Duke isn’t my type but he’s not a bad looking guy. I like guys who have more of a traditional look you know? Athletic types. Guys that look like they could take a punch if they had to. Duke is part of this crop of shrimpy young people that are small are fragile like baby birds. I don’t know what happened, it’s like the Republicans called young people “simps” and “snowflakes” so often and so hard that that somehow Secret-wished it into being and turned a good portion of generation of men into fine-featured little pixies.
Duke is one of those, he’s not just short he’s also delicate. He wears these tight little shirts that pop out his nips that I don’t think I could get on as a belly shirt even if I didn’t have boobs. Which I totally do. There are women who are into that look. I think they call it “soft masculinity”. I’m sure Duke does fine with the ladies, his hair has good volume, he talks with a lot of undeserved confidence, he can be charming in a smarmy kind of way when he wants to, and he’s got some money in his pocket.
Now when he vamped out, that’s when things took a turn. I don’t think that Duke is going to get much action unless he’s at a horrorcon or something like that. There’s this old black and white movie, I think it was the first movie ever made, where there’s a vampire and he’s this hairless weird dude with the fangs in the middle like a beaver. That movie honestly is a little creepy because it seems like it might be a real thing instead of a movie. Like they found that actual vampire in a castle in Moldavia and they brought over Thomas Edison in a steamship to put him on film so future generations would know about vampires.
That’s what Duke looked like to me. Hairless, chalk-white, stupid middle fangs, big bulging eyes, giant pointy ears, the spitting image of that creature from the old movie. Except his clothes were the same. Skin tight purple shirt and chinos. His vampire-nips were still pointing at me aggressively through the thin fabric of this skin-tight shirt as if to say “Hey you, you’re in my way!”
There he was, full-on olde time vampire and he just kept talking about the flippin’ Q12. Maybe that’s why I didn’t lose it. He wasn’t hissing at me like a goose or lunging across the table desperate for my sweet, sweet neckblood, he was just barfing out the same corpspeak as usual. Don’t get me wrong, I was FREAKED, but I didn’t scream or jump or anything like that. I just sat there and stared at his vampire face like he usually stares at me.
“Is something wrong?”
It took me a moment to break out of my trance to realize he asked me something. Usually he can talk for an entire meeting without me needing to say a word.
“Uh . . . no, I just need to step out for a moment to use the restroom.”
Somehow. even with a mostly lipless vampire-face, he managed to pucker up like a prissy little bitch as he tapped his precious papers detailed my anonymous and confidential opinions.
“Okay, but make it quick, we have a lot to cover.”
The people that write movies and TV shows really think that we’re out here splashing water on our faces all the time. I wash my face, sure, but I don’t think I’ve ever face-splashed. Maybe once when I was drunk and trying to get my shit together. Maybe. You can’t go around splashing water on your face when you have makeup on. Think about what you’re doing writers.
Well the joke is on me now because I that’s exactly what I did. I hurried to the bathroom and bent over the sink for a little splash party. When I came up I saw in the mirror Diane’s head looming above the stall behind me. I rarely encounter women taller than me, unless I’m at a WNBA game (which I am not) but I work with one. Diane is an easy six foot four so when she stands up her eyeline is above the bathroom stall. She tries to leave a buffer stall because it’s alarming when you’re sitting in the next stall over and suddenly you see a head. Good thing there aren’t many women in this office.
She almost always wears these snappy one-piece dress suit office things that she must have custom made and look great on her. I tried to buy one once and the skirt part barely covered my business, plus there was no back zipper, only a side zipper so I was trying to shimmy into the thing like . . . like . . . something that shimmies a lot.
I like Diane but we’re not buddies. According to office lore once at an after work social sports team thing Duke had a few beers and referred to her as sugar tits, to which she responded by bodyslamming him. It’s probably not true, the second part anyway, but she could do it without any doubt.
She gave me a polite nod and went to wash her hands. And then gave me a look like I was crazy because I was just kind of standing there with a wet face and dropping hands not doing anything. I knew I was being weird but I couldn’t do anything, I was frozen like a rabbit in the sight of a wolf. As she dried off her hands her look changed to an appraising one, like she was checking me out.
“I was real.” She has a surprisingly lilting voice for someone who looks like Wonder Woman.
It took me a minute to register that she had spoken “Excuse me?”
She continued assessing me like I was a piece of meat at a steak-house “Whatever you saw? You’re not going crazy. It was real.” She smiled wryly “That’s the good news, you’re not crazy, the bad news is what you saw was real.”
“Uh . . . what . . .”
She turned to the mirror and started messing with her hair “It’s a lot to take in on a Tuesday morning, I know. You seem to be handling it pretty well. Who did you see? That dude in shipping is really something, if you saw him and are keeping it together this well you are one stone cold badass.”
“Um . . . I . . .”
She turned back to me “What do you see when you look at me Elsa?”
I told you we aren’t close, she thinks my name is Elsa and I’ve stopped correcting her “Uh, a tall pretty lady who’s a sharp dresser.”
She smiled “You want to know something silly? Compliments like that make me feel good even though this is not really what I look like. The clothes are real, I can take credit for that anyway. I’m not a woman Elsa, not like you anyhow, I’m a zombie. A zombie lord actually, which is why I can talk and do magic instead of just shambling around. It’s a sexist term, but zombie lady makes it sound like you’re just talking about a female zombie. Not that I really have gender, being dead as I am. Now that you know that I want you to look at me Elsa, I mean really look at me.”
She put her arms down at her sides and stood there. For a split second, I saw her, the real her.
I couldn’t help but take gasp, cover my mouth, and lurch backwards hitting the paper towel machine with an absurdly loud crash.
She winked “Don’t worry, I won’t hurt you.”