Read Chapters 7-10 of Vampire Girl here to get caught up with Mayra, a female vampire protagonist!
Upon trying to re-enter the United States, Mayra was detained. She was asked to verify the contents of her Mexit form. Scanning, she thought everything she’d written looked normal. “Yes, I wrote all that.” “I’m afraid we can’t allow you back into the U.S. “Why not?” “Vampire-Americans have now been placed on the travel ban list, along with citizens from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen.” “What?” Jackie, going right over the discovery that her friend was a vampire, looked outraged. “I know,” answered the agent listlessly. “What’s Yemen doing on there, right?” “No, I mean her hyphen. It makes no sense. The second are countries. The first is an ethnic group. They don’t reconcile.” “I don’t know what to tell you,” said the agent. “It went through Congress, the President signed it, and the Supreme Court has said nothing about it. Probably senators are not going to get much grief in their home districts for going against vampires. Even the Democrats have been pretty quiet on the issue.” “That’s outrageous!” Mayra watched Jackie thinking on her feet, brimming. “Where the fuck is the ACLU when you need them? Shouldn’t they just set up a kiosk at the border, to deal with the permanent outrage going on down here? Vampirism is a religion, so this is discriminatory.” The agent looked skeptical. “Is it?” “Of course. Chalices, drinking blood, mirrors, silver crosses, coffins. Exactly like Catholicism.” “There’s nothing I can do ma’am, except turn her over to Mexican authorities. It’s really not our problem, I can’t let her into the US of A.” Jackie gave Mayra a tight hug. “Babe, I have to go show this house. It’s a potentially big commission. But I will find you the best lawyer in the business. Hang in there for now.” Sheila, silent all this time, turned and gave Mayra a black power salute with her upraised fist, as if she were on the podium at the 1968 Olympics.
“Jackie,” Mayra weakly called to her receding figure, “please let Tobias know what’s going on.” Now Mayra found herself in custody of Mexican authorities. They sequestered her, at least that’s what they called it, but effectively it was a quarantine, as if she were a rabid dog. Which in a way, she was. The two police in the room with her weren’t quite sure how to handle the situation, and so entered into a metaphysical colloquy. “Puta madre, I have no idea what to do with this güera. She doesn’t seem threatening." “Yeah, but she’s a Vampire-American. If we let her loose here, she could go on a blood-sucking rampage.” “Alright. Think about the advantages of that. We have this problem of people getting killed off in droves by drugs, gangs and other street putos. Everybody up north thinks we’re a nation of murderous assassins.” “Aren’t we?” “I’m going to ignore that remark. I may be a cog in the machine of the PRI, but I’m aiming for higher ground.” “Okay, I’m listening.” “So we turn this bitch loose, she starts biting everybody, they become undead, they bite other people, etc.” “How is that good?” "Are you kidding? It’s a benign pandemic. In a few years, everybody has eternal life and you can’t kill them. Public relations bonanza. Mexico is no longer treated as Narcoville. No corpses to display. Netflix can’t make any shows about us.” “Híjole, that’s brilliant. Let’s take it to the jefe.” “Agreed. There could be a promotion in it for both of us. In the meantime, we keep it on the down low and try not to get bit.” “I thought you said it was good if everybody became undead.” “Yeah, pretty much, but not me. My wife is a super-observant Catholic and she will definitely get stuck on this being a sin. If I become undead, she’ll drive a stake in my heart to make Father Hidalgo happy.” “In that case, let’s put this gringa in a holding cell for safety’s sake. She can stay with that maricón we have in custody.” “Really? If she bites him that could make more maricones.” “Except she and he wouldn’t be attracted to each other. Also, maricones can’t procreate. I mean they could, but unlikely, since it’s same-sex.” “Well they might switch teams temporarily as a political program.” “I don’t think they could get it up. I mean you couldn’t get it up for a man, because it’s not your thing, right?” “Why are you asking that? Are you calling me a maricón?” “I didn’t say those words. But it’s weird that you didn’t agree with me right away. You haven’t actually said no, you couldn’t get it up for a man.” “What do you think?” “Better you tell me. I don’t even want to think about you with another guy.” “I’m going to punch you in the face.” “Calm down. I was only kidding. Let’s put this woman in the cell with an actual maricón. Señorita, right this way.” Think of your favorite celebrity maricón and write down ten pet names that are “quotation insults,” kind of like when people call each other “bitch” but they really mean it as a compliment. After a few drinks, call up an actual maricón who is your friend, if you have any such, and try to work all of these new pet names into the conversation. Note whether this person laughs and plays along with you, or whether he/she/it gets pissed off and begins to call you names also.
