Day two… I’m waiting for AAA a second evening in a row. The new battery I had put in last night isn’t working tonight. But wait, I drove all over the place today – at least 25 miles. Then the towing guy calls and tells me it must be the alternator and not the battery. So I tell him I’m not the car guy so I don’t know what it is. And if it isn’t the battery I need to have the fucking car towed to the dealer or to my neighborhood guy to have it fixed. Only I didn’t say fucking. I was nice and polite. When one is waiting without a car one needs to be polite. Then I get a text that they are running late. Gee thanks. This is my glamorous life.
I can hear traffic and frogs and it is getting colder and colder out here. I could take the car next to me but I know the owner and I don’t think he’d be too pleased. That said, it is a really nice car.
This all reminded me of a time a long long time ago when I had to help out someone who was stranded.
I was standing in a cemetery next to a huge crypt in the middle of the night. Even in Southern California it was cold. I had no idea where my sister-in-law Verity or my friend Elizabeth were. They were bringing the tools. A friend of ours had been mistaken for dead and buried, luckily in a crypt, and it was our job to get him out.
“You’re so good at this Juliette. YOU do it. Please,” they told me.
I hear someone breathing and when I turned I noticed standing next to me is a woman dressed in black. She isn’t a nun. Her clothing is elegant. Her hair is perfect. She is even wearing heels. Of course she has on heels – this is 1958.
“Hello there,” I said, suddenly realizing that I’m starving.
Then she looks at me and utters words that shock me. “Your soul will be damned.”
How oddly rude. “Excuse me?” I said to the strange woman in black. “Unlike you I own my soul. I will not be judged. I won’t be damned or rewarded by anyone else. When and if I die I will have to find my own way. I cannot sell my soul or barter it away. It is mine and my responsibility. If I screw up I will not be forgiven. I must fix it myself, with no help from anyone or anything,” I said wondering how I’d gotten myself into this situation. Oh please do not try to understand me I thought. I am different. I’m strange. Accept me for who and what I am. Unfortunately nobody listens to that and everybody judges. Of course they do.
If I smoked I would have been craving a cigarette right then, but I never smoked. I just drink of I was craving something. Actually I was craving silence or maybe sex from a hot handsome stranger (this was before I married Teddy) but what I really wanted more than anyone was blood. Then sex and booze but first blood.
You know, there are some memories and situations we don’t tell our kids about until they’re grown and maybe not even then. This was sort of one of them.
Over the years “People” and other Vampires and others have said all sorts of crap to me. We all know how it is because people judge. They want us to all be like them. They want to use us and they want us in their lives but not all of us. They want the bits and pieces that suit their lives. They say “I want you but…” They say, “I love you but…” They say, “I wish you were…” Or they don’t say it and you know they’re thinking it. But they don’t get it. They don’t know that we pretty much don’t care. We’re interested. We’ll listen. We’ll even try to understand but we know who we are. No more trying to change us or make us “better.” No more using us. That is soooo 17th century. Enough.
So, back to the person who told me I’d be damned.
“Who are you and what are you doing here?”
“You can’t take Henry,” she told me. “Let him lie in peace.”
“He isn’t dead,” I told her.
“He is undead.”
At this point I was sure she’d been watching too many Val Lewton movies, then I recognized her. She was an actress, a semi famous beauty married to an extremely wealthy man. Ahhhhh. No wonder she didn’t want Henry to come back alive. She was having an affair with a Vampire – a rather handsome and amusing Vampire at that.
“Oh please, give it up. You can’t just bury your lovers when the think your husband might find out. Go home. Make your marriage work. Appreciate what you have. Look, as soon as my friends get here we’re taking Henry away so you won’t have to ever see him again anyway.”
Then my stomach growled. Damn.
Then she starts to cry and begs me not to tell anyone. She says her heart is broken. Her pretty face gets all puffy. She starts to babble on about Henry when I put my hand up motioning for her to stop.
“You need to forget about Henry,” I said.
She started to say something but I cut her off. “You need to leave now before I have you for dinner.”
Standing still like a deer in a headlight she just stared at me. So I took her by the arm and said, “Forget Henry was a Vampire. Forget anything you know about Vampires. Stop watching monster movies. Go back to your husband and rebuild your life.”
The pretty young actress staggered away from me down the hill to her car. She’d forget by time she got home. She’d remember a handsome man, a flirtation and a death. She’d wake up in the morning with the belief that Vampires only existed in the movies. As she drove away Verity and Elizabeth came up with a crowbar and some other tools. We carefully and quietly extracted Henry from his casket.
Of course Henry was glad to see us. I could see why the actress was so smitten by him. He was extremely handsome, especially in his black funeral suit.
“You owe me big time Henry,” I told him. “And do me a favor and stay away from your little actress friend.”
He winked then gave me a kiss on the cheek. That was all. Just another brief random encounter.
The four of us, Verity, Elizabeth, Henry and I, walked through the cemetary to our cars. Wreaths and flowers were fresh on many of the graves. Christmas for the dead. Ghosts watched us as we walked along, coveting our bodies. They hate us because they have no bodies of their own and they consider us dead. We’re very much alive, just in a different way. We can never become ghosts.
My brothers Aaron and Val were waiting for us by the cars. Aaron was an attorney in Hollywood at the time but he was thinking about planning on moving up north soon, back to Sacramento. Val and I were always moving around. Henry and Elizabeth were thinking of moving up with the rest of us. Good times.
I was still famished to we ended up at a party with a lot of what Herb Caen of the San Francisco Chronicle had called “beatniks.” A lot of stoned wanna be poets who drank too much and didn’t notice their poetic and well spoken attractive friends were Vampires. I have to say dinner was interesting that night.
I thought about Henry’s actress friend tonight. I’d like to say she was a grandmother in San Diego, running a shelter for rescue cats and volunteering with her grandchildren’s school. I’d like to say that but I can’t. She died at age 31 in 1968 of a drug overdose. I think it was heroine. I’m sure her ghost is still out there looking for Henry.
My battery is now charged. The nice young man who fixed it said not to keep my phone charger plugged in while my car is stopped. Sounds reasonable to me.
I called everyone who was there that night and invited them over this weekend. Good friends stay together. We’ll celebrate the holidays without breaking into crypts or, for the most part, ghosts. I do have my ghost friends, but that is another post.
So keep your friends and your soul close and safe.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman