Long before he became nonexistent and went on permanent sabbatical—when he was still an idealistic young philosophy professor who lost his idealism in the City College system of New York, learned to kiss the right asses, and made tenure—Anton Pesticide was as horny as any other testosterone-driven, young male primate. In those days, he was still working on his grand proof of God’s nonexistence, on the grounds that all known deities were actually defined by the twisted reality they were supposed to have created, and therefore an effect rather than a cause, contrary to supposition. At the same time, his promotion to associate professor brought him increased responsibility, as the newest member of the Adjunct Faculty Mentoring Committee, and as course coordinator for the sparsely populated PHIL 101 (Introduction to Philosophy for the Unphilosophical). Being ever the man who knew what he really wanted, and a thoroughly amoral son of a bitch when it came to getting it, Pesticide milked his administrative connections to get PHIL 101 added to the list of core requirements for all academic programs, in the expectation of a course population explosion that would include many nubile young coeds willing to do all manner of unphilosophical things in exchange for the first letter of the alphabet. Nor was he disappointed in his cynical expectations. As a matter of fact, he wound up getting more than he bargained for, and much more than the crotchload of crabs he deserved.
As course coordinator, he selflessly took upon himself the burden of two sections of this hitherto uncoveted teaching assignment every semester, and quickly acquired a reputation as one of the most corrupt and dissolute professors on either side of the Hudson. His classes were typically filled to the rafters with provocatively clad little tramps, and often looked more like the parlor of a brothel than anything remotely educational (in the conventional sense of the word). Decent coeds avoided him, and male students had nothing to offer him unless they had a sister, wife, girlfriend, or other female connection that was indebted enough or stoned enough to cooperate. (Once he was nearly taken in by a female impersonator, but that sort of thing didn’t happen too often.) Then, just when it seemed that he was destined to make out like King Solomon for as long as he was able to rise to the occasion, some of the wise old king’s pithy little proverbs about strange women finally caught up with him.
Katya Kastrati was the name she went by—a tall, dark-eyed, raven-haired Eastern European beauty, always elegantly attired, with a statuesque figure and a deep, penetrating gaze. She looked as out of place in Pesticide’s class as a Monte Carlo courtesan in a seedy roadhouse full of ten-dollar hookers. What she was doing there in the first place was even more problematical. She was already familiar enough with the assorted ravings of dead philosophers to get an A in the stupid course without having to sleep with the nitwit that taught it. Indeed, she seemed to be a wellspring of all manner of arcane lore, and was able to hold her own on just about any subject. Thus, when she finally got around to offering to buy the professor a drink after class, she was dangling the prospect of both intelligent conversation and a good time betwixt the sheets—and Pesticide occasionally enjoyed a bit of intelligent conversation prior to having a good time betwixt the sheets.
“So, Anton—may I call you Anton?” she began, fixing him with a gaze at once seductive and hypnotic.
Presumably as intended, Pesticide’s eyes were riveted to the ample cleavage she was displaying, as they sat comfortably ensconced in an intimate booth at the uptown Manhattan watering hole known as Le Chat Quantum Electrodynamique.
“Well, why not?” he responded, with a lewd wink. “We’re not in class now, are we?”
As Pesticide began merrily working his way down his second gin and tonic, the lady took an infinitesimal sip of her Irish coffee and continued.
“I have an uncle named Anton,” she remarked, for no particular reason.
“Do I remind you of him?” Pesticide asked idiotically.
“Well, not very much,” she said. “He has been dead for a hundred and fifty years, so I don’t suppose there is much of him left to compare you with. But you don’t want to be my uncle, anyway, do you?”
“Which brings us to the point,” Pesticide attempted to conclude, for his head was already swimming with smutty ideas, and too saturated to partake of much more conversation, intelligent or otherwise.
“In my country, it is not considered polite to come to the point too quickly,” the lady chided good-naturedly.
“So why do we have to be polite?” Pesticide shot back. “You do want an A in the course, don’t you?”
