The Ghost of Pumpkin Spice

“I never had a computer, or pumpkin spice lattes, or a cell phone. I had a VCR for about a year. I had a French Press. I’d get coffee beans from the Farmer’s Market. There was a little booth with a zillion spices and about thirty flavors of coffee.”

“They’re still there. I think the gal there has been selling spices since she was a teenager, maybe forty years now.”

“Wow. Remember the Mexican bakery?”

“I’m a Vampire. I don’t eat pastries.”

“Well, you eat other things besides blood. I know that.”

“The olive guy. There was a guy who sold olives and pickles.”

“You eat olives?”

“Sure. I eat most green things.”

“Artichokes?”

“I love artichokes.”

“Green beans?”

“Sure. Not a lot but you know, sometimes.”

“I can’t imagine Dracula eating green beans.”

“Dracula is a fictional character. In fiction the only time people eat green beans is when they snap them with their grandma. I doubt if Dracula snapped beans with his grandma.”

Nigel the Ghost held a hot mug of coffee laced with cinnamon. He put his head down and closed his eyes. “I miss coffee.”

“You can always get it here,” I said.

“It isn’t the same when you can’t drink it. Shit, I haven’t had a real cup of coffee in thirty two years.”

He brushed his black hair out of his eyes, then smiled.

“What?” I asked.

“I’ve been dead longer than I was alive.”

“So you’ve told me.”

I sat across from the Ghost, his black hair shaggy around his face, a black tie, and white shirt with the sleeves rolled up today. He’d hidden the gash in his head and the blood on his pale face. His eyes flickered from the coffee to me.

He cleared his throat, not because he needed to but for dramatic effect. “I might be a ghost but I’m not completely dead.”

“You’re never completely dead as long as someone stills loves you.”

“I can feel it but unfortunately I can’t see them. Well, I can’t see most of them. I don’t know how to get to them. You know the limits of my territory is out of my control.”

“So you’re stuck with me.”

“Stuck with a Vampire. Who would have thought.”

“Want me to heat that coffee up.”

“Sure, and add some nutmeg to it. Pumpkin Spice.” Then he winked and gave me a rare smile. “You know this is weird.”

“Not for us.”

Then he put his head back and laughed. I just sipped my own coffee and then put his cup in the microwave, because that is what friends do, even if they’re Vampires or Ghosts.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

coffee

Coffee with Vampires and Ghosts

Parenting in the Land of Monsters

As parents we all have those moments that we can’t get out of our minds. Now that my children are in college I’m cautiously walking down the memory lane of their childhood.

I was driving down the freeway this morning and saw some interesting things. The first was that Stormy Daniels is going to be performing at a local strip club. This is one of those large “Gentlemen’s Clubs” that is in an industrial area far away from homes or schools. I hear the place is popular with a certain groups in the local high tech companies but that is another blog post. That has nothing to do with this post except I thought it was interesting. Read on.

I also passed the sign to the Curragh Downs subdivision in Fair Oaks, California. This is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in my neck of the woods. The houses are large and often with a view. The community is exclusive and gated. But I pass no judgement. A lot of nice people live there.

Yes, this has to do with parenting and children.

In November 2016 ago my daughter and I volunteered to be Election Clerks for Sacramento County. The polling place was at the Curragh Downs club house. Everything went well with the polling, as it always does. Other than the crazy old guy with dementia who always yells at the poll workers, it was a positive day.

But at the end of the night, later at night after the polls had closed, when we were counting ballots, and putting away equipment, the woman who was responsible for the club house came by to lock up. As we, the six poll workers finished our work this woman started to spew her opinions.

She gladly spewed out racial slurs and political opinions. Most of the comments were racial. All of us poll workers were clearly uncomfortable but as poll workers we could not express our opinions. For about twenty minutes this woman reveled in her personal stand-up act of self congratulatory bigotry. She was white. Then she said what she was saying was ok because her husband was Asian. WTF?

I don’t have to words to describe how upset I was. This was one time I was with my child and I could not be my best Vampire Mom. At the car I was livid. My lovely child told me that the woman was wrong and a bad person but that I should have been so upset. But I was upset. I was extremely upset.

That woman was a monster in the body of a smug middle aged woman. I don’t care that our political opinions did not match. It was the fact that she gleefully was able to share her open hate and blind ignorance.

No parent wants a positive experience about how our society works to be tarnished by some flaming asshole jerk-off entitled nasty ignorant hateful bitch. That is why I’m calling her out here and now. I don’t know her name, but I can still tell my story.

