Here she comes. Youthful, busty, unchanging. Probably not looking a day older than the hundred plus years ago when she was a milk maid in Oberammergau, squeezing tits into a bucket on her daddys beat down little farm, before everything went sideways for her and she entered into that shadow world of the night hunter. We love each other in our way. She is my shadow self. I am her conscience. We will argue, make each other mad, even speechless, she may tease me and more than once has touched her killing teeth to my neck the way a beloved cat might bite your hand to back you off, hard but not that hard. But of all the people in the world, I am in the least danger from her. We have saved each other.
Nixie has brought a couple of comrades from her blood family with her. These men have swagger as though they’re the posse of a rock star. These chosen few who managed to do what the Van Helsings of this world could never do. Take her off the street. Take her off the kill. Almost not quite domesticating my Nixie with their willing blood, delicately traded for hers.
“ ‘allo Scheißkopf.”
“Hey Nix. How’s tricks?”
The guys nod and settle in. They look slightly stoned like blissful Deadheads. She must have given them the little taste just before they got here. She told me, they can smell each other and when they’ve been on the Little Taste, the smell of her skin makes their dicks hard.
One of them goes to the open bar and brings back our bottles. Paulaner Salvator for me and Nix. The woman has taste, though she never swallows.
“I almost want to say, Nix, you look like you’re gaining a little weight, although I wouldn’t know how. I guess you’re eating well these days.”
One of the guys looks at me sort of threatening.
“Karl,” says Nix, “This person, you hear me call ‘Scheißkopf’here, is my friend. He likes to write. He knows my story. We have saved each other. You must be his friend too. Karl.”
This guy Karl seems like a loose cannon. I dunno. “Where’s everybody else?”
“At home, at work,” she says, “what people do. How is Thanksgiving?”
“Small meal for a small family. It would nice to eat at the church with all my friends, but my wife wants a turkey dinner even if its just us.”
“Yeah, I wish.”
“Hah,“ she says. She takes a swig of Salvator, swishes it around, holds it, spits it on the sidewalk. “You’re a good man. Good enough.”
“Getting old. Don’t like to see myself in mirrors. You never get old. Why do people think nosferatus don’t like mirrors?”
“It’s just the movies,” she says. She’s looking at my tarot cards. She reaches for the High Priestess card. “These are what I don’t like. I hate these. Didn’t you know that?”
“I know what happens when you tell your fortune with them. I’ve seen it.”
“Do you know?” she says to the men. “Have you ever seen a nosferatu have their fortune told?” She looks at me. “May I?”
I push all the cards to her. She stacks them and shuffles them like a pro even though the cards are fairly large. She cuts, reverses, shuffles again. “Watch, boys,” she says. She lays out a row of four cards face down. She turns them over, one by one. The High Priestess. The Tower. The Devil. The Moon, reversed. She sweeps them up, shuffles several times. Lays them out, one by one. The Tower. The Devil. The Moon, reversed. “If I did this all night long, it would always be the same cards. This is how it is to live outside of time.” She looks scared. “I hate these cards. The crucifix doesn’t scare me, mirrors don’t scare me. These cards scare me. Because they speak the truth”
At the next table a girl sits, a skinny little goth girl all in black, with green hair and nose piercings. She's thumbing away at her phone, waiting for someone. We’re all looking at her. In a minute, another guy shows up.
They speak in low voices but we can hear.
“You’re from facebook?”
“Yeah,” says the guy. “Romeo”
“Hi Romeo. Juliet. I still haven’t decided how,” says the girl. “But I want to do it together with you.”
“I want it to be with you too. I couldn’t do it by myself. I couldn’t go through with it, but with you I could. We need a place.”
“At home, my parents bed.”
“That would really fuck their shit up.”
“Especially my step dad. Perv bastard.”
“Or we could jump off a bridge.”
She looks at us, we pretend not to hear. Nixie pretends to be absorbed in her beer. She spits it on the sidewalk and the guy makes a face.
“Bridges are scarey,” says the guy. “and they have to be really high. Water doesn’t compress, you hit it at high speed its like concrete. But it doesn’t always kill you. You have to be high up to off yourself right.”
“Savannah river bridge is high up.”
“I don’t think it’s enough. Pills?” he says.
“I can’t get the right pills. Maybe a gun. That’s what guns are for.”
“I can’t afford a big gun.”
“I can get a .22 from this guy,” she says.
“Don’t use a .22,” says Karl. The kids look at him.
“Fuck off,” says the girl.
“No, he’s right,” says Nixie’s other guy. “A .22 won’t cut it, the payload is too small. May as well stick an ice pick up your nose and lobotomize yourself. You’re not serious unless you get a 9 mil at least.”
“Nine mil,” says Nixie appreciatively.
“A .22 payload just bounces around in your skull chewing your shit all up and doesn’t waste you. Wasting your time is all.”
“A shotgun,” I say, “that’s the right way if you’re serious. That’s what you want. That’s how Ernest Hemingway did himself. Fucking elephant gun or something.”
The guys wag their fingers at me approvingly. We’re all bros now. “Shotgun,” they chorus.
“Shotguns a stopper,” says Karl. “Sweet fuckin’ A there, bubba.”
“Shotguns a stopper,” says Karl. “Sweet fuckin’ A there, bubba.”
“A .22, fuck that shit,” says the other guy. “Get real with that shit or don’t even suit up for it. Spend your life in a wheel chair drooling on your dick.”
Nixie has this sad, pensive look. I know what she’s thinking. Back in the day, she’d have been glad to give these two kids what they think they want. “It is my business to know such a one,” she’d once told a suicidal priest. Now they’re right here, practically sticking their throats out and she just watches. She’s wrong about the cards. She can change over time.
“I knew a guy used a deer rifle. Very clean. If you can catch the back of the palate just right, almost no blood. Almost.”
“Wow,” says Nix.
These two kids are looking sick now. No. They’re going to be okay. I hear the guy who tags himself Romeo get up. “Forget it,” he says to the girl. He disappears into the urban night.
The girl stares at her phone. She stares at all of us. “You are some sick fucks,” she says.
“Oh, are you offended? We’re sorry.” Nixie smiles and raises her bottle. For an instant I see them under her upper lip, long, sharp as stilettos, inhuman. A kind of nosferatu boner from these kids and their death wish. This talk must be like pornography for her kind. I don’t think the girl saw the teeth, she just gets up and goes.
“A good night’s work,” says Karl. The other guy turns to me and lifts his chin. I see the circle shaped scar about as wide as a pencil.
“So that’s how you know so much about .22s?” I say.
“Lost a couple teeth, that’s all,” he says. “I was a just real dick head at it.”
Nixie pushes my cards back to me, all but one. “They’re good men, my men. They don’t want it to happen to anyone else.”
“Did you know those kids would be here?”
She gives me that look, like a wolf considering a rabbit and holds up The High Priestess card. “You don’t know all about me, Scheißkopf, You just think you do.”