September 5, 2009

I have enjoyed reading Bernie Lincicome since his “Rocky Mountain News” days. This is just an example of his off-beat humor and thinking- “The following is an excerpt from the new novel Rudy Fang: Sports Vampire.  It will be on sale soon.
“Have you got balls?”
“Enough for both of us.”
Rudy met Barron for golf, a sport that appealed to both of them. It could be explained in Rudy’s case because he came from Barron, but why Barron, who came from Albania?   There has never been a single golfer from Albania and the only course in the nation was built as a tourist resort long after communism and Barron left.  None of them had returned, not the tourists nor Barron, though communism still sent postcards.
To be entirely accurate, what vampires play is not strictly golf.  It is vampire golf, or volff.  It has its own rules, vampire rules. The only meaningful rule is not to eat a moving ball.  If the ball is in flight, or bounding along a fairway, it is not food, even though its center is filled with fresh blood.
It is impossible for a vampire to lose a volff ball.  No rough, no thicket, no water hazard will keep the smell of fresh blood out of a vampire’s nose.
If the ball is sitting on the tee, about to be struck, it is okay for any vampire in the foursome, or on this early morning, the twosome, to snatch it up and put it in his mouth. The snatcher gets to take two strokes off his score and can add two to any other vampire in the group.
One of the skills a vampire must master is placing the ball and striking it before a partner can snatch it. This is best done with a single motion and the better vampire volffers can do it in a blink of an eye.
The danger for the snatcher is that, if his timing is off, he might lose his head. One of the classic ways to destroy a vampire is to remove his head.  When it
happens, as it ocassionally does, much laughter follows.  A vampire head rolling down a fairway is one of the few things that can make a vampire laugh, and that is why a volff game usually starts off with at least an 8-some, so there will be enough players by the 18th hole.
Rudy kept his volff scores in the little black notebook he always carried, and he had improved his handicap by three heads since coming to the Vail Valley.
No sport is a real challenge to a vampire, nor to any demon, really.  Vampires still proudly regale each other with tales of the NBA exploits of  Vlade Deevich and Jeorghe Muresan, whose origins were Balkan.  Serbia and Romania?  Come on. No one ever suspected, and now Muresan is a much better player in the  retelling than he ever was in the NBA.
Aron Tiriac, a legendary, mustachioed Romanian, may be the all time greatest vampire sports hero.  His picture is on the wall of nearly ever vampire lodge, along side Vlad and Legosi.
Tiriac took up tennis when he might have been better at ice hockey (he was an Olympian) because the women wore short dresses in tennis and layers of wool underwear in hockey.  His doubles partner Ivie Nastase, though a better tennis player than Tiriac, was not a vampire according to all who knew him.
All supernatural creatures have their own special games.  Except for the zombies.  Zombies have no minds, and it has been wondered why they are not football fans.  But they are not.  They clomp and chomp and try to keep their skin from falling off, but they do not play.
For their own amusement, a pack of werewolves once talked a pair of zombies into painting themselves like football fans and going to a Denver Broncos game. 
In fact not much paint was needed for them to blend in.
Not only were the zombies not detected, because of their mindless roaring and grunting and trying to eat the defensive end of the Oakland Raiders, they are now the unofficial mascots of the team, after Thunder the horse, who has lately been missing chunks out of his withers.
Witches play games on broomsticks and shapeshifters are prone to footraces, favoring playing as the deer and the antelope. Their antics have inspired songs. The only way to tell an elk or a deer from a shapeshifter is to notice if the elk is waiting for the light to change before he crosses the road. Chances are, shapeshifter.
Pretty much anything goes at the Eagles Talon Golf Club, no dress code, walk, ride or pull, nine holes or 18, tee time or not, they’ll get you on.  The course is a ragged piece of property, mainly because grass is not native at the altitude.  Grass does not matter. Eagle’s Talon is selling altitude.  On its caps for sale in the  pro shop.  Golf with an altitude. 8,500 feet.
In the thin air the ball flies 20 per cent further.  Wimps become monsters at altitude.  Monsters become more monstrous.
Barron bought one of the Golf with an Altitude caps in the pro shop.  He modeled it for Rudy.
“These days you’re supposed to wear it with the bill in the back,” said Rudy.
“One fad at a time,” said Barron, turning to show Rudy  his low rider pants, out of the top of which were bunched half of a pair of plaid boxers.
“Cool.  Very dude-ish,” said Rudy.
Rudy knew this game with Barron was not to be the usual fun outing for a couple vampires with a free morning and enough SPF to cover a desk full of cable TV news anchors. Barron did not tee his ball up on the first hole.  Instead Barron threw it down the fairway, the ball coming to rest within 10 feet of the pin.  A chance for an eagle on the par four.
So, this was going to be human rules, Rudy thought, or as close as a vampire will allow it to be.
Rudy knew that at some point he would have to pay for assuming a new name without permission.  Barron had not forgotten.  Barron  never forgot.  At the top of  Rudy’s backswing on the par 5 fifth hole, Barron spoke.