There are other childhood stories in my folder today. There was time when another mom called me to say she thought my 8th grader was cutting herself (cat scratches.) There were a few girls I thought were Satan’s spawn. Yes, there are children who act that badly (and so do their parents.) There were other things so bizarre that I wasn’t sure what to think. I’ve posted a lot of those here. Do a search – you’ll find them.

My children have returned to college. One is far away. One is still at home. They are excited about life. They are excited about being part of the big wide world.

Their father and I have taught them that there is no room for hate, racism, or other bigotry in our world. They have learned to accept those who are different. They’ve also learned, in a lot of cases, to celebrate and appreciate those differences.

Like I’ve always told them, “The world would be a boring place if we were all the same.”

You can’t protect your children from everything, but you can talk to them about it. You can support them. You can teach them to stand up for their opinions and rights. You can teach them to defend those who cannot defend themselves.

I just wanted to call out that bitch.

That’s all.

Hug your kids. Talk with them. Love them. And if they’re 18 or older make sure they vote.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Short Story Sunday: A Werewolf’s Train to Nowhere

In honor of last night’s full moon…

A Werewolf’s Train To Nowhere

 Right after I’d graduated from college (the first time) from one of the rare Universities (now a well respected and famous school) that accepted women I took a trip across country on a train to meet my brother Val. He’d gone to New York City without me, leaving me, a young woman, unescorted. I would have done fine on my own but back then, in 1881 young women, even Vampires, didn’t travel alone.

I got on the train on a dark full moon night and made my way to my car. I was to share a car with several other students and some sort of chaperone. What I found was three young men dressed in rather garish suits of the latest fashion (or so they thought) and nobody else. Two had short beards, again, the style of the time. I recognized one from school. The train started to move. There was no getting off. OK I could have jumped, but I was in a long dress with a bustle no less and jumping wasn’t a practical option. Contrary to popular belief I couldn’t turn myself into a bat and fly away. So I stayed. They were horrible the entire time making crude jokes and being as vulgar as they could be. They insulted me for being a Vampire, calling me dead and cold and well, they were vulgar to say the least. I was in Hell and ready to get off of the train.

I sat took claim to a settee with a small table and tried to ignore my garishly dressed companions. A young woman climbed aboard and the three men cheered. She was dressed as garish as they were in the most stylish of gowns but it was a bright orange color with brown beaded trim. Her hair was as orange as the dress and piled high on her head. That included a lot of fake hair to go along with her real hair.

She eyed me up and down. “Who invited the Vampire?”

“I’m Juliette,” I said to the Werewolf girl. Holy crap I’d been stuck for a cross-country trip with four Werewolves. Every muscle and bone on my body tightened up. I wanted to scream. Instead I just kept my place in my corner while my companions made as much noise as they could laughing out loud and of course the alcohol and drugs came out. Of course.

Just as the parting whistle blew the door opened again and in stepped my friend Pierce. Finally, another Vampire had arrived, and a strong protective one at that. His father owned the train car and I didn’t even put the two together. Pierce was a friend of my brothers Max and Andy. At age 28 (born in 1848) he was the oldest of our group. We made quite a contrast in our highly fashionable yet subdued attire compared to the flamboyant brightly dressed Werewolves. We were also a lot quieter.

The Werewolf girl who was named Phoebe gave Pierce a long hard look then smiled and licked her lips. Pierce is attractive with a narrow face, a sensuous mouth and dark heavily lashed eyes. Of course she noticed him. She’d no doubt try to have his clothes off, have her way with him then tear his throat out. Well, maybe not, but I didn’t want him to get her claws into a friend who was almost like a brother to me.

The males were Luke, Seth and Eldon. I’ll never forget their names. They were rude and loud and young. Had they been Vampires I might have thought they were fun, but since they were Werewolves I thought they were disgusting. Phoebe was just as bad with her crude laugh and dirty jokes.

Pierce and I played cards and stood on the back of the train in the night air. We mostly talked. I asked him about people we knew who’d gone out into the world – the young Vampires we’d grown up with. Pierce was on his way to New York. I was on my way to New York as well to meet my brother Valentine. After that we’d board a ship to London.

Conversations with the Werewolves were in bits and pieces of insults and crude jokes. Pierce’s father did business with their families. To keep the peace and keep favors in check he’d offered to let the young adults of the pack to ride with us. Also, by being with Vampires the Werewolves were more likely to behave themselves. At least that is what everyone thought.

