Jason closed the romance novel he was halfway through reading, and slipped it into the desk drawer. He looked his watch, and, right on cue, the intercom buzzed, signalling the arrival of his next client. He pressed a button, and spoke into the machine.
"Yo, Susan," he said to the receptionist, "Send him along."
He smoothed his blue-black hair off his pale, narrow forehead, and opened the file in front of him. Another flipping vampire. He suppressed a yawn. Fifth one this week. Well, it made a change from werewolves, he supposed. Gothic Officers were well paid at the PCPA, but he wished he'd held out for a post in the Chick-Lit Heroines Department. He'd always related well to the ladies - considered himself a New Man, and some of these women were real babes. Rebecca was pleased with his work in Gothic, however, and she said his looks made the clients feel at home.
He had considered dying his hair blond.
A knock at the door focused him into professional mode once more, and he fixed a smile on his face.
He looked at the file again, to remind himself of the name. Oh no. Surely not!
He called out, "Come." after the expected knock at the door.
The man walked in, looking guilty and slightly scared. He was pale. But then, all his clients were. Pale... or very hairy.
"Mr Dracula, take a seat," he said, cringing again, at the name. What were these authors thinking? "Or do you prefer Vlad?"
The man shrugged, and perched on the edge of the plastic chair.
"What can I do for you?" asked Jason.
The man said nothing.
"Well, I assume you're not happy with your current story location... Is that correct?"
The man shook his head, not meeting Jason's eyes.
"Can I ask why?" Jason asked, his voice gentle.
The man looked up, then lowered his gaze again.
"It is hopeless. It is a farce, a joke. I am a laughing stock," the man said, still looking at the floor.
"Well," said Jason. "It's humour. You're supposed to be a laughing stock."
"But I vant to be taken seriously. I vant to change people's percerption of ze Undead." he wailed. "Zis is why I became a vegetarian." He put his head in his hands. "Smeralda does not understand." He looked up at Jason, his red eyes pleading. "Can you move me?"
Jason pulled a box of index cards toward him.
"Let me see... Your author was writing another story with one of your co-authors... Hmmm. Around the time you were created, Vlad. Quite funny, by all accounts. Something about chavs in a park---"
"No! Not funny! I do not want FUNNY!" shouted Vlad, now on his feet. "And no more Noble. No more Seldom! Zey are ze vuns who got me into this mess!"
Jason held one hand up, palm out, and continued flicking through the cards.
"Ah," he said. "I may have the very thing. Let's see... Yes, I thought it was here." He looked at Vlad. "Would you mind changing your name?"
"No... I vill do wotever is needed."
"And you will have to stop speaking in that weird Transylvanian accent, too."
"Very vell.... well."
"And have sparkly skin, and a mortal girlfriend."
Vlad looked puzzled, but a smile flickered at the corners of his mouth. "Young?"
"I believe so, yes," said Jason.
"And... And vill... er, will I still be vegetarian?"
"Well, you won't have to touch humans. Oh... and your girlfriend will go on non-stop about how beautiful you are."
Vlad was positively beaming now. "I think I can live with that. And there is such a story here, on Protagonize?"
"Yes," said Jason. An author called Ana Cristina has written a fan fiction. I'll just get the form." He pulled a three page document out of his drawer, and laid it in front of him. He began to write.
In the first space, he wrote Vlad. He crossed that out, and wrote... Edward.