When Mayra was ushered into the cell, the maricón sat head downcast at the far end of the sole bench, as if pre-emptively protecting himself from derision. The police stood for a couple of moments on the other side of the cell door, as if waiting to see whether they would attack each other like two junkyard dogs taken off the chain. But when Mayra sat down at the opposite end and began to pick at her nails, the police became bored and wandered away, seeming for the moment to have forgotten about their big plans to change the course of Mexican history. “Hey,” the maricón called out after a while. “What’s your name?” His face was beautiful, shapely. “Mayra.” “That’s a cute hairdo you’ve got, girl, with the upsweep.” “Thanks.” Having seemed to run out of topics, they sat again for a time in silence. “I know what you are,” said the maricón. “You do? What’s that? An American slut, coming down to TJ to find a Mayan air conditioning guy? Is that what you were going to say?” “Not at all. Look me in the eye, güera. Ask me what I am.” “Okay, what are you?” “A Trampire.” “What?” “Transgender. Plus vampire. Equals Trampire.” “Wow. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any weirder.” “Tell me about it. I was in the middle of estrogen treatments, then corrective surgery, and got an infected blood transfusion.” “That’s horrible.” “Believe me, if there is any way to be more hated as a Mexican than being transgender, this is it. I won the lottery by being the first of my kind. This is exactly why vampires should not be blood donors. They should only take blood. But we start feeling guilty about what we do, about our nature, and we want to ‘give back,’ to take away our sin. Next thing we know, we’re in line at the Red Cross mobile unit. And these are the consequences.” Mayra reflected on this new reality. “Have you ever thought about doing a stage show?” “What? The Rocky Horror Picture Show for the umpteenth time?” “No, more like The Lady Is a Trampire. Jazzy. That would definitely go at the Hollywood Bowl. Kind of Ella Fitzgerald after midnight.”
“I don’t know. It’s an intriguing idea. I took singing lessons, and my phrasing is excellent, but my vocal range is limited. Anyway, I was thinking more like Chavela Vargas. “Por qué no me enseñaste /Como se vive sin ti?” “I don’t speak Spanish, but I’m pretty sure you just now sang something like ‘I wish you’d taught me to live without you.’ Or is that the sentiment of my own heart bleeding through?” “Yes! That’s exactly what I sang. We’re in the same boat, muchacha.” The Trampire slid over and took Mayra in her arms, whereupon Mayra began to cry. “Oh, Trampire, I don’t know what to do. There’s hot Tobias with his LTR, there’s Kim the Foodie, and now there’s Cuac with his deep Mayan chest and degree in urban planning. Yet I don’t feel any of them can really belong to me.” “I get you. I never thought I’d say this, because I consider myself a free spirit, but maybe it’s best to stick to your own kind.” “Is there anyone our kind? There don’t seem to be enough labels to cover all contingencies. Just when I start to think things are set, and I might know who I am, someone like you comes along and upsets the order of things.” “I get you, güera. Why don’t we call ourselves a couple of pinches putas and be done with it?” Mayra and the Trampire were finally having a hearty laugh together when the policemen returned. If you were the talent agent of the Trampire, what playlist would you design for her in order to launch her career? Do not include any songs by Liza Minelli, Madonna, Cher, Gloria Trevi, or ABBA. That was a long time ago. Actually, in honor of the next chapter, you may include Trevi, who once described herself as “an eyeball taco.”
The first policeman, the one whose wife would have driven a stake into his heart to please Father Hidalgo, held a bag of tacos wrapped in foil. He gave three to Mayra and three to the Trampire. The wife had prepared this bounty for the detainees. It seemed that even the Trampire would be allowed to participate in lunch. The sharp, salty-sweet aroma of carne asada and chicken adobo bled from openings in the foil. Mayra’s eyes teared up. Her feeling for tacos bordered on religious. She was pretty sure that most of America felt the same way. Taco trucks cruised Los Angeles, parking at curbs with benevolence toward its citizens, like a lending library. Taco trucks had an aura, as though they were doing a public good, in the manner of Red Cross mobile units, healing the soul of the nation at this difficult time of multiple misunderstandings and deep domestic and international hostilities. If she had a craving at any hour, Mayra knew that if she jumped in her car and drove around, she’d find a taco truck sooner or later. There was nothing to argue about regarding a taco, as long as it was well made, with simple, fresh ingredients. She felt almost embarrassed to pay a mere $1.75 for a delicious carne asada envelope overflowing with grilled onions or slaw, and then be invited, for no extra charge, to pile on it as much as she liked of the several available freshly-made chiles: chipotle, tomatillo, simple red or green. Mayra suspected that the owners were losing money on each transaction. Possibly there was some kind of government subsidy to promote public health that allowed them to be so cheap.
