“I’m bored,” said Mina, who sat with her face in her hands.
“Me too,” said Jonathan while plunking on his dreadfully-out-of-tune guitar.
“Oh, children,” said the Countess. “Let me tell you a story about patience. There was once a lonely little girl named Igorrina who lived just down the road in the haunted forest of Hoia-Baciu.”
“Is there any other kind of forest?” asked the young Mina.
“No. Now listen, my children of the night. Igorinna, who had no friends to play Toe Tag with, was convinced that there was nothing exciting in her future, so she always—always—took her goddamned futen time. She was never in a big hurry to go…anywhere. One day she decided that she’d had enough of this world. She tied the end of a rope around the neck that connected her useless head to her body and the other end of the rope to a young spruce tree, determined to stay there until either death took her away or her dream-boy Prince Charmin’ arrived on his white steed to rescue her from her misery. Local wolves, lynx, and bears also found Igorinna uninteresting and unappetizing. Poor Igorrina spent much of her life in Hoia-Baciu Forest watching the bats and ghosts fly by in the evening while protected only by vicious badgers who lived in the dens that circled the tree. The badgers didn’t care for Igorrina, but were curious to see what might happen to her in the end. They kept her minimally fed with worms, grubs, and insects. Over time, Igorrina had begun to grow old and ugly while tied to the same branch of that same tree for forty-five years until …”
“Until what, Countess?” asked Jonathan. “A handsome woodsman came along?”
“Fah!” said Vlad.
“A knight in shining armor?” asked Mina.
“Fat futin’ chance!” said Elizabeth. “You children can be so gruesome.”
“Of course! The handsome prince!” said Lupta.
“No vay,” said Vlad. “Prince Charmin’, the ass vipe, never showed up.”
Elizabeth continued. “So, sad Igorrina sat, leaning against the tree trunk until, you know…one day, the spruce finally grew tall enough…tall enough to slowly pull Igorrina up by her neck and hang her.”
“No guano! That is so cool,” said Jonathan.
“Talk about patience!” said Mina.
“You kids should see her,” said Vlad. “Igorrina can vear a choker, a string of pearls, a locket, and ten necklaces…at vonce!”
Suddenly Vlad’s eyes seemed to catch fire. His mustache bristled. “Fute patience!” He pounded the table. “I vant all of them out of my castle! Now!”