“Um, you have an Annika who works for you? Is that my Annika, I mean that’s a rare enough name. You know.” I asked. I was nervous, pausing too long before adding the “you know” but my Annika, how could he know her?
“Oh no,” he smiled and shrugged his shoulders. “That’s Anita. What can I do for you?”
“Well I had just gotten to my car and noticed that the binder says there is an exclusionary period of three months.” His mouth smiled again. “What’s that about?” I asked.
“In case you’re related to a vampire or have a good friend who is a vampire and you’re both trying to buck the system . . . it prevents fraudulent collusion, that’s all it is.”
“What! What do you take me for?” I asked but he just continued to smile like nothing was amiss.
“Mr. Lyssna, it’s sort of like the suicide exclusion on page 7 of the policy and two paragraphs down on he binder’s page 2.” He said.
“But I’m high risk.” I protested.
“Exactly why you should go home and forget about the binder and in 90 days you’ll be covered. If you don’t start the policy today, then your 90 days won’t start until that later date when you do start it. You know I once bought a dental insurance policy with a 90 day exclusion and was angry that I couldn’t get in for a cleaning for 3 months, just like you. On the 95th day, do you know what happened, bam, broken molar. I was sure glad I had that policy.” Leaning back he smiled a relaxed smile and put his hands behind his head and interlaced his fingers. Was he trying t to fly away? Teeth cleaning? Really? Does that work on everyone? I guess it probably did because it was working on me. But I was starting to think that Mr. Springafalt was no more than a used vampire insurance salesman.
“Where do you work?” he asked me.
“Conway Ritter Financial Systems downtown office. I’m uh, an accountant there. Annika works the hospital across the street. She manages the cafeteria, that’s where we met, in the cafeteria at the hospital, across the street.”
“That’s nice, and if you’re truly concerned,” That’s nice I thought, if I’m truly concerned with my next dental cleaning. Nope, I’m more concerned with my next hematectomy, you know, dialysis by vampire. He continued “then spend a lot more time at work. A well lit public building downtown is not the kind of place that vampires are going to haunt, even for your blood type.”
“You seem to know an uh, an awful lot about vampires.” I said to him. I remember specifically looking him in the eyes while saying it. That he knew more than the general public and it seemed to me that he also knew more than the average vampire insurance salesman.
Smiling again but with a sense of utter peace in his eyes, he said, “well, I do take my continuing education very seriously. But I do have a new appointment arriving soon so if there’s anything else?” Mr. Springafalt stared at me hard waiting for me to leave.
“Referred by Anita?” I asked, I could feel my heart racing. I was still sure that he’d said Annika but the door was creaking shut when I was walking in, my own foot falls could have masked the sound.
“Yes, that’s right Ms Chavez, that agent is our best referrer.” He sighed and confessed that he had some errands to run before his new appointment arrived. So, I left with my binder that immediately covered property damage, and my 90 day exclusion and my high risk factors for vampire attacks.
I drove around the sleepy village of La Mesa looking for a Starbucks. Maybe if I joined the coffee achievers I’d feel revved up and calmed down. Of course if I changed my mind they do have great hot coco and they do have garlic bagels.
Finding a restaurant at the base of a hill called Dansk, it had an inviting outside dining area covered with trees near the sidewalk. On the sign read, Scandinavian Breakfast. That sounded good so I parked and went inside. Once sitting I noticed the Starbucks was located across the street. Okay so I’d sacrificed good coffee for what was clearly and even greater plate of pancakes and sausage. Somewhere in heaven surely there was a lonely angel leaning over a cloud and soaking up the aromas from this little cottage restaurant among the La Mesa woods.
I ordered a coco. I didn’t feel like achieving much except to eat breakfast for lunch and to try to sweep away the uneasy feeling that I’d just been had for $102 and 51 cents.
As I sipped the not so bad coco and waited for my meal, tall tanned and Thor-som walked up to Starbucks and flicked a cigarette into the street. I leaned back in my chair to put a tree trunk in between us.
Looking into the windows he was pulling out his iPhone and checking messages. Annika walked up to him and putting her hand on his shoulder they kissed each other cheeks French-style and walked into the Starbucks.
So there it was, Annika wearing full scrubs and a stethoscope around her neck was his star referrer. I had just thought that everyone in a hospital wore scrubs but . . . a stethoscope? Since when do you put one of those up to a dishwasher?
She’s like a really specialized ambulance chaser. Sifting the high risk blood types and sending them to the used vampire insurance salesman, I wondered how much of a commission he paid her. I wondered if he was her boyfriend, husband or cousin.
Kissing on the cheeks isn’t normal in La Mesa, not among everyone but foreigner’s do it enough. Still I didn’t guess they were French. Afterall, his name was as Scandinavian as my breakfast.
Clearly I was a mark and not a fiancé. So why was she hiring caterers and a string quartet? Maybe she did want to marry me. Perhaps she didn’t hire anyone and only said that she did.
