The Museum of Sudden Disappearances

MUSEUM available as an ebook at Amazon Or, for temporal travelers, PAST IS PRESENT at Amazon.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Vampire's Chauffeur

Ever notice.....the steady DECLINE of nice people? You're not hallucinating. What follows may sucker-punch your outlook on life. Be warned. You may lose bladder control.

Stop reading if you're glum, drunk, and teetering on a windy bridge in a sleet storm as soulless motorists pound their horn, cackle ha-ha-ha, and scream "Jump, you chicken shit. I double-dog dare ya!"

[NOTE:  The following story, THE VAMPIRE'S CHAUFFEUR, is posted here (text only), and is also on (with text, music, sound effects). In my previous post (9/16/13) I give a brief rundown on this new app here. For the audio version on Booktrack, click on the image below. At this time, only the Google Chrome browser can open the app.]


When you read the ghastly newspaper or watch the grim news unfold on TV, do you ever shudder, spill your drink on your trousers, and sense a rise in bad behavior? Does your queasy gut insist the world is getting worse? Are maniacs on the march? If so, why? 

In a sense, picture a wicked Wizard of Oz behind a flimsy curtain, pulling the icy levers of destiny. This blog, dear reader, shall reveal forbidden knowledge at the brutal core of human events. As a result, your brain may explode. So relax, you are seconds away from clawing your chest and gazing cross-eyed into the lugubrious abyss (with a string of saliva swinging from your lower lip). 

Listen up. Do you have an iron heart, a steel soul, a shatterproof scrotum? If you answered 'Yes' to two of three questions, proceed. [If you answered 'Shit yeah, homey,' to all three inquiries, exit this blog and see your healthcare provider.]

Come hither, oh brave and reckless snoop; it's story-time. You shall now meet the dark architect of our crummy apocalypse.....Master Ellsworth Bazarsky.

The irrepressible Ellsworth Bazarsky


- or -

The Steady Decline of Nice People

- or - 

(apologies to Anne Rice)

Interview with a Low-Budget Vampire's Right-Hand Man

“Now, now, Mister Renfield. Are you saying the public has been misinformed about vampires?”

A wispy silhouette stood by the window. Outside, a crackly Murky Motel neon sign blinked in the parking lot, making the silhouette turn off and on like a light switch. “The public has been force‑fed fibs and flapdoodle.”

“Are you…”

Renfield continued in his high-pitched voice: “Forget all the hoopla about a vampire being a tall, peroxide Aryan on the make, surrounded by six glittering mannequins from the Ford modeling agency. Forget it—we’re not talking a dishabille Brad Pitt with fangs.”

“I must say, Mister Renfield, I was expecting perhaps a rock superstar. A blond bidentate with tails and leather chaps over black patent-leather pants studded with silver adornments. A reanimated corpse who’ll never know what it’s like to be human again, quite like those in the music industry.” The reporter paused and caught his breath. “This is a flat-out shock.”

“Shock?” Renfield blinked on again, twitching his pallid cheeks. His ratty cardigan sweater drooped to his bony knees. “Try being a vampire’s aide-de-camp.” Then the pipsqueak blinked off.

Earlier, the reporter received a whispered phone call. A squeaky voice promised "inside information" concerning the steady decline of nice people in an increasingly nasty world. The conversation ended with: “Meet me at Murky Motel. Midnight.” Click.

“Let’s start at the beginning.” The reporter sat at a table, snapped a tape into his recorder. The table supported a collision of bottles and cans: vodka, tomato juice, Worcestershire, Tabasco. Little boxes of Roach Hotel were scattered across the floor. “How did you first meet...ah...?”

Renfield inched forward until the tip of his crooked nose emerged from the shadows. “I was utilizing a footbridge, expectorating into a river. An elderly gentleman with a nightclub pallor approached me in his sharkskin raincoat. ‘Sir,’ he said, ‘you strike me as a lingering malingerer with free time on your hands.’

