My Name is Gaius Teutoberg. Don’t laugh, and I won’t have to hurt you. I know, I know, it sounds like a Roman Bratwurst, and yeah, I’ve heard most of the jokes over the years. You might think up a new one though, and if it’s really funny, I’ll make sure I’m the last person that will ever hear it. Get what I’m saying? You might call me a vampire, I prefer to be known by my line of work. I bag groceries at the American Commissary in Wiesbaden, Germany. And I work for tips–the cash kind, not the “buy low, sell high” thing. My bagger friends call me Gare…none of them know about Gaius. So to the world I’m an approximately twenty-year-old grocery store bag boy, not Gaius, Prince of the Teutoberg Forest Clans.
Thing is, the name Gaius held weight when my parents christened me a bit more than two thousand years ago. Guess you wait long enough, everything goes out of style…and the Roman Bratwurst thing isn’t far off the truth. My father did work for the Romans back in the day–so did I, BTW–so he loaded me up with a citizen-sounding name. Gaius. That was the style back then, even among us of the Germanic tribes living on the “uncivilized” side of the Rhine River. Go figure. At least Gaius sounds better than Rolf, one of my two childhood friends. His parents had no imagination when it came to Roman names. I don’t think they even spoke Latin. Like me, Rolf is also still with us, though I think he’s been comfortable with just plain Rolf over the years. I don’t see much of him anymore.
Sparky’s the third of our childhood threesome. And I do see him a lot…a lot being a euphemism for too much. Sparcius Germanicus. That’s his real name. I mean, his parents went over-the-top brown-nosing the Romans. Still didn’t get them the citizenship my father and I were awarded. BTW, Dad and I thanked the Romans by helping our kinsmen destroy three of Rome’s finest Legions in the Teutoberg Forest. It’s a long story, and don’t be quick to judge me. It’s the way things were done back then.
I bet you’re wondering how I can speak so easily about the long span of my life. Think about it for a second. Once people hit seventy they speak easily about anything from daily aches and pains to frequency and consistency of bowel movements. And that’s after seven decades. I’ve been around more than twenty centuries. That makes it easy to speak about the condition that’s allowed me to live so long. Vampirism. And yes, I did say condition. We’re talking a chronic disease, not a separate life form. What does that mean? Many things, but we’ll not discuss all of them here. This is just an ice-breaker, after all. Kind of a ten-minute quick-date.
Vampirism as a condition. The most obvious thing it means is that everything you’ve read about vampires is wrong. Made up. All crap, but don’t beat yourself up too hard for buying into it. I’ll not spend my life responding to your burst bubbles regarding vampirism, though some of the best arguments are with those who maintain an intransigent cluelessness regarding the debate at hand. Tell you what, if the truth gives you a volcanic kind of heartburn that must erupt for relief, you can email your misgivings to me at ImaVampire@YouAreDefinitelyWrong.com.
Many of the best vampire-series writers out there suffer from the condition. I mean, what better way to throw people off our collective scents than to conjure ridiculous notions of an undead, mind-controlling, evil species of beings that suck the souls out of unfortunates that cross their paths. All that would be my German landlords, not vampirism. A second thing vampirism as a condition means is that it’s no more politically correct to call us vampires than it is to call people with albinism albinos. But we endure. Just like albinos, though those of us with vampirism are much rarer. I’ll leave all the other things my vampirism means for the volumes of my autobiography collected in the Waldlust Series. Read them to find out…or we can skip it and talk about frequency and consistency of bowel movements. Your choice.
Assuming you take the first option–reading–then you can get a taste for the series at http://www.wattpad.com/story/28879101-bones-and-bagger. I’ll also post snippets from the other volumes here. I’ve spent the past year and a half putting together the first four: Bones and Bagger, Two Doors and No Map, Singapore Bling, and Homecoming Queen. If you’re interested in seeing more than I’ve posted, drop me an email at the address above or leave a comment here.