"Master, wake up!" Brent Field pleaded. Drops of sweat ran down his face. Perspiration stains outlined the underarm area of his yellow shirt. The Master lay in his coffin in the safety of the basement, as well as the cooler of blood. Brent looked at his watch; how long had those men been on the road? The Master was not due to wake up for at least another hour. A firm knocking at the front door dashed his hopes. He stood frozen. How could he stall them till dusk? He leaned down and whispered in the sleeping form's ear, "Please, Master, wake up, it's an emergency."
Brent Field hurried up the stairs, opened the front door, and his eyes took in two tall, stocky men. They both wore dark suits, white shirts and dark ties. The man on the left was brushing dirt off his pants. The men on the right held a black briefcase.
"Hello, gentlemen. Can I help you?" Brent asked. His eyes were filled with innocent surprise. "We don't get many visitors out this way."
The man stopped brushing off his pants and looked at his partner with a smirk. "We're looking for Mr. Rutherford Zucks."
"You have the right house but he's napping right now." Both men stared at him in silence. "Would you like to come in until he wakes up?"
Without speaking, the two men entered and walked to the living room, sat down on the couch, and said, "See if you can awaken Mr. Zucks now. We have urgent business elsewhere tonight, and we're running behind schedule, some tree in the road."
Brent pressed his lips together so as not to smile or laugh. He left the room and quietly walked down the basement steps. The Master was still asleep. He spoke to him, "You're not like other vampires. Try to wake up, please, Master." His ears were grateful to hear stirring in the coffin. Soon Rutherford was sitting, reaching for a glass of red liquid to balance his diabetic sugar level. Brent told him, "I'm so glad you're awake. There's two revenuers up there waiting," Brent informed him.
"Revenuers!" Rutherford shook his head. "I haven't had a still for years. Must want old Zeke across the mountain." Brent helped the older man walk upstairs to a living room chair facing the two strangers.
Rutherford spoke, "How can I help you?"
Opening a briefcase, the man explained. "As you can see from the signatures on these last four social security checks, they are completely different from those before." Rutherford examined the papers and explained, "I've been quite ill these past few months. My handwriting is still real shaky." He held up his trembling hands to be seen by the visitors.
The two men looked carefully at the thin, pale man before them. According to the records, he was over 90 years old. His cheeks were sunken, his eyes were bloodshot, and his thin blond hair looked strange on one so elderly. One man spoke, "Mr. Zucks, please sign your name for comparison. If it matches, then we'll fill out some forms to bring closure to this irregularity."
Rutherford signed his name, careful to match the signature of the last four checks. The men completed four forms in triplicate, signed and handed them to Rutherford for his signature. Yellow carbons lay on the coffee table as their black car, covered with dust, pulled out to return to town and the interstate. Rutherford and Brent were silent until the roar of their car engine was no longer heard. They burst out laughing.
Brent spoke, "Oh, Master, I always signed your check for you until a few months ago. When you started signing, they must have thought someone was stealing the checks."
Rutherford laughed again. "This beats all. I will go out tonight to Momma's grave and have a long laugh with her."
Brent stated, "I always liked your mother even though I only knew her for a few years when she took me in after my mother died."
A tear ran down Rutherford's cheek. "When the doctors told us she only had two years to live, I took her on her dream trip to Europe and Ireland. We should never have taken that side trip to Transylvania." He sighed. "Of course, I didn't believe in vampires then."
Brent said, "It was hard for me to believe, too, when your Momma told me what you were as she was dying. I promised her I would take care of you then."
"This is no life for one so young."
"But, Master, I am content. I have my library work and the peaceful life out here. And now I have a motorcycle and biker week." He stood up. "Wait a minute, Master." He soon returned with a square box wrapped in red tissue paper with a white bow. "Happy birthday!"
"Brent, I had forgotten." Rutherford opened a box to find a motorcycle helmet inside. "Awesome! As Amanda likes to say." The helmet was white with red letters sprayed on "Ride On." He held up it, exclaiming, "This is the best present I ever got. We must go for a ride tonight."
Rutherford said, "But first I have to call Zeke and then somehow get myself off the Social Security checks. It'll be hard to make it but we don't want G-men on our backs."
Brent smiled. "Master, it's only 175 shopping days till Halloween. I've got some pictures from the internet for costume ideas for our Halloween bash this year."
Rutherford examined the pictures. "Wow, perfect. We'll both have to let our hair grow long, and I'll have to give up blond hair. You know, it's strange but blond hair gives me a special feeling of empowerment. I can't explain it."
"Master, who will we invite to our Halloween party this year? Remember all the other vampires used to laugh and call you names. We don't want them here," Brent reminded him.
"Well, I've been thinking of that. I'll very quietly contact the underground reluctant vampires, Biters Anonymous. Maybe we'll even call Amanda and Blue Lips."
Brent suggested, "How about Mr. Locke Heart at the library and those strange ladies who always flirt with you?"
Rutherford's cheeks turned light pink. "Oh, you mean those four who chase me and try to cook for me and kiss me, the dollar store mafia, threatening mayhem to all those who would dare grab the best bargains from them? I don't think so, but Heart, okay."
Brent handed Rutherford a glass of red liquid, and he held up his glass of pop. "Master, a toast. Life is good."
Rutherford smiled. "You might even say fangtastic."
To purchase a copy of Beverly's book, Gothic Bedtime Stories, contact her at P. O. Box 803, Alderson, WV, 24910 or by email: hbpoe(at)excite.com. The cost of the book is $15.00 -- mention the Piker Press for free shipping.