A Little Laughter Can't Hurt Much by Francesca Quarto

Published on by Francesca Quarto

Lying in the hospital bed was beginning to take a noticeable toll on his attitude. Unfortunately, I was his first visitor that morning after the nurse finished his bed bath, and removed the bedpan.  The pan was discreetly covered with a towel. The patient was grousing under his breath about his privacy being trampled, and trying unsuccessfully to cover his leg.  This appendage jutted out like a white sail; metal pins and armor-like bands threatening any inquisitive hand.  All this apparatus was suspended from a kind of pulley system that appeared to have all the comfort of a medieval torture devise.

I stepped around the departing nurse to announce myself with a warm smile and a tin of his favorite biscuits.  Neither did anything to deflect his growing discontent and malice toward all involved in his enforced confinement.  But then, I really didn't expect much by way of gratitude for saving his sorry rump. 

In retrospect, considering the circumstances that caused the injured femur, it could have been much worse.  I mean, it's extremely rare for a Vampire to listen to the voice of reason.  Though it sounds a bit arrogant, I must admit I have a real gift when it comes to communicating with our blood-sucking adversaries.   It has nothing to do with having a pointy stick and titanium bullets in my gun, and everything to do with being a rather attractive woman.  I successfully used my feminine wiles to convince the Vamp we were no longer a threat, and after he gently kicked my partner's twisted leg, and studied his deadly pale face, he took off.

Seeing my male counterpart, lying like a newly trussed turkey among the pillows and tubing, made me breathe deeply of the germicidal hospital air.  As cantankerous as Roderick is, he is still the only man I can tolerate within touching distance, that I don't have an urge to kill.  His devilishly handsome looks are a plus, but it's his cunningly clever mind that has held my interest for fifteen years.

Good Mother!  Fifteen years as part of the elite Vampire Transition Task Force.  Or, as our fellow cops have dubbed our team, Blood Sucker Exterminators.  Being rather a fashionista,  Roderick despises the image that expression conjures of us running around in filthy coveralls and wielding pitch forks! (Actually, I have been known to use that implement when visiting farmsteads in Braxston county.  That whole farming community was being over-run with Vamps, and they seemed to like using the hay barns to drain their victims.  So...use what's at hand, eh?)

Roderick and I have had a love-hate relationship from our first time fighting the Undead together.  It's become ingrained in all we do together; from hunting and killing Vamps; to making love directly after, to help us bleed off our tensions. (Do excuse that choice of analogies.) 

Our last case was literally thrown in our faces when our team commander was picked-up and hurled at us.  We were in hot pursuit of the Vamp who kidnapped her a few days earlier.   He was hauling her under his arm like a sack of milled wheat when we spotted them.  Our fellow team members knew our success record and suspected we would fall on our faces; we didn't disappoint!  They took up the chase as we struggled under the dead-weight of the fleshy missile.  Commander Maude Smithson is one heck of a cop, but she's also the size of a well-fed Angus steer, with a disposition to match.  She is also Rodrick's greatest nemesis outside of the Vampires we hunt.  They clash like siblings...which unfortunately, they are. 

He's her twin and was sworn into the force the same day she was.  Her upward trajectory was stellar, while his was,  well, let's just say, a tad sluggish.  Roderick spends lots of time improving his genius mind.  He is fond of attending lectures on bizarre and arcane subjects. Two weeks ago it was "How ancient pottery predicts the last cataclysmic event on earth." or something along those lines. He often can be found sitting naked, in a near catatonic state on the floor of his cold garret.  He'll be there for hours, practicing an obscure form of mediation leading to out of body travel.  He never seems completely present, so it must be working.

His fraternal twin Maud, is tougher than the Harley she rides and fearless in the face of an attacking Zombie in full dinning a la carte mode.  Unfortunately, some of the spunk was taken out of her, along with a few liters of blood, allowing the Vamp to use her like a tree trunk in a Scottish hurling contest.  She had the misfortune to be snatched by the notorious Fang Man, himself an avid biker as we learned after her rescue when he took off on a genteel BMW.

This latest mishap with my partner proved to me yet again, Roderick was a magnet; drawing the Fates to inflict severe bodily harm upon his person.  In fact, his record of injuries is longer than the credits to the last episode of our show.

It's true.  We star in our own TV series.  It's based on the reality cop shows that are the rage these days of high crimes and misdemeanors. For forty-five minutes between commercials, we're on live.  Hunting and bringing down the likes of the Zombie baker, or a Vampire gangster like Fang Man.  Our attempted rescue of Maude from the suave gang boss, gave an unexpected boost to our viewership and our ratings shot up like Maude in her inaugural flight.  I'll try to keep Roderick from learning our performance was called, "The perfect comedic relief for these tumultuous times..." It seems our viewers were actually rooting for Fang Man after his launch of the much depleted Maude.  They especially enjoyed the segment where Roderick and I were collapsed like two well-dressed manikins under an avalanche of black leather.  The Producer is already planning a sequel.  Stay tuned as they say.  As soon as he's released...wait a minute....that nurse is back to draw blood.  I hope Roderick will cooperate.  That's an awfully big syringe.  She certainly has a familiar look.  I need a break from this medical environment and the view from his room is boring.  Only the parking facility below and...hmm... is that a BMW bike?
















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