I’m not sure I’ve ever been to Cracker Barrel before. Maybe when I was a kid? I don’t want to sound like a snob, although I admit that I am a little, but it’s not my kind of place. It doesn’t seem like the kind of place for my new friend either, but she was like in a fish in water. She was really enjoying her all-day breakfast pancake family meal. The menu said that it serves five but she was going to finish it herself no problem.
Watching her eat was mesmerizing. I watched a challenge online where a guy tried to eat twenty pancakes and it looked like he was going to (and wanted to) die. She seemed pretty happy about what was happening. I had a cup of coffee. It was okay. When I said that’s all I needed the server gave me a look like I should order more. Because one family breakfast per table isn’t enough?
I managed to stop staring at her remorseless maw “That uh . . . seemed . . . uh, a little anti-climactic.”
She nodded absently as she continued to eat “Yeah, climaxes are hard to come by, especially for us ladies am I right?” she raised her hand for a high five “Up top!”
I left her hanging “I just . . . you know, walked up and killed him in his sleep.”
She popped a jelly packet in her mouth between bites of toast “Yeah, well that’s what he was going to do to you didn’t you say? Seems only fair.”
I shook my head slowly “It just . . . I don’t know . . . seems wrong something.”
She shrugged “He was a vampire. And he was going to murder you. Let’s not get too worked up about it. Or did you want there to be a big fight scene at the end? Let me tell you, if you’re going to kill a dangerous monster that is the way to do it. This isn’t pistols at dawn over honor or whatever other fucking thing people pretend has to do with dignity or fairness. You want to kill something, kill it the best way you can and don’t worry about it. You think a crab eating monkey cares if the crabs it eats get a fair shake?”
“Do monkeys eat crabs?”
“The crab eating ones do.” She looked around “Where’s that waiter? I could use a crabmeat omelet.”
I sighed “I suppose, it just seemed like . . . I don’t, like a letdown maybe.”
She laughed “Almost getting killed by a ghoul and shooting shadow beasts isn’t enough excitement for you? You’re not one of those women that cuts themselves are you? Or shoplifts? I suppose here’s the good news, your life is about to get a lot more exciting whether you want it to or not. You’re in the mix now.”
I glanced over at another patron who appeared to be a rotting corpse in a tuxedo “I see that. I guess I thought I would feel different. I’m just sad and numb.”
“Yeah well that’s the problem with revenge. Kill whoever you want, don’t make the scales balance does it? When someone’s gone they’re gone. It sucks. That’s all there is to say really.”
“Can magic bring people back from the dead?”
“No” she said firmly in a way that made me not believe her.
“So what do I do now? Just go to work tomorrow? Like . . . like nothing happen?”
“That up to you” she said as she poured syrup on another stack of flapjacks “you said there’s a bunch of other monsters there right? Even if they’re not assholes, which some of them are for sure, they’ll probably try to kill you anyway because they’ll assume that you’re going to try to kill them. You could try to talk to them about it but it doesn’t seem like a good idea to have so many monsters in the same place as a monster slayer. Plus, you said this Duke guy’s fake dad is a vampire too? He’s probably going to try and kill you so going to the same office probably isn’t a great idea.”
“Oh shit, I hadn’t thought about that!”
She half-smile “That’s the problem with vampires, they came from somewhere, and it’s usually more vampires, vampires that are usually vindictive assholes. I try not to judge people, monster people I mean, until they do some bad shit, but vampires? They’re fuckers almost without exception.”
“So what do I do now?” I said again helplessly.
“I’m fat ass broke, I live in my car, and a bunch of people that want to murder me are hunting me across the land, not sure you want advice from me.”
“It’s flat-ass broke, you said fat-ass broke.”
She frowned “Are you sure?”
“Yeah. What did Buffy the Vampire Slayer do after she found out what she was?”
She thought for a moment “Dated a vampire I think. Maybe a couple of them. Also built robots of herself?”
“Maybe I should watch that show, get some tips.”
She looked around again “Where’s that waiter? I need more butter.”