Pseudopod 341: Immortal L.A.

by Eric Czuleger

“Immortal L.A.” was written for Pseudopod. “Because I’m a big fan. A really big fan. I was recently in a taxi driving through the Romanian country side. I asked the cab driver if he believed in vampires and he said in thickly accented broken English ‘of course, dictators, criminals, liars… these are the vampires. We see the news and we see the vampires. Vampires are not legends, vampires and legends don’t make vampires, if you look around you’ll see them. If you watch the news you’ll see them.’”

Eric Czuleger is originally from Los Angeles, where he is a founding member of the Courage Theatre Company. He was a playwright for years before he joined the Peace Corps. He currently lives in the town of Bajram Curri, Albania, where he is a High School English teacher. “Immortal L.A.” is the first story in his forthcoming series of the same name, the book IMMORTAL L.A., a series of short weird fiction about a big weird city. You can also find some of Eric’s prievious work at Live Theatre Blog and on Facebook at “Live Theatre Blog”. Also if you’re in the L.A. Area, go and see a show at the Coeurage Theatre company, a great theatre that is always pay-what-you-want. Check us out at Coeurage Theatre Company.

Your reader this week – Joe Calarco – is an actor and sound designer living in Los Angeles. He’s also one of the founding members of Coeurage Theatre Company in Hollywood.

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“I ran a hand along my softening stomach. Tomorrow I start my diet. I thought. I removed my mouth from my hand. Two neat holes. No blood.

I went to the bathroom. Before I opened the door I tried to convince myself to chew a piece of gum instead. Saliva roused in my mouth and convinced me otherwise. I placed my head on the door with a gentle thunk, and thought, Am I hungry? Then, no I’m just depressed. I opened the door to the bathroom. The girl was lying in the bathtub where I left her.

A stream of blood ran down her neck and out of her thin wrists, it formed a shallow pool at the bottom of the tub. Her legs were like pale sticks. Her platform shoes with nine inch spikes were thrown in the corner, I have to throw out that pile, it’s just getting bigger. Her eyes lazily rotated in their orbits toward me. Even below her thick red lipstick, her lips seemed blue. Her hair was cut into a short blonde bob and while I had my mouth around her neck I could pretend for a bit. Pretend she was someone else that I wanted to drain the life of.

I stood in the doorway feeling self-conscious. I didn’t think she would be awake still, and I was already coming back for a fourth helping. It was like that moment when I still ate food, where you wanted to take the last slice of pizza but no one does through mutual shame. In spite of the fact that, if left to your own devices, you would have devoured the pizza entirely. It was like that. This time the pizza was watching me. And judging me.

‘Are you going to kill me?’ She croaked, as if she were asking the time. She’d lost so much blood she was punch drunk.

‘Yes,’ I said guiltily. Conscious of my gut.”

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