Disclaimer: I own nothing. All Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters and Garfield characters are the property of their original owners.
“It’s a nice night, isn’t it, miss?”
Faith silently cursed her horrible luck, which had evidently gone back to its normal sadistic habit of always dropping Momma Lehane’s despised daughter head-first into the deepest possible shit.
For the last couple of minutes, she’d dared to think things were actually working out for her this time, even if they’d started off with Faith getting stranded in a Midwestern hick burg, dead broke and starving. Sneaking through the back alleys of this two-bit town, with every superhuman sense alert for that vamp fucker Kakistos and his fanged goons who were hot on her heels, Faith’s nose then led her to the three-quarters-full dumpster behind some all-night diner. The discarded food in this trash container didn’t smell all that spoiled, and her empty stomach was desperately demanding some sort of sustenance, however degrading getting and eating this might be for the Slayer. Beggars couldn’t be choosers, though, so Faith had reluctantly flipped open the dumpster lid to next begin rummaging through the garbage inside.
Just after Faith spotted in the trash a half-consumed hamburger still in its stained wrappings and reached out for this, the back door of the diner opened, and someone from inside that place stepped out into the alley. Faith froze at once, hoping she wouldn’t be noticed in the deep darkness of this rear lane an hour or so after sunset.
Unfortunately, the skinny woman wearing a black waitressing uniform stopped short in her tracks, and she snapped her head around to look directly at where Faith was standing stock-still in front of the dumpster a few yards away in the gloomy alley. This stranger’s homely face then incredibly shifted into a far more inhuman visage of ridged features and glowing yellow eyes.
Angrily hissing “Slayer!” through razor-sharp fangs shown in her savage snarl, the waitress rushed forwards right at Faith, taloned hands reaching out to grab and tear at the girl.
However, Faith moved even faster than the attacking demon out to drink her blood. With blurring speed, she yanked out a stake from under her dirty sweatshirt, and leapt into battle with equal ferocity. It eventually ended with a panting Faith standing over a small heap of ashes lying on the cracked alley asphalt.
Warily studying the still-ajar back door of the diner, the victorious Slayer carefully listened for anyone in there who might’ve heard their fight, and wanted to know what the hell was going on outside.
At last, Faith relaxed. It seemed like that diner wasn’t open yet, since nobody had come out and she also couldn’t hear anyone else in there. Brightening up a bit at this rare good fortune, Faith stepped over the remains of her latest vamp kill, and she strode into the diner, noiselessly shutting the door behind herself. Looking around, Faith found herself alone in the eatery’s small kitchen, and she immediately headed right at the industrial-size refrigerator by a side wall.
Fifteen frenzied minutes later, Faith let out a tooth-rattling belch. This was the result of devouring everything in the refrigerator which wasn’t frozen solid. Contentedly patting at her protruding tummy now filled with lots and lots of lovely grub, Faith went over to the swinging kitchen door. She peeked through the small window set in this panel at head level. Sure enough, the front of the still-closed diner with its counter and several tables for the customers was completely deserted while being dimly lit with only a lamp or two shining in the room.
Even in pitch dark, though, Faith’s Slayer-heightened vision would’ve unerringly noticed the ladies’ purse set down by the counter cash register.
Of course, that was when it started going wrong. Afterwards, Faith glumly justified to herself she had good reason to feel pleased enough to pay no attention to her surroundings, what with a nice wad of cash shoved into her pockets after swiping this loot from the register, along with the vamp’s wallet also snatched out of the purse. So, okay, there was some excuse for embarrassedly forgetting to depart the scene of the crime by going out through the diner’s back door.
Instead, Faith unthinkingly left by the front entrance.
Only to be immediately caught by total surprise on the sidewalk by a pain-in-the-neck witness cheerfully greeting her there. This bystander now knew what Faith looked like, plus he’d just seen her coming out of the same place he was about to enter. Which happened to be a café she’d recently plundered down to the very last scrap of food and money. Can you say, “Stop, thief?!”
Her brain instantly going into overdrive, Faith stared full into the beaming face of some really dorky-seeming guy maybe a decade older than her. Right, it was either time to clobber this dumbass and then run like hell, or talk her way outta this. Making up her mind without further ado, Faith jerked a casual thumb over her shoulder. She then mentioned as nonchalantly as possible, “Sorry, fella, but this place’s closed now. Ya might wanna go somewheres else to chow down.”
“What?” frowned this bozo. He went on to protest, “But you just came--”
“Yeah, yeah,” briskly interrupted Faith. She shrugged, “I got here right after it opened, but I only managed a cuppa joe ‘fore the waitress hadda call from some neighbor ‘bout a broken water pipe at her house. ‘Course, it ended with her tellin’ me to scram right away ‘cuz she was lockin’ up for the night after me and leavin’. Like I said, ya ain’t gonna have no joy here. Her and this place’s hash slinger, they awready took off through the back.”
