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: Is that a chocolate coffin?
Lissa: It is! It’s delicious!
Gary: Smells good.
Lissa: You think it all smells good.
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?’
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’.