Vampires make for the sexiest monsters. Go to a Halloween party, and half the women will be dressed as vampires. In contrast, expect only one bride of Frankenstein and absolutely no female werewolves. Vampires look good, stand straight, dress well, and have impeccable manners, except when chomping on your jugular without waiting to be invited. But what would life be like if there were real vampires?
To begin with, we need to establish some ground rules for what vampires can and cannot do. There have been so many riffs on the vampire theme that almost every vampire taboo has been broken at some stage. In the movie version of Bram Stoker’s Dracula they even had Gary Oldman’s Transylvanian Count walking around in the daylight, wearing shades and proclaiming himself to be ‘low-powered’ under the sun, like some peculiar inverse of a solar cell. Let us stick to the classic description of photophobic vampires, where bright sunlight would cause the vampire to shrivel and die in seconds. That means a vampire would still be perfectly safe when basked in candlelight or whilst enjoying a typically overcast British beach holiday. Vampires were probably behind the introduction and imposition of those energy-saving lightbulbs that pretend to be as bright as a traditional bulb when measured by every scientific device except your eyes. Garlic, in contrast, should not be an impediment to the modern vampire. Let us assume the vampire has an acute sense of smell, and dislikes a pungent aroma, but otherwise enjoys a decent ragu sauce or portion of garlic bread as much as the next man. A stake through the heart should still be fatal for vampires, just as it is for everybody else. Decapitation should also be an effective way of killing a vampire. Other than that, let us give the vampire a strong constitution and the ability to withstand a much more severe beating than humans. Even so, in the case of a severe injury, losing a lot of blood would be fatal for ordinary people, and it follows that vampires should find this even more life-threatening. Vampires would hence carry bandages, tourniquets and elastoplasts with them at all times. They would also be wary of nosebleeds, leading them to bulk buy those convenient pocket packs of paper tissues.
On the plus side, let us grant the vampire several important advantages. For a start, they get all their nourishment through sucking on the crimson lifeliquid, meaning vampires can do without food or even water. The energy in blood is absorbed within the vampire’s circulatory system, rendering all those digestive organs superfluous, and partly explaining the vampire’s prolonged life and resistance to physical attack. It also helps to explain why there are no fat vampires. We will not assume that vampires can live forever, but rather conclude they always seem to come to a violent end, making it hard to judge if they can die of old age. That is only fitting, because vampires treasure elegance, sophistication, and their independence most of all, so it would be quite a disappointment for a vampire to end up demented and drooling in an old vampire’s home. Vampires would also have some special powers, but nothing too difficult to explain. Vampires can have the speed of Usain Bolt. Vampires can have the agility of Bruce Lee. And Vampires can have the strength and stamina of a heavily-pregnant mother of four doing her weekly shop at Tesco’s and simultaneously wrestling the sweets out of the hands of her kids whilst loading her trolley with the 4-pint milk carton and a 12-pack of loo roll. Vampires can also have the hypnotic skills of Derren Brown and be accomplished deceivers like Peter Mandelson. But no turning into bats and flying around. Bats have brains the size of peanuts, so even if a vampire was clever enough to turn into a bat he would only end up too stupid to turn himself back again. To get around at nighttime, when the roads are less congested anyway, vampires would either drive or hail themselves a cab.
Now that we have determined what a vampire can and cannot do, let us examine what might happen if they were real. For a start, we know that vampirism spreads like an STD, except the vampire need go no further than a lovebite. This spares the vampire the need to pull down his or her knickers and hide in some bushes when enjoying a conquest in the open air. Given how fast typical STDs spread, the easy transmission of vampirism might lead to a pandemic in less time than it takes to say “so what was the big deal with swine flu?” We all know that vampires are inherently sexy, and like to go out at night, so even a mediocre vampire should partake in one good necking every evening. The number of vampires should double on a daily basis. Starting with just one vampire, it would take barely a month for half the world’s population to be turned into nosferatus. The vampires would spread far too quickly for the average government agency to respond. A large-scale and systematic response would be further impeded because intelligent vampires would initially target those bloodsuckers that run government and big business.
Having turned half the world into their brothers and sisters, the vampires would then face a dilemma. If they continued their ravenous ways, they would consume the remainder of their blood supply within a matter of days. Blood banks would be drained of their assets faster than Lehman Brothers went bankrupt. The few anaemics and hemophiliacs left unmolested would have insufficient time to reproduce and restock the human race. As a consequence, vampires everywhere would face starvation and there would be a mass extinction. To avoid this, the vampires running government would decide to make peace with the remaining half of the human populous. Public service announcements and education films would extol the virtues of living in societies which are perfectly balanced, with one half working during the day, and the other half working at night. The housing crisis would be solved in an instant, with dayworkers and nightwalkers sharing their homes and even using the same beds whilst the other is out earning a living. Business efficiency would skyrocket, and congestion decrease, thanks to the introduction of two separate 9-to-5 shifts for humans (9am to 5pm) and vampires (9pm to 5am).
The need for plentiful supplies of human being juice will still cause some tension between vampires and their corpuscular benefactors. However, with democracies evenly balanced between humans and nosferatus, and with most politicians having been turned in the early days of vampire expansion, governments would focus their energies on finding a viable compromise. These politicians would be especially persuasive thanks to their hybrid of Derren Brown and Peter Mandelson skills. They would introduce wide-ranging reforms to prevent human numbers being further diminished. The direct feeding of vampire-on-human would be banned in public and only permitted in private if the human had previously given their written consent. Celebrities and doctors would join campaigns aiming to make necksucking as taboo as smoking, whilst promoting the health benefits of only drinking blood that had been checked for disease and shown to have an adequate iron content. Voluntary blood donation would be massively boosted through giving generous payments for every pint. Despite the enormous cost, the economy would remain balanced thanks to the increased productivity of the faster, stronger vampires and because the halved human population would mean traditional food production could also be halved. The keen vision and superhuman strength of vampires would lead to a boom in mining, and would also deliver the additional benefit of a vast increase in underground accommodation for those needing shelter from the sun.
To deliver a fair society, The Equality and Human Rights Commission would be rebranded and asked to address vampire rights as well. Their first act will be to ban all films starring Christopher Lee as Count Dracula. International money will fund the construction of a large theme park and science exhibition in Transylvania, with the aim of promoting peace and understanding between humans and vampires. Vampires will steadily overcome institutionalized prejudice, and will inspire confidence in humans by guarding the streets at night and delivering a previously unimaginable fall in crime and violent disorder. In exchange, humans will look out for their vampire neighbours by ensuring they always keep a couple of full blood bags hanging in the fridge in case of emergencies, and a spare coffin made up in the basement for any vampires unlucky to be caught out after daybreak. Humans and vampires will live in such peace and tranquility that they will wonder why they ever mistrusted each other. Putting aside their differences vampires and humans will combine forces for a common goal: the systematic genocide of the werewolves!