LET ANOTHER ONE IN • by John Wiswell

He banged on the door for ten minutes before getting an answer. The owner jerked it open and looked up at him with little sleepiness despite the hour. Her expression was all seventy-year-old discontent in a satin perm cap. A silver chain kept the door from opening more than an inch.

“Madame,” he begged into the crack. “May I please come in for just a moment?”

“No. Think just because mine’s the only door on the boulevard without a crucifix over it that you can traipse in?”

He adjusted the brim of his hat and pulled his lapels over his pale cheeks.

“I don’t mean to bother you Madame, but it’s quite cold out and sunrise is near.”

It was. The sky was vaguely purple with coming dawn.

“You’re not the kind that sparkles, then?”

“I wish.”

“Are you the kind that bites voluptuous women?” She scrunched up her nose, an act that somehow doubled the liver spots on her face. “Keep in mind I have sickle-cell anemia. The Lancet says it’s havoc on undead bowels.”

“No. I’m civilized. I ate on Saturday, and I tipped well.”

“But you are the kind that needs me to let you in?”

“How does everyone around here know about us? We’re purposefully subtle.”

She fixed the bobby pins in her cap. “You hold your convention here every year. It didn’t take long to realize the November vagrants stole more than wallets.”

The vampire put a hand over his heart.

“I swear I’m a law-abiding citizen. It’s just that my keycard doesn’t work anymore at the hotel. I must have touched static for a second and now my door won’t open. Because I don’t have photo ID, they don’t believe I’m the one who rented the room. They kicked me out of the lobby two hours ago.”

“And you’ve just been wandering around?”

“Yes,” he said, trying to look pathetic despite being two feet taller than her. At the same moment that he bowed his head all sad-like, her nose turned up all opportunistic-like.

“Okay then. What do you have on you?”

“I beg your pardon?”

She gestured through the crack in the door, rubbing a thumb on an arthritic forefinger. “Cash? Relics? Antique watches?”

He fumbled in his coat. Soon he presented a sleek leather wallet and a pink iPhone.

“Pink?” she inquired.

“My familiar got it for me. She likes everything pink, even her–”

“I’m sure she does. What about the rings?”

He examined his own hand for a moment before realizing she meant the gold bands on his middle and forefingers. They were plain.

“I’d sooner die! Those are my only mementos of the master that turned me.”

“Probably worth fifty at a pawn shop. How much in the wallet?”

With the first rays of morning light streaming over the buildings, he had no choice but to empty it, revealing a stack of singles. Shaving was back in fashion, leaving the lycan strip clubs very disappointing this year.

“Alright,” said the old woman. “The cash and the rings, and I’ll let you in.”

“My master was the only man who ever–”

She pulled the doorknob and he only just got his fingers into the crack to stop it from closing. The sudden motion jarred his lapel. His cheek sizzled until he brought up his free arm to shield his face.

“Please, Madame. Have mercy.”

“Are you the strong kind of vampire?” she asked without looking at him.

“I’m not going to cause trouble, Madame. I just need lodging until dusk. I’ll sleep in a closet.”

“I asked if you were the strong kind of vampire.”

“All right, yes. I could bench press a motorcycle. Please let me in.”

“I have some furniture in the basement I want moved. I’ll take the cash and iPhone, and you promise to move all my shelves. Keep your rings.”

The vampire clapped his hands.

“A thousand thanks, Madame. I’ll tell every vampire I know that yours is a considerate doorstep.”

“Keep it down,” she said, unhooking the chain. “I’ve got two of you sleeping upstairs already and I don’t want them knowing I let you keep the jewelry. Get to the basement. There are a lot of shelves.”

He stepped through the door. It felt much warmer inside. He couldn’t tell why until he saw that all the curtains were already closed. With protective plastic over the sofa and faded pictures on the walls, it felt more like a mausoleum than a house. It was like home.

His host trudged to a door beneath the stairs, presumably leading to the basement. He remained at the door for a moment, removing his hat and licking his lips.

