Chapter 1 - Get Over It, a Lot
of People Are Dead
"You bitch, you killed
me! You suck!"
Tommy had just
awakened for the first time as a vampire. He was nineteen, thin, and had spent
his entire life between states of amazement and confusion.
"I wanted us to be
together." Jody: pale, pretty, long red hair hanging in her face, cute swoop
of a nose in search of a lost spray of freckles, a big lipstick-smeared grin.
She'd only been undead herself for a couple of months, and was still learning
to be spooky.
"Yeah, that's why you
spent the night with him." Tommy pointed across the loft to the
life-sized bronze statue of a man in a tattered suit. Inside the bronze shell
was the ancient vampire who had turned Jody. Another bronze of Jody stood next
to him. When the two of them had gone out at sunrise, into the sleep of the
dead, Tommy had taken them to the sculptors who lived on the ground floor of
his building and had the vampires bronzed. He'd thought it would give him time
to think of what to do, and keep Jody from running off with the old vampire.
Tommy's mistake had been drilling ear holes in Jody's sculpture so she could
hear him. Somehow, during the night, before the bronzing, the old vampire had
taught her to turn to mist, and she'd streamed out of the ear holes into the
room, and - well -- here they were: dead, in love, and angry.
"I needed to know about
what I am, Tommy. Who else was going to tell me if not him?"
"Yeah, but you should
have asked me before you did this," Tommy said. "You shouldn't just kill
a guy without asking. It's inconsiderate." Tommy was from Indiana, and his
mother had raised him to have good manners and to be considerate of other
"You had sex with me
while I was unconscious," Jody said.
"That's not the same,"
Tommy said. "I was just being friendly, like when you put a quarter in someone
else's parking meter when they aren't there - you know they appreciate it
later, even if they don't thank you personally."
"Yeah, wait until you
go out in your jammies and wake up all sticky in a cheerleader outfit and see
how grateful you are. You know, Tommy, when I'm out, technically, I'm dead.
Guess what that makes you?"
"Well - uh— yeah, but
you're not even human. You're just some foul dead thing." Tommy immediately
regretted saying it. It was hurtful and mean, and although Jody was, indeed,
dead, he didn't find her foul at all -- in fact, he was pretty sure he was in
love with her, he was just a little embarrassed about the whole
necrophilia/cheerleader thing. Back in the Midwest people didn't mention that
sort of thing unless a dog dug up a pom-pom in some guy's back yard and the
police eventually discovered the whole human pyramid buried under the swing
completely for effect. Actually she was relieved that Tommy was now on the
defensive. "Well, welcome to the Foul, Dead Thing Club, Mr. Flood."
"Yeah, you drank my
blood," Tommy said. "A lot."
Damn, she should
have pretended to cry. "You let me."
considerate," Tommy said. He stood up and shrugged.
"You just let me
because of the sex."
"That's not true, it
was because you needed me." He was lying, it was because of the sex.
"Yes, I did," Jody
said. "I still do." She held her arms out to him. "I really do."
He walked into her arms
and held her. She felt amazing to him, even more amazing than she had before.
It was as if his nerves had been dialed up to eleven. "Okay, it was because of
thought, in control once again. She kissed his neck. "How do you feel
about it now?"
"Maybe in a minute, I'm
starving." He let go of her and stormed across the loft to the kitchen, where
he pulled a burrito out of the freezer, threw it into the microwave, and hit
the button, all in one smooth motion.
"You don't want to eat
that," Jody said.
"Nonsense, it smells
great. It's like every little bean and pork piece is sending out its own
delicious miasma of flavor vapor." Tommy used words like "miasma" because he
wanted to be a writer. That's why he'd come to San Francisco in the first place
- to take life in big bites and write about it. Oh, and to find a girlfriend.
"Put the burrito down,
and back away, Tommy," Jody said. "I don't want you to get hurt."
"Ha, that's cute." He
took a big bite and grinned at her as he chewed.
