Profile: Constantine A., The “Ugly” Vampire
By Ivan Walker
Constantine is not really what you’d call ugly. He has a slightly long face and a strong jaw line that’s lopsided, which gives the impression that he always has his head cocked to one side. It doesn’t help that when he talks, his lower lip leans toward the same direction. He has a high and straight nose bridge but with bulbous nostrils. His hair, swept to one side, covers the left part of his wide forehead. And he has the dullest hazel eyes I have ever seen, probably owed to the fact that he’s dead or because he never blinks.
At best, Constantine looks average-looking. With his greyish-green tweed jacket he wore with his white shirt and blue jeans, you could easily mistake him for a human, except for his deathly pallor, the kind you only see in people inside coffins or those who are on their way in one.
Ever since their existence was made known to the public and with the Vampires-Humans Peace Treaty being signed two years ago, prominent vampire personalities have been featured in different news outlets and online portals as ambassadors of their race with relative success. Now that people are more used to the idea of vampires walking among them, which they have done for centuries without us knowing, we put a spotlight on one vampire whose claim to uniqueness is how ugly he is.
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Constantine A: Is this your first time interviewing a vampire?
Ivan Walker: Yes.
CA: Are you afraid?
IW: A little bit. Is it that obvious?
CA: I can see your jugular vein throbbing at a faster rate than the norm.
IW: (I instinctively covered my neck with both hands in a protective gesture.) Sorry. My mom is freaking out too.
CA: You and your mother have nothing to worry about. Before going here, I drank one of those lovely packs of blood your office sent to me early this evening.
IW: It’s a comfort to hear how much they care about both of our well-beings. Let’s start while you’re still full then. How did you become a vampire?
CA: I’m always appreciative when people skip the small talk. Well then, I became a vampire because of a dare. My mother, my creator, had a reputation of choosing only exceptionally beautiful people to turn into vampires. Traditionally, vampires believed that we are superior to humans. Extremists even believe that we’re gods. And all gods should be beautiful.
But through the ages, that extremist belief slowly died but the reverence in beauty remained. And there is a practicality to that. As you probably already know, we don’t have hypnotic powers as portrayed by some of your literature. Our representatives have repeated it over and over again in their press releases. So my mother believed that being attractive was the next best thing. A lot of vampires share this belief.
On July 20, 1827, during the Reckoning Day, I got turned.
IW: What’s the Reckoning Day?
CA: It’s sort of a vampire “holiday,” as you’d like to call it, where families gather every 50 years to commemorate the first recorded event of a vampire going up in flames under the sun. My mother’s siblings teased her about her beautiful children and dared her to create an ugly vampire. Shallow and pettish being that she is, she wanted to prove that she could do it.
I visited a friend that night. We had a lengthy discussion about opening a shop to sell spectacles and didn’t notice the lateness of the hour. As I was walking home, my mother, who was walking the opposite direction stopped and asked for directions to St. James Cemetery. She appeared distressed but still a sight to behold. I offered to walk her there because I didn’t want to leave her alone in her state. It is also very rare that a lady would look in my direction, with good reason as you can see for yourself, so I wanted to be in the company of this beautiful woman as long as she’d have me.
She talked very little and occasionally sobbed as we walked to the cemetery. I respected her mourning by not asking questions. When we got to the grave of her supposed husband, she sobbed harder and louder. I remember being at a loss on whether I should put my arm around her, or possibly even hold her hand. She quieted down after a few minutes and then she put her head on my shoulder. And then she faced me.
I was scared when I saw her face in full. There really was no other way to describe it. She looked dead, but still incredibly beautiful. I was startled when she kissed me, partly because of her cold lips but mostly because I have never been kissed before. I was frozen. And then she started kissing my eyes, my cheeks, my face, and finally my neck. And the rest, as they say, is history.
IW: We’ve already heard a lot from the likes of Charles Raleigh, Mary Celestine d’Ivri, and other vampire ambassadors on what it’s like to turn into a vampire. Other than the physical changes, what other transitions did you have to go through?
CA: For me, it was adjusting to the culture of vanity. I was never fascinated with my looks, even when I was human, because there was nothing impressive to see. But for my beautiful brothers and sisters, and my mother of course, they could put any teenager to shame with the inordinate amount of selfies they take.
We’ve shared that we are capable of greater speed and strength than the average human, but what they don’t like disclosing during interviews is that if we get hurt or maimed or even scratched, those physical manifestations are permanent. And you know permanent for us means centuries.
