By three a.m. on January 1, 2003, the afterglow of a very long night faded as empty taxi after empty taxi zipped past the vacant cab stand. My girlfriend, awesome sister, and I looked perfectly normal, like young partygoers who would leave tips, so we weren’t the problem. No, the problem was the pair in the front of the line.
Had I actually used drugs that evening, I would have assumed the black man wearing only a vinyl diaper and a bowler hat and his companion, the man with the striped three-piece suit, the sleek blond hair, the fangs, and the pointy ears of an elf were a hallucination. However, by that point, a journey across three subway trains, two rivers, and the width of Manhattan had sobered us completely up, and I was forced to accept their veracity.
“What the fuck?” growled my sister Rachel.
“I don’t even…” I sighed.
My girlfriend Coral didn’t say a word. She ran off to the sidewalk, flagged down a taxi, and beckoned us furiously. Rachel and I hesitated, but once the vampire and his minion noticed these events and lunged toward Coral, we understood the stakes.
“Hurry!” yelled the driver.
We dove in and slammed the door. “Britton Street!” I told him.
The vampire’s cane struck the hood of the car, and he bellowed, “You shall not pass!”
“Go!” Rachel shouted.
A strange peace washed over me at that moment, surrounded by the big city and the two women who, at that juncture, knew me better than anyone.