Donut Vamps listened to the squalling infant and felt the vein on his forehead throbbing. Why he had ever let his son and daughter-in-law come along with their red-faced new bundle of joy was anybody’s guess. Still, like his own dear crusty old grandfather, Slicedbread Vamps, had been fond of saying, children were the future. It was a sort of Vamps family motto, combining meaninglessness, the bleeding obvious and a sort of inverted wisdom into the one neat little package.
Still, this was an important occasion, and the screaming Muffin was detracting from the whole thing in no small way. If it was up to him, he’d stuff some burlap into the kid’s throat and leave him in the car. But little Muffin Vamps had already been suffocated and left in hot cars too many times than was healthy for an infant. It was entirely possible that he had a couple of brain cells left, and Donut would like to see them preserved.
As he watched and waited, Donut heard a gasp, a thud, and renewed screaming from Muffin. Kelly, his daughter-in-law – nice girl, but not many brains, much like his own Nelly – had dropped Muffin again, and picked him up by the leg. So much for those remaining brain cells. And these were the people he’d chosen to come along with him to meet their new Amish neighbours. Him, and his son Bagel Vamps – far too much of the old New Orleans in her, Donut’s wife Nelly, she who’d named their boy – and his daughter-in-law Kelly, and his grandson Muffin.
The Amish were coming out of their old homestead now, looking at the gaudily-dressed all-American family with something like scorn. Donut Vamps smiled his best smile – these were farmers, after all, and they might not have as many big shiny tractors as he did, but they were still neighbours and deserved the Vamps treatment.
“Howdy, y’all,” he said, extending his hand. The bearded man in the strict clothes returned the gesture, still with that slight sneer. “I’m Donut Vamps and this here is my family. My son Bagel, his wife Kelly, their little boy Muffin. If you want, you’re welcome to come on over to our place and talk shop. We can have a beer. Watch the big game on Saturday.”
“Aye,” the Amish man said carefully. “We have chores to be done, and we do not watch ‘television’. But t’was nice to meet you.”
“Aye,” agreed the young, serious man standing beside the elder. “T’was.”
Later, as they headed back to their own place, Donut was confused. He wasn’t sure why these dudes were always praised as the last true Americans. If they didn’t even have televisions … it was a bit weird, really. Donut just didn’t understand it.
Frowning, Vamps snapped out of his daydream. Had he actually been his own grandfather? He’d been told this ter’angreal thing would show him the history of the Aiel. He’d been prepared for a lot of boring crap about the Way of the Leaf and chora trees. Amish? What did they have to do with anything? And who said he’d been dropped on his head as a baby? If that had happened, why, he’d have be mildly retarded right now. So much for that.
He stepped forward.
It was nearly midnight. Loaf Vamps sat in the graveyard, wishing he had never gotten involved with the whole Real Americans movement. It was one thing to like your country, and quite another to go around freeing black people and waving flags. That sort of stuff was best left to silly old men like his dear departed great-grandfather who, in a clumsy bit of exposition, might well be buried in this very graveyard. It wouldn’t be difficult to spot a tombstone with “Halfbaked Vamps” written on it. His own son was about to have a kid with his wife, and it was Loaf’s thought that little Donut would-
Shaking his head, Vamps stepped forward. That was a silly flashback. Was this going anywhere? Sooner or later, he was sure the ter’angreal would get around to mentioning the Aiel.
Wholemeal U. Vamps (‘U’ for Unleavened, after his grandfather), proud father of Halfbaked…
Vamps stepped forward.
Dumpling hoped his grandson, Unleavened, would be proud of him for what he did that day, and that his wife Melly would understand…
Vamps stepped forward. He was now almost level with Muradin, but Muradin seemed to be having at least an interesting time, if not a pleasant one. Maybe he was seeing the right show. At least he wasn’t being subjected to this embarrassingly amateurish Period Drama re-enactment.
“They’re coming back again.”
Pure Bread Vamps threw his cigar to the ground and swore. God-damn Brits. They never stopped, with their tin whistles and their shiny buttons and their what-ho, by gum, eh wot, by jove‘s. They just kept coming and coming, cheerfully oblivious to the cannons and the muskets and the awful diseases you could get by having an open wound in damp weather. They were freaks. Idiots. He hated them with all his soul, and he wanted them out of his country. He wanted to live in a place where his grandchildren, and their grandchildren, could live in peace without having to drink tea.
“Load the cannons,” he said. “They just won’t take a hint.”
“Ha ha ha! I say! You scalliwag! Prepare to meet the fury of His Majesty’s-”
The sound of the cannon didn’t quite smother the screams and the pattering of Brit-bits onto the surrounding landscape.
That was good.
Vamps grinned and stepped forward. Finally, a bit of bloodshed.
Beansontoast Vamps sauntered off the end of the rowboat and climbed the long white beach, straightening his crisp lapels and tugging at the lace on his sleeves. He smiled. He was living a dream that his grandfather had instilled him him way back when he was a child.
What a nice place this America was.
While the slaves unloaded boxes and bundles behind him, Beansontoast headed directly for the settlement. The sooner he was there, the sooner he could have himself a nice cup of…
Helplessly, Vamps stepped forward.
Steakandkidney Vamps skipped down the cobblestoned lane in his puffy pants. Overhead, the sky was drizzly and overcast. Of course. This was London. It was amazing how many times the place had burned, considering that it was always raining there. Amazing, and funny.
“Ha ha ha!” Steakandkidney laughed out loud. “Rain is wet! Funny, that!!!”
His laughter paused as he looked down towards the muddy old Thames, and the tall ships growing in the shipyards. Oh, how he dreamed of being an explorer! Even if he had to live with Dutch people, he wanted so much to be an explorer. Sometimes, he even explored his way around his own house, just to get the practice. He’d spent almost a week crawling around in the crawlspace between their house and the next-door neighbours’ once, and he’d finally found his way out! If he could do that, he could sail around the world with Dutch people. So that proved it!
“One day,” he murmured to himself.