When Lenny the vampire heard the rumor about the incubus and succubus couple who had fallen on hard times, he made a point to be at the nightclub Radion so that he could bump into them. The transients from hell, and those who served it, whether they be vampire or demon, alike, was a small enough world once you narrowed it down to a single city. On this piece of sprawled urbanization, there were maybe less than a hundred vampires and demons living among the whole two million of human population. Lenny knew a younger succubus who was an acquaintance to the other. This mutuality assured camaraderie would be Lenny’s in. These new friendships between immortals was how it always started: acquaintances and introductions.
Lenny sat at the edge of the bar and looked on past the crowded dance floor as the loud synthwave beats blasted inside the warm, dark ambiance among an array or lasers and black light. He craned his neck above the other strangers – what his kind mockingly called prey – and watched as his young, she-demon, friend talked to the couple. All three demons were in human form; no horns or wings to see, unlike Lenny who simply had to look less pale than usual. He carefully observed the cordial mood between the three of them and the eventual turning to his general direction when Lenny’s succubus intermediary pointed the couple towards him. Lenny simply smiled and raised his drink. The incubus and succubus couple smiled back. The wheels were now turning.
The couple moved slowly but purposefully together, arm-and-arm around each others waist like two individual organisms who had just evolved into something symbiotic. Lenny watched their walk as they skirted just at the edge of the crowd and made their casual approach towards him. Lenny could see what they were doing. It was something that could barely be picked up by the human eye, but obvious for any preternatural or supernatural in the room. The pheromones that the two demons were emitting were like a hazy miasma that was spreading over the crowd. The humans with the weakest of constitutions got hit by it first and couldn’t help but turn and look at these two objects of human beauty that passed by them. Lenny saw what was in the eyes of the humans too overcomed by it to not stop and gaze at this man and woman. They were the kinds of looks that were all too familiar to Lenny: worship, awe, intrigue, and lust; emotions that would all eventually lead to obsession. Lenny could only sit and feel thankful that he was immune to the kinds of chemical controls used in the wheel-house of demonic persuasion.
The couple walked by Lenny, very nearly passing him at the bar before stopping and turning their heads to look at him.
“Can we get some privacy somewhere?” the incubus asked Lenny, his voice a sleepy, but honey-laced purr of an accent that carried itself gracefully over the noise of the club.
“Follow me,” said Lenny, smiling, as he got up from his seat, “allow me to introduce myself, I’m Lenard, my friends call me Lenny. I’m a friend of Kimberly’s.”
The succubus extended her arm and gently shook Lenny’s hand.
“Yes, she just told us about you earlier,” said the demoness, giving off a polite, erudite, tone that similarly commanded formidable volume over the loud sounds of the club, “My name is Lindsay and this is my partner Derreck.”
“Nice to meet both of you,” said Lenny, matching both of them among the crowd, “let’s step into my office shall we?”
Inside the quiet and red plush furniture of the privacy booth, all three were able to get a better look at each other. Lenny could see the model good looks of both of the demons sitting across from him. The woman was a thin and tanned redhead with freckles and a small diamond stud sticking out of her nose. She had high cheek bones and large green eyes that contained a twinkle that danced if you stared into them long enough. The man was of similar skin tone and hair, but with a well trimmed beard and a muscular, well cut body hiding under his T-shirt and vest. His eyes were a deep shade of blue that seemed to take in the world with a tired, but quietly non-judgmental sense of contentment. His smile was small, closed, and serene like a monk who just experienced transcendence. The woman’s smile was playfully haughty with an undertone of slyness that begged to be pushed through to find the mystery that was hidden beneath.
For some reason, the couple saw fit to dress like groupie hipsters in a matching red leather and gray cotton fabric color scheme that came off surprisingly fashionable.
“You two must get mistaken for models quite often,” said Lenny, breaking the ice.
The two smiled at each other and looked back at him.
“We did a few photo shoot tours in England and Italy for a few years off and on,” said the succubus with a shrug, her voice, in the quiet of the booth, was now slow, soft, and peppy in tone; but in the process of smoothly transitioning into something mature if not sensually husky “that is until both of their economies collapsed and we had to move here.”
“Well, the free city-states in this part of the world are much more stable,” assured Lenny, “I was around when this one successfully seceded from their homeland and it has been worth the effort so far. No bloodshed, total independence, and plenty of money flowing in and out.”
“Because you vampires control the banks supporting these enclaves, right?” asked the incubus.
Lenny grinned at the question.
“Well, not exactly,” said Lenny, “but my kind — through several intermediaries — handle the finances that maintain the economy here.”
“Kimberly told us you can help us with that,” said Lindsay, her tone was still polite, but had a sense of urgency that Lenny picked up on.
It was the kind of urgency that Lenny liked, and needed, in order for this to work.
“She said you work with moving money around,” continued Lindsay, “and you’ve help plenty of people, humans included, with jobs like that.”
“Well,” said Derreck raising his arm, “we had a go at attempting some investing, but it didn’t work out.”
“Oh no, what happened?” asked Lenny.
“We trusted the wrong person, unfortunately,” said Lindsay solemnly.
“Who did you trust?” asked Lenny.
“A freelance, financier, a warlock operating in Paris,” said Derreck shaking his head in anger, “defrauded us out of everything we had and then some.”
“Last we heard, he fled to Hong Kong, hiding behind the services of some vampire lawyer he hired,” cried Lindsay, “and he was a half-breed, too, can you believe that?”
“Appalling,” said Lenny, shaking his head, “Warlocks and sorceresses are a tricky, terrible group of people when not raised by fellow Kindred or Lilim, like ourselves.”
“I’d have his lifespan for dinner, if I knew he wouldn’t enjoy ever last second of it,” Lindsay said coldly.
“We could really use some help in the meantime,” said Derreck.
“Yes, I heard both of you were looking for some assistance,” said Lenny, “I’m sorry to not beat around the bush, but tell me, how much help were you two looking to get?”
“We’re…,” Lindsay’s voice trailed off.
There was a short silence.
“Over one-hundred-thousand in the hole,” said Derreck with a sigh.
“My Lilith…” said Lenny, for the first time, actually genuinely surprised by the debt, “that much?”
“It’s extremely embarrassing, I know,” said Lindsay, “we’ve been hiding it for months now.”
“So, what can you do for us?” asked Derreck.
“Well, here’s the thing: I actually wanted to come to you two with a business proposition,” said Lenny, choosing his words very carefully, “it’s not another loan or some kind of debt consolidation, it’s a job.”
“What kind of job?” asked Derreck.
“I’m a salesmen,” said Lenny, “I deal in all kinds of product and I could use two people such as yourselves to help me with my business.”
“What kind if business is that?” asked Lindsay.
Lenny looked down and smiled. It was one of his only tells that revealed any kind of reluctance on his part.
Copyright © 2017 Philip N.R Hauser