It was on that bright sunny day, June 13th, a mere thirteen hours and thirty seven minutes after I closed on my new home that I almost pissed myself in the basement. The movers had done what they do best: they cleaned out my apartment, threw everything I owned in the truck, and deposited everything in my bedroom, living room, and kitchen.
I never gave an ounce of thought as to where things should go so they simply left everything upstairs in the living room. Shaking, I stood with a box of Christmas paper and ribbons, staring into the grotesque thing’s oil black eyes, my stomach turning from the thing’s crusty yellowing skin, wondering what the hell it was doing in my new home.
At first it appeared confused, like it didn’t expect me in its lair. As I backed up toward the stairs, careful not to break eye contact (my grandmother told me that these creatures would not hesitate to attack, leaping upon you and ripping your throat out with its fangs, if you turned your back on them) when it hissed at me. I dropped the Christmas supplies and scrambled upstairs in a panic, clamoring to lock the door.
“I don’t want it in the house!” I was on the phone with my real estate agent within the hour. I was shaking so hard I could barely keep the cell phone to my ear.
“Joe, I think you’re overreacting,” his tone was calm from years of dealing with the fears of new homeowners. “You signed the contract saying that you wanted it there.”
“Bullshit. You lie.”
“I have the contract in front of me, and it is quite clear that the previous owner was to leave all window fixtures, appliances, and vampires in your home. It’s your signature. Your lawyer was there when you signed off on this.”
“Wait, what? I must have signed a zillion sheets of paper. How was I to know that he’d leave his vampire in the house? What am I supposed to do with it?”
I could almost hear him shrug over the crackling phone signal.
“I dunno, Joe. It’s your home. Feed it maybe?”
Good thing my family plan covers random acts of discontent and rage, because I threw my phone across the room shattering it into a hundred tiny pieces in my fireplace.
What was I to do with a vampire in my basement?
Needless to say, the next week was chocked full of walking around the mall pondering my plight. I didn’t feel safe cooking in my kitchen, so I ate Taco Bell and Applebees in the evenings after work. I thought the more I stayed away from my home the more safe I’d feel. But have you ever returned home after ten o’clock each night to a vampire in the basement? I didn’t think so.
Friends and coworkers kept inquiring about when the housewarming would be. I would shrug and tell them that my furniture still hadn’t arrived, so maybe in another couple weeks. Three weeks later they stopped asking.
Then I had a brilliant idea.
One morning, right before work with a bagel still dangling from my mouth, my arm halfway up the sleeve of my gray sport coat, I eyed the latch. Nightly this pest had been whimpering near the bottom of the door. The shrill noise turned my stomach. It took its toll on my sleep. Even now my eyes watered from all of the sleepless nights where I tossed and turned from each horrific nightmare about the thing.
Right! My idea. I undid the latch on the basement door, and I left my front door cracked as well. I figure that if this vampire was unhappy being stuck in the basement every night he’d maybe leave the basement while I was at work, wander outside, and maybe he’d find a new home elsewhere. Brilliant!
I came home early that night, not even caring about the rainstorm soaking me to the bone. For a fleeting moment, as I held my groceries, the first bag of groceries to enter my home, I felt like a horrible person for letting the vampire out in the storm.
Then the feeling passed.
There he was. In my home. Zoned out on my couch. Watching America’s Funniest Home Videos on my Hulu, with its hand thrust down into a large blue bag of Ruffles potato chips. Sour cream and cheddar flavor. Ugh. My favorite junk food in the entire world was just ruined for me.
With the turn of the doorknob I was blinded by a flash of lightning. The crack of thunder shook the foundations of my home. The windows rattled. Outside my door was a wall of rain so thick that I’d need scuba gear to get back to my car.
The short hairs on the back of my neck bristled in response to a sharp tap on my shoulder. I turned, facing my unwelcome house guest. Today it looked sad, concerned about me. With a whimper it held out the bag of potato chips.
Don’t you go thinking I take bags of potato chips from any random vampire. Today I was hungry and there was something in its bottomless oil black eyes that made me feel bad for how I treated it all this time.
Plus I was hungry.
I cautiously took the bag of Ruffles from its clawed hands. It smiled pleasantly as I lifted a handful of chips out of the bag and chowed down.
I coughed, sending a spray of chips in its face. My heart stopped as I tried to figure out a way to apologize, frightful that I might set it off with the sudden excitement. It stood there, aghast, then burst with a dry cackling laugh, pointing a boney finger at me.
“Coffin!” it rasped.
My fears must have gotten to me because it took me a minute to realize the pun. We laughed together in my living room for nearly five minutes.
Needless to say, we became fast friends trapped together in our home during the torrential downpour that night. It’s been nearly a year since I bought the house, and living in a new home with a vampire is a lot better than living at home alone.