“I shrugged, took aim, and hawked on a water bug below.

“The elegant one introduced himself as Master Ellsworth Bazarsky and said he was in the market for a butler, a chauffeur, an all‑around right‑hand man. ‘Primarily graveyard shift,’ he purred, ‘with some diurnal commuting.’ We agreed and high‑fived.”

The reporter found Renfield’s facial tics a bit distracting, as if a bee buzzed behind his teeth. “Perhaps we could touch on the vampire’s much vaunted love life.”

Renfield blinked on. He clasped his hands as if in prayer. “There was a recent incident.”

“Do tell.”

Renfield blinked off.

The silhouette licked a fingertip in the dark, turned halfway and ran it across the dirty windowsill, tasted it, then squeaked, “It began...”


Bazarsky the Vampire and his right-hand man had been on the road in the vampire’s candy‑apple red Chevy, crisscrossing New England, staying in cheap motels. Master Bazarsky would disappear in the evening and return before dawn, with a drop of blood on his chin, along with a wallet or occasional purse. Early each morning Renfield would empty a pocketbook on the nightstand before they checked-out. Chief among Renfield’s duties was to lock his master inside the Chevy’s trunk before sunrise, where he slept through the day using the spare tire as a pillow. Occasionally, when Ellsworth Bazarsky was potholed awake on a bumpy road, he passed his time reading vampiric porn (Brooding Bucktooth Babes, Shapeshifters in D-Cups, and Vamps) by flashlight.

Ellsworth Bazarsky sneaking back to Murky Motel after hectic night of biting strangers.

And so things went until a fortnight ago when they pulled into the parking lot of a 24‑hour convenience store.


“The vampire naps in the trunk all day?”

“Come evening, he taps the lid.”

“And then...?”

“Usually I stop on a deserted road, unlock the lid, and His Elegance climbs out, stretches, squirts in the weeds, and slips into the back seat.”

The reporter squinted in the low lamplight. “I see.”

“That night we were caught in traffic when the Master knuckled the trunk. In a bit of a snit.” Renfield picked up a Roach Hotel box, shook it next to his ear like a bell, heard nothing, and dropped it. “So I pulled into a 7‑Eleven, stopped and popped the lid.”


The vampire sprang from the trunk like a jack‑in‑the‑box. The 7‑Eleven neon lights ignited his wild white mane and pale skin. A rumpled god suffering from a bout of pernicious anemia. “7‑Eleven? Renfield—where are we, Renfield?”

“You sounded antsy, Master.” Renfield got a whiskbroom from the glove compartment and dutifully brushed his Master’s wrinkled raincoat. “So I pulled over.”

The vampire stood by the Chevy, frowned, listening to the radio:

“The former president should be executed for high treason on pay‑per‑view. The opposition party should be hung by their thumbs, brushed with barbecue sauce, and slowly dipped into a shark tank. You’re listening to ‘Unhappy Hour’ with Hap Toogler…”

“Egad, Renfield. I recognized the voice from inside the trunk.”

“Talk radio, Master. Did it wake you?”

“Hap Toogler was a gentle, soft‑spoken usher at a homeless shelter in Boston. I fanged him last summer as he escorted me to my cot. Now he’s back from the dead, hosting his own show. Hmm…Hap’s acquired an edge since I saw him last.”

Ellsworth Bazarsky aboard "Good Ship Lollipop," sailing from Transylvania to America.

Gimme your tired, your poor, your wretched? 
Gimme your broke, worthless vampires with clue disabilities? 
Gimme your fanged freeloaders?
Gimme Ellsworth Bazarsky???
Is you crazy?

The vampire approached 7‑Eleven. His arm trembled when he pointed at something beyond the plate glass windows.

Renfield turned. “You mean the customer at the counter wearing a Mother Theresa rubber mask? He looks fishy.”