Five minutes later,
because she felt responsible, Jody was helping him clean bits of masticated
burrito off the kitchen wall and the front of the refrigerator. "It's like
every bean was storming the gates of repressive digestion to escape."
"Yeah, well, being
refried will do that to you," Jody said, stroking his hair. "You okay?"
"I'm starving. I need
"Not so much eat," Jody
"Oh my God! It's the
hunger. I feel like my insides are caving in on themselves. You should have told
me about this."
She knew how he felt -
actually, she had felt worse when it happened to her. At least he knew what was
happening to him. "Yeah, sweetie, we're going to have to make a few
"Well what do I do?
What did you do?"
"I mostly fed off of
"You should have
thought this through before you killed me. I'm fucked."
Together. Like Romeo and Juliet, only we get to be in a sequel. Very literary,
"Oh, that's a comfort.
I can't believe you just killed me like that."
"And turned you into a superbeing,
thank you very much."
"Oh crap, there's
burrito spooge all over my new sneakers."
"You can see in the
dark, now," Jody said cheerfully. "Wanna try it? I'll get naked. You can look
at me in the dark. Naked. You'll like it."
"Jody, I'm starving
She couldn't believe
that he didn't respond to the naked persuasion. What kind of monster had she
created? "Okay, I'll find you a bug or something."
"A bug?! A bug!? I'm
not eating a bug."
"I said there'd have to
be some adjustments."
Tommy had been dealing
with more than a few adjustments since he'd come west from his hometown of
Incontinence, Indiana - not the least of which had been finding a girlfriend,
who, while smart, sexy, and quick-witted, drank his blood and tended to fall
unconscious at the exact moment of sunrise. He'd always suspected that she
might have just picked him because he worked nights and could walk around
during the day, especially since she'd once said, "I need someone who works
nights and can walk around during the day," but now that he was a vampire, he
could close the door on that insecurity and open another onto a whole new world
of insecurities he'd never even considered before. The appropriate age for a
vampire is four hundred years old - he should be a world-weary and
sophisticated creature, his human anxieties long-since overcome or evolved into
macabre perversions. The problem with a nineteen-year-old vampire is that he
drags all of his adolescent insecurities into the dark with him.
"I'm really pale,"
Tommy said, staring at himself in the bathroom mirror. They'd figured out early
on that vampires do, indeed, cast a reflection in a mirror, just like they
could tolerate proximity to crucifixes and garlic. (Tommy had run experiments
on Jody while she slept, including many involving cheerleader outfits and
personal lubricants.) "And not just winter in Indiana pale. I'm, like, pale
"Yeah," said Jody, "I
thought you liked the pale."
"Sure, it looks good on
you, but I look ill."
"Keep looking," Jody
said. She was leaning against the door frame, dressed in tight black jeans and
a half shirt, her hair tied back and streaming down her back like a flaccid red
comet tail. She was trying not to appear too amused.
Tommy said. "Something besides color."
"Uh-huh," Jody grinned.
"My skin cleared up! I
don't have a single zit."
"Ding, ding, ding,"
Jody onomatopeed, signaling that Tommy had hit on the correct answer.
"If I had known my skin
would clear up, I'd have asked you to change me a long time ago."
"I didn't know how to a
long time ago," Jody said. "That's not all, take off your shoes."
"I don't understand,
"Just take off your
Tommy sat on the edge
of the tub and took off his sneakers and socks.
"Look at your toes."
"They're straight. My
little toe isn't bent any more. It's like I've never worn shoes."
"You're perfect," Jody
said. She remembered finding out this condition of vampirism and being both
delighted and horrified because now she felt that she'd always need to lose
five pounds - five pounds that were preserved for eternity.
Tommy pulled up the leg
of his jeans and studied his shin. "The scar where I hit myself with a hatchet,
"And it always will be," Jody said. "You'll always be perfect, just
like you are now. My split ends even went away."
"I'll always be the
"Just like I am now."
"As far as I know,"
"But I was going to
start working out. I was going to be buff. I was going to have abs of steel."
"No you weren't."
The foregoing is excerpted from You Suck by Christopher Moore. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022