Well I had no idea, but after spending $102.51 I couldn’t afford to miss breakfast. I thought I’d just finish my food first and then jaunt on over and just walk up and sit down with them. Say nothing and see what they did. That was my plan.
Of course, it didn’t work out that way.
I entered Martin Springafalt’s Vampire Insurance Agency at about 10:00am thinking that I must be safe, it was a bright Summer day and the place was well lit. Besides the garlic bagel with garlic cream cheese should ward off even a swarm of tourists from New Jersey.
“Good Morning.” From behind the big desk the tall blond man greeted me. Square jawed and thorlike, his golden hair swung into his face as he stood up. From the desk the little sign flashed that his name was Martin Springafalt. “It’s nice to meet you.” His large right hand waved at the seat in front of me.
“Well, I’ll get right to the point . . .” but he cut me off.
“You want vampire insurance.” Martin smiled and pulled a couple off brochures off the reception desk’s display and lay them in front of me. I was aghast, this was going to be more expensive than I’d thought. Along with the usual property damage rider and undead riders there were werewolf and faerie riders as well.
“I was just looking for the standard policy really, I . . .” was cut off again by Martin.
“Lyssna, Johnathan Lyssna.”
“You’re in a high risk category Mr. Lyssna?”
“Yes, well, AB-” I said. My voice shook as I did. The last thing you ever want to do is shout out at midnight that you’re taking a thousand dollars from an ATM in downtown LA. Or that you’re AB- when vampires have been reported in the area.
“Then you already know how important coverage is. Let’s take a little time because even the standard policies have major differences now, new wrinkles. We’ll have to go over those before you know what you’re looking for. Are you married Mr. Lyssna, have children?”
“No children yet, but soon to be married, my fiancée, Annika, would like to be sure that we’re covered immediately. Because well . . .”
“One never knows.” Mr. Springafalt opened a brochure describing the main types of standard coverage. “Pay special attention here, of course you’re getting the property damage rider, it’s cheap and the amount of property damage from vampires is typically minimal. Sometimes you cannot even tell how they got in.” Clearing his throat he pointed at the 3rd page. “You see, up until here the policy is your standard term life insurance policy, but from here, you see three contingencies.”
I could clearly see them. “Option one, I die and the standard term life pay out goes to my beneficiaries.”
“That’s correct. But see here?” Mr. Springafalt pointed at option two with his long fingers and lightly tanned hands. “What if you live?”
“By ‘live’ you mean as an undead, is that right?” I asked.
“No, on very, let’s say extremely rare occasions, you just live, you’re not undead, you’re not dead and you just live and they don’t come back and finish the job. Perhaps the vampire in question is himself extinguished or doesn’t like the taste of your blood, who knows. In any case you’re alive at least three weeks later.” He smiled and was shaking his head at the same time. “Apparently they don’t like leftovers.” Martin paused and looked at his fingernails for a moment. “But what kind of life would that be?”
“I, I uh, I don’t, I don’t know.” I had this momentary vision of, what if Hugh Grant were a lonely chubby fat guy with a fiancée buying vampire insurance in a farflung suburb of San Diego. I had to get a grip on myself.
“Most people experience acute hemophilia for the rest of their lives including joint pains, head aches, muscle pains and difficulty maintaining your weight.”
“Really, sign me up for that one.”
Martin Springafalt smiled and quietly said, “as I said it seldom works out, my mom made that same joke but when the vampires got her she died.” He looked out the window for a moment and a single tear ran down his cheek. “Listen, it’s the least likely outcome but the most expensive, so it’s the first coverage I always recommend, it’s not going to add much to the policy because it’s so unlikely.”
I felt fidgety and darted my eyes from brochure to brochure to keep them busy. “Now if I end up joining the ranks of the undead does it still pay my fiancée?”
“Of course it can, but recent legislation which has already passed through the courts gives us two more options.”
“Yes, you can have the policy pay to you directly, to your undead self, as a secondary form of viatical contract. As a member of the newly undead, you’ll need a bit of scratch to get yourself started out. Nice quiet country estate, your own little bit of grave yard, heavy duty security systems, of course complete privacy, and 100 head of cows or if you prefer, sheep.”
“Are you serious? I think I saw a ranch like that on the way into town today. Do vampires really eat cows and sheep?”
“No, not at all, but most people don’t know that.” Mr. Springafalt rubbed his nose. “And that ranch is the old Draklesayer ranch, perfectly harmless. They have a graveyard there because that’s how old the ranch is, it predates the cemetery in town.” I must have looked incredulous because he continued, “yes, the livestock in the plan are just for show, unlike our neighbors down the road.”
“What’s option number three?” I asked.
“You’re going to like this, option three is a combination of one, where your beneficiary is paid a percentage of the pay out, plus then the rest up to 50% is used to hunt you down and stake your undead corpse to a tree where you’ll be crucified to the sun the following morning.”
