The Vampire Who (Thought He) Looked Like Robert Redford
This is a multi-level tribute to Filipino-American writer Bienvenido Santos and at the same time, an adventure story in itself
This story originally appeared in Philippine Graphic, December 5, 2005
The Vampire (Who Thought He) Looked Like Robert Redford
By Jonathan Aquino
Call me Sundance Kid
That’s what I told Sandman, a GS 13;
He’s an assassin—
Or rather, that’ what he dreams of becoming
And someday when he’s retiring
He’ll be a novelist like Forsyth.
Or David Morell.
Or Jack Higgins.
Or whats-his name,
The guy who wrote The Bourne Identity
Sandman’s from the Central Intelligence Agency
That’s just between you and me.
He’s also a poet – think of it!
Definitely a lunatic!
I’ve been playing spy games too,
Running around the city
Enough to drive Sherlock Holmes crazy
And that’s without the cocaine mind you.
Childish cloak-and-dagger stuff
With that secret agent out in the cold
Making Jane Marple’s lumbago explode.
Carlos The Jackal in pursuit of The Shadow!
Get the idea?
One has more names than the yellow pages
The other as elusive as St. Elmo’s Fire.
The let us begin.
It all started –
Okay, from the top!
I really mean that literally.
As you know (I’m assuming you don’t know
That’s why I’m letting you know, you know?)
The parapets of
Are dominated by gargoyles hideously leering
The sight of which makes nightmares
Seem like Walt Disney Fairy Tales;
Some say they were stolen property
from insane sculptors of
I was perched on a fearsome head
leaning against a spiky horn
While feasting on jam and bread
The clock struck
And it was September morn.
From a height of a thousand feet
I saw a man alone, walking down the street.
I forget to bring some tea
so I was kinda bit thirsty.
I swooped down
Like an eagle shot by a clown
I need a transfusion
But no need for a hospital bed
But there was confusion
Around me I saw muggers instead!
There were five young men
(reminds me of Menudo)
surrounding our hero
(that’s me if I’m not mistaken)
and son of a gun, one has a gun!
and all because of this bum!
I glared at him
And he looked ashamed.
That’s how I met Sandman
well, he looks like Harrison Ford
(chased by natives in Raiders of the Lost Ark)
but hey, it was dark!
As for me, I look like (ahem!)
Let me put it this way:
If I have a son (assuming he’s not gay)
He would look like Brad Pitt
And you don’t have to be a sucker to believe it.
We were surrounded
They’ll take everything and kill us
Like De Niro and Pesci in Goodfellas
I began to sing
It was Raindrop Keep Falling On My Head
And one of the muggers said:
“Hey man, wassa matta wit choo?”
(was he from
Apparently they were choirboys too
and we jammed a doowop acapella
Then it rained.
Let’s give credit where credit is due
(what an honorable thing to do)
that weirdo found the invisible man!
Once I was craving for some noodle stew
I was roaming in this small grocer
When Sandman went in there
And headed for the tuna cans;
And exactly at that moment
I was shaking my head
Thinking about mongo bread instead.
So there I was
Hypnotized by cans of cooking oils
And there he was
Probably shoplifting mosquito coils
And we meet again
Then I heard in my brain
The theme from The Sting
And for some reason just then
Four guys barged in
And reminded me of Boyz II Men
Though they looked Taiwanese
With long red hair like Japanese
Then I remembered Rip Van Winkle
And thought about 60’s hippies
And I sang (and Sandman groaned)
Puff The Magic Dragon.
Anyway the Fantastic Four
Is what else, robbing the store!
The leader, dressed like a scarecrow
Also the one with the shotgun,
Told me to shut up
and said: “Put you hands up!”
And in case we’re too dense he added:
“This is a hold-up!”
I nodded and said:
is key to effective organization.”
But he doubted my wisdom
(not to mention my sanity)
so he blew me away instead
and I fell back and dropped dead.
Then Sandman threw a bottle of shampoo
And he said:
“Gee, your hair smells like teen spirit!”
and for good measure
a bottle of hair conditioner too!
(Han Solo’s a hundred percent!)
Scarecrow shot him then
at the moment I was rising again
I got the bullet and I was dead again!
Then Sandman threw a can of Century
And they chorused: “Hot and Spicy!”
And Sandman said: “Nope, sorry!
But no return, no exchange!”
(This policy is really strange)
But anyway they shot him again
and the bullet him me again
and I said: “This is Three Stooges!”
And Death returned, sheepishly.
B1, B2, B3 and B4 actually.
So one “Hi!” and I will fly
Because the trouble with “Hello!” is “Goodbye!”
And now you see me, now you don’t.
Since then, Sandman, that dolt,
Had been at my heels like a puppy
For the living always follow the dead;
That pervert thinks he’s Javert
And I’m Valjean who stole the mongo bread
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