“You know, Madame, white people don’t often get sickle cell anemia.”

“You know, punk, old women often wear crosses to bed.”

She tugged a silver chain from under the neck of her nightdress.

He hung his things in the closet and trudged to the basement. It beat hiding in a public bathroom stall again.

John Wiswell writes in any genre he can wrap his mind around and has published with Alienskin Magazine, BURST, Short-Story.Me, Untied Shoelaces of the Mind, and has been nominated for Dzanc Books’ Best of the Web. He puts up something new every day on The Bathroom Monologues, available at www.johnwiswell.blogspot.com.

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Every Day Fiction

  • Oonah V Joslin

    Well he certainly met his match 🙂

  • As always, your unique style and playful language make this story shine. Got a kick outta this one, John.

  • Sheila Cornelius

    I liked the table-turning in this one, as the old lady took the upper hand in the negotiatons, plus the surprise development that it was a kind of vampire boarding house all along.


  • ajcap

    Enjoyed very much. Liked the twists and turns and the dialogue. Free vampire labour is funny stuff. Undead bowel havoc sounds unsettling, but oddly amusing. Good read.

  • fishlovesca

    Hee, loved it.

  • I tend to be quite vampire-phobic when it comes to my tastes in reading. It’s a challenge to offer me an undead story and not get a roll of the eyes and a “been-there-done-that” sigh of contempt in return.

    But I must say that I quite enjoyed this. Humorous and well-written. Great tension in the dialogue.

    Well done, Johh.

  • J Howard

    Yeah, Chris #6 said it best: I’m not a huge vampire-tale fan–Dracula and ‘Salem’s Lot excepted, of course–but this one just dragged me in from the get-go. I love short fiction shown mainly through dialogue, and the quality of yours was second to none, IMHO. Clever, colorful, and witty describes it best; what’s not to like about that, I ask?

    That poor bloodsucker trying to beat the first rays of light through Madame’s door kind of reminded me of those times when I had to pee real bad and couldn’t find my damned key… Know what I’m sayin’? ;-D

    Nicely done, John! Thanks for sharing.

  • Great dialogue. Very sharp and funny. Didn’t get the line about the lycan strip clubs. Perhaps someone would enlighten (and probably embarrass) me. :$

  • Good story, nicely paced, interesting characters, resolved story line…what more could you ask for. Well done. Five from me…..

  • Few writers can handle humorous horror as proficiently as John Wiswell!

  • Loved it! One of the best vampire stroies I’ve read in a while! Five of course! 🙂

  • That should read best vampire stories.

  • vondrakker

    Although this is not my chosen Genre`
    It is great::: Hooks Fore and Aft
    GREAT dialogue !!!! AND amusing to boot!!
    5 hollow toothed stars lol

  • kathy k

    Nicely done.

  • Merlin

    Best story I’ve read in ages. Well done!

  • The dialogue and characters really made this one. A very enjoyable read.

  • s.g.

    I agree with #15, “Best story I’ve read in ages!” Thanks!

  • fishlovesca

    Wait, I just re-read the story, and I have a question about the last line. How could he have hidden out in a public restroom stall? Those things are brightly lit all the time, many of them have windows, and most of them are cleaned daily. Don’t know how he could have escaped daylight and/or detection. A curious nitpick only, the story is just that good.

  • Kit

    Loved the tone – and all the back and forth posturing between the two. Very clever.

  • Fallen Angel

    @ fishlovesca.

    Q. “I have a question about the last line. How could he have hidden out in a public restroom stall? Those things are brightly lit all the time…”

    A. Dead easy! Certain members of the, er, homosexual community, who are, er, experts in such matters, do this all the time. Very carefully, they take out the bulb, unscrew it, or fuse the electrics, plunging the room into (very convenient) darkness. Obviously, small out-of-the-way restrooms are more suitable than large ones, especially if one is, er, seeking, an encounter with a person of, er, similar persuasion…

    I actually knew someone who did this sort of thing all the time in London in the 1960’s (sure, that’s a long time ago…Restrooms may have changed…). Apparently, the station toilet (cottage) at Clapham Junction saw quite a lot of activity…

    I’ve just realised this puts a whole new angle on the story…

  • A great read

  • 5 stars from me. Nicely done all around!

