The problem with vampires, Dave mused, was that the moment a new get broke through the dirt, he had aspirations. He couldn't just be content to drain a few helpless victims and stay out of trouble. No, he had to have a gang and start plotting the world's destruction, before he'd even changed out of his funeral clothes. He thought he was bloody Lestat, rather than just the latest in a long line of completely ordinary vamps.
And by "he", Dave specifically meant the leather-jacket-and-jeans-wearing poser holding court in the corner of the bar.
Still, they were buying plenty of drinks, so what did he care?
Dave shrugged, and kept mixing pigs blood spritzers, still keeping an eye on that corner table.
There were five of them. Mr I-think-I'm-Lestat, of course, a nerd who actually was still wearing his funeral suit, another one modelling a fedora and tie as if he was in the Mafia, one who clearly thought wearing a Metallica t-shirt made him look hardcore, and one who Dave had mentally christened Elmer Fudd, because that's the way he talked.
Not that he'd called the guy "Elmer" to his face. Dave was incredibly confident and sarcastic, but he wasn't fucking stupid.
Unlike these idiots, who were huddled around their table talking in hushed voices - because, obviously, that's the way criminal masterminds communicate - thereby proving that they had no idea what they were doing.
First rule of sinister plans: don't look like you're planning anything sinister.
The rest of the bar had that rule down pat.
The two Churoche demons in the front were cheerfully comparing photos of their kids, and also (Dave had discovered while restocking the peanuts) discussing which office building they were going to set on fire next; the friendly game of darts was being used as cover for the weekly meeting of the Tempest Gang; the little girls throwing coasters at each other down at the back table might look like a flock of mini-vamps out for a night on the town, but they were almost certainly up to something more interesting. Not to mention all the regulars, happily getting drunk, and saving their evil plots for a more appropriate venue.
Lestat and his groupies, meanwhile, were still trying for the hushed voices routine - and weren't doing it very well. You could hear every word they were saying.
"…going to take it any longer. Damn humans think they own this town."
"Yeah. Stupid humans."
"We'll show em."
"Um… how?" That was Funeral Nerd, who didn't seem to get that the point of being a minion was to nod along enthusiastically until the leader told you the next bit.
"What d'you mean, how? We're going to take back the town!"
"Yeah, but how?"
Dave rolled his eyes, and carried a beer down to the back table, where he was greeted with a chorus of excited giggles, and the glass was taken with a nod by the only person at the table not wearing pigtails.
The gang-of-the-damned were still plotting, loudly.
"Yeah! Heaps of people just walking around waiting to be killed. We'll slaughter them all, and turn all the best ones."
Rule two: don't let random bystanders hear your evil plan, you absolute idiots.
Mr Mafia leaned forward, and said confidentially, "I know that mall inside out. The food court is always packed - we'll start there, and move out to take the rest of them."
"Good plan," Lestat nodded.
Rule three: if you come up with the stupidest plan in the history of mankind, keep your mouth shut.
Also, learn to block the exits before you start the slaughter.
Dave could have given lessons in how to be successfully evil. He'd been working here for eight years - knew every trick in the book.
The only reason he hadn't started running a correspondence course was because he was human, and technically not actually evil.
Plus, bartending paid better.
And also, he knew which of his clientele not to piss off.
But, if his Evil In Five Easy Weeks program was up and running, he still wouldn't let these morons in on it.
They were so dense they hadn't even noticed who else was in the bar.
"We'll line them all up, and pick the best fighters to join our gang."
Funeral Nerd chimed in again. "We'll have to turn some chicks too, man."
Great idea. Can't get a girlfriend, so make your own. "That didn't work out for Frankenstein either, idiot," Dave muttered, wiping the counter.
"So, when are we doing this? Tomorrow?"
"Nah, why wait? The mall's open tonight - let's hit it now!"
They high-fived each other, and walked confidently out of the bar, tossing Dave a tip as they went past.
Forty bucks. The tip of someone who thinks he's having a good night.
They were, at any rate, good tippers, Dave conceded. And they hadn't made too much mess, or broken any furniture. So, all in all, pretty good customers.
Too bad he'd never see them again.
The woman at the back table stood up, and said, "Okay. Listen up, newbies," and the little girls stopped giggling and went silent.
As did the rest of the bar.
"You've seen our target group. Who can tell me where they're going?"
A girl wearing a Bratz t-shirt put her hand up eagerly.
"The mall on fifth street."
"Good. Okay, we're going in three teams, and we're undercover, so just stakes. No swords, Melanie - clear?" A blonde girl who looked about ten nodded glumly, and the older woman grinned, and tossed back the rest of her beer. "Okay, let's move out."
The girls stood up and started making their way outside, chattering excitedly and comparing weapons.
Their leader stopped at the bar and handed over some bills. "Thanks, Dave."
"No problem, Slayer. Have a good training session."
She rolled her eyes, but grinned. "These kids are wearing me out. I swear, I hear one more discussion about painting axes pretty colours, and I'm gonna snap."
"See you later."
"See you, Faith."
She left, and Dave walked down to start cleaning up the back table.
He felt slightly weird about standing around letting his customers kill each other, but really, if they were going to start plotting the town's destruction in front of a bunch of over-excited Slayers, what did they expect?