Undead Employment Agency

Let’s say for a moment that you are a vampire. As a vampire you probably have developed some expensive tastes, you need a secure place in the daytime, and you’ll want some sort of cover to allow you to meet potential victims. In short, even as a vampire you would probably need to find a job.

Obviously it has to be a night job, and paperwork might be a problem depending on whether you’ve managed to establish a false identity or not. (“Says here you were born in 1895…”)

With those considerations in mind (and any others you come up with as well), what job would you have? Or is there another way to pay your rent without working, a particularly vampiric one?

27 thoughts on “Undead Employment Agency

  1. Being the manager of a night club might work well, especially if it’s one of those upscale clubs whose doors don’t even open until 9 p.m. You sleep all day, work at night, and among the patrons, entertainment acts, wait staff and such, you have access to potential food sources (although you’d have to watch out for whatever illegal — or sometimes legal — substances might be in their blood).

    A lonelier job would be to be the poor guy (or gal) who sits at the city desk of the newspaper all night long listening to the police scanner and monitoring the wire services in case something important happens overnight.

    • Certainly night club owner has its advantages, but I wonder if it would be that great for hunting. The patrons are likely to be missed, and sooner or later someone is going to make a connection. As a vampire you are a mass-murderer (at least in the eyes of law enforcement), and if people start disappearing an investigation will surely ensue.

      I also considered community college teacher, but the hunting issues are similar to the night club. Too many people disappear from your class, people will start to notice.

      Your point about the substances in the blood is a good one; I had been thinking about jobs like drug pusher, jobs that cater to people no one will wonder about when they’re gone, but those are low-quality victims. Working as a mafia hit man, on the other hand, you would probably would have higher-end victims and the mob would shelter you from legal hassles. Your clients need never know how you accomplish your task.

      Still, there are only so many openings available in the Mob Hit Man field, and you wouldn’t get to choose how often you ate.

      The light of my life suggested that vampires could use their natural hypnotic abilities to become excellent confidence artists. Undead con men would be cool.

  2. Are vampires social or solitary? If they’re social and their numbers have reached a critical mass, there could be an entire nocturnal society of the undead. Would members of such a society really need human cover identities, or just foolproof daytime hiding places?

    Stringent population control would probably be a keystone of vampire society, since a Malthusian population of serial killers would draw too much attention.

    Disposing of bodies would seem to be a big challenge, unless all victims could be disposed of as vampires themselves — converted into dust via sun, stake, or whatever other traditions your vampiverse followed.

    • It would make a very interesting story set within the vampire culture as they try to implement population control.

      In fact, the more I think about it, the more interesting it becomes. Politics, grudges, bureaucracy (licenses to create new vampires?). Bounties on unauthorized vampires? This could be totally sweet.

    • An extension of John’s thoughts is the homocide rate/biology problem. A quick and dirty interweb search of homicide rates shows either N’awlins or Detroit as the leader in murder per capita. 2004 statistics have NO at 60 murders per 100,000 and a population of 300,000. So 360 murders for the year. A figure I found for Detroit had them at 468 murders for 2008 and a population figure running from 800k to 1+million depending on link I clicked. It doesn’t require turning this into per capita. What is essential is that ONE vampire, having ONE vampire meal a day, leaves 365 corpses a year – a number that would definitely leave a blip on the radar of any metro area police department (given what passes for normal homicide activity on my VERY back of the envelope scratchings).

      So how do you construct a plausible world with a vampire, much less vampyres plural that are ripping thru the human population at an alarming rate? Some things mentioned in the comments are good ideas, but not perfect, i.e. feeding only on the lower class victims that won’t be noticed, like prostitutes, runaways, drug users, etc. But that also requires meticulous corpse hiding. Or as another comment suggested …turning the victim into a fellow vampire. But then you have an exponential increase in vampire population and your 365 victims/vampire/metro-area-population quickly gets out of hand.

      And why shouldn’t a vampire feed at least once a day? Heck we eat at least three times a day. Heck, I wish I ONLY ate three times day [burp]. So maybe we can resort to biology. Lions gorge themselves on a water buffalo maybe every three days, maybe longer. Now we are getting more reasonable. A numerical model of lion/water buffalo ecological dynamics would be a suitable analogy for vampire population dynamics.
      Except for one thing – there are no water buffalo police who care about that bloody carcass rotting under the acacia tree. And in Detroit there is.

      Crocodiles can go weeks without eating a water buffalo. Something about them not being endothermic, i.e. they’re COLD-BLOODED. Means they have to warm themselves in the sun, and/or hibernate, but also means they are very efficient users of energy and can get away with eating once a month.
      And that just sounds pleasingly poetic in a vampyrish way: The Cold Blooded, long-lived, energy-efficient loner vampire who is a Reptilian Zoologist for sympathetic reasons, stalking his prey once a month. I like it.

