Excerpt from . . .
Eight Pints of Trouble
by George Earl Parker
LORD OF THE DARK
Transylvania – Present Day
He lingered in the darkest
shadows staring at a shimmering pool of white light as
the roar of a thousand dragons filled his ears. Like a
tragic lover in a mystery play seeking the most ardent
of his heart’s desires, he had often stood in such
fashion, lusting after one sweet caress, while
restraining himself from leaping into the soft warm
“She lives to enchant,” he
murmured. “She is a temptress, sometimes cold and
sometimes hot, but always alluring.”
Her radiance had beguiled
him for centuries: what would it be like if he fell
under her spell? What dreams awaited him? What
nightmares? What adventures?
The wind whispered through
the trees urging him on, while a stab of doubt struck
him in the chest with such force he couldn’t move. What
if his miraculous cure was a lie? Stepping into a beam
of full sunlight was instant death to a vampyre. It
vexed him mightily to hesitate, for hesitation was not
his strongest suit.
“There shall be one death
here today,” he told the breeze. “One way or another, I
shall be reduced to dust, or I shall die to myself and
Mere steps away, rays of
sunlight spilled through the leafy canopy, and danced
seductively on the forest floor.
It’s now or never,
he thought. For if there was one thing he’d gleaned from
centuries of nocturnal meditation, it was that a step in
any new direction required trust. Trust was the key to
His constitution steeled, he
flexed his muscles to move, and a spine-chilling roar
screamed out of nowhere, followed by blinding flashes of
He was perplexed. Was this
some evil necromancy designed to staunch his flow into
the future? Or was it a warning, that hideous beasts
would tear him limb from limb if he dared try?
It was a conundrum of epic
proportions. But in the vast complexity of it all he was
reminded of his lineage: he was a nobleman, a lord. His
bloodline would not allow him to vacillate; he made
decisions and adhered to them for good or bad.
As the sands ran out for
hesitation he gathered up his fear, turned its power to
courage, and stepped into the light.
It had been forever since
he’d stood inside a sunbeam, and this wasn’t just one,
this was a thousand of them crisscrossed in every
direction over his path. The wind breathed a sigh of
relief, and the leaves shook and chattered wildly, as
rays of sunlight jiggled, danced, splashed and played
all around him.
He had been absolutely
incapable of emotion for as long as he could remember,
but instantly he found himself surfing the tunnel of a
tidal wave that emanated from deep in his beleaguered
soul. He shook like an erupting volcano, shed tears like
a raging waterfall, and his ears ached from the pure
unmitigated joy that pounded out of his heart.
It had worked! Nothing could
stop him now; he was free, free to do as he pleased
The maddening roar of beasts
had grown to a stampede, and their growling and snarling
was drowning his thoughts. Leaving the pool of light, he
moved toward the source of the sound. He gazed one way
and the other along a living green wall, as if a huge
pair of clippers had trimmed the forest like a massive
hedge, as far as the eye could see.
He reached out, parted some
leaves, and gazed at a gooey, oozy, gray mess of motion
that confounded him beyond belief. Is this more spell
binding? He wondered, then it dawned on him, the tears
of joy he had shed so abundantly were obscuring his
vision. Blinking them away, he gazed curiously upon a
scene he had no words in his mind to describe.
Huge metal beasts of all
shapes and sizes roared by on round rubber legs. No,
no, no, he told himself, they’re not legs, they’re
wheels! It was true, they were wheels, but they moved
ten times faster than those on any horse-drawn carriage.
What on earth had happened?
Overnight he had changed, and inexplicably the world
around him had also changed. It was a profound mystery,
but one he would have to solve later, because just
yesterday evening he had made a promise to Igor that he
would start afresh in a land called America, and a
gentleman never breaks a promise.
Transylvania – 150 Years
He was dead but it didn’t
matter, he awoke on the stroke of sunset every single
night, and had done so for what seemed like an absolute
eternity. He had a memory, an excellent memory, and he’d
had a privileged education in the days when an education
of any sort was hard to come by. He was used to the
finer things in life like powdered wigs and Chinese silk
underwear, crystal champagne flutes and string quartets,
absolute power and unquestioning loyalty.
In those brief and fleeting
moments, an eyelid flutter away from consciousness, he
seemed to recall scenes from a happier existence, a time
to which he wished to return. But that was before the
hunger set in. A ravenous hunger that emanated from
mystical depths, haunted his heart like a petulant
ghost, and transmuted itself into a lust for blood.
