Dear readers, tonight with us is a postal employee from 1920’s Chicago. He’s here to talk about being murdered buy AL Capone, and about being reborn as a vampire.
Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?
I was born and raised in Chicago. Mom raised me to go to Temple and respect my elders, while Dad taught me to be a Cubs and a Blackhawks fan, and that the only way to succeed in life was to work hard. My little sister, Sarah, tries to teach me patience, but I’m apparently a slow learner, heh. Until recently, we lived together in a second-floor apartment near Douglas Park, but once I got a job at the post office, I saved up enough to get my own place. It wasn’t much, but it was mine, and the only thing I had to worry about was my nosy neighbor keeping track of my every move and reporting back to my mother. At least, that’s what I thought. Then I died, but that wasn’t so bad, as I ended up getting a better apartment out of the deal. Silver lining, right?
Did you have any favorite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?
We didn’t have much in the way of toys growing up. Dad made a decent living at the meat packing plant, but not enough for too many extras, you know? I don’t have a lot of memories with my Dad other than sending him off to work in the morning before school, or eating dinner together once he got home, but there was one day that we had together that I’ll never forget.
It was Memorial Day, 1916, and Dad had the day off. The Cardinals were in town, and that day was a double-header. Dad surprised me with tickets and we spent the whole day together at Weeghman Park. The Cubs got shut out in the first game, but in the second game, Cy Williams hit a home run off of Bob Steele that landed close enough that I could chase after it. When I saw the ball coming our way, I heard Dad say, “If you want it enough, you might be able to get that ball.” That was all I needed. I shot out of my seat, and raced to where the ball landed, determined to snare my prize. Just as it was almost in my grasp, a bigger kid snatched it up in his meaty paw and jumped up and down for joy. Dejected I shuffled my way back to my seat. I sat there, pouting in silence, until my father said, “Do you see how happy that boy is?” I glanced up at him, and then over to the boy with the ball, and mumbled, “Yeah.” He looked me square in the eye and replied, “He thinks that he’s happy because he has a new ball, but he’s wrong. He’s happy because his hard work paid off. He saw something that he wanted, and he didn’t let anything stop him from getting it. He could lose that ball tomorrow, but he’ll remember the day that he got it for the rest of his life.” Dad had always touted hard work, but this particular example is the one that really hit home. No pun intended, heh.
What do you do now?
I worked for the United States Post Office up until my untimely demise. After that, I became a government agent, working for Eliot Ness. With the help of my partner, Christian Wright, I enforce the law and am trying to take down Chicago’s biggest gangster, and fellow vampire, Al Capone. Oh, whoops, I probably shouldn’t have said the part about the vampires. I mean, I was just kidding, there’s no such thing as vampires. Heh. Um… yeah. So…
Ok, fine, here’s the deal. It turns out that my former girlfriend was a vampire who worked for Al Capone, who is also a vampire. That’s not public knowledge, so you can’t publish any of this. It’s… what do you call it? Off the record? So, anyway, she turned me into a vampire before she got killed in that big shootout on Valentine’s Day. She was under orders from Capone to get me to steal some ledger books that Capone wanted. I got caught up in this giant mess between Capone and Bugs Moran and the Feds, and I didn’t even escape with my life. Capone himself murdered me on the Michigan Avenue bridge. Of course, at the time, I didn’t know that I’d become a vampire. I just thought I was dead. Which I was. Am. Heh.
Once I rose from the dead (no, not like Jesus), I became part of a team, led by Eliot Ness, with the main goal of taking down Al Capone once and for all. The fact that he (and I) are vampires isn’t even known by everyone on my team, but we’re fighting fire with fire, so to speak. My partner, Christian, was not very happy about the situation at first. Or now, even. We’ve gotten so close that he calls me these fun nicknames, like “abomination” and “affront to God”. Yeah, he’s quite religious, but he wants to take down Capone just as much as I do, so I trust him with my life. Death. Whatever.
What can you tell us about your latest adventure?
Well, now we have a new boss, this J. Edgar Hoover guy, and he wants us to try to get Capone for tax evasion (I know, super exciting, right? I get to use all my special vampire accounting powers. Just kidding, that’s not really a thing. Heh.), although my partner and I think that he deserves a stake through the heart instead. Since we’re not going to be super busy with that, I think we should try to figure out who the mystery player is that seems to be at odds with Capone. If we can’t figure that out, I worry that Chicago will end up in the middle of a vampire turf war, and nothing good can come from that.
