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GaryView: Vampireology 2011 Calendar

Gary: Look what someone sent me!

Lissa: What who sent you?

Gary: This lady I know from Twitter. Dragonsally. She sent me a present. A calendar.

Lissa: Oh.

Gary: It’s a vampire calendar, see?

Lissa: “Vampireology… The True History of the Fallen Ones.” Well, it looks nicely made. It’s got all these fold out bits, and things stuck on.

Gary: It’s all nonsense of course. I mean, this bit about the Sword of Angels, and the stuff about shape-shifting.

Lissa: And all that stuff about ‘The Ritual of Making’…

Gary: Most of it anyway.

Lissa: … Most of it?

Gary: Well, the vampire drinks your blood, you have to take in vampire blood…

Lissa: You have to drink vampire blood?

Gary: Kind of. Drink it or pour it into an open wound.

Lissa: Ew!

Gary: Tell me about it.

Lissa: Oh, sorry. Did it… I don’t know. Did it… hurt?

Gary: For a while. But after that… mostly it felt weird.

Lissa: Oh.

Gary: Anyway, it’s an nice calendar. I thought you’d like it. All the detail about the history and characteristics and stuff. Look, here’s a page about talismans. And one on how to kill vampi… <comes to a sudden stop and snaps the calendar shut>

Lissa: I don’t need to know any of that. None of it’s probably not right anyway.

Gary: Actually, everything there would be pretty effective if you could get close enough.

Lissa: Well, I don’t plan to get close to any vampire except you, and I’m never going to attack you, not even with holy water, let alone a stake. I like you.

Gary: Thanks.

Gary and LissaLissa: What’s this bit about vampires attracting victims by doing a jig to ragtime music?

Gary: Is that what it says?  <stares at the passage incredulously> I suppose it might work.

Lissa: Dazzlin’ the kids with their wicked jazzy moves, eh?

Gary: Well, not me, obviously. I can’t dance. At all.

Lissa: You can’t be that bad.

Gary: Trust me, I can. I learned to waltz once. I kept stepping on my Mum’s toes. She made Dad teach me in the end. He had tougher shoes.

Lissa: Modern dancing is easier. You just kind of… throw yourself around.

Gary: …

Lissa: Rhythmically.

Gary: I was around in the 60s, you know. It wasn’t all square dancing and country balls. I’m just not very… rhythmic.

Lissa: You probably just lack confidence.

Gary: And rhythm.

Lissa: All right,  I’ll take your word for it. But if you ever want to give it a whirl, I’ll take you out.

Gary: If I ever do, make sure you wear steel-capped shoes.

Lissa: <laughs> All right, it’s a date!

Gary: Hang on, I didn’t mean…

Lissa: You’re a vampire. You can’t be scared of dancing. Besides, according to this calendar, that is the best way for you to get your Satanic groove on.

Gary: I think we have already established that this calendar is not actually a reliable resource for vampire behaviour.

Lissa: True. It was nice of the dragon lady to send it to you.

Gary: Dragonsally. Yeah. <smiles as he runs his fingers over the cover image> It was nice of her.

Lissa: You’re really not used to getting presents yet, are you?

Gary: After forty years, I’m kind of out of the habit.

Lissa: Well, don’t forget to send her a thank you tweet. And now we have to pick a night to go dancing.

Gary: But…

Lissa: I’ve got a pair of Blundstones. I’ll be right.

Gary: But…

Lissa: It’ll be fun. Besides, I haven’t told you my secret yet.

Gary: Which is?

Lissa: I’m not much of a dancer myself. It’s just that I don’t care.

Gary: Ah.

Lissa: So are we on for dancing?

Gary: Do I have a choice?

Lissa: Not really.

Gary: Then yes, we are.

***

You can get the Vampireology 2011 calendar at Calendar.net.au.

*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’.

GaryView: Dracula’s Cabaret Restaurant

Gary and LissaSnippets of conversation overheard during the evening…

Lissa: Thanks for coming with me tonight, Gary. You may have saved my life.

Gary: I thought you said it was just a work thing.

Lissa: It is. And I love my job, but I hate work functions. I never know what to talk about besides work.

Gary: … I know what you mean. I never even had a job to talk about.

Lissa: You and I always have lots to talk about.

Gary: I know.  <smiles>

Lissa: Anyway, I thought you might enjoy checking Dracula’s out.

Gary: I came here once before. In the 80s, to see what it was like.

Lissa: And what was it like?

Gary: Okay. I couldn’t eat anything, and I didn’t understand any of the jokes, and I was by myself so people kept giving me funny looks. But the decorations were really good.

Lissa: Well, we can keep each other company a bit this time.

***

Lissa: Gary, this is my boss, Beatrice.

