Short Story Sunday: Captain Sandy and the Airship at the End of the World

Captain Sandy and the Airship at the End of the World

The end of the world had come and gone a long time ago. Of course I wouldn’t dare remind Captain Sandy of that extraordinary fact. He stood in the basket of the airship, hands on the control, the tails of his jacket blowing in the wind.

When the end of the world came the evil and the damned were gathered up and taken down to Hell. The pure and righteous were led up to Heaven in a golden white light.

That left the artists and writers, along with a lot of musicians, wine makers, computer programmers and antiques dealers. Of course there were others, but nobody that lacked a certain amount of creative or innovative spirit. One must have spirit and imagination to survive when the world ends without you.

It worked for me. Well, at least most of the time.

I honestly have to say, the world had become way too serious. I adjusted my goggles and scarf as I looked down on the tire fire that had been burning for the past 100 years. Adjusting the leather hood on my cat, I took him out of his basket to take a look. My five year old son Aaron stood on his toes to get a look as I held tight to the back of his jacket. I must have been a sight, boy in one hand, cat in the other.

Life was an adventure to be savored and enjoyed. It was a destroyed world being built up by those of us with visions of beauty and wonder. Captain Sandy always said this was Heaven. Of course I never told him otherwise. It was Heaven to be in the arms of my husband at night and feel the touch of his skin on mine, that is until I’d run my hand over the deep scars on his back. I called him my fallen angel. He would just laugh and kiss me as only an angel could kiss. Maybe it was Heaven for him since he was now dead, but I will never know unless I die too and find him there.

Once when I was younger my brother and I found some old movies in where everyone at the end of the world were driving big trucks and dune buggies as they shot anyone they came across. There were zombies and crazy fucks of all sorts fighting for the last clean water. It seemed they had unlimited amounts of fuel and bullets. No word of steam, solar and silent airships.

My brother and I laughed at the stupidity of it all. That was not our world. Ours was a world to create without hesitation or critical review. Our poets were considered as important as our politicians. Our sense of style always outweighed our sense of practicality. At least we kept telling ourselves that – all of us did as we banded together trying to give off an air of hope and strength. We created our own world going back to a time that didn’t really exist, where all things were possible and the modern world was still a beautiful dream.

Captain Sandy asked me what I was thinking that could have me looking so serious.

I told him and he just shook his head.

“Life isn’t a theater play like you make it out to be my dear. There are dangerous things out in dark areas of stench and smoke that would enslave us and make us into meals if they could. You’ve been protected in your leather and velvet bustle dresses and fanciful thoughts. It’s a good thing to be ignorant of the world but it is dangerous in ways you can’t imagine.”

“Captain,” I said, “you forget that the shadows took my husband. I take flights of fancy so I won’t fall out of the sky and die of sorrow.”

He turned and gave me a quick smile. Despite the dark pattern of scars on the left side of his face the Captain was still a handsome man with a dazzling smile. All the women were quick to notice him.

“Why are you alone Captain?”

“I’m not.”

“No wife or children?”

“I had a wife. She vanished when the world ended. I never knew if she went up or down or just vanished to dust. Who knows. The bitch could still be around somewhere.”

“So you’re alone,” I said.

“Just free of my wife.” He said nothing else then took off his hat and tied his long prematurely silver hair back with a ribbon he’d pulled from his coat pocket. “So, did you like movies back in the time before?”

I nodded. Of course I liked movies. Most of them were gone now. Rare stashes of films could be found and if we were lucky we’d find something to play them on.

Captain Sandy smiled a rare smile at me. “Sometimes I’m floating along above this all, all of this and I start thinking about Blade Runner and then my mind goes to Casablanca or off to Princess Bride then to In the Heat of the Night. I can run them all in my head, every line, every scene, every music score.”

I told him I did the same. We tend not to talk a lot about the time before the end of the world, but occasionally it comes out. We can’t deny our past. We just can’t help it.

“What did you do before, you know, the end of the world?” I asked the Captain point blank.

