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Failed Interview with the International Convocation of the Damned

Luc Reid (www.lucreid.com) is a Writers of the Future winner, the founder of Codex Writers' Group, a third-degree black belt, an organic gardener, a Zen Buddhist, and an energetic advocate for carbon footprint reduction (www.faceclimatechange.com, www.sustainablewilliston.org). His prior publications include stories like "When a Bunch of People, Including Raymond, Got Superpowers" (Daily Science Fiction) and "Ways to Enjoy Nutrient Blend 14" (Nature) as well as plays, articles, the flash fiction collection Bam! 172 Hellaciously Quick Stories (lucreid.com/bam) and the non-fiction book Talk the Talk: The Slang of 67 Subcultures (Writers Digest Books, 2006; expanded and revised edition 2014 - lucreid.com/ttt). Luc lives near Burlington, Vermont with his wife, kids, and a compulsively disobedient garden.
Dear Tim,
Thank you for your application and for coming to interview with us this past Thursday midnight. While we appreciated your enthusiastic interest in vampirism, we regret that we cannot offer you an immortal existence as a cursed undead being at this time.
As you begged that we be completely candid should we have any concerns, I include here a few specifics as to why we did not deem your soul to be a good fit for our particular type of damnation.
First, while it was clear that you had put an admirable amount of thought into the moral implications of vampirism, we cannot condone your plan for subsisting "on the blood of the evildoer." I think you will appreciate, if you think on it for even a short while, that beings of our kind are not eager to embrace the kind of moral absolutism that brands certain individuals as "evildoers" and advocates their destruction. We prefer philosophies that are more enabling and broadminded, for instance predators as an essential part of the natural cycle of life, damned-if-you-do/damned-if-you-don't, and "everybody's gotta eat."
Second, while I hope you have since done a little further research and corrected this misapprehension on your own, daylight does not simply make our kind "sparkle," unless by "sparkle" you mean "perish agonizingly in flames." Consequently, most of the plans you described with such anticipation, such as returning to high school and space diving, are impractical. Additionally, I cannot fathom how you would imagine that a vampire could pass as a human in any situation without extreme and problematic dental work.
Overall, we found your understanding of the constraints and operational boundaries of contemporary vampirism badly flawed. How you discovered our organization at all is a mystery to me, although Frantisek of Bohemia's constant snickering during your interview may suggest that one or both of us had been pranked.
We would of course like to wish you the best of luck in all your future aspirations and endeavors. Sadly, we cannot in good conscience do so, as it is our policy to hunt down, eviscerate, and slake our thirst in the blood of any mortal demonstrating knowledge of our organization. Angus the Dour, who kindly agreed to deliver this message to you, will be noticing right about now that your gaze has reached the bottom of the letter and will take the necessary steps. If it is any consolation, I assure you that he is something very like an artist in these matters.
Sincerely yours, condolences, etc.,
Elizabeth Bathory de Ecsed
International Convocation of the Damned
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, June 29th, 2016


I'm frankly a little worried about our enthusiasm for vampires. They were first imagined as morally vacant creatures surviving in a state that was worse than death, and the real-life human beings with whom vampirism is sometimes connected, like Vlad the Impaler and Elizabeth Bathory, were gruesome serial killers.

So how do we get from there to Louis and Lestat, Edward Cullen, and "I don't say blah-blah-blah"? Is it just that we're getting desensitized to the idea, making it into entertainment, like (and I'm probably dating myself here) dead baby jokes? Or are we so attracted to the idea of being powerful and invulnerable that the appeal of impermanence and vulnerability is slipping off our wishlists? Maybe it's just that the sexual subtext is too appealing to pass up.

Anyway, I'm a little concerned that you and I can still get sucked (as it were) in by a good vampire story, and so my subconscious thrust this story on me--the tale of Tim, who's more foolish and bedazzled than either you or me, and what happens when he goes too far in thinking of predation as good fun. My subconscious is a bit of a drag sometimes, you know? But it maybe has a point.

- Luc Reid

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