“No, you numbskull.”

Renfield spotted the cashier, a young woman with white lipstick and bright green hair, ringing up a pack of smokes.

“Behold,” the vampire announced. “She’s pure green lightning. Observe that column of hair shooting skyward from her forehead—it looks like a cathedral’s spire made of sprouting spinach!”

“It’s all the rage these days,” Renfield squeaked. “Bangs heading in the wrong direction. A gravity-defying hairdo.”

Ellsworth Bazarsky held up his hands, clapped twice, pumped. “And those matching green stretch pants”—he spun, squatted down, did a dance, sprang back up like a piston—“got-damn! She’s avocado thunder! I must have her, Renfield.”

“Think she’s got a short sister? Perhaps a half‑sister?”

“Alas,” the Master said, “a vampire cannot enter the premises uninvited. You know the rules, Renfield.”

Bazarsky mentioned an incident from the previous night when a taxi driver pulled over and said, “Hop in, Slim Jim, where to?” Bazarsky happily climbed aboard and fanged him from the back seat—cabbie al dente.

The vampire watched the green goddess. A cat beneath a birdcage. When the cashier glanced his way, he puffed his chest and commanded, “Come hither!”

The cashier rolled her green mascaraed eyes. She returned to Mother Theresa and her hands flew up, as if singing in church.

Mother Theresa darted to the front door and opened it, producing a pistol from his pocket. “Get in here, gramps.” Then he snarled at Renfield: “You too, twit.”

The vampire addressed the customer with a thin smile. “Are you inviting me in?”

Mother Theresa grabbed a fistful of the wrinkled raincoat.

“Sir,” the vampire asked, “is this an official invitation?”

“Get the hell in here!”

“Master...ahhh...don’t be duped by this egregious dump of DNA.”

“Renfield, stop being so judgmental.” The vampire’s eyes brightened. With a jaunty step, he brushed past the robber.

Renfield followed, spotting a squished beetle stuck to the glass door, which promptly disappeared in his hand.

“Good e-v-e-ning,” the vampire purred to the cashier.

“Zip it, pops—grab sky.” The thief grabbed Renfield by the collar and bounced him against his employer. The two stood in front of a shelf of groceries, hands raised like choir singers.

choir singers with upraised hands
(or 50 churchgoers held up en masse at gunpoint)

The cashier opened the register. “Here—take it.”

Mother Theresa stuffed the cash inside his jacket, turned to the elderly man. “Okay, pinhead, gimme the green.”

Renfield looked up at his employer and nodded.

The vampire fumbled inside his raincoat and produced three wallets. A fourth billfold fell onto his shoes.

“Master Bazarsky!” Renfield squealed. “Wow, busy last night, eh?”

“Memo to Renfield. We need a comptroller, part‑time staff position.”

The thief inspected each wallet. “Whatsis? There’s a blonde on the driver’s license, says ‘Judith Ann Jawicki.’”

“Judith,” the vampire sniffed, “had a penchant for postprandial peregrinations in the park. She invited me to sit and chat on a bench.” He clicked his choppers. “I did.”

The second wallet flapped open. “This here’s...C. J. Harwood.”

“Erstwhile cabbie.”

And the third: “LaMont Harrington Tithesdale, IV, Esq.?”

“A greeter at Wal‑Mart.” The vampire shrugged. “Little shrimp, LaMont, a munchkin munchie. A morsel, not a meal.”

Mother Theresa retreated a step. “This ain’t right.”

The vampire faced Renfield. “They all had one thing in common—they extended me an invitation. Friendly to a fault. Thus, killed by kindness.”

“Master, you’re chewing up all the nice people. Cold, selfish people are left untouched. Saved by their inhumanity and me-firstism.”

“Alas, the world is getting grimmer by the day. Because of me. I’m doomed to walk among my handiwork, a growing population of unsmiling, heartless humanoids for eternity.”