“I was a high school physics teacher. Physics and engineering to be exact. What did you do?”

“I produced reality TV shows. The last one was for MTV. Did you ever see Love Bytes?”

He laughed. “That was you? All of my students watched that show. Geeks and romance. A lot of them wanted to be on the show.”

The sky gradually started to turn dark. In the distance we could see lightning strike and the silhouettes of other airships.

I hugged my child and put a blanket around his shoulders. Aaron put his head on my lap and fell asleep. Captain Sandy sang softly a song that we both knew so long ago.

It seemed we’d been here for centuries, only the children aging and growing up.

As a rule we didn’t speak much of what we missed or how much. It was always there in the back of our minds. I missed skinny jeans and sweaters. I missed short tight dresses and yoga at the gym. I missed the music. I missed my friends and family. I missed my job. I even missed the orange trees in my back yard and the sound of the garbage truck at 6:45 am on Thursday mornings. I missed it all.

Captain Sandy turned suddenly and looked at me as if he could read my mind. “Don’t think of how things used to be. Don’t think of why we’re here.”

We both knew why we were here. Nobody wanted us. There was no place for us in Heaven but nobody in Hell wanted us either.

“You’ve got to admit,” the Captain continued, “we’re in a unique position. No matter how bad it looks, this is our world. I spent 18 years teaching kids to understand the building blocks of the universe. I thought I was contributing to the future of our young people so that they would make the world a better place.”

“Now it doesn’t matter,” I said in a rare show of depression over the events that brought us here.

“No. Now it matters more than ever. This is our world. Despite the shadows and ghouls, this is our world now, free and clear. We can still use the building blocks of science and art to make it the place we want it to be. Finally we can do it right.”

“You’re always such an optimist Captain Sandy but do you really believe that?”

“Of course I do. What other choice do I have?”

“You have a point,” I said, noticing the spark in his eyes.

He noticed that I’d noticed. “Look at this as the ultimate reality TV show.”

“If that is the case then who, Captain Sandy, gets the hot girl at the end?”

He smiled. “That depends on you.” Then he turned his face away from me to where I could only see the moon lit reflection of the scars that traced his jawline.

The crew of the airship came up on deck to view the stars and take in the night air. It was good to see them laugh and talk freely of the destination ahead. My son raised his sleepy head and laughed too. Maybe it wasn’t that bad after all. Maybe Captain Sandy would win the game and get the girl. I had a pretty good feeling he would.

 

~ Juliette Kings 2014

From Goin’ Extinct – Tales From the Edge of Oblivion (Available on Amazon and other online book dealers)

Available in paperback and electronic ebook versions on Amazon, Good Reads, Barnes and Noble and other fine online booksellers.

Available in paperback and electronic ebook versions on Amazon, Good Reads, Barnes and Noble and other fine online booksellers.

 

Foxy Mendoza the King of Suave

I’ve told you about this guy before but I’m going to tell you again, just because I was thinking about it…

He went by the name Foxy Mendoza but was neither Foxy or had any ethnic background that warranted then sir name Mendoza. The last time I saw him we was going by Mitchell Smyth-Robinson. Just imagine a Vampire in a cheap suit, no, please, don’t do that. Vampires don’t usually wear cheap suits. This time Mitch, excuse me Foxy, was wearing lime green skinny jeans, a tight black tee, a small black pork pie hat and had something that looked like a Yorkshire Terrier growing off of his chin. Gold hoops adorned his ears and he carried a bright red organically grown cotton man-purse. He called it a satchel. It was a man-purse. He still smelled of violet water. You can’t get the Victorian out of this Vampire who is always reinventing himself.

Foxy Mendoza is the epitome of ridiculous but he is also so successful at everything he does. Well, almost everything.

To make matters worse is the fact that I’m stuck with Foxy Mendoza aka Mitchell Smyth-Robinson aka Sonny Valentino aka John Earl… that fact is that I am stuck with this creature of many names is because I am the one who turned him into a Vampire. I cringe each and every time I think of it.

