By JAMES LIVINGSTON
I am a vampire. There, I’ve said it. It’s not easy. To be honest, I think I’d rather be a werewolf. Those guys kill people for fun, not for a living. The full moon rises, they go out and chew through some morons who don’t know any better than to walk around at night without a bodyguard. Wander in the woods after dark, who does that anymore?
Me, I have to suck their blood because it’s fucking nutritional, you know what I mean? If I don’t bite them, I don’t live. The werewolf, OK, I suppose he’s committed in his own way, but it’s once a month, and he doesn’t remember.
I’m out there every day, selling. Selling myself, the personality, you understand, otherwise I’m just attacking people like some kind of street thug, overpowering them, stealing their purses, I don’t want to do that, I’d prefer to persuade them, like a real estate agent does, much less strenuous that way.
Every night, I mean, I don’t go out during the day, the sunlight and all, that would hurt. Really hurt, like incinerate me. That’s the life. I accept it.
The werewolf, look, he’s got a part-time job, but me, I’m full-time, if I don’t suck somebody’s blood every day, what happens? I’m losing weight, I get dizzy, I can’t concentrate. I start eating potato chips, and I already know they make me sick. Or I go to a night game, get a hot dog and a beer, it’s much worse that way, I throw up on the guy next to me, he wants to kill me, but that’s not gonna happen, so I have to subdue the poor fuck, drag him to the toilet, leave him hanging on that hook in the stall.
So why am I telling you this? I want to come clean. All right, not exactly clean. When I’m done talking, I’ll bite you, I can’t help it, it’s what I do, I’m actually scared of myself, but for now I want you to know how this system works, yeah, you’re about to die, but you’re going to know why, you see what I mean? No reason to suffer from false consciousness. Not these days.
I suck your blood because I have none, there’s nothing moving in there, you have value to me because you got this thing I don’t, and it makes you valuable, or edible, I don’t know there’s any difference. If I consume you, I stay alive, you see what I mean? I get what I pay for, you pay for what you get. The price is life, yours or mine. If I don’t kill you, I’m dead. I have no choice in the matter.
Now, consider the werewolf. He doesn’t have to worry about any of this. He’s excitable, OK, he’s murderous at a certain time of the month, but mainly he’s just a regular guy, probably more hairy than most, don’t you think, I mean, the backs of his hands, c’mon, that’s just gross.
This hairy guy, the werewolf, he doesn’t have to ask about the relation between the supply and demand of blood every day, like I do, he just goes out there once in a while, all angry, and spills as much as he can, and then he goes home, he looks at that full moon and he wonders what happened. He forgets all of it.
He’s not selling anything, you see what I mean? He’s not creating social relationships, he’s not making markets, he’s just killing people. Me, I bring buyers and sellers together. I understand what you want—you want attention, affection—and I need nutrition, so we get along for as long as we have to. Then, well, either you’re dead or you live forever, like me.
I know how this thing works. The werewolf isn’t your problem. I am. You fear us both, that’s good, but now you’ve also developed a taste for zombies, why is that? What’s that about, resurrection unlimited, nothing ever dies? Fat fucking chance. These zombies are a joke, they just distract you from people, sorry, vampires like me.
Look at me. No, I mean, look me in the eye. I’m gonna bleed you now, I’m gonna suck you dry. You understand why, am I correct? I’m closing this deal.
James Livingston is Professor of History at Rutgers-New Brunswick and the editor of P/L. His last book was Against Thrift (2011); his new book, Fuck Work, will be out soon from UNC Press.