My Esteemed Colleagues

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The countdown to Burn Time has begun, but there's no beddy bye for me, not yet, anyway

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The countdown to Burn Time has begun, but there's no beddy bye for me, not yet, anyway. Not quite yet. I'm still out and about.

Got a bottle of tequila in hand and I'm wandering the streets, smelling all the lovely aromas of the spigots who pass me, some still drunk, some off to work, and I'm drunk, so pleasantly drunk and adrift and so damned hungry, so somehow I wind up at The Big Hole, a build-your-own donut concept that has become a late-night gay hangout because obviously ... and also much superior than Chester's Glory Hole place, I might add.

I order a dozen of the Big Shot, the biggest batch of holes they've got, and scarf down all twelve. And by the time I'm finished, I'm no closer to knowing my next step. What do I do? Where do I go? My mind races. What's my next move? Things are obviously falling apart at Casa Diana. Too many bad vibes. And then there's Chester, off on his little lonesome. Should I take this opportunity to cut ties with him at last? I probably should—he's such a pain in the ass—but I can't help feeling protective of him. He's like that cute stray puppy you rescued that won't quit biting your hand. The poor darling.

But still, I can't complain — I knew what I was getting into. Even back in tenth grade, when I first saw him, I knew I should stay away. He had that needy look I typically find detestable, but how could I ignore him when those three football players were playing keepaway with his backpack? That just wasn't right, especially when they called him fag. I was no stranger to male affection by that time, and I wasn't about to stand by and let some poor kid get harassed by a bunch of homophobes.

So I stepped in because I've always been pretty good in a fight, and I knew I didn't need to take down all three. I just had to go after the leader, who, of course, was the smallest of the bunch. Once he had a black eye and a bloody lip, his buddies didn't see much reason to continue their game.

"Thank you," said Chester, smiling at me shyly, and thus our bond was sealed. I have been caretaking the little twerp ever since, watching as he flourished under my protection to become a bright young man who is still insecure and fragile, but at least knows how to hide it behind an insufferable wall of braggadocio.

And now he has flown the coop. Or been kicked out of it, anyway. So do I fly after him, or love him by letting him soar free?

I am still trying to decide when I glance up from my frosting-caked bowl to find two lovely boys smirking at me knowingly. At first I assume they want my body, but then I look them in the eyes and I realize they aren't interested in my physique ... it's my blood they want!

They're fucking bloodsuckers!

And here I thought our Forever 21 Squad was alone in the world. Now here I find two interlopers who appear to be official members of the V Generation.

They look as surprised by me as I do by them, though one of them—a tall, narrow boy with scareacrow hair—tries to make a graceful recovery.

"Ah," he says, "You heading back now? Father Pete said we got fifteen minutes to get back."

"Well, then," I reply, too intrigued to let this moment pass, "who am I to keep Father Pete waiting?"

Why not play along? Could it be there's life beyond the frayed confines of Casa Diana? It would be nice if that were the case! And either way, I'm curious about these vampires. Where did they come from? Do they have Diana's cup? And who the fuck is Father Pete?

So with these questions rampaging through my weary little mind, I stand up and bow politely and sweep my arm toward the exit.

"Lead the way, my esteemed colleagues," I say.

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