“That, I think, would be the inevitable outcome,” she replied coolly.
“You wouldn’t think of settling for a B?” he haggled.
“I never settle for anything less than the best,” she declared.
“Well, then,” he said, leaning forward and flashing her the sort of grin that left no doubt about his intentions. “And what are you prepared to do to get it?”
“What would you like me to do?” she asked, leaning back in her seat, at the same time deftly performing a standard under-the-table maneuver with her stockinged right foot.
At this point, despite his delicate and well-lubricated condition, Pesticide’s seasoned nose began to smell the possibility of entrapment. The evil grin faded from his face.
“Well, naturally I expect you to study hard and do your very best,” he said innocently.
“So now you are being polite,” the lady responded. “Very well, then. I must put the cards on the table, as you Americans like to say. We are both adults and we both know what we want. Neither of us really cares about your pathetic little course. For you it is only a convenient way to get a night’s entertainment without having to pay for it. For me…well…I have something more permanent in mind.”
Pesticide continued to scrutinize her without offering any immediate response to this. The conversation was starting to turn in an unfamiliar direction, and her use of the word “permanent” had further aroused his suspicions. For aught he knew, her intentions might very well be even more dishonorable than his. So what the hell was she up to, then? The first answer that came into his head was that she was an illegal alien looking for an American husband. All the same, she was cultured, articulate, beautiful, sexy and (judging from the clothing and jewelry she wore) quite wealthy. Not a proposition to be sneezed at, to be sure. At the very least, she was a refreshing change from the Seventh Avenue types he had become accustomed to.
“Schopenhauer was perhaps the first modern philosopher to recognize the importance of sex in human affairs,” she observed, if only to break what was becoming an increasingly uncomfortable silence.
“Yes, but he apparently regarded it as more of a nuisance than a pleasure,” Pesticide responded. “So what exactly do you have in mind, my dear?”
“Time for cards on the table,” she admitted.
“Yes,” he agreed.
“Well, it is quite simple, really,” she said, “although probably not the sort of thing you are used to. I am what you would call the last of an unbroken line of vampire princesses. For more than three thousand years we have ruled my country from the shadows, and now it is left to me to carry on the line. I have chosen you as my consort, and I intend to drink your blood and make you my slave forever.”
Pesticide managed, with some difficulty, to maintain his impassive exterior. Cultured, articulate, beautiful, sexy, wealthy and crazy. Even better. Then again, maybe she was only kidding. But she didn’t look like she was kidding. Well, what the hell? He really didn’t want to miss this one, no matter how it turned out. Besides, he was still smoldering with ungratified lust, and as far as he could recall, he had never had a horizontal encounter with a vampire princess. It might even be more fun than usual.
“Well, why didn’t you just say so in the first place?” he finally inquired. “I don’t mind a bit of kink if it helps to get you in the mood. Are you into chains and leather, then?”
“Perhaps,” she replied, “after I get to know you better. So…would you care to come to my apartment for a nightcap? I have a very nice view of Central Park.”
“I’ll bet you do,” Pesticide murmured, as he rose to follow her.
Sometime the following morning, Pesticide awoke with his usual hangover and found himself surrounded by a suffocating, impenetrable darkness. He tried to sit up, banged his head sharply against something or other, and fell back with a profanity-laced groan. As he gradually began to recover his senses, it quickly became clear to him that he was in some kind of box. Then he remembered where he had spent the night, and drew what seemed to be the inescapable conclusion. So was he dead, then? Undead? The boxed-up slave of a self-professed vampire princess? Or was it maybe just some sort of cruel, tasteless joke? Whatever the case, he felt pretty much the same as he always did after a hard night’s debauch. He felt his throat carefully. No Transylvanian hickeys, as far as he could tell. He had deposited a couple of the ordinary kind on her, he recalled. Hell of a time she had given him. She was good, even if she was a vampire princess. But now what?
He made a determined attempt to push open the lid of the coffin, but entirely without success. Apparently it had been nailed shut, or otherwise immovably secured. He tried knocking, but there was no response.
