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Confession of a Vampire

It started when I was seven. That was the first time I did something that I knew was wrong, and the first step to realizing who I really was. I realized that if no one noticed and it made me happy, maybe it wasnt so bad in the end. What I did was simple, I found money in my mothers room, under her bed. I knew it was hers, that it had fallen out of her pocket when she lied on the bed, but she hadnt noticed and obviously hadnt looked for it. It was the first time I ever had my own money that no one knew about. I wasnt nervous in the house, even when I saw my mother and I silently pawed the change in my pocket. I decided to go about two blocks out of my way on the way home from school the next day and stop at a convenience store. That was when my nerves acted up. I remember my palms getting sweaty. I kept thinking of excuses to tell the cashier about why I had my own money, how it was a treat for doing chores, but the irony of that particular excuse was too much; I decided that it was just a regular allowance like some of my friends got. As I approached the counter, my mind clouded with the calculations of the price of my purchase and I recited my lines over and over in my head. I put the candy bar and some small trinket I dont remember what- onto the counter and started to fumble my script, I panicked, I slapped the change on the counter and froze, nearly shaking. The cashier locked eyes with me for a long time, it seemed like minutes. Then she rolled her eyes, put my stuff into a bag and before I knew it I was stepping over the threshold of the store into the heat of a spring afternoon. No, I dont need a bag. That is all I needed to say, but in my panic I had not even heard the question. On the way home I hurriedly ate my prize, but came to the horrible realization that I could not take the toy home. No, it would be obvious, there would be questions. I had nowhere to hide it so I buried it in the dirt beneath a hurricane fence only a block from my house, along with the wrapper from the candy bar. That memory sticks out in my head so vividly, as though the stress stained my brain. I would come to be more comfortable over the years with pushing the little things I stole, and I gradually learned an important lesson: no one cares. No matter what excuses or elaborate back stories you create never overestimate how much people actually care about who you are or what you are doing, you are just an insignificant blip on their daily routine. That is, unless you are not. As a teenager I was always on the periphery. I was not one of the cool kids, I was not a loner, I didnt have any particular group that I was closely connected to, but I was welcome in most of the cliques around the school. This was, I think, because of this important extra-curricular education of mine. I knew that friends didnt usually care, they came and went within a few years, and if you were civil and quiet, people generally like you. So I behaved with others the same way I behave with everyone, staying off the radar. No one would know if I was hanging out with one group or another, or perhaps at a doctors appointment over lunch.

The first time I came into real trouble was when I finally got a girlfriend. As it turns out this relationship does not work like others. You are meant to care about your girlfriend, and she is meant to care about you. This means they want to contact you on their own terms, they want you to adjust your habits and schedule, and they start to make you show up on peoples radar. It was her family that first took interest in my future. My mother had paid no attention to me, bragging to all of her friends about how independent I was, never asking where I had been, and never seeing any reason t raise an eyebrow. I didnt even show up on her radar. Stephanies father was different. He was very perceptive, he was an experienced parent. At the dinner table he asked questions that I later learned were leading me into a trap. I had no future plans at all, nothing solid to say about what I wanted in two years when I graduate, and the truth was that I had fallen off the boat nearly a decade before as far as morality and social values went. I had thought that adults were lying about morality before, that they knew bad things didnt come back to bite you, but they were just out to cramp my style and protect themselves. In my early teen years I decided that they were all lying to themselves, that some of them were sheep, that some of them were ring leaders. Then I discovered something after reading about vampires for English class. They were all talking to themselves and each other, not to me. I discovered my dark little secret, I had no reflection like they did, I lived in darkness, I was secretly a powerful and dangerous manipulator, but if revealed, if shown to sunlight, I became powerless. Even the Goth kids who mocked my reality could not understand what it was like to truly live free from society. But now Stephanies father wanted to know where I fit in. Finally, because of his suspicions, Stephanies father caught on to my entire lifestyle. Hoping to allure her I told Stephanie about most of my misdeeds. I copied answer books, sewed a calculator into my pencil case, and developed a secret code of mnemonics to write on hats, socks, and beltlines. Aside from that I also knew how to pick locks, knew of a half-dozen abandoned buildings around town and whether they were drug houses, safe houses, or just plain empty. I stole about a third of everything I owned, but nothing big or conspicuous. I told her that stealing from a corporation doesnt matter, they never notice. I said that the standardized testing system is flawed, so getting better scores helps the school anyway, I had an excuse for each of my actions, but I was coming to realize something more sinister: that these excuses were just cover-ups like the ones that a younger me would have used. In reality, the reason was simply because I could, and debates about morality were just another way for other people to make money. Naturally, there are those who would disagree, like Stephanies father. He gave me a good talking to, and eventually even talked to my mother. Trying to explain what he had said to her my mother searched through her brain. She was on the verge of deciding what to tell herself, I could see the dots connecting in her head. She could on one hand believe me, that I was studying at friends houses all the time, explaining why I was away and doing well in school, or she could believe this other man, that I was sneaking around and stealing and cheating on exams. I quickly found the path of least resistance. I showed her my English reports, many of them got As. That wasnt really possible to cheat, right? But why would a random man say such things? Well, to be honest mom, he doesnt like me around his

daughter, and shes not the best student. Hes trying to shift the blame. That last one my mom came up with on her own, and thats how I knew I had made it clear. This encounter left me with deep regret, and a darkness that I carry to this day, for my mother was not deciding to trust me over him, but had come to realize how much of a hassle a problem child would be. Youre a good, easy kid! Who does he think he is coming over here and saying that I dont watch you enough, that Im inadequate because I can live my own life and have a kid! It was, as usual, all about her. There are people who make money debating about how to raise your kids, but I dont. Certainly living with Stephanies father would have been different, but I know who I am. Just for fun, about three weeks ago I calculated how much I have stolen in my 26 years, and I truly pride myself on the outcome. It is somewhere between $80 000 and over five million, depending on your definition of theft. I sat in on university lectures, mostly about economics and philosophy, and even passed some of the courses. The professors would assume there was an administrative error and simply add me in. I have squatted in dozens of homes, house sat for dead people, and of course taken the train all over the country. My mom knows that my work takes me everywhere, but shes happy that I went to school and now have a career and lifestyle that I love. I worked for a bank for 8 months as a mortgage broker after I lied on my resume, so I guess thats stealing, but now I have a job with another bank that I got without lying at all, just by having that first job on there, so how about that, Monsieur Baudrillard! I guess you know where this is going. Let me just tell you that the history of the American monetary system is very interesting, and it brings many questions of ethics and morality up. Can you steal money that already doesnt exist? If two people simultaneously and exclusively own one thing and dont know it, who have you stolen it from? Some people make money by asking these questions and reflecting on them. I, on the other hand, am a vampire. I have no reflection, and my immense and dangerous power can only be realized in the shadows of moral obscurity.