Her mouth would begin to heat up, then her soul, her eyes would moisten, and she would experience a series of deep emotional flashes and memories, none of them having to do with tacos per se, such as losing her virginity, receiving a grade of 100 on a poem she wrote in elementary school about Abraham Lincoln, a moonlit midnight when a sleepy cop let her off a speeding violation without looking at her cleavage, her grandfather’s jacket that smelled like taffy and tobacco, and winning an arm-wrestling contest with a guy. As Mayra bit into the carne asada in her shared holding cell, she began to cry again. The first policeman looked stressed. “It doesn’t taste good?” “No, it’s wonderful. I’m so happy right now.” This comment made him even more uncomfortable. He looked at the floor and shifted his feet. “Well—uh, here, I forgot to give you a slice of lime.” “I wish I could meet your wife. She’s such a great cook.” “That’s not going to happen. I never let her get involved with my work life.” “She only gets to make tacos for people she doesn’t know and will never meet?” “Correct.” The second policeman was pacing back and forth, tugging at his own lapel. “Cabrón, I wish you would stop bringing everybody tacos. It undermines our authority. It’s gay.” The Trampire stopped eating her chicken adobo taco and stood up. “Why does it always have to come around to somebody being gay with you guys? Can’t you give that shit a rest?” The second policeman stared her down. “What do you care, putita? You’re not gay.” The Trampire looked stunned. “You actually know the difference?” “Of course. You’re transgender. So if you are attracted to a guy you’re sort of like a woman, so that’s almost normal. You’re more like a perverted heterosexual.” The Trampire was smiling. She looked as if she were about to jump in the air. “Yes! Wow—I can’t believe you actually got that.” “Yeah, well people are always underestimating me. I guess I look stupid. But I have a firm grasp of the obvious.” He took a taco out of the bag and began to eat. “Damn. These are excellent. Give me a slice of lime, ése.” He wolfed down the rest of his carne. “Okay, you two bitches are set to see a judge tomorrow. Basically, you are both undesirables that the Mexican government wants to get rid of. You, Trampy, were born in the U.S. so technically we could deport you. The suggestion of my esteemed colleague that you two be used to inoculate the Mexican people against death was not well received in the higher echelon. The Bishop of Mexico City was consulted and it seems he’s not receptive to other parties offering alternative arrangements for the afterlife. Our President talked to yours and yours is standing his ground on not taking back either of you.” “All that happened so quickly? You were only gone for a few minutes.” “Well, back-channel diplomatic negotiations mostly happen on Twitter now. Your President even sent out a celebratory Tweet about it, calling you queer zombies and added LMFAO.” “We are neither queer nor zombies,” said the Trampire. “Well, we know that,” said the first policeman. “But this has become an international incident. You might just end up in a Julian Assange situation, living in an embassy for a few years. Apparently not even the United Nations has a policy on vampires, unless they’re being used in the sex trade.” If you were going to make up a brand-new taco that no one in the world had ever tried, what would be its ingredients?
The Manson Girls
Mayra and the Trampire were brought before a judge in his chambers. It seemed it was to be an informal hearing. Mayra had imagined villagers in a town square holding sharpened farm implements, and a head peasant doling out rude justice. Or a secret tribunal with the judge wearing a hood and talking through a voice distorter so that she wouldn’t be able to recognize him later and decapitate him. Which in fact she had reserved as an option. However, the judge was only a harmless-looking squat fat dude in his 50s or 60s or some other ungodly decade, born before the internet had exposed every secret of every human, like a tooth nerve left naked by a receding gum leading to loss of all feeling, necrosis and a root canal. Maybe the judge was content and laid-back because he’d been able to spend x years living in Eden before being cast out of the garden like everybody else, thus his pointless yet very real holier-than-thou smile, which in fact could have been ingratiating because they were at his mercy, kind of, but Mayra chose to believe that the smile was about a rueful loss of innocence that he could not possibly explain to her, a mere twenty-something girl. Yet ironically, Mayra was undead, so her own situation was going to get way more poignant somewhere down the line, hundreds of years from now. Or was it? Mayra had awakened with the exact feeling a woman gets when her period has arrived while secretly she wanted to be pregnant, so now all her girlfriends are congratulating her saying she dodged a bullet, what a relief she won’t have to stay with Kevin, he’s such a lying, cheating asshole, but actually she loves Kevin and was hoping to trap him with the baby, and now she has to get a different plan. That’s exactly how Mayra felt, because she could sense in her biology, cells, feminine aura, whatever, that the vampire effect was fading, just as Tobias had predicted. She had begun to normalize again. The mini-bottles of cabernet and garnacha she’d brought along and had been consuming were having a diminishing effect. Mayra was no longer a threat; she had no appetite for blood. Probably she could prove her normalcy before the judge by asking for several conscripts to bite and he’d see the so-called victims flinching and cussing, threatening payback, perhaps even trying to bite her in return, but none of them would become vampires. Then the judge could let her go and she could repatriate. But Mayra realized that there was power in being a vampire. She wasn’t quite ready to give the ruse up. She had to get her hunger back up and attack somebody, even though the thought nauseated her. Also she didn’t want to leave the Trampire in this situation by herself, undefended. They had to stick together, like those Manson Family women from long ago, shouting obscenities at the judge and jury, interrupting lawyers, cutting symbols in their foreheads with a shared razor blade if necessary. Meanwhile, she would fake being totally undead, as she sometimes did orgasms, to cover for her lost status. Her strategy was to use only dialogue from The Hunger in this hearing, to reinforce the perception that her vampire powers were still strong and immutable. Mayra knew the entire script almost verbatim from having watched the movie dozens of times. She would be the cool, European trickster Miriam.
