What we talked about on the way to school this morning

The ride to school with my teenager always brings up school, current events, and everything else.

“We’re starting existentialism today. I don’t know what we’ll be reading. But the teacher already called out kids before they made complaints that it was against their religion.”

Some devoutly religious kids and their parents have complained in the past about these books and the ideas they write about. That bugs me is that ANY parent would want their child NOT to be exposed to other ideas, including religion, philosophy, and well, anything. Ignorance is not an option folks. It will not help your children. It will not make them better people. On the contrary, ignorance and extreme sheltering will make your child into the WORST kind of person – that is an ignorant closed minded person.

I asked my child what they were reading and she didn’t know. The class just finished 1984 and Brave New World, so now that they’re all throughly disturbed and depressed I imagine story stories or a play might be in order.

Who could it be? Kafka? Camus? Sartre? Beckett?

AP English Literature. No Exit. Bahahahaha. But seriously folks, I’m glad the students are being exposed to so many different ideas.

College applications are due today for University of California. Of course someone (my kid, my kid) waited until the very last day. She’ll be applying for two schools. We’ll see what happens.

We talked about the Supreme Court and what scary things might happen, which seems appropriate considering the discussion on existentialism. And no, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is not 93 years old. She is 83 years old (or something like that.) We also talked about Clarence Thomas who is an odd waste of space. The guy does nothing. Says nothing. Votes on nothing. He is just weird. This isn’t political. Everybody else in those black robes works hard. This guy just takes up space.

Clara asked about Anita Hill. I told her that almost every woman I know has been sexually harassed, or bullied by males. Most of us, like Anita Hill, just go on with their lives, because we can’t do much about it. It isn’t like she just brushed it off, but (I speak from experience) if one makes a big deal about it there are consequences – unfortunately even now. But, that said, we need to keep speaking up and speaking out, and making sure there is equality for ALL – women, men, children, everyone.

Luckily in the Vampire world that isn’t an issue, at least when it comes to other Vampires. Sure some guys are jerks but they know what is right and wrong. Seriously, it would be a better world if we had a voice as who we are, but like other groups of the past we can’t speak up. That is one of the hardest lessons for us to teach our Vampire children.

We talked about the rain. We discussed our schedules. And we just talked, like all parents and their kids should do. Seriously, sometimes the talks serve no purpose, but you have to talk with your kids, not just when they’re young. Share ideas. They might not be your ideas, but that is why you have these discussions, and find out what makes your kids tick, and what is important to them.

It was a quick ride and there wasn’t much traffic today. Tonight I’ll find out what the next book or story is. I’ll find out if anything else interesting is going on at school. I’ll find out if weirdness abounds, or if all is well, at least in our little corner of the world.

Then she said, “Uncle Max said all of your boyfriends before dad were douches.” OK, I’ll have to have a talk with my brother, or just let it go. I had to laugh.

 

Hope your day is full of interesting thoughts, discussions, and loads of laughs. Just remember to keep your mind open and your temper in check.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

vampire teens

Short Story Sunday: Sunday School (an exceptionally short story)

Sunday School (an exceptionally short story)

Sunday morning. I was downstairs fixing coffee, listening to NPR and savoring the quiet time before the rest of the family got up.

Yes, quiet time. That is a rare commodity for a parent.

I’m wiping down the kitchen counter and thinking about the game schedule for today when I look up and a guy in a black suit with slicked back hair is standing about 4 feet from me with a smirk on his face.

Sure my skin prickled because I knew who this guy was.

“Whatever you want to sell I’m not buying,” I told him.

Suddenly visions of a beautiful wife, perfect kids in boarding school, money, freedom, maid service, more women…and fame. My dreams in youth of being an actor and being a politician and being the guy who starts the mega technology company and being a household word…they all come to mind. All the doors that were slammed in my face could be opened right now.

If only…

I looked at the man. He smiled. The cat started to scratch at the door to get out. I could hear the coffee dripping. A toilet flushed upstairs.

The man spoke “Why sleep with someone who has been trying to drop those 50 pounds for the past 10 years when you can have the most beautiful women in the world? Why be stuck fixing eggs for a bunch a loud kids when you can have meals fixed by the finest chefs? Why watch the game on TV when you can own the team?”