“So where did you get the name Foxy?” I had to ask.

“My flaming red hair of course.”

He is a strawberry blonde at best. I didn’t even ask about the last name Mendoza.

My kids were glad to see their Uncle Mitch. Aside from the strange ungodly hair on his chin they thought his new look was exceptionally cool. They laughed at his new name. Foxy laughed with them. But they still called him Uncle Mitch.

I have to admit that we all have those weird, eccentric, unusual and unique people in our lives. Those qualities are quiet annoying at times but can be quite charming as well. And face it, if you want to be a successful Vampire you have to have at least 3 out of those four qualities.

Yes, I know you’re curious about the circumstances in which I turned Mitch, I mean Foxy, into a Vampire.

It was 1879. We were really young. I was a few months from turning 20. Mitch, known then as John, was 22.  I met him on a boat, at night, in San Francisco Bay. There was no moon, only stars out. Anyway, I’ll write up the entire tale later, but he knew I was a Vampire. We started to talk. At first I wanted to rip out his neck he was so annoying but then he grew on me. He made me laugh. I made him smile. We talked until dawn and then kept talking. No, we were never involved romantically. Oh he could be so annoying that it frustrated me to no end, but there was something about him that was so… I don’t know, because he is SO annoying. But friendship is weird that way. So there you go. On my 20th birthday he was a Vampire and we were still friends.

Friendship is like that. I do need to tell you more about Foxy but then again you might want to tell me “NOOOOOO I can’t take it anymore.” Foxy brings that out in people.

Crap, now I have to figure out how to get him to shave that ridiculous thing off of his chin. What is it with guys and beards? My husband never had a beard and only one of my brothers sports one right now. Val has a neatly trimmed short beard that actually looks good on him. I have to take a break and smile here because Val thinks Mitch/Foxy is the most annoying person in the world and it takes a lot to annoy Val. Just makes me laugh.

And did I mention my friend’s laugh? Maybe it would be better if I didn’t. Think fire trucks and snorts.

Have fun everyone and never make an excuse for your weird and annoying friends. Just think of how boring life would be without them.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Big Hat

Small Talk

I’m either in jeans and a sweatshirt or a little black dress. Or jeans and a black tee shirt. Or something black. I know, I’ve said things that go against the grain of stereotypical Vampire stuff, but I’m both practical and lazy. They’re classics. All classics.

This morning I met with Cody, my young thirty something friend who is fairly new to being a Vampire. I can’t believe it has been four years. Anyway, he showed up with a man bun, a red plaid jacket, and a rather unflattering beard. He had the lumbersexual look down to a tee.

“Cody,” I told him, “most Vampire men avoid beards.” I didn’t add for obvious reasons. “Why cover that handsome face of yours?”

Then I gave him the look. You know that look that says you’re wonderful and you’re an idiot all at the same time.

And just as he was about to tell me my glasses were dirty I said, “If they weren’t dirty you wouldn’t know it was me.”

That unnerved him a bit. He still isn’t quite used to me grabbing his thoughts out of his head before he can find a polite way to express them. I took off my still dark glasses and buffed them out with my shirt (yes I do that too.)

We sat outside, sipping our coffee under an umbrella, and watching people walk by.

Cody, usually confidant, looked down at his hands, then looked into my face. “How do you deal with it? Being so different.”

“You mean being a Vampire or being Juliette?”

He laughed. “A Vampire.”

“Being a Vampire is easy. Being Juliette is much much more difficult. Are you having creature of the night issues?”

“Not really, but it still seems weird sometimes. I have a girlfriend who lived before the printing press was invented. At least she likes my hair.”

“I love your hair.”

I didn’t take the opportunity to mention his girlfriend is my great great great great grandmother. I’ve never mentioned it to him, or her. They’re happy. Besides, she looks younger than him.

We talked a while, just small talk and coffee.

My phone started to ding.

