The Translocation of Dr Pepper

Many residents of a small Oregon town have their lives uprooted when the soda fountain in a local diner begins to teleport, threatening the very existence of the planet at large.

This is meant to be a lighthearted, fun, and somewhat humorous story.

First draft.

Work in progress.

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3. The Incredible Nightlife of Archie Eligo

.           Marina Pinebill’s pride was shattered after the skillfully executed robbery of her manor by what she believed to be the ghost of her late husband and his team of extraterrestrials. Her prized possession, the massive multicolored portrait of her face, had been stolen along with many other valuables. In addition, there would be a puddle of lake water on one of her favorite rugs every morning when she woke up, which she believed was being done by the aliens to confuse her.

.             Lady Pinebill’s superstitious nature was not unfounded by any means. When she had married into the Pinebill family, she had been told of an ancient secret: that the family had a history of witchcraft and had used it to help procure its massive fortune. The remnants of this magic had been lost except for the maid who lived in the carriage house. Her name was Archie Eligo and she was a long time family servant as well as a vampire.

.             Archie’s appearance was that of a young woman with long legs and piercing red eyes. She was very fashionable and had recently died her hair pink. Today, she was wearing black leather pants with gold heels and a sky blue bomber jacket with racing stripes on the sleeves over a cheetah print tank top. To shield the rest of her body from the sun, she wore red leather gloves, round aviator sunglasses, and a navy blue wide rimmed hat. The dark red lipstick she wore made her fanged teeth look whiter than snow. Walking by her side was her cream colored cat which she had affectionately named Dr. Scratch ‘N Sniff. The reason Archie had made the treacherous venture into the sunlight was that she had been called into the manor by Lady Pinebill herself to discuss a matter of great importance.

.           Once inside the brightly lit mansion, Archie walked into Lady Pinebill's study. Marina Pinebill was sitting behind an expensive oak desk and facing away from the door in a large swivel chair so that she could turn around dramatically to begin the meeting. Archie Bishop was an intimidating young vampire so the theatrics were necessary to maintain an air of power.

.         “Please, Archie, have a seat,” instructed the old woman while gesturing to the sturdy green leather office chair on the opposite side of the desk.

.         “Thank you, Marina, but I would prefer to stand,” Archie said.

.         Lady Pinebill smiled politely as she seethed on the inside. Working with self righteous vampires was always such a drag. Archie was disrespectful and insensitive. Marina would have fired her already if she wasn't so efficient. Or so terrifying.

.         “Archie, I want you to listen to me carefully. Those two men covered in dirt who just left were the Men in Black. I've heard of this phenomenon before. Two strange men in black suits visIt people who have encountered extraterrestrials. They came around asking about the robbery. This must be an urgent matter. I need it cleared up so that those men don't come back and erase my memory. I want my things returned to me and the perpetrators of this crime brought to justice. Do you understand?” Lady Pinebill murmured intensely.

.         “Yes ma'am. I understand,” Archie replied.

.           Archie left Marina’s study and laughed to herself. Archie didn't believe in aliens but she did believe in having fun away from the estate and keeping a certain percentage of whatever she recovered. Archie waited until it was dark outside to leave the mansion because she had not visited the manor in so long that she happy to lay down on one of the many lavish velvet sofas with her cat and relish in the luxury that was found only in small quantities in her carriage house. Archie was used to waiting. She had been alive for so many years that the time she spent doing nothing was simply routine.

.            The invention of the smartphone was a genius development in recent years. Now, she could do nothing by doing something. Archie spent the seven remaining hours of daylight with her earbuds plugged into her rose gold iPhone and listening to her favorite playlists on Spotify, especially her favorite song, Lipgloss by Lil’ Mama, and shopping for clothes online using Marina’s credit card. Archie dropped a four hundred dollar pair of shoes into her online shopping cart and felt no remorse whatsoever. Before long, day turned to dusk and Archie stood up to leave.

.           On her way out of the mansion, she stopped by the kitchen to pick up a blue Nalgene water bottle from the refrigerator. It was full of blood and had a cute little straw at the top for her convenience. Her next stop was to the garage. A stylish lady like herself required an equally stylish car. The garage was attached to the back of the manor and was filled with the family’s most prized vehicles. The sleek purple sports car that had once belonged to Bill Pinebill VI before his untimely death was her favorite because its doors opened upwards instead of out. Marina would be angry but Archie knew the old woman was too much of a wuss to actually do anything. With the exception of her well executed mariticide, Marina had always been more talk than action. Archie felt like royalty when she opened the front gate with a remote and drove through it into the real world with Dr. Scratch ‘N Sniff riding shotgun.