“Dude, I’m busy. Go away.”

“With your heart you should be in church,” he said that with one of those nasty sarcastic tones that I absolutely hate.

“Fuck you and get out of my house.”

He vanished in a cloud of sulphur smelling smoke. I don’t even know if he was The Guy or just one of his helpers.

Over the years I had a lot of opportunities and talent to go with it, but it was always the wrong time and wrong place. Or I was just too stupid or inexperienced to know what to do with the opportunity.

I’ve lived a life of regrets, but I landed here, right where I am now, in a house full of love. I have kids telling me about school and a wife showing me a painting she is working on. We go to work and we get tired and we do it all again. And it’s the best. And we learn something new every single day.

This is my Sunday School. This is my religion.

Tangled Tales

~ end

First posted 2013. 

Juliette aka Vampire Maman

A Particularly Ill-Tempered Ghost

“I remember my last Thanksgiving. I was dead a week later.”

I looked up from my work at Nigel the Ghost. He’d materialized in the chair across from me in the breakfast nook. Today his black hair was in kind of a side bang across his blue eyes making him look like he was getting ready to sling his guitar over his shoulder and go play in a Punk Pop band somewhere. He was wearing a white shirt with a black vest, and black tie looking rather somber.

When someone tells you something like that words often are difficult to find, especially if it is a particularly ill-tempered ghost.

So I asked the first question that came to mind. “Did you ever figure out who killed you?”

“No. Not a clue. It still pisses me off. I was in the shower and then nothing. Blood running down the drain and the side of my skull was bashed in.”

“How long has it been?”

“Thirty years.”

There was a pause. We looked at each other but nobody said a world. I could hear the clock ticking, and the dog no doubt doing bad things in the back yard like digging a hole the size of Lake Tahoe.

“I hate the holidays. And you’re a Vampire, here forever, and you don’t even eat Turkey.”

“Turkey isn’t really a Vampire kind of thing Nigel.”

“So what do you eat? Small babies? Unsuspecting travelers from other states?”

“Were you this rude when you were alive?”

“No, but I’m doing my best to haunt you with my rudeness since I know I can’t frighten you with loud noises and flying furniture.”

I got up and went to the kitchen for more coffee. I’d made a note to my self to go to Dave’s Bottle Shop later because they are having a huge sale of Poet’s Blood and Philosopher Plasma. I can get 20% off of case price. That also includes wine. In the meantime I had a ghost to deal with, or not. I didn’t have to deal with him.

For as long as I’ve known him I’ve come to expect him to be especially assholish around November and December.

“We could visit your grave if you like. Do you want to watch a movie? I could check Netflix.” I said.

The room grew cold. He brushed his hair out of his face and glared at me.

“What do you want from me Nigel? You know I’m a Vampire. You know I don’t particularly like Ghosts.”

I got half and half out of the refrigerator, and poured it in my coffee.  Nigel followed me. He leaned on the kitchen counter.

“I can see right through you,” I said.

He slammed his fist on the counter, making the entire house shake. “Oh, now you think you know my motivation. Just because you’re a Vampire…”

“No, I can see right through you. You’re transparent. I can see the dog looking through the sliding glass door.”

He lifted his hand and the door opened letting a muddy dog inside. She went to her dog bed and curled up.

I looked at the mud on the carpet.

Nigel ignored the mud. “May I please have a cup of coffee? It would calm my nerves.”

The Ghost sat down at the table with me and held his hands around the hot mug. He took in the smell of the coffee he couldn’t drink. “Thank you. I feel better now.”

He didn’t apologize for his rudeness or the mud. That was fine with me. I don’t expect much from any Ghost, especially Nigel.

He looked up at me and gave me a half smile. “So are you going to blog about how diverse the paranormal community is, and how we all get along, and how everybody should be like us?”

“Nobody reads my blog or listens to me Nigel,” I said.

“It was a stupid idea anyway. Mind if Mary and I come hang out with you on Thursday?”

“Sure, that would be nice. Everybody likes Mary,” I told him.

“Thanks,” he said. “Please note Juliette that I did thank you. This is for Mary as much as it is for me. She likes you.”