He was the father of
millions, millions who lay like him in rat-infested
basements. He was their king, the king of the undead,
the High Lord Count Dracula, and he was really bored
with this ridiculous existence.
What king ever had to put up
with this night in and night out? He asked himself.
There wasn’t one example he could recall, and always
during this momentary suspension of time he would
realize one very tiny but significant fact. The
difference between good and evil was only one's point of
It was an infinitesimal
moment that swept past him on his long highway of
darkness. It was a seed, and it is the nature of seeds
to take root, no matter where they sprout. Flinging back
the coffin lid, he roared out a blood-curdling cry, a
cry that pierced the day like a dagger, and plunged it
For hundreds of years his
experience of time had been disjointed. It seemed like
he was everywhere and nowhere, both present and missing.
He was an enigma to himself, and he knew in his heart of
hearts there had to be something better.
He was enslaved by blood.
Virgin blood was his elixir; it sang to him like a
siren, and he chased its sweet mystery from dusk until
dawn. During this night he had found and entranced a
beautiful young maiden who knew nothing about the union
of male and female. She was pure and unsullied, and he
was just about to sink his super sharp canines into her
neck when a cursed crowd rushed out of the darkness
brandishing crosses, garlands of garlic, wooden stakes,
and torches of fire.
It was getting more and more
difficult to dine like the aristocrat he was; these
mortals were all over his ass like a bad case of
hemorrhoids, and the outcome was always the same: run
like the wind before he could even imbibe one drop of
the precious sweet elixir.
He had plenty of money. The
Swiss bank in which he had deposited his vast family
fortune had increased his wealth tenfold. His nocturnal
gypsy-like existence had forced him to invest in
numerous real estate holdings, because the cursed
peasants were continually burning his house down, and he
always needed another to run to.
After each debacle, of
course, he would quietly order his bankers to sell the
land, which invariably netted a very tidy profit, and in
this way he had steadily doubled his fortune again. It
was the strange irony of evil, and the more he stared at
his monthly bank statements the more he craved release
from hatred and derision.
As he ran through the
forest, wet branches and leaves slapped against his face
and hands. Behind him he could hear wolfhounds howling
amid voices shouting curses intended to strike him dead,
and as he got closer to the quaint little glade where
his farmhouse stood, he realized that once again the
damned peasants had torched his lair.
The raging fire threw
sparks, flames, and billowing smoke into the air as he
burst through the edge of the forest, ran up the path,
and disappeared into the blazing doorway. He thought not
of himself but of the one faithful mortal who had stuck
with him through thick and thin: his trusted Igor.
Holding the damp sleeve of his coat to his mouth, and
dodging burning debris, he made his way to the study.
There his eye met the cruel vision of his manservant
trapped beneath a burning beam, and a wave of sadness
washed over him.
Igor’s shaven head poked out
through shards of charred wood and the tattoos that
adorned every inch of his skin seemed to glow in the
“Igor, my poor Igor, dead
too soon,” cried the Count, kneeling beside the lifeless
form. He swept debris from the short stocky body,
remembering how simple the man was, how compassionate,
“I’m not quite dead, sir,”
said a voice through a cloud of smoke, “I’m just stuck
under this bloody beam.” The Count stared down at the
startled wild eyes that shone from the tattooed face.
“Trusted friend, faithful
servant, what can I do for you?” he asked helplessly,
extending his hand.
“Save yourself, sir,” Igor
“No, Igor, this is the end.
I shall perish with you, and extinguish my evil ways
forever in this purifying fire.”
“I appreciate the gesture,
sir, but you can’t do that, you’ve got an eternity ahead
of you. Just think of all the things you’d miss!”
“No, this curse I bear is a
wretched existence. I can’t enjoy my money, and I
certainly can’t go anywhere, it must end.”
“You could do something
about it, sir,” Igor wheezed, “if you’re sincere about
giving up your evil ways.”
“I am, I am,” the Count
lamented. “It’s very depressing, every time I stop
somewhere for a light snack people go crazy, and they’re
always so vicious.”
“I’ve heard of a place, sir,
a land of the free where you can hold your head up high
The Count was intrigued.
“But Igor, where is this place? Tell me, and we shall be
“No, it’s not for me, sir,”
he coughed, “and anyway, the villagers will save me,
they always do.”
“It’s true,” replied the
Count. “They appreciate your simple honesty, as do I.
So, tell me the name of this place.”
“Oh no, sir, first you have
to promise to give up your evil ways.”
“But how can I do that?” The
Count asked. “I’m an addict, I sleep all day and run
around craving blood all night.”
