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To Have And Then To Have Not

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So it was Forties Theme Night at the Blue Parrot, okay? In fact every night was Forties Theme Night.

What can I say? I liked the forties. They were a good decade for me, what with the war and the chaos and the a-holes in uniforms throwing their cash around. I made a packet - enough to retire for at least a century or two.

But I missed being in business, you know? So I came back, and I was doing nicely, thank you very much, until they walked into my bar and ruined everything.

Not that they looked so much like trouble at the start, you understand, or the boys would've dealt with them right away (so I kid myself). In fact, I was pleased when I first saw 'em, cuz they'd made an effort. The guy wore a double breasted suit with a white pocket square and a homburg hat, just like Bogart, and he had the look about him of someone who'd lived through it all, you know? An old timer, like me.

I was even wondering if maybe we'd met back in the day. Plenty of us vamps around back then that's for sure - living high, playing hard, dining like kings on human war and misery.

He looked the part is what I'm saying, 'cept maybe for the platinum blond dye-job, which no self-respecting guy back then would've had for fear of being called a sissy.

The broad- well, she didn't seem so at home in the gear. Kid had probably never worn a girdle before (I'm guessing here), and she wore her hair way too loose and natural. But she was still quite a dish in the little check two-piece and the black beret, even if she was (so I thought) more girl-next-door than femme fatale.

I couldn't have been more wrong though, could I? Just goes to show that when it comes to the crunch, centuries of experience don't mean bupkis in the great scheme of things.

There I was, the band doing a passable imitation of Glenn Miller, the two lovebirds cutting a rug all over the dance floor like there's no tomorrow, in the middle of the most important deal of my life, Big Eddy just about to hit me with a whole sackful of squirming siamese beauties, when suddenly this big red axe comes flashing down and nearly takes my head off.

It's the little blonde dame, close enough for me to catch her scent and realise that for guys like me, you don't get more fatale than this femme.

"Have I mentioned lately," she says, in a vicious tone, holding the axe blade to my neck, "how much I hate drugs dealers?" Then she blinks, and says, "Or, in this case, kitten dealers, which is kind of the same thing with you vamps, which I'll never understand, but anyway, whatever."

And with that, she snatches the sack of kittens off the table and upends it, and suddenly there're shrieking little balls of fluff digging their claws in everywhere. The guy in the hat, meanwhile, is gazing at the broad like she's the second coming, but then he flexes his wrists and stakes drop into his hands from out the sleeves of his immaculate suit jacket (at the same time, I remember where I saw him before - outside Frankfurt in '45, chowing down on some SS obergruppenfuhrer with that creepy brunette dame he used to run with (he had black hair then too)- and I open my mouth to yell "Spike, you race traitor," but it's too late, he's already moving, and the next minute Big Eddy's disappeared in a cloud of dust).

After that, all hell breaks loose.

Other days, other times, it might have gone differently (so I kid myself). Maybe the boys would have taken the two of them out back and taught them a lesson they wouldn't forget in a hurry. Maybe my deal with Big Eddy would've gone down like it was supposed to.

Or maybe not.

Either way, it doesn't matter. Neither does the fact that the boys all ended up like Big Eddy, little piles of dust in the corners, and the Slayer and her vamp squeeze slow-danced to Moonlight Serenade till morning.

And why doesn't it matter? On account of the fact that I was the first vamp she slayed that night, that's why. So I'm telling you all this from a much worse place.

But you win some, you lose some, right? We all sleep the big sleep one day.