Mary is Nigel’s Ghost girlfriend. Long story short, she was murdered in 1701 or sometime around then. They’re a good match. He is sweet when she is around. Love will do that, even to a surly perpetually pissed off ghost.

My family is used to Ghosts. We don’t always like them, but we accept them, as long as they don’t throw furniture around.

I’m never sure what the head count will be for Thanksgiving. All are welcome, even if we aren’t all exactly the same. And even if we are.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Vampire Diary: Fangs Giving

Dear Diary,
I was sitting at a night club bar and a woman sat down next to me. She asked if I was spending the Thanksgiving day with my family.

“I do not know where my family is,” I said.

Then she asked, because people are always curious, “How about your parents?”

“My father is dead,” I told her.

Then she said, “I am so sorry. What about your mom?”

“I have my mother’s heart,” I told her.

I do have my mother’s heart in a box in an upstairs closet. It is now dried up with a silver bladed knife running through it.

I did not tell her that. I told her, “I have a sister, and maybe a cousin I could find. They might be dead. They might be alive. Who can tell?”

She gently put her warm hand on my arm, “What about grandparents Vlad?”

“My Baba. I am sure she is still alive. My Baba is a fighter. I had a wife once too but it has been centuries since I’ve seen her.”

HA HA HA. For my friend, she thinks centuries means a few years. I have not seen my former wife for five hundred years. That is a lot of centuries.

~ Vlad

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Dear Diary,

Tonight I saw my young friends Brittany and Kate. I can say they are friends. I am happy in their company. I drink their blood. They are happy in their ignorance.

We met at a place with loud music. It was too loud like something out of a nightmare. I offered to take the women home in my car because of the rain. As we drove along dark city streets suddenly the women screamed. I stopped. In front of us a car had hit an animal. It continued on. The women got out of the car and grabbed up a small body and brought it into the car. I wrapped it in my coat.

“It is just a puppy,” cried Kate with rain water and tears running down her face.

“It died,” cried Brittany.

I could not let the women be in so much distress. I am a Vampire and my heart is cold, but it is not made of stone and dirt. “I will bury the beast,” I told them.

When I arrived home, after dropping off the women, I put the small gray body in a box. It was still warm. I suddenly thought of my mother who loved all dogs. I went to the closet and took out the jeweled box that contained her heart.

When I was a young man of only thirteen, my mother vanished. Some said she left with a lover. Some said she was killed by the Vampire Hunter Guillaume Morte. Then one night a box was left at the door of the castle with my name on a tag. Young Vlad. It was written in blood. Not my mother’s, I knew the blood was not hers, but the heart, I knew the heart was hers. My father locked himself in his room for a week in great mourning and refused to look at the heart. He told me to put it away, and say her name only in the dead of night.

“Dear Mother, how I miss you,” I whispered as I pulled the blade out of the dried out heart.

The heart vanished with a wisp of red black smoke. Before me stood an apparition of a woman, not my mother, but a ghost of a young woman I had never seen before.

“Who are you?” I asked.

She glared at me. “Who are you?”

“I am Vlad, King of Vampires. Former Kings of Vampires.”

“My name is Jane. I’ve heard of you. You got locked in that crypt for three hundred years. Bummer.”

“How did you know? You’ve been in this box for centuries.”

“I hear things,” she said. “You know, you’ve been carrying me around forever.”

“I thought that was my mother’s heart,” I exclaimed. I did think it was my mother’s heart. How could I have been so mistaken.

“I’m a Werewolf. You know, silver blade, and all that BS. I swear, I’m still pissed off at those guys for stabbing me and cutting out my heart. Damn it. What the Hell is wrong with people?”

I suddenly had a thought. “I have a dog. It is dead but the body is still warm. You could take that body.”

Jane went over to the small body still wrapped in my coat. “That is no dog.” Then she kissed the pup.

“I do not understand,” I said to the ghost.

The pup stood up and walked to me. Then I realized that this was no dog. It was no wolf. It is an animal I have only seen in North America – a coyote.

“She will be your companion, and your familiar,” said Jane. “Her wild soul has left her body so I left her with a piece of Werewolf soul. Hey Vlad, I normally don’t keep company with Vampires, or even like you guys, but thanks for getting me out of that box and freeing my heart. I gotta go. Have fun.” Then Jane vanished into a burst of opalescent light.