.            Archie’s music blasted over the stereo system playing Bad Girl's by M.I.A.. The beautiful vampire took off her hat and placed it in her lap. Then, she rolled down the window and let the wind rush through her hair as she drove entirely too fast into town. Archie was not typically allowed to leave the estate and her life debt to the Pinebill lineage compelled her to follow their rules within the realm of possibility. Marina had not been born a Pinebill but her marriage qualified her as the vampire’s instructor. Archie was cosmically compelled to do as the woman instructed but could resist any order she saw fit. As the last of the the Pinebills, Marina exercised this power to its fullest capacity. The only unbreakable part of their contract was this: that under no circumstances was Archie allowed or able to harm or kill Marina. Archie detested her.

.         The girl took a turn down Neon Street. The street was really called Freeman Lane but everyone called it Neon Street because all of the storefronts displayed enough neon signs in their windows at night to light up the entire street like daylight made of colors. The tradition had started twenty-eight years ago when the Scaly Pale, a restaurant that only served exotic seafood, placed an insurmountably large neon sign in the shape of a mermaid. From then on, the businesses on Freeman Lane competed with one another using the bright neon lights, always trying to outdo each other. The result was Neon Street. And it was beautiful.

.         Thursday nights only brought rough customers to Neon Street bars. Archie loved that. She knew could not die so she loved to look for trouble. She parked her car at a meter and payed entirely in pennies which she kept in her glove compartment solely for the purposes of being petty in times like these. It was tedious, sure, but she enjoyed the obscure sense of power it made her feel. Her heels clicked on the sidewalk as she walked to her destination. The Red Ivy bar had three colorful neon signs in the window. One that depicted a purple scull, one of a reds vine, and a green one that said “Free Wifi”. Archie took a sip from her blood bottle and walked inside.

.         The bar was dimly lit and the air smelled life cigarettes. Archie took a deep breath. She loved the scent. It was still fairly early in the evening so the girl had time for a few drinks before she began her search for Marina’s stolen treasures. Archie sat on a bar stool and ordered a piña colada, making sure to specify to the bartender that if the tiny umbrella were to be forgotten, it would be his funeral. A man in a navy suit sat down next to Archie. He was the kind of man, Archie thought, who had an important job and a picket fence kind of life. She was right, of course. The man had three kids whose names all started with the letter J and a golden retriever.

.           “You're not the usual crowd,” the man said slyly.

.          Archie glared at him. The bartender brought out her drink complete with three tiny umbrellas. Archie thanked the bartender and took a sip. The man sitting next to her laughed at her choice of drink. “You know, most people who come in here at nine o'clock on a Thursday don't order piña coladas.”

.           Archie took another sip of her drink and said, “Well, I'm not most people.”

.           The man in the suit thought of saying something like “I can see that”, and under normal circumstances he would have. But there was something about this woman that let him know that she wasn't just calling herself different to be charming. She really was different. She glared at him again, this time, staring him right in the eyes, and he was shocked to see that her eyes were red. The man decided to leave the girl alone to drink her piña colada.

.           There were other men in The Red Ivy who were not quite as smart as the first. One of these not so smart men was intrigued by the beautiful young woman with pink hair sitting at the bar and bumbled over to sit next to her like a flying craving the sweet nectar of a Venus fly trap. Oblivious to the approaching incident, Archie took her phone out of her jacket pocket and Googled ‘UFO Sightings: OREGON’. The truth was, even though Archie did not believe that life on other planets would ever have any interest in visiting Earth, she had no leads and nowhere to start her search for the enigmatic burglars. She was startled when the aforementioned man sat down next to her.

.          “What's a pretty lady like yourself doing in a place like this?” he babbled.

.           “Whatever I want.” Archie rolled her eyes and continued scrolling through her search results. But the man was relentless.

.           “What's so interesting on that phone that you can't talk to me?”

.           “I could type literally anything into this search bar and whatever came up would be more interesting than hearing you talk. Leave me alone,” Archie grumbled.

.            The man should have walked away then. Instead, he reached over and tried to put his arm around the girl. Archie caught his wrist in her hand. The Venus fly trap had snapped shut. The man’s mistake was irreversible from the beginning. The vampire had left her gloves in the car and her sharp fingernails, painted red, of course, sank into the man’s skin. With out breaking eye contact, Archie used her free hand to take a wad of cash out of her pocket and left it on the bar to pay for her drink. Then, she narrowed her eyes and said: “Let’s finish this outside.”

.          The man was startled and tried in vain to shake his arm free of Archie’s grip. She frowned and let go.

.          “You're no fun,” she said.

