Unlikely Friendships

My brother Val and I were telling my kids about the time we didn’t spend Thanksgiving with our family.

In 1966 we were driving up the coast from Southern California to our parent’s house in San Francisco.

We turned off to take a back road, Val wanted to talk to a guy who built furniture. It would take maybe and hour he said. About ten miles off of the main highway a black sedan came up to our bumper. Another black car passed us, and before we could say “Change the radio station,” they had us blocked in and off of the road in a ditch.

It was cold and foggy out. I was in a great geometric design Mary Quant dress but had the good sense to be wearing flats. Val was in a suit. I mean, it was a holiday and we wanted to be respectable young Vampires and look good for our parents. I’d just turned 107 in October and Val was 108. We were still their babies.

Five men came out of the cars. “Don’t look into their eyes,” yelled one of the men.

Val swore under his breath. The men were Vampire Hunters. Just our luck. It was the day before Thanksgiving and we were, as usual, already late, and now this. It was always this.

And to add insult to injury one of the assholes torched my car. I’d had it for about six months. My beautiful green Austin Healey 3000 up in flames. Thank goodness my purse was still on my shoulder.

We stood in the light of the fire, surrounded. Our fangs were out.

“Gentlemen, why don’t we make a deal. If you let us go we’ll grant you a favor just like a genie in a lamp. We can do that. We can make sure nobody ever hurts you or your family. How about it? We can make sure your son’s draft number never comes up. We can make sure your daughters don’t fall in love with a dirty hippy. Think about it,” I said.

It was true, I could do all that and more. I could, but I’m no genie which means I can also lie about it. I can guarantee you that I wasn’t telling the truth, but they didn’t have to know.

To make a long story short, they started to come in closer with knives, guns and fire. Then shots. LOUD shots and the sound of a revving engine.

“Get the Hell out of here,” someone shouted, then shouted in the direction of Val and me and shouted, “GET IN.”

So we got into the truck. Two Vampires in the dark surrounded by angry Vampire Hunters often don’t have other options.

I slid in the middle seat between Val and the man driving. A large happy black dog was jammed in there with up.

The man didn’t look at us but talked as he drove. “God damn Vampire Hunters. You ok?”

“Yes, thank you. We’re ok,” said Val. “What do you mean by Vampire Hunters?”

“I know what you are. Fuckers. Not you, the damn Vampire Hunters. I swear one of these days I’m going to blow their heads off.”

I glanced over at Val trying to recalculate our situation.

Our driver continued, “I know you’re wondering how I know. My sister Debbie, the bitch, is dating one of those guys. My other sister Lydia is a Vampire. You know who I’m going to side with. Debbie is bat shit crazy, not to mention has bad taste in men. I’ll drop you off at the Greyhound station and wait until you get on your bus. It will take you as far as San Francisco. If you’re going anywhere else you’ll need to make a transfer.”

I looked over and saw his face. He was younger than he sounded. We talked more as we drove another hour to the bus station. His name was Bill. He’d just served a tour in Viet Nam and was home for a while before he had to go back. War was an ugly thing he said. He had no tolerance for violence at home.

“So you don’t care if we’re Vampires?” I had to ask.

“Why should I? The world is a strange and violent place. But the world if full of all sorts of creatures and I don’t see your kind, or most other creatures creating the problems. It is the assholes I’m concerned with. You know who I’m talking about. Hell, I think you’re interesting. After I get out of the Army I plan on spending more time with Lydia and her friends. They’re the only people I know right now who make any sense.”

“Some people believe we’re dead,” said Val.

Our driver laughed. “A lot of people are dead. Why should that bother me?”

We took the bus up to San Francisco and were picked up by our parents at the station.

That was such a long time ago and until today I’d almost forgotten about it.

Thanksgiving was great. My husband Teddy brought home and old bugle that we all made a lot of noise with and laughed so hard our sides hurt. The kids had fun being home from school. All was well.

And everyone made it here, with no adventures, no hold ups, no Vampire Hunters. Everyone was safe. It was all we could ask for.

After a sampling of Bourbon and dark chocolate I called my old friend with the truck. He is now living in Monterey in a house with a view of the Pacific Ocean. He is 73 years old now and retired from a career as a politician and environment lawyer. His grandkids and his sister Lydia were all there.

You never know where you’ll meet life long friends but it is always a blessing.

Wishing you all a blessed season of joy, and love, and all good things.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

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