Vlad is bad at comedy

As anyone who knows me can attest. I was a spy.

Retired in 2011. Quasi-voluntarily.

I will get into the quasi-aspect of things when I feel like it one of these days.

In any case. Scientists often ask me:

“What contains a fission reaction?”

The textbook definition of fission is a decaying process which occurs when a particle splits into smaller parts. Keep in mind, there’s no expectation of heat energy. Unless of course, it’s a contagious effect.

Which is precisely what happens with a fission (nuclear) bomb.

I love confounding the scientists by my answers sometimes:

What contains a fission reaction?

Simple: A desire not to burn.

Scientists don’t quite understand that not everyone’s in a rush to blow up the world like they are. And despite the fact that it’s been nearly a century since Einstein came out with his equation that the scientific community has embraced (E=MC^2) – which states simply that everything is interconnected via energy, these silly scientists regard processes as gospel and neglect the will to live as a non factor in their experiments.

It’s cute. Naive. But cute.

If you’ve read my

In any case, in about the year 2003, the world had just ended.


No, it wasn’t some scientist proving his (or her or it’s) theories that a fission reaction was unstoppable.

Fusion, however…. They could be on the right track.

You see, I’d been in Romania dealing with vampires.

Literally.  Vlad Tepes, the man who created the myth of Dracula to take the heat off of him for his .. shall we say.. his tastes…  had gotten bored. After nearly 600 years ruling the region, and perpetuating the ‘myth’ of vampires, he’d just gotten sick and tired of doing the same ole thing.

I was only surprised it had taken him this long…

But what surprised me was what he said next:

“Do you know this invention called movies and a – vut do you call it, a story that is not true they tell on this device by a group called Disney?,” he asked.

That was my horrible attempt at documenting a vampire’s accent, by the way!

But his comment was clearly a reference to fictional movies. But Disney?

This was going to be interesting…

“Of course I do, so what’s your point, Drac?” I laughed at myself as I said that, he hated being called that.

“There’s a movie I watched just the other night, it is called ‘Mom has got a date with a vampire‘. Do you know this one?,” Vlad asked.

I was beside myself for a moment or ten trying not to bust out laughing. I tried watching it a couple months later, but couldn’t get by the first ten minutes. To each their own, right?

“No, Vlad, I don’t,” I responded, not knowing I’d had access to memories from the future at the time.

For what seems like the longest hour of my life, Vlad Tepes sat there detailing every aspect of the Disney comedy. From the divorced mother of three who had the date who he was clearly enchanted by, to the story, to the discussion of this fictional character named ‘Van Helsing’.

To say I had never heard this detailed a description of a Disney movie in my life is an understatement. But how ironic it was hearing it from the proverbial king of death himself was just – well let’s just say it made my night.

“I would like to commission one of these talking fictions as you call it and make what you call – a comedy. That man, Van Helsing, deserves a full movie, and I will tell a talking fiction here in Transylvania.”

Yep. I’d heard right. I was being tapped as a liaison to my country’s film industry. Not my department, that was the CIA’s job, but I could certainly grease the wheels. Vlad and I went way back so I could act as his liaison.

“Sure thing, Vlad,” I responded, “when do you want to start?”

“Tomorrow. I will send an emissary to meet you in Cluj-Napoca, where you are staying, and she will take care of all your needs,” he smiled with his still a little intimidating fanged grin, and then he nudged me, “You know, ALL your needs and when I say all your needs I mean ALL your needs, do you know what I mean, I mean alllllll your needs, am I making sense to you I know you’re from America and all and you don’t understand the obvious but I do mean ALL your needs, by that I mean.”

“Ok, Drac, I get it, there’s sex in the deal if I want it, I am not that slow,” I, admittedly a bit uncomfortably, responded.

The next day I took the train back from Sighisoara, Romania where Vlad now lives, it was absolutely like traveling back in time visiting there, and I was just thankful he wasn’t still living in Bran, his old drab abode that was used for the initial non-talkie movie he commissioned back in when film first came out.

I didn’t want to hurt his feelings and tell him the public had regarded his last film endeavor as fiction. Maybe I should have.

In any case, the ride back from Sighisoara was much shorter than the Bran trips I’d made in the past.

That evening, when I made myself comfortable in Romania again, as timing would have it, it was Halloween. Either he had set things up intentionally for this time of year or I did. And I was in Transylvania no less. My birthday is November 1st, the day after Halloween, and here I was a bit excited about spending Halloween and my Birthday there in Transylvania.

