Future Resurrections of Heavy Metal Country Music James Dean
Like every other emotional guy, I assumed it was going to be a boring night. The kind of boredom that makes me mad, gets me wanting to pick a fight with guys I don’t like. My temper probably has a lot to do with why I ended up in Texas. Where little blondies from Dallas with banker-dad Ford Trucks go out and want to prove they’re hard and there I am to lick up a little spilled blood.
My hair was tied back behind my head. Being a vampire, I’ve never had the courage to cut my hair. There isn’t a lot of science available on hair growth after vampiric embrace and my hair has always been a primary tool of seduction. When not tied back, it falls past my shoulders, to the small of my back at its longest point.
Like most 21st century vampires, I enjoy a fun night out at the goth clubs. The haunted organs, the fishnets and drum machines and leather. I always enjoy going to Houston, putting on my eye liner and accessory after accessory, and bouncing from one club after another. But really I prefer the rural spots, the juke joints, where the country singers say wine and whiskey flows. I’ve always thought it’s kind of interesting, you wouldn’t assume country singers drink a lot of wine, but if you were to make a list of drinks most often mentioned in said genre, you’d find wine near the top of the list.
I enjoy a good tragedy because tragedies breed romance. Bela Lugosi is right, the blood is the life. I hate to say it though it’d show how much Texas has rubbed off on me. Jesus of Nazareth was also right when he said we can’t live on bread alone. He and his buddies were always doing kinky shit with oils, women’s hair and tears. Drinking wine and eating fish, lying out on the beaches of the Mediterranean like they were in a Jess Franco film. Jesus and his friends did those things for the same reasons vampires are always in castles, turning into mist. That’s why Spike fell in love with Buffy. Blood is irrelevant.
Jimmy wasn’t just another lyric. I had been at this bar for an hour or so. There was a local country band on stage, singing songs about some drama they’d gotten into in East Texas, songs about drinking or fucking too much and losing their partner. I assumed it was going to be a boring night and then Jimmy walked in. Blue jeans clinging to his thighs, simple but elegant black leather cowboy boots and a white t-shirt that allowed you to see his healthy pectorals and biceps. He wore a 36-hour beard with pimples at the base his hair follicles.
I could also immediately tell the intentions of the man he walked in with. Some guys just don’t have anything better to do than ambush each other and, even though Jimmy was beautiful, it was obvious he had no idea what was happening. I didn’t take my eyes off of them. The band kept singing songs about pills and speed and wishing they could see their babies again. Then Jimmy’s date asked him to meet him out back for a cigarette.
I think I knew the second I saw him we were going to end up on the run together. We were at a bar a few miles outside of a town populated by no more than 30,000 people. I drove there in my truck. Everything you hear about the sun is true. But finding a place to live during the day isn’t easy. Scum lords don’t tolerate empty apartments and don’t accept applications after 10 pm. I don’t have any money, either, and I don’t want any. Trucks are much easier to acquire, maintain, and live in, anyway. Just keep an eye out for someone beating his wife and turn him into dinner and turn his truck into a mobile home. Usually I just drive off into the woods, put a tarp over the bed, and sleep underneath it.
A bunch of guys were waiting outside for Jimmy. Just a bunch of neo-nazi fucks, cruising Tinder for some queers to beat up. They were probably trying to level up in their white-pride gang or something. As soon as Jimmy saw all of them out behind the bar he knew what was about to happen. What can I say? Jimmy impressed me. He spat at them and put up his fists. They laughed. They spat slurs back. They jumped. I jumped.
I killed most of them but Jimmy killed two himself. All of that anger from being in the closet for so long took over. Seeing him stomp these neo-nazis, I was in love. With all of the drinking and music back inside the bar, no one heard anything. But we needed to move. “Do you know what just happened?” I asked him.
“Yeah, yeah I think so.”
“Okay. Well you and I just killed abunch of neo-nazis who were trying to kill you. Think we better get the fuck out of here?”
“Okay. Let’s just go, then.”
