Once I did a quick read of the email, I figured I wasn't going to be getting counseling from Dr. Phil about my unknown cyber friend. Nothing rang in the note implying bank account numbers or gift cards were desired. Nope, just little old me. My interest was piqued and I re-read the unsolicited email I'd found in my inbox.
Subject: Can't we all just get along?
I know you don't know me from Jack Sparrow but I am concerned. Can't spell it all out here but I am on your side. Last night's events, though unexpected, aren't exactly tragic. Once Bob's escapades are out and public, they will be I guarantee it, nobody will shed a tear at his death. Enough of that here. We need to connect.
If you are up to it can I suggest tonight we try to meet just after sunset. Bethany can vouch for me.
Head up the coast. Where the surf meets the turf. Seafood is best along the beach. Pick one of the patios and I'll drop by to say hi.
Admittedly I read the entire email three times and was confused more than ever. Who the hell was Davy Martin? There wasn't a single vampire I could recall using that name. But that wasn't saying too much since we changed our names nearly as often as a kid changes oil on his new car. Okay, maybe a bit more time passed but not too much more than a few decades. The age of information made it a tighter window on how long we could 'live' unnoticed in humanity. Botox and face lifts helped stretch the lies for both humans and supernatural creatures but not nearly enough.
Pondering the words in the email, I felt like his reference to Jack Sparrow was supposed to ring a bell. Hell, I knew plenty of pirates. Pirates came in more flavors than most humans realized. Buccaneers of all ilk -- good and bad. Some were on the wrong side of history and took to the oceans to escape consequences of those choices while others went to sea for riches untold and usually unfound on the backs of others work. Corsairs. Privateers. River Pirates. The list went on as did the varying faces from my salty past. The private captains with secret parchments swearing the backing of journeys made in dangerous uncharted water during chaotic times in the past. I'd long broken away from those and their families who my Master had paid richly to get his clan to the New World many centuries in my past. They were Viking pirates traveling under the black flag and those men had been just human, so it wasn't like they were still walking amongst us -- my Master hadn't turned anyone new on the trip overseas to the new promised riches. I recall a few of my Master's vampire friends on the trip but nobody jumped out in my memory. The land and freedom we all craved worth every second of the grueling journey. Even though we'd left persecution in Europe we, my Master and our clan, still held to the standards of our culture -- not something all the European Vampires could say. Vampires like pirates came in good and bad flavors but I was happy for the most part to be from a line that didn't unnecessarily harm humans.
I continued on my mental journey running through the lengthy sea trip -- travel to Caribbean islands -- where we didn't stay long as the weather was unpleasant and hurricanes too frequent to suit our natures and I decided it didn't much matter. I wasn't up to the game at the moment but now I knew I had an option. Not a necessarily good option but something other than running. I was just tired of running. I also admit to a heavy dose of curiosity about the once 'possible' pirate wanting beach side dinner. Life was a funny set of mistakes and bad choices in my world, all of which could be instant death or more years on earth. It was in my court. It had to be one of those associates of my Master who was teasing me. I guess I wanted to play ball with Davy. I debated replying but figured if Davy was computer savvy enough to find my hidden email account and he'd also alluded to my current name the odds were high that he had return receipts attached to his emails so he knew I'd read it -- if nothing else -- even exactly when I'd read it.
I was fluent in the mysterious clues scattered through the email and knew he was saying he'd be in Del Mar along the beach -- the 'turf meets the surf' line of his email was alluding to an annoyingly catchy little song from the nearby horse racing track built back in the thirties. It gained a crowd in the forties, aside from minor inconvenience of World War II when it was dark, it was heavily favored by the Hollywood elite -- the famous and infamous stars and back lot nobility who liked to play the ponies while still in America. It was billed as the Saratoga of the West for summer racing. The racetrack was serviced by the Santa Fe Railroad with enticing prices and direct from Los Angeles down to Del Mar for that elite bettor and casual well-dressed spectators hoping to be discovered and shoot into the vaulted stars pantheon via marriage or a defining role -- it rarely mattered.
The track still operated but the train service from the Del Mar Depot had long gone the way of progress and more and more betting was off track and on a computer. But the town of Del Mar had remodeled the old girl to be a northern San Diego dining destination with more and more upscale restaurants. Giving it some quick thoughts, I figured that there were only a few outside patios in the small seaside village that I could think of that would qualify for the blind meeting but I was aware of one I could easily find a table if I tipped enough at the door. They were upscale but casual -- meaning drinks went for twenty bucks and food fell along the same prices. I focused inward and began working my way mentally through the evening ahead.
