Dear How-To Penguin:
I just moved into a new apartment with a new friend, and I’m SO confused!
Every morning, she comes home and locks herself in her room. Her clothes are always smeared with grime, her makeup is always smudged halfway down her face, and she’s usually bleeding from at least one new wound! Every evening just after the sun sets, she locks her room and leaves the apartment.
She swears she’s going “clubbing,” but I’m worried! Is she a creature of the night? Should I invest in garlic and metal collars?! Please, help me–how do I proceed?
Is My Roommate a Vampire?!
Dear Searching for Fangs–
Relax! There’s no need to panic yet. There are many reasons your roommate is acting shady, so let’s consider these first.
Maybe your new friend really IS going clubbing! After all, break dancers and perpetual klutzes alike spend a majority of their time on dirty floors. This could explain the grunge and grime–dust and sweat make for a messy end to the evening! And hey, don’t worry that she’s spending all night out on the town–those disco balls are hell on a person’s internal clock!
Or perhaps she’s caught in a modern day, star-crossed love affair! Forbidden trysts almost always happen at night–there’s less chance the family and enemies will see them meeting up! Keep an eye out for weird colored liquids and strangely shaped daggers; be ESPECIALLY wary if she begins talking in iambic pentameter!
Or she MIGHT be the hero, instead of a villain! Does she sneak out with a cape and a big glittery letter hidden under her clothes? Does she often pop into telephone booths only to disappear into thin air? Has she taken on a freelance job at the local newspaper office and turned in some awesome up-close captures of the local do-gooder? Take note, if so.
Here are some questions for you. If you say “no” to all of these, your roommate is probably not a vampire.
Does her tongue unfold into a mosquito needle stinger snake creature of horror? (see The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, or the Dark Sky series, by Amy Braun)
Does she turn into a bat and fly off into the darkness of night? (see Dracula, by Bram Stoker)
Do flowers and plants wither and die when she’s around? (see the Dark series, by Christine Feehan)
Is her humanity switch flipped off? (see The Vampire Diaries)
Do you live in Forks, WA? Are you best friends with a wolf-shifter? Are you pregnant with a half-demon child?! (see The Twilight Saga, by Stephenie Meyer)
Are you STILL feeling wary? Pick a number between 1 and 5…and then do as instructed.
–1 Set off the fire alarm–the brighter the sun is, the better! Even the most novice vampire can’t handle more than a few minutes in sunlight. If she turns to dust, problem solved! Just sweep her up and tell nooooobody what happened.
–2 Cut yourself, leave a blood trail all over the apartment, and knock on her door! I mean, she might eat you, but at least you’ll have your answer.
–3 Break into her room and stake her. She’ll be dead! And…nothing can hurt you in prison, even if she’s human. Right?!…
–4 Yank out all of her teeth. I’d recommend heavily drugging her first, just in case. Also, invest in some of those rubber fake teeth. If she’s human…apologize profusely and then knock her out until she heals. If she’s vampire…well, no one’s ever been gummed to death!
–5 Shrug it off. After all, she hasn’t bitten you yet! If she IS a vampire, she’s either finding her meals outside the apartment or she’s on a hunger strike. Don’t push your luck!