Vlad had laid out directions for me to go to one of the nightclubs he owned in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, and that his female protege would stop by just after dark.

I showed up a bit early. Without a costume, since I’d been traveling. This club was underground, had stairs leading down to a cavernous room beneath street level. If I’d had any doubt of who owned it before then, I didn’t now as the smoke hung heavy and the woman at the door said ‘take these, free’, handing me a black cloak and vampire teeth.

I laughed.  They wanted to make sure I fit in with the locals.

I waited around, and about 8pm rolls around, and a striking woman comes up to me and starts up a conversation. Her name was Ioana. Ioana Dobra.

And a part of me had fallen in love with her, instantly.

That’s about when the world ended for me.



In that moment space and time whirled around me in a jumbled mess. Like a whirlpool spinning out of control. Time stopped. Space stopped. The lights went out. I was falling into an abyss.

If you have ever fallen in a black hole, it’s not fun something I suggest. It’s simply not fun. Most of the time your head just spins like a whirlpool. But times like this where something gets seriously sent off kilter in your universe, all reality breaks loose.

That’s when I got a glimpse of the future.

This happens to me all the time I might add. I’ve given up discussing it with people, and choose to blog about it here.

But this was not kind.

In that moment I saw within a month I’d propose marriage to Ioana and she’d say yes. Three months after leaving Romania – I would return to the states to get prepared for the marriage and returning to Romania. Within a month of my return, my cousin would commit suicide by shooting himself. Within days after that, I’d get a call from Ioana’s sister that she didn’t have, Elisabeth, and she’d tell me Ioana and three of her friends died in a horrible car accident not far from Cluj Napoca.

And to top it off, the next day after that I’d have my truck stolen.

The world reassembled – and instantly I returned to the present time and looked at this beautiful woman who I’d already fallen for.

But I knew it could not be.

We talked all night long. We kissed as we parted ways for the evening, and she impressed me by asking me out the following night.

I’ve always loved women who do that.

She took me to a place called “Mozart’s Cafe”, a gothic interior cafe where we talked less business and more about ourselves. She was, after all, a representative for Vlad. But I suspected he knew the type of woman I liked and sent her intentionally. Was she a vampire? Don’t know. Didn’t care.

That kind of stuff didn’t really concern me anymore.

Vlad’s interest was simple: He wanted to ‘write’ a comedy script of his own and to hire a full Hollywood crew to film this comedy in Transylvania. Vlad isn’t horribly creative, so when asked what this movie about Van Helsing should be named, he responded with derision.

“Van Helsing,” of course.

One of his vampire lovers, Kate Beckinsale, a gorgeous woman I’d met before in a creepy cool kinda way – was specifically written into this ‘comedy’. I won’t give it away if you haven’t seen the movie, here’s a little blurb on how it turned out : Van Helsing.

Ok I will give it away. It really wasn’t great by any measure as a comedy. Don’t get me wrong, Vlad, if you’re reading this, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, but your version of humor just .. let’s say it needs work. I did get ‘some’ of it.

But by and large, people just didn’t GET the fact it was supposed to be a comedy! It’s like Plan 9 from Outer Space or Army Of Darkness. If you look at these movies technically, then clearly you’re not going to enjoy them. But if you understand these are tongue in cheek comedies. They are among the best films ever.

Let’s spin this another way – can you imagine Gilligan’s Island without a laugh track and instead with drama music? The aliens in the movie Galaxy Quest summed it up perfectly: “Oh those poor people”. Now imagine if they’d heard their own soundtrack, would that have made a difference? And imagine movies delivered with many variations of sound tracks. Talk about a mind blow if you see a movie with a laugh track one time and then a drama track the next time you watch it!

Vlad clearly didn’t understand what a laugh track was. And in hindsight I wonder if the man even ‘heard’ sound. Yes, his idea of comedy is a bit morose. But I digress… Roll back in time to Mozart’s Cafe.

A month later.

I was going to ‘keep on trucking’ despite having seen what I saw about the future. But a month later, Ioana and I are here at Mozart’s cafe, and I get a sudden sense of urgency as i was planning on leaving that was palpable to both of us.

I told her I loved here. That much was undeniable.

But having been through two marriages, it’s not that I feared our relationship not working. (I lied) It’s just that I needed to make sure I took my time to get to know ‘us’. So I told her of my plans to move to Romania to be with her, and ‘lets take things day by day’.

It was weird. Like she wasn’t expecting … this. I got a sense that i was acting.. unexpectedly…

When I left Romania, I cried. It was like I was leaving a part of me behind.

