Telepath for Hire

One of the things that’s a popular theme in fanfic is having Sookie use her telepathy to make money. The idea is that she could give up being a waitress, and use her telepathy to support herself. I don’t know if that’s very viable, or that it’s possible at all. So I’m going to use her past experiences with doing so, and show you why I think that way; as well as the nature of vampires and the reality of what Sookie can do.

That’s not to say that CH won’t do just that, but from all available evidence, it’s a bad idea and possibly wouldn’t work so well in book Sookie’s life. The fact that CH hasn’t alluded to it, or had Sookie think about it is a hint that she probably won’t go that way. After all, Harper Connolly runs a similar business with her extra-natural talent, but Sookie hasn’t given it a thought. It’s not that CH hasn’t thought about it, but Harper doesn’t live in a world interacting with vampires, so her case is different. But standard disclaimer, if CH does, then get back to me and I’ll see if I can poke holes in the idea. 😀 Part of the fun for me with CH is that I can’t seem to poke holes in her ideas, which is great, because it means I can obsess over the books and bring it to you in the form of an LJ. 😀

Firstly, one of the things that always prefaces these ideas in fanfic is the idea of a contract for Sookie’s services, which often has all kinds of things written into it. Usually those things are a nod to the conditions that Sookie already has with her deals with vampires, or they’re a nod to morals. Of course, in some fics they don’t exist because Sookie has “seen the light” and learned to love causing people’s deaths by reading their thoughts or at least stopped giving a shit about being a paid executioner. But a contract for employment is at the heart of it.  Okay, that sounds great in theory. But coming from the point of view of someone who works in crime and knows quite a few lawyers, it’s not really worth the paper it’s written on. I can’t tell you I have exhaustive legal knowledge, but I doubt CH can either. A lawyer would definitely be able to find more holes than I would.

Let’s look firstly at the basic nature of contracts, and the various ways it can fuck Sookie up.
Firstly, the idea of forming a contract is tacit approval that you don’t mind  working as a telepath for the rest of your life. The very idea that you’re willing to do that means that vampires potentially have you over a barrel. Before they sign anything, why not just start forcing you? It’s relatively easily done – hold Merlotte’s hostage, open up Vic’s Roadhouse and bankrupt Sam so that he has to get into debt. Or fool Jason into signing something stupid. Hell, glamour Tara into doing something that will create a debt. There are numerous ways that vampires could get to you once they find out that you’re willing to work as a telepath for the rest of your life.

After all, the preparation for that is to quit working as a waitress, and move out of Bon Temps, telling all who know and care about what you’re doing that you’re going to be working for vampires. It’s not as if your boss or anyone else will now question why you’ve disappeared from the world, and are seen in the company of vampires – you’ve ostensibly made it clear that’s exactly what you’d be doing. It’d be the perfect way to force Sookie’s hand by endangering or indebting those she loves. Not many would feel sorry enough for Sookie to risk themselves to rescue her, and even if they could, I dare say it would involve going public with what she could do.

Now, while Eric has the pledge going, that makes it unlikely, but not impossible. More likely it is that Sookie’s failure to co-operate would be the clincher in that plan. But that’s not to say that there aren’t deeply stupid vampires in the world who believe that brute force can eventually force someone to work for them. Andre is one, Mickey is another. There’s also the vampire Michael at the Rhodes Summit, and the vampire Cindy Lou at the Rhodes Summit. Vampires are not universally bright and intelligent – they can run to the trashy and stupid as well. I often think of Cindy Lou when I think of the supposed “superiority” of vampires.

Sookie has made her position weak though, just by agreeing to work with them, and have lots of contact with vampires. If you prove to be valuable, and they want jurisdiction over you, then the vampires decide all by themselves to make rules for you.  Quinn is a great example of that. The vampires have now made rules for were animals that work for them. Quinn didn’t go with the original deal in the first place thinking it was a way to get blocked from Area Five and seeing Sookie right? Otherwise he wouldn’t have made the deal like he did. Like Darth Vader, the vampires modified the contract, and Quinn can only pray that they don’t alter it further. He has no power – and I bet that the vampires would purposefully put in innocuous sounding clauses that later come to bite you in the arse.

