Not So Wicked
Andrew Ramer

F eigelman looked out the window, at a smudge of red in the east. He turned out the light and flung open the window. The air of Brooklyn was still sweet. A trolley rattled in the distance.

“283 years, today,” he said to himself as he took the coffee grinder down from the top of the icebox, reached for the tin of coffee beans. Dark, earthy, rich, the smell rushed up into his nostrils. At his table covered with books, piles of books, making a curved wall around the place where he liked to sit. “I’ll have to move. They’ll figure it out. I’ve been here almost twenty years.” Over the sink was a mirror. He turned to look at himself, no longer surprised. A man of thirty-seven stared back at him. Wife, three children, long dead. Grandchildren, dead. In fact, his entire line had died out, in 1882. He was alone. A vampire, alone. A Jewish vampire, alone, in Brooklyn. Feigelman poured a cup of coffee, glad for the morning. With Jewish vampires everything is different. Darkness exterminates them. They have to be in light all the time. And blood? Feh! It isn’t kosher. No, he lived on coffee, tea, and vegetables. Unable to sleep, what could he do? Feigelman had been reading for more than two hundred years, sitting alone and reading, first in Europe, with its bad news on the radio about that Hitler, and now in America. Alone.

First published: November 2001