Emerging Writer Member Profile
Merchant of gourmet soaps by day and a writer of fiction by night. A recent graduate of UCD, I'm looking forward to exploring and interacting with the Irish writing scene.
10:00 AM, on a Thursday at the National Blood Transfusion Centre.
“First of all, let me just say thank you for responding to our advertisement.”
“Oh please, you mustn’t. When I saw you were hiring, it was love at first bite… er, sight.”
“Well, that’s precisely the sort of enthusiasm we like to see in a prospective employee.”
“My friend, could there be a nobler calling than this? Blood clinics offer an essential service to the community.”
“Ah, I should think we’re slightly more prestigious than your average, run of the mill blood transfusion centre. No doubt you’re aware, we are the National Blood Transfusion Centre and we expect everyone who works for us to do a bloody good job, if you’ll, ahem, pardon the pun.”
“I promise – and drive a stake through my heart if I’m wrong – you will never have a reason to question my dedication. To work in a place like this, well, it’s a dream come true. Being so close to the blood. Extracting the blood. Holding the blood. Tasting the blood.”
“Taste it? Why would you want to taste it?”
The interviewer – a portly bulldog faced man – flicked curiously through page after page of the CV. The packed document sat on his desk like a cinderblock of paper. The interviewee sat across from him, fingers wrapped around a large wooden box that rested on his knobbly knees.
“You can put down your guitar case if you like,” said the interviewer.
“It’s a sarcophagus, actually,” corrected the interviewee, “but thank you.”
“It’s a fancy word for coffin.”
“I know what a sarcophagus is,” said the interviewer peevishly. “Why have you got one?”
“To carry my guitar in,” answered the interviewee, taken aback that the interviewer would feel the need to ask such an obvious question.
The interviewer looked pleadingly at the clock while the interviewee placed his sarcophagus on the floor. The water cooler glugged next to a lonely bonsai plant, the only natural entity in a room of dull, beige rugs and white, sterile walls. Had there not been a window to glimpse the hot summer sun, it would have been all too easy to mistake this place for a padded cell. With one of his red rubbery fingers, the interviewer pushed his steamed spectacles up the slope of his nose. He then re-combed the lick of hair he had meticulously arranged to cover his bald spot, only for it to drip back between his eyes seconds later.
“I’m very experienced,” said the interviewee abruptly.
“Oh, I see. Very good.”
“I used to tend bar while I was in college. I can make a mean Blood Orange Martini. Bloody Marys also. Sorry, I should have mentioned that from the beginning. In hindsight, I can see how a lack of clarity might have made that sound a little sinister.”
The interviewee pressed his milk-bottle knuckles against his lips to stifle his wry chuckling. The interviewer was slicked from top to bottom in a film of sweat, forehead glistening like a well-polished mirror. The room reflected itself, clear as crystal, upon the boiled egg of his head.
“It says here you’re a doctor,” said the interviewer.
“That’s correct. In Victorian literature but let’s not lose the run of ourselves in semantics.”
“I see,” wheezed the interviewer. “I must say this is quite a CV you’ve put together, Dr…”
“Acula. Dr. Acula,” said the interviewee, “and I aim to please. Always.”
“It’s good to put a face to the name. There was no photograph on the application.”
“Ah, yes, about that,” said Dr. Acula. “My reflection came out terribly in the selfie I took. Bad lighting and all that.”
"Do you mind if we close the blind? I don’t care much for having the sun in my eyes."
“Of course,” said the interviewer. “Go right ahead.”
The interviewee, Dr. Acula, rose soundlessly from his seat and glided towards the window where the sunbeams were pouring in. He was a tall, gangly and gaunt looking creature, with flesh as white as the sugar on a donut. All this was to say nothing of his eyes, which squatted like a pair of black olives around his beak-like nose. His very being had the qualities of a black hole, leaving those within its reach powerless to resist its pull. Such was the case with the interviewer who found himself hopelessly transfixed. His spectacles had misted again no sooner had he wiped them down with his handkerchief. With surgical precision, his eyes followed every tick, trait and twitch exhibited by the strange man as he journeyed to the window blinds and back. When Dr. Acula was seated again, the interview limped on.
“How do you draw the blood?” he asked, cool as a mint conditioned cucumber.
“I beg your pardon?” trembled the interviewer as more sweat began to pool along the shelf of his brow.
“How do you draw the blood from your victi… patients?”
“Why do you ask?”
“No reason, I was merely curious is all. Like I said, I’m a big fan of the work you do here.”
“We use needles, I imagine,” offered the interviewer sheepishly.
“Needles,” mused Dr. Acula, “interesting. You mean to say you don’t simply drain it from the neck with your fangs?”
“Well,” quivered the interviewer, “to do that…”
“I’d have to be…”
“A vampire, that’s correct.”
Dr. Acula started convulsing in gales of gallows laughter. The interviewer, not wanting to be the only one in the room not convulsing in gales of gallows laughter, joined in, although it was more akin to mumbling in titters of nervous laughter.
“A vampire?!” whooped Dr. Acula. “How tremendously funny! Because vampires do love their blood, don’t they?!” and he wiped the fleck of a tear from his face.
“Yes,” replied the interviewer, feeling slightly more brazen than he had before, “I suppose they do.”
Currently, I have a children's novel out in the arena in search of an agent/publisher to give it a home on the bookshelves. It's called Cavities, inspired by the likes of Neil Gaiman's Coraline and Daniel Handler's A Series of Unfortunate Events. In the meantime, I've been working on bits of short fiction and a second novel entitled the Grimquisition.
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