All of the vampires who wanted Sookie to work for them would be able to do just that to her – like say contract her to find where the $50,000 is being stolen from Felipe’s casino. Sounds great until Sookie sits in on months and months of pit boss dealings, only to find out that the $50,000 was stolen by one of Felipe’s underlings so that they could squeeze her into making a really shitty deal. You just know that all they’d ask for is that in the intervening period while she’s looking for that money, she should report any wrongdoings or thefts. Suddenly, Sookie’s been in Vegas working for free for six months, and finally finds out where the $50,000 went, only to get $10,000 for her trouble. That sounds like a pretty shitty deal for Sookie, and a rockin’ one for vampires. But they love that shit.

In that way, contracts are only as valid as the person you’re making them with, and the available knowledge. They don’t work so well with creatures who’ve been killing for money and goods for years and have no compunction about breaking laws or deceiving humans. They’ve been living that way for hundreds of years, and they have more difficulty playing it on the up-and-up than they do of falling into bad old habits. They’re inclined to do things the easy (and illegal) way than go about doing things the slow legal way. Oh, they like it when a contract favours them, but they’re not so chuffed when it doesn’t.

Sookie might be a telepath, and she could get a really kick arse lawyer (Mr. Cataliades is unavailable due to running from grey  blur thingies – maybe Mr. Maimondes the other demon lawyer we saw at Rhodes) but that doesn’t mean that they know everything that vampires have in mind. Something like Felipe’s scheme above wouldn’t send up a red flag to her lawyer or to Sookie – merely because it sounds entirely reasonable. She should report further offences to her employer if she discovers it in the meantime – you wouldn’t want such a narrow scope on what you’ve got a telepath there for. After all, you wouldn’t want her to be able to say “But I didn’t report the FotS bomb thoughts because that wasn’t in the purview of my contractual obligations” – and so the clauses are going to leave a little room to wiggle and a few obligations for Sookie.

What’s she to do when she finds out that they followed the contract – exactly? She could perhaps argue that they broke the spirit of the contract, but I don’t think that would fly. She could argue that the vampires got “unjust enrichment” in the contract, and involved themselves in deceit to form the contract. She’d have to prove that Felipe knew all along that his underling had the money, and I think it’s more likely that Felipe would stake the vampire rather than satisfy that one – and cover it up. Henrik Feith was sacrificed in that sort of power play so that Sophie Anne would win her court case. One cannot cross examine dust and uphold that complaint. And if Sookie loses, she would have to pay a penalty. Just like if she walked away from it, she would have to pay a penalty. Contracts are enforceable by both parties once formed – not just by the telepath – but also by the vampires. It’d be the easiest way to create a debt Sookie then has to work off if Jason wants to keep his legs.

But let’s say that there’s some bizarre clause that covers absolutely every single contingency of that scenario, and vampires have Sookie’s services in a completely legitimate matter. I’m more inclined to believe that Sookie would spend half of her life in writing the contract, negotiating for her services (cause the whole negotiation and counter offer is always left out of fic scenarios and there’s no reason they have to take all of her terms) and then the rest of her life in litigation over the whole stupid thing until they bankrupt her or get a judgement in their favour. But let’s make believe it’s likely and continue on from there.

Contracts in particular are formed with three things in mind – Offer, acceptance and consideration (consideration is something of value is exchanged). Your ordinary person makes contracts every day, and I bet they’ve had trouble with contracts and they don’t even realise it. For example, one court case found that the offer (this was a pharmaceuticals supermarket in the USA) is merely putting an item for purchase on the counter. The acceptance is the clerk ringing it up, and the consideration is the exchange of goods for money. So, I’m sure that you’ve all gone into a shop and bought something, which means you’ve all made contracts.

Ever have trouble returning a faulty item? Cause I know I have. Some shop owners are real pigs about returning stuff – while the law is on the customer’s side in most first world countries. If the item isn’t fit for the purpose it was sold for, the shop has to recompense you. In effect, nullifying the contract because the consideration wasn’t what the contract was about – you return the faulty good, they give you your money back. Here in Australia, we have the Trade Practices Act (1974), but I’m sure there are similar pieces of legislation the world over – I just don’t know their names. Most civil systems have been passed down through Europe, and consolidated, so there are nuances, but not much of a difference at this level.