Flying around my place, I decided to pack a light purse with enough toys and cash to still be liquid if needed. I really didn't want to run and it sounded like Davy was giving me different opportunity or another possibility. Or I was utterly wrong and he was the latest clean-up enforcer sent by East coast Vampire council and I'd be out of Southern California before too many more hours -- hopefully still with my wits and head. With the council's involvement that wasn't guaranteed at any time. So many fun choices ahead for me I could see. I decided to skip overthinking my evening and instead pick out clothes to wear that were flexible enough should I need to move quickly. Toying with my designer bullet proof layer, I concluded Davy wouldn't actually shoot me even if he was a bad boy vampire killer but more than likely he's just slash me -- flaying me open to slow me down -- before completely beheading me. Kevlar didn't really do enough when tested by heavy knife coupled with vampire speed and strength. Instead I went for comfort and layers. I elected to wear the unnoticed California casual-not over-the-top designer but nicely basic. Naturally long sleeved black thermal shirt to start from there dark black thin leg jeans, dark leather boots and a quilted flat black vest. I skipped bright and shiny jewelry not wishing to attract any more attention than needed. From the weather report I'd seen the odds that another heavily foggy night was on the agenda and I was quite happy at the forecast. Del Mar was one of the parts of the county that got extremely thick with the marine layer, and the wet weather would help camouflage me if needed.
There were still some hours before sunset, so I set about transferring funds to long established hidey holes I had used in my monied past. Part of living beyond an eighty year or so lifespan like healthy humans was that money could be accumulated if properly invested. I knew how to invest, and my favorite spot was in real estate for long term investing and people in the right places for my short-term challenges. That ticked another idea into my rapidly twisting brain. I needed some insurance before heading out to meet up with Davy. Another supernatural creature would be easily detected by any vampire worth his or her salt. I didn't have my own clan, but I did have some what humans referred to as 'minions,' I guess. They weren't the vampiric minions with whom I'd shared blood or forced by my talents. I didn't think of them as minions, no, I tended to think of them as more like overpaid lackies. Mankind's current romancing with the pop-up and gig economy had created pockets of desperate folks who never were far from major cities and for the right amounts of money would do damn near anything. I had plenty of money, so it was just a matter of picking the best companion for me.
My newly charged phone did have my previously used and varied gig economy apps already loaded so I took a minute to evaluate which gave me the best possibilities and how to frame my request into the app. Applications could get food delivered, cars to borrow, rides, small time homeowner repairs and a host of thirsty kids willing to do damn near anything for a few bucks wired instantly into their online banking accounts. I was back to pacing and tapping my lips while contemplating my evening's companion. Then it came to me -- simply request a young man as an escort for a dinner. It could be code for sex to some I knew, but I knew how to phrase my request to get my desired helpmate. Caleb had been one of my first finds in San Diego who was willing to do off the book jaunts for spare coin and he was discreet. I sent off my request and in about ten minutes later I got a text confirming my dinner date and it was with Caleb -- as I'd used him before and he was available. Not five minutes later an email from Caleb showed up addressed to me -- Bethany -- not Lana -- and asking me what was up and should he bring anything other than his appetite.
I replied dress for the beach and be ready to run if need be. I didn't go into any more detail but then he was pretty quick on the uptake. I figured he'd bring a weapon without my asking because I'd asked him to bring one before once or twice if the truth be told. He was unexpected as a date, which I figured would keep Davy from attacking me immediately and if I decided that I didn't want to talk with Davy once I saw him, I'd plead my date couldn't be broken and I would catch up with him in the future, when more convenient. Caleb was tall and lean, he had dark shoulder length brown hair with sleepy-looking hazel eyes. Over the years I'd gotten to know Caleb and what made him tick. He surfed and skied around the state and had the vibrant energy of men in their mid-thirties coupled with a boyish charm that disarmed people into casually dismissing him as not very bright but easy on the eyes. On his mind, they'd be wrong since he currently held two hard earned degrees from the local college in La Jolla and was currently working on his masters. Ironically, it was the field of history that captured Caleb's study. He'd freak out had he ever known how much of the books he studied were just names to him but slices of life I'd lived. Small talk wasn't in my wheelhouse, but Caleb would've geeked had I ever revealed my true background.