Like Rats By Naia Zifu

Vachon managed to wait until he got into the empty elevator before taking out his new purchase and inhaling of it deeply.

"Ahh. . . there's nothing like the smell of a new leather jacket," he said aloud, "especially got at 40 off. . ."

" 'Old th'lift, mate!" a voice called as the doors were sliding closed.

Vachon's finger jammed the "door open" button, and a broad grin spread across his face as his sewer-dwelling friend ambled in.

"Screed, I can honestly say you're the last one I'd expect to run into here. What brings you to the mall this fine evening?"

"As it jes'-so-'appens, th' petsie-wetsie shop wuz 'avin a sale on wee whoite ratsies, so's oi dee-sidled ta pick up a few gourmet-like snacks whilst oi wuz 'ere fer some fresh pants."

Vachon blinked. "You buy your underwear at the mall?"

Somehow he'd imagined Screed as more the "pick up a used pair at the Salvation Army" sort. But Screed proved him wrong by pulling a new pair of red Tommy Hilfiger briefs from his bag.

"Look 'ere, mate, these is fancy-wancy designy-fied pants"
Screed waved his new purchase proudly in Vachon's face. "An' fer yer inflammation, oi'll 'ave yew know, th'ladies go bonkers fer these."

"All right, I believe you!" Vachon gave in, laughing as he pushed the offending boxers away. "And, Screed, if you actually manage to pick up women wearing those, I'll eat this leather jacket."

Screed was just about to say he'd hold him to that, when the lights went out, and the elevator jerked to a stop.

"Closin' toime already?"

"Nah, it's an all-night mall," Vachon said. "But there's a storm tonight, maybe the power got knocked out. The backup generator should kick in, in a minute, and we'll be outta here."

The two vampires waited patiently as seconds ticked by. . .
and a little less patiently as seconds turned into minutes.

"Yer sure this place gots a backup generationator?" Screed asked.

Vachon sweatdropped. "Well, it's a big building. I thought for sure it would."

"Ah."

Screed settled himself into one corner of the dark car, and after a moment, Vachon sat down, too. They had no idea how long they'd be there, after all.

"Got a whale o' a tale tew tell ye, lads, a whale o' a tale or two, 'bout th'flappin' fishie-wishies an' th'gals I drunk on noights loike this an' th'moon-pie-in-the-sky. . ." Screed mis-sang.

Vachon laughed at him. "Screed. . . Disney?"

"Foine fam'ly edumatainment, that."

"I never figured you for the family type."

"Nah, oi ne'er touch th'stuff, meself," he said. "Th'ways oi see it, V-man, fam'ly's nuthin' but a anchor. . . weighs down a man.
Oi gots ta be fancy-free; see th'world, sample th'delectables, iffen ya knows wot oi mean."

"I dunno, I coulda seen myself maybe settling down eventually,
if the whole 'vampire' thing hadn't come along. Get a nice, quiet place in the country. . . few cows, maybe. . . a good, sturdy wife and a couple of kids. . ." Vachon said, as a slight smile crossed his scruffy face. "I always kinda liked the name 'Luisa'. . ."

He expected some flack over that statement, but to his surprise, Screed just nodded and said, "You'da been a good da."

"Try telling that to Urs," Vachon said, in reference to his vampiric "child".

"Look, mate, iffen she hain't fergiv'n ya, she wouldna stuck wit' ya this long," Screed reasoned. "She'd'a done moseyed out inna sun long afore now."

Vachon shook his head. "The reason she came to me in the first place was 'cause she was too scared to off herself."

"Alls oi know is, bein' a vampire gots its ways o' weedin' out th'weak," he said. "Iffen she's still 'ere, wot wit' all ya put 'er threw, runnin' scared from Mr. Big-brother Inca, it's 'cuz she wants ta be."

"You're probably right," Vachon conceded. "I knew there was a reason I kept you around."

Seeing the remark for the joke it was, Screed broke into a wide grin.

"Ya mean oi kept yew," he returned, laughing. "Now 'ow's 'bout a wee ratsie snackie ta toide us o'er till th'lift gets back a-movin', eh?"

"Nah, I'm good," Vachon said, patting his belly. "I ate on the way here."

Screed shrugged. "Suit yerselfishness. Tha's jes' more fer ol' Screed."

He opened the Happy Meal-shaped cardboard carrier box from the pet shop, and selected one of the smaller rats (this was just a snack,
after all). But as Screed struggled to reseal the box, the wiry young rat wriggled out of his hand and scampered away at lightning speed.

"Bloody 'ell," Screed murmured, in pursuit of his escaping gourmet treat.

Yet despite the glowing eyes that let him see in the dark, and superhuman vampiric reflexes, the rat managed to evade him by squeezing through a small crack in the wall.

Vachon laughed softly. "Let 'im go. I'd say the little fella's earned his freedom."

Screed sulked only a moment before selecting a fatter, less sprightly rat to snack on.

Suddenly, there came an electrical crackle accompanied by a squeal. The lights flashed back on, and the elevator resumed its downward travels, its occupants sitting in stunned silence.

As the elevator doors opened on the ground floor, Screed calmly set the fat white rat he'd nearly eaten on the floor, and turned the cardboard carrier on its side before leaving.

?005 Naia Zifu, all rights reserved.
Vachon and Screed are FK characters I don't own rights to. As always,
I'm not trying to make money off others' ideas.
No actual wee whoite ratsies were harmed in the writing of this fic .
This fic was written in answer to a challenge on the Vaqdreams list.
Being a Vaq, I procrastinated this to the end of the month, when it was too late to hire a Ratpack Screedspeak consultant :-P . My sincerest apologies if I really screwed up that aspect of the fic. I hope it's at least reasonably enjoyable in spite of that .