Me: Sorry, let me get my recorder set up.
Vampire: It’s fine.
M: Got it. Okay—wait.
V: What’s up?
M: Hold on, I have to delete some files. Sorry.
V: It’s fine. I’ve got lots of time.
M: Okay, just…one…miiiinuuuute, aaaaand…okay! It’s recording.
V: I have to warn you, man, it’s all going to sound like menacing whispers when you play it back.
M: Oh, dammit.
M: No, no, it’s fine. Okay, I’m just going to take notes. Let me just…okay, we should…
V: What’s up?
M: I brought a dead pen.
V: Ha! Here you go.
M: Oh, man, you’re a life-saver.
V: I wouldn’t go that far.
M: Heh, that’s funny. Okay, so, let me check my notes…got it, first thing, shape-shifting. Is that true?
V: It’s all true.
M: So what, you can become a bat and…what else?
V: Oh, you can become anything if you’re good enough. It’s not like there’s a bat spell, and a wolf spell, and whatever. It’s not about specific abilities, it’s more about having this well of power that you tap into, and can shape with your mind. Vampire power, you know?
M: So what can you do?
V: Me specifically? I can do bat, I can do wolf, and I sometimes do mist, because people expect those. They’re the training wheels shapes, you know? You want them ready for the party. Also I can do a pig, a cat, a bunch of rats, a sort of general dog…thing, and a horse if I’ve just eaten.
M: What’s the hardest?
V: Reptiles and insects. There’s just a lot of moving parts there, you know? You need a really old, powerful mind to control that. They’ve got weird mouths and appendages and organs that you can’t do convincingly if you haven’t really taken the time.
M: What’s the scariest thing you’ve seen one of you guys become?
V: It wasn’t a…specific animal. It was more of a weird mix, a big, violent…thing. It was sort of a bug and an angel?
V: Yeah. That’s the real skill—improv. It’s like free-hand drawing, you know? Just coming up with your own thing off the cuff.
M: Doing animals is easier?
V: Yeah, you know what animals look like. Or at least you have this idea, which is why, sometimes you do animals that are especially, you know…frightening. Cause it’s your mental impressions of that animal. I’ve seen some scary horses, dude. But yeah, improv is tough. The good ones, the super old ones who aren’t totally creepy, they do some really scary improv.
M: Some older vampires aren’t super powerful?
V: No, it’s just…a different use of the power.
M: Different how?
V: Different like…they can hear for miles and miles, and they can come to you in dreams, and they stay alive without feeding for months at a time. But they’re the ones that decided a long time ago that they’d just be this. You know, at the most hardcore level? They aren’t playing at human anymore.
M: Are those the sort of monstery version of you guys?
V: Right. In the sewers and caves and stuff. Really living that deep sea fish life—as little energy as possible, as little attention as possible.
M: So some of you guys don’t go all out freaky.
V: Well, it’s life choices, you know? It’s what you want to do with it all. You can either focus your power on that formal life, that old-school vampire life with capes and everything, or you can go a little more mythical and just dwell in the wilderness.
M: Got it. So, next, capes.
V: Right, naturally, with all the things you could ask me, capes would be next.
M: Should I ask you something else?
V: Well, I know our origin? I know about Egypt. I wasn’t there, just, I know about it, and how it relates to…
V: You want to ask about capes, though, don’t you.
V: Okay, forget it. Go nuts.
M: Cool, so…are capes a thing?
M: Do you own a cape?
V: Of course.
M: You’re not wearing it.
V: This didn’t seem like a cape-worthy event. No offense.
M: Does…what’s your cape like?
V: It’s a double-ply Burgomaster from Vale.
M: Is that a cape company? Are there, like, big cape companies?
M: Are they all run by vampires?
M: I had no idea!
V: Oh, sure. A lot of us have stock in capes. I actually have a decent amount of Vale and Nightside stock.
M: Do capes go in and out of style?
V: Oooh yeah. Let’s not even talk about the Seventies, man. Some of those collars are best left unreferenced.
M: Why aren’t…when do you wear your cape?
V: It’s not an everyday thing. You mostly rock it for formal occasions and big holidays. Halloween, Columbus Day, things like that.
M: October’s a busy month.
V: Yeah, but come on, I assume you guessed that already.
M: Was Christopher Columbus a vampire?
V: He was a familiar. But the Pinta was packed with Spanish and Italian vampires.
M: Man, creepy. Okay, do all vampires like capes?
V: Well, again, the ones who keep things traditional and don’t go underground. Leather trenchcoat is also an acceptable alternative, but that’s a little too modern for most.
M: Isn’t it kind of dangerous for vampires to be running companies making products for other vampires?
V: Oh, they don’t just sell only to other vampires. Most of the big companies have slush funds for its stockholders that’re funded entirely by the LARPing and cosplay communities. It’s where we get that vampire money.
M: Vampire money?
V: Yeah, you know, that walking around money? You probably think of it as little satchels of gold coins. Notice how you rarely see a broke vampire? A vampire freelancer, filling out a 1099-MISC?
M: I assumed that came from living forever and saving cash.
V: It totally does for a lot of us, but, you know, not everyone handles money well.
M: If only there was a course in living forever you could take!
V: Man, I only wish. Living forever does not come with cliff notes.
M: Right, right…well, I guess that’s all I have for you–
V: That’s it? Capes and shape-shifting?
M: Uh…yeah, pretty much. Why?
V: Well, just…I don’t usually give this kind of information to, you know…
V: The ‘M’ word.
M: The ‘M’–mankind?
M: So…wait, mortals?
M: You actually say ‘mortals’?
V: Yeah. It’s a traditional word, like ‘goyim.’
M: Wow, it’s definitely NOT, and it’s super creepy.
V: Oh, way to judge. Capes and bats? Really?
M: Yeah, wow, Lord what fools us mortals be, huh?
V: You said it, not me.