.          Archie strutted out of The Red Ivy feeling somewhat defeated in her failed attempt to stir up trouble. As she stood on the sidewalk, however, it became apparent that she had not been defeated after all. A larger shadow eclipsed her own. It was the first man from the bar. The man in the business suit who had criticized her choice of beverage. Archie turned and met his gaze.

.         “Who are you?” asked the man.

.         This question had been nagging at his mind since their encounter. There was some strange power to the young woman that was unlike anything he could recall or recognize. Archie grinned wider than should have been humanly possible and revealed a row of pointed teeth, not unlike a shark’s, which were immaculately white due to the vampire’s incessant used of Crest 3D White Strips ever since three years prior when she had entered a sweepstakes and won a lifetime supply. Archie turned her head to see the businessman and he took a step backwards in terror but did not run away. His curiosity outweighed his fear and that was his first mistake. The vampire laughed and answered his question with another question.

.         “Why don't you come over here and find out?”

.          She placed her blood bottle on the ground slowly. The harsh colors of the neon lights cast a soft glow of green and blue on the side of Archie’s face. The man could see her shark-like mouth and glowing red eyes. Most horrifying, however, was the way the woman’s face was beginning to pulse and twist into a new shape. The way her skin rippled made it look like it was made of pale beetles. The man’s stomach lurched. He froze.

.         “No?” said the vampire, “I'll just have to go to you, then.”

.         Every part of the businessman’s brain was telling him to turn tail and run but his muscles were paralyzed by fear and a bit of intrigue. The man swallowed nervously and began to wish he wasn't so naturally curious. Archie shrugged her off her jacket and it fell to the ground behind her. No use in ruining a perfectly cute bomber jacket. Once her arms were free, Archie’s hands stretched and morphed into a set of horrifying claws. She would need to get a new manicure. Archie walked slowly and stylishly to the petrified man.

.          A scream that began in the man’s fearful gut travelled upwards to his mouth, losing confidence along the way so that the only sounds that came out when he opened his mouth was a whimper. His fight or flight response had kicked in and, since his legs would not allow home to run, he would have to fight. The business man suddenly remembered that he was not entirely helpless. He reached a shaking hand into his pocket and dug out a knife, one that was significantly smaller than he had recalled it being, and held it like someone who knew how to use it. And he did. The man had been a marine for a short time. Archie stopped walking to see what the man would do. She was here for a fight, after all, and killing a man on the sidewalk while he quivered in fear wouldn't be much of a fight.

.          Archie took another step forward. The man panicked and stabbed the knife blindly into the vampire’s stomach. Blood spilled over the handle of the knife and onto the man's hand, but still, Archie did not react to the pain. Instead, the woman laughed as the blood she had shed flowed in reverse and back into her body. The man's paralysis was cured instantly and he let go of the knife and tried to run in the opposite direction. He didn’t make it very far before Archie’s claw caught him by the collar. The moment the vampire's talons touched the skin on the back of his neck was the most scared the businessman had ever been. He screamed louder and in a higher pitch than he ever had before.

.          Just as Archie was about to tear the man apart, the bartender from The Red Ivey came outside to investigate the commotion. Nobody could see the full fight from inside the bar for the same reason vampires did not appear in mirrors. Glass did not work for them in the sense that, not only did they have no reflection in it, but they also could not be seen through windows. It was for this reason that Archie always drove with the windows down. She had heard rumors in the past about vampires who had inadvertently started legends of ghost cars in their respective towns. The bartender expected to find a very drunk man fighting himself on the sidewalk. What he found was much worse.

.          Archie let go of the man in the suit and picked up her jacket and bottle. The fight, she decided, was over. She had already effectively terrified two people. The girl’s skin and smile returned to normal and her class's turned back into hands. The bartender and the businessman watched in awe as the woman opened the winged doors of her purple sports car and drove away.

.           Dr. Scratch N’ Sniff had been waiting patiently in the passenger seat. He mewed softly. Archie kept driving until she was away from Neon Street altogether. The street three blocks over had a cemetery at the end of it. Nobody would see her there. She stopped her car in front of the graveyard and finally plucked the knife out of her stomach. The stab wound closed on its own immediately but the vampire was still disappointed by the hole in her shirt.

.            The moonlight glinted off some shining object on the ground at the gate of the graveyard. It caught Archie's attention. She turned off the engine and stepped out of the car. Upon further inspection, she found the object to be a diamond necklace. One which she recognized. It was among the stolen property from the break in at the manor. Archie picked up the necklace and put it in her pocket. As she was about to turn away, another glittering object, this time, beyond the gate, grabbed her attention. It was a gigantic, gleaming emerald, also stolen from Pinebill Manor. Archie opened the gate and picked up the emerald. She tried her best not to be a cliche of herself. There was just something so typical about being a vampire in a graveyard. It was as if Buffy the Vampire Slayer could appear behind her at any moment.

