A Kiss Before Dying

Please donít look so revolted, my dear,
Halitosis is, Iím afraid, an occupational hazard,
But another ten minutes and you wonít be the least bit concerned,
You wonít be able to be, youíll be unconscious.
In fact, a hundred years ago youíd be unconscious already,
But young ladies donít seem to swoon at all nowadays,
Itís not fashionable, though they do scream now and then,
In fact some of them actually try to resist me physically:
They pinch, claw, scratch, kick, even punch like men,
But theyíre fighting a losing battle, needless to say.

Another thing, you donít get so many virgins nowadays,
In fact, if my victim is over nineteen
Sheís more likely to be bald than a virgin.
But virginity is by no means the only,
Nor even the most significant criterion, of innocence.
Young people nowadays, especially young girls, are so naÔve;
How greatly yet how little times have changed!

Iíve met no end who were absolutely astounded,
Not so much that I still exist,
But that I actually reflect in the mirror,
That I canít be warded off by garlic,
Or meaningless gesticulations with a wooden crucifix;
That I donít always dress in black,
That I donít always wear fangs,
And that I frequently operate in broad daylight.

Like I said, times have changed, and yet...
Were Joseph Stalin, Chairman Mao and Pohl Pot
Really so different from Genghis Khan?
Was Ian Brady so different from Gilles de Rais?

Is the white lady so different from the workhouse?
They both enslave children, and kill them slow, agonisingly.
Times have changed, and yet...

The fact is, my dear, that I, like you, have moved with the times;
My methods may be different nowadays, more subtle in many respects,
But my goals are exactly the same
As they were one hundred, one thousand, five thousand years ago.
And they will never change as long as Man shall exist,
And I will be with you as long as Man shall exist;
Surely you didnít think Van Helsing and company had finished me off for good?

My dear, your lips are so red, and moist; and inviting;
Iíve no doubt you got them from Boots
Rather than from the country air,
But all the same they are, like me, irresistible.
Give them to me first,
And then your throat;
And presently you will join me, in Eternal Damnation.

[The above was first published in the 1987 anthology Weíre Coming For Your Telecom Shares].

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