My final writing course in college was on ‘Horror’ because the genre of the course changed every semester. I was just thankful it wasn’t Romance. Still, I didn’t have a good grasp of horror even with a Stephen King How-To textbook. So, my final story for the class was a comedy with the classic movie monsters playing poker and talking about the old days of being a movie monster. Full of bad puns, jokes, and them hating on whatever was happening to their franchises. Sadly, his was written in 2002, so Dracula won’t be going on an anti-Twilight tirade. It got second place in the Great Lakes Review (college literary publication) even though I didn’t know it was a contest. Enjoy.
The storm outside is deafening with its god-like thunder and there are winds that rip shingles off the rooftops. Every now and then a gap in the storm clouds show a bloated moon hovering in the sky. A small house at the end of the block is where this stranger wants to go. It is run-down and stray cats cower under the porch. In his youth, the elongated sack over his shoulder would not have slowed the stranger down. But he isn’t young anymore. A low growling responds to the hideous doorbell and the squeaky door cracks open.
“Did I miss anything important?” asks the stranger as he enters the building. He unwraps the package to reveal a tied-up cheerleader. She is still alive, but a spigot has been grafted to her chest.
“Just hearing about Frank’s wife. He has to be home in an hour, so this poker game is going to be very short. It’s her time of the month again,” says a voice from the other room.
“Damn it! I hate it when that bitch gets her bolts tightened,” responds the dark man. He walks into the next room to see a Werewolf, Frankenstein’s monster, a Mummy, and a floating cigar sitting around a poker table.
“Pull up a seat, Drac. We saved your favorite chair as usual,” says the werewolf. He takes the time to reach down for a stray cat. He guts it in a swift movement and proceeds to eat up the insides like one would eat a melon slice. Dracula puts his cape on a wall hook and places his food on a wooden chair. He moves one of the plush recliners to the table and sits next to the werewolf.
“That’s sick, Wolf. You have any idea how diseased some of those creatures are? Get some real food and maybe your fur wouldn’t be full of split-ends,” says the Mummy as he shuffles the deck. The crackling of old bones fills the air as he does this. Finally he starts tossing cards out at everyone and puts the deck down.
“Then find me a job. I haven’t had a good movie or television appearance in years. My last movie was that stupid American Werewolf in Paris or whatever the heck it was. I made barely enough money to get this house. Unlike you four, nobody has any interest in werewolves these days. Except for White Wolf, but all they want are the sleek and up-dated types. No howling at the moon or changing without wanting to anymore. I read the player’s manual for that game and it makes me sick. My kind has been demoted to killing machines that serve only to kill vampires. And may I add that Vampire: The Masquerade sells a lot more than their shoddy werewolf game.”
Frankenstein’s Monster suddenly bellows and slams his fist on a snack table. It shatters and he goes back to looking at his cards. Dracula takes a nearby mug and draws himself a glass of cheerleader blood. She squirms a little and he waves his hand over her eyes. She silently falls into a trance.
“Nobody wants Frank for a job either. Not like he really had any good jobs in the first place. No offense, big guy. Ever since that first movie, he’s been stupid. It was never supposed to be that way. I remember the days when we could all join Frank in stunning conversation,” says Dracula as he sips his drink.
“I heard your career is starting up again. Hey, Griffin! Put that ace in your coat pocket back on the table,” growls the werewolf. The invisible man takes a card that is hanging where his chest would be and puts it face up on the table.
“Nice nose, Wolf. You caught me,” he says.
“Nose had nothing to do with it. We can see through you and the card was just hanging in open air. How the hell did an idiot like you restart your career?”
“Charm and talent.”
The Mummy laughs before saying; “He probably haunted a movie executive’s house and scared him into making the television show. I’m just surprised they made the series after that movie. What was it called again? Hallow Man?”
“It was Hollow Man. Now, what was so wrong with that movie?” asks the Invisible Man.
All of them, except Frank, suddenly announce, “Kevin Bacon.”
“I could really go for some bacon right now, but I just don’t have the money. Eating cats makes me feel like I’m back in Romania with you, Dracula. One would think your country would have some recipes for animals that didn’t eat rodents,” says the werewolf. Dracula just glares at him and replaces two cards in his hand.
“At least I have a career. That television movie on my real life was enough to stir everyone’s interest in me. That and Dracula 2000 helped to pull me into the new time period. I can guarantee that Dracula has a good number of years left in him,” he says while going for another drink. The body is starting to turn deathly pale, so he makes sure to heat up his blood by putting a lit matchbook in it. Frank suddenly jumps to his feet when he sees the fire.
“Calm down, Frank. It isn’t out to get you this time. So, how’s Buffy these days, Fangs?” asks the Invisible Man. Everyone around the table starts to snicker and they almost fall down laughing.