While she waited to see if the guy bought her story made up completely on the fly, Faith took a brief moment to wonder about someone she’d impulsively mentioned. The fact was, there should
have been a cook here tonight, but there’d been no sign of him in the diner. *Huh, the poor sap prob’ly got drained by that vamp waitress earlier and his body hidden somewheres around here by her.* Which made it just another reason for Faith to discreetly leave town at once. Now, if she could get away with this--
“Oh, well, I wasn’t really all that hungry, anyway,” Mr. Gullible declared. He looked down at the sidewalk by his right foot, and announced to that spot, “Come on, Garfield. We’ll go instead to that Italian restaurant you like and have some lasagna.”
*Huh?* mentally boggled Faith.
Her own startled stare followed the guy’s glance downwards, and Faith then gawked at seeing there on the sidewalk the fattest pet cat she’d ever come across in her whole life. Sitting upon his excessively-fleshed haunches, this rotund feline with an unnatural carrot-colored pelt was in turn meeting Faith’s incredulous gape with his own definitely intelligent expression, a truly bizarre combination of supreme boredom and absolute cynicism.
After a few seconds of locking gazes with this weird cat, the Slayer felt her eyes starting to heavily water. She held out as long as she could, but in the end, it was Faith who blinked first.
Right after this, the guy politely told a scowling younger woman not taking her defeat very well, “Good night, miss.” He turned around to walk away down the sidewalk from the diner. Leisurely getting up on all four feet, the cat waddled along in following after his owner. On the way, this strange animal threw over his shoulder an actual evil smirk towards Faith, who was left watching in dumbfoundment at the pair soon disappearing out of sight around the city block’s far street corner.
Quickly coming to her senses, Faith suspiciously scanned the now-deserted neighborhood. Reassured that this time nobody would take her unawares, the girl jogged across the empty street and she ducked into the nearest alley. Going deeper in there until the Slayer was sure no cop doing a drive-by patrol could spot her, Faith then made another quick check from her pants pocket of her ill-gotten gains from the diner’s cash register. It wasn’t exactly the Brink’s robbery, but if she was careful, it’d pay for both a bus ticket to Los Angeles and meals for the whole trip. Once there, it shouldn’t be too hard to travel to…what was it called again…Sunnydale, right.
*Not a good idea, headin’ straight there from here,* Faith thought. *Ain’t likely, but that asshole Kakistos or even the local pigs might connect me to the vamp waitress and everythin’ else, so stop at LA to cover my tracks ‘fore goin’ north. Then, hook up with the other Slayer there, an’ see how that goes.*
While she was contemplating this, Faith dug into another pocket where she’d previously stuffed the wallet lifted from the waitress’ purse. Another hasty examination of this small flat folding case had Faith readily collecting a few more bucks from there to add to her score. There wasn’t anything else useful among the driver’s license having a picture of a wide-faced woman and the rest of the wallet’s contents. Not even the credit cards and an ATM card.
Faith moodily eyed the couple of plastic cards she was holding in a free hand. Back in Boston, she knew exactly who and where to go for illegally swapping those cards for some quick, no-questions-asked cash. Here, though? No chance at all, dammit.
Sighing, the Slayer was about to shove the cards back into the wallet and carry it with her for a few blocks. Then, she’d toss it, either in some handy trashcan or down a street drain. This action was abruptly halted by Faith’s sudden double-take at finally noticing the woman’s name which was printed in raised block letters on the upmost credit card.
Making another, more disbelieving, close study of this specific full cognomen not only on these cards but also set out in the driver’s license and elsewhere, Faith soon shook her head with real sympathy. She now said out loud in an awed tone, “Geez, that lady, she had even worse luck than me, ever. It’s like fate put her right in the sights, and her whole life was doomed to end up with nothin’ less than her gettin’ staked tonight.”
Taking one last regretful look at all which was left of the demon she’d reduced to a small mound of ashes less than an hour ago, Faith put away the credit cards back in the wallet. Each and every one of these plastic tags were embossed with:
Author’s Note: This anagram for ‘vampire’ was first used in the French 1915 silent film Les Vampires,
though it wasn’t intended as a description of those specific coffin-napping monsters. Rather, it meant a predatory, seductive woman who ‘vamped’ their male victims.
In any case, I just took the idea and ran with it to include the eccentric waitress known as Irma to Jon Arbuckle and Garfield the cat during her rare appearances in the newspaper comic strip. As far as I know, this cartoon character’s last name has never been revealed, so it’s entirely possible it might be that
Well, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!
Plus, I simply couldn’t resist doing a BtVS crossover with Garfield. Would you?