“Does that hurt?”
“How should I know, but you’ll be dead anyway so what would it matter. I have heard though that they scream for hours and hours, most of the morning in fact. It takes quite a while to burn a vampire with sunlight, even longer if it’s raining.”
Explained as fast I could that I was truly shocked. I remembered that a woman two weeks earlier had accused her husband of being a vampire. Her boyfriend had him staked to a tree and burned him the next morning with gasoline. She almost got away with it because the boyfriend was the local firechief but the sheriff smelled the gas and that was that. “Did they have one of these policies?”
“Um, well yes, the Vastras, I sold them the policy. And I’m glad to say that we didn’t pay a penny on that policy to Mrs. Vastra. We paid the 50% of the policy which would have gone to Mrs. Vastra directly to her children’s guardian after she went to prison.”
“I think I’d rather have the money and the sheep.” I mused outloud.
“A wise choice,” answered Mr. Springafalt. “Now the faeries really are quite rare enough and we’re nowhere near England, and the werewolf rider is probably also something you can skip without more thought as the nearest forests are at least an hour away in the local mountains and they don’t drive when they’re changed.”
After punching numbers on an oversized calculator he said, “if you want a binder right away, as you stated earlier, then the policy downpayment is $102.51 payable in cash. You’ll be immediately protected that way. When you see your Annika next you’ll be safe in the event of any untoward encounters with vampires. What duhyah say?”
“And if I do, maybe I’ll get lucky and I won’t live through it, and I won’t die either.”
Mr. Springafalt smiled, “I hear it’s all a matter of if they take a liking to you.”
To Be Continued . . . .
Nit 1. Besides all the obvious nits that many many others have already pointed out like, it jumped around so much that you couldn’t follow it, the characters were too shallow because of the jumping around so that the viewers could never “relate” to any of them, I still liked it. Sort of. I’m going to just lump all of their criticisms into this one nit.
Nit 2. The real problem with the show is that they never even talk about The Event whatever it is until the end of the first season, and even then, it wasn’t until after the producers knew that it was already cancelled. So we don’t have the foggiest idea what The Event is supposed to have been, except that it wasn’t the thing that actually happened.(See Below) Of course, that was partially why it was cancelled.
3. They only used one helicopter to take out 3 buses and that guy couldn’t shoot more than one sidewinder at a time without repositioning to shoot the next bus, huh?
4. Supposedly the aliens, as it turns out, are in fact from the Earth, but are a different slightly more advanced species of Homo Sapiens Sapiens, perhaps Homo Sapiens Smartipantsiensis. Supposedly they are smarter than we, live longer than we, and have much greater experience and knowledge of physics and technology than we.
Nevertheless, they decide that the best way to save their 2.5 Billion inhabitants of their planet from death by Nova, is to bring not just the inhabitants of their planet to the Earth, but to bring their planet to a near Earth orbit. It appears to be approximately the distance from Earth as the Earth’s own moon-ish.
Okay, so first, Earth’s moon is going to smash into this other planet killing billions.
Second, if you think the tides are high when earth’s moon goes by, wait until you see what happens when a moon the size of a planet goes by causing not just higher tides that will submerge coastal cities and plains, but also ripples in the Earth’s crust or size 12 earthquakes.
Third of course is that the new planet is not whizzing around the earth in orbit. If it were up that close and pretty for everyone to see, then you’d have to see it moving to know that it was in a stable orbit. And therefore, they are going to fall together and destroy all life on both planets. Eventually after forming one bigger planet and several moons, maybe in another 5 Billion years there might be life on the Super Biggie Sized Earth. The End.
So, clearly not smarter than we are after all.
5. Why go through the whole exercise of trying to kill off 98% of human life on earth so that you can make room for the people from your planet to take over when in fact your method of bringing your people from your planet will in fact kill all the people on your planet? Oh ya, because the producers already knew the show was cancelled and therefore it didn’t matter what they did. I guess they weren’t interested in making a The Event movie.
The EVENT TV Show on NBC has been cancelled, no duh.
You’re absolutely right Kiddo, Go Get ‘Em Tiger!
2. No one has figured out how to build a steam engine even though the torches do in fact burn. (Okay, it turns out this one was a nit pick against the Monroe Republic only.)
3. Bio-Mechanics wasn’t coined for nothing, how come all life on earth wasn’t extinguished?
4. Why is there still lightning?
5. I suppose that after 15 years of farming and wood burning stove cooking and all the mending, making, and hand washing of clothes, that none of these characters would be half as good looking as they are. While they don’t have to be the mud crusted peasants from Monty Python’s Holy Grail, where’s the early homeless look?
“I’ll Be With You In Spirit,” she shouted down the hall to me.
Whenever I hear that from people, I think oh how nice, they’re not coming. Whenever I say it, it means: “My tormented ghost will be there if he earns a few moments of out time!”
(c) 2011 by David L Nelson All Rights Reserved.