Category Archives: Novels

GaryView: A Vampire Christmas

Gary and Lissa<At a simple, double-brick home in Glen Waverley, the doorbell rings. A pale, chubby man answers the door to greet a young woman with long dark frizzy hair. She is carrying an obviously full beach bag and is wearing a pair of foam antlers.>

Lissa: Merry Christmas, Gary! <gives him a bear hug. An antler pokes him in the ear>

Gary: <turns his head awkwardly to extricate the antler while gingerly returning the hug> Merry Christmas, Lissa!

<She follows him into the house and through to the kitchen, where a single coffee mug is on the table, next to a small platter of fruit mince pies.>

Gary: Cuppa?

Lissa: Yes, please! And fruit mince pies!

Gary: Yeah. They made them at the bakery down the street. <wistfully> They smelled good.

Lissa: They look good too, but oh god, I am still so full from Christmas lunch yesterday with Kate!

Gary:… Oh.

Lissa: …But not so full that there isn’t room for another fruit mince pie. My Nanna used to make those every Christmas. <she swipes her finger across the shortbread crust of one and licks the sugar from her finger.> Mmmmmm.

<Gary makes a cup of tea for Lissa.>

Lissa: Here, I’ve got something for you. <shoves a Santa hat on his head.>

Gary: <eyeing the drooping tip of it, which bears a tinkling bell, dubiously> Ah. Thanks.

Lissa: Trust me. You look very festive.

Gary: So do you. <Tweaks the end of a foam antler.>

Lissa: I don’t usually do the silly headgear, but Beatrice wanted us to look suitably Christmassy for the Christmas Eve kids’ storytime at the library, so, you know. Antlers and Santa hats.

Gary: Oh. Well. They’re. Um.

Lissa: Ridiculous, I know. <starts to pull the antlers off>

Gary: Yeah, but, you know, fun. You look…. happy in them. Leave them on. <waggles his head slightly to make the bell tinkle> If I tried I could probably make this play Jingle Bells.

Lissa: <laughs> You probably could.

Gary: I got you something too. <opens a cupboard and pulls out something wrapped in simple brown paper> Um. I forgot to buy Christmas paper. Sorry. I’m not used to the Christmas thing any more. When I remembered and went to the shop, there were… too many people. It was so noisy and I felt… I don’t know. Out of place. Then this little kid ran into me and I sort of tried getting into the Christmas spirit and smiled at him, and he screamed and took off. Because of… you know… <gestures vaguely at his fangs> Anyway, I came home. I found this paper in a box in the spare room.

Lissa: Someone should show that kid The Nightmare Before Christmas. Don’t worry. Thank you for thinking of me. This looks lovely, and very neat!

Gary: Yeah. I like getting all the lines straight.

LIssa: I got something for you too.

Gary: I know. My hat. <waggles his head to make it jingle> Thanks.

Lissa: No, silly. That’s just so we had matching ridiculous headgear. Here. <Pulls a brightly wrapped parcel from the bag.>

Gary: Oh.

Lissa: Go on. Open it.

Gary: You first.

<Lissa unwraps the plain brown parcel, revealing a thick book called The Elements. She flips it open and leafs through the pages.>

Lissa: Wow. This is gorgeous. Those photos are incredible…

Gary: Read the opening, and the entries.

Lissa: <reads and begins to laugh out loud.> Listen to this! “The Periodic Table is the universal catalog of everything you can drop on your foot.” <continues to flick through the pages> This is so cool. It’s funny science!

Gary: But still proper science. But like stories too.

Lissa: It is! Wow. Gary, this is perfect!

Gary: You said once that you liked the idea of the periodical table being all organised but you didn’t really understand it. I saw this and I thought it might help.

Lissa: It’s beautiful! <gives Gary a massive hug> Thank you! Here – open yours!

Gary: <looks at the parcel, pokes at the ribbon, blinks a lot>

Lissa: Gary?

Gary: Yeah?

Lissa: You okay?

Gary: Yeah. <opens the parcel, revealing a box depicting a plant and a black t-shirt>.

Lissa: I hope the shirt fits. It’s from this website called Think Geek. It’s for the geek types who like to stay inside and do science.

Gary: I like to stay inside and read about science. <shakes out the t-shirt. It reads “Keep out of direct sunlight”.>

Lissa: … Does it fit?

Gary: <holds it up. > Looks like it will. <puts it aside. Checks out the box> A dinosaur plant.

Lissa: I thought it could go with the cactus I got you. They live a really long time, even if you forget to water them, according to the website anyway.

Gary: That’s really cool. <looks> It comes with Genuine Volcanic Lava Rock.

Lissa: Do you like it?

Gary: I liked it when I thought I just had a Christmas hat. This is ace. Just a minute.

< Gary jumps up from the table with the t-shirt and disappears. Lissa sips her tea and leafs through the Elements book. Sometimes she laughs. A moment later, Gary returns.>

Gary: What do you think? <He is wearing the black t-shirt.>

Lissa: That’s a good fit.

Gary: <grins> It is.

Lissa: Here. There’s one more thing. <She takes a few plastic containers out of the huge bag.> I know you can’t eat it, but Kate made the most awesome Christmas pudding with brandy custard, the way Nanna used to, and I thought you might like the scent of it.

Gary: … Yeah. Yes I would.

Lissa: Merry Christmas, Gary!

Gary: Merry Christmas, Lissa. Thanks. For…you know.

Lissa: I know. You too.

<Gary’s Christmas hat jingles as Lissa gives him a big Christmas hug. This time he doesn’t mind that he has a foam antler stuck in his ear.>

*For newcomers, the GaryView is a review of books/films/TV/entertainment carried out as a conversation between Lissa Wilson (librarian) and Gary Hooper (vampire) , characters from my book ‘The Opposite of Life’.

Always delighted to see a good review!

The Literate Kitty has given The Opposite of Life a wonderful review: Werewolves in London? Try bloodsuckers Down Under.  It starts with a discussion of the four Noble Truths of Bhuddism, works through a fantastic precis of Lissa’s background and ends with “Life may be hard and cold… but it still has the ability to surprise and delight, as Lissa finally realizes. It’s up to her (and each of us) to make that be enough.” It’s a really neat review. 🙂