Smokin' Seventeen:A Stephanie Plum Novel(9)

By: Janet Evanovich

“You need to go with me to reschedule your court date.”

“I told you to come back at night. Or maybe I could chance it on a real cloudy day,” he added, as an afterthought.

I went to the front door, slipped the deadbolt back, and before I could open the door, Lula gave it a shove and knocked me on my butt.

“Oops,” Lula said, looking down at me. “I thought you were the vampire.”

Ziggy sprang into action and streaked past us, heading for the stairs to the second floor.

“Grab him,” I yelled to Lula. “He might be going for his teeth.”

Lula did a flying lunge and caught Ziggy’s legs. They both went to the ground and rolled around with Lula holding tight and Ziggy squirming to get away.

“Zap him!” Lula said. “Cuff him! Do something. This is like trying to hold on to a snake. He’s all wriggly.”

I had my stun gun in hand, but I couldn’t get a clear shot. If I tagged Lula by mistake I’d be the one wrestling with Ziggy all by myself.

“What’s he doing?” Lula shrieked. “Is he suckin’ on my neck? I feel someone suckin’ on my neck. Get him off me.”

I pressed the stun gun prongs against Ziggy’s flailing arm and hit the go button. Ziggy squeaked and went inert.

Lula hauled herself up off the floor and put her hand to her neck. “Do I got holes? Am I bleeding? Do I look like I’m turning into a vampire?”

“No, no, and no,” I told her. “He doesn’t have his teeth in. He was just gumming you.”

“That’s disgustin’,” Lula said. “I been gummed by a old vampire. I feel gross. My neck’s all wet. What’s on my neck?”

I squinted over at Lula. “Looks like a hickey.”

“Are you shitting me? This worthless bag of bones gave me a hickey?” Lula pulled a mirror out of her purse and checked her neck out. “I’m not happy,” Lula said. “First off I don’t know if I got vampire cooties from this. And second, how am I gonna explain a hickey to my date tonight?”

I cuffed Ziggy and stood back. He was still on the floor, not moving.

“We need to get him out to the car,” I said to Lula.

“His eyes are sort of open, but he don’t look like he’s seeing a lot,” Lula said. “Give him a kick and see if he feels it.”

I bent over Ziggy. “Hey!” I said. “Are you okay? Can you get up?”

Ziggy’s hand twitched a little, and his mouth opened, but no words came out.

“I haven’t got all day here,” Lula said. “I need to Google vampire bites, and then I need to get some makeup for my neck.” She grabbed Ziggy’s foot. “Get his other foot, and we’ll drag him out.”

We dragged Ziggy across the room, and I opened the front door. The second the sunlight hit him, Ziggy started shrieking. It was a high-pitched, keening eeeeeeh of the glass-breaking variety.

“Holy shit, holy crap, holy moley!” Lula said, dropping Ziggy’s foot, jumping away. “What the hell’s wrong with him?”

I kicked the door closed, and Ziggy stopped screaming.

“I almost got diarrhea,” Lula said. “That was horrible. I never heard anyone make a sound like that.”

Ziggy’s eyes were narrowed and his breath hissed from between clenched gums. “No sun,” he said.

“Okay, now I’m freakin’,” Lula said. “I don’t know what to do. On the one hand I’m thinkin’ we need to drag him into the sun and burn him up, and the world has one less vampire. But then on the other hand I don’t want to see him get all oozing and gnarly like in a horror movie. I hate them horror movies where people get crispy.”

“So what’s the deal?” I asked Ziggy. “Are you a vampire?”

Ziggy shrugged his shoulders. “I might be,” he said.

“How about we wrap him in a quilt,” Lula said. “That way we won’t cook him.”

“Is that going to work for you?” I asked Ziggy.

“I guess. Just don’t leave any holes where the sun can get to me. Wrap me up real good. And would you mind going upstairs and getting me my teeth?”