I do not understand these large vegetables called pumpkins.
Tonight I went out for a bite to eat. It was night. Late night. I had gone to the usual night spots and had, what do people call it these days, oh yes, I had a snack or two. Small bites. Wanting more, and wanting something good I went to a tavern owned by a woman called Cassie.
I walked her home, nearly crazy with her warmth and the sweet smell of her blood. The night was cool with the change of the seasons. It was the autumn solstice. I was hungry.
Once inside of her house she grabbed my shirt and kissed me. I shared her embrace, hardly able to contain myself. Then she smiled and said she had to go to the bathroom. I waited, and decided to remove my shirt thus showing of my well chiseled muscular male form that few women can resist. I believe I have what people call a six pack. I do not understand it but I will accept it is a good thing.
Cassie appeared, still with a smile, completely naked, and completely beautiful. She approached me and put her hand on my chest.
“You’re cold Vlad,” she said. Then she pressed her body next to mine. I kissed her. She sighed and pressed closer. Then just as I was ready to sink my fangs into her neck she stepped back away from me. I did not understand. Why did she step back from me?
The woman smiled and said, “Do you know what I want Vlad?”
“I assume it is me,” I said.
“I do want you Vlad, but first I want a Pumpkin Spice Latte.”
I did not know what to say. I, Vlad, King of Vampires, was speechless.
“Vlad,” said the beautiful naked Cassie, with a laugh, “you look so cute when you’re surprised. Damn, you always look cute.”
Cute. I do not understand this cute anymore than I understand this pumpkin spice. Kittens are cute. Babies are cute. I am not a baby or a kitten.
And now I find myself resistible. That is not a good thing. No woman should be able to resist me. I am after all Vlad the Vampire King. I ran my hand through my golden hair, and glared at her with my hypnotic blue Vampire eyes.
“What is this Pumpkin Spice Latte you desire?” I asked.
“Coffee flavored like Pumpkin Spice,” said Cassie.
“Vegetable flavored coffee? Why would you rather have that when you can have me? Would you rather I be a vegetable?”
She laughed again and called me cute again. I walked a few blocks to an all night coffee shop and obtained two Pumpkin Spice Lattes. All the while I was thinking that I should have stayed locked in the crypt in which I was imprisoned for three hundred years. On the walk to Cassie’s house I tasted one of the lattes. Stepping into an alley I vomited blood and Pumpkin Spice for ten minutes. Vampires should not drink Pumpkin Spice.
When I returned Cassie was wearing a robe over her naked body. She thanked me for the concoction from Hell. I debated whether to stay or go. She said the drink was good. Then she said I would be good too. I decided to stay.
I was exceptionally good.
I still feel ill
I could not sleep today. Dreams of my home being overtaken by vines heavy with pumpkins, pounding on the windows, with tendrils clawing at my doors, filled my head.
Looking out my window I saw no pumpkins yet my thoughts were still troubled. Knowing my friend Randolpho would be awake I drove to his house to find solace.
My dear friend greeted me at the door and welcomed me in. His home was cool and dark. The experience made me feel relaxed. Then suddenly I was overcome with nausea.
I looked towards Randolpho who was lighting candles.
“What madness is this?” I cried.
“Pumpkin Spice candles. Bath and Body Works is having a sale. I love their fall scents. There is nothing like blood and a little Pumpkin Spice to make one feel positively warm with Vampire comforts,” said Randolpho.
“Are you out of your mind my friend?” I said. I glared at the candles and made the flames go dead.
“What crawled up your ass?” said Randolpho.
“You do not need to be crude Randolpho. That smell makes me sick,” I told him. Then I related the story of the night before.
“Vlad, my friend,” said Randolpho, “it was not the flavor that made you sick, it was the milk in the latte. You know Vampires can’t drink lattes. Now if the coffee had been black…”
“Stop. I want no more talk of this,” I said.
“Fine,” said Randolpho, giving me that look he gives me when he thinks I am being unreasonable. “I am going to the plant nursery on the hill to buy bulbs.”
“Bulbs. Pray tell why would a plant nursery sell bulbs unless you are growing marijuana…” I said.
“No, TULIP bulbs,” said Randolpho. “Fall bulbs, like tulips, daffodils and crocus. Those small fall wonders that when put in the ground explode into a riot of color and true beauty.”