“So, you turned a vag?”
The word chilled Rudy, even though vag is not a vampire vulgarity.  Vag simply means the product of vampire lust, male or female.  It means that one vampire has made another vampire.  Rudy is Barron’s vag. He always would  be.  Once a vag, always a vag.
Rudy never thought of Darlene that way, a surprise had he considered it very deeply.  What Darlene was to Rudy probably had better words in her language. 
What Rudy was to Darlene he assumed was, well, every young girl’s fantasy.
“You didn’t ask the council, lagfart,” said Barron.  Lagfart is the vampire word for rebellious punk.
Rudy’s reputation for disobedience allowed Barron to not only assume the worst but to take joy in what he could now do to his own vag .
In order for one vampire to make another vampire, permission must be granted by the council. It is not just control, but it is population control, a way to keep the number of vampires manageable.  There is only so much blood to go around.
If vampires were making new vampires whenever they bit into somebody, they might as well be gerbils. The precautionary vetting process helps avoid mistakes and regrets, the most prominent example being a former American vice-president named Chick Cheeny.
Vampires may be a solitary lot, but a mistake like Cheeny reflects poorly on them all.  The council asked why Cheeny was just not eaten and left to rot, but
Renfield, his kaylur, could only mutter something about “his eyes, his eyes.”
Even in the case book of the affair, the order of who was whose vag gets muddled. But the book was closed when Renfield willingly took the punishment for not going through the council, accepting the standard sentence–eternal exile.
Banishment is the least of what awaited Rudy and what Barron was ready to impose before the short par 3 sixth hole, a poorly planned layout that tended to kick  every shot to the right and off the green.
In Rudy’s particular vampire sect the making of a new vampire uses the formula BSB, bite, suck, bleed.  You bite the candidate, suck her blood and then bleed some of your own blood into her.
Vampires have a special compartment in the gums (the slooze, to use the vampire medical term) behind their incisors that can be opened to complete the third step in making a new vampire.
Any vampire who just wants to gnaw away or drink until full may do so freely and without consequence as long as he does not open his slooze.  In very young, inexperienced vampires, those just coming into full vampirehood, sometimes the slooze leaks without them wanting it to. These accidents are understood and are usually corrected by inviting the unintentional new vampire for a round of volff.
Cheeny had been invited to volff many times but was clever enough to refuse.
The slogan for young vampires who are always losing their slooze is”Just Chew It.”
Rudy is not a young and inexperienced vampire.  His slooze works only when he wants  it to. He had not had an involuntary or premature slooze for more than a century now.
“She is not a vag,” said Rudy.
“What would you call her?” asked Barron.
“A sweetheart,” said Rudy.
Sometimes vampires get deeply attached to their vags.  Barron suspected this was the case with Rudy and Darlene.  Barron had, for the first 50 years or so,
moistened his slooze just thinking about Rudy, or Alonzo as he knew him then.  But no matter how he smoldered, and Barron is not built for smoldering, Alonzo/Derrick paid him no more attention than an apprentice does for a master.
There was that time in Venice, in the gondola, under the Bridge of Sighs, the high tenor of the gondolier echoing off the walls… “Santa-a-a-a Luci-i-i-a”… that Barron thought they had a moment, but it turned out to be bad risotto.
If  Barron’s present resentment for Rudy grew from there, all that mattered is that he had it in for his old vag and Rudy’s sin was much more dire than a mere name change.  This was high treason and Rudy was doomed.
“I didn’t slooze,” said Rudy.
“I didn’t slooze,” repeated Rudy.
Barron’s eyes had a tinge of yellow, right around the pupils.  If the yellow spread completely over the pupils, no matter what Rudy  said, he could visualize his head rolling down the fifth fairway.
Popular depictions of vampires always have their eyes turning black.  This is half right. Vampire’s eyes do turn black, all black, but that is usually at the point of slooze.  Black is a very good color for vampires.
“She’s just a girl. The same girl.  She is my girl.”
“I don’t believe you,” said Barron. “She’ll have to be tested.”
“No tests.  She’s as human as that poor fool.”
Rudy pointed to a local man, dressed in cargo shorts, a sleeveless hoodie, black socks and saddle shoes, hitting his fifth ball at the sixth green.  The gully down below on the right side, where his golf balls were gathered, took this shot with as much indifference as the others.
The golfer threw his 6-iron up into the trees, kicked his bag, spilling out the rest of his clubs, screamed,”Shit! Shit! Shit! then threw himself on the ground and pounded the tee box with his fists.
“Maybe more human,” Rudy said.
There would be no arguing with Barron about the testing of Darlene.  It would have to happen or Rudy was gone.  And so would be Darlene.  Gone from him.
“Bring her to me tomorrow,” Barron said, teeing up and hitting his next shot in one smooth, perfect vampire motion.
And, as it turns out and though Barron lied about it later, he  missed the eagle putt on the first hole and only shot a 67 instead of a 66, a more appropriate
demon number.”


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