On September 19th, 2003 the first “Underworld” movie was released into theaters.
I had moved from Las Vegas, Nevada to Atlanta, Georgia a week prior and was settling into my new city nicely. That first weekend I walked the neighborhood and ended up at a gothic club called The Armory. Steven, the slim, jet black-haired bartender and I hit it off immediately. He looked like Dracula and he found it more than amusing I visited a goth club dressed in slacks, polished shoes (though you couldn’t tell it in the dim, vampiric lighting), a button-up shirt and a tie. “You ain’t from around here pardner” he said, following his obvious remarks with a friendly and welcoming smile.
After a few rounds (he took a shot for every beer I had) he said, “You should take a look at the art over there”, pointing towards a hallway lit with two single exposed bulbs hanging from the ceiling by thin cords. “Okay”, I replied.
At the end of the darkened (and kind of spooky) corridor was a small room. I walked in and a guy walked up to me and said, “Hi I’m Chris, thanks for coming to the art show”. Standing in front of me was a guy about my age, dressed in jean shorts and a light blue t-shirt. He obviously also did not get the dress-code memo before entering the goth club. The room was shadowy and abandoned, except for us. I had had a few beers by then and, after a short conversation, I turned to Chris and said, “you’re really nice and I think we should be friends”. “Okay”, he replied.
6 days later Chris shows up at my apartment door with Steven, the bartender, and the three of us walk to the nearby cinema to see the new movie, “Underworld”, a flick about vampires and werewolves. Steven and I, both diehard horror fans, were excited to see the film. Chris, I learned many months later, cared little about vampires and werewolves and only agreed to watch “Underworld” because he wanted to get to know me better.
After the movie, the three of us went for drinks and fried appetizers at F.R.O.G.’s Cantina, a casual bar/restaurant next to the theater. It was one of the most fun evenings of my life. Me, in a new and unfamiliar city, meeting new friends. I was home. It was exciting. And it felt good.
The following morning Chris knocked on my door – this time alone. I opened the door, half asleep and looked at my new friend with a tilt of the head. In his hand was a bouquet of dandelions. I immediately put them in water and did not blow the seeds from the stems. I kept them alive for as long as I could and didn’t remove them from the vase for weeks.
“Underworld” is a visually stunning cinematic sci-fi/fantasy/horror masterpiece about the secret underground battle between vampires and werewolves. But, in the movie, vampires are referred to as “Death Dealers” and werewolves are referred to as “Lycans”. The word “Lycan” is a shortened form of “lycanthrope” – a werewolf.
“Underworld”, unpredictably, became a cinematic tradition for me and Chris. We attended the premiere of “Underworld: Evolution” in 2006 and the opening night of Underworld: Rise of the Lycans” in 2009. By the third movie, Chris’ love of the series equaled my own.
I had brought two canine children with me to Georgia - Damiana (a shih tzu) and Pandora (a chihuahua). Beginning in early 2004, I lived with Chris, who had become my best friend, and our two amazing 4-legged children. Life presented many challenges, but we managed, and we survived. And many wonderful memories were created during these years – and are still remembered fondly.
In 2005, Chris brought home a grey and white shih tzu mix from the pound. I wanted to name him Viktor - named after a vampire elder from the “Underworld” movies.
“The name on the cage was Mactown and I kind of like it”, Chris said. “Okay”, I replied. That day Mac Mac (Mactown) Jones joined our family.
6 years later a fourth 4-legged friend would join us. Predictably, I wanted to name him Viktor. But, as Chris and I sat with our newest canine son on the couch, Chris said, “look at his coloring and his face – he looks like a werewolf. He looks like a lycan”. I couldn’t disagree. That evening, “King” (named by the young woman who rescued him from a car accident) became “Lycan”. A perfect name for a perfect little man.
To be continued…