Normally I wouldn’t meet a guy for the first time on their home turf. That’s how they get you. They have the home field advantage. That’s where they have their zip ties and gimp masks and spiked dildos mounted on poles. But he said he wasn’t going to meet me at a coffee shop or bar and since I was going to be murdered by my vampire boss the next time I fall asleep anyway I went against my better judgement this one time.
His office was like the one in Better Call Saul, except it wasn’t behind a nail salon. I think it was a manager’s office in a strip mall that got turned into a space for rent. I had to walk down a long creepy hallway to get back there, which is exactly what you want when a vampire is after you. I swear I saw a spider wink at me.
The door was open and I walked in to see him lying on a yellow vinyl couch playing a game on his phone. The him in question was a man who looked like James Woods, if James Woods gained eighty pounds, grew a beard, and was from San Juan. He sort of halfway glanced at me as I walked in but otherwise kept playing.
I waited for a moment but he kept playing so I had to speak up “Uh, are you Slade?”
He didn’t look up “Xlade.”
He turned one quarter of an eye towards me balefully “You said Slade, people call me Xlade.”
“O-kay, uh, Fred said . . . that you might be able to help me.”
“Just let me finish this level.”
It didn’t take long for him to finish the level, but it was long enough to make me want to grab the phone out of his hand and throw it, and/or kick him. He could have at least sat up, that seems like the bare minimum of human courtesy. Eventually he said “fuck yeah” under his breath and then carelessly tossed his phone into a nearby office chair stacked with bills and mail. He sat up, helped himself to an Eggo Pop-Part and half a can of Coke Zero before addressing me.
He half-belched through pursed lips “Alright, what can I do for you?”
I looked around for a place to sit and when he didn’t react by offer me a place to sit I remaining standing in the doorway “Well, I, uh, found out that my boss is a vampire today.”
He nodded sagely “And you want me to kill him? Killing your boss, that’s like the American dream isn’t it? Just walk in, blow his” he tilted his head towards me “or her, head off, walk out while everyone cheers. No mercy. What’s your name sweetheart?”
He looked around and then picked up a butterknife off a plate with some old toast “I tell you what I’ll do Veronica, for five grand I’ll dust this bloodsucker for you.” He gestured with the knife in a way that was reminiscent of when a kitten tries to be a vicious hunter.
“Uh, that’s a little steep for me at the moment. I was hoping you could just tell me how to kill him myself. Some expert advice from . . . an expert.”
He kind of slumped over in disappointment “Killing vampires isn’t easy, you should really leave it to the professionals.”
I half-shrugged “Yeah, well, uh, I don’t have five grand . . . at the moment . . . so . . . uh, you know . . . um . . .” I could see he wasn’t going to let me off the hook “So, I mean, maybe I could do, uh, three hundred for the information, on how to kill vampires.”
He straightened back up and leaned forward, peering at me like he was seeing me for the first time “So what are you?”
“Uh, I don’t uh, know really. Fred said that I was like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Did you ever watch that show? I think Jennifer Love Hewitt was on it. And Owen Wilson maybe, or Luke Wilson.”
He shook his head “No, but I watched Maximum Slayage, that show was tight!” He laughed, not a real laugh but a ‘look I’m laughing laugh’ “That’s funny, you’re a slayer but you’re coming to me to find out about vampires. That’s like ironing or something.”
“You’re not a slayer?”
He waved his hand and then leaned back with his arms across the back of the couch like suddenly we were buddies watching the Chiefs “Nah, I never met one of you before, a slayer, I’m some kind of mystical hyena monster or something, Shunka Warakin, something like that.”
“But you kill vampires, I thought that was like . . . uh . . . not cool.”
“You bet your big swangling titties I do. Did Fred tell you that we don’t kill each other? Hench shall not kill hench? That bullshit? That’s pussy shit man, I do what I want. I’m Xlade! I’m like a problem solver see, I do whatever needs to be done to solve the problem, and if that means taking out some bloodsucker that’s what it means right? Tell you what I’ll do for you baby slayer, give me the three hundred and I’ll help you dust this bloodsucker, and then you’ll owe me right? Once you get your slaying legs under you you can help me out with a few things to pay off the other four grand.”
“Okay, but can you not call me baby slayer?”
“Why . . . oh shit, I mean, I didn’t mean . . . I just meant that you’re a new slayer, not like you kill babies. Baby like new, like not baby like a little baby.”