Buffy The Vampire Slayer
A fan fiction
Disclaimer: Sunnydale and most of its denizens are the creation of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. I'm just trespassing here, don't mind me.
This doesn't depend on any particular episode – it probably takes place during Season Five.
Summary: Someone must own Spike's crypt.
Mr. Paul Smith looked out the window of his plane with anticipation. This was the first time that he had actually seen Sunnydale, California. It looked quite nice from the air – plenty of trees, nice looking streets. Except for what looked like a rundown warehouse area.
But what could possibly explain the extraordinarily high death rate? Well, that wasn't his worry; he was there to maximize the profit of all those dead bodies. He was the new regional manager of "Corpses-R-Us", a chain of mortuaries and the Management Company of most of the graveyards in Sunnydale. The previous manager had left suddenly a few weeks earlier, didn't even give notice, and they were just now getting around to replacing him.
This promotion was quite a step for Paul. He wondered what he had done to deserve this and hoped that he would be able to do the job well. He supposed that his brilliant thesis on maximizing the profit of graveyards by implementing multi-use capability vis-à-vis landscape management and innovative use of recreational equipment had brought him to the attention of his company's CEO.
"Johnson," Paul Smith shouted out his office door to a nondescript and scruffy individual who was trying to slink unnoticed down the hall, "come in here!"
"Yes, sir, what is it now sir?" asked Johnson, while stepping into the new managers office.
"I took a walk last evening through Graveyard #3 and as the sun was setting I saw a vagrant slip out of one of the mausoleums and disappear into the trees. I don't what's been going on here, but no living persons are to be allowed to sleep on the grounds. Take care of it immediately, Johnson!"
"Yes sir, but, um, sir, if I was you, I wouldn't be walkin' round the graveyards near dark or on any cloudy days. It could be dangerous for your health."
"Are you threatening me?" Smith said incredulously.
"Oh no sir, I'd never do that, it's just that, well, strange things happen to people round here when they walk through after dark, that's all, it's a warning only. And don't invite no strangers into your house, neither!"
"I don't give a damn about any fatuous superstitious beliefs that you may harbor. But I'm serious when I say that no damned homeless vagabonds are to be housed on company property!"
"Yes sir, I don't believe you'll find any living persons. But if I see any I'll sure tell 'em to leave. Now, if you don't mind, I've gotta go get a couple of graves excavated and prepared for services tomorrow." And with that, the grounds keeper turned and left.
The next afternoon Smith was observing the second service of the day and making notes in his Palm Pilot concerning possible efficiency gains from re-using flowers and plants from one service to the next but charging full price each time, and perhaps they should increase the rental rate of the folding chairs, and maybe they could charge a 'use' fee for the grass and trees. And maybe they could charge a 'weather' fee for days when it rained and the staff had to make extra preparations. And perhaps an 'atmosphere' fee for days that were sunny and beautiful and they had to add extra gloominess. And was there enough room to install a merry-go-round and how could they hide it during graveside services? After all, morticians and casket makers made a lot of money from the bereaved, why shouldn't the graveyard managers also take advantage (or more advantage) of the survivors? He could see his bank balance rising in the future.
"Johnson," Smith yelled softly, "come here!" The Senior Grounds Keeper rolled his eyes then turned towards his new boss.
"Yes sir, what is it now sir?" he said, just barely hiding a theatrical sigh.
"Join me for an inspection tour. We're going to look into some of the more interesting crypts. By the way, how come there are so many oversize monuments here? Are there that many wealthy families in Sunnydale? If so, how can we maximize our profit? I mean, look at this one here, a fully sculpted angel in granite. Why would anyone want to pay that much for such a delicate headstone?"
"You got me sir," replied Johnson, falling in step with Paul Smith, "apparently there are a number of gravestone artists here in the 'dale, and they compete with each other quite a lot."
Spike had just arisen after a sound sleep. He was finishing a mug of A-Positive, fresh from the frig and heated to his preferred 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit in his new microwave. He wished it didn't have that faint plastic taste from the bag though. He had just sat down to watch Jerry Springer on the telly when the door suddenly slammed open.
"What in the blue blazes of hell is going on in here?" Paul Smith was absolutely astounded at the interior of this, this, whatever it was. He walked in and with his best executive manner, looked down his nose at Spike and said, "Get the hell out of here! Your kind is not welcome! Johnson, throw this chiseler out and throw all this trash in the Dumpster! Johnson! Johnson?"
He turned and looked over his shoulder and found that he had been abandoned. He looked back at Spike and attempted to glare contemptuously.
