Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Henry: I'm So Vlad I Decided to Go By One Name

Vlad the Impaler
Vlad the Impaler: Vlad to the Bone

After I was the victim of identity theft last month, I was told by my credit card companies that I had to get a new name. Even before it was stolen, I had been thinking about changing my name to something with a little more pop. I toyed with the idea of going with one name and narrowed it down to Flash or Steel. Before I pulled the trigger, I put a call in to old pals Sting, Bono, and Cher, folks who nailed their mono-moniker selection. They were gracious, but I sensed they really only wanted to talk about their name. 

But the more I thought about it, a mono-name didn’t feel right for me. I wanted something dynamic—a name that connotes action, virility, and panache. So, I put out feelers in social media. Ironically, the best feedback came from a wholly unexpected source at three o’clock this morning. 

Henry: Who the hell is this? Do you know what time it is?

Dracula: I am Vlad Dracula III, Prince of Wallachia, First Knight of the Order of the Dragon, Scourge of the Ottomans, Supreme Protector of Christendom in the Kingdoms of Romania and Transylvania.

MH: Dracula? Good hearing from you.

Dracula: Harriet said you reached out for advice about your name change. 

Henry: Who is Harriet?

Dracula: My publicist in Vienna, Harriet Grubman. You’re thinking of going with only one name?

Henry: Yes, and you’re just the guy I need to talk to. You’ve dropped all your titles and now you’re Dracula. How has that worked out for you? Ever thought of going back to Vlad Dracula III, Prince of Wallachia?

Dracula: It’s a branding thing, you know. In the 15th Century I went by any name that would please my constituents. And talk about driven—I was totally focused on killing as many people as possible. I never cared about marketing. Then after I died I became known as Vlad the Impaler because of a few minor incidents in defense of the One Holy Faith. That morphed into the single name, Dracula, after that nitwit Brit Bram Stoker stole my persona for his 1897 novel, Dracula. We had to sue him in London for copyright infringement. Years later, I realized I should have thanked Bram for mono-naming me Dracula. It was so catchy. And the royalties—I was rolling in dough in the Hammer Studio years, though I always thought Christopher Lee was a little over the top. Bella Lugosi—he got it right. More gravitas.

Henry: What you call “a few minor incidents”—isn’t it true you impaled the Bey of Nicopolis and a thousand of his Turkish soldiers in 1459.

Dracula: Depends upon what you mean by impaled.

Henry: I mean stuck through the bottom with a pointed stake and left upright until the stake gradually makes its way through the torso and out the head.

Dracula: Well, impaling is no worse than your country’s water boarding or sleep deprivation. The Transylvanian press blew it out of proportion. I got the idea when I was a kid cooking squirrels on a spit on a camping trip.

Henry: So after Stoker’s book came out, you were no longer Vlad the Impaler. You’re Dracula, with all black threads and cape, the tux shirt and the gel-slicked hair combed straight back—way cooler dude.

Dracula: Much better look. 

Henry: In the movies chicks really dig you, Dracula.  Were you like that back in the day?

Dracula: You know how girls like bad boys, and I was bad to the bone. The dual bicuspid puncture in the neck, I started that. I originally intended to put a hickey on this hot little Gypsy, but I got carried away. Started sucking blood and hey, it tasted like V-8 juice, so I went with it.

Henry: You hypnotized women in many of the movies.

Dracula: Hollywood crap. In real life, I used roofies. More reliable.

Henry: After a babe became your lover and you bit her, she lived forever, right?

Dracula: That’s an old wives tale. They did have to sleep on dirt in a coffin in a castle dungeon, and could never go out because the sun would kill them. But they didn’t really live forever. It just seemed like it.  

Henry: The power of the cross to hold you back…

Dracula: That’s all b.s. I’m sorry, but I gotta go. Sun’s coming through the blinds. Damn handyman’s too busy eating bugs to fix it. Burns me up. I’ll catch you later.

Mike Henry
Mike Henry

I hung up and tried to go back to sleep, but Dracula’s marketing tips kept running through my brain. Seeing his success helped me make a final decision: STEEL would be my new mono-name. I was pumped up, excited about STEEL. But finally, I drifted off, thinking about those super hickeys Dracula perfected, wondering if I could work them into my new shtick. 

Michael Henry is a HottyToddy.com contributor and can be reached at smichaelhenry@yahoo.com.

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