Short Story Sunday: Smoke

Smoke

The sky is gray with smoke, the same color as the dove sitting on the back deck rail.

I’m not just saying that to be literary. The sky IS the same color as the dove. It isn’t clouds. It’s smoke from the summer fires.

I watched him through the window as he watered the garden. He was doing it all wrong but I wasn’t going to tell him.

My mind wandered to where I would go if I could go somewhere else. It wasn’t like the movies or books where I could go home to some idyllic small town. This was home. There is no extended family. There is no family at all to speak of.

I imagined the winter when we didn’t have to water the garden and everything was green.

A house on the beach where the cool winds blow away the heat and the smoke and the smell of death in the basement.

My husband waved at me.

“Did you put on sunscreen? You need a hat,” I called to him.

“I’m coming inside right now,” he said with a smile.

I saw a bit of fang flash when he smiled. He’d do that when he wanted me to smile back. Smiles had been rare these days.

I remember the fires of long ago. I remember the screams. I remember the cheers as bodies exploded and cracked. I remember the horrible smell. And I remembered to tell my children to never tell anyone who or what they are or they would face the flames.

The sliding glass door opened and he came in with an armful of roses, zinnias, and sunflowers.

“Our harvest today. Get a vase my love. We’ll bring the beauty out of the smoke.”

I smiled and took the flowers and he kissed me.

It wasn’t a smoking hot kiss but that isn’t what I wanted or needed.

All sI needed was a cool kiss from a man who loved me, and maybe eye drops.

Yes, I needed eye drops. Then I closed my eyes and thought of the waves and the cool sand between my cold Vampire toes.

 

~ end

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Burning Question #21: Legal Age

 


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In honor of the Burning Question #21 we’re going to be thinking about booze.

Some of us drink alcohol. Some of us don’t. Either way, alcohol, be it beer, wine, or hard liquor is part of our world. But how does it all play out if you’re a Vampire? You might not drink, but your drink might drink. How will that play out in the course of a night? Do you care? Or is that something you seriously consider when you’re looking for your next donor?

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Burning Question #21: If a Vampire drinks blood from an inebriated person will the Vampire become inebriated as well?

 

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I’ll see you all next week for another Burning Question.  In the meantime enjoy one of Teddy’s classic Vampire Cocktails.

Bloody Talent

3 parts Vegetable Juice Cocktail
2 parts Vodka (I use the kind in the blue bottle)
1 part blood
A dash of lemon juice
A dash of lime juice
A dash of hot sauce
A dash of orange juice (just a dash)
A splash of good gin (the blue or green bottle)
3 large green olives (stuffed with whatever you like)
And add a pickled green bean if you like. Might as well.

Pour over ice!

Thank you Teddy!

If you’re not a Vampire leave out the blood.

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And remember, if you’re going to drink or drink blood from someone who is drunk don’t drive.

OK everybody let’s dance.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Trust your kids. Seriously, they’re your kids so you should trust them.

If you automatically assume you can’t trust our kids they will never trust or respect you.
         ~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Don’t listen to parenting advice from people who are bad parents with rotten kids.
         ~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

My nineteen year old daughter just texted me that due to the forest fires she and her boyfriend can’t see Mt. Shasta. Last night she sent me a photo from the cabin they’re staying in near Dunsmuir and Castle Crags State Park.

I would have never sent my parents messages like that had there been phones or texts when I was her age. The only texts they would have sent me were texts asking me where I was and texts that proved they didn’t trust me. I wanted to hear about the dog not their concerns that I might have been doing something bad. Of course they were too uncomfortable talking to me about “bad” things.

Never be uncomfortable talking to your children about anything – no matter how old or how young they are. You’re the parent. You never need to be uncomfortable with YOUR child. Of course you might just be uncomfortable about yourself. Don’t be an ostrich and get your head out of the sand. Ignoring shit won’t make it go away.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my parents but it was a different relationship than I have with my own children.

I learned that I was not to be trusted even when I wasn’t doing anything wrong.

Parents assume they can’t trust their teens. Then again can we trust anyone? We all have our secrets. But to automatically assume that youth can’t be trusted does far more harm than good.

If children know you don’t trust them they will learn to lie. They will learn to be great liars too. Lies will be come part of their everyday life. Strange to some but true.

So how do you build that trust? Talk to your kids. Listen to them. Engage with them. Be there for them. Believe them when they do tell the truth. Stand up for them. Start the dialogue when they’re young.

I don’t advocate a totally no rules childhood. Kids are going to make mistakes. They’re going to do stupid things. They’re going to be untrustworthy. That is part of growing up. Childhood is a time of trial and error. But if you teach them to learn from their mistakes, if you guide them to do the right thing, if you teach them about self-respect and the value of a good reputation, if you teach them to be smart – not just book smart but street smart, then, well, it is a good start. Nothing about parenting should be accidental, even if you’re relaxed like me. I’m serious.