Beatrice: So your Lissa’s mysterious Gary!

Gary: Ah. Yes. (looks at Lissa) Am I mysterious?

Lissa: Not to me.

Beatrice: But all she ever says is “I’m seeing Gary this weekend” but she doesn’t tell us anything about you.

Lissa: There’s not much more to say, is there Gary?

Gary: No. We get together and watch TV mostly.

Lissa: And talk.

Beatrice: I’ll bet there’s more to it.

Lissa: Gary and I are just friends, Beatrice.

Beatrice: ‘Friends’ is good, but (c0nspiratorially to Gary) it sounds like more than friends when she talks about you.

Gary: (deadpan) That’s because I’m really a vampire and Lissa and I sometimes get caught up in vampire business.

Beatrice: (roars with laughter and slaps Gary on the arm) I can see why you like him, Lissa! Good on you for getting in the mood, Gary!

Lissa: (trying to get the startled look off her face) Yeah, he’s a hoot.

***

Lissa: Gary, stop telling me what’s coming up in the ghost ride. It’s supposed to be a surprise.

Gary: But I can see what’s there.

Lissa: That’s because you can see in the dark. But you’re kind of spoiling the fun.

Gary: But you don’t really think it’s scary do you? It’s just animatronics and a soundtrack and Oh!!

Lissa: (dies laughing) You got scared by the wind machine!!!

***

Gary: I don’t get it.

Lissa: Well, I’m not going to explain it.

Gary: I mean, I know it’s a joke about sex. I just don’t know why it’s supposed to be funny.

Lissa: I don’t either, Gary. Never mind. They’ll be singing again soon.

Gary: The singing’s pretty good. Even though that’s not about vampires either. I really thought there’d be more vampire stuff in the show.

Lissa: They did the song from True Blood. That was cool.

Gary: Yeah.

***

Gary: Is that a chocolate coffin?

Lissa: It is! It’s delicious!

Gary: Smells good.

Lissa: You think it all smells good.

Gary: Yep.

Lissa: Tastes good too!

***

Beatrice: God, Gary, did you buy everything?

Gary: No. Just the programme. Lissa bought me the glass. See. It’s a skull with vampire teeth.

Beatrice: I know! I got one for Jean too.

Gary: That’s Mrs Beatrice, isn’t it?’

Lissa: Gary!

Beatrice: (laughing) I know it’s what you all call her, you know. It drives Jean nuts, but I kind of like it.

Jean: (grabs Beatrice by the hand) At my work, they call you Mrs Jean.

Beatrice: Oh, excellent. I like that too.

Gary: Nice to meet you both. Mrs Beatrice. Mrs Jean.

Beatrice: (roars with laughter) Seriously, Lissa, your friend is a hoot.

Lissa: Yep. (grins at Gary) He is.

***

Lissa: Did you have a good night?

Gary: I did. Thanks for asking me along.

Lissa: Thank you so much for coming. I had a good time too. And Beatrice thinks you’re awesome.

Gary: That’s because she thinks I’m joking when I’m not.

Lissa: Maybe. Still. I’m really glad you came.

Gary: Me too. Even if most of the jokes and music weren’t about vampires.

Lissa: At least you got a vampire skull drinking cup out of it.

Gary: And it flashes! (turns on the light switch at the bottom of the cup. They watch the vampire skull glass flash multiple colours and admire its schlockiness for a while.)

***

Dracula’s Cabaret Restaurant has been operating in Melbourne for over 30 years.

*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’.

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’.

GaryView: Moonlight

Gary and LissaLissa: <knocks on Gary’s front door. He answers> Heya, Gary!

Gary: Heya. Come on in.

Lissa: <thrusts a potplant at him> Happy birthday.

Gary: Um. My birthday was in September.

Lissa: Yes, but you didn’t tell me until November, so now you get a present. It’s a cactus. They can live for hundreds of years if you treat ’em right, according to Google. Don’t worry, I’ve typed up a ‘care and feeding’ guide for you.

Gary: <stares at cactus for a bit, pokes it gently with his index finger, grins> Hundreds of years, eh? That’s really cool.

Lissa: Thought you’d like it… <pauses to sniff> Gary, what’s that smell?

Gary: <worried> Does it smell bad?

Lissa: No, it smells… edible.

Gary: Come and sit down. I’ve got to get something… just a tick.

<He leads Lissa to the dining table and rapidly vanishes. The table is mysteriously clear of books and covered in a slightly motheaten tablecloth, and a silver service setting for one. Daisies that have grown like weeds at the edge of the concrete in Gary’s front yard have been cut and are gathered in a raggedy group above the setting, near the dessert spoon. Lissa, puzzled, sits and examines it all  minutely, especially the decoration – a fat new candle sticking up from the middle a parfait glass. Some miniature daisies are scattered around the base of the glass. Gary returns with a bone china bowl full of clear soup>

Lissa: Wh…?

