by Gori Roriksen Varangian
Hi all! For what feels like months now, (um, because it is) I've been interning at Hoxton Street Monster Supplies, the famed purveyor of quality goods to the living, dead, and undead, clearing out Igor's very large and very cluttered basement. And tonight, with the help of science! (see my last blog) and a couple of days spent preparing and decorating the underground space, it was finally ready to host a special Dismembers-only Speak-easy!
Igor had been fidgeting all day, getting me to refold the black napkins (bats are so last season). I constructed miniature coffins instead, which Igor grudgingly approved. I did find her later, trying to fold one in the same pattern and coming out with something like a smashed jar of Olde Fashioned Brain Jam after a disgruntled troll visitation, so I've left her detailed instructions on how to make them. Folded into the shape of a coffin.
I'm not sure if Igor was nervous because of the expected number of undead guests, or because the shop had just reopened its doors to humans, some of whom have absolutely no idea what a safe social distance is from a hungry ghoul, (a different postcode is generally recommended). But I'd never been so excited in all my life! I couldn't wait for the sun to finally set, the last rays of light filtering through the store windows and resting on the top-shelf jars of monster-only produce (fingernails, eyeballs, blood - the usual delicacies.)
The first guests arrived promptly at dusk in a flutter of dark wings. It took a while to check them in, since each vampire had to be formerly and politely invited across the threshold, even though they were already clutching their black-edged invites. But it would be rude to skip the niceties and it gives them all a chance to pet the invisible shop cat, Wells, who seemed delighted by the attention. I was glad to see Vlad among them, he looked so much happier than when first I'd laid eyes on him, and he boasted how his coffin had been the talk of the vampire school reunion. Another satisfied customer!
A dozen zombies arrived shortly after, and again, there was a bit of a queue as they checked their tattered coats and any tattered limbs that had come loose on the journey across town. Thankfully I'm handy with a needle and thread. Handy too with a bolt tightener, as a very familiar patchwork friend had had a similarly bumpy journey and it's difficult to socialise when your neck is at such an acute angle.
Quite a few of the guests I didn't even notice arrive. The deadshy manifest at their own speed, which was absolutely fine, as long as they checked themselves in. We wouldn't want to accidentally exceed maximum capacity, even if I could always throw the switch and conjure up a whole new empty basement! Though that would mean twice the clean-up, after the event, so it was definitely best to keep it friendly, rather than horde-like.
Once the guests had arrived and descended into the candlelit cellar, I was kept busy handing out black cocktails that spilled over with heady swamp gases. Igor's house speciality, Dark Sarcophagus. A seasonal drink only available as Halloween approaches, these were garnished with eyeballs on a cocktail stick, which helped everyone keep an eye on their drink.
I wish I could tell you all about the haunting banshee songs and the unlively dances, the yeti two-step in particular, a dance you can only do--safely, anyway--with two left feet, preferably a matched pair. And the wonderful speeches--of course! it was a speak-easy, after all. The stunning outfits, and infits, and misfits...
But the fumes of Igor's spiced cocktail, which she had blended from the undiluted waters of the Hoxton Fear Fountain, were potent indeed and I'm not entirely sure how much of what I saw was real and how much the product of a deranged brain. I'll ask the owner of that deranged mind next time I bump into it. I know his—or her—name. The jar it was in was prominently labelled “A.B. NORMAL”
Besides, it wouldn't be fair to spoil all the wonderful surprises you'll get if you ever attend your own Dismembers Speak-easy, especially one involving a zombie scorpion lucky dip.
And that's it, I'm afraid. With the end of summer my time in London is up and tomorrow I start the long journey home for my last year of studies before I take my place in the family firm, Igor, Igor, Igor and Gori (hopefully). Already Igor has started to refill the basement, a metric ton of petrified mice deemed not fit for the high standards of her exacting clientele. (I would have thought two heads was better than one, but apparently not.) I wonder how long it will take her to fill all of the empty slots from the mad scientist's device, and who she'll get to clear that multi-dimensional mess up!
I do hope you've enjoyed my “Intern(ed) in the Basement” blog, and if you ever happen to be in [NAME REDACTED FOR SAFETY OF READERS], then do drop by, and say hello!
Best wishes for everyone who is also back at school,