Interview with Jean Vignaud
At a table in a hole-in-the-wall pub with a good view of the exits
J C Steel: I like the location.
Jean Vignaud: Try not to describe it too well, I would like to come back. My partner tells me you have some questions.
JCS: I heard you like Chinese take-out. How did you come across that?
JV: Take-out is one of my favourite things of this century. When I was born one had to travel to eat differently, and the experience was not always…positive. If you are trying to put the Frenchman at his ease by asking about food, be assured: I am quite relaxed.
JCS: In fact, you’re rolling a cigarette. You only do that when you think I’m going to ask questions you don’t want to answer, but I notice you never smoke them.
JV: Science has discovered many miracles. Among them, unfortunately, that smoking is not good for you. Not something for vampires to be concerned with, but for me, yes.
JCS: So there are some things that you miss about being a vampire?
JV: Ah. The end of the small talk. As the junkie misses his high, there are things I miss, having left the night. Cristina tells me you are fortunate, and have never encountered a vampire. Do you think, once this book publishes, that that happy state will continue?
JCS: I will quote you a great British author, Terry Pratchett: ‘…no practical definition of freedom would be complete without the freedom to take the consequences.’
JV: A wise man.
JCS: I think so. Not a very popular definition of freedom in this day and age, as it happens. What’s your take on consequences and personal responsibility?
JV: I believe that my actions are my own. Who else should I blame? God?
JCS: You’re religious?
JV: I was raised a good Catholic, but according to that religion, vampires have no soul. Therefore, the only judge I need to satisfy is my own conscience.
JCS: Renouncing the chance to live forever sounds like a penance.
JV: …I fear I have not had enough rum to have that talk.
JCS: The first Pirates of the Caribbean. I understand you were an actual pirate in the Caribbean for a time.
JV: Pirates is such a generic term. In this day and age I would wear an expensive suit and gamble with other peoples’ money.
JCS: So you would equate stock-brokers with piracy?
JV: Let us say…in my day, if a man stole your money, the expectation was that you would try to kill him. Today, the expectation is that you elect him.