Spike lazily got up out of his grungy Laz-Z-Boy and approached this new torment. "Well, well, well, what have 'ere? Boy manager?" he said sleepily, "how's yer health by-the-by?"
"My health? What's that got to do with anything, go on with you, get out of here before I call the police!"
At that, Spike morphed into his vampiric features, and with his fangs extended and arms stretched out, he leaped, growling, towards Smith.
Johnson was a couple of hundred feet away, sitting on the grass, leaning against an ancient oak tree, watching the mausoleum while chewing on a blade of grass. He smiled slightly when Smith came charging out the door as if being chased by demons from hell, kicking up divots with every step, a wet spot growing on his pants. Johnson looked towards the crypt and waved at Spike who was laughing just inside the doorway, then got up to trudge after his boss.
Johnson stepped in Smith's office and sat down. Smith was sitting behind his desk, his head in his hands. He looked up slowly and asked, "What in hell was that?"
"Well sir," said Johnson, "that was a real, honest-to-god, creature of the night, eternal bloodsucking vampire. Not that I'd ever say anything like that to anyone who hadn't seen such a thing in person. It's one of those things that you have to see to believe, otherwise, you won't."
"I've got to get out of here! Now I know why so many previous managers quit so suddenly!" Smith said.
"Quit?" Johnson asked, "what do mean quit?"
"Well, if they didn't quit, what did they do?"
"They were killed and eaten, or drained of their blood and then killed."
"What? That's impossible Johnson, the cops would be all over this place!"
"Nossir, its just more deaths that get hidden in the high death rate here abouts. Its one of those mysterious things that nobody around here can see, even though it's right in front of everyone's nose. But the last three managers are definitely dead, I buried 'em myself, their last company benefits you might say."
"But, but, what I'm I to do about this? I just took this position, how will it look if I request, or worse, demand, a transfer the day after I get here?"
"I dare say you wouldn't get it. You see sir, the Boss sends potential managers to Sunnydale to get seasoned for bigger and more important positions elsewhere. Now there's two kinds of people he sends here, those that he thinks are complete idiots and wants to get rid of, and those who have real potential. If you survive this assignment, you can really go places with Corpses-R-Us. But if I was you sir, I'd be thinking real hard about which category you fit."
"Ooooh God!" moaned Paul Smith. "Well, the first thing we have to do is get rid of that creature. Jeez (he shivered) what are we going to do, call the police?"
"Oh, that won't do no good. I tried it before, the police will just nod endlessly and agree with everything you say, but they won't bestir themselves. They know what goes bump in the night, but won't ever admit it publicly, and they won't ever try to solve the problem."
Paul moaned some more, then brightened a little and said, "Well, we'll just evict him! Yeah! That's the ticket. Then the sheriff's department will take care of it!"
"You'll look like a complete idiot trying explain to a judge about a renter in a place you can't legally rent, and you don't collect rent from him anyway, so you can't evict him. And what makes you think the Sheriff's department will be any different form the police department?
No, the best thing to do, sir, is to ignore him. And don't go inspecting any other crypts neither, cause if you had blundered into the wrong one you'd already by dead. Spike's real nice compared to most vampires."
"What? You mean there's more than one? And how is it that you know that creature's name?"
"Well sir, I've sat down over a beer and played poker with him. He's not half bad for a vampire. You wouldn't believe what he and his friends use for chips, but let's not go into that. Like I said, Spike won't hurt you, but there are quite a few creatures out there that'll kill you if given half a chance."
"Other creatures? I'm afraid to ask, more vampires, or what?"
"Oh, well, there's all sorts of demons, witches, vampires, things I don't even know the name of, wandering about in the night, and occasionally during the day, much to everyone's amazement. Like I said, most of 'em are darned unfriendly, think of us as food more'n anything else. Still, Spike's friend Clem is good'un, and there's this blond chick and her friends that comes around to fight the vampires. So far, she's always won, so I wouldn't give her any crap, if'n you know what I mean."
"This is a joke, right? I mean that Spike guy is just an actor, right? You hired him for a practical joke, right? This isn't real, right? I think I'm gonna be sick."
"No sir, it's definitely no joke. I'll take you around and we'll meet Spike and Clem this evening. I think he'll be expecting us, actually."
"But Johnson, I'm not equipped to deal with stuff like this! I want out! I want to go back to managing my little funeral home in Poughkeepsie. You don't think they'll let me?"
"Nope. All's you can do is quit, or stick it out for about three years."
"Oh god, oh god, oh god! This is not good!"
And Johnson got up and left, leaving Paul Smith gently moaning to himself, his head between his hands.The End