17th Street Review


Anthony Spagnolo

The Vampires sat next to us at L’Express. They looked like they could be our parents, around 60, both with dark hair streaked with grey. The man was bald on top. The woman's hair was curly. They dressed in dark clothes and, aside from being vampires, looked entirely ordinary.

The Socialite and I sat in the corner booth. The seats were padded red vinyl. We planned to meet for coffee but she was drunk when I got there. I ordered a gin and tonic (it was flat) and fries (they were good and I was hungry). I don't remember what The Socialite ordered, maybe coffee. The Vampires studied their menus.

For several weeks The Socialite and I had hovered around dating. We needed a drunken night together to vocalize our desires and this, she decided, was that night. I was annoyed at being sober, so I attempted to catch up, ordering another gin and tonic (flat again). She was annoyed I kept checking my phone. The male vampire ordered a steak and the woman onion soup. 

I turned my phone on its face to give The Socialite the attention she required. She was wearing a black Chanel sweater and some sort of cape with feathers. Her hair was swept up like mine is now. Look up at me, and imagine me blonde. Our conversation lacked its usual flow. 

I finished my fries and another drink and gradually we slumped closer together in the booth, until our heads were close, resting against the seatback. We looked at each other, waiting. 

"Wow," she said. "It's like we're wondering if you're gonna make out with me or I'm gonna make out with you." 

We kissed for eight or nine seconds. I pulled away, too sober for public displays of affection. 

"I can't believe she ordered onion soup," The Socialite said.

The Vampires, having not much to talk about, having talked for centuries, were content to eat their meal in silence. If they noticed us at all they kept it secret. I wondered if they could feel us watching. I think they were used to being noticed, like celebrities, the glow. 

We paid our bill and left. Outside we made out, stumbling in a hug beneath the scaffolding. 

"Let's get a cab," she said between kisses. She lived uptown. 

"Listen," I said. I kissed her, then pulled back. "I would love to fuck you, and I would make you cum, but tonight is not the night."

She stared at me for a beat.

"Okay," she said, curt but not angry. She turned, raised her hand, and was gone in a yellow blur. 

Walking to the train I realized what she'd meant, about the vampire and the onion soup, onions being kin to garlic.

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