“Katya,” he called softly. “I say, Katya. It’s getting rather stuffy in here. Can I come out for a while? I promise I’ll behave.”
Still no response.
He repeated his entreaty, somewhat more loudly, with the same result. Where the hell was she, then? In the box next door, perhaps, waiting for the sun to go down? This was getting to be a bit much, whatever the hell it was really all about.
“Katya!” he shrieked, while simultaneously pounding on the lid of the coffin with all his remaining strength. “You reechy, pox-infected bitch! Let me out of this goddamn box this instant! I’m going to sue your ass off! I’ll ruin you! I’ll see you shipped back to Bulgaria, or wherever the f*** you came from!”
Then it occurred to him, and he very nearly soiled his breeches at the thought of it. The bastards had buried him alive! There was six feet of dirt piled on top of him, and he was running out of air, and he didn’t have time for this Edgar Allan Poe shit. He was probably already late for his next class.
“Let me out of here!” he howled, once again striving to lift the lid of the coffin. “This is murder! God damn it, if you murder me, I’ll haunt the shit out of you for all eternity!”
Of course, he didn’t really believe in such things, and he was only using up his air that much more quickly. So this was it, then. He was going to die. He was going to shuffle off the mortal coils, and possibly find out if there was any truth in all his fatuous philosophy. The crazy bitch had stuck him in a miserable pine box and buried him, and here he was. Damn. Somehow he had hoped for better. Fine mahogany at least.
Somewhere in the midst of these musings, he began to detect faint sounds that seemed to be coming from outside. At first he entertained the panicky thought that it might be rats trying to gnaw their way into the coffin and have him for dinner. Then he realized that the sounds were actually approaching footsteps, and the next thing he knew, he was being lifted and carried and swiftly deposited somewhere else, while at the same time, he could hear two distinctly masculine voices exchanging brief, subdued comments in a language that definitely wasn’t English. As soon as he was deposited, he heard something slam shut, followed by the sound of an engine starting, and a renewed sense of movement. So apparently these bastards had shoved him into the back of a truck, and now he was on his way, hopefully to someplace other than the cemetery. Not much he could do about it, in any case. Possibly he could manage to stay above ground long enough to at least find out what the hell this was all about. And if he did get out of it alive, that damned Wallachian whore was getting an F in the bloody course, no matter what.
Author’s Note: I can envision two conflicting ways of continuing this story:
· Everything Katya told Pesticide was the truth. She really is a vampire princess, and having nailed him into a coffin, she is shipping him to Transylvania for processing. However, the truck breaks down on the way to the castle, and he is rescued by former student/one-night stand Bubolina “Boopsie” van Helsing, in exchange for his promise to help her extirpate the undead and restore peace to the galaxy.
· Everything Katya told Pesticide was a lie. She is actually a singularly inept KGB agent, sent to America to abduct Pesticide’s evil twin brother Earwig and ship him to the U.S.S.R. for the purpose of extracting the secret of his accelerated-growth cloning process. Hence, when he is finally released from the coffin, Pesticide finds himself at KGB Headquarters in Moscow, where he is served a frugal meal and interrogated in a friendly, conversational way by a disarmingly avuncular individual—to whom he reveals nothing of value. Accordingly, he is turned over to an exceedingly unpleasant East German interrogator, who eventually discovers that they have the wrong Pesticide. Ultimately he is passed back to the avuncular individual, who apologizes profusely for the error, serves Pesticide another frugal meal, and promises that he will be sent to the country’s finest resort to rest and recuperate from his unfortunate experience, and will then be sent home—hopefully with no hard feelings. Several hours later, Pesticide is loaded onto a cargo plane and flown to the notorious Stalinist-era gulag at Novogruntsky (a hundred miles north of Verkhoyansk, and even colder), where he is put to work harvesting frozen mammoth dung from the permafrost. Somehow he escapes, possibly taking refuge with a native Yakut family and their strikingly overweight daughter—who takes quite a shine to him.