'Ah, the children of the night ...' he started.
'Yeah yeah yeah, what beautiful music they make yaddyaddyadda,' I said, sitting well away, not from concern for my personal safety (a GP should never show fear) but a diet of fresh blood makes your breath stink like a dead otter, 'I'm a busy man Count, skip the theatrics.'
'I am in a most grave predicament,' he said, in a rich, deep voice which would be ideal for flogging complementary medicines (with real herbs!).
'This warfarin you prescribe so freely; so many of my clients are taking it that it is causing me considerable distress.'
'There, there,' I said, pretending to care and patting his knee, for even vampires deserve counselling, 'tell me about it.'
'I bite the neck, the blood flows, I lap it up with eager tongue, the blood clots, I stop; such is the way of Nosferatu. Now the bleeding does not stop, it runs and runs, and I am a vampire, if I see blood I must drink of it. I even bring along a first-aid kit, stick on a bandage to try and stop the bleeding,' he gave an embarrassed shrug, 'yet still I am putting on a little weight.'
'You aren't comfortable with your body,' 'I observed, comprehension dawning.
'Hence the big towers; you're compensating for something.'
'The ladies, how they used to love me, lying there in those come-to-bed nightdresses, the intoxicating scent of garlic filling the air. I love garlic, you know, it's a little joke of mine. How they would scream,' he whispered, 'how they would moan with rapture, and then next morning pretend they remembered but a nightmare. Now they scream only because I am become so fat I am squashing them. "Get your fat butt offa me, Porky," said one.'
'And it gets worse; when I transform into a bat, I am too heavy to take off, I flap and I flap and I flap but I remain squat on the ground; the children of the night, how they snigger and smirk. I now must climb the drainpipe, so undignified, what with the extra weight and all. Last night, the drainpipe came down; I have a pain in my chest, I'm breathless, I'm having palpitations and my ankles are unfashionably swollen.'
I examined him; the irony was thick.
'Your pulse,' I said, 'is irregularly irregular.'
- Dr Farrell is a GP from County Armagh.