“Katie had always wanted to date a vampire.” When I read that opening line in Michelle Grebo’s 132nd unpublished romance novel, He Was More Hillbilly Than Vampire, I knew I was in for a treat. I don’t usually enjoy paranormal romances, but Michelle was thoughtful enough to name the main character—a shy, potentially impotent vampire—after my husband, D.J. These are my favorite excerpts from Grebo’s fantastical (and fantastic!) novel.
D.J. was the last of his kind, the last vampire to stalk the forests of Owensboro, Kentucky, hungry for blood, starved for companionship. The year was 2018, and that was how many pints of rodent blood D.J. had consumed since birth: 2018. His twenty-first birthday—the magical day when he would taste human blood for the first time—was rapidly approaching…
Twenty-year-old Katie Muse worked at the Owensboro Ragu factory, emptying bags of spices into huge vats of simmering tomato sauce. Sometimes Katie imagined that the tomato sauce was blood, and that her vampire in shining armor could smell the factory from hundreds of miles away. “Come to me, my love,” she whispered to the boiling vegetables, rubbing her smooth, unbitten neck…
When Katie was caught smuggling two crates of fresh garlic out the back door of the Ragu factory, she had to act fast to save her job and her dignity.
“Stop!” Larry, the buff security guard, called. “What in tarnation d’ya think you’re doin’, girlie?”
“This garlic’s bad,” Katie lied, emptying one of the crates into the dumpster.
“Oh no it ain’t,” Larry said, grabbing the other crate of garlic.
“Oh, Larry, you just don’t get it,” Katie sighed. “How is my vampire lover ever going to find me when I’m constantly surrounded by garlic?”
Larry frowned. “Vampire? Katie, I…I thought, you know, after that…you know, in the back of my van last Thursday? I thought we had somethin’ special.”
“Come on, Larry. You’re a sweet guy and all, but I know I’m meant for something bigger—not that you’re not big enough, sweetie.” Katie reflected on those two minutes in the back of Larry’s van, and smiled.
Larry shook his handsome, wholesome head. “I can’t let you throw out that garlic, Katie.”
“Maybe you could do it for me, then. Please? Pretty, pretty please with whipped cream and”—Katie licked her lips—“Katie’s kisses on top?” She grabbed Larry’s stubbly cheeks and kissed him the way he liked it—harder than a microbiology exam, softer than an ant’s dying breath.
“Oh, Katie!” Larry grunted, devouring her wet mouth like a hunk of juicy watermelon.
“Oh, Larry!” Katie gasped, unbuttoning his stiff uniform shirt.
In the end, Larry helped Katie dispose of all the garlic in the factory.
Five miles away, in a dark, deserted farmhouse, D.J. prepared himself for his first taste of human blood. He followed the ancient traditions, just as his mother had instructed him before her final, sacred transformation into a hideous, shrieking, immortal bat queen. D.J. ground squirrel bones, mashed strawberries, and dried twenty pounds of cow dung. “Someday, I, too, shall join Mother in the land of the immortal bats!” D.J. exclaimed. “Someday! We vampires are a proud people with a proud history. It is up to me, Duncan Jesus Chattingswallow, Jr.—the chosen one—to ensure the survival of my people.”
As the cow dung dried, D.J. meditated on the face of the woman destined to bring forth the next generation of American vampires. Her green eyes sparkled with intelligence, humor, and something darker—something dangerous. She was D.J.’s perfect complement in every way: where he was dark and hairy, she was pale and smooth; where he was large and muscular, she was petite and soft; when he said, “I need your blood, chosen descendant of Krongatoad the Wise,” she said, “My blood is your blood, Master Chattingswallow. I have always been yours for the sucking, my darling.” D.J. fantasized about the moment when he would at last sink his fangs into her sumptuous neck.
Finally, after ten days in the farmhouse, the dung was dry. D.J. stirred together the dung, fermented strawberries, and pulverized squirrel bones, chanting the mystical song of new beginnings just as his grandfather had taught him.
“Bah-LAAAAAAAAAAH! Mamamamamamamamamama, hiss! Peeza, peeza, weeza, et tu brute! Solo, cha! Calrisian, cha! Boom shakalacka, wizzy, wizzy, walrus-o!” he cried, over and over again.