What did you first think when you woke from the dead?
Well, it was pretty unbelievable. I mean, finding out that I wasn’t dead, and that I was, well, something I thought only existed in books… it totally changed my life. So to speak. Heh. Of course, because I started working for the government, I had to pretend that I was still dead, so that meant I had to take a new name, and I couldn’t ever see my family again. That was a big shock. I didn’t handle it well to begin with, but I’ve found a… way of coping, I guess you’d say. Even though I can’t have them in my new life, or whatever this is, my family is always with me. Even when I don’t want them to be. Heh.
What was the scariest thing in your adventures?
Well, I’d have to say that getting shot and killed by Al Capone was intense. Although there was that weird Chinese vampire that kept jumping around… No, I’m going to stick with being murdered. I think that trumps pretty much anything.
What is the worst thing about being a vampire?
I miss food. You know, real food. Any food, really. I can still eat like normal, but it doesn’t do anything to stop the hunger. Only blood does that. And regular food doesn’t really have a flavor anymore, so I can’t ever have another of my Mom’s knishes or even savor a nice hot cup of joe. It’s kind of depressing, really.
What is the best thing about it?
Well, I’m stronger than I used to be. And faster, too. And sometimes, I can kind of make people do things I want them to do, just by looking them in the eyes. But it doesn’t always seem to work, so I’m not sure if I’m doing something wrong, or what.
Tell us a little about your friends.
Well, I used to have a friend named Joe, who worked with me at the post office when I was alive. As it turns out, he’s also a vampire (Apparently, we’re everywhere. Heh.), but when I asked for his help, he ran away to Kansas City and left me here. So maybe we were never really friends after all.
The closest thing I have to a friend now would be my partner, Christian. Of course, he’d never say the same of me, so I’m not really sure if that counts either. Not that I stop trying to make him my friend. It’s not my fault what happened to me, so he just needs to get over it.
Any romantic involvement?
Since my last girlfriend turned me into a vampire, and I was forced to kill her, I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about dating anyone again. Honestly, given my… situation, I don’t think that it would be fair to any girl that was crazy enough to date me. It’s safer for everyone if I just keep to myself.
Whom (or what) do you really hate?
I really, really hate Al Capone. I mean, he did murder me, after all. Plus, he threatened to hurt my family. And he’s just so smug. And polite. Except when you get him angry, and then he’s like a force of nature. You don’t want to be in the vicinity when that happens.
Oh, and the White Sox. Bunch of cheaters.
What’s your favorite drink?
My new favorite drink is blood, apparently. I try to keep my consumption to animals only, but there’s nothing like the taste of human blood. Nothing. You know if you open a bottle of Coca-Cola and you leave it out overnight, and the next day it tastes kind of flat? That’s like what animal blood tastes like compared to human. You can quench your thirst with it, but it’s just not the same. Of course, if you drain a bottle of Coca-Cola dry, you won’t get arrested for murder, so there’s that. Heh.
What does the future hold for you?
Hopefully ending the threat of Al Capone once and for all. He has to be stopped.
Can you share a secret with us, which you’ve never told anyone else?
I think that there’s more to Joe’s story than he’s willing to say. He’s said that he’d done unspeakable things in the past that he won’t go into detail about, but I think they haunt him. He says that he’s not willing to get involved with my dealings with Capone, but if push came to shove, I think he’d help me if I truly needed him.
The writing duo of Geoff Habiger and Coy Kissee have been life-long friends since high school in Manhattan, Kansas. (Affectionately known as the Little Apple, which was a much better place to grow up than the Big Apple, in our humble opinion.) We love reading, baseball, cats, role-playing games, comics, and board games (not necessarily in that order and sometimes the cats can be very trying). We’ve spent many hours together over the years (and it’s been many years) basically geeking out and talking about our favorite books, authors, and movies, often discussing what we would do differently to fix a story or make a better script. We eventually turned this passion into something more than just talk and now write the stories that we want to read. Coy lives with his wife in Lenexa, Kansas. Geoff lives with his wife and son in Tijeras, New Mexico.
Join us next time to meet the chief thief-catcher for the emperor and his second in command, a rather mischievous sprite. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right) to be notified when the next interview is posted.