Pain in the Neck

The inky earth trembled as the King of the Undead thrust a ghastly hand from his grave. Clutching a solitary blood rose, a second hand writhed to the surface. As he clutched his marble resting place, he lifted his maw and roared, “Hell is too small for Dad Ragu!”
“Cut!” Ramsay shouted gripping his ginger locks. “Look, Seth, the name is Vlad Dracul. It’s your character’s name, dude.”
Seth sneezed as dirt fell from his head. “Dracul, right. Why can’t we use Dracula? It is so hard to remember words and stuff.”
“Let’s roll, Action.”
“Ivan Magoo!”
“Cut.”
“Van Da Cool.”
“Cut,”
“Vlad Achoo.” Seth burst into a series of sneezing. “Is this dirt organic? I specified organic dirt.”
“Cut! Cut! Cut!” Ramsay could feel the veil of blood rage slipping behind his eyes. The world was red and black. He buried his head and steadied his ancient heart. “Sorry, I mean let’s take fifteen guys.”
“Coffee, Red.” Ramsay’s head snapped up. Jude, sweet Jude of craft services with the Scooby Doo tee shirt and chunky black eyeglasses , smiled up at him. Ramsay recognized the sarcastic shimmer behind those frames.
“Not you, not today,” Ramsay said. “What do you want Eupraxia?” Before cell phones and the internet there was NightSpeak, the way powerful vampires can talk to each other through the bodies of especially weak willed humans.
“Is that any way to greet an old friend?” Jude/Eupraxia purred and drank from the lidded coffee cup she had brought him.
“Bye Felicia.” Ramsay stalked to his trailer. With a burst of super speed, Jude/Eupraxia surged to the trailer door. Blocking his path.
“The Cloud of Elders put a lot of money into this production and they are not the kind you want to make unhappy. Our HR guy is literally a guy with an axe. Literally. Honestly from what I’ve seen this morning your film makes Howard the Duck look like Shakespeare. They will not be happy.”
Ramsay punched his trailer and the whole thing shivered. It was all he could do to keep from picking it up and throwing it.
“You’re right.” Ramsay had glamoured his way into film school and spent most of his career making commercials and dating influencers. But this film was his passion, the history of his kind from the inside. Ramsay had written the script and workshopped it. His blood and sweat was a turning into a B movie. In shame, Ramsay turned away.
Stroking his throat, Jude/Eupraxia soothed him in the old language. Ramsay slumped and rested his forehead on her head.
She added in English. “Personally I think you’re an asshat but I believe in your script. I believe in this film’s potential. Art can inspire. So stop screwing up.” The old friends laughed. He took the coffee cup and downed the coagulated liquid.
“Hey Ram I have a few ideas ‘bout the script I want to spitball.” Quickly their heads in unison. The lead actor instinctively leapt back. Eupraxia stood on Jude’s tip toes and whispered into Ramsay’s ear, “Knock ‘em dead.”
Dreamily, Jude walked back to the snack table forgetting the last few minutes with each step.
Ramsay spread open his arms, released his fear, and embraced his inner beast. Seth blanched.
Ramsay growled, “No instead of the lines let’s discuss your professionalism over a quick bite.”

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