Outside the conference room, in the main office, we heard someone enter.
The air in the office seemed thick and hazy. I could hear the click of the air conditioning turning on. There was suddenly a feeling of discomfort in the room. Something had changed, we could feel it. We raised our glasses again but there was a nervousness. We could have been anywhere, somewhere enchanted. We looked at each other like children who were about to be caught doing something wrong.
"I'll tell you what literature is," someone said, finally breaking the spell.
It wasn't any of us who was talking. It was someone outside the conference room. Someone was coming in and talking. We turned. It was a tall person, very thin and pale. It was wearing a black cloak. It sparkled with a kind of luminescence. I knew it was We all knew it was a vampire.
"I'll tell you what literature is," the vampire said again. "It's books about people like me. I'm not a person, I'm a vampire. What do any of you really know about literature?
" the vampire said. "You say you love literature and you do. The kind of love I'm talking about now, that drives you to a special book, you can call it sentimental or whatever you like. But it's a real feeling."
"Who is this fuck," Cretinous said. "
Get him out of here. How did you get in? Who let you in? Where's the goddamn receptionist?"
"I think it's a vampire," Winston said.
"Of course I'm a fucking vampire," the vampire said. "What other kind of person would I be?"
"Well, I guess I don't know anything about literature," "Steve" said. "
I'll be the first one to admit it. According to Cretinous's definition, I don't know the first thing about literature. But I know that's a vampire, and it might be a good time to end this meeting. Rejectionist, don't you think it's a good time to end this meeting?"
I couldn't stop looking at the vampire. The vampire sparkled softly. It looked back at me. "Cretinous, you know there isn't a receptionist," I said. "This isn't Writer's House.
You mistake this for a different kind of office. This isn't a classy kind of operation."
"I don't mistake this for a goddamn thing," said Cretinous. "Get this vampire out of here."
"Cretinous, I think you may be a little tipsy," "Steve" said.
"I'm just talking, all right?" Cretinous said. "I'm not drunk. We're all just talking together. It's Summer Friday. No one expects work to get done. I don't need to do any work today.
I'm not drunk. Why is that goddamn thing still looking at me?"
The vampire hadn't said anything during this time. The vampire was watching Cretinous.
"I think it's hungry," I said. "
You are too drunk, Cretinous. Don't talk like this. Don't talk like you're drunk if you're not drunk."
"Just shut up for once in your life, will you?" Cretinous said. "You're always going on about things.
I want someone to get this goddamn vampire out of here so I can keep talking. I can't have a goddamn conversation with this thing looking at me." The vampire didn't say anything. The vampire was looking at Cretinous. The vampire was looking at Cretinous with what I would describe as an interested expression.
"I think you should keep talking about literature," the vampire said. "I'm intrigued by this conversation about literature.
I'd like to hear more about what you think is literature. I guess I'd also have to describe myself as a little hungry."
"I told you it was hungry," I said.
Winston was excited now. Winston was happy. An eager expression crossed Winston's face. "I wonder if the vampire will eat Cretinous," Winston said. "Although now isn't a good time to look for a new job in publishing."