Gary: Do you remember when we were watching Moonlight, and Mick cooked Beth that meal he couldn’t eat because he’s a vampire? You talked about it a lot.

Lissa: I did?

Gary: You said all this stuff about how feeding someone is a way of caring for them. You said a lot of stuff about nurturing and nourishment, and you talked about your Nanna, and how she used to bake cakes and biscuits, and made lunches and dinners and everything for you kids, and how you like to cook for Kate now.

Lissa: Yeah. I guess I did talk about it a lot. It struck a chord, I guess. <swirls the soup with a spoon> So you made me soup?

Gary: Um. I made… a lot of stuff.

Lissa: Oh. <tastes the soup> That’s lovely.

Gary: <grins like an idiot> Does it? Because I couldn’t taste it. It smelled okay.

Lissa: It tastes fantastic. <eats more, slowly>

Gary: … Are you okay?

Lissa: Fine. Good. The best. <wipes her eyes> Absolutely the best ever. This is delicious.

Gary: It’s a beef consomme. It’s got eggs and sherry in it. And beef soup. From a tin. I didn’t know how to make it from scratch.

Lissa: This is… is… <wipes eyes again> Where did you get all the stuff? How did you do this? You only own a kettle.

Gary: Oh, there were pots and plates and things in boxes in the spare room. And a camp stove, from when I was a kid, and the shop had one of those little toaster ovens going cheap, so. You know. I made stuff I could cook in that.

Lissa: I didn’t know you could cook.

Gary: I did some stuff for mum, when she got too old to do it for herself. But mostly it’s just following instructions. As long as it’s straightforward I can do that.

Lissa: I’m… I don’t know what to say. <wipes eyes again>

Gary: That bit of the show really got to you, didn’t it?

Lissa: I liked the series. It had a good developing story arc, and the status quo kept getting wobbly. It wasn’t always predictable either. Pity it got cancelled. You said you liked it too. Even though the vampire stuff was only half right.

Gary: Beth reminded me of you. Always asking questions.

Lissa: Mick reminded me of you. Always answering them eventually! And other things. It was so sad, when he found the cure for being a vampire but had to give it up again so he could save Beth.

Gary: Yeah…

Lissa:<pats his hand> Yeah. But this is lovely. Thank you. <eats more soup>

Gary: There are more courses coming – prunes wrapped in bacon, savoury tomatoes, olive and almond rolls – that’s got more bacon – melon and ham, well it’s called something starting with ‘p’ I can’t pronounce, but it looks like ham, and avocado with prawn and this sauce I made with mayonnaise and herbs and stuff.

Lissa: Oh my god, so much food!

Gary: Yeah. I had to use up all the ingredients, the perishable stuff anyway. I don’t have a fridge. Oh, and I made a pavlova. I cheated a bit with that one and bought a base. But I used Mum’s recipe book to work out how to do the rest of it.

Lissa: Oh!

Gary: I’ll pack up the leftovers for you to take home.

Lissa: Which recipe book is this?

<Gary leaps up and returns with “The Australian Hostess Cookbook” , published in 1969. He proudly shows her the page with the consomme recipe. Lissa flicks through it and sees, on almost every page, serving suggestions and recommendations on being a good hostess underlined and notated. The page where the hostess is exorted to put fresh flowers at the table setting is underlined in red, with Good idea! written next to it in Gary’s neat hand. The recipes he’s used are all highlighted with red asterixes.>

Lissa: Wow. You really went to town.

Gary: I hope it’s all okay. I mean. I haven’t cooked since Mum died in the 80s, and then it was mostly toasted cheese. She liked toasted cheese. And soup. She really liked the consomme.

Lissa: <flings herself at him in a fierce hug> I love it all.

Gary: <patting her back awkwardly> You haven’t even tried most of it yet.

Lissa: <muffled> It’s all going to be absolutely perfect. I can tell.

Gary: That’s good. Cos… I think you’re going to be eating it all week. It’s a lot of food.

Lissa: <laughing, wiping her eyes again> It is! Tell you what, bring it all in and I’ll describe it all to you as I go. How’s that?

Gary: That’d be nice.

Lissa: And Gary?

Gary: Yeah?

Lissa: Thank you.

Gary: <Smiles> Thanks. And thanks for the cactus. I’ll take good care of it.

Get Moonlight – The Complete Series at Amazon.com

The Australian Hostess Cookbook, edited by Hanna Pan and published by Thomas Nelson (Australia) is out of print. I found Gary’s copy – marked up as stated – at a second hand shop.

*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’.