Palace of Perversion

The Scully and Mulder of PHX-Files fame discover Goth/Industrial vamps and tramps at Area 51

"I am vampires," he tells me, lisping. "I wanna jew your neck."

"Jew my neck? Don't get anti-Semitic," I say. "A Mexican vampire, huh? Are you a Chupacabra?"

"No, they like goat. I like boy," he grins, showing me a pair of apparently hand-sharpened cuspids.

Where's Sarah Michelle Gellar when you need her? "Do you really drink blood?" I ask.

"I drink de blood, sweat. I drink all de fluid," he says, giving me a coy look.

"A gay, Hispanic cannibal. Someone should consult the penile code on that one," I smirk.

"You are de bad man!" he spits. Stomping off, he shrieks, "You are de crime!"

Jett's back, swigging another Long Island like it was water.

"Where's your slave, dude?" I inquire, sweetly.

My lipsticker pal waves her hand. "He-she doesn't want to be interviewed. Says 'massa' wouldn't like it."

"You could always tell her/him I'm the S&M Nat Turner."

"Huh?" she says. Then, "Look at that! Let's talk to the cat in the suit. For this club, he's the freakazoid."

We sidle up to Marius Lupascu and his gal-pal Anna. Lupascu's a handsome fella, with angular, European good looks. Says he's a computer network engineer. Anna's dressed more to code, in black Doc Martens, fishnet stockings, short skirt and dark mascara. She's of Mexican descent, but raised in the AZ.

Turns out Marius hails from Romania. The Tolstoy Foundation, which helps those fleeing Communist regimes, moved him and his mom to Phoenix a decade and a half ago.

"So, dude, were you guys partying when that Romanian dick-tator Nicolae Ceausescu got axed back in '89?"

"Yes, it was a time of celebration," he says. "You know, Ceausescu's wife, as they were in front of the execution squad, pointed to each individual soldier and told him, 'I know your mother!' She still thought she could intimidate them."

"By the way, wasn't Count Drac-u-la -- alias Vlad the Impaler -- a fellow Romanian?" I ask, doing my best Bela Lugosi voice. "In this place, you get serious goth points for that! Despite all the blood-sucking, the count was some sort of national hero, right?"

"Yeah, he did a good job against the Turks. But it's a long story, really," he says slyly, sipping something that makes his ruby red lips glisten. Did the room just go cold? I'm starting to wonder if this guy casts a reflection.

"Are you always here in your suit?" I query.

"Normally, I have a specific style that would fit within the classification of a goth. Basically, it's a crapload of black," he says, laughing. "I've dyed my hair before -- pitch black, black and blue, red. You know, everyone here at one point or another probably thought they were a vampire."

"Interesting choice of words, Count Marius." I turn to the girl, looking for teeth marks on her neck. "And Anna," I ask, "how do you maintain yourself in the style to which you're accustomed?"

"I tried whoring myself, but that didn't work," she jokes.

"Maybe you just need the right manager," I say, looking at Jett. "Allow me to introduce the Heidi Fleiss of P-town."

"Kreme!" Jett barks, smacking my arm. "You've gotta quit saying I'm a pimp, just because I've got a lot of bitches in my stable. It's bad for my rep with the Lesbian Nation."

Suddenly, I'm drawn to an attractive woman with a Louise Brooks bob, wearing a black bustier thingee that emphasizes her natural assets. Her name is Poppy; beside her is her friend Jax, a dollar ballerina (read: stripper) with hennaed hair and a leopard-skin tattoo on her neck and arms, which she claims covers her entire body. A large entourage surrounds them, including this guy who's a dead ringer for Simon on American Idol who keeps massaging the girls' shoulders.

"Don't mind me," says Simon, kneading away at Poppy. "I'm just the behind-the-scene bodyguard for all these beautiful babes."

"Nice job," I mutter. "Poppy, I really admire your, uh . . ."

"It's a Renaissance corset," she tells me, adjusting herself. "See, I love cleavage. I'm a big fan of T&A."

"I'll bet your outfit is a hit with men," I say.

"Women, too," she chuckles. "Though I prefer boys. Wild boys!"

"And what about you, Jax?" I query. "Since you're an exotic dancer, I'm guessing you hate men."

"I have to admit that nine times out of 10, I find guys disgusting. Especially when you're trying to give a guy a lap dance and he's got a big boner."

"The beasts!" I chime in. "So why don't you get out of the biz?"

"Well, I need the cash to put myself through motorcycle school," she says. "I want to build custom-made bikes."

A waitress calls time, and Jett and I stumble past the glowing alien heads, and a hefty chick in a long, dark goth gown dancing with herself (she likes her quarter-pounders rare, I'd say). Nearby, some pale skinny gal's explaining to her hook-up that she's really into the mysteries of the tarot.

I turn to Jett. "The truth is out there, Scully. Now let's just hope it doesn't ask us to take a Breathalyzer test."

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