So think about the times you’ve had difficulty returning a broken whatever and think about how easy it was to enforce the terms of the contract. Now imagine that the shop owner is not some mean Scrooge-type too pigheaded to take a $20 loss instead of alienating a future customer; but rather an immortal killer with no mercy who wants your services badly enough to think about maiming those you love. How easy is it therefore to enforce that contract and get said immortal killer to live up to their end of the bargain with *snicker* honour? Yeah, reaallll easy lol.

In fact, looking further at Quinn’s situation – they shouldn’t be able to make any contracts with him, because he was under duress at the time. Quinn works for them under duress – ie. that they’ll make his sister a blood whore to pay off his mother’s debts. Duress is supposed to nullify contracts – but it doesn’t really work that way unless you can prove duress and you have a court that will hear your case. In a dodgy contract like that, with a man who hasn’t come out as a thing that can change into a tiger, no one will ever hear your case but vampires…when you get to a summit in a few years – please to enjoy your work in the meantime.

Sookie would be in exactly the same position as Quinn – unless she comes out of the closet and is a recognised telepath, if vampires don’t stick to the spirit and word of the contract she can do exactly zip. If they make her sign a contract under duress she can’t do anything either. While she might not want to follow the contract, she’d soon find the debt she built up and the absolute rate of attrition through her loved ones would be hell on wheels. She’d also take a great deal of risk getting it arbitrated at a vampire court with vampire judges. The whole “Vampires First” policy makes that one a risky proposition.

But let’s make believe that a vampire court would be fair and rule in her favour (which is a little doubtful – even regular human courts can be a pain in the arse, and vampires tend to be very cunning and very bureaucratic) and she can actually enforce her contract. How would she enforce some of the conditions she makes in her deals based on honour and continued co-operation?

Let’s say that Sookie has it written into her contract that the humans she reads are not to be killed. Sounds great on the surface, right? Except that the problem is that you can’t exactly remedy murder in a contract case. They can’t undo that – the very most that Sookie could do is refuse to work for supes again – and the likelihood is that she’ll end up much in the same position then as Quinn or Alcide. Back into debt – and now that they have you all lovely and close, I’m sure they’d find a way to create such a debt. Now you’re working off page, to pay off your exorbitant debt. To vampires. Who might eat your brother or punish your lover. Say hello to organised slavery.

So, let’s say that they don’t murder people, and stick to the letter of the contract. That so does not mean jack. I actually have a quote from the books that illuminates that. Sookie catches a drainer in Merlotte’s while Mickey’s there:

In fact, he was doing something with a device in his hands. It looked like one of
those cell phones that can take a picture. I wondered to whom he was sending it.
I wondered if she’d make it home.

Dead as a Doornail,
p. 17

So Sookie avoids bloodshed, takes the blood off the drainer, and now said drainer has a picture that vampires are circulating. Sookie here just wonders – but in order to really enforce her contract, she’d have to know for sure. Which means that while Sookie’s working for them, vampires could agree to the terms of the contract, and then when the contract is concluded (meaning both parties have fulfilled their end of the bargain and it is now ‘finished’) the vampires take out the information their telepath gave them – or they remember it, or call up pictures – track said person down and kill them.

Sookie’s contract in that instance is concluded – they abided by the terms until it was finished. You’d have to write some pretty complex stuff to allow for all eventualities, and again, Sookie would have to be able to remedy a breach of the contract. Sookie can’t bring someone back to life, but the likely remedy would be a monetary penalty to both sides – say $20,000 if you do the wrong thing. Heh – any vampire worth their salt would happily pay that penalty if they really wanted to kill the person. Eric killed Longshadow even though it cost him a boatload of money. So now Sookie is forced to take blood money so that the vampires can do whatever the fuck they please – sticking to the word of the contract while the intent of the contract is out the fucking window. That’s if she ever finds out that after her contracts are concluded, the offender in question mysteriously disappears one night and she can trace it back to vampires. Boy, that sounds easy.

The other thing is what if they abide by her contracts in form, and don’t kill the humans in question. Let’s look at what happened when Stan followed Sookie’s rules about not killing:

“How long will you keep them here?” I asked.
Stan shrugged. “Three or four months. We will feed Hugo, of course. Not Isabel.”
“And then?”
“We’ll unchain him first. He will get a day’s head start.”