We were out back, by the bar’s garbage dump. The area was fenced in with some fucking razor wire. I guess that’s Texas. Even though it was at least 90 degrees outside, I had on my leather jacket. I never go anywhere without it. I took it off and threw it up on the fence to eat up as much of the razor wire as it could. I held out my hands and Jimmy stood up onto them. He grabbed onto my jacket and I lifted him up, getting him as high over the fence as I could. Once he was on the other side I jumped up, grabbed onto my jacket and pulled myself across.
I pulled down my jacket and put it back on.
“Damn, that thing is still in pretty decent shape.”
“I’m glad my jacket impresses you.”
I smiled and Jimmy smiled.
“Come on, we can kiss and get to know eachother in a minute but right now we just gotta get the fuck out of of here. Do you have a phone? Better to take out the battery and throw it away right here than keep it.”
He just said, “Yeah, okay. Good idea,” and took it out of his pocket, pried open the back and removed the battery. Then he threw the battery as far as he could and threw his phone down on the ground and stomped.
We ran to my truck, both still smiling. I figured we had some time. I doubted anyone saw us all go back there. Maybe those nazi fucks had some more friends at the bar, waiting for them in case something went wrong or to drive them out. Sooner or later, some cops would get into their phones, realize what they were doing at the bar and Jimmy would end up being wanted for murder. So we drove. First on state highways. Then on interstates. Just trying to get as far away as we could.
When I was first embraced, turned into a vampire, I didn’t believe the sun thing was real. I stayed up all night, pacing around my sire’s apartment and walked outside right when the sun was rising. I’d never felt anything like it in my life and I never want to feel anything like it again. I’d rather suck on a white-hot branding iron. I didn’t get much more than a forearm outside that first morning. And my forearm has never healed.
It didn’t take Jimmy long to find my scars from that first morning. We were tired of driving and found some woods, drove in as deep as we could, and parked. He asked me if I was back from Iraq. I couldn’t tell him the truth our first night together; I wanted to get to know him. I just told him it was an accident back from when I lived in New York City. I was drunk and stupid and made a mistake one night and got burned. Mostly true.
Jimmy just kept his hand curled in mine and said, “Damn, New York City. I’ve always wanted to go there. I can’t believe you actually lived there! Damn, that must have been cool.”
So goddamn sweet. I just couldn’t, my fucking heart. And obviously, since we were on the run, with my truck parked in unknown woods after killing some neo-nazis, we had to fuck. I told Jimmy to find whatever he wanted on the radio. Instead he had already found my CDs underneath my seat. “Let’s just play these. But like, aren’t you worried that your battery will die if we leave your truck on?” Being a vampire and living out of a pickup, you get the hang of jumping a battery.
“Don’t worry, this truck will live forever. We’re the ones that won’t,” I told him.
Much to my surprise and delight, Jimmy picked out a mix-CD of Judas Priest, George Strait, and the Beat Farmers. As we made out and began feeling around eachother’s bodies, he mouthed the words to “Riverside” and “Victim of Changes.” I was so fucking impressed, I couldn’t hide it. But one aspect of vampirism that is not a myth: your lust for blood is exactly that, a lust. Some things change when you’re embraced, some things don’t. You’re still the same person, same bigotries, same politics running through your synapses. So many old Euro counts refuse to come out of the closet. They act like drinking anywhere besides the neck isn’t proper.
Everyone’s veins are different, but none of the guys I sucked in New York could compare to the beauty of this country boy. Vampiric life will always be tied to discipline. So called hedonists can say whatever they want, but we have to live away from crowds. We have to work, feed, live in private places and no matter who you are, undead or not, curbing your passions is a part of life. Vampires turn hiding and resting into artforms.
It took so much focus to keep my fangs back with Jimmy’s vein throbbing against my upper lip. I knew he wasn’t going to last long, so I forced myself to hold back. I wanted him to enjoy it. He told me later that I was his first. Before me, he had only ever jerked off in private and tried to kiss girls. Another nice thing about being a vampire: you learn how to affect people. How to calm them, seduce them. Bring them down or make them nervous. I used my potency to make Jimmy as relaxed and open as I could. I just wanted him to have fun.