On the second night, after a half of case of Champagne, the young Werewolf men, Luke, Seth and Eldon stripped naked right in front of us and said they were going out for a run. Phoebe decided to stay in. They ran out and I could hear them up on the roof of the train car howling, then down a side ladder and they were gone. Phoebe sat by the window looking at the full moon. She’d taken off her jacket and bodice down to a short-sleeved lace covered blouse. Long dark hair sprouted on her arms and hands. Her fingers grew claw like. Fur grew down the side of her face. She ignored us as a low growl came to the back of her throat as she watched for her pack mates.

Peirce and I watched three huge wolves run along the side of the train. The moonlight reflected off of their silvery gray fur. They were beautiful.

Then we heard horrifically loud shots. Our fellow passengers a few cars down were shooting at the wolves. Pierce ran out of the car. I could hear him shouting for the men with the guns to stop. Phoebe started to scream and scream and scream.

The next day we heard news of three young men found dead by the side of the tracks. The story was they had been drinking and had a fight on the top of the train and fell off after shooting each other.

I will never forget holding Phoebe in my arms and rocking her, trying to tell her that everything would be alright. I knew it would never be alright but I said it anyway.

For the next week as we made our way across the country she’d howl mournfully at night. The passengers said the train was haunted. I knew they’d brought on their own ghosts when they killed the wolves for no reason.

Werewolves and Vampires are predators but even we don’t partake in the senseless of killing animals for no reason other than target practice.

Pierce and I related the story to others but over the years we’ve kept a lot of the details to ourselves. It seems like so long ago. It was a long time ago. A long long time ago.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Tangled Tales

Burning Question #25: Time Travel

Antique Pocket Watch With A Heart

Welcome to my wormhole. Take a ride in my DeLorean. Welcome to the 19th Century, and the 18th, and the 17th. I could write volumes about the next subject, and then some.

TIME TRAVEL.

Of course we all know, in our own way, Vampires are the ultimate time travelers. We travel forward in real-time. Think about it. I’ll post some links to my previous time travel posts below.

If you could go back in time where would you go? Who would you want to see? What would you want to see and where? What is your favorite period in time?

If you had a chance would you go back and see The Knack in 1979? Would you go to the beheading of Cromwell? Would you hang out with John Adams during the Revolutionary War? Would you spend a week in the Library of Alexandria? Or would you meet your great great great great grandparents?

Would you spend time with this well dressed handsome man and his dog?

Of course all of the Time Travel lore says you can’t go back in a time you lived in. And can you go forward? Or can you only go back in time?

When my daughter was about six years old she told me that she wanted to invent a time machine when she grew up. It would be red. It would also fold up to the size of a book so she could take it with her. That is a good point. You don’t want to go back in time and have someone steal or damage your time machine. Smart kid. She’s in college now and still a smart kid.

Then there is the problem of Time Travelers themselves. According to my mother they are an unsavory group who travel in time in stolen technology (swiped from God only knows who or what.)

The Internet is full of all sorts of wack jobs who say they’ve time traveled. Look it up. It is a tangled web of weirdness. Go on YouTube if you want to see some insanely bad interviews with people who claim to be Time Travelers. Or don’t waste your time and just take my word for it.

Right now I’d love to be able to go back and spend some time with H.G. Wells.

I don’t know the physics of it all or how it would work, but what I want to know is today’s BURNING QUESTION.

Burning Question #25: Would you jump on a time machine if you could – knowing your presence might change history? Including your own personal history?

 

252535455_e96040de20_b

Please let me know more of what you think. Leave your comments below. Please. We’d all love to know what you think. Or if you have traveled in time… hey, stupid question but you never know. You NEVER know. On the other hand I’m just asking for a stampede of coconut heads… but you never know.

Now for the lists for all of you popular culture fans: 

81vaoAl5E1L._SL1500_

Vampire Maman’s Favorite Time Travel Movies (in no particular order)

  • Back to the Future
  • Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
  • Looper
  • Star Trek: First Contact
  • Edge of Tomorrow
  • Time Bandits
  • The Lake House
  • Hot Tub Time Machine
  • Somewhere In Time
  • Plesantville
  • Five Monkeys

I did not include any of “The Time Machine” movies because I don’t feel any of them do real justice to the book. Guy Pierce can be sexy as all get out but NO.

Vampire Maman’s Favorite Time Travel Books

  • The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
  • Timeline by Michael Crichton (This is one of my favorite books but the movie sucks big time, don’t watch it)

No, I did not list “The Time Traveler’s Wife.” I couldn’t get through it. I though it was awful. Couldn’t stand any of the characters. The flow sucked. Ugh. 

I haven’t read “Outlander” yet. I have the book on my nook. Wanted to read it before I saw any film/TV versions.