      But in the end you can protest, “Jess, we suspend our disbelief in physics all the time for space operas! How else can we travel intergalactically and shoot laser beams up Buck Rogers’ arse.”
      Right you are, and if you want to have a coven of sexy, goth, blood suckers eating sweet young virgins three times a day nobody’s really going to mind. At least as evidenced by the success of Twilight and Buffy and Anne Rice.

      What I really want to say is that duck is a vampire and I still really really really hate it because each time it flies across my screen I have to suspend writing. Pun intended.

      • As I have been pondering this and John’s comment about vampires being around forever and being secretly in control, I came upon the missing element: Agriculture. I had been toying with the idea already, but your arguments really put things in perspective. Vampire society needs a docile and reliable source of food. What would a people farm look like? How would the farmers disguise the nature of their enterprise from the occupants?

        So maybe Vampires invented television so people would be docile and stupid, and Hollywood so they would be more inclined to run away from home. That would be a good social satire angle.

        I imagine that another sort of vampire (hunters rather than farmers) would seek out war zones, if they aren’t actively causing the wars in the first place. I could imagine a scary vampire subculture, intensely disliked by other vampires, that lived to foment human strife.

      • This is probably a good time to point out that there’s a little thumbs-up thing at the top of each comment that allows you to acknowledge awesomeness when you see it.

      • My suggestion of turning every victim into a vampire was only so that they could immediately be staked or stranded in the sun (while still presumably weak and/or confused) and turned into untraceable dust.

  3. How about a subway train engineer? Provided it isn’t one of those subways that have above-ground sections, your vampire could actually work during the day. And if it’s a big enough metropolis, it would be hard for authorities to establish a pattern of people going missing who have been on a particular train.

  4. Assuming vampires are capable of social organization, I think they’d be secretly in charge of everything — a conspiracy theorist’s dream. The vampires would have seen human society developing around them from the beginning, and as it became clear that they needed access to the inner workings of human government they would have gained that access: their recruitment technique is fool-proof. In this scenario, vampires would be able to get perfect fake identities.

    The other scenario is that vampires are almost completely anarchic — two vampires may be able to coexist, but any more and the group becomes violently unstable. This model fits into the AR(wBE)W pretty well, as I recall.

  5. I think night manager at a seedy motel (think Psycho) would work. Probably somewhere in the outskirts of Las Vegas. Not much background checking and you could deal drugs on the side to increase your income. Of course pimping would be another option in that same general vicinity.

    OK, got to go. Sam (one of our dogs) is looking at me funny – not funny “ha ha” but funny peculiar ;-)

  6. The highly socially organized vampire scenario suggests a plot: an ultra-regulated, Orwellian Vampire society that secretly runs human society. Humans are the food source, but a dangerous one, as they can function during daylight hours and the techniques of killing vampires live on in the vampire stories that the Vampires haven’t been able to stamp out. The Vampires would want humans to be dull, unobservant, lethargic TV watchers and video-game players; failing that — distracted, fearful, paranoid Fox news viewers. Anything to distract the humans from what’s really going on. The vampire population is stringently controlled, licensed, and regulated, so as to not invite unwanted attention. Rogue vampires are routinely executed, and replaced with carefully selected humans.

    What if Vampires are passionate creatures, prone to falling in love with inappropriate humans?

    There should also be a human underground — a tiny number who know the truth, but who are written off as conspiracy nut-jobs. Their primary duty is to keep the traditions of vampire-killing a part of popular culture (via computer games and graphic novels).

    What if a Vampire in a position of responsibility fell in love with a member of the human underground? What if this Vampire also secretly hated the rigid constraints of Vampire society and envied the human illusion of freedom?


    Too bad I’ll never use any of these ideas, not having the discipline to be a writer.


    Then there was the silly idea that appealed to me, but I couldn’t get very far with it. A vampire western, with a heroic vampire rancher, his clueless flock of humans, his trusty herding werewolf, and… he needs a horse-substitute, but what works? And then there’s the matter of plot…

    [editor’s full disclosure: John actually emailed this to me and then I pasted it here with his name on it. Ha! That’ll teach him about sharing his insights!]

    • The weird western (Traditional western with fantasy elements mixed in) is gaining traction right now. Now’s your chance, John! I even have your title: Six Silver Bullets.

    • An ultra-regulated Orwellian society that secretly runs human society? Prone to falling in love with inappropriate humans? Three words…The Catholic Church.

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