Every child is different and every family is different so it isn’t always easy. But don’t go into parenting with a harsh negative attitude. Teach your kids with love, and laughter and a positive attitude. Make them WANT to keep you updated on their where, when, who, and why.

Unfortunately our kids are all unique individuals so we can’t control everything they do or think. We can’t control all of the influences in their lives or their weird impulses. Unfortunately in a lot of families an older child will screw up so the parents assume all of the kids will. Don’t do that. Don’t punish all of your kids for the actions of one.

For example I have known several people who had siblings who took college money and lied about going to school. So the parents decided not to help any of their kids with college. That is just messed up. Don’t punish all of your children for the actions of one.

The blind lack of trust can and will cause resentment that lasts a lifetime. Nobody wants that.

Sure, your children will do stupid things at all stages of their lives. But try to trust them. Give them your trust and they will value it, if they know you value them.

Simplistic? Yes. Easy? Not always.

Sometimes kids are assholes. You have to talk to them about that in straight forward honest terms. Sometimes you have to say “don’t be a jerk” Any kid over ten will understand that.

We’ve all done stupid things in our youth. Learn from your mistakes and use that experience as a parent. That is your job.

I trust you on this one.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

You Don’t Tug on Superman’s Cape

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It is almost 5:30 p.m. and 107 degrees Farenheight outside. I’m going to piss someone off with this post but maybe not. It is just too hot to care. Just like old people and tiny children who just say whatever they want.

This morning I took Eleora to the art museum. It was lovely. She made rude comments about the modern art. She made a racist remark about someone walking along outside of the museum. She is old. She forgets things. I said nothing this time. I just changed the subject. When one is with a 2000+ year old Vampire one learns to change the subject quite frequently.

Then we had lunch (a lovely cold type A blood soup with heirloom tomatoes) with my husband who was on a political roll. By then it was over a hundred degrees outside. I thought about our daughter who’d gone up north with her boyfriend to spend time in a cabin. It is only 102F there today. The poor kids are going to swelter. At least I know they’ll wear their sunscreen.

And now I’m home in my quiet house waiting for the cool dark night and Vampire things.   But that got me thinking about mysteries and strange heated things like the mystery surrounding George Reeves, and Christopher Reeve and coincidences and other strange things like Superman. I never think of Superman, except… maybe it is the heat. Maybe it has something to do with no spitting in the wind…

I’ve never been a big fan of the Superman franchise. Except for Christopher Reeve, and of course George Reeves, all of the other movie depictions have made him seem like some sort of weird overly pretty sissy. I love pretty men, but … come on you know what I’m talking about. These guys aren’t Supermen. They’re fashion models. No offense to fashion models – fuck it – I can’t say anything these days without offending someone.

But in defense of the not so masculine and memorable Supermen, they should consider themselves lucky.

Christopher Reeve, who was insanely talented in so many ways, and was also a heart-throb in the romantic movie “Somewhere in Time,” was in a riding accident. Tragically he became a paraplegic. But that didn’t stop him. It showed that he WAS Superman in body and soul. You know what happened. It was tragic, but he kept going. Damn.

George Reeves was murdered. The case has not been solved. Any thought on this would be interesting to hear.

The guy who originally illustrated Superman also drew S&M comics. The guy who drew Donald Duck also drew beautiful racy women (I have one of his original nudes in my own bedroom.) OK enough of these fun facts some of you might not have known.

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By Carl Barks who later created Donald Duck. I wonder which illustrations he had more fun drawing. I have the original sketch of this in my bedroom. I think he enjoyed this one more than any duck.

I found a box of old comics including a large lot of Lois Lane, Superman’s Girlfriend. These are the weirdest comic books in the known universe. These were from the late 50’s and early 60’s, before the influence of Marlo Thomas and Mary Tyler Moore. Holy shit Lois made a fool of herself over Superman and Clark Kent. Seriously Lois, if you can’t recognize a guy when he changes his part and takes off his glasses then you need to get your eyes checked. Lois was smart, sexy, but always gave off the vibe that she really wanted to be a bad girl. She wanted to be a modern girl who was a woman with equal standing with men AND equal pay. She wanted to be the one wearing the tights.

It is 107 degrees farenheit outside (I already said that but I’ll say it again) and my brain is fried, but not enough to stop me from thinking about Lois.

 

The Bomb

A Lois Lane Story from Juliette aka Vampire Maman

“What the hell Clark? Tights?”

“I wear them to yoga, and palates.”

He was fantastic, but then again as soon as he opened his mouth to talk I was ready to fall asleep.

But my god the man was good in bed.

The next day I was still investigating a murder, and I stopped for coffee at a place called Krypto Coffee. I’m sitting there taking notes and sipping my iced vanilla latte when some bald guy sits down and tries to sweet talk me. He tells me how rich he is and treats me like I’m some dumb bimbo ready to fawn all over him.