 

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I had to smile. My dear college boy was making contact.

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“Do you feel like a real Vampire Cody?” I’d never asked anyone that before.

“I do. Thanks for asking. It shows you care.”

I smiled. I might be cold blooded but I’m not cold hearted.

So today’s parenting tip is to do what you can to help your kids feel comfortable with who they are. Make them feel welcome in their own skin. And be there for them – even after they’re grown. Sometimes you just need to be around others who know who and what you are.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Girl in the Woods (Serial Novel Part 9 – The Party Continues)

Each Friday during 2016 I’ll be posting an installment of Girl in the Woods, an epic Novel I wrote over ten years ago when my children were babies. If you’re new to this adventure CLICK HERE to start from the beginning. Or go to the sidebar on the main page of this blog to find the page.

 

The Party Continues

Alexander greeted his Uncle Logan, who was more of an older brother to him.

“It was good to finally meet Annie Hawthorne, “ said Alexander. “She thinks the world of you Logan.”

“And I of her. She’s a remarkable young woman. Jeff was quite taken by her. I think love is in the air.”

Alexander poured them both a glass of wine. “Here’s to the Mr. and Mrs. Hawthorne for providing us with such humble and charming woman to share our lives with.”

Logan lifted his glass “To the Hawthorns”

Just then Candi walked up with Jeff who was now dressed for the party. Alexander assumed his baby brother had come through the back door. Jeff no longer looked annoyed and seemed smitten with the Princess.

Candi took Alexander’s arm and smiled sweetly. “I couldn’t help but overhear you talking about the Hawthorne family. Annjanette and her brother Anvil have overcome all odds with their success. It’s a fascinating story. Did you know their grandfather was hanged for murder? And their mother worked for…”

“Candi, please don’t say anything else,” said Logan.

“She was a professional whore, licensed and everything. It is public record,” said Candi with her signature pout.

“Do you know Annie?” Said Jeff trying to conceal his shock.

“No,” said Candi, “but I know a lot about them.”

Logan spoke up. “Candi dear, if you wish to be part our inner circle, don’t repeat every nasty little thing you hear. Especially if it’s about people we know, and love. “

“Logan, I’m sure she meant no harm”, said Jeff.

“I’m sure she didn’t Jeffery.” Logan pulled his nephew aside, “I don’t care if Candi is your future sister-in-law, don’t encourage the little imbecile.”

“Logan, I’m as shocked as you are.”

“I don’t know where Candi got her information, but it isn’t public knowledge. Unfortunately it is true. If you say anything to Annie, or judge her by this, I will personally beat that handsome face of yours into an unrecognizable pulp. Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to mingle before I smash something over your head.”

 

 

Even with Candi on his arm, Alexander’s mind was somewhere else. She seemed to notice and fluttered off to find Jeff.

In a few weeks Logan would be leaving for a cross country goodwill trip with Justin Snowhawk, who ruled Universal Technologies headquarters in the Crystal Mountain Republic.

Alexander envied Logan for his trip. He thought about meeting Justin Snowhawk a year earlier. It was at a visit at Simon’s in Meadow Creek. They spent an afternoon fishing on Simon’s Greenwood property.

Justin’s good looks could even intimidate Alexander. In contrast his kind gentle nature had gained him a reputation as sort of a saint. It was Justin’s eyes that Alexander remembered. They were expressive and he always looked as if he could see inside of one’s very soul. The golden brown was almost metallic and distracting.

Alexander heard laughing and looked up to where his sister stood telling a tall tale, at his expense no doubt. He thought of Justin speaking of his own twin sister, in his musical lilting accent.

“Olivia took care me when we were small. While our father was away she protected me like a mother wolf. She saved my life more than once. As a small child I was not only blind, but I also walked with a limp. You see, Alexander, these aren’t the eyes I was born with. I got my first set when I was 6. I’ve had these for about 20 years. They aren’t human eyes as you can tell or even organic.