Living Dead in Dallas, p. 205

Technically, Sookie hasn’t saved his life at at all – the most she’s done is delayed Hugo’s death. Sookie doesn’t feel comfortable with this, and it makes her feel dirty, but it can’t be denied that Stan has followed her rules – if in a totally fucked up way that will end with Hugo dying otherwise. Even if Sookie could save all of the humans from death, she can’t really save them from imprisonment, loss of free will and torture. She gets uncomfortable about the loss of free will too:

If there’d been the slightest chance she’d stay calm and cooperative,
I might have asked Bill to bring her out of the artificial state. I loved
having Frannie still and quiet – but I hated her loss of free will.

From Dead to Worse, p. 166

Now, a temporary glamour sounds like not too bad a punishment, overall. Way better than death. But that’s not their only means of controlling humans, or altering their lives. They could decide that they want to turn the person into a Renfield, or that they want to torture them for a couple of hours. They could decide that they wanted to make the person dysfunctional sexually, or that they want them to lose a limb. All of these things are not deadly, and so allowable under the “no killing” rule.

What about the standards for what is a punishable offence? Hugo hadn’t done anything that he could be arrested for in the human world – not that he would serve much time for what they considered adequate. That’s not to say that he was innocent of crime, and Stan is harsh, but at least he’s punishing someone who warrants some punishment (even if the actual sentence is over the top and guaranteed to end in his death). What about the batshit crazy vampire who decides what is a punishable offence wouldn’t pass for any kind of offence in our world:

“You were torturing a human woman?” Dahlia asked Michael.
[snip]
“She’d offended me, and I enjoy sex that way, so I abducted her
and had a little fun,” Michael said.

All Together Dead, p. 268

According to Michael, batshit crazy vampire, his pride as a vampire meant that he felt entitled to abduct, torture and rape some woman for mouthing off to him in the street and refusing to fuck him. The gall. But if vampires like that made a deal for contracting Sookie’s services for the next year, then how could she possibly argue that she’s not hurting humans. Vampires are proud creatures – and sometimes they’re not all there – their idea of what causes offence is likely to be somewhat different to what causes offence in our world.

Another example of how different vampire standards are is in Dracula Night. Vampires have a rule that no vampire should be able to kill Dracula – and they attempt to apply that rule to Sookie when she stakes him in self defence (she doesn’t want him to eat her):

But as the self-proclaimed Dracula sank to the floor and I looked around me,
I wasn’t so sure. Only the presence of Eric at my side kept the assemblage
from falling on me and taking care of business.

A Touch of Dead
, p. 66

We have no rules about certain humans being inviolate, but vampires have a rule about at least one vampire being untouchable. Since they apply different rules you only find out about when they’re broken, then how is Sookie going to react and indeed, anticipate the need for a certain thing to happen? In the case of Dracula, she didn’t stipulate when she first met Eric, but then she didn’t know about it. It’s entirely possible other different offences could come up that Sookie doesn’t know about.

There are other rules too that supernaturals have amongst themselves that they agree on, but that don’t have any real meaning for our judicial system.

“Marked her?”
“Yes, blood offense,” Alcide said significantly.

Club Dead, p. 149

Here in Australia, we have wounding – that is the criminal offence of drawing blood. It’s not a matter for punishment in a civil way – or only for damages in a civil way. I’m sure there are similar pieces of legislation the world over. But what exactly the punishment is for the blood offence is debatable. There seems to be a weird mixture of the civil and criminal under the vampires – they have the power to ask for punishments and payments – like Hot Rain wanted over the death of Longshadow. The fact that he asked for punishment tells us that it’s all a bit interwoven.

So Sookie would have to anticipate a need in a world she doesn’t know. There’s no absolute guarantee that a demon lawyer would know extensive information about vampire need and customs, and when exactly is it that life among vampires has been predictable? Vampires tend to hide things, and there’s no guarantee that they would make her aware of all the possible problems – if they can get her in the hole, then they can use her as much as they like. Just like they did with Quinn, it’s in the vampires’ best interests to create one hell of a debt for her to work off.

