This short story is for Susan Garrett. Happy Birthday Susan!

What to Do With an Angst-Ridden Vampire
by Judith Freudenthal
1996

Nick was in another of his moods and had been for about a week now. He was driving everyone around him crazy. Of course this fact escaped him.

Natalie stopped by the precinct to drop off a few reports and noticed Nick lost in time again. Upon closer examination it seemed to be different than usual, concerning her.

"Schank, how long has he been like that?" Natalie asked.

"About 5 minutes. I think he just set a new record. Can you do something about it? About his mood lately?"

"Nick." Natalie said. When there was no response she shook him causing the stare to be replaced with a slightly confused and disoriented look.

Nick quickly took in the situation and the concerned faces of Nat and Schanke. "What?"

"You were lost out there. You didn't respond to your name being called," Schanke said. "I'm concerned about you."

"I'm fine Schank."

"Nick, I want you to come to the morgue before you go home. "

Nick nodded seeing that serious expression of hers that meant he had better do it if he knew what was good for him.

 

Natalie was studying a few medical journals trying to see if her idea would work. She pondered the information from the journals, what she knew from her medical training and what she had learned about vampire physiology. Once her mind had digested all the information and decided that it couldn't hurt she grabbed her purse and jacket on the way out the door.

She nearly collided with Grace. "Grace, if you see Nick, keep him here until I get back."

"I'll try my best." Curiosity twinkled in Grace's eyes.

 

About half an hour later Natalie returned to her office carrying a small plastic bag. She pulled a prescription from the bag, shoved the info sheet into her desk. She shook out two pills from the container into a paper cup before setting the bottle out of sight.

Nick entered a moment later, curiousity dancing across his features. His mood was the same as it had been. "You wanted to see me?"

"Yes. I want to try something. It should help."

"What is it?"

"I want you to take these. There should not be any side effects. If there are I need to know." Off his look she continued, "don't worry these are perfectly safe. Millions of mortals take them."

She handed him the cup with the pills, noticing that he did not seem all that reassured, and a glass of water. He took them from her and swallowed the pills one at a time.

"I want to see you back here before the start of your shift for the next dose."

"Why don't you give me the bottle and I'll take them."

She just gave him her best "you've gotta be kidding look". When it came to taking any sort of pill he was the most irresponsible person she had ever met.

 

A week went by with Natalie making sure Nick took his medication both before and after his shift. She was pleased to see that it was working. He was once again the happier vampire she had known back in the early days of their friendship. Seeing him less depressed and moody did wonders for her moods.

 

Natalie dropped off a few files with Nick and Schanke. Schanke pulled Natalie off to the side.

"I don't know what you did to him, but keep it up. It's working. Thanks."

"Its nothing, Schank."

 

A few days later Nick stopped by to see Natalie for his latest dose.

"I feel great. I haven't felt this good in years. What's in those things?"

Natalie did not really want to tell him what she had been giving him.

"Nat?"

She heard the concern creeping into his voice and knew she had to tell him. "They're.... um...... antidepresants."

Nick was a bit stunned. She had been feeding him stuff given to psychotics.

She saw his expression and grew concerned.

"Nat, do you think I'm crazy?"

"No. I don't think you're crazy. Many normal people suffer from depression. It's perfectly human. I'm sure vampires suffer from it too, but believe its just part of the condition. You admitted that it made you feel better."

"How long do I have to take these things?"

"That's where it can get a bit tricky. Some people only need them short term and some people need them for life. I want you to continue taking them for another week or two. Then we'll taper off the dose and see how you do without them. Okay?"

"Okay."

 

Two and a half weeks later Natalie had Nick totally off the drugs. She hoped he would no longer need them. Or only need them once in a while.

Nick came in to see her his first evening free of any drug residue running through his body. She studied him with her critical doctor's eye as he entered. He looked good.

"How are you doing this evening?" She asked.

"Good. I don't feel any different."

She was pleased not to hear any of the depression in his voice.

"Well, doc? What's the verdict?" He said with a mischievousness in both his voice and twinkling in his eye.

"It's a little too soon for a definite prognosis, but it looks good. We'll see how you do over this week. I think you'll be fine."

The end.

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