I miss my sister dearly, but knowing that she’s found such happiness in your land takes away some of my loss. To see her so content is a joy I can’t even begin to describe.

She’s a pretty thing. I suspect one day she’ll come back to the Crystal Mountains to find a man to partner up with. Too bad she’s in Riverbend right now, I would have liked for you to meet her. When she gets back you ought to pay her a visit.” Then he laughs at the idea. “Not for romance mind you. I’d never wish that on any of my friends.”

With that Justin snagged a fish and the subject of his sister was closed. Yes, he should have paid Olivia Snowhawk a visit but never got around to it Alexander thought about joining Logan and Justin for a few weeks. Simon had also talked of going along as well.

Alexander was lost in his thoughts, forgetting about greeting his guest when a hand came around his waist.

“How’s my prince?” asked Ellie. She looked stunning as always.

He took her in his arms. “Run away with me Ellie. We can start a new life together, change our names, spend the rest of our days on a warm tropical island in the southern seas.”

“I’ll pack tonight after Simon goes to bed.”

“I’ve thought about joining Logan and Justin for a few weeks on their grand adventure.”

“You should. I adore Justin. Spending a few weeks with him would definitely help settle your nerves.”

I love you Ellie, but I’m glad you dumped me for Simon. I could have never made you happy.”

“Your happiness is out there Alexander.”

“What do you see?”

“”I’ve known you my whole life Alexander. I know you like few people do. You’ve had a change of mind. I can tell. Something happened today. What was it?”

Nothing happened. I went for a walk by the ruins. I had a fight with Jeff. I took care of some paperwork then had a fight with my dad. Fortunately my mother still loves me. Next Candi showed up and told me that she hates my house. She then kissed me and I almost lost my mind and let her take advantage of me, but Julianna showed up and saved me. Then the party started. That’s it. Nothing more than a usual Friday. Ellie, I should be excited, I should be brimming with joy over the idea of marriage to Candi but I don’t feel anything for her except maybe a sense of forced duty.”

“You don’t have much in common with her, do you?”

“Marriage is a partnership Alexander. What you need is a woman who will rescue you.”

“Rescue me from what?”

“You need someone to rescue you from yourself.”

 

Check back next Friday for more of the story, and a lot of surprises.

Ask Juliette: Just An Old Fashioned Vampire Story

Dear Juliette – Ask A Vampire – Advice for Everyone

traditional vampire

About Vampire Novels

Dear Juliette,

My vampire novel is currently under consideration by a publisher.

My human protagonist and vampire antagonists follow very traditional lines.

The vampires are governed by the rules Universal Pictures laid down during the Universal Golden Age of the 1930’s and 40’s. However, there is a twist which has never been used in any literature or film, yet still fits in the Universal mold. By the way, this twist is simply not “literary license.” I have proven the technique actually works in the real world. But I give you my word, it has not been used against a real vampire, or any being for that matter.

As a modern vampire, what are your feel about new literature, which portrays vampires along the older guidelines? Is it considered insulting or in any way defaming to vampires?

Thank you for your time and consideration.

~ Interested Author

 

Dear Interested,

First of all congratulations on your novel and impending publication.

I have no problems with traditional vampire stories. As long as a story is written well and captures my imagination then I’m all for it.

Whatever you write, that is your story. From Bram Stoker to Anne Rice to the icky sparkly vampires of Twilight, I’m up for anything that will entertain and get people reading.

Vampires aren’t insulted by much of anything. Aside from a few blogs like this most people still think vampires are imaginary creatures. We sort of like to keep it that way too.

And hey, if you’re a vampire, no matter how modern and “nice” you are, you’re still a predator deep down inside. Really, you are.

This brings up the whole vampire bashing phenomenon I’ve noticed when I’ve found myself confronted by trolls. I tend to either ignore them or inform them that what I write is MY story to tell, not their story. Promise me you’ll do the same if anyone attempts to bash your work.

The traditional vampire tradition, and I’ll start with Dracula, is rich and a lot of fun.

