Juphrem slid off his long, black cloak to reveal his sinewy body to tonight's client. The moonlight streaming in through the window made his pale skin glow. The woman on the bed, equally naked, gasped.
With a vampiric gleam in his eye, he descended upon her.
A long while later, she rolled off of him, exhausted. He stood up and collected the money for his services, tucked it into a pocket on his cloak, and dressed.
"Same time next week?" he asked.
"Yes, please!" the woman on the bed replied. Juphrem slipped a dark leather book out of his pocket and penciled in the appointment. The woman daubed at the two bite marks on her neck with a kleenex.
"What is it about vampires that makes them such amazing lovers?" she asked.
"Practice, practice, practice," he said, and leapt out through the window onto the fire escape. Juprhem was perfectly comfortable taking the interior stairs, but he'd discovered that the women paid as much for his theatrics as they did for his other services.
He clomped down the wrought iron fire escape and leapt from three stories high onto the asphalt. The night was dying and he had little time to spare. He walked the handful of blocks and was inside his basement apartment before dawn broke.
Cracking open a bottle of soda, he slouched into his recliner and turned on the TV. No sooner had he fallen into a pleasant doze than somebody knocked at his apartment door. He answered the door with a scowl while wiping the drool off of his face.
A pleasant-looking woman stood there, her hands full of pamphlets.
Juphrem sighed. "What's up, Sarah?"
"I want you to read this!" she said, thrusting a handful of identical pamphlets at him.
He gingerly selected one like an audience member taking a card from a magician's deck.
"What's it about?" Juphrem asked.
"What are they all about? Your sinful lifestyle!"
"I told you, I can't help being a vampire."
"No, not that! The fact that you're a gentleman of the night!"
"That's what I said-"
"You know that I mean, you know, the other thing," Sarah said, waggling her eyebrows meaningfully.
Juprhem knew full well what she meant, but if she was going to be so self-righteous, then she should at least learn to say what it was that she was being so self-righteous about.
"My nocturnal lifestyle? That goes hand-in-hand with being a vampire, really, and I don't want to be-"
"Your hooking," she said, dropping her voice to a hoarse whisper. She blushed to the tips of her ears.
"Oh, you mean having sex for money," Juphrem said.
Sarah flushed even more scarlet. "Yes, sharing a bed with a woman who is not your wife is not-"
"Matrimonial. I know. Well, thanks for thinking of me but I just got paid, if you know what I mean, so I'm going to go get some shut-eye," Juphrem said, closing the door.
"Wait!" Sarah said, jamming her foot in the door. "You can't want to live like this. Let me help you."
"Gonna give me some money? And dinner?"
"Yes," Sarah said. Juphrem frowned.
"What? You want to engage my sinful services?"
"I want to engage you. I want you to marry me."
Juphrem couldn't have heard right. "You want me. To marry you. As in, I would be your husband? You'd be my wife?"
"Yes. I want to make an honest man out of you."
"Listen, you don't mean that. I'm a vampire and you're a woman of...opinion. Strong opinions. Your opinions are talking right now, not you."
"I'll feed you. I'll pay for you, out of my church stipend. Please. I want to save you!"
Juphrem looked at the earnest young woman on his doorstep. He didn't want to take it this far, but if he didn't teach her a lesson about jumping headlong into brick walls she'd learn it from someone else, someone who might not be on the other side with a box of bandages and an aspirin.
"Okay. Let's get married. You've swayed me from the paths of lowly temptation. When should we do it?"
"I can't, I've got a," Juphrem began, then opened up his black book and penciled out his appointment. "Look at that. I've got nothing scheduled. I've got nothing lined up for tomorrow." His client would be upset, but he'd occasionally had to cancel before. The annual blood drive, for instance. It wasn't good for his physique to leave the house on that day.
"Splendid! Get yourself a suit and I have a dress already and we'll meet at my church tomorrow afternoon at 1 in the afternoon!"
"Uhm," Juphrem began.
"Oh, that's right, my beloved! 1 in the morning."
"That's better. I'll see you tomorrow."
Juphrem fished out his finest evening wear, dusted off the tails of his coat and went to the church.
Sarah stood at the altar, along with a bored-looking preist. A woman who looked like a more windburnt, older version of Sarah sat in a pew, looking profoundly out of place in both a church and the bright pastel dress that she wore.
Juphrem approached the altar. He'd been married once before, to another vampire, and it'd be a rather boring affair. They'd gotten married, gone back to their room, drank some blood and passed out. The next morning his wife had run off with a Type O Positive maid and he'd been stuck with several dozen black roses, a hangover and a hotel bill.
Sarah seized Juphrem's hands like a woman hanging on for dear life, her eyes bugging out with a crazed look.
"Mother, this is Juphrem. Juphrem, this is Mother."
"Hello!" Sarah's mother said. "Cynthia, nice to meet you," Cynthia said, pretending that she hadn't once been one of Juphrem's regulars. Juphrem was quite glad that vampires were sterile or else this might have been awkward.
"We are gathered here to witness the union between this woman, Sarah Dottie Earlman, and this undead wretch, Juphrem, who has been cursed with life immortal as a result of turning away from-"
Sarah gave the preist a kick in the shins that would've gotten her excommunicated on the spot if her eyes hadn't promised another kick if the preist interrupted her wedding again.
"Blah blah, do you, Sarah, take this unholy, corrupted shell of a man to be your husband, to have and to skewer with a pointy stake, in sickness and in triumph standing over his destroyed body, for better or for him taking you under his bat-like wing?"
"And do you, misbegotten son of Beezlebub, pluck this fine flower of womanhood out of the loving bosom of her flock, and take her into your underground lair, dripping with sin and despair, away from the light?"
"Sure," said Juphrem. Sarah wasn't getting the point. And the preist sure had done a good job, worth every penny. Juphrem would have to tell him to get involved in the community theater.
"And now, by the power vested in me that also protects me from this monster's terrible machinations, I pronounce you-"
The door to the church thudded open. A werewolf bounded up the pews towards Sarah. Juphrem moved to block it but Sarah ran up and embraced the beast.
"The thought of you in the arms of another sends up my hackles!" the werewolf said around a mouthful of teeth.
"Oh, Bertie! That's all I ever wanted from staging this fake marriage!"
Juphrem paused, gave a slow glance to Sarah's mother, who beamed, and the preist, who reflected Juphrem's confusion, and finally Sarah's face, which was flushed with happiness, and handed his coat to the werewolf.
"It'll look good in the wedding pictures."
The Moral: Even if you agree to marry someone, there's no guarantee that there'll be food.