Tulips. Oh how this modern world amazes me. I remember when tulips were rare and as valuable as the rarest jewels.
Once as a ransom for his idiot son, who wanted to become a Vampire, a Dutch merchant gave me four rare tulip bulbs. It was the year 1635. I remember it well.
I planted the bulbs in pots and nurtured them. In the spring the small brown eggs of earth (as I liked to call them) produced magnificent blooms of purple and white stripes, red, and yellow. I invited all in my castle to come see the flowers. Then out of nowhere came Baskall Kirflint, a Vampire with great wealth, good looks and an ugly temper. He demanded that I give him the hand of my sister, or he would steal her away and have his way with her.
I told him, “Baskall Kirflint, my sister does not love you, nor will she ever love you. Your unpleasant ways and foul temperament reminds her of a spoiled child. She will not have you, and I will not force her to be with you.”
Baskall Kirflint snarled at me showing his fangs. Then he knocked the tulip pot to the floor and ground the bulbs and blooms with the heel of his boot into my Persian carpet.
“Be gone from my sight,” I said. Then I told my guards to send him on his way knowing there was a full moon that night. The Werewolves ate him, all except his head which was still alive. I put his head on a pole on my castle wall so he could watch the world without being able to be in it. That was a mistake for Baskall Kirflint yelled insults from his bodiless lead to all who passed. I threw his head into the fire pit in the castle court yard that night and ended Baskall Kirflint.
“Remember Baskall Kirflint?” I said to Randolpho.
“What an asshole,” said Randolpho. “In the five hundred years I’ve known you I don’t think I’ve ever seen you go angry.”
“Seven hundred,” I said, “but who is counting.”
Then we both laughed.
After putting on sunscreen and donning our dark glasses we went to the plant nursery on the hill to obtain tulip bulbs.
I have no words, or almost no words for my joy when I walked into the plant nursery building. Bin upon bin was filled with tulip bulbs in every color imaginable. Along with tulips were daffodils, narcissus, crocus, and freesia bulbs. I imagined the fortune I would spend in this place, then saw that the bulbs were inexpensive. Six bulbs were the price of a pair of socks.
I filled my cart with bulbs of all colors, but mostly red. Then Randolpho said we must look at more things. As we walked along rows of trees, blooming shrubs and flowers, two women looked at us. One whispered to her friend, “they make a cute couple.”
Randolpho just laughed. I was not amused, but wondered at the ignorance of these women. If two men look at flowers why do modern people assume they are a couple. I am still trying to figure out the modern world but make an attempt to not fall into branding people with stereotypes (my new word for this month.) Randolpho told me to get over it. That is another expression I refuse to use. I told him so.
As we continued to walk through the beautiful rows of flowers, herbs, and shrubs we came upon a sign that said, “Pumpkins Are Here.” What madness was this?
In front of us were piles and rows and mounds of pumpkins in every shape, size and color. There were gourds that looked like small monsters. There were pots shaped like pumpkins with grinning faces.
Randolpho picked out a few of the unusual pumpkins to bring to his house.
“What are you going to do with those Randolpho? You are not going to eat them, I know that to be true,” I said to my friend.
“I am going to decorate with these pumpkins. Then when the fall is over and Yule Time comes I will cut up the pumpkins and feed them to the squirrels and deer,” said Randolpho.
Now I am at home with two large bags containing over one hundred flower bulbs. It cost me less than one hundred dollars for all of them. I did not, would not, bring home any pumpkins.
I went back to sleep and had dreams of red flowers and Cassie’s hot red blood.
It is now snowing in the mountains which I can see from my home. I think of the winters long ago when I lived in a castle. I think of standing on the high tower lookout with the cold wind in my hair, and soft flakes of cold snow falling on my face.
People in my neighborhood are starting to celebrate the cool air by putting scarecrows, wreaths of gold and orange leaves, and pumpkins on their porches.
Everything is different now. Different than it was centuries ago when I was King of the Vampires.
I sent my sister a text on my phone. I have learned to do that. It is a valuable tool. I send her a photo of the tulip bulbs. She sent back a message with three red hearts. Do I dare say that was cute? I told her that I would save some for her. I told her how excited I was about the bulbs.
Then she texted, “Do not lose your head over it.”
And I texted back, “LOL.”
I am feeling as if I belong to the modern world, even if I do not appreciate the cult of Pumpkin Spice.