Who is the man they call Disney?
What magic does he use to lure children to his kingdom? What is this mouse who surrounds himself with princesses? And then there is a tale of a man who eats nuts and mice who dance at Yule time. It is no wonder that children bury their heads in their phones to escape the relentless call of these fiends who prey on children disguised as friendly lovers of animals and happy music.
I was on my front porch trying to get my cats to come inside when a small girl ran down the street with her small dog. Her name is Emily. Most girls are named Emily. I asked this Emily if she knew of the Disney Kingdom and if she had heard of Disney’s princesses.
She said, “Everyone loves the girls in Frozen, or Belle, or Cinderella, but I like Repunzle in Tangled. I like Jasmine too, in Aladdin. Mulan rocks it too. Hey, have you seen Robin Hood the fox? I love that one.”
I told her I had not. She shrugged and ran on with her dog. Then she ran up to me again and said I had to see Finding Nemo. What is Nemo and why does one need to find it? I just smiled without fangs and waved the child on her way.
When I was a child of her age, maybe about nine or ten years old my uncle brought me out to see a show of fire eaters, and men who did slight-of-hand magic. After one produced a monkey who danced, my uncle burned a large group of his rivals alive after impaling them on pointed stakes. Severed heads of men with gaping mouths and sightless eyes were placed on the side of the road as far as the eye could see. My uncle laughed and slapped me on the back. That night I crept into his room and cut out his heart. He looked at me with wide eyes and I told him that he gave my family a bad reputation. My father had told me that reputation was as valuable as an intact soul for a Vampire. I have since learned how right my father was.
My uncle’s daughter, my cousin, was a princess. She told me that she was going to run away with her lover. I told her to go. I told her that I would keep her secret. She looked kind of like the one they call Snow White, only her name was Dashi and her lover was not a singing dwarf, a prince, or a huntsman. He was a Vampire of noble birth who could read, and write. Dashi said she was going someplace where people did not fear Vampires. I told her good luck and laughed like a man. She took her father’s heart and put it in a box, then put the box in a bag and took it with her. Then I felt bad. I went to the kitchen and drank blood from the arm of one of the girls who helped with the evening feasts. As I lay my cold bloodless cheek against her warm chest she stroked my hair and told me that I had done the right thing. Later my father, realizing I was upset and confused brought me the dancing monkey. I never saw my cousin or the box with my uncle’s heart again. My father was finally King of the Vampires.
Ten years later I controlled the kingdom. But I did not have dozens of princesses. I did not even have a queen. Lovers yes, always, but no princesses. I did not create a cult of children who lived in fear of their step mothers and…how I miss my Baba. She would tell me stories of cunning princesses who cut off the heads of men and drank their blood. These princesses were motivated by revenge rather than romance, but Baba said romance is like a drizzle of honey, or warm fresh blood on a cold winter day.
Why do the children of men fear Vampires so much while their very souls are being sucked out by a mouse? I do not understand.
As for the monkey. He did end up with his own princess. A few years later I gave him to a girl who took me to her bed. It was a fair deal. I turned her into a Vampire. I hear she lives in Seattle. I wonder if she still has the monkey.
I watch as the kitten plays with his mother. He is almost grown now but my love Gillian says he will always be her baby.
I look at Gillian and wonder if perhaps…
Gillian stayed the day with me. As we lay in bed, in the darkened room, I asked her about a childhood memory. She said it was so long ago, but I kissed her neck and told her to remember.
She laughed and told me how she liked to sit with the women who did needlework. When they would prick their fingers on the needles she would lick off the blood. What precious memories my love has.
I saw Emily and her little dog again today. She laughed and waved at me.
“Have you seen the bald eagle?” She was so excited to tell me about this bird.
“No,” I said. “Is is part of the mouse clan?”
“It is real. Right at the end of the street building a nest in the big digger pine tree,” she said with wide eyes. “I can’t bring Rufus down to see her because he’ll bark.”
Then she laughed and skipped away, without a mouse, or a phone, or a princess. She was just a little girl, like little girls who watched birds eight hundred years ago.
I will watch for the mouse. It will not take Emily away to be a princess, or I will have that mouse heart in a box.
I am no longer Vampire King but I will protect my own. That is something I do understand.