Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Vampire Walks Into A Bar by Tracey Sinclair A Dark Dates short story The Cassandra Bick Chronicles

A Vampire Walks Into A Bar, takes place after the end of Dark Dates. Unlike Dark Dates, this short story essentially focuses on an interaction between Laclos the vampire and Cain the earthbound angel. Cain is sitting in a bar trying to drown his sorrows after having been given the boot by Cassandra when Laclos walks in with a problem. It seems that there is a new hunter in London and of course, he is fixated on Cassandra. Can these two men get along enough to ascertain whether there is a real threat and, if so, deal with it?

We got to learn a little bit more about Cain's background in this short story. Learning that he was once crucified does much to explain exactly how painful his past is. Sinclair also explained why it is that Cain remains so out of touch with modern times unlike Laclos. It makes sense that changing human morality, conventions and names would have little effect on him and it helps to make him an even more fascinating character.

Despite strong references as to why homophobia is wrong, I felt that there was a lot of homophobia in this book.  Laclos is bisexual and is well aware that Cain is not in the least bit interested in him, yet he touches him inappropriately and Lacolos' speech is constantly littered with inappropriate sexual innuendos.

“I don’t suppose you’d consider sleeping with me now so that we can get this awkward ‘will they, won’t they’ tension out of the way at the start?” the vampire grinned, himself again, and Cain sighed, again.

“Here’s how it’s going to be. I’ll help you, but you knew that already. But you don’t get to touch me, you don’t get to flirt with me, you don’t get to make your stupid little innuendos and, in return, I don’t get to rip your fangs out.”

Laclos smiled, leaning in once more, and ran one cool finger along the line of Cain’s jaw, his skin smooth against the beginnings of stubble there. Cain looked at him, expressionless, knowing what a reaction would cost him. (page 8)

I think it's great that this series has a great, stable, loving lesbian couple; however, having great lesbian characters doesn't then mean that using the gay/bi man as sexual aggressor isn't still problematic and I really wish it wasn't there.

Cassandra was largely absent from this short story and it made me realise that I am not fond of her as a protagonist because I didn't really miss her. I do, however, have a problem with Cain and Laclos working behind her back to protect her from what they perceive to be a threat. I am also troubled that after the fact, they both agreed to keep what happened from her. Both men talked about her independence and strength but, by not informing her, they essentially turned Cassandra into a wilting flower whose mess they had to clean up for her own good.

I missed the pop cultural references in this short story. It is what I love the most about Sinclair's writing. That said, the story itself wasn't boring and it was written well. I hope that this is segway into another Dark Dates novel though, as short stories feel like teasers to me.