A chilly fall night finds me, along with my two literary companions Frank the lobster-claw handed (long story) Grim Reaper and my stuffed yellow bear sidekick John Q. huddled by the fire pit. Frank per usual has a bummed cigarette clutched in a claw (be wary the Angel of Death, for he is a mooch). John Q. is attempting to roast marshmallows from a Swiss Miss cocoa pack. As for myself, I’m enjoying the rare tranquility of it all.

“This night weminds me of the night, that weminded me of the night, I killed Dwacula!” John Q. says; trying to skewer another mini-mallow. Frank’s empty sockets go wide and I quirk a brow. There are moments when someone says something so profound (or insanely random) that it seems required they follow it up with a backstory. This was one of those and without provocation John did just that.

A vewy much long time ago, I was sittin’ by the fiwe wif my fwiend Bwam Stoker who was twying to wite a scawy stowie. And I said to Bwan this weminds me of the time I killed Dwacula. Bwan was supwised and said, do tell…so I did.

So a vewy much longew time ago, I was sittin’ by the fiwe, wif my fwiend Abwaham Van Helsing. And I told him that it didn’t wemind me of any-nothing. But he was too busy shawpening sticks to see nothing. Then he said-“We must go to Castle Dwacula this very tonight!”

Since it was almost the Halloween and he had been making marshmallow woasting sticks I knew it would be a twick-tweat pawty. So I putted on my scawy outfit. A tall dawk top-hat, wif side-buwnews, a mystewious cloak and…a piece of paper. I was being Jack the Wipper for twick-tweats… the guy that invented the paper shwedder.

But when we getted to Dwacula’s house there wasn’t any-no twick-tweats and Van Helsing twied to poke Dwacula wif the marshmallow sticks. So Dwacula took contwol of Helsing’s immowtal soul and locked him in the basement. He twied to get my immowtal soul too but I had left it at home.

Since he couldn’t any-no suck the stuffins out of me he showed me awound. Dwacula’s house was a mess but the most mess was the kitchen. Blood on the floor, blood on the walls, blood on the ceiling, BLOOD EVEWYWHEWE…except on the salad fowks. I scolded Dwacula – what a tewwible wasting of pewfectly good plasma, and told him muwdewing people wasn’t vewy nice. He was sowwy but didn’t any-no no better way. But I had the ideas!

We getted a white cawwiage and putted a big wed plus on it (cuz Dwacula pwefews positive plasmas). We nicely asked people to donate theiw blood in exchange for juice and cwackew snack instead of getting sucked. People pwefer to shawe and not be sucked.

Soon we had too so much extwa blood. We needed a way to pwesewve it. So we made a wefwidgewatored box to fweeze it. I putted some of the mawshmallow sticks in some so Dwacula could have fwozen blood and a stick tweats and not get the messiest.

Now that Dwacula didn’t have to suck on people he had fwee times for funs. We becomed good fwiends and did awts and cwafts. But Dwacula wanted to escape his bad weputation… so he moved his castle bwick by bwick to Orlando Flowida and changed his name to Disney. I was going to go also too but had alweady pwomised Bwan Stoker I would help wif his scawy stowie book.

The little yellow bear finished his tale and wiped cocoa dust from his cheeks.

Hold on! Sooo many questions! You mean to tell me you were in part inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula? That Van Helsing was an actual guy? That you befwiended…err befriended Count Dracula? That you and Dracula started the Red Cross, the blood mobile and invented refrigerators and popsicles? Walt Disney was actually Dracula? But you said you killed him?

John Q. sighed and with a look that showed his true age and experience spoke in full articulation. “Fiction is only fact that happened elsewhere. Some people just need a friend to teach them how not to suck. And yes, I killed Dracula…I did so with kindness.”

I welcome almost all questions and comments via FOCUS, or E-mail me directly at [email protected].

Hope to hear from you, until then try and stay focused. See ya!