On top of all the concerns about the ways Sookie could be caught out by a contract, there is the concerns about her own abilities. For a start, there’s nothing particularly guaranteed by having a telepath that can read the minds of humans. What about if she signs a contract with the weres, and then they argue that she needs to do her job by taking a shamanic drink so she can read weres better? Telepathy is not a sure fire thing – as Sookie herself says over and over, mistakes are made. There’s no guarantee that telepathy will work for everything or that the telepath is concentrating on the right thing:

…Joe’s were not blank. They were shielded. I’d never encountered
anything like it. Someone had put a metaphysical helmet on his head.

All Together Dead,
p. 185

In the case of the FotS bombing, that was three telepaths at that conference, and they all missed it. One of those telepaths had a full time job as a telepath for Stan Davis. It’s foolish to believe that vampires will want all business to take place in a small quiet room – they have conferences with lots of vampires. That’s not to mention Hugo and Arlene – both of whom were able to hide their true intentions from Sookie because they didn’t think clearly about what their intent was.

In fanfic, the villain is conveniently thinking in clear sentences, unobstructed by everyone else, but that’s not how real people think. They think about fragments and off-topic stuff making her job so much harder. They’re in a room full of humans or other supes, and can’t be easily distinguished.  That’s just regular humans with no supernatural influence. While Godfrey left holes in people’s heads to show they’d been glamoured, that’s not the ordinary appearance of a glamoured human:

She definitely wanted me to back off; she was completely sincere about that.
But her thinking about her motivation was curiously murky.

Dead as a Doornail,
p. 101

So if vampires know that one set of vampires has a telepath working for them, the simplest solution is merely to glamour the information out of the humans in question. It won’t – as it does in fanfic – leave a giant gaping hole signalling its absence – it’ll be unable to be accessed. Rendering the brand new shiny telepath almost useless. Once the humans dealing with vampires hear about her, it’ll be relatively easy for them to hire a witch to bespell them with that mystical helmet, or a were to go as their proxy.

What about when telepathy doesn’t do the work that Sookie is famous for? I mean, in the general run of things, Sookie’s telepathy is good for in the heat of the moment battle stuff – knowing where the witches are in the witch war, and knowing what’s going on with the FotS – but all of that is prefaced by a lot of information sharing, partnership and detective work. That requires her to be at the heart of danger. The real value to vampires in Sookie in particular (far over Barry for example) is that she’s willing to risk her life. If vampires try to include clauses in the contract, they’ll definitely include stuff like that – and direct her to follow “Vampires First” and leave the humans behind.

Now, that’s then solved in fanfic by giving Sookie a surfeit of guards, or at the very least, Eric. Of course, that wouldn’t work in the books because Eric has a job….he often doesn’t seem to have one in bad to average fanfic. But Eric’s job isn’t escorting Sookie round places – it’s being Sheriff of Area Five, and he needs Pam to help him with that, so it’s not your classic put-downable job like Bill has. If Bill wants to rearrange his schedule, he can; but Eric has a club, businesses and he’s a very busy vampire.

Usually, if Eric isn’t used, then a convenient were becomes available. Except that they all have jobs as well. Alcide might do emergency guarding duty (and what a shit guard he is running out on his charge about to be eaten by half a supe bar) but that’s just temporary. Now that he’s a pack master, he wouldn’t be doing any guarding jobs. Tray owned a motorcycle shop, that he could close down for a couple of days to take on the job of guarding Calvin and Sookie – but that’s not something he trades in. All of these people have regular jobs. Even the vampires – Maxwell we see at the club, but he’s also a business man. They do their supernatural duties on top of their regular jobs, not instead of.

On top of that, there’s the monetary aspect. Weres or vampires would need paying for being a full time bodyguard for Sookie. She wouldn’t just be able to pay them on a contractual basis – she’d have to pay them full time. Even if she’s doing contractual work, she’d need to make sure that she’s always safe, and that the bodyguard in question stays loyal to her. After all, if she makes them cut corners for a month while they’re not working, that creates a pissed off underling who will maybe not leap so fast in front of the next bullet. In the past, others have paid for Sookie’s bodyguards because she’s been working for them for free – but now Sookie will have to do that all by herself.