Vampires never want to talk about HIV. That’s another thing that impressed me about Jimmy. He’d spent his whole life reading and thinking about New York City. He knew all about PREP, the different cocktails people took to get untraceable, but he never even asked his physician about getting PREP since the guy played golf with his fucking father.
My own embrace-story is pretty normal for vampires sired in New York City during the 1980’s. Just another guy cruising in a leather jacket, vinyl copies of Sad Wings of Destiny and Balls to the Wall back at my apartment. Scared to death, trying to pretend I was another badass, long-haired rebel without a fucking care.
Plenty of vampires have HIV in their blood. None of us bother to run tests, try to learn if HIV can transform into AIDS in a dead body, or if a vampire can pass the virus to a mortal. None of us even know if our hearts are functional pumps. I know I don’t have a pulse but I also know no one understands what we are. We die if we don’t drink blood. There has to be a science behind that, somewhere. Blood has to serve some function in our bodies. It doesn’t just disappear once we lick it up.
The first day was easy. We were both exhausted, coming down from the thrill of everything we’d just done. Jimmy covered himself with my leather jacket and fell right asleep, leaning against the truck’s passenger side door. I was glad he didn’t want to cuddle. I might be a supernatural, undead entity, but every creature has limits. There was no way I could untangle myself from his body once he was asleep without waking him and without breaking my own heart.
I stepped outside and could smell morning in the dirt, in the leaves. You never stop missing coffee and stretching at 7 am, lunch with your friends at 11. I crawled into the bed of my truck and rolled the tarp out over it. Again, the longer you live as a vampire, you learn how to use your state to your advantage. The thin layer of metal that separated us wasn’t too much for me. I could still affect his body, keep him tired and sleeping until the sun was down again. By the time he woke up, we would already be back on the road.
I think my favorite memory from our first nights together is when we were still a few hours away from New Mexico. It was raining. We’d driven through a McDonalds and were eating while we drove. There was a report about the supposed murders and a missing boy.
It was raining pretty good, but not so hard that you couldn’t see. Jimmy’s father’s voice came on the news report. As soon as he heard his father’s voice, he changed the station. All of a sudden, a classic rock station was playing “Layla.” I didn’t want to ask any questions. Jimmy leaned his head against his window, looking out at the empty spaces off the interstate with my jacket draped across his chest, the fringe flowing down onto his lap. The only lights were the faint green glows from my dash. I was still so scared that he would regret running off with me.
I tried to help him understand what he was doing. I told him there are ways to make it look like I kidnapped him, that he could probably go back if he wanted to.
“Are you fucking kidding me? I never want to see my dad or anyone else from back home ever again. Never.,he said. Jimmy stopped and didn’t say anything for a bit. I thought he was going to cry but all he ended up saying was, “Seriously, never again.”
I spent a lot of time debating, wondering if I should tell Jimmy. Keeping out of the sun was easy. I just said we should only drive at night. During the day we lay low, sleep. Jimmy never questioned me, so obedient. If we were in a city, we’d find a parking garage, something attached to a shopping mall or something. Otherwise, we’d just pull off into the woods somewhere and sleep deep out in the trees. We stocked as much food in my truck as we could. I taught Jimmy about the foods you could eat cold, the artform of on-the-road nutrition. He would either go out in the woods and piss and shit or spend some time in whatever city we were in, taking care of all that. Getting us supplies. Hooking up with someone, showering and stealing some cash.
I’ve always loved food. Ribs, burgers, fries. I always thought all of that was going to kill me. I was so relieved to find out that I could still eat after I was embraced. Some nights, when I don’t have anything better to do, I find an all night diner and eat whatever I can afford. Every winter I try to plan at least one luxury meal. It gets dark early enough that the nice restaurants are still open. Often enough being undead is just boring, nothing but passing time.
When we were in the woods, I did my best to control myself. I always keep a few emergency containers in the toolbox of my truck but I didn’t want to drink them if I could help it. I preferred to wait until we were in a city. Then when Jimmy was out doing his thing, I could sneak off, feed off of a cop or something. Steal some money and blood from someone getting off work at the bank. Seduce someone into going to the ATM for me, shit like that.
