At the end of 1936, Bela Lugosi was in New York promoting a film in which he played the role of Count Dracula yet again. Universal Pictures had rented for him the same suite in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel that Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, the famous animated cartoon character, occupied every time he came to the city to promote one of his cartoons. Mr. Lugosi had played the Transylvanian Count so many times that he had ended up identifying with the character to the point of affirming in his interviews: “I am Dracula”. Lugosi had become the character and Dracula the actor who played Lugosi from time to time. At night he used to be seen strolling along Park Avenue characterized as Dracula, with his long cape, his hair slicked with gel and his penetrating eyes, causing more of a faint of terror when passing. There was even a man who tried to pierce his heart with a stake, but Mr. Lugosi was faster and bit him wildly in the neck sucking almost a liter of blood from his aggressor. Michael and Jacob were totally oblivious to the presence in the city of the Hollywood star until they received a call from the mayor entrusting them with Lugosi’s close surveillance. Apparently, since he arrived in New York several complaints had been received from citizens who claimed they were attacked by Count Dracula.
Michael and Jacob reluctantly accepted the assignment. According to them, spying on a Hollywood actor was not part of his duties. In the lobby of Waldorf Astoria Hotel they were told that “Mr. Count” did not receive visitors until nightfall. So, as soon as the sun went down, they knocked on the door of the suite where he was staying. Mr. Lugosi himself went to open them thinking they were journalists. He laid himself in a coffin and told them that they could start the interview. Michael and Jacob humored him and started asking him what he did at night.
“Well, what we vampires do, naturally.”
“Do you mean that you howl and eat people?”, Jacob asked. But Michael hastened to correct him: “That’s the werewolf, stupid!”. And addressing Mr. Lugosi: “You mean sucking blood?” “No, I mean tip-tap dancing.” And in view of the surprise of the two friends: “Of course I mean sucking blood!” And he said to himself: “Why do they always send me stupid journalists?”
“You are wrong, sir. We are not stupid journalists, we are stupid detectives”, Jacob specified.
“Do you know that sucking blood is punishable by law?”
“It’s my nature. I can’t help it.”
“Then, you better control your nature, sir. You are warned.”
And they left while Mr. Lugosi replaced the coffin lid.
When it was fully dark, Michael and Jacob were stationed on the other side of the avenue, waiting for Mr. Lugosi to leave the hotel on his nightly walk. At midnight he left, and the two investigators went after him. They followed him down Park Avenue and then through the side streets for a long time. They were so tired of walking for hours that little by little they were relaxing their vigilance, opportunity that Mr. Lugosi took to sneak away. “Where did he go?”, Michael exclaimed, and turned to look at Jacob who was looking curiously before them at a bat that awkwardly flapped its membranous wings almost at ground level. “No!”, Michael exclaimed with a horrified expression.
“What’s the matter?”
“Don’t you know that vampires can become bats?”
“Weren’t those the succubi?”
“What if he is a real vampire?” Suddenly he came up with an idea: “We need a mirror!”
“I don’t think it’s time for coquetry, frankly.”
“Vampires are not reflected in the mirrors!”
“Weren’t those the witches?”
“It’s mind-boggling, I tell you. You make an amazing mess in your mind with all the monsters!”
“Okay, okay, I’m going for a mirror”
Jacob left running. After a few minutes, Michael’s hair stood straight up when hearing a scream. He ran to the house where it seemed to come from. The scream did not stop and its trail leaded him to a middle-aged woman sitting in an armchair.
“Count Dracula sucked my blood!” And she showed him the unmistakable mark on her neck.
“Where did he run off?”
“Through that window”
Michael ran to the window and observed in the distance a bat that was flying away clumsily flapping its wings. On the street, he met Jacob carrying a huge full-length mirror.
“Didn’t you find a bigger one?”
“You did not specify anything about the size.”
“No matter. This will do it.”
Then they took a cab and went back to the Waldorf Astoria where Michael asked the receptionist: “Has the bat… I mean Mr. Count, returned?” “Yes, he’s back from his walk.” Michael and Jacob ran to the elevators while the receptionist picked up the phone to warn Mr. Lugosi of the unexpected visit. Moments later, Mr. Lugosi himself opened the door and locked it behind them.
“Go ahead, gentlemen. To what do I owe the honor of your visit?”
“Don’t play dumb! We’ve been following you! We know you’ve been sucking blood!”
Mr. Lugosi walked around them, licking his lips.
“Oh, that was just the appetizer, now they have just brought me a succulent two-course dinner.”
“Jacob! The mirror!”
Jacob planted the mirror before Mr. Lugosi, who avoided it.
“Why do you shy away from looking in the mirror, Count?”
“I’m not a presumptuous man.”
Suddenly he grabbed a candelabrum and threw it against the full length mirror, shattering it. Then, he extended his arms towards Michael and Jacob, and began to stare at them with piercing eyes and to gesture before their faces.
“And now, gentlemen, look me in the eyes …”
But at that moment, the door of the suite fell as a result of a kick, and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit burst made fierce:
“Lugosi! What the hell are you doing in my suite? Your promotional tour is over! Now it’s my turn! I just released a movie entitled “Fun Electrolysis”! So, you are getting off of here right now!
Under the amazed eyes of Michael and Jacob, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit grabbed Mr. Lugosi by the neck and threw him into the corridor as if it were a pile of rubble, then slammed the door shut. Immediately after, he turned to the two investigators: “Who are you two? Journalists?” Jacob was about to deny it, but Michael got ahead of him: “Yes. We come to interview you.” Oswald laid on his side floating on the air and, in that very position, landed on the sofa.
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