"God must really love the poor. He's made so many of them." – Anon.


Really, it's amazing who one associates with when one becomes a vampire.

Take the Irish, for instance - thick fingered incoherent drunken savages, to be pitied in their Catholic squalor, their filthy homes with their picturesque peat fires, livestock in the house, and far too many children had with the Pope's blessing.

You simply did not associate with them; they were as stated above: to be pitied, but not to be seen with.

Now he was under the tutelage of one.

How his friends, had he any when he was alive, would have shuddered in genteel horror at him for having sunk so low as to allow himself to be educated by an Irishman!

Aside from the Irish, there were the home grown poor he now found himself freely mingling among.

The poor had always been there, grimy faces blending into one foul-smelling blur outside his mother's fine carriage on his way to Sunday services, where the Rev. Hollister-Jones would urge the congregation to "tend His flock" by giving generously to the poor whenever the plate was passed.

He had always given without fail.

It was the right thing to do.

You gave to the poor.

For added good measure, he had always put the odd coin or two in the poor box outside the door on his way in, and then on his way out; usually while avoiding looking at the blind beggar and his scabby little dog who camped out on the stone steps in all weather.

What he found amazing was that there were so very bloody many of them – a never ending supply!

To match their numbers, there were almost as many charitable funds, halfway houses, and missions – all yammering for his money, no, his mother's money for he had no real money of his own until he was 32 – that's when the money that his father had left him in trust would be released and it's disposal up to him. Not that this was likely to happen now – it's rather difficult to collect one's inheritance when despite the fact that one is up and wandering about, one is extremely and decidedly dead.

But these days, who gave a fig for a pittance of an inheritance when one could take what one wanted, when one wanted, where one wanted?

See.

Want.

Take.

Which brings one back to the poor.

In his own wishy-washy way, he as a man had wanted very badly to "do" something for the poor; after all, it was "the right thing".

Because if one did enough of the "right thing", one went to Heaven.

Which was seemingly the gist behind all of the sermons, tracts, and speeches aimed at him since birth: Hell was bad - Heaven was far more desirable real estate.

And like any other bit of real estate, Heaven could be bought.

You bought it with the coin of doing "the right thing".

So he joined the Fabian Society, which was, as he had heard, full of high-minded individuals who cared an awful lot about what happened to the poor.

Unfortunately, the Fabians were loud, boorish, and insulting. Worse, he came face to face with an actual "poor" person during his first and last meeting, which was held one rainy night in a grubby basement meeting hall down some anonymous London street where the real estate was not all that one could desire.

The damp brought out the "poor" person's personal stench even more than usual when it sat down next to him as the meeting began.

He had immediately resigned his membership, waved down a horse cab, and gone home in a timid fright where it took an entire packet of Jobs (which his mother meekly disapproved of because cigarettes were suspiciously French and only the vulgar smoked them when he could be smoking something more genteel, like a pipe or a cigar) and a long bath to settle his nerves and to remove the memory of the poor person of indeterminate gender and age's deplorable hygiene from his nose that night.

Social experimentation over, he went back to pencing and shilling his way into Heaven – it was far, far safer as well as easier on one's sense of smell, to drop coins into a poor box or an offering basket than to have to confront a poor person directly and ask it it's name, while, oh dear, smelling it.

"How-ever," He mused aloud one crisp winter evening as he dropped a second vagrant to the muck of the alley - freshly emptied from a still steaming wound on its dirty neck, "The poor do come in handy-like, 'ticularly when one's feelin' a bit peckish. I mean; tons of 'em about, a never ending supply, really."

He grabbed another terrified beggar, stunning it with a slap to the back of the head before casually tossing it to his lover, who eagerly sank her fangs into his gift with a greedy squeal of delight. "Enjoy, pet! Beauty of it is, the bloody things breed like rats! Eat two, eat twenty, you never run out!

His darling had her mouth full. So, like the lady she once had been, she merely nodded happily.

"Nip the wrong nob and the whole bloody thing falls on one's head; not that I minds a good fight." He stuck out his foot, tripping the next to last vagrant as it tried to run past him, crouched down, tore the rags from 'round its neck, sank his fangs into its jugular so that the warm arterial blood spurted into his mouth. He quickly pulled out and belched loudly while wiping his mouth on his sleeve as he stood up, "But the poor? Sod the poor! For all their high-minded sermons and reform parties, nobody that matters truly cares what happens to the poor. I may dispose of them as I please with nary a protest from the snobs or the nobs as I drink my fill. Pure Heaven, is what it is!"

Heaven.

It came not from a poor box, offering plate, sermon or society, it came from a full belly.

Filled with the ever present poor.

And, if a bellyfull of the poor was Heaven, and if there was a God, (Which he was seriously beginning to doubt.) who was William the Bloody to go against the will of Heaven?