Social Vampire

A few months after that birthday, Dad and I left L.A. and moved to Bozeman, Montana. I was fourteen. I should’ve been fifteen, but as I said—I had stopped aging. I wanted time to stop altogether, to not have to move from California at all, but that’s not how it worked.

On the drive up to Montana, Dad had said, “Think of it this way: it’s a fresh start. You can be whoever—you can be whatever—you want, Gordy.”

So I chose to be a vampire.

That’s me, Gordy, as you might’ve guessed. I preferred to be called Gordon, or better yet, “Gore Don,” which was my D&D Dungeon Master name from a playgroup I’d never see again. Only Dad called me Gordy, but it beat “Gordo” which is what you get called in L.A. when you’re a chubby kid in predominantly Hispanic public schools. I wasn’t chubby anymore, because I didn’t want to be called Gordo anymore.

You know what, I don’t want to start this story that way either. Let me start over; really start over.

A fresh start.

Chapter 1
My First Day as a Vampire

“Corn…corn…corn…” I said as we drove by acres of the stuff.

This was me passing time on the road trip. I didn’t have a smartphone to turn to in my time of need. Harrowing, I know. No chats, snapped or otherwise. No pics, no games, no apps. The only Reels were the disappointingly “reals” of reality. The only TikTok was the tick-tock of the minutes and hours dragging on. You get what I’m saying: no social connections.

Dad had said we’d get phone service again after the Big Move, citing his lack of employment and the need to use what little cash Mom had left us with on things like food, lodging, and moving expenses. I volunteered to sleep in the car if it meant I could stay connected to my friends in California, but no dice.

If you’ve never found yourself suddenly disconnected from the internet—permanently disconnected—as someone who has been online more or less since birth, let me be the first to tell you it would be less painful to have a limb amputated. This was like having my consciousness amputated. Lobotomy via loss of signal. There’s a reason horror movies start off with everyone losing cell phone service.

And, okay, if we’re being totally honest it wasn’t exactly Dad’s fault I didn’t have a phone anymore. I kind-of/sort-of/definitely threw it as hard as I could against the nearest wall when I got the call that Mom had lied to us. So, my penance was no new phone until we settled in and Dad found a job in Bozeman.

For now? All I had was a car window to stare out of, and sarcasm as my only outlet for frustration. I could tell the sarcasm was working as Dad said, “Okay, I get it. The alphabet game is stuck on ‘C.’ Point made; we can go back to the quiet game. Anyway, that’s wheat.”

“What? How can you tell?”

He laughed.

“Maybe it’s a good thing we’re getting you out of the city, Gordy. Some small town living oughta learn ya a’spell,” Dad said, affecting a cartoonish southern accent.

“Groan. Guess I was right—you have to be insane to voluntarily choose to live in Montana.”

“Come on, you haven’t even seen what the state has to offer. Can’t you at least pretend to go into this with an open mind?”

“No. I really don’t think I can.” As I said, this was the year I stopped lying. I know I mentioned that before I started over, but all that other stuff is still true. Most notably, my newfound inability to lie. Sorry to keep taking you out of the story, but it’s not an easy thing to explain. I was a theatre nerd back in L.A., and what I’m doing right now as called “breaking the fourth wall.” I should probably stop doing that so much. Sorry.

However, I suppose I should first clarify what I mean by my inability to lie.

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