Odds are that she’ll have to get a were guard, merely because anyone in Area Five has sworn fealty, and has to serve their Sheriff. We saw that vampires have to call into Area Five headquarters even when they don’t want to:

So Eric had called in the little Minden nest: Palomino, Rubio Hermosa, and
Parker Coburn, the Katrina exiles. They trailed in looking unhappy but resigned.

Dead Reckoning,
p. 283

You can’t have a vampire bodyguard who has Area obligations, and who would have to take off to do those obligations. That’s why they pick Bubba (who has no discernible job and no obligations) or Tray (a lone wolf with no pack obligations). Sookie wouldn’t want a vampire who hasn’t sworn fealty to Eric being her guard, and she wouldn’t want a vampire at all I would think – just because they tend to be treacherous, circuitous bastards, like Charles Twining. No point in having a guard whose other part time job is finding a way to kill you.

That’s providing that they didn’t lose it in the heat of the moment when Sookie’s bleeding. It’s also providing that they don’t lose it completely because they’re all riled up:

“You’re wondering if we’re actually in danger?” I said.
“Vampires, excited, bloodlust?”
“We won’t be any use if we’re not alive.”
“Accidents happen,” I said, and Bill snorted.
I’d never heard him make such an ordinary sound,
and I looked at him. Bill was enjoying the prospect of a good fight.
From Dead to Worse, p. 166

Vampires might be able to protect you in a fight, but they also get off on the idea of fighting, and a good bit of the old ultra-violence. They’re not so much guards at the point when the fighting starts as potential liabilities. If Sookie could get a vampire that didn’t enjoy fighting, that might work, but you can’t have a guard that doesn’t enjoy fighting, or they’re useless. So Sookie wouldn’t use a vampire – she’d have to use something else. Not a fairy, for obvious reasons of actually inciting bloodlust, so it’d have to be a were.

Weres are weaker than vampires, more fragile, and can be glamoured. In the thick of a vampire dispute, they’re not really better equipped at guarding Sookie, and considering their sometimes (I’m looking at you Alcide Herveaux) lack of impulse control running up to the full moon, that’s a useless guard. Even Sam gets all antsy about that sort of thing, and I don’t see vampires agreeing to run on the were bodyguard’s schedule. So the idea that Sookie would be able to have a guard at her fingertips is unlikely.

On top of that, there’s also the monetary consideration. I know that in fanfic, Sookie makes a packet. That’s not how it works in the books. Sookie makes what she considers a packet. For the Rhodes Summit, she got paid $25,000* [see end note]. Out of that money, she’d have to pay the unreliable were guard, or pay for her own defences. She’d have to subsist on that money on a subcontractor basis – which isn’t particularly sure. It would mean a lot more instability in her life. Of course, it would be sensible for her to pay for top quality health care, what with copious vampire injury possibilities.

Eric isn’t a gumball machine, so it’s not as if she could just rock up and bite him at will to drink his blood any time she feels like it. That’s kinda disrespectful, and stinks of her using him. While vampire blood heals her, Sookie wouldn’t be cool with Eric demanding he be allowed to bite her at will, so she never, ever asks for or counts on vampire blood. Of course, that presents another inherent danger. All that time spent around other vampires while Eric is at work? Sooner or later, some bonehead vampire would end up bonding Sookie to him, and that would make for one hell of a mess.

If Sookie is on the verge of death, they might even decide to summarily turn her, fucking up all that good stuff. Even if the bond is reinstated (please, CHGod no) that doesn’t actually save her from death. She would have died if Bill and Niall didn’t get to her in time with Neave and Lochlan, and Eric didn’t feed her blood. If Eric is similarly held up by a new vampire dickhead taking Victor’s place, or because he’s doing something somewhere else, Sookie could find herself bonded to a new unkind master, and then the idea of free will is out the window. She’s now property of said vampire, dead or alive (no one listens to the human if they’re “mine”‘d by the vampire) and she now works for free. Again, open slavery we thought we’d never know ye.

She could put a clause in her contract that no vampire is to give her blood without consent, but that doesn’t do any damn good. If she was in enough pain, enough injury, she’d say yes like she has in the past. If she said no and they did it anyway, she could say that that breaks the contract – but the remedy for breach is just money. Said vampire is now tied to Sookie and no amount of money could ameliorate that. I doubt Eric would be too pleased with her because another vampire is now horning in on what is his. Even if she did the bond breaking ritual once a week (all that money is sure to be sucked up by witches fees and now Sookie is poorer than a waitress) they’d just keep doing it to her until one of them decided to engineer an accident and turn her.