Two months later. My cousin Scott Snyder committed suicide. I got a call 3 days later from the sister Ioana now had – Elisabeth – who informed me of her death.

And the next day, my truck was stolen.

I was besides myself.

Had I tempted fate too strongly?

Within a period of 2 weeks, I had lost some of the most important influences to me in my life. A cousin who’d been like a best friend. A mysterious woman who’d swept me off my feet and made me feel like it was possible to love again. And my truck who’d been with me through thick and thin all over two countries.

As I recanted the story to the police officer detailing the theft of my truck – I remember admiring his ‘Toughbook’ computer, a resilient thing he said you can drop it and it keeps on working. I don’t know why I remember that.

But I also remember breaking down and crying right after that, and explaining to the police officer taking the report that I had just lost my cousin and my girlfriend and the truck was just icing on the cake as the universe was flipping me the bird.

He responded with, “Son, things always happen in threes.”

Perhaps that was a prophecy for a third marriage and divorce I would have in the future? Who knows. Needless to say, Ioana and I never got married.

Eight months later, I was living in Tempe – a burb of Phoenix – attending Mesa Community College, when I received a call from the police on the border of Mexico in Nogales.

They’d recovered my truck. This was a blessing, as I didn’t have insurance and had been looking at the truck as a total loss.

When me and my father arrived at the police impound yard the next day, we were marveling at what had been done to my truck.

Not only had the thieves put a pretty sleek looking camper shell on it, but it had some custom chrome done to it and the back was full of stuff – we assumed they were stolen goods – a microwave, a set of golf clubs, a scooter, a Mexican style rug which I gave to my mom, and a few other things.

The police had recovered the vehicle, abandoned, in front of the border of Mexico. They’d suspected the thieves fled, and the stolen goods were for all intents and purposes had no home once the thieves had lifted them.

All told, the thieves had driven off with a truck worth about 3 grand and returned with a vehicle pimped out and now worth, with the goods, about 5 grand all told.

I looked at my father and smiled.

Someone apparently heard the shit I’d been through and felt pity.

It was nice.

But a truck doesn’t make up for the people I had just recently lost in my life.

About four years later, I received a random phone call.

“Brian. Oh my God is that you?”

It was Ioana.

Back from the dead.

I was calm. Calmer than I should have been, as I listened to her tell me the story of how her ex boyfriend at the time we parted ways had hacked her email account, had gotten information about me, and had a girl he knew lie to me about her death.

I said I wasn’t amused, and asked how someone could do something so screwed up.

She responded with “Our history is unbelievable and full of things like that, that’s why I broke up with him. He is an asshole.”

She wanted to meet, and was moving to Milan, Italy.

I was going to be in the area, I had a trip slated for Geneva, Switzerland in April of 2008, business to attend to in Riga, Latvia, and I could meet with her for a couple of days. Maybe rekindle the fire. or not. By this time I was skeptical.

When I arrived in Milan, she greeted me and the woman was substantially different than I had known. Her persona, the way she held herself, her accented English, her mannerisms, she was even two inches taller without heels  – which made no sense whatsoever!

I asked about her sister. She responded with “You know I don’t have one.”

There was something weird going on.

I had looked her up on Facebook before she left Cluj Napoca to meet me in Italy, and saw two women by the same exact name in the same tiny city of the same age with remarkably similar physical characteristics.

Both accepted my friend request.

Both remembered me with similar recollection of events.

One haS a sister.

The other one did not.

One was homely looking. Like the girl I knew originally was split in to two sides and got robbed of presence.

And the girl I was now having dinner with in Milan was the one who got the looks and a different life’s story that had led her to Italy.

In any case, the next couple of days went without fanfare.

Our spark had long since faded. This was not the same woman I knew from before. She had some qualities of that woman, but there were more differences than similarities, and this one seemed like she was missing a part of her heart.

As was I.

At the time, I didn’t fully comprehend what was going on… yet…

I returned to Geneva, Switzerland for the CERN Supercollider experiment and for my Thunderbird Management school class.

I hadn’t really thought much about my cousin since his death.

But that night was the first lucid dream I had ever had.

And my cousin, Scott Snyder – the one who’d committed suicide – he and I had a long conversation in my dream.

In that dream, We debated. We insulted. We reminisced. We discussed. We deliberated. We laughed. We got angry. We actually cried. Then we chose what to forget and chose what to remember.

And that’s when we concocted a plan to change the world.

And then I woke up….

That morning, I didn’t remember a thing about the supernatural things and events ever having happened to me in my life.

Until now.

As planned.

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