“Now, now, sir,” Igor said,
shaking his head, “all you have to do is seek out the
old wizard at the heart of the forest and cross his palm
with silver. He’ll lift your curse; those wizards will
do anything for silver.”
“That’s true!” The Count
declared, astounded. “I just need a powerful wizard to
lift my curse! Brilliant! Why didn’t I think of that
“Because you are enslaved by
your cravings,” Igor answered. “Anything you do night in
and night out eventually becomes boring, and you’ve only
just seen the error of your ways.”
“What a selfless man you
are!” the Count declared. “Unlike me, all ego and
vanity. You truly are my compass, steering me back into
the world of light.”
“So, do you promise?”
“I do, I do, I do,” the
Count repeated fervently. “It’s what I want more than
anything in the world.”
“It makes me so happy to
hear you say that.” Igor beamed. “And once you get off
the blood, you’ll be happy again, you’ll see.”
“So tell me about this
place. Where is it? What’s it like?”
“It’s far away across the
sea,” Igor gushed, “and when you get there, engage a
lawyer to protect you from all this persecution.”
“A lawyer!” The Count
grinned. “What a brilliant idea.”
Although his exuberance was
swiftly thwarted, as howls of dogs, and cries of the mob
stole in from outside.
“Okay, you’d better be off,”
said Igor. “That’ll be the villagers.”
“But, Igor, you haven’t told
me the name of this sanctuary, this paradise!”
“Oh, dear me, no, sir,” he
chuckled, “I didn’t, did I? It’s a new place, hasn’t
been going long; it’s called America.”
The Count jumped to his feet
and stroked his chin. “America,” he repeated. “I’ll
begin a new life there, and make you proud of me, Igor.”
“Goodbye, old friend,” cried
the Count, as the angry crowd rushed in through one
door, and he left by the other.
* * *
As the moon crept through
the sky, the Count waded deeper and deeper into the
dense heart of the forest. For hours he trudged along,
knowing it was imperative to find the wizard before
dawn. He no longer concerned himself with the villagers,
for they wouldn’t follow him this far into the woods;
they were afraid of the enchantments that lurked there.
He normally had an
impeccable sense of direction, and therefore it was some
time before he realized he was completely and utterly
lost. He had no idea whether it was night or day, the
forest canopy was so thick. But he did feel uncommonly
tired. The thought never occurred to him that he needed
to find his coffin, and neither did it seem strange that
he lay down exactly where he was and fell into a deep,
“Who are you and why have
you come here?” an authoritative voice breathed into his
“I am the High Lord Count
Dracula, and I seek the aid and comfort of the esteemed
necromancer who dwells hereabout.”
“Ah, yes,” said the voice
with a hint of resignation, “it was prophesied you would
come one day.”
“To whom am I addressing
myself?” the Count asked.
“I am the wizard Relphig,”
the voice intoned, “and this is the only way I can
appear to you until all your wishes are granted.”
“But you haven’t appeared,”
the Count stated.
“Exactly,” replied the
wizard. “Now what’s the problem?”
“I sleep all day, and I run
around all night craving blood. But I’m bored; I need a
challenge. Something in the world of light.”
“It sounds like you want to
become a saint,” Relphig said questioningly.
“Goodness no,” the Count
laughed, “I want to be right in the middle, between good
“You’ve thought this through
then, you know all of the challenges it encompasses.”
“Yes, my mind’s made up.”
“Your body has to be
altered, it will take some time.”
“Take as much time as you
“Then it’s settled, your
wish is granted.”
He was on wizard time, and
he slept on in the forest for one hundred and fifty
years. Upon awakening his first act was to plunge
himself into a pool of sunlight, after which, with tears
of joy streaming from his eyes, he found himself gazing
through some foliage at a very mystifying scene.
“What are you doing,
mister?” The voice startled him, and he glanced over his
shoulder to see a youth standing behind him. A dark
gothic countenance stared out from beneath a shock of
tangled black hair. He was tall, as skinny as a beanpole
and he was holding drumsticks in his hands with which he
played his body. His black clothes were covered with
metallic studs and clasps, and he exuded
self-confidence, almost to the point of arrogance.
“Who are you?” the Count
asked, letting the leaves fall back and turning around
to face his inquisitor.
“I’m Waldo!” the lad
announced petulantly. “What are you doing?”
The Count smiled and bowed
deeply, holding one hand across his stomach, throwing
the other out level with his shoulder and twirling it
like a propeller. “I am Count Dracula,” he said with a
flourish, his cape rippling in the breeze.
The kid regarded him
stonily, tapping one drumstick against his leg, and the
other on his shoulder. “I wouldn’t use that name if I
were you, not in these parts.”