The judge asked them to sit down. There was no bench or podium, just him on one side of the table and them on the other, as if for a job interview in the break room at Target. “Ladies, welcome. Do you know why you’re here?” “In the earth, in the rotting wood, in the eternal darkness, we will see and hear and feel.” “That’s one way of putting it. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Can I get you a glass of water or a cup of coffee?” “I don’t like sherry unless it’s 2000 years old.” “Okay, forget about the drink. My goal is to help the two of you return to your country. We’re going to do all we can to get you returned to the bosom of America. We have no interest in keeping you imprisoned.” “That would be a dream come true, to emigrate” said the Trampire. “I have applied for a visa to the U.S. like 40 times and I get rejected every time. Which is absurd, because I cut hair better for half the price of anybody else. And I am a licensed veterinarian, I dabble in astrology, I’m hell with a circular saw, do pretty good electrical work, know the Napoleonic code inside out, flawlessly pick the best bunch of grapes at the grocery store, have self-published a definitive biography of Millard Fillmore, have several ideas for start-ups, and am attached to a project being produced by Kate del Castillo.” Mayra turned to the Trampire. “You don’t understand. There is no release, my darling.” “I see what you’re doing,” retorted the Trampire, growing agitated. “Do NOT put your game on me. I will go Ann Coulter on your ass and start saying mean-spirited and nonsensical things, putting down my own kind in order to ingratiate myself to the patriarchy that despises me. I will practice jiu-jitsu self-hatred, making it look like postmodern wisdom. I will be one of the boys and make you be the girl.” “I won’t use that magic word immortality, but longevity.” “STOP IT!” The Trampire was shaking. The judge interrupted. “We are thinking about agreeing to take back Chapo Guzmán in exchange for the U.S. receiving you. It’s like a prisoner anti-exchange. Nobody wants anybody, but we have to hold our noses and make the best of it. The Trampire looked surprised. “El Chapo? Who wants that bad boy-mass murderer-ignorant ho-chaparrito with the loud paisley shirts, who nobody would ever agree to sleep with now that he got busted, except for Kate del Castillo? What is wrong with that woman?” “Yes, at first the U.S. thought it was a coup to take him from us and show Mexico up as inept and unable to run a federal prison. But now El Chapo has made hundreds of miles of tunnels running out from Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. El Chapo is charging hefty tolls for passage in his new United States tunnel freeway, escapees and bedroom commuters who want to avoid traffic. He is said to have direct access to Snoop Dogg’s East Coast crib and Sean Penn’s rooftop Zen retreat with an infinity pool overlooking the Statue of Liberty.” Mayra had a sudden thought. “Trampire, how come you haven’t attacked this judge and ripped his throat out? I haven’t seen you twitch or anything since we got bunked up together. How often do you feed?” “See, here’s the thing. Because of the blood transfusion, I’m only a carrier. I don’t really show symptoms. It’s all a big rock opera with me, like Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Once in a great while I get a pang and I feed, but I am mostly without appetite. I was going to ask you the same question.” “Oh, me, I’m just not hungry at the moment.” “That is a huge relief,” said the judge. “I must admit I was nervous about getting savaged. But also curious. I don’t say this among other men, but my testosterone levels have gone way down in the past year. I had expensive hormonal treatments in Houston, but they didn’t take. And Viagra, nothing. Probably I shouldn’t be ordering it over the internet from Chiapas.” “Judge, nothing personal, I’d love to give you a fang injection,” said Mayra, “but I’m not in the mood.” “No, I don’t take it amiss,” said the judge. “I hear those same words every night from my wife.” “If the mood strikes, I’ll let you know,” continued Mayra, giving the judge a friendly and encouraging handshake. “Because I am definitely by nature a horny and vicious vampire! Be sure to tell the journalists that.” You are invited to buy and read Squeaky: The Life and Times of Squeaky Fromme from Amazon, which one top customer reviewer describes as “good, but annoying.” The exact same phrase could be used to describe this novel you are reading.