aka a Story, a Boo and a Question.
This story is part 8 in the Northern Vampire series. It follows on directly from my story Answers Part 3, which can be found here. I have a blog page here that lists all my vampire stories in chronological order.
I'm in Newcastle, for my sins, sorting out the refurb of Lucien's new club. It's in a back lane off the Bigg Market, a bit of a dive, used to be a solicitor's offices.
Lucien's got this team of Polish builders in, and I don't understand a word they say but they're a canny bunch of lads. At least the foreman, Marek, speaks a bit of English. They seem to like me too, which might have something to do with me sorting out that traffic warden who came sniffing around the first night they were here. They're dossing down on site, see, and their van's on the double yellows out front.
I was in the office when it happened – I heard raised voices and a lot of Polish so I went down to see what was up and there's this little parking vulture tapping away at his computer. He was going to give them a ticket and Marek was doing his nut, so I called the warden over, showed him my fangs and told the specky little twat to piss off. God, I hate traffic wardens.
What do you mean, worried about drawing attention to myself? Bollocks! We're fireproof we are, well, you know what I mean. Friends in all the right places.
We've had no trouble since, and the van's been there a month now; funny, that.
I'm not enjoying sleeping on the office floor mind, it's not what I'm used to, too much like being back on the streets. Marek said yesterday he was surprised they didn't wake me during the renovations.
'We make early start, every day. Finish late,' he says, 'hammering, banging, all the time.'
They've been taking a wall down.
'But we not see you. You not disturb by our work?'
I shake my head.
He shakes his, 'You must sleep sleep of dead, no?' then jabbers something in Polish at Stanislav who's just put a nail through his hand, the silly sod.
He doesn't see me smile as I excuse myself. I tell him the sight of blood makes me nauseous and he laughs. It doesn't of course, it makes me hungry and it wouldn't do to eat the staff.
They also like me 'cos I can drink them under the table, which is no mean feat if you've seen how much Polish vodka these lads can put away; 95% proof it is and you could probably run your car on it. It's an interesting fact though, that I can still drink, but no matter how much alcohol I pour down my neck I never get pissed. Impresses Marek no end, that does.
You remember that woman in the back of my white van? Yeah, that's the one. Turns out she was a “goodwill gesture” from Lucien to the head lad up here, something about sealing the deal in blood, Lucien says. Aye that's right, we're everywhere if you'd only look, not too hard though, you might not like what you find.
In the end I swapped vans in an industrial estate in Gateshead a night late, but I reckon we must have got away with it because I haven't heard anything about the late delivery since.
The deeds to the club and a bundle of used fifties were in the glove box as arranged, which is handy 'cos Marek's very obliging for cash.
The only bother we've had so far is with the knuckle-dragging arseholes who owned the club further up the street. They reckon they're hard lads, Geordie Benson and the Bigg Market Boys they call themselves. Bunch of wankers. Anyway, two of them caught Tomas having a fag out the back by the bins the other night and gave him a right good going over. Broke all his fingers, which is a bit of a bastard, him being a chippy.
Piotr found him, he's Marek's gas fitter. He comes in all full of hell, the veins on his neck in danger of bursting. I had to look away. When I found out what had occurred I was all for calling the emergency number Lucien gave me, but Marek's all, 'Is no problem. We take care of this.'
He looks at me with this half smile and an expression that'd chill you to the bone. He scares the fuck out of me when he's like that, and I'm a vampire. I wouldn't want to have to take him on. He'd lose, but still.
'I was not always builder,' is all he says and I believe him.
Next morning's gas explosion, that's what plod says it is and who am I to argue, completely levels Geordie's place, taking him and most of his crew with it. We knew they were still in there 'cos Tomas had been casing the place from our front window. Poor sod couldn't do much else, his fingers splinted like that, just watch, drink vodka and curse.
I met Geordie the first day I arrived. He couldn't wait to pop over and “introduce” himself. I put two of his lads in hospital that time. Fat, greasy bastard is, was, Geordie. Forehead like a set of stepped balconies and beady eyes like a rat, but you could see the menace behind them. Smoked like a chimney too and didn't give a fuck about rules and regulations. I'm pretty sure the anti-smoking law didn't extend as far as Geordie's office in the club, I just neglected to appraise Marek of that fact.
Turns out Piotr was over there the night before after closing time, doctoring the booze in Geordie's office so they were all sound asleep when it blew. I never did find out how he got in, probably best not to ask, know what I mean?
I think Marek and Piotr only planned to gas Geordie and his lads but hey, two birds with one stone and all that. Lucien's club should do quite nicely now the competition's out of the picture.
Anyhow, I'd better get on. We open tomorrow night and there's still a million and one things need doing. I've got pole dancers to interview for one thing, and the very thought is making me peckish.
And now, as Monthy Python would say, for something completely different...
Having been “encouraged” for months I have finally, and with much trepidation, taken the plunge and recorded the above story as an AudioBoo. If you could spare me a couple of minutes, four minutes and fifty-five seconds to be precise, to have a listen and to hear the world-famous voice that has been described as a cat gargling with spanners for the first time, please hit Play below; I'd appreciate it. I have the perfect voice for print, so don't say I didn't warn you!
And finally, the question, well, three questions really: how does listening to the story as opposed to reading it change your perception of my character and story? Would you care to hazard a guess at the number of spanners the cat is gargling with? And, should I do it again?
If you'd like to read my thoughts on AudioBoo as a concept, last year I was kindly invited to write a guest post for Tony Noland's Landless blog.