The Count was perplexed.
“What name should I use then?”
Waldo sneered and shrugged
his shoulders. “Any, just not that one, and I still want
to know what you’re doing.”
“I was watching the metal
beasts stampeding there, beyond the edge of the forest.”
Waldo smiled indulgently.
“Now tell me truly. Have you escaped from the crazy
The Count was baffled.
“What’s a crazy house? I don’t think I’ve ever heard
such a term.”
“Well you’ve got this whole
gothic, Dracula thing going on, but your clothes are
lame. They’re a couple of hundred years out of date. You
look like you’ve just come from a nineteenth-century
fancy dress party,” he declared.
“Well, yes, it is the
nineteenth century, but I have most certainly not come
from a fancy dress party.”
“It’s not the nineteenth
century, you idiot,” Waldo shot back. “It’s the
twenty-first. Are you on some kind of medication? You’re
not dangerous are you?”
The Count grasped at the
straws waving in his mind, and kept his composure. “So
I’m in the future, and these strange metal beasts. . .”
Waldo interrupted him with a
laugh, “They’re cars, automobiles! They're what people
travel around in.”
“What you tell me is
monstrous strange,” the Count mused gravely, “and quite
obviously true.” Recalling recent events, he surmised
there was a time differential between this world, and
the wizard’s world, and he had been thrown into the
future. “I shall need to procure one of these
car-automobiles,” he continued, “for I myself am
journeying to a land called America.”
Waldo had heard some funny
things in his short life, but this insane statement
grabbed him by the scruff of the neck, doubled him up,
and threw him to the ground where he thrashed around
amid explosive howls and guffaws. The Count took a step
back, and regarded him suspiciously.
“Now, you are acting like a
crazy lunatic!” he charged, and with that Waldo erupted
into a body-shaking belly laugh that flipped him over
onto his back like a deranged beetle.
“Oh wow,” Waldo said
breathlessly. “Has nothing ever struck you as being so
funny you just couldn’t stop laughing?”
“No,” the Count replied,
“not in a lifetime I fear.”
Waldo dragged himself up
from the forest floor covered in dead leaves. “You’ve
never laughed? Are you serious?”
“It was never a
requirement,” the Count stated.
“Laughter’s not a
requirement, it just happens spontaneously when
The Count stared back at him
“You really don’t understand
“I think maybe I used to a
long time ago, but I’ve forgotten.”
Waldo stared back at him, at
the gaunt features, the long hair, the pale complexion.
He had to admit, this guy really did look like the Count
Dracula of legend, but he was a mess, and he stank. Then
he imagined him cleaned up, and he put him on a stage
with the biggest Goth band in the world, his band. He
imagined the publicity that would ensue would be
priceless. It could take them to the top and beyond.
“I’ll teach you how to
laugh,” Waldo said, “but first we’re gonna change your
name to Drac. It’s okay to think you’re Count Dracula,
you can play that up as much as you want, it’ll be good
“But I am Count Dracula.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, of course
you are,” Waldo pandered, “but you have to listen to me.
You’re the one who’s lost in this forest in the wrong
century, and I have the solution to get you out of here,
The Count had to admit to
himself the lad had a point.
“So here’s what
we’re gonna do. I’m gonna take you back to the squat and
find you some new clothes, those rags are awful, and you
stink, you need a shower.”
The Count was flabbergasted
at this overly courteous behavior. “I’m speechless,” he
“Yeah, well you haven’t
heard the best part yet.”
“I haven’t?” muttered the
“Not by a long shot, you see
right now the world belongs to the Techno Zombies.”
“The Techno Zombies,” the
Count repeated. “That sounds awful.”
“No, no,” Waldo cautioned.
“It’s great. We’re a Goth band.” The Count stared at
him, utterly and completely mystified by the
terminology. “What the Techno Zombies want, the Techno
Zombies get, and right now the Techno Zombies want you.”
“Because you epitomize
everything we are. You totally look like a vampyre dude,
and all you have to do is walk out on stage a few times
while we play. The crowd’s gonna go wild.”
“I don’t know,” the Count
hesitated, “I have a whole plan, and this Techno thing
seems like a distraction.”
“You’d get paid,” Waldo
“I really don’t need the
“You’d be famous.”
“I’ve been infamous my whole
life, there’s no attraction there.”
“Well, there is one other
thing,” Waldo said, twirling both drumsticks around his
“We’re going to America,”
he said. It was the icing on the cake, and he knew it.
“I’m in,” said the Count.