Adventures of Jeb and Huey: Vampire Electronics
by Nathan Biebel
The old pickup truck belonging to Jebediah Forethought kicked up dust behind it as it rumbled along the dirt road that served as a shortcut home. The shortcut brought him by the property of Huey Hindsight, which gave Jeb a chance to look in on Huey and make sure he hadn’t killed himself with another hair-brained scheme.
As it happened, today Huey wasn’t dead, but he was outside his house with a hammer holding up what looked like two pieces of scrap lumber in the shape of a plus sign. There were several of these plus signs nailed up all along Huey’s house, particularly under the windows. Jeb blinked and pushed his glasses up on his nose before he slowed down and made the turn into Huey’s driveway. Huey looked over his shoulder and gave a wave of his hammer, a couple of nails sticking out of his mouth. He went immediately back to striking the nail into the center of the plus sign.
“Huey, why are you putting plus signs all over your house?” Jeb asked as he got out of his truck and wandered around to see what Huey was up to.
Huey didn’t look away from his work, he just answered through lips still holding the nails. “I’m makin’ va housh sshafe,” he said and finished putting up the plus sign before taking the nails out of his mouth. “I’m hanging crosses to protect me.”
Huey tossed the hammer on the ground at his feet and turned to face Jeb, pulling a hankie out of his pocket and wiping his sweaty brow. Jeb’s eyebrows went up and together with a look of surprise. “You’re turning religious all of a sudden?” He asked and looked at the plus signs. “Those, don’t look much like crosses Huey.”
Huey scowled and said, “Make fun if you want, but I’ll be the one laughing when your house gets invaded.” He stuffed the hankie back in his pocket where there was a piece of wood sticking up and it had been filed down to a fine point like a two foot long spear. A rich aroma was drifting into Jeb’s olfactories and it was coming from Huey.
“Is that garlic? Why do you smell like garlic?” He said coughing and stepping back before his eyes started to water.
Huey bent over and retrieved his hammer and two more pieces of wood. “Yep, all part of the protection.” Jeb blinked and stared at Huey for a long moment, piecing together the strange logic. “Huey, crosses…a wooden stake in your pocket…garlic? Did you watch those silly teenage drama films again?”
Huey scowled, “That was one time!” he proclaimed and grumbled, moving off toward the next window. “This time it wasn’t a movie, it was the news and the Internet. But not some blogger’s site, legitimate news!” he said, waving his hammer around. “They finally admitted what I’ve been saying all along! Vampires!” He cried.
Jeb stumbled and nearly fell over, “What are you talking about?!”
Huey grumbled and pointed his hammer at Jeb, “I told you. I told you some day someone would figure it out. I told you there were monsters out there! And these ones are even worse! They’re electronic vampires, Jeb. The worst kind!”
Jeb’s mouth opened and closed and then opened again, a look of complete shock on his face.
“Electronic vampires? Huey, did you switch medication this week?”
Huey grunted, “No. Well, yes, but that’s not what’s causing this!” He muttered and started pounding a nail through the plus sign under the next window of the house, “News says they’re everywhere. Laptops, lamps, computers, alarm clocks, microwaves, televisions! Everywhere! They’re sucking people dry! That’s a direct quote.”
Jeb’s lips slowly turned up into a big toothy grin. “Huey, do you mean you read about vampire electronics?”
“Yes! That’s them! You’ve heard of them and you didn’t tell me?!”
“I’ve heard of them, but I think you should probably put your hammer down and read the rest of those articles.” Jeb laughed shaking his head, “Plus signs. Really, Huey?”
“Crosses,” glared Huey. “And what are you talking about?”
“Well, a vampire electronic is something that uses electricity even when it’s turned off. Alarm clocks and microwaves use a little trickle of electricity to run things like their digital displays, laptop chargers suck energy out of the wall because of how the mechanism inside works, that’s why they’re always warm whenthey’re plugged in. Televisions too, same with DVD players. Some lamps do that as well. It’s not a lot of electricity, but there is a bit going through. They’re always sucking electricity through them, hence vampire electronics.”
Huey stopped in mid-swing of his hammer, “Wait, they weren’t talking about supernatural creatures that suck the life out of unsuspecting horror film flunkies?”
“Nope, they were talking about your wallet. I did the calculation one time and figured out that with all the stuff I had in my house I was spending about $80 a year when I wasn’t even home or using these things.”
“Really? That’s a lotta money. Heck, that’s almost a month’s electric bill for me!” said Huey.
“I know! That’s when I started hooking things up to power strips and cutting off the power to them at night or when I’m headed out. You can’t get rid of them all, of course. After all, it doesn’t make sense to cut the power to your alarm clock or microwave, but if you’re leaving for a couple days then you’ll want to unplug everything. You’ll save a lot more than you think. And make sure your computer and TV get unplugged! They’re the easiest ones to take care of, just stick them on a power strip and turn off the power when you’re not using them.”
“Huh…” Huey said rubbing his chin and pursing his lips. “So…no garlic or wooden stakes then?”
“No plus signs needed,” Jeb chuckled and patted Huey on the shoulder. “Now go take a shower and get that smell off you. I’ll give you a ride in to town so we can get some power strips.”
“Crosses!” Huey grumbled and tossed the garlic bulb out of his shirt pocket into the bushes.
“Alright, thanks Jeb,” he said, and wandered into the house.