Thursday, June 21, 2012

Think Vampires are Sexy? Try Rat Boy!

I keep wondering why everyone in the world isn't sick of vampire stories yet. We’ve gone from Bram Stoker’s Dracula to the Anne Rice books of the '80s and '90s to Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampire Series to the tween sensation, Twilight, to about a zillion other crappy books and movies, and yet for some reason the genre refuses to die. Isn't that just like a vampire?

What really bothers me is that somehow vampires have attained an aura of sexiness. Are vampires really that sexy? My wife says yes. Ever since she saw the first episode of True Blood she’s been hooked on fangs. She burned through all of Harris’s books in about three days, and then she moved on to Twilight. She wants desperately to pull me into this sordid world, but so far I’ve tended towards nonfiction and making fun of her. I’ve also tried unsuccessfully to make the case that vampires are not sexy. The crux of my argument boils down to four main points:

1) Vampires are lazy.  They sleep all day!  From dusk til dawn.  No wonder they can never seem to hold down a job.  In fiction, this never seems to pose a problem, but if I tried this, you better believe my wife would kick me out of the house after about three days.

2) Vampires are extremely pale.  A lack of pigment may seem attractive in a fantasy world, but have you ever heard of a woman longing to meet a man who is tall, handsome, and anemic? I haven’t. In the real world, women like men with at least a little color in their cheeks. Pale is associated with friendless nerds like myself. I haven’t had a suntan in years, and my wife can barely stand to be in the same room with me. (In fairness, there may be other reasons for this.)

3) Vampires eat people. In books and movies, this appears exotic. In the real world, we call this cannibalism. If you ask me, there is no one less attractive than a cannibal. Hence, no pinup calendars featuring scantily clad serial killers or isolated jungle tribesman. Would you ever consider dating a cannibal? Of course not. It’s counterintuitive.

4) Vampires are dead. They have no heartbeat. No blood pumps through their veins. They’re dead. I’m sorry, and no offense to the dearly departed, but the only person less attractive than a cannibal is a dead person. Those who think otherwise push the boundaries of what is acceptable in our society, and there is a word for the crossing of that boundary—necrophilia. It’s a crime. Look it up, vampire novelists.

Having said all this, I realize some people need a mythical creature to romanticize. With those people in mind, I offer a monster of my own creation. I call him Rat Boy. Rat Boy is the ultimate misunderstood loner, forced to hide in the shadows, ostracized by society, feared by men and women alike: no one bothers to get to know his true self. 

He is sleek, crafty, and resilient.  And underneath all the filth and pestilence, he’s actually kind of cute. His powers include strong sharp teeth, excellent scurrying ability, unparalleled survival skills, and the ability to spread plague. As long as there is there is a dumpster nearby, you can always count on Rat Boy.

I haven’t worked out all the details yet, but I do have an origin story. A simple farm boy is bitten by a radioactive rodent that became radioactive after eating a piece of radioactive cheese made from the milk of a radioactive cow that grew up on the outskirts of Chernobyl.   The farm boy then eats some of the same radioactive cheese and radioactive cow in the form of a radioactive cheeseburger, purchased at his local McNobyl’s fast food restaurant.  Rather than dying of cancer as one might expect, the boy transforms into Rat Boy.   Half rat, half boy, Rat Boy spends his nights roaming dark alleys, foiling muggings and eating trash.

After I sell the TV rights, the show can open with the following bit of dialogue: “Look! Behind that garbage can! It’s a boy. No, it’s a rat. Ooh gross. What the heck is that thing?”

“Oh, it’s Rat Boy!”

I know some will criticize Rat Boy. They’ll say his powers are suspect and his large size renders him easily noticeable and threatens his survivability.  Also, he’s disgusting. To those poor cynical souls I ask, “Is Rat Boy any more disgusting than a man who is half vampire bat?” The answer is yes. 

Needless to say, none of my arguments has made much of an impression on my wife. She doesn’t see much of a future in my story idea. She may be right. Perhaps the world just isn’t ready for Rat Boy. Ok, that’s fine.  What about Rat Man?  Too close to Bat Man?  What about Rat Woman then?  What if Rat Man and Rat Woman got together and had a swarm of little rat babies.  Still no interest?  What’s wrong with you people?

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  1. Hey you just found someone who agrees with you. Vampires are the bad guys, they always were, I find it really funny how things change. You're right, pale, dead cold (sparkly) vampires are not attractive. I don't want my man to wear makeup and sparkle. See, in the old days, the handsome irresistible beasties used to be the faeries, who were just as dangerous, but they weren't dead, and they didn't eat people either. Why can't we go back to faeries? I can't wait until they start making zombies the new poster boys. Then I'll really wonder where the world is going.

    1. Hmmm a zombie romance. I like the sound of that. The zombie would be torn between his love of brains and his desire for the woman around the brain. I'll get right on it!