I just picked up my drink and left. Fuck I hate when that happens. What is it with guys around here?

No sooner had I walked out there was an explosion in the building across the street. I could hear the sirens. I ran across and tried to help the injured people coming out of the building. Then I get body slammed and something picks me up and I’m all the sudden up in the sky.

I had the breath knocked out of me, and then I realized that I was in the arms of a flying man.

“I’m Superman,” he said.

“Please put me down,” I told him.

“I’m here to save you,” he said.

Then I looked at his face. “What the fuck Clark? Jesus Christ on a bicycle put me down.”

“How’d you know it was me?”

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That is all I have right now. I’ll add my own illustrations to the story later. Maybe.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got. Stay cool. Have fun. And don’t mess around with Jim.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

Midweek Summer Reading: Ian Rutledge Series by Charles Todd

Ian Rutledge has returned from WW1 and is back to his job as an inspector with Scotland Yard. The woman he loves has left him. The ghost, only he can see of Corporal Hamish MacLeod is in his head, or riding in the back seat of his car. The war is over but violent death is still part of his life. His sister Francis is always there for him and always a delight.

I love these books. Right now I’m reading “A Pale Horse” which takes place in 1920. The characters are alive and believable. The story lines are captivating. If you’re looking for a new series (especially fans of Nigel the Ghost) you’ll like love these books.

The author is a mother/son team. They do a magnificent job.

The first Book in the series is A Test of Wills : Ian Rutledge, returned home from the trenches of the Great War, loses his fiancée Jean after long months in hospital with what is now called PTSD, and faces a bleak future. Fighting back from the edge of madness, he returns to his career at Scotland Yard. But Chief Superintendent Bowles is determined to break him. And so Rutledge finds himself in Warwickshire where the only witness to the murder of Colonel Harris is a drunken ex-soldier suffering from shell shock Rutledge is fighting his own battles with the voice of Corporal Hamish MacLeod in his head, survivor’s guilt after the bloody 1916 Battle of the Somme. The question is, will he win this test of wills with Hamish—or is the shell shocked witness a mirror of what he’ll become if he fails to keep his madness at bay?

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For more information go to: https://charlestodd.com/the-history-of-inspector-ian-rutledge/

 

Happy reading.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Transitions

When I started this blog I was working full time for an organization outside of my home. My brain and the rest of my time was filled with Middle School and High School activities. I spent more time with my brothers. The canine love of my life was in her prime.

I couldn’t imagine having grown children.

Now everyone is in college. We discuss school but I’m not that involved, except to be a cheerleader, a therapist when needed, an entertaining distraction, and the one who pays for everything. Jasmine the white sled dog has gone over the rainbow bridge – her ashes sit in a box among old photographs. My cats are still here. A new dog Alice, a large goofy GSD is now in my life. I work alone at home. I rarely see anyone, except ghosts, and my ancient family members who welcome my visits, which need to be more frequent.

The sports and the activities have trickled off to almost nothing. I don’t have to drive anyone anywhere. I am alone here with a house full of books and animals.

Then again new activities call me. There is the art museum. There is my art. There are books in the works. There are walls to be painted. There are funny stories to tell.

And if I muse into melancholy madness Nigel the ghost will show up and kick my ass so I’d better move on.

We all change and evolve. That is part of being on this strange, horrible, and wonderful planet. We are trapped here so we need to be fluid. We need to keep evolving no matter how old or young we are. Growth never ends.

I find myself telling my kids not to judge others for what they do or the choices they make. Not all young people have it as good as they do. They don’t have someone helping them pay for school and everything else. They don’t have someone who is there 24/7 to listen. They don’t have someone who doesn’t judge them or question their every move. They have a safety net. Not everyone has that so their choices can’t be judged. I urge everyone to understand the choices of others.

There is no clear path. Five year plans are wonderful until a tornado hits your house, or someone you love dies, or you get sick, or the economy crashes, or your heart gets broken. So you take another road, or climb out of another window, or up another tree, or make where you are a better place. You add more books to your shelves and make an effort to call your friends, and your mom.

Parenting adults is tricky because they don’t want to listen, they need you to listen more than anything in the world, and they start to parent their own parents.

Yes, they do all of that.

It is scary. More scary that a pack of zombies banging at your back door. You can deal with zombies. You don’t love them. They just make a mess. But dealing with your kids, no matter how easy and wonderful they are, is always a challenge.

Dealing with Zombies: Shot gun. Flame thrower. Pissed off Vampires.

Dealing with Adult Children: Listening. Worrying. Loving. Worrying. Listening. Loving. Laughing. Learning to let them be adults. Learning not to be afraid.

Don’t be afraid.

Everything will be alright.

With your kids, and with you.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Vampire Maman