The young man had been staring at an untouched glass of Macallan 18 single malt for the last twenty minutes. He already paid for it. He even left a decent tip, which was more than the rest of these bums could say.
“Son?” said the bartender. He had seen plenty of lushes fall off that p...
<p>The young man had been staring at an untouched glass of Macallan 18 single malt for the last twenty minutes. He already paid for it. He even left a decent tip, which was more than the rest of these bums could say.</p>
<p>“Son?” said the bartender. He had seen plenty of lushes fall off that proverbial wagon, but this kid looked like he was wrestling the demons of a much older man. “If you want me to take the drink away, I can. But it’s gotta be <i>your</i> decision.”</p>
<p>“I know,” the young man agreed. His pale hands trembled with doubt, while his unwrinkled eyes swam with self-loathing.</p>
<p>Too late. The Macallan 18 burned the young man’s palalte, and twenty-four hours of sobriety went down the drain, along with the bartender’s last remaining faith in humanity. But if it was any consolation, the “young” man wasn’t human at all. He was actually a 237-year-old vampire, one that had fed just before entering the bar. He had no plans to kill anyone else tonight. He just wanted to get drunk. And why not? He was drunk at his wedding. He was drunk during 9/11. He was drunk when Reagan, J.R., and two Kennedys got shot. And he was drunk when he went to his first A.A. meeting just last night…</p>
<p>Said meeting was only minutes from starting when he mixed vodka and O.J. in a water bottle. Three good hits had him buzzed, but not quite drunk. He wanted to be coherent enough to hear the other rummies speaking, and not so plastered that he couldn’t follow along.</p>
<p>The vampire’s real name was Charles Kovacs. Once upon a when, he was Hungarian, but he had been a proud American these last ninety-two years. By proud, I mean he never voted, paid taxes, protested, recycled, went to church, or did anything even remotely charitable. But on the plus side, he never discriminated between whose blood he drank. When it came to murder, he was an equal opportunity predator.</p>
<p>So as the winos started yakking their pathetic tales of degradation, Charles sneered at their temerity in thinking they knew what a private hell was. He was so annoyed, in fact, that he was about to bounce, when a pretty, but broken girl wedged in next to him. “Hey, share the wealth,” she whispered. Before Charles could sling a denial, the girl quickly said, “Hey, pretty boy. I can smell your breath. Either share, or I’m...