Edited by L. M. Davis

Copyedited by Chelle Parker

September 2022

500 words — Reading time: around 2 minutes

Makes one reluctant vampire hunter.


     1 desperate jobseeker

     4 YouTube videos on cooking with tomato sauce

     2 fire alarms, batteries not included

     1 friend willing to smuggle blood

     4 cloves garlic

     1 gallon expired holy water


Take philosophy classes until you question the meaning of life but are no closer to a job. Find an unpaid internship at a newspaper funded by a doomsday cult and write articles on missing werewolves in the neighborhood. When the cult leader vanishes and the paper folds, add in a dash of desperation as your checking account falls to double digits. Mix in your sister’s vampire ex-girlfriend who knows an aunt who knows a cousin in need of a personal chef. Marinate in the YouTube videos for the interview, where you prepare a meal for an old vampire lady with Victorian fashion sensibilities who compliments the wolf on your old band shirt. Botch the steak, but tell her the smoke is for adding extra umami to the O+ blood. Be thankful she doesn’t have a sense of smell and that you disabled the fire alarms in advance.

Somehow get the job, which comes with no 401(k) or health insurance but pays better than the newspaper. When your new boss tells you never to open the pantry, nod along because you don’t want to lose your job. When she complains O-type blood is bland, search for new recipes and beg your friend for some AB instead. When the AB gets old too, throw your hands up and ask your friends what else vampires like. Watch them shrug, because what else do vampires like besides bloody steak?

Check the spice rack; randomly add in thyme and sauces with long technical names like “hemoglobin.” When there are no condiments left, realize your only choice is to open the pantry and figure out what your boss likes. Discover the pantry door is locked, find a video tutorial, and pick the lock with a bobby pin borrowed from your roommate. Open the imposing meat fridge inside, and lo and behold, find the WEREWOLF label. Scream because you didn’t sign up to work for a serial killer and only wanted to make ends meet, not to be dinner.

The next day, return with elephant garlic and Craigslist holy water. Cook today’s steak with as much of both as possible, and again be thankful that your boss can’t smell the garlic as you plate her steak with edible flowers. When her shrill screams fade, stay calm and find the phone number for the National Vampire Hunters’ Association. Worry about moving back in with your werewolf mother, who will say that she warned you kids not to get mixed up with vampires.

When the hunters come to collect evidence and offer you a full-time job as a contractor, though there’s no health insurance or 401(k) if you’re not full-time, tell them you’d rather not, since you’re planning on going back to school for that philosophy PhD anyway.

© 2022 Tina S. Zhu

About the author

When she isn’t writing code or stories, Tina S. Zhu enjoys watching the occasional cooking show. She is based out of California and can be found on Twitter as @tinaszhu.