We had a good system and, despite my worries, Jimmy seemed to like the way we were living. I kept up on the investigation when I was on my own. I can’t afford a data plan for a cell phone and if you steal someone else’s, those things are so fucking trackable. Plus, the service will get cut off as soon as its either reported stolen or left unpaid for a month. So generally, I just went to public libraries and used the computers there. There wasn’t anything public about Jimmy being suspected for murder. All of the articles were just about the “unsolved murders at East Texas tavern.” I did manage to hack into the lead detective’s laptop, though. He went through the nazi’s phones and figured out what was happening that night at the bar. He went through Jimmy’s room at his father’s place and found, quote, “a bunch of far-left, queer shit.”
I found out Jimmy’s father had a lot of political ambition. That’s mostly why Jimmy’s name and ties to the murders didn’t go public. Everyone hoped Jimmy’s dad was going to be the next Ted Cruz, so everything was just kept quiet. But Jimmy was a 22 year old guy, missing without a trace. So his father took advantage of the opportunity to appeal to a wide variety of voters and hit the evening-news networks. His dad said, on the air, “Son, I know that you’re a homosexual. I know that’s why you ran away. You probably thought I wouldn’t love you if I knew the truth but you’re my son. I’ll always love you, no matter what.”
Even got Rachel Maddow teary eyed and said Jimmy’s father could be the Republican we’ve always needed, “A truly decent man.”
As much as I loved being on the run with Jimmy, we weren’t going to be able to do it forever. His face was all over television, all of liberal America was on his father’s conservative cock. I love my truck and I love Jimmy. I love the road. I love waking up right after the sun goes down and stretching out my arms and legs across my cab. Turning on the radio, listening to mixes of old 80s country like Travis Trit and hair metal like Mötley Crüe. Having him crawl on top of me and say, “Good morning,” when the night was just getting started, feeling his unshaven face cut into my skin.
I think, in some ways, I assumed he knew from the start. Maybe that’s why he wanted to go with me. I never made the boy any promises. No pretense towards love or eternal safety. I always tried to tell Jimmy the truth. I guess that’s how I knew I needed to be honest with him about what I actually am. I guess I should have known that when I did tell him, he would want to be just like me.
One night we weren’t too far away from Oregon. Up in Northern California, just kind of hanging out. I knew a few guys who helped smuggle vamps into Canada, but when we got to the place where they all squatted, no one was there. Just some abandoned tents and gear, all stained in blood. I didn’t want to spend any time looking around so we just turned around and left the way we came.
We found a different place to hangout after driving northwest for a bit. It was almost 4 am and I needed to pull off the road. That’s when Jimmy told me, “You know it’s bullshit, when my dad says that he supports me, that he had no idea I was gay. He’s known for awhile.”
I didn’t want to interrupt him. I was tired, so for a change I just laid down in his lap and let him talk to me and tell me things I didn’t know.
“It was actually our mailman that outed me. My dad is buddies with everybody. Always shooting his hand out at our neighbors in this little faux-Hitler salute. Always making small talk with maintence and city crews. Offering them glasses of water, letting them use his tools and shit. I had some lube and new butt plugs ordered from Amazon. One of the bottles broke or something. The lube soaked the package and the mail guy opened it in his fucking truck. He went straight to my dad, telling him that this fucking mess was all over his vehicle, that the package was addressed to me, all that shit. My dad tried to beat the shit out of me but I was too quick. I just ran out the back door. Stayed away all day.”
“We live in this stupid little sub division in the suburbs. I was just in gym shorts and a tanktop, whatever I slept in. No wallet. I tried to stay away as long as I could. I just walked all over our neighborhood, no shoes or anything. I was resting on a bench when my dad drove up in his fucking car. Motioned for me to get in. I refused. So he just parked and walked up to me like nothing was wrong. Can’t make a fucking scene or anything. He sat down next to me and, if you didn’t know what was happening, you wouldn’t think anything was wrong at all. He was starring off, perfect neutral expression on his face. He said, ‘Just come home with me. Don’t make a scene. We’ll just drop it. Just don’t pull any of this shit again and we can just drop this, okay?’”
