SUCKA FOR PUNISHMENT • by Rhiannon Morgan

“We’ve got the fan feedback from your online album preview.”

Marcus, my manager, slapped a pile of print-outs onto his glass desk. It wasn’t as nice as my desk — which is made out of the coffin of a virgin nun — but it had status about it.

“So. What’s the haps?” I asked. “Homies dig it?”

“Well.” Marcus pursed his lips. “Not exactly.”

“What do you mean, not exactly? What’s wrong with it?” I fingered my gold fangs defensively. “I busted my ass over those joints.”

“The thing is… it’s not quite what anyone was expecting.”

“It’s off-the-hizzee shizzle, that’s why!” I protested.

“Josiah — ”

“My name is Sucka now, okay?”

“Sucka.” Marcus raised his eyebrows. “You’re a four hundred year-old cut-glass English vampire. I don’t think the public was expecting a hip hop record.”

I jumped to my feet, incensed.

“But why? I have so much in common with the black man! We both endure such public prejudice…” Ugh. I’d slipped out of character again. “Vamp shizzle is all about the story of the underdog.  We’re both shrouded in darkness, literally — ”

“I think you’ll find that that kind of sweeping statement will get you shot,” Marcus said dryly. I detected a note of hope in his voice.

“I’m built for gang warfare! Fiddy’s got nothing on me!” I threw out my arms. “They can shoot me as many times as they like, I’m not goin’ down like that!”

He exhaled.

“This is the thing. The public didn’t really buy your drive-by stories — ”

“Why the hell not?”

“Something to do with them being conducted on a giant bat, maybe?” Marcus said.

“Hmm. Maybe if I got one made of dollar bills…” I drummed my fingers on the desk. “Well, what did they make of Blood Bruthas?”

“I think the verse about ‘tasty, veiny nizzles’ was too homoerotic,” Marcus sighed. “The general consensus was ‘a bit gay.'”

I pouted, because this usually worked on women and victims. Marcus rolled his eyes.

“Did you really expect an R’n’B dance track called Hell Yeah to go down well with Bible Belt America…?”

“Hell is an important part of my life,” I replied. “Besides, I needed a vehicle for my killer dance moves. Wanna see?”

He pressed his lips together.

“If you must.”

I positioned myself against the (handy) black-out blind with my arms in the air, pausing for a moment. Then I started my famous pulse-rhythm beat boxing, along with a series of complicated gestures that I like to call Sucka’s Secret Hand-Break.

“S’up honeyz with the fangies, all up in my crypt
We be sippin’ on blood flowin’ from the nizzles that we ripped
Sun settin’, big hittin’, all the lyrics that I’m spittin’
Hell yeah! Bust a move to the beat I be transmitting!”

I spun round and grabbed my fangs, extending my little fingers (which were dripping in gold stolen from a fourteenth century Norse monastery).

“Do you want to hear the verse about vampiric opression?” I said. “It’s killa poignant.”

Marcus held up a hand.

“No, really. That’s quite enough.”

“Oh. Okay, then.” I sank back down. “Well… where do we go from here, then? I mean, somebody must have liked some of it, no…?” I was too downhearted to continue with my ghetto façade. “What about the video?”

“Your vampire brides put people off. Apparently.”

“But it was a beautiful story of love and second chances!” I cried. “The scene where Shakira Chianti is turned into a vampire is visual poetry, damn it!”

“The platinum contact lenses you used were a little disturbing.” Marcus sat back in his leather chair, which was not half as superior as the lead throne in my crypt. “I’m simply not sure that this is going to work, Josiah.”

“I signed my contract in blood. There’s no breaking that bond!” I hissed.

“You didn’t sign it, though, did you? You spat out the dregs from your lunch.” He tugged the sodden paper out from under his pile. “Perhaps you should have taken the time to read it more thoroughly — ”

I snatched it off him.

“It’s not my fault that I had the beat for Up The Stakes in my head at the time!”

“Regardless. I’m sorry Josiah, really, I am… but I will not be representing you from this day forth.” Marcus handed me the reports and gestured to the door. “Now, if you — ”

“It’s Sucka!” I yelled, standing over him. “My name is Sucka!”

“Now, now — let’s not get petty about this — ”

“I’m not petty! I am not p to the etty! Let me tell you something, Marcus!” I felt my face crease with vamp-tastic fury. “Yo’ momma so pale, when she… oh God, not even I can pull off that line.” I sighed. “I’m just going to have to eat you.”

Marcus’s eyes widened.

“You know, on second thoughts, maybe we can work something out after all — ”

I stepped closer to him and he edged back.

“It’s for my reputation, you understand,” I went on.

“But you can’t eat me, it’s in the contract!” he shrieked. “Really, I’m sure we can sort something for you. Maybe we could go the Celtic route, do a pan pipe sample — ”

Pan pipes? Oh, Marcus,” I cringed. “And would that be the contract that’s now void?”

I dived towards his perma-tanned jugular, tasting metallic nectar and St. Tropez all at once (bleugh). Marcus screamed and the blood swilled round his throat, making him gurgle. I tried to ignore the hairy wart on his collarbone as I swallowed.

When I was finished, I positioned his limp body so it looked like he was touching himself somewhere inappropriate and gathered up the reports on my music. I scanned them as I breezed out of the office.

“What?” I yelled, incredulous. “People liked Freak Like Mead!”

Rhiannon Morgan lives above a sixteenth century pub in Wiltshire. She has finally cracked the Coke habit and Vimto is now her tooth-rot of choice.

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