Vin versus the Vampires, Chapter 2: Dealing with the Creditors

Vin dev Unpublished novel chapter about vampires taking over Hollywood, from the perspective of Vin Diesel. Vin arrives in London to work on a new film about vampires but is attacked by a strange creature while jogging in Hyde Park.

The doctor is a woman, brown, Indian or Pakistani, and, as usual when I first arrive in Britain, I am surprised that the accent can accompany any serious discussion at all. Yes, I had a tetanus shot three years ago. Actually, yes, I had the typhus series, too. No, it was definitely not a dog but admittedly, yes, I am not sure exactly what it was. I’m grinning at her as she projects standardized health system concern through the lilts and dips of pure Londoner. She keeps glancing at my grin, either not recognizing me or just concerned that I am drunk or high. It’s just the accent, I think about blurting out; I can’t take it seriously, sorry, an American oddity exaggerated by the pain in my knee and the early morning hours without much sleep. But I clam up and answer her questions only getting a bit peeved at the third round of, “Had you been drinking”

“No, I was jogging. I was jetlagged. I was jogging. Really.”

There were no stitches, just a bandage and a shot of broad-spectrum antibiotics. As I finished up and signed off, I thought about sneaking a peak at the chart to see if she had annotated “likely alcoholic” or something on the page, but it was almost 9 AM British Summer Time and I needed a nap before my meeting in the afternoon, so I scribbled where I needed to scribble and grabbed a cab back to the hotel, hobbling in past the front desk with my tattered sweats sweeping the marble of the lobby.

Monica was mercifully still asleep and the sheet had drifted down revealing her lithe, young body. I thought about waking her, but I needed sleep more than processing and just stripped and slid in beside her after calling the front desk for a wake-up call from the bathroom phone. Did they know when I called from the bathroom phone?

It didn’t work, of course, and I hit the mini-bar for a tiny little Johnny Walker Red that I chugged down and went back to the bed until the creeping warmth came over me and the fear and pain in my gut subsided.

***

“OK, OK, we have Vlad Tepes and he resents his father for having ransomed him to the court of the Ottomans as a child”

“Right, OK, so he is a footstool to the empire.”

“Nice, huck huck, but it is the resentment that is growing towards the Empire—towards Islam. Is that what this is? Is it a religious war allegory paralleling modern times?”

“Great, an allegory where the Christians go medieval on the Muslims for being forced to pay taxes?”

“It’s all about resentment. Resentment of the father. Resentment of fate.”

“Coppola made it about love.”

“It’s not about romantic love.”

“Why can’t it be?”

“It can’t be because this is a serious film that only takes mild liberties with the history.”

“How mild? Can’t a love interest be mild? The second wife threw herself into the river rather than becoming enslaved to the Turks.”

“But it was the brother, Radu, who was a scion of the Ottoman court who led the assault. It was about power. But maybe it was about family and about sibling rivalry. The return of the brother, the struggle against the prodigal son?”

“Vlad married again. The loss of wife number two was no big whoop. It wasn’t about love, so power may be the motivation.”

“Machiavellian-grade power. Courts opposed to one another in a game of chess.”

“Many wives. Tutors-esque sex games combined with power. Vin could fuck a bunch of class A starlets on velvet altars. Could we get Megan Fox? I bet Lindsay Lohan is available.”

“It’s good to be the Dragon of Wallachia.”

“Good, indeed. Could we tie this to the British Royal Family? They are related.”

“God, that would be sumptuous. Reflections of Pippa as she imagines the ancient royals fucking.”

“Pippa’s a commoner, mate.”

“Fair enough.”

“The power struggle is about the brothers. It’s about loyalty to one another, to family, and to country.”

“But dad, the original Dracul, did the ransoming in support of his own rise to power. He was scared, he was cowardly enough that a couple of kids as ransom didn’t matter. He could get another wife and more kids.”

“So could Vlad. So did Radu. These people were fucking monsters.”

“It’s a cold-hearted tale of how monstrous these people were. It’s no wonder they were thought of as monsters later on. Like father, like Son One and Son Two. Son One just gets a little more medieval in his revenge antics. Son One just gets more bloody.”

“There is a subplot built in there, though. There must be. The motivation can’t be that every one of them is horrible by, what? By nurture or by nature? By the struggle for power? By the failure of love? There has to be something that makes us like Vin, Vlad, and makes us respect the decisions that he makes.”

“Maybe not. Maybe I’m not likeable. Maybe that is the subplot.”

“Maybe we can’t get funding for the project, too, Vin.”

“Historical continuity. These people are just part of the flow of history. They aren’t horrible in the context of the civilization they are a part of. The audience can excuse them their sins because they are blown on the winds of fortune.”

“That takes clever direction and a clever screenplay. I want to turn Vlad into an antihero of a sort. He is forced to do what he does because there are no better outcomes. He is conflicted with his brutality, but can’t think of any other way forward.”

“What if he is being manipulated by underlings, by viceroys and priests, all of whom have their own agendas.”

“That might work. He puts the enemies heads on pikes because his court whispers in his ear that thousands of Turks are possessed by demons, or he is seeking revenge on his brother.”

“That might be it. Back to the sibling rivalry, but the killings are trying to kill Radu, and he sits on his thrown in pure pathos.”

“Not at all consistent with the history. Vlad III was installed by the Ottomans, but then was exiled and returned to retake the throne of Wallachia at the point of a very personal sword. He later was held captive for a decade until getting back Wallachia, only to be assassinated.”

“Why not then that Vlad was actually innocent of most atrocities and they were fabricated by that guy who had him imprisoned?”

