One-hundred-thirty-eight-year-old vampire David Hollowell once savored the idea of living forever. Born in New Orleans’ French Quarter in 1867, he grew up in a flourishing southern city known for its music, food and extravagant nightlife. In the city’s most famous cemetery, the Saint Louis, the vampire drew his last mortal breath at the tender mortal age of 33. And for more than a century, he never regretted his choice to hand over mortality for an eternity of pallid skin and blood breath. But recently, his situation has turned grave. He joined me for an interview from his exquisite Broken Springs two-room Main Street apartment.
“The hardest adjustment,” the tall vampire told us over a bottle of Sangria Wine, “was sleeping in a coffin. I can’t tell you how many nights I awoke with a stiff neck and aches in my lower extremities. Luckily the one who made me had a brother who was a Chiropractor, and his sister’s nephew through marriage was a carpenter. He built me a coffin with extra leg room. I’m eternally grateful. Proper bedding is so important when you intend to live forever.”
Once his daytime sleeping arrangements were set, Hollowell had to adjust to his new vampire diet. “The first sip is always the best,” he explained as he casually flipped his cape off his left shoulder. “It’s intoxicating. When I lost my vampire virginity, I drank way too much. The blood just rolled down my throat like elixir of the gods. I felt like a baby at a titty bar. I just couldn’t stop. The next night I woke up with such a hangover. I didn’t get out of my coffin for a week. My vampire buddies still tease me about it, even though that story is so last century.”
Life for the vampire soon improved as he grew accustomed to the nocturnal routine of vampirism. He recalls that as the years flew by, New Orleans grew into a bustling city of culture, tourism, and blood. “The city was literally bubbling with life,” he reminisces with the hint of a small tear trailing down his pale cheek. “Especially during Mardi Gras. I can’t tell you how many breasts I saw on any given night. I gave the ladies more than cheap beads for a little flesh,” he said with a wry smile. “It was a splendid time, if you could stand the crowds and public urination.”
“I was even the top recruiter for my vampire coven three years in a row.” He looked down at his Dolce and Gabbana black velvet cape. “I won this in 1992, because I recruited 348 new vampires that year. Oh sure,” he said with a shrug, “Anne Rice and her alcoholic ramblings helped. But I did all the dirty work.”
I shifted in my seat uncomfortably as he spoke, and he flashed a toothy grin. “Don’t worry. I’ve retired from vampire recruitment. Anyway, you wouldn’t last a decade with those ears. You’re safe. Plus, I’m on a diet. Been feasting on too many fatties lately. I’m starting to get a blood belly.”
Nervous laughter spilled into the room and he continued his tale.
“The 21st Century arrived, and New Orleans began dying on the vine. With the election of George W. Bush, and his thirst for blood of a darker color, the City that Care Forgot began living up to its nickname. Federal monies for social programs were siphoned into the unjustified war in Iraq and tax cuts for the rich. And, as we all know now, in June of last year the Bush Administration sucked over $70 million from the budget of the New Orleans Corps of Engineers, which prevented the proper maintenance and upgrade of the city’s levee system. I might bite a lot of necks, but George Bush is the real vampire,” he said, almost poetically.
A bit of empathy peeked out from behind his sharp fangs. “Many of the city’s wealthiest residents moved to higher ground, and Hurricane Katrina hit, leaving the black urban poor bathing in their own death. Not wanting to leave my home, I nearly starved, unable to find any victims. All that I found had already been sucked dry.”
“By the government, you mean?”
“No, by other vampires. I survived solely on looters but they left a bad taste in my mouth.” According to Hollowell, his situation got so bad he eventually had to leave his hometown. He migrated north to Broken Springs only because he heard it was a good place to be bored to death.
Noticing my empty goblet, my host slowly poured another glassful of Sangria as the dawn began peeking in from behind the posh curtains in his flood damaged dining room. We tipped our glass to forget about the plight of New Orleans and the continuous suffering in the town we both now call home. The wine flowed down my throat like warm blood on Halloween night.
“My shrink says I’m suffering from post traumatic depression, a disorder not uncommon to vampires for obvious reasons. He wanted to put me on anti-depressants but my stomach rejects everything but blood. Unfortunately I’m scared to death of needles. There’s only so much death and destruction an immortal man can take. There’s no hope for me. My existence is dreary and full of despair. Undeath is not worth living anymore. Therein lies the dilemma. How does an immortal man kill himself? How can you kill someone who’s already dead? Where’s that bastard Van Helsing when you need him?” The vampire put his head in his hands and began weeping tears of blood.
That was when I noticed the sharp wooden stake laying on the windowsill. It was suddenly clear to me why Hallowell had granted this interview. Still weeping, he was oblivious to the stake raised before him. But upon attempt to drive it into his chest, the Sangria made me quite legless, so I missed his heart completely and my assassination attempt resulted only in a wicked wooden splinter.
“Oh, thanks for trying,” he said while picking wooden shards out of his skin. “You’re too drunk to drive home. You’re welcomed to sleep in my guest coffin,” he commented nonchalantly as he corked the wine and closed the curtains.
“But if you get up early, don’t wake me,” the vampire warned. “I’m a late sleeper.”