 

And one more thing…tell your agent to check out my blog. There might be a book in here somewhere.

~ Juliette

 

Vlad to meet you. Juliette is going to bed now. But not with me.

Ask Juliette (Ask A Vampire – Advice for Everyone) is a regular Thursday feature on Vampire Maman.

These are real questions from real readers. If you have a question about relationships, parenting, Vampires, paranormal stuff, fashion, Zombies, art, or ANYTHING just ask and I’ll try to answer. If might not be the answer you expect, but it will be an answer.

Email me at juliettevampiremom (at) gmail (dot com)

 

 

 

 

 

From the City that Nevsky Sleeps

A Guest Post From My Dearest Vampire Friend Amelia

It was a Friday night in the city that never sleeps. No, not New York. Las Vegas. Land of glitter and sleaze, neon and nightclubs; where we’d just as soon blow up our old buildings than redecorate. Viva Las Vegas! It was early June 2011 and my friend had come for a much needed visit. For me. Juliette is kind that way. I get sad, she comes and visits. I’m not nearly as good a friend. But then it’s me that gets tired of the grind of life. Or rather death. Maybe I should look into a different line of work. Life as a contract worker for several dystopian bureaucrats takes its toll, eventually. Believe me. Everything you’ve seen in the movies about being someone whose job it is to terminate others with extreme prejudice? Make it 1,000 times more boring and 1,000 times more deadly. Even a vampire can get tired of slogging through the grind of tracking a difficult hit and then dealing with the gore when it doesn’t go quite as planned. Juliette understands I have my moments after a particularly difficult job. She always seems to have her head on straight. But she’s willing to blow off steam, hence her volunteering to come cheer me up and our subsequent trip down to The Strip.

I steered Juliette through the casino floor bar at the Cosmopolitan, up the steps to the private cocktail lounge on the third level of the Chandelier. The first floor is to die for beautiful and best for people watching but it was getting late and the normal Friday night crowd could pack it in. The second floor, just as lovely, is very small in my opinion and a little two conspicuous for two vampire lovelies looking for a nip. “White Russian or black Russian?”

“Black. You know I like my brunettes…” she answered with a laugh. I love Juliette’s laugh. It always makes me smile and God He knows, I need to smile more often.

“Just so you know, I’ve lined up a few delicious ex-pats I found on InterNations. Goodness, they’re eager to meet up. Oh, by the way, how is your Russian? I told them you were born in Warsaw to a Czech mother after she was raped by Soviet soldier during the Prague Spring invasion. But the father later repented and came back for you and your mother. You immigrated to California when you were four.”

“OH MY GOSH, you didn’t! You’re incorrigible, Amelia!” Again, that laugh.”No. I didn’t. I told them you’re a descendent of Alexander Nevsky and were willing to sell a few holy indulgences for their forgiven sins.”

“Not very likely on any count. Nevsky was a saint. No descendents. I’m not a Catholic priest so I pretty sure I’m not in a category to forgive any sort of sin and NEWSFLASH: indulgences haven’t been for sale for several centuries. Where HAVE you been hiding out?” She linked her arm in mine as she finished climbing the steps. “Oh, don’t worry, I’ll promise them something I’m sure we’ll all enjoy,” she added with a wicked smile and just a hint of fang. Now it was my turn to laugh.

“Добрый вечер, Анатолий Викторович. This is my friend Juliette,” I paused at the top of the stairs, greeting our first event for the evening.

~ Amelia

 

 

Thank you so much dear Amelia for this wonderful and flattering post. Now I laugh.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Now it is time for cocktails:

White Russian

2 parts Vodka

1 part Kahula

1 part heavy cream or half & half

Pour over ice, stir, enjoy.

 

Black Russian

2 parts Vodka

1 part Kahula

1 part heavy cream or half & half

Pour over ice, stir, enjoy. Add a cherry on top if you’re feeling extra festive.

Enjoy. Cheers!

 

Cheers!

Cheers!