.          “Freeze!”

.          Archie turned around and put her hands in the air. It wasn't Buffy. It was a police officer. And he was pointing a gun in her direction. A bullet couldn't kill Archie but it would still hurt terribly and Archie did not feel the need to be both stabbed and shot in the same day. The officer, who had been investigating reports of a trespasser in the cemetery for the second time that month, recognized her from a description given of an assailant in a recently placed 911 call. He arrested Archie. Or, rather, Archie allowed herself to be arrested. She figured it would be more exciting than rooting around the cemetery for Marina’s jewelry.

.           Much to the vampire’s malcontent, jail was quite boring and calling Marina to bail her out was humiliating. Marina was not happy with Archie’s carelessness and so took her sweet time in placing the call to the police department. Police Chief Samuel Dominick wanted little more than to interrogate the strange woman with red eyes and pink hair who had been brought in for assault with precious jewels in her pockets. But he knew that Marina Pinebill was not a giant one could take down by force and, in complete honesty, Archie Eligo herself unsettled him.

.           When Lady Pinebill finally called, Archie was informed that she was free to leave at her leisure but that her car and all of its contents had been towed to the front gate of the Pinebill Estate. Archie didn't mind walking except that she thought it would be embarrassing to walk home with a hole in her shirt. Her minor concern was placed with a major one as soon as she stepped outside of the precinct into direct sunlight. She cursed Marina under her breath. That prehistoric prune of a woman had waited until daybreak to make her call.

.          The burn began as a light simmer, almost like a sunburn, but, as Archie walked, it became increasingly more severe until heat blisters began to form on her skin. The vampire muttered angrily to herself and tried to hold her jacket over her head to block the sun. She wished she had her hat, gloves, and sunglasses. They were much more effective than this. Eventually, the burn from the sun was so damaging that steam began to rise from Archie’s body. An enormous, rainbow colored, yard umbrella shaded the patio furniture of a nearby suburban front yard. So Archie stole it and kept herself in the shade all the way home.

.         When she arrived back at the estate, she tossed the umbrella into the bushes and got into her car. Dr. Scratch N’ Sniff was cowered under the passenger seat. Archie opened the door and let him out.

.         As soon as Archie walked through the door of her carriage house, her first priority was tending to her injuries. To do this, the vampire filled her bathtub halfway with water and halfway with blood. She added scented lotion for its soothing effects and to make the bath smell good. Archie’s sunburns could be healed only by soaking the damaged area in blood, which she always preferred to water down because she did not like how sticky and thick blood could become after sitting out for a while. She stripped down and slipped into the bath and closed the shower curtain surrounding it. The blood in the bath water soothed and healed her skin in a way that could only be described as cosmically relieving.

.          Now, she finally had some time to think. One thing about her investigation nagged her. How and why had Marina’s jewelry ended up in the graveyard? She knew that none of the larger stolen goods could be there because Archie read the obituaries every morning and there had been two deaths since the robbery. Surely someone would have reported a giant, brightly colored portrait of the most feared and despised woman in all of Pinebill, Oregon sitting in the grass at a funeral. She came to the conclusion that the culprit must be the director of the funeral home.

.           Archie's keen ears picked up on the sound of careful footsteps. She became entirely still until the intruder was within harms reach. She suddenly pulled back the curtain to reveal Felix Johnson standing in the middle of her bathroom with a crossbow loaded with a wooden stake. Felix screamed a little bit. He had been in the carriage house all night waiting for Archie to come home. After so many years of searching for a hidden lair on the property, he thought he would look in plain sight instead. Archie closed the curtain again.

.            “What are you doing here?” she demanded.

.            “My name is Felix Johnson and I'm a vampire hunter! Come out here and fight me!”

.            “Felix, I'm naked. Get lost.”

.            “Fine, then I will kill you where you now lay!”

.            “That's just bad sportsmanship. Besides, you can't kill me. Every part of me is alive. I'm kinda like The Thing from The Thing.”

.            “That's pretty vague.”

.            “It's actually very specific.”

.            “Are you bathing in blood?”

.            “Yeah, its for a sunburn.”

.            “Whose is it?”

.            “Nobody's…that you know.”

.            Felix was swept up by a tidal wave of emotion. First, excitement. After dedicating his life to hunting vampires, he had finally found one. Second, disappointment. Although he was suspicious of the vampire, he knew that she was telling the truth about being entirely unkillable. And lastly, fear. This third emotion was the strongest and Felix realized all at once that he absolutely did not want to be standing where he was. He ran. Much to Archie’s delight.

 

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