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Infidelitates minimissimae

RANGE: These wicked fomenters of domestic strife are sometimes found in the kitchen during house parties and often in the back seats of taxi cabs. They like the dark corners of bars near the office, parks in summer, and overnight business trips. There are males (Valentinii) and females (Vampirillae) of the species, and they lurk and strike wherever one member of a couple is a little late getting home.
HABITS: It is the mischievous, obnoxious, and downright perilous nature of these seductive creatures to leave suspicious traces, scents, hints, and clues of illicit dalliance on or about the persons of their innocent and unsuspecting victims: a blond hair on the lapel of a chap married to a brunette; the smell of strange after-shave in a young bride’s hair; a carefully planted matchbook from an exotic night club; a phone number scrawled on a cocktail napkin; unaccountable credit card receipts—and of course, that old favorite, lipstick on your collar. Fairy wooing of mortals is traditional; there are, for example, many folktales about the tragically impossible love of mermen for princesses, and mermaids for princes . . . but the object of an Evil Neckromancer’s affections is not even offered a life of bliss in a city beneath the sea. Those who bear the mark of the Evil Neckromancer just end up having to sleep on the couch.
HISTORY: To the trained eye, the victim’s symptoms (lipstick on the collar, hickies on the throat) are evidence that Evil Neckromancers are decadent, distant relatives of central Europe’s dread Nosferatu. (The more direct descendants of that blood-sucking clan, still undead in the New World today, practice the occult rites of personal management.) The era now known as the Boring Twenties was the heyday of the American Neckromancers, who came flickering out of Hollywood in the guise of “Sheiks” and “Vamps,” appearing as tempting visions before hithertofore innocent American couples seated in darkened movie houses. They caused the hideous practice of “necking” to spread across the nation like a beard rash on a maiden throat. During the forties, many a gallant serviceman on leave came home to his sweet patootie only to find disquieting evidence insidiously left by the Neckromancers: strange cars in driveways, ten-gallon hats, pipes smoking in ashtrays, and huge pairs of unfamiliar boxer shorts hanging from bedroom doorknobs. Fortunately for the future bliss of America’s tootsies (and fellas), most servicemen accepted their tootsies’ honest explanation for those evil “artifacts”: “I just don’t know how that got there.”
SPOTTER’S TIPS: You don’t spot a Neckromancer; a Neckromancer spots you. And unless you enjoy screaming, door-slamming, bag-packing rages, protestations, and recriminations, you are advised to ignore the Neckromancer’s handiwork at all times.


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