“Whoa,” the cashier said, “I’m surrounded.”

The thief pointed at the remaining wallet on the floor. “Pick it up.”

“I didn’t hear ‘please.’” The Master advanced a step.

The gun jiggled. Two shots rang out, ventilating the vampire. The bullets buzzed through his chest and hit the shelf, exploding a jar of tomato sauce.

The vampire studied the smoking holes in his chest. “My shirt is ruined. Young man, you’re beginning to set my teeth on edge.”

The thief staggered back.

“Oh, miss?” Red sauce oozed down the back of the vampire’s raincoat. “May I lick that mole on your neck?”

A police siren screamed nearby.

Behind the mask, Mother Theresa’s eyelids fluttered. He fainted into a rack of pretzels, then closed the gap between himself and the floor.

“Reminds me of an Irish proverb, Renfield. ‘May the floor rise to meet you.’”

Renfield tugged his Master’s sleeve. “Master Bazarsky, perhaps another time.”

“A little peck on the neck. Pretty please. Uh oh, Renfield, I feel woozy.”

“Woozy?” Renfield glanced at the floor and read the label on the broken jar of sauce: oven roasted garlic. He applied hand to head. “Oh no.”

The cashier winced. “Buzz off, you creeps, alla you!” She grabbed a box of Ding‑Dongs and chucked it at the senior’s head. “I oughta knee you in the do‑da.”

“Perhaps another time,” Renfield intervened, steering the unsteady Vampire Bazarsky from the premises.

Sirens wailed around the corner. A tsunami of sound waves.

The cashier bade them farewell: “Look at the mess! Die you dirt-bags!”

A police car and an ambulance screeched in front of 7-Eleven. The vampire and his right‑hand man stumbled outside into a crossfire of headlights. Two cops and two paramedics appeared.

“I’ll handle this,” Renfield whispered.

Bazarsky swayed in the flashing blue light, buzzed on garlic. Behind him, a trail of red footsteps led back to the store. “Renfield, I need a bio-shower.”


A paramedic ran up to the old man. “Sir, you’ve been shot—get the stretcher.”

The vampire squinted at the rear doors of the ambulance, spotting a plump technician. “Sir,” he slurred, “are you…inviting me…inside?”


Renfield glared at his cross‑eyed master, and removed his garlic‑stained raincoat. The effect was immediate.

“Is that an official invitation?” Bazarsky inquired, perking up.

Renfield inched closer and whispered, “Master, please. Not now.”

Bazarsky waved him off, and was set on a stretcher.

Renfield watched the ambulance exit the parking lot. Through the rear windows, signs of mayhem erupted inside the vehicle. Fists flew. Screams. Red stains splashed the windows like tomato juice. A grinning Master Bazarsky appeared behind the glass, winking at his right‑hand man. Then the interior lights blinked out.

The ambulance careened up the curb and crashed into the plate glass windows of:

Community Services
"It's Nice to be Nice"
The police stood and stared, stunned, as Renfield escaped in the Chevy.


“That’s extraordinary,” the reporter said.

Renfield crept into the lamplight. He paused, his nose and mouth twitching furiously, then reached for the table lamp, removed the shade, and raised it like a goblet. He appeared to be drinking from the glass globe.

Dead bugs sprinkled from the bottom of the upturned lamp.

“Ah, Mister Renfield? Excuse me. I couldn’t help notice, are you an insectivore?”

Renfield set the lamp down, flicked his tiny pink tongue, and burped. “Oh my, look at the time. Goodness me, I must run. The Master Bazarsky will be waiting for me at 7‑Eleven.”


“He’s gone back each night for two weeks. He stands in the parking lot and waits till dawn. Except he’s got a tiny prob—burp—problem.”

“It’s the girl, isn’t it? He watches her through the window as she flips him off?”

