Ambrose’s mind wracked and whirled with doubts and horrible possibilities.
And so many what ifs.
He entered The Cardboard Box and headed for the Information Desk.
A man with slicked back hair and a clean shaven face stood on the other side, organizing brochures.
“Hi.” said Ambrose.
The man turned around. “How can I—Ambrose?”
“What?” Ambrose’s face lit up as he recognized him. “Benny! You old sleaze lizard. What are you doing here? And looking all spit and shined too.”
“I’m workin’. I didn’t like being in Caten’s premises anymore. So, I moved on out here. Been here for the past four months.” He smiled. “Found myself a new girl.”
“Let me guess. Another vampire.”
“Nope. Just a run of the mill human. But she ain’t just run of the mill. She’s the very tops. What about you?”
“I’ve been here for a while now. Not sure how long. Easily more than four months, though.”
“Uh-huh.” He pulled out a toothpick and chewed on the end. “What’s happenin’?”
Ambrose laughed. “So much more than you could imagine. I’m engaged.”
“You? Get on a Greyhound and get out of town! Who’s the girl?”
“And then some. Which brings me to why I’m here.” He sighed. “Before I met her, I was something of a man slut or a dog or whatever you want to call it. I slept around. I want to make sure I’m not carrying any diseases that she can catch.”
“Ahh, so you need the STD clinic.”
“Gee. Could you say that a little louder?”
“I could, but I won’t. Anyway, they’re down on the fifth floor.”
“Where are the stairs?”
“Ambrose. I know you got your major phobia about elevators, but just take the elevator. It’s a lot faster.”
“I hate those things.”
“I know, but you ain’t got all night to run up and down five flights of stairs. I don’t know how long all that testing will take. Never had it done myself. But I’m sure it ain’t gonna take fifteen minutes. Especially with you being a vampire. They can’t exactly draw your blood. They got to work around that whole hard skin issue. So, take the elevator.”
“Fine. But, just so you know, I hate them.”
“Yeah, I know. Take the elevator to the fifth floor and the clinic will be straight ahead. Good luck.”
Ambrose headed towards the elevator. His stomach twisted and clenched and he was certain that he was going to vomit for real this time.
He pressed the button on the wall.
The doors sprang open far too eagerly.
He clenched his teeth and climbed aboard.
He pressed the 5 button and sank down to the floor.
His stomach lurched as the elevator descended.
Ambrose pressed his forehead against his knees. I hate these things so much.
He closed his eyes and imagined Barbara’s arm around his shoulder, her voice singing softly in his ear.
The elevator stopped and the doors shuffled open.
He raised his head.
It was only the second floor.
A man in a purple suit came aboard.
Ambrose wished him all manner of ill will for stopping the elevator too soon.
The man pressed the 6 button.
The elevator resumed its descent.
It stopped at the third floor.
It stopped at the fourth floor.
Finally, it stopped at the fifth.
Ambrose rose to his feet and shoved his way through the small group of people.
The STD clinic stood right in front of him.
“From one brand of misery to the next.” He thought about Barbara. “But I’ll do it for her.”