IW: So it’s like in the movie “Death Becomes Her” when Goldie Hawn had that hole in her stomach?
CA: Yes. Very much like that film. And so, this combination of vanities that they already had when they were alive and beauty being an advantage to attract humans consumes vampires.
It is not unknown to us that some vampires would willingly burn themselves by walking in daylight just because they have injured their faces or bodies. They would rather die than be ugly.
IW: It’s true that I’ve never seen an ugly vampire.
CA: Present company excluded.
IW: I refuse to comment on that. (I nervously laugh at this point.) But yes, all the vampires being interviewed on TV are beautiful, even the men. I’m actually obsessed with Mary Celestine. She is beyond stunning. Whoever decided to make her one of your representatives was spot on. I mean, really good job. She is basically a goddess. For vampires like her, what lengths would she go to maintain her allure?
CA: Most vampires I know have other vampires dress them and put on their make-up just like your celebrities. I know of some who have surgeons but they only perform very minor surgeries on account of our inability to heal.
IW: How about you? Do you have any beauty rituals?
CA: None, except maybe that I own a headless mannequin custom-made to my measurements. I put my clothes on it before I wear them. So I guess I do have some vanities.
IW: That is surprising. Also, I’m glad I finally got a smile out of you. Those look like really sharp fangs, by the way.
Given that you’ve gone through a lot of fashion eras, which one was your favorite?
CA: I don’t think I have a particular favorite era. But I had the easiest time dressing myself during the 1920s because the clothes were just like a revision of what men wore in the 1800s.
IW: And what was the hardest era to dress for?
CA: The hardest era was definitely the sixties. I wasn’t comfortable with all the psychedelic prints, tight pants, fringe vests, and the general flamboyance. But the hippies were almost always high so they’re easy preys. Dressing like them helped me blend in.
During the Summer of Love in ‘67 and Woodstock, I told people that I have this new drug that had to be administered through their necks. A lot of vampires feasted during those times.
IW: What fills your immortal time? Do you do anything for recreation?
CA: Like we keep repeating, we’re not immortal. We’re just very articulate zombies who can die a second death. I even believe that our “immortality” is such a waste because we spend half of our time sleeping.
And to answer your question, I’m a licensed embalmer at a morgue. I’m also taking classes, night classes, on medicine and forensic science to become a coroner.
IW: You’ve come full circle then. Is it hard to find a job as a vampire?
CA: It was actually easier finding a job when we were underground. I’d usually tell employers that I already have a morning job so I can only work nights. I look like I’m always tired anyway so they believed me.
But now once they know I’m a vampire, they ask so many questions. There’s a lot of paperwork you have to sign and requirements you have to submit. They’re very apprehensive hiring vampires when the job involves working with humans. At least at the morgue, they don’t have to worry about me sucking the clientele’s blood.
IW: Do you watch vampire movies or TV series?
CA: I do. “Interview with the Vampire” is actually one of my favorites because it’s the first mainstream movies that tried to see the other side of vampirism. We have been in discussions with the government for decades now about the issues of “living” in the open and announcing our existence. The public did not know this, but when the movie was released, we were at the tipping point of the Vampires-Humans Peace Treaty.
The most far-fetched thing I’ve watched about vampires is “True Blood.” We don’t have sex like that. In reality, we almost don’t have sex anymore. We can’t really afford to direct the limited amount of blood we have to something unproductive. And for female vampires, they don’t want to ruin the shape of their vaginas for temporary pleasure.
I have no comparison between human sex and vampire sex because I was a virgin when I got turned. But when I did find someone willing to lay with me, I almost regretted it. I’ve never felt so vulnerable.
IW: In your almost-200 years of existence, what is the craziest thing you’ve seen?
CA: The crazy memories all kind of meld into each other that you’re never sure if it even happened that way. The thing that I’m remembering right now is during the Great Depression, I saw a frail, withering-looking man slumped on the street in one of those Hooverville towns. He beckoned me and told me he was looking for me. He wasn’t in his right mind anymore. I knew he’s dying so I took advantage and fed on him. Then people slowly started coming out of their shacks and surrounded us. I don’t know why I didn’t run. I could’ve easily outran them.
Then I realized they weren’t looking at me. They were looking at the man. They thought I was one of them, that I was just the first one to act on what they’ve been thinking of doing. Then the man shouted, “He is my son! He is my son!” I carried him in my arms and escaped the mob.
Once we got to a secluded place, I continued feeding on him. Then he stroked my head and said in a feeble voice, “After you’re done, don’t forget to take me to your sister. She also needs to eat.”