  • fishlovesca

    @20, In those instances, you are speaking of people who were tolerant of natural daylight, and who could leave a restroom at any point in time — and yes I am familiar with the practices you are speaking of, for reasons related to employment back in the day. Custodians clean restrooms, light shines through windows, and nowadays lights are protected by types of coverings that defeat attempts to remove them. As I say, a small nit, and there might be others, I don’t know enough about vampires to uncover them, in an otherwise excellent story.

  • I don’t care for vampire lit–it’s over done. I couldn’t actually read this one–except for the ending. The ending dialogue was clever.

    Also–on about the 4th line in the narrative was flat.:”‘The dawn is almost near.'”
    It was.”–just doesn’t work–show, not tell!!

  • This was a fun piece and I enjoyed it.

  • Loved it! Even the title was perfect.

    Five stars.

  • Farking hilarious, John! The old bat knew how to deal with HIS kind, for sure!

  • Fun. I haven’t read Twilight, so I’m not sure I got all the references, but well done regardless.

  • I’m sorry, but through no fault of the author’s I’m so completely tired of vampire lit that I can’t find anything new or interesting in this story. The title, which is a take-off on the title of the last decent vampire movie out there (IMO) couldn’t even do it for me. Sorry! Overdone genre, no new tale here.

  • Excellent story as usual, John. Besides the impeccable humor and creativity in such a battered theme, I love the old woman’s voice, and how you tell without ‘telling’ that there are different kinds of vamps. I didn’t make the connection with the title until the very end. Masterful story!

  • I don’t think I know enough about Vampire stories to get all of the references but the dialogue was good and enjoyable to read. It flowed well. Didn’t understand why he had an iPhone and it seemed strange to mix something so modern with such a ‘classic’ topic especially when there was no other indication it was set in the present day.

  • J Howard wrote “That poor bloodsucker trying to beat the first rays of light through Madame’s door kind of reminded me of those times when I had to pee real bad and couldn’t find my damned key…”

    The solution is obvious: pee in the keyhole.

  • I Love Spoonerisms…

    And later, when you find your key, you could put your

    Key in the peehole!

    🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Crafty old witch, isn’t she. Another entertaining piece from one of my favorite writers.

  • Entertaining new take on the vampire story. Cool beans, fun read! 5 from moi

  • Gretchen Bassier

    A fun story. Nice job, John!

  • Very crafty story. Also not a fan of blood-sucker stories, but this one turned my tastes. Your dialogue — spot on. peace…

  • I was so laughing at all the hits at “Let the Right One In” and the other popular vamp tales. Hey- I liked that one (the book not the movie). Clever dialogue and ending. Always enjoy your strange inner tickings.

  • JenM

    At first I thought, oh no another vampire story, but then this one turned out to be so funny! I like vampire stories actually, I just get sick of all the knockoffs that are coming out of the woodwork since Twilight mania.
    This is definitly not a knockoff. I loved all the tongue-in-cheek references. I espically loved the title.

  • This is hilarious! Loved the line about undead bowels. And sparkly vampires. LOL

  • Another great story, John. I’m tired of the same old vampire garbage like a lot of people, sure, but I know Wiswell tales, and they’re always fantastic. Read it, loved it – especially the bit about the werewolf strip clubs. 😀 Five stars!

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  • Vanessa Weibler Paris

    Love love love love love this. Makes me want to go find other stuff John has written right away.

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  • Playing with “Let the Right One In?” Niiice.

  • bookwench

    well, it took me long enough to get around to reading it, but it’s an awesome little short. 🙂