“I didn’t know what else to do. Without my wallet or phone or shoes or anything, I wasn’t going to be able to do much. So I went with him. He didn’t hit me or yell or anything. We didn’t talk about it anymore. I assumed he told my mom but I have no idea. He probably didn’t even do that.”
I was getting tired. I focused on his jaw while he spoke. The ways it shot straight down or out at different angles as he pronounced different words. After Jimmy finished his story, he didn’t say anything. He was getting so hard, with my upper body in his lap, but I didn’t want to initiate anything. I wanted him to direct me to himself. I could tell he knew.
And I was impressed. A couple minutes of just lying together after his story, he picked up my head with one hand and took out his cock with his other. All of a sudden so violent, he pushed my head down onto him. I obeyed, dutifully parting my lips and opening my throat. Jimmy didn’t want a blowjob, he wanted to fuck me.
And while he was fucking my mouth, he started screaming, “I’m going to fuck you until you tell me the fucking truth. Come on. Fucking just say it. I know you know that I know. Come on!”
But I wanted to make this dramatic. I stayed passive. I even tried whining for him. He fucked me harder. Some vampires keep their gag reflexes long after they turn but I lost mine before I’d gotten anywhere close to 18. My mind was made up. I started getting hard myself. Blood never lies. As I felt the muscles tighten inside of his cock, I could smell the blood filling him up. His blood, calling to me beyond his sweat. Beyond his person. I looked up at Jimmy and asked him with my eyes, “Are you sure you want this?”
Jimmy screamed, “Of course I do! Fucking do it! Fuck my life. Fuck all of this shit. I want to be with you. Come on! Just do it. Make me a fucking vampire! Just fucking do it!”
So I let myself go. My fangs came out. Feeling them against his skin Jimmy shot his load so hard that it was in my stomach in less than five seconds. He was screaming and I was sucking. Bearing down. Inducing a true, evil ecstasy in both of us. I drank everything he had. I sucked and I sucked and I sucked. His screams turned to whimpers, trembles. I got up from his lap. Jimmy collapsed down onto the fucking cab of my fucking pickup truck.
I took out my own cock. I used my fingernail to open it from the cut of my head right down to my fucking bush. Blood was everywhere. I was too hard, but Jimmy took it all. He took more than my blood. And after he drank his fill, he started licking up every drop that got on the seat. No ecstasy in Heaven or Hell can match this. There is no truth, no Platonic structure that can explain what we shared. Just two scared, lonely outcasts sharing a truck in the woods of Northern California. On the run from Republican politicians, on the run from the God of Capitalism himself.
We fell asleep as one body. We woke up tired, confused. The smell of dried blood mixed with dry cum all around us.
“I love this,” Jimmy said.
“Me too, baby,” I told him. “I have a lot to teach you.”
“You know how much of an eager student I am.”
Jimmy interlaced his fingers with mine as he said this. Who knows how long vampires have. Who knows what will kill us and what won’t. Everyone has stories, myths. Everyone knows someone who knew someone who knew someone. The story about the vampire who developed cancer from smoking. The vampire who cured the cancer in himself and the vampire who cured every other vampire who was HIV positive. All I know is that after every feast, you wake up hungry. I adjusted my hair in the mirror of my pickup and turned on the engine The radio station we had on from the night before was playing Garth Brooks singing “I’ve Got Friends in Low Places.”
Jimmy and I laughed. “God I fucking love this song,” I told him.
“Me too,” he said.
We both sang along as we pulled out of the woods, debating whether we would go to Portland or back down south and stay in California for awhile.
Thursday Simpson (she/her) is a multimedia artist and a co-founding editor at OUT/CAST, a journal for queer & Midwestern writers. She lives between Peoria, Illinois, and Iowa City, Iowa. Her first chapbook, Three Gothic Stories, is published with Moonchaps. She is currently living as a kind-of-trans-lesbian Bruiser Brody. Her Twitter is @JeanBava and her full publication history can be found at https://www.thursdaysimpson.com/.