“Corvinus.”

“Right. It was all hype and we just have a period piece with a complex crusade ongoing. Corvinus didn’t want the Papacy to condemn him for not fighting the Muslim hordes, so he scapegoated Vlad. We would get points with the Romanians for this.”

“And condemnation from Turkey? Maybe?”

“All of Islam, except that Turkey is an anomaly because they weren’t Arab, so they are historical pariahs like Persia or Bactria. Arabs are hypersensitive because Arabic is the language of Allah. Turkish, not so much.”

“I still like love as a motivation. Let’s abandon the pretense of historicity and just charge forward with a brutal rom-com. Vlad’s girlfriend was stolen by his brother for Bey or something, to add to his harem and humiliate the ruler of Wallachia. It was petty for the Ottomans, but personal for Tepes.”

“There is the Hungarian epic, too. Corvinus was the son of John Hunyadi. Neither was royal blood, but were elected by parliamentary action. He’s a Hungarian hero, too, so the story could be that Corvinus was trying to temper the primitive urges of violence and parlay peace between East and West. Vlad was a loose cannon who kept impaling everyone, which was good for the Hungarians in realpolitik, but was bad for the empire. Corvinus becomes the wise uncle who is struggling to hold together nascent democracy.”

“Democratic winds opposed by the zephyr of medieval brutality and invasion.”

“Vin as Vlad becomes secondary if we go that route, and our bankability becomes secondary.”

“Do what you need to as far as my role is concerned. I’ll just go, no-go at the contractually agreed to points, guys.”

***

Fucking writers and producers. And these guys are early development people. They generally don’t last past the first trimester. Insert the seed and move on. Collect a check as you go. There are a few exceptions, but the majority are just looking for easy scores until they find a big project that will translate into consistent, high-value upside. I’m there already, so while I sympathize with the struggle, I have to watch for bloodsuckers, too.

Damn, my knee feels like a fork’s been jabbed into it. Monica gave me a backrub after the meeting, which helped, and the prescription Vicodin from the chemist at hospital (yeah, when in Rome, think with an accent at least) is starting to creep in, warm things up, cancel out the sting. The jab is dropping off behind warm, fuzzy cloaks as the sun retreats behind a cloud bank and gray fades to the sulfur-lit night of greater London. I guess I can’t disagree with hobbling down to the hotel bar with Monica. She’s holding me up against the ache of gravity like I’m a late night drunk staggering home from the football match. She’s doing it with style, too, in a black mini-dress and matching black leather stilettos. She’s worth it there for a moment as she settles me into a booth with a view of the TV and orders a beer and champagne.

***

“The meeting went well, yes?”

“I want to fly to Romania tomorrow.”

“Why? Romania is a backwards place. Let’s go to Barcelona and party all night.”

“Baby, baby, you are a beautiful creature tonight. Romania is where I need to go. I think you fly into Bucharest. We can get a car there and drive up to Transylvania. I need to meet someone there.”

“Meet someone in Transylvania? That is very strange, Vin.”

“Sounds creepy, don’t it? It’s for the movie, ya know? There is a historian there in some place, Sig-his-sour or Sig-his-soar-a, that Jan said I need to talk to. This guy has a theory about the Hungarians creating the myth of Vlad the Impaler.”

“Dracula, Dracula, it is dead, I think. There are too many books, too many movies, little girls and sparkly men, wolves fighting them, diseases, all such things. It is boring like zombies.”

“Zombies are very cool right now. There is still gas in that tank, baby.”

“Maybe you should make a movie about Frankenstein. Frankenstein has not been done.”

“Many times, but you are right that Frankenstein hasn’t been done recently. It seems to have lost its allure. The guy’s kinda creepy, ya know, with bolts and stitches and brain damage. I don’t think it has audience appeal.”

“That is why it needs to be done again, Vin. It needs to be made sexy. You could make it sexy like they make the vampires sexy.”

“Vampires are easy to make sexy, baby. You just dress them up and have them act cool. Frankensteins have damaged brains and have to be primitive. Maybe if the monster was a genetic creation, though, who was extra perfect. Genetics people talk about Frankenstein crops and stuff. I’m thinking cloning.”

“Better than vampires, I think. You get Jan to work on that and we can go back to L.A., OK?”

“No, I think we need to ride the wave, here. Vampires are still hot. Hot like you, Moni-baby. Yeah, we’ll just drop into Romania for a few days. It will be an adventure. You’ll love it.”

“I hate Romania.”

“You been there?”

“Three times, but it is always the same. Sad. Mal. Hotel service sucks.”

“It’s OK, Monica. I’ll get Jan to find us the best place to stay, OK? You can order room service while I go meet this cat. I want to learn more about the Hungarian connection. Jan said there was something more to it that connects to the modern world. Making these old brutal fuckers more accessible is what we need to do or we won’t have a picture at all.”

“OK, Vin. If that’s what you want to do.”

“Yeah, that’s what I wanna do. You along for the ride, baby?”

“Sure, Vin.”

“Jan said that we may need to get back to L.A. pretty soon, anyway. Gil Mempson is a producer on Vlad and it looks like he is still on the fence about funding. I may need to put in some face time.”

“Did I meet him at the Spielberg party?”

“Yeah, I think so. Funny he showed up there. He was drunk, right.”

“He was drunk. He was sexy, too.”

“Old and drunk and sexy, too. You’re fucked up, Monica.”

“I know. It’s good to be me. Romania, yes?”

“Yeah, but just for a few days, OK?”

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