Though his eyes burned, and his nostrils flared in anguish, and his hairy skin sweated and fumed, he coated every inch of his powerful body with the foul, ashy, fruity mixture. And when D.J. emerged from the farmhouse at midnight, radiant in the moonlight, his fangs white and glistening, he let out a roar that sent the rodents in the field scattering in all directions. His twenty-first birthday had come at last.
Beneath her fluffy pink comforter, Katie stirred, and mumbled in her sleep, “I’m here. You know where to find me, my vicious vampire stud.”
“What should I say?” D.J. wondered as he gazed through Katie’s bedroom window. She slept peacefully, blissfully unaware of the vampire’s putrid stench and raunchy thoughts. In his mind, D.J. peeled away her covers and her nightgown, and bent over her, baring his fangs.
Just then, Katie called out, “Yes! Bite me now, Brandon!” and opened her eyes and stared right at D.J. She wasn’t one bit surprised to see him there, panting and sweating outside her window. She threw her covers aside—heavenly days! She was buck naked!—and rushed toward him.
D.J. screamed, and summoned the bats of the forest to his aid. The bats didn’t respond.
“Are you shy, Brandon? It’s okay. I don’t bite. That’s your job, baby,” Katie soothed as she opened her window.
“I’m not Brandon,” D.J. stammered, staring at the ground.
“I know who you are,” Katie said, leaning out the window, nearly poking D.J. in the eye with her left nipple. “You’re my destiny.”
D.J. sniffled. “I don’t deserve you.”
“Sure you do!” Katie assured him, stroking his dung-smeared chin.
“I’m too nervous,” D.J. admitted.
Katie took his filthy hands and helped him climb through the window. “What do you need me to do?” she asked with a suggestive wink.
“Let me drink your blood.”
“Naturally!” Katie laughed, pulling her long auburn hair into a loose bun.
D.J. traced the veins in her exposed neck with his fingertip. Just one bite and he would be immortal. Immortal! With Katie by his side! I need a bigger coffin, he thought.
“I loved The Lost Boys,” Katie purred, pinching D.J.’s cheek. “Do I get to meet your friends later, or what? Once I’m a vampire too, I mean?”
“I don’t have any friends. I’m the only vampire left.”
Katie sat down on D.J.’s warm, slimy lap. “What happened?”
“Severe erectile-dysfunction. It runs in my family. We Chattingswallows haven’t successfully impregnated a woman for five centuries. All the other vampire families were wiped out by STDs and World of Warcraft addiction.”
“That’s so sad,” Katie said.
“I know,” D.J. said, wiping tears from his eyes.
“Are you really 500 years old?” Katie asked.
“No. My mother deserted my father 22 years ago, and had an affair with a hillbilly in Arkansas. I’m only half-vampire, you see.”
Katie nodded. “And half-hillbilly. Wow. Just like my uncle Poppyseed.”
“You’re real, real pretty and all, but, you know, I don’t think I can go through with this. You don’t really wanna be a vampire,” D.J. said. “It’s not as glamorous as the movies make it out to be.”
“But if you don’t bite me, what’ll happen to you, Brandon?”
“My name’s D.J.”
“What’ll happen to you, D.J.?”
“I’ll die…in 80 years or so, same as you.”
“Don’t you wanna be immortal?”
“As long as you love me, I am immortal, dearest,” D.J. proclaimed, pulling Katie into a tight embrace. “Love lives forever!”
“Oh, D.J.! D.J., I do love you!” Katie cried, slipping her hot tongue between D.J.’s trembling lips.
She spat out a chunk of poopy strawberry, and led D.J. to her fluffy pink bed. And there she proved that D.J. was more hillbilly than vampire, for he suffered no problems with ED that night. Or the next day, inside D.J.’s cramped coffin. Or the next night. Or the day after that.
But Katie longed for more. She wasn’t about to let her dream of becoming a vampire slip through her slender fingers. So she devised a plan. A diabolical plan that would scar poor D.J. for the rest of his immortal days!
Larry rang Katie’s doorbell at 8 o’clock sharp. She hadn’t been to work at the Ragu plant for weeks. Her unexpected phone call to his parking lot security booth earlier in the day had made Larry literally jump for joy, and spill scalding-hot coffee on his crotch.
Larry combed his hair and popped a cinnamon Tic Tac into his mouth. “Katie?” he called, ringing the doorbell a second time.
“Come in!” Katie answered. “I’m in my bedroom. Waiting.”