“Worse. There’s been a turf war. The greeter from Wal‑Mart—LaMont Harrington Tithesdale, IV, Esq.—has returned from the dead with a wicked attitude. Each night he’s been showing up at 7‑Eleven, wearing his little red vest, trying to get inside and fang the girl.”


“Last night was the pits. Including…um…a labor dispute…”


Reanimated prick and undead WalMart greeter, LaMont Harrington Tithesdale, IV, Esq. 
(wearing his cherry-red vest)

“Beat it,” the eminent Ellsworth Bazarsky told undead LaMont Harrington Tithesdale, IV, Esq. “I was here first.”

LaMont countered: “Screw you. I got dibs on the green gal.”

The Vampire Bazarsky stepped forward. “Young man, you’re beginning to set my teeth on edge.”

“So? Thanks to you, I’m a reanimated cadaver dressed in full Wal‑Mart for eternity. I’m a Wal‑Martian! And you’re my undead deadbeat dad. Did I ask for it? No. Pick on someone your own size, you bidentate brute!”

“Why you whiny little misanthropic monkey.” Bazarsky’s face collapsed in concentration. “Hmmm. Renfield, get over here.”

“Uh…yes, Master.”

“Renfield, I command you, kick little LaMont’s deathless derrière. Make him scram screaming.”


“You heard me, Renfield. Concuss the undead greeter. Renfield, wait! Get back here, Renfield. Are you a man or a mouse? Renfield! Ren-n-n-n-n-n-n-field!”

- the end -

(The end? Far from it. Alas, with Master Ellsworth Barzarsky and LaMont Harrington Tithesdale IV, Esq. on the loose, the steady decline of nice people will continue exponentially.)

Gimme your undead, your blood-sucking WalMart greeters? 
Gimme LaMont Harrington Tithesdale, IV, Esq
Is you shitting me?
Gimme a break!

Monday, September 16, 2013


Movies have soundtracks. Why not a quirky thriller with a soundtrack? With an audio layer, a reader can read, dance, and -- while hearing shouts, skidding tires, growls, howls, and bang-bang-bang  -- duck from danger. Thanks to Booktrack, my thrillers have music and sound effects. Imagine an adrenaline rush with a 4/4 beat.

Story + music + ambience + sound effects = Booktrack, the wonderful new free app available on Google. My time-travel thriller, PAST IS PRESENT, is featured on the new releases.

Sample chapters from both of my novels are posted on Booktrack. You can read and hear THE MUSEUM OF SUDDEN DISAPPEARANCES here, and PAST IS PRESENT here.

A short, instructive (humorous) essay called PHONE JU-JITSU, packed with sound effects, is here. What's it about? Well, it's about the art of telephone self-defense. I share tips regarding how to wrestle, grapple, flip, and do telephone takedowns. I earned a black belt at the Telephone Martial Arts Academy, and am currently ranked third in the world as a phone ju-jitsu master. Until now, I've been sworn to secrecy regarding the dark art of phone judo. But the rising tide of telephone assaults impels me to go public. So this is a PSA - public (dis)service announcement.

telephone fundraiser (top) vs. docile donor (bottom)
(Note the fundraiser's left hand, either reaching for the donor's wallet,
or punching the donor in his sweet spot.)
After reading my tips, you can be...
plucky non-supporter (top) vs. flummoxed phone fundraiser (bottom)

Telephone assault victims are encouraged to post on this blog. Yes, if you've ever been phone-whipped by a telemarketer, you may find this essay helpful on your road to tele-recovery.

Remember, never pout: "Wah wah wah...take me off the list!" That's for weaklings who deserve to be kicked to the curb. Instead, get stoked. Get up in the grill of these slobbering mad dogs and put the judo to them! Yeah, buck up, baby! Pound some ass. GET YOUR PHONE ON!

PS: One final item. Please, this is critical or you may end up destroying your life. Make certain you....oh shit, wait. My phone's ringing. Christ, now who? I gotta go. Later, y'all.