Dracula shatters the mug in his hand and stands up. “Stop reminding me of that entire incident. I was not even consulted on that appearance and they proceeded to make a fool out of me. Me! The Prince of Darkness! One of the greatest monsters of all time! Twice that petite bitch staked me and made me into a laughing stock. I swear if I ever meet the people behind that episode, I will rip out their spleens and stuff them up their noses.”
“I sense some aggression. Maybe you should just go and have a talk with the guy who wrote the script. You weren’t killed, so you can come back for a grudge match. Those are getting very popular with the audiences these days. Of course that entire episode was a copy of Bram Stoker’s story. The old man must have been spinning in his grave,” mutters the werewolf as he looks at five cards that combine to make absolutely nothing in poker. He bends down to grab another cat leg and forgets to hide his cards from view.
“Trust me. The old man was spinning in his grave. I made sure to check on him once the episode ended and it took me all night to calm him down. As for talking with the creator, I tried. But his office is only open during the daylight hours. You’ve been pretty quiet, Mummy. I heard about your new movie coming out. Hope it’s as funny as the last one they put out,” says Dracula as he eyes the werewolf’s cards.
“Whatever. I’m not too thrilled about it. The first movie was a good hit for me because it got me back in the spotlight. Those special effects and the new powers they gave me helped pay the bills. I also liked that I was given flesh instead of these uncomfortable wrappings. Never wear these when you only film in a desert because sand chafes. But I’m not so sure about this new movie,” says the Mummy as he throws ten chips onto the growing pile.
“I don’t see why. The trailer looked really good. Of course, I snuck in to see Hannibal and everything was free. Not having to pay always makes something look a lot better,” says the Invisible Man.
“Ignore him. Why don’t you like the movie?” asks Dracula.
“It has The Rock in it. A pro wrestler has a part in one of my movies. That might be good for Highlander or X-Men, but I don’t trust those muscles heads. It just doesn’t sit well with me.”
“Oh please. If the man can make a fan following with the name of a piece of earth then I think he can do this movie. Give the guy a chance and see how it goes. It could always be worse. They could have given fleabag here the role,” says Dracula with a smirk.
“Keep laughing, jerk-off. I’ll get a chance soon enough. Now, let’s finish this game. Your turn, Frank.” Frankenstein’s monster grunts before pushing all of his poker chips into the middle of the table. Fishing around in his pocket, he throws his car keys and wedding ring into the pile.
“Too rich for my blood,” says Dracula as he throws his cards down in defeat.
“I’ll just turn with my tail between my legs now,” says the werewolf with a cat’s tail sticking out of his mouth.
“That is disgusting. I’m out,” agrees the Invisible Man. He throws his cards down and lights another cigar.
“I’ll see you, big man. Just for fun, I’ll add in my summer home in the Sphinx. I just had it redecorated. What have you got, Frank?” asks the Mummy.
Frank puts down his cards and shows everyone a King, a Queen, a Jack, a ten, and a four. None of them match suits except the Queen and the four. The Mummy places his cards down to show a pair of three’s.
“How did you know he was bluffing?” asks Dracula.
“Simple. He was holding his cards backwards the entire time. I thought everyone would have noticed that. Oh well. Looks like I win tonight,” laughs the Mummy as he stretches his arms around the pile of chips and starts to pull them in. Frank screams before knocking the Mummy across the room. The bandaged man stumbles to his feet only to fall back down with a thud.
“That had to hurt. Guess the big guy would have to go home with something considering his wife thought he was at the golf course. So, what is everyone doing tomorrow night?” asks the Invisible Man as he gets his coat from a hat rack. Frank has already taken most of the money and walked out of the house. They hear the screeching of his car before another explosion of thunder.
“I’ll be healing in my sarcophagus,” announces the Mummy as he stumbles to a chair. Dracula walks over and helps him to his feet.
“Meeting up with some old friends. I haven’t seen Abbot and Costello since their funerals. They’ll be in town by evening. So, I will probably see most of you next weekend. Hopefully, we don’t have to play at Frank’s house. His wife hasn’t liked me since I tried to drain her canary,” says Dracula. He helps the Mummy out the door and then turns into a bat in order to fly into the darkness. The Mummy stumbles into the street and waves to random passersby who just stop and stare.
“Well, I treat to eat her canary, so she isn’t too fond of me either. I’ll see all of you guys next weekend! Except for you, Griffin. We never see you,” mentions the werewolf.
Everyone leaves the small house and the tempest continues to rage outside. There is a few seconds of total silence in the storm when a loud roar is heard from inside the house.
“Goddamn Vampire! That bastard forgot to take his corpse with him!”