Midnight in Calvary
John A. Ward
Cooder and Chesty were sitting at their regular table in the Mocha Bean Café. Gina, the proprietress, had just commissioned a new sign for the shop, but the sign maker lettered it Macho Bean Café. “I’ll have a large cappuccino,” said Cooder. “made with macho beans.”

“There are no such beans,” said Gina. “It’s a typo.”

“I’ll have a medium latte,” said Chesty.

Respectively, they ordered a tuna melt with extra fruit and a turkey club with chips. Gina went to the kitchen.

“I’m writing a story about your great aunt’s star boarder, the balloonist,” said Cooder, googling on his laptop. “It says here that his pants caught fire when he was shot from a cannon, his balloon crashed into a water tower, his parachute got stuck in a tree and he was killed. Also, 400 people were injured when the grandstand collapsed.”

“Where does it say that?” she asked.

“In a history of ballooning, it references the New York Evening Journal.”

“That’s wrong. He wasn’t shot from a cannon. The New York Times said that he cracked his head on the water tower but survived and only eleven people were injured when the grandstand collapsed.”

“He has a page on Wikipedia. He received the Star of South Africa and the Southern Cross Medal,” Cooder said.

“That was his son,” she said.

“He was a major general in the South African Army and the Surgeon General in 1960.”

“That wasn’t his son. His son was in the American army and was killed in World War II.”

“OK, details don’t matter, but I’m going to make both him and your great aunt saints in the story I’m writing.”

“There’s no way they were saints. The three sisters: my grandmother, my balloonist great aunt and my cloistered nun great aunt had a feud over burying the balloonist in the family plot in Calvary Cemetery.”

“Fine,” he said. “They don’t have to be saints, as long as they’re immortal. Your grandmother and the nun got a court order to have the balloonist’s body removed, but when the coffins were opened, the balloonist’s was empty and your great aunt had two pointy tooth marks in her neck. “

“You’re going to make them vampires?” she gasped.

“There’s more. Every October, visitors to the gravesite see the silhouette of a balloon passing across the full moon and three ravens are perched on the gravestones, one for each sister.”

"Lies,” she said. “All lies.”

“Doesn’t matter,” he said. “Libel laws do not apply to the dead.”

“But, if he is a vampire, he’s not dead,” she said.

“We must go to Calvary,” said Cooder.

“Gina,” called Chesty to the kitchen, “Do you have any garlic?”



First published: November 2016
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