Larry wiped his boots on the welcome mat and stepped inside. “I woulda come sooner, but you said 8 o’clock.”
“Get in here, Larry. Quick!”
“I’m here! Larry’s here to make it all better, babe!” He charged into the bedroom at the end of the hallway, and gasped. “What the?”
Katie was handcuffed to the bedpost, wearing nothing but a red satin sash around her small waist.
“I didn’t know you was into that, um, M and M stuff. I got another pair of handcuffs in the car, if you want me to run out and—”
“Shut up, Larry!” Katie cried, writhing around helplessly. “The vampire did this to me! He’s been torturing me nonstop for the past three weeks! You’ve gotta hide before he comes back! It’ll be dark soon!”
“What vampire?!” Larry’s eyes darted from Katie’s breasts to the closet door, then back to Katie’s breasts. “Where is he? I’ll shoot him if he comes near ya.”
Katie rolled her eyes. “You can’t shoot a vampire, you idiot. You need a wooden stake, and holy water. And a crapload of garlic and crucifixes. Besides, I don’t want you to kill him. I just want you to teach him a lesson, for trying to steal your girl.”
Larry blushed. “You mean that, Katie? You’re my girl? I thought, well, after I hadn’t seen you in so long…”
“Oh, Larry, go hide in the closet, would ya? He’ll be here any second!”
“Can’t I at least kiss ya first?” Larry whimpered.
Larry grudgingly crouched down in the closet, and concealed himself behind Katie’s old tangerine-colored prom dress.
Just then, the front door opened.
“Katie?” D.J. called. “I hate having to wait until sunset to see you! If only my skin didn’t burn away in the sunlight! It’s torture! You should’ve stayed with me, in my coffin in the forest, again. I padded the sides so you won’t get as many splinters.”
“I’m back here, sweetie!” Katie said.
“Katie, I don’t wanna upset you, but the vending machine was all out of the blueberry-flavored condoms, so I got banana instead,” D.J. said cheerfully. “I already had a ton of rabbit blood for dinner, but I brought you some moo goo gai pan from that new Chinese restaurant on Main Street.”
He whistled as he got out a plate and silverware in the kitchen. “You want me to bring your food back there, sweet cakes?” he asked.
D.J. hummed “Jimmy Cracked Corn” and skipped down the hall. When he glimpsed Katie, spread-eagle and grinning seductively on her bedspread, he dropped the plate of food, spilling chicken and vegetables on his bare feet.
“Who do you think you are, taking off my clothes and handcuffing me, and leaving me here all day?!” Katie screeched. “I told you it was over between us! That there never was an ‘us’ to begin with!”
D.J. gulped. “B-but, but Katie! I didn’t…”
Larry shoved the tangerine dress aside and lunged at D.J. They fell to the floor, wrestling each other in the lukewarm moo goo gai pan.
“He made me say that to you, D.J.! I didn’t mean it!” Katie yelled.
“My daddy killed a werewolf once,” Larry growled, breaking D.J.’s nose with Katie’s universal remote control. “You don’t scare me, you filthy bloodsucker!”
D.J. bared his extra-long, razor-sharp canine teeth and roared. Blood sprayed all over the pink carpet.
“You want a piece of me, vampire punk?” Larry taunted. “C’mere! I’ll knock your teeth out southern Indiana-style, boy!” He shoved D.J. into Katie’s dresser, shattering her antique mirror.
“Watch it!” Katie griped. “That was my grandmother’s mirror!”
Larry turned to apologize, and D.J. tackled him.
“Katie is mine!” D.J. cried, forcing Larry’s head to the ground. Before he could resist, D.J. sank his fangs into the tan sinews of Larry’s thick, muscular neck, and gulped Larry’s rich blood like hot Coca-Cola. He eventually released Larry, and collapsed next to Katie on the bed, wheezing.
Stunned, but more aroused than ever before, Katie whispered, “Did you kill him?”
“Did you want me to?” D.J. asked bitterly. “You set me up. You ruined me! And now an innocent man will have to suffer a horrible fate. I could have stopped the madness, Katie. I could have saved the world from future generations of vampires, but you never cared about my dreams, did you? You only cared about yourself. He’s all yours,” D.J. said, plucking a greasy strip of chicken off his shirt and flinging it at Larry’s limp form. “He’ll be a vampire in three hours. I’m sure you two will be very happy together. Don’t you dare come knocking on my coffin. I won’t let you in, ever again. In fact, I’m taking my coffin and moving in with my hillbilly father. Unless my mother killed him. She didn’t tell me the truth most of the time. Just like you, Katie.” He wiped his bloody mouth on Katie’s pink satin pillowcase. “It’s a little-known fact that women gain twenty-five pounds the second they turn into a vampire. Makes ya think twice before ya try and talk your handsome friend there into biting ya, doesn’t it?”
