The Bloodsuckers, Episode 1: Hanging out the Shingle

Scott Cunningham had hit rock bottom.

His wife had divorced him and took the house and their daughter. He didn’t even have visitation rights (although you can be sure the state stuck him with child support payments).

He had lost his job as a mid-level manager at a car manufacturing facility in River Bottoms.

He would have killed himself, but he was undead, and apparently you can’t die twice.

(Doctors are currently working day and night to find a way to kill vampires. They have tried sunlight, but it only burns and temporarily incapacitates; the vampire recovers when removed from sunlight. Staking through the heart does little more than produce a vague feeling of indigestion. Even decapitation has no effect (although Hollywood has rushed to produce a slew of movies and TV shows set during the French Revolution, featuring real beheadings).

Medical colleges are setting up a new field of study: killology. Rather than the Hippocratic oath, doctors of killology promised to do everything within their power to kill their patients. There are patient waiting lists several months long, making it the most in-demand specialty after cosmetic surgery and dermatology.)

Stripped of everything but life, Scott eventually realized that when you’re on bottom, there’s nowhere to go but up. So he went to night school and, in just 18 months, he got his law degree, specializing in vampire rights.

With his newly-inked sheepskin in hand, he set up shop in the Grays Office Building on the Clarksboro square. The historic building housed a lawyer specializing in divorce and bankruptcy (Attorney Rutherford gave discounts if you combined both into a “total freedom” package), a tax accountant, and an acupuncturist/Reiki practitioner/holistic therapist named Astrid, who also performed weddings as a licensed religious practitioner—of what religion, Scott didn’t know. She gave him the willies, so he tried to avoid her.

Scott got a good deal on his office lease because Attorney Rutherford—who owned the building—said he could use the basement at no additional charge. So, as soon as it grew dark, Scott met with clients in his upstairs office, and when dawn approached, he went down the rickety wooden stairs in the back storage room to the basement to sleep for the day.

He had also lucked out when he hired his secretary. Josie was an attractive, intelligent young woman in her late twenties with experience in several branches of law and eager to learn vampire rights. Furthermore, she had been willing to work for the paltry salary he had offered, even though she could have easily commanded several dollars more an hour at a large firm. He wondered why she took it, but didn’t dare look a gift-horse in the mouth. Of the other resumes he had received, three had been from people whose current occupation was as a night-shift clerk at a convenience store, and one had been from a person who used commas instead of periods in sentences.

He had to take out a loan to furnish his office and cover Josie’s pay for the first few months until he built up a clientele; he didn’t have anything left for himself and he spent a few days sleeping on a tarp on the dirt floor in the basement. But Josie took pity on him and offered him some of her old furniture.

Together, they moved the furniture into the basement, and Scott was feeling rather proud of the modest, but comfortable corner they created. He had an old TV, a couch, a bookcase, and a bed—all sitting on a remnant of carpet he had rescued from a dumpster on a construction project. He had to hang his suits from nails in the floor joists overhead, but it was a start. Josie had even gotten him a book on transforming large warehouse spaces into studio apartments, and he had grand plans to eventually transform the basement into a classy, high-brow apartment where he could entertain his fellow attorneys, judges, and the local politicians.

So, all in all, things were looking up.

Read the entire series–The Bloodsuckers: Vampire Lawyers of Middle Tennessee

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