god damn vampire?"

"Jesus you're stupid. Yes I'm a vampire."

"And you want someone to tell your story?"

"Of course, by telling my life, people will finally know what we're really like. I had such high hopes in you. I read those short stories on that online diary of yours…and I just thought. Well, it doesn't fucking matter now. You know so now I have to-"

"Kill me?" he amazed himself with the calm his voice took on.

"Sad but true, now hold still. I'd be lying if I said this wasn't going to hurt. It will darling," she paused.

Even now, Jamie felt a small thrill at the way she said 'darling'.

She took enough steps to him that she was able to lean across the bed. Doing so, she brought her fangs to his shoulder. "For starters, most of us prefer the shoulders to the neck. Don't ask me why, we just do."

The last thing she said to him, coupled with her breath heating his neck. Jamie made no move to fight back, somehow well aware that it wouldn't take him very far.

The pain gave him an overwhelming and instant adrenaline rush, exploding at the source to all corners before his last gasp could even finish. Leading him into darkness, which exploded from the wall he could barely see and swirled itself around him like a phantom.

End.

Weak I'm sure, but it seemed interesting at the start and I rarely give up on an idea midway through no matter how much I grow to dislike it. Thanks for reading.