A pathetic, humorless snort escaped his broken nose. “Immortality’s a bitch, Katie.” With that, D.J. lugged himself off the bed, transformed into a hairy bat, and flew out the window.
Katie had never seen D.J. in bat form before. He was so lovely, so graceful, soaring through the inky, moonlit sky that she called out to him, “I’m sorry, D.J.! I still love you! I always will!”
He screeched a Transylvanian curse at her, and disappeared behind a cloud.
Larry woke up, ravenous and thirsty.
Katie beamed at him. “How do ya feel, Larry?” She dabbed his neck wound with a cool washcloth.
“Cold. Real cold. I think I might be sick, Katie.”
“You’re not sick, darling. The vampire bit you. Remember?”
“No!” Larry sprang to his feet, and nearly fainted.
Katie eased him into her pink wicker rocking chair. “Shhh. You’ll be okay. The transformation’s almost complete.”
“What transformation? I don’t feel any different.” Larry shivered. “Just cold.”
“When a vampire bites you, you become a vampire, too. Didn’t you ever see The Lost Boys?” Katie smiled. Larry would make a far more handsome vampire than Kiefer Sutherland.
“Well, stop me then!” Larry squeezed her hand. “You’ve gotta…you’ve gotta kill me, Katie, before I’m one of them.”
“Why are all of you vampires so goshdarn noble?! No! I’m not gonna kill you, Larry! I want you to bite me. This is my destiny.”
“But I don’t wanna hurt you!”
Then Larry made a gurgling noise, and his bloodshot eyes bulged, and tufts of bat hair grew out of his ears. He covered his face and gnashed his teeth.
“Katie. It’sh done. I’m hideoush,” Larry croaked through his freshly sprouted vampire fangs.
Katie kissed his clammy cheek. “You’re not hideous, baby doll.”
Katie combed Larry’s vomit out of her hair, and longed for D.J. She wondered if she could stop him before he packed up his coffin and headed to the Ozarks. “Larry, I’m sorry, but I’ve made a horrible mistake. I’ve gotta go.”
“What’sh the rush, girlie?” Larry said, exposing his fangs when he smiled.
“Just rest here, Larry. Here’s a nice blanket to keep you warm.”
Larry grabbed her arm. “You shmell good, Katie.”
“Thanks. Now, really, I’ve gotta go. I’ll see ya later.” But he wouldn’t let go of her arm.
Larry sniffed her skin. “I can shmell your blood.”
“All I smell is your puke. Now let go of me,” Katie demanded.
“There’s beer in the fridge.”
“Shtop toying with me, Katie. I’m gonna make all your dreamsh come true,” Larry said, gripping her warm, scrawny neck like a piece of corn on the cob. “Thish looksh like a good vein.”
“No, Larry! D.J. is my one vampire true love! No offense, but we have nothing in common, except for a couple of friendly exchanges in the back of your van. I’m not even sure I want to be a vampire anymore—I’d really rather not gain the extra twenty-five pounds. Now I see that I was meant to love a vampire, not become one!” Katie struggled to free herself from his deadly grip.
“Why can’t you love me? I’m a vampire because of you,” Larry cried, attacking her neck as if it were a melting Popsicle.
“No!” Katie screamed. “No! I’m gonna get fat!”
D.J. alighted on his coffin in the forest, and shook the dampness off his wings. With his acute bat senses, he could hear everything Katie said to the snarling rookie vampire in her bedroom. D.J. cringed when she screamed, but knew that he couldn’t interfere.
This is our destiny, he thought. I don’t know where or when, but we shall meet again, Katie Muse, great-great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter of Krongatoad the Wise. For now, I must be content with my new mission. I shall find my hillbilly father, and teach him the ways of the gentle vampire, for I am Duncan Jesus Chattingswallow, Jr.!
Related Stories by Maria Roth (and her alter ego, Michelle Grebo):
Edward Jacoberg: A Horror Story (Horror Meets Humor)