The cats walked in large circles around the pup. “I will call her Jane,” I said to them.

The small pup then squatted and peed on my floor.

~ Vlad

__________________

Dear Diary,

The blood of small children and virgins is highly over rated. It lacks in character and depth.

The great feast of Thanksgiving will be here this week. I must prepare. I know almost nothing of this feast. I watch wild turkeys walk in flocks up my street, but these are not the turkeys who will be consumed along with blood red cranberries, bread soaked with broth and cooked until it is dry, and great quantities of root vegetables, and pies.

I will have the blood of poets. I will have the blood of football players. I will have the blood of strong middle-aged women who rule their homes and make the feasts. Then I will sleep it off.

My neighbors asked my Vampire lover Gillian and me to join them in their feast. Gillian asked what we could bring. Blood of course, but Gillian said no. She is bringing roasted yams with garlic and thyme, and a few bottles of Cabernet. She said we must eat a small quantity of food, then have our blood at home. I told her that I know my manners. I am not uncouth or without cultural sensitivity. It makes me angry that sometimes she treats me as if I am a soul-less Vampire of the shadows who is driven by nothing but blood lust.

I even made a joke, the kind that makes one laugh, but Gillian was not amused. I said we would bring blood pudding and blood sausage to the Thanksgiving feast. She said I was disgusting. I made a joke. It was funny. I told her we could bake black birds in a pie. She rolled her eyes at me. I do not understand women and their lack of humor.

When I go out at night among the humans I hear men speaking to each other about their women. Their women treat them like children, questioning their actions, and telling them to behave and use their manners. They are told not to speak of politics, and sports, and automobiles. They talk of building man-caves to escape. This must be a bad situation if they wish to leave the comfort of their homes to live in caves away from women. I wonder about these caves and what motivates the women to drive their men away.

When I return home Gillian greets me with cold passionate kisses and leads me up to our bed. I think I will not have a man-cave.

~ Vlad

________________

Dear Diary,

Today, during the day, I walked the wee Were Souled Coyote pup named Jane to the park in my neighborhood. My two cats followed me with their tails up high.

When I arrived I found myself surrounded by the women who were out walking. There are always women out walking at this park. It is what Modern women do. They walk in serious ways alone or in groups. And they surrounded me.

They said Jane the Were Souled Coyote pup and I were so cute. They said the cats were so cute. I am a grown man, almost six feet tall, how I can be considered cute as a six week old pup or cats I still do not understand. The logic of these women is beyond me. What is this cute. I have yet to find an answer that will satisfy me.

I smiled at them, minus my fangs, with a small wink, and show of my dimples. I have found, even centuries back, that my special smile with a wink makes women weak at the knees and in my power.

Chuck who lives around the corner told me that puppies are “chick magnets.” Chicks are women. I did not know that until recently.

The grown women giggled like girls and all wanted to hold the small coyote pup. When they asked what kind of dog she is I told them a German Shepard, Queensland Healer, Husky mix. I know one, in this modern age is not supposed to keep wild animals, even if one is a Vampire, but this pup is no longer all coyote. She has the soul of a Werewolf, and no longer has her wild coyote pack soul. She only has her lone soul. The full moon has just passed, but I will be ready for the next full moon. I wonder what will happen, if anything. Time will tell.

In the meantime I will continue to earn my dinner with a wink and a smile.

And if cute helps I will do that too, whatever cute may be.

~ Vlad

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Kissed by a Vampire

Click here for all of Vlad’s Vampire Diary Adventures.

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Ask Juliette: If you’re going to Pine you might as well do it with a straight face – and other advice.

Ask Juliette

Dear Juliette (Ask A Vampire – Advice for Everyone is a regular feature on Vampiremaman.com) sf_academy

Dear Juliette,

You’re always mentioning San Francisco in your blog posts. Have you ever been to the location of the Starfleet Academy.

Why, yes I have been there. It is right by the base of the Golden Gate Bridge I believe on the Marin County side. Unfortunately you’ll have to wait until the 22nd century to get in on the action. In the meantime I’ll have to say that San Francisco is the ideal location. Hands down. No arguing.

