Grandfather Vampire in Emrys Journal


Got my copy of Emrys, Volume 31.  They did a nice job, and happy to see my little story in print.  Opening paragraph below…


The nickname came from Praeger of course, who said it was because Mr. Leary looked like a vampire who’d stepped into the sunlight a million years ago and got bleached white as bone, and was condemned to walk the earth in torment, only he ended up in Westover married to Mrs. Leary who taught us grammar. The name stuck but kids mostly didn’t like Grandfather Vampire on account of the story Eddie Pastornicky told in second grade about seeing him fire a salt pellet at Rusty, who was Eddie Pastornicky’s neighbor’s Lhasa Apso, but there was also speculation that he was just mean because of some spell of tragedy way back. Maybe from the war but we didn’t know which war, since we didn’t know exactly how old he was (between forty and eighty-five was the speculation), or when the wars in question had actually happened. And anyway Mrs. Leary never said anything about a tragedy. When she talked about Grandfather Vampire it was to instruct us on not making damfool decisions, for example Mr. Leary wanting to buy the Super One-Thirty drive-in movie theater that was buried in the high weeds behind the Shute Beach apartments, despite Mr. Leary not knowing anything, as Mrs. Leary put it, about anything. She liked to teach us moral lessons along with the grammar.

About the author

Tom Howard

Tom Howard is the author of Fierce Pretty Things (Indiana University Press, 2019).

He received his MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Fierce Pretty Things won the 2018 Blue Light Books Fiction Prize, and his individual stories have won the Ninth Letter Literary Award in Fiction, the Indiana Review Fiction Prize, the Robert and Adele Schiff Award for Fiction, the Carve Magazine Prose & Poetry Contest, the Tobias Wolff Award in Fiction, the Innovative Short Fiction Prize, the Willow Springs Ficiton Prize, the Rash Award in Fiction, and the Robert J. DeMott Award for Short Prose.

He lives with his wife in Arlington, Virginia.

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