During the lowest point of the process, it actually is a raging case of diarrhea.
If only it would have finished up as predictably as that. At least I could have looked forward to a happy conclusion: two days of living on the toilet, then rehydrate with a couple bottles of Gatorade and on with my life I would go. But whatever I was shitting out wasn't going to be replaced by a sports drink. And it just kept...on...going. Mind you, I had no idea at the time that was happening to me was actually This, so I really thought it wouldn't outlast my toilet paper supply. Toward the end, I was wiping my ass with dish towels.
It came on after a rough night out - which came after a very long spell of almost no nights out - and started innocently enough with symptoms that WebMD told me could be either a hangover, the flu or the onset of gonorrhea. It could easily have been all three of these, given my historic lack of self-care and a small, ill-advised love affair I apparently had with a tray of dynamite rolls at the Samurai Ham on Rye Sushi Deli Cafe...difficult to recall the details, possibly because of the saki bombers. Or it could've been being changed into the living dead.
Tends to make the memory a little hazy.
Other than being wholly uncomfortable for a solid ten days with the most liquified bathroom experience I've ever had, there wasn't much to it. It was an undeniable permanent shit-feeling state wouldn't go away afterward that clued me in to the idea that something more sinister was happening. And it had nothing to do with raw fish or rice wine. But it did have something to do with that night.
We'll get to that. Just not right now.
I will admit that, although I was less than psyched once I learned that This had taken place, there was a brief, hopeful moment when I swallowed the hype and let myself imagine the cool mystery of what my life might soon become. It was dream, and a hallucination – a dreamlucination (patent still pending on that little winner). Like some slow-motion ad for designer cologne, all of the mundane clutter I’d surrounded myself with was suddenly gone, replaced by sleek CGI architecture and cars from the future. I was taller and fitter, naturally great-smelling and the thinning spots on my scalp had filled back in without a single trip to Bosley; my penis had doubled in length and girth, and my testicles appeared to have fully descended...finally! Italian suits covered my flesh like a second skin, never again to know the feel of online catalog clearance cotton. It was inevitable - I would become darkly suave, fashionably dressed, dangerously hung and supremely focused on what was important in life: sucking on babes. I would do nothing more than appear in their presence and they’d draw to me with their mouths moist and slightly open, as if I were a Coach outlet. Suddenly, I'd be the guy women searched the room to find because they actually wanted me, not so they could alert security in order to avoid being flashed on their way to the parking lot. Suddenly I’d be able keep an erection for long enough to cause an orgasm for someone other than just myself. Suddenly I would be...someone. And not just someone - a vampire someone. No excuses necessary for my erotically- charged poor behavior in public...not anymore. I would feed and seduce and leave a trail of female flotsam in my wake as I moved on to find more. Somehow I believed that becoming a creature of the night would make me more of a man.
That was just before I started making bargains with the diarrhea fairy.
That was just before I started making bargains with the diarrhea fairy.
Instead, as it turned out, This made me shit out my humanity over the course of a week and a half while leaving behind a slew of craptastic parting gifts, including (and mostly limited to):
· Sensitivity to Natural Light – I can totally relate now to the idea that a vampire in the sun is reduced to ash, though we don’t actually incinerate; we hardly even blister. What does happen is more of a savage irritation, as much as an irritation can actually be considered “savage”. It’s like a sub-surface second-and-a-half degree burn that defies all SPFs. Think anal itch over every inch of your body that Gold Bond couldn't even begin to ease, and you’re almost there. It's a killer. And instead of peeling, your skin eventually creates an ashen husk that allows you to molt like a Biblical leper. A burn that can't be comforted followed by the flaking off of all of your skin - who doesn't love that? And for the record, vampires don’t sparkle in the sun; that is a bunch of bullshit.
· Loss of height – Screw any hopes I had of being taller; it feels like I’ve actually shrunk instead. Pre-This, if I threw some Dr. Scholls in my cross-trainers and I remembered not to slouch, I could maybe graze the far side of six foot one. Post-This, I’m lucky if I make five eleven in double Doc Martens with my hair fully gelled. Maybe it’s some sort of physical deflation that comes with having your mortal soul removed and replaced with spiritual mush; maybe it’s just the Posture of General Defeat. Either way, not cool.
· Flatulence – Oh. My. God. If you ever thought your dog was capable of doing permanent olfactory damage when he let one go, you ain’t smelled nothing yet. Try sampling a Silent But Deadly sneaking out of the ass of a vampire. It’s the scent of rotten corpse times five, and it comes with no regard for what you have or haven’t eaten or how hard you squeeze your sphincter shut. Gross, I know, but we’re going for honesty here, folks, and I would be remiss if I didn’t bring it up.
· Telepathy – Reading this back, it sounds pretty stupid. But it is what it is. More than anything, it's an annoyance, since you can hear EVERY thought that EVERYONE has at ALL times. Grocery shopping is sometimes like being in a high school cafeteria wrapped in a disco shoved up the butt of a Superbowl party and being forced to listened to every conversation simultaneously. Maybe not quite that bad. But close. I’ve spent a tremendous amount of energy these last few weeks learning how to tune out most of the noise while trying to hone in specifically on only the women who might have an interest in getting laid. By me. Which equals none of them, really. So telepathy sucks.
· Insomnia – Forget what you’ve heard about vampires sleeping by day so they can feed by night. Most days I'd be happy with a twenty minute power nap. Maybe with meditation and a fistful of Lunesta I could come close to relaxing enough to sneak in a full eight hours. Otherwise, every innocent sound and innocuous smell and harmless change in air current sets me on high alert. I’ve never been a sound sleeper, but since This happened I tend to vibrate more at the exact moments when others would relax. It’s probably from the combination of my vampirism mixed with my Judaism. There’s nothing like being a neurotic Jewish vampire to keep you awake all day and all night worrying about, oh, everything.
· Instantaenous Non-surgical Penile Enlargement – Just kidding...my dick’s still as little as it ever was, and my hair is just as thin – a great combination for working on the ladies. But hey, my farts smell like the dead now, so at least I’ve got that going for me.Those are the highlights, but truly there’s not too much more to it so far. I can’t fly, and I’ve never turned into a bat, though I keep hope alive for that one, because it really would be pretty sweet. My teeth are still the same; maybe the fangs take a while to show up. I can’t run any faster or jump any higher, and I haven’t yet mastered the rumored hypnotic power that pulls women under my control with a mere look in their eyes, although I have been working at it. So far I’ve only managed to scare them away even more than I usually would with my usual captivating small talk about the state of the Eurozone economy and Linkin Park trivia. So things haven't turned out to be so different for me after the occurrence of This. Not yet, anyway.
Except for that pesky insatiable thirst for warm human blood. That's a definite game changer.
You’d think there might be something positive in all of this to counter the lack of inches added to one’s pecker. But nope. There’s no shapeshifting, no flight, no increased sexual magnetism. I turned into a freaking vampire and all I got was this stupid blood lust.
The bumper stickers don’t lie, people: sometimes, life really is a bitch. And sometimes, you don’t even get to die.