But funny you should ask because last night Clara, who loves perfume ads in magazines with a passion, pulled out a scented ad with an incredibly handsome man. She and Teddy asked who that was. I recognized him right away. It was Chris Pine, the actor who now plays James. T. Kirk, Captain of the Starship Enterprise. Clara said the cologne smelled great. I said it smelled like Chris Pine’s sweat and we should strap him to a treadmill. Then Teddy rolled his eyes and said to our daughter, “I know she’d say something. How does she come up with this stuff?”

smell-like-chris

Dear Juliette,

What color is your coffin?

I don’t have a coffin. In fact most Vampires don’t sleep in coffins. The only Vampire I know with a coffin in his house is my brother Max. He has one in his attic for when his weirder friends spend the weekend, and I suspect for, dare I say, kinky sex stuff (but I’ll deny I ever said anything.)

This is not my bed. I don't sleep in a box.

Dear Juliette,

I was recently contacted by my high school boyfriend. I haven’t seen him for twenty years, but all of the hot and heavy young passion all came right back up. I’m happily married, and haven’t acted on anything but I can’t stop thinking about him.

Don’t do it. You aren’t the same person you were when you were seventeen. You said you’re married. If your old teenage flame wants to fool around with a married woman then he has some serious character flaw issues. Tell him thanks for the memories, and leave it at that.

why get married

Alright then, that was this week’s super short installment of the most popular advice column on the World Wide Web. If you have a compelling question for next week leave a comment here OR email me in private at juliettevampiremom @ gmail.com (take out the spaces that I left in to prevent trolls.)  Come on folks, give me something to work with.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Ask Juliette

Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom?

She was the wife of a ship captain. He sailed out of San Francisco in the 1850’s, from a bay so full of ships that there was barely room to maneuver. The first time she saw him…she missed her boat because her phone kept dinging.

liquid-sky-text

Walking away I pulled my hood up over her head to guard from the biting cold wind and rain. I walked down the street wanting to be anywhere but the court house. I was tired of waiting and waiting and waiting. What did they do behind those closed doors? Why did every single blessed thing take so long. I just wanted to go home and read a good book by the fire and watch the rain. I wanted to be with my children. I wanted it to be summer and meet my girlfriends after work for drinks at one of their favorite places by the river and watch the young testosterone laden assholes showing off in their ski boats and smell the mix of wild flowers, red wine…rewrite. 

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He came by in a tight fitting black tee and jeans that actually were from this century. He was a Roman god, a movie star, a gracefully aging male model. Women turned to look at him. But it just seemed that the high maintence ones edging on middle age who who flocked around him like groupies. Was it the money, his good looks? He was different with them. All flattery and dazzling toothpaste commercial smiles. Then I realized that he was just like them. Birds preening, always doing the mating dance. He should have been in the court of Louis the 14th. He should have been a fop and a dandy in velvets and heels. But with his build he should have been a Viking with his golden hair in braids and the biggest horns on his head with the biggest ship in the fleet, the biggest, well, the biggest everything. He was a professional show off. P.T. Barnum would have marketed Sammy as “The Perfect Male.”

wash

Nigel continued to rattle on. “I bet Sammy has black satin sheets in his bachelor pad. I bet he has a water bed. Does anyone have those anymore? I remember half the girls I dated had them. They used the excuse it was easier to move. Right. Always gave me a backache. I hated those things. Man, you don’t want to be in one of those things with a hangover. It’s like being seasick only worse. Death is easier than a hangover in a water bed. Believe me, I know first hand, and death is much much easier. I’ll tell you a bucket on the side of the bed wasn’t for bailing out water. What was that store that sold waterbeds, Night Comfort. The guy had commercials on late night TV and read letters from inmates at Folsom Prison who were dreaming about when they got out with their old ladies and their trusty waterbed. Ohhhhhh baby. Ray, I think his name was Ray, or maybe Chuck but I forgot what his last name is. And what sort of grown man calls himself Sammy? Sam maybe or Samuel but Sammy? Come on, you call a 4 year old or a dog Sammy but not a grown man. I thought he’d grown out of that once he got to Stanford.”

I turned around and glared at Nigel. If he wasn’t already dead I would have considered killing him.

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By the way November is National Novel Writing Month… I am working on a novel or two, or three, but sometimes I get distracted.

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~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman