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Screed

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Screed
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Screed (from "Blind Faith")
Born mid-16th Century (possibly London)
Brought Across 1580 (as a carouche)
Vampire Death 1995 (blood disease)
Portrayed By Greg Kramer
Fan Factions Rat-Pack
Rat Patrol
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Screed in vampire mode (from "Blind Faith")


Downright skinny, dressed in grubby rags, Screed is an unprepossessing sight even before one learns that his chosen food is rat's blood. Yet he and Javier Vachon have remained friends for a couple of centuries at least. During part of this time, he was an integral member of an informal gang of vampires led by Vachon; and they remain friends even though the crew have now broken up.

Make yourself at home, mate. Mi casa, su casa.


CharacterEdit

Mortal LifeEdit

Little is known of Screed's life before coming across. However, based on both his Cockney accent and a few clues from the episode "Fever", it would appear that he was an English sailor. This is evidenced by the following:


  • His final request was to be buried by the water, telling Vachon, "It never felt right being on land."
  • After burying Screed near a large body of water (possibly Lake Ontario), Vachon raises a bottle of blood to the grave and states, "See you in hell, sailor."


Since Screed's first chronological appearance was a flashback set around 1792 (in the episode "My Boyfriend is a Vampire"), he was obviously turned sometime before that. As mentioned below in the "Manner of Speech" section, the particular speech patterns used by Screed did not come into use until around 1500-1600, indicating that he was born and grew to his physical age—which appears to be 30-something—within that time frame or after. Although not explicitly stated, many fans assume that Vachon was the one to bring Screed across.

Carouche LifestyleEdit

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Screed is enthusiastic about drinking rat's blood

Why the first blood he drank upon waking was that of a rat was never described in canon. But, as a consequence, Screed is as fixated on drinking rat's blood as most vampires are on human blood. Such animal-focused vampires are called "carouches"; and Screed is the only example of the breed to make more than a brief appearance in Forever Knight. Although he can drink human blood (and does so in "My Boyfriend is a Vampire"), Screed prefers to prey on rats. He therefore hunts the sewers for food, and keeps a supply of captive rats on hand in his lair, pegged up on a clothesline for handy feeding.

Screed's lair in Toronto is an abandoned cellar. This can be discerned from the chute in one corner, once used to roll things down for storage below. Screed comes in from the alley by sliding down the chute. Living in a cellar affords him quick access to the sewers where he hunts.

Manner of SpeechEdit

Screed is often difficult to understand because of the extraordinary way he speaks. This is an idiosyncratic combination of Nadsat and Cockney rhyming slang. Screed is presumably English, and some 450 years old—which is also reflected in his speech.

PersonalityEdit

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Screed is fond of money, and eager to either avoid or keep on the good side of those who are more powerful than he is. The Enforcers and the Inca both terrify him. But he is willing to take the risky job of hunting bombs planted in the service tunnels...if Nick pays him for each one he brings in. And he provides Nick with information about a carouche living north of Toronto...when Nick hands over a hundred dollar bill. According to Vachon, whenever Screed accumulates a sufficient amount, he heads off to Las Vegas to gamble.

RelationshipsEdit

Screed first came to the attention of Nick Knight in "Black Buddha, Part Two", when his new partner, Det. Tracy Vetter, went missing and, suspecting Vachon, Nick tracked him down to Screed's lair. Although he has since used Screed as an informant, Nick always approaches him with distaste—perhaps in part for his choice of surroundings, but primarily because he is a carouche.

Vachon's friendship with Screed also disturbs Tracy, who sees the carouche's lifestyle and home as ridden with dirt and disease.

DeathEdit

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Screed died in Vachon's arms

In "Fever", Screed was out hunting when he spotted a white rat which had escaped from a nearby lab. Its appearance appealed to him, and he dropped his intended dinner to pursue it. However, the white rat had been deliberately infected with an experimental disease that was being developed as a potential cure for AIDS. This disease proved intensely virulent to vampires. Screed was infected.

The symptoms of the disease include a desperate hunger, similar to that experienced by vampires when they first come across. Despite draining many rats, Screed was starving when Vachon visited him. Vachon therefore offered him a drink from his own wrist, which passed the disease on to him. Picking up the dead rat as evidence passed the disease to Nick, who in turn passed it to LaCroix. Although a cure was eventually discovered by Dr. Lambert, it was too late for Screed. He died in Vachon's arms.

As he had been asked, Vachon buried Screed down by the waterfront.

Episodes of SignificanceEdit

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Screed in "Black Buddha, Part Two".

The following is a list of the episodes in which Screed appears (or is mentioned), with a brief synopsis. For a full discussion of his role in each episode, see Screed's scenes.

  • "Black Buddha, Part Two": Having rescued Tracy Vetter from the Inca, Javier Vachon needs a place to take her while he decides what to do. He goes to Screed's place—to his friend's thinly disguised horror. Vachon decides in the end to let Tracy go; but, having found out about his friendship with Screed from Urs, Nick Knight comes to the cellar looking for her. Screed arrives in mid interrogation. He is appalled at the invasion of his home, taking Nick for an Enforcer.(Screed's first appearance.)
  • "Blind Faith": When it appears that someone has brought over a dog, Nick Knight turns for information to the only carouche he knows.
  • "My Boyfriend is a Vampire": In the flashback, Vachon's crew seduce and kill a group of women.
  • "Hearts of Darkness": In the 1890s, Vachon's crew visit a nightclub in New Orleans where Urs is a singer; Screed and Bourbon flirt with her until Vachon stops them.
  • "Let No Man Tear Asunder": Vachon tells Tracy that Screed has connections who are involved in a black-market organ transplant ring.
  • "Fever": Screed feeds on an infected lab rat, catches the illness it is carrying, and dies. (Screed's final appearance.)
  • "Ashes to Ashes": Tracy says that she will bury Vachon next to Screed.

Behind the ScenesEdit

Screed's appearance and clothes are distinctive. The boots and skullcap were actually supplied by Greg Kramer, the actor who played the part. He had worn the cap to protect his hair while playing Mustardseed in A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Vancouver Playhouse: in that production, the role called for fire-breathing to symbolize the heat of mustard.

At the time the part of Screed was cast, Kramer had been shaving his head for about a year—initially for a role in Incubus Theatre's touring production of The Old Testament, and then to play the Marquis de Sade in Jim Millan's production of A Hole in My Heart, and Renfield in Dracula.[1]

About Screed's idiosyncratic argot:


Screed's dialogue was written to the letter and Greg was required to stick to the script exactly. Problem was, he often had no idea what Screed meant and no one seemed to be able to help out. "What you see on screen is an actor desperately trying to make sense out of gobbledigook."

— from "With Rat in Hand - An Interview with Greg Kramer" (Libby Smith Singleton)[2]


Fan FictionEdit

The following are works of fan fiction in which Screed appears prominently among the characters.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. "With Rat in Hand - An Interview with Greg Kramer" by Libby Smith Singleton, originally conducted in 1996, published c. 1999, and reprinted in two parts in FORKNI-L@LISTS.PSU.EDU on 18 April 2013.
  2. "With Rat in Hand - An Interview with Greg Kramer" by Libby Smith Singleton, originally conducted in 1996, published c. 1999, and reprinted in two parts in FORKNI-L@LISTS.PSU.EDU on 18 April 2013.

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