Sookie could try upping her telepathy fees, of course. But the odds are that she’d just end up pricing herself out of the market. The real money is made by the client – there is little or no point setting a speculative fee that may exceed the value you’d get out of a telepath. For example, Stan got a lot of great publicity, and saved himself a bunch of money by getting Farrell back. Sookie saw $5,000 for that fiasco. The majority of the benefit went to Stan. Stan wouldn’t think it was such a great bargain if she was charging him $75,000 – which is fair value for the work she actually did. But it was Stan, Eric and Bill who made a nice chunk of change from that – not Sookie. She got 5K and one hell of a beating…and no healing – before anyone comments – none of the vampires offered her blood – so Sookie went wanting.

Same with Sophie Anne – she would have saved herself a lot of money on the lumber deals and such she did at Rhodes. But it’s not good business sense to give that profit to the telepath anyway. Might as well take the shitty deal with the quality of lumber being questionable if it’s going to cost you just as much to get a telepath to fix it for you. So Sookie might take in a percentage of money to live on – although in the books it just pads her existing situation – but that’s not really enough to make her richer than astronauts.

In order to make real money, Sookie would have to become a full time telepath for vampires – and that means living with them, eating in their house and trailing them around the country, much like Barry does. There’s no going home to Eric at the end of the night – there’s staying with your vampire employers, right in the thick of danger. It’s not as if a Sheriff would have need of a permanent telepath. Eric is currently married to Sookie, and he doesn’t use her skills all that often. So if Eric hired her for his telepath, that would just be a salve to the idea – he’d give her money for doing nothing, and Sookie’s job is a joke and a lie.

So Sookie would need to go to where ever it is the vampire needs her – that’s the Regent of Louisiana or the King of Louisiana, Arkansas and Nevada – which would be New Orleans or Vegas. For New Orleans, that’s 5 hours from home, and for Nevada, that’s states away. I don’t imagine that a telepath would get much time off – you kinda need them all the time. So instead of seeing Eric all the time, she’d have to wait until the weekends, and fly out to Louisiana to see him. That’s not much of a relationship, if I do say so myself.

Finally, in the wake of all this, is this fact. Telepathic work is boring as shit.

That took forever to hammer out, and it was boring, boring, boring.
[snip]
By the time vendor number eight simpered to a stop in front of the queen,
I was unable to suppress my yawns.

All Together Dead, pp. 274-275

Sookie may enjoy using her skills on occasion, but as a full time job, telepathy would suck for her. Barry does it because of the money and forcing, and Mr. Cataliades doesn’t do it at all. Sookie would be bored to death listening to the equivalent of Maxwell Lee and his “variable annuities or whatever the hell he talks about” (thank you Eric) going on and on in various incarnations throughout the night. That’s in between the fighting and the attacks of course. Vampire life has about two speeds – dead boring business and politics; and struggling to stay alive in the middle of a melée.

Sookie would rather wait tables, or get an education, and I can’t say I blame her. Working as a telepath doesn’t put her into the action – it leaves her an observing commentator on the sidelines.  She can’t even skive off and think about other things – she’s just a conduit for information. Using it occasionally to benefit Eric is far different from doing it for a full time job. It’d be almost impossible to do it safely, make plenty of money, and to do it well. Or to do it for the rest of her increasingly shortened life. Vampires=drama – and you don’t want to sign up to work for vampires on a full time basis if you like living and having freedom from blood bonds. You want to minimise your contact to the vampires you want to be around – like Bill, Pam and Eric – who have reasons not to do too much forcing, and not to use your skills all the time.

Being a telepath for hire wouldn’t free Sookie from a shitty job. It would put her into a far more dangerous, lower paying job that bores her to tears. It would save her knees, but possibly end her freedom or her life.

I got the number wrong because I was going from memory – I said $15,000 and it was $25,000. I thought it was in the books – but when I went searching to check, I searched CH’s forum instead. Source Thanks fffbone :D.

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