Vampire Maman’s Favorite Time Travel TV Shows

  • Timeless (the one big fault was that they didn’t feature their costume person. Movies and TV always leaves out one of the MOST IMPORTANT people in Time Travel – the Costume Designer. Right Becky?)
  • Time Tunnel (just because)
  • Sherman and Peabody (WABAC Machine)
  • And of course… Quantum Leap

TV-Watching

Yes, “Dr. Who” is there but I don’t watch it. I never have. 

Just A Few of the Vampire Maman Posts Concerning Time Travelers.

Remember, if you are ever approached by a Time Traveler proceed with caution. They tend to be an unsavory lot.

See you next Saturday with the next Burning Question, and don’t forget to let me know what is on your mind.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

cropped-juliette1

In the meantime here is your weekend earworm.

Vlad’s Vampire Diary: You Can’t Go Home Again

Dear Diary,

Going home is no longer an option.

This morning I went to Google Maps. There are cameras in space, up in the sky, in the heavens taking photographs of the Earth. Everything can be seen. I dare say unseen is what I wish today.

This thing called technology, baffles me. It amazes me. What amazes me the most is that all of this, which would have once been considered black magic is now not magic at all, AND it has almost all happened in the past one hundred years. It has happened in the past fifty years.

After being imprisoned in a crypt for three hundred years, I am still overwhelmed. The past four years… I can not even describe them.

This morning at dawn I stood out on my deck and looked at the sun coming up over the dark night sky. I thought about my old home where I was King of Vampires and all I could see. This morning I saw a flock of turkeys. Alas I am not even King of Turkeys now.

So inside I went to my MacBook Pro and to Google Maps and to my castle.

It was gone. My castle was not there. GONE. Not a trace. Just forest and meadows and NOTHING. All traces of my existence was gone. I looked up my name. Nothing but some Russian fool who rides horses and other animals without a shirt, and ridiculous laughable horror movies, and bad fan fiction. There is no trace or memory of me.

I picked up my phone (another unbelievable marvel of technology) and called my friend Randolpho. He said I had to look on the Dark Web to find information about real Vampires. I do not understand. I know that by web he does not mean a spider web but something of course we can not see. This new world and the language is confusing. Everything is called by a name that is indeed a tangled web of language. He said I needed a special server and spoke of other things I do not understand. Who is that special server and where do I find him? Will he serve only me or others as well? I did not risk asking Randolpho and seeing his eyes roll.

Yes, that is something people do now. They roll their eyes around in their heads as if to say, “you are ridiculous and have the mind of a child.” I have recently learned the term, “bless his heart,” means the same thing. Eye rolling. Bah.

I am forgotten. I am lost. I am new. I am frustrated.

I expressed this feeling to my love Gillian.

She said, “You’re so cute Vlad.” Then she kissed me. That is something no amount of technology can improve on.

So apparently I am cute as well. I do not understand this cute, but I will take her word for it. My advice to any male is to take a woman’s word on it, no matter what she says.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

I still mourn the loss of my former home and kingdom, but on the other hand I am glad it is gone and nobody else is living there in my place.

Tonight I walked around my new home. It is a 3,500 square foot home with what is called a good sized yard. There is plenty of room for me, the cats, Jane the coyote dog, and Gillian when she is here.

Gillian has claimed her own bathroom (there are four of them. FOUR.) With all of the tools and cosmetics at her disposal there is no need of a maid for her. When I first met her it took two hours for her to get ready in the morning. She had layers and layers of clothing. She had layers of hair. Cosmetics were complex and questionable. Now she jumps in the shower, blows her hair with hot air and lets it flow down her back, then she pulls on six items. Only six. Bra, panties, jeans, shirt, two shoes. That is all. Sometimes she wears a dress, but it is tiny and no slip, corset, underskirts, hoops, or pads are needed. It is just my beautiful Gillian’s natural shape that shows. She sometimes laughs and says it is easier to be a Vampire with fewer clothes.

Gillian also has taught me how to get blood stains out using magical chemicals and a machine that actually washes clothing. In my castle there were five women who washed my clothing, and only my clothing. There were a dozen more to do the job for the rest of the castle.

Yes, I can now wash clothing in secret, with my own private machine, without anyone knowing what I have been doing the night before. That is always a good thing.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

I was out tonight at my favorite night spot, where Vampires can sit among the crowd without anyone suspecting they are only there looking for a bit to eat in peace.

The bartender and owner, a lovely woman named Cassie, has become, shall I say, a friend.

Tonight she leaned against the bar facing me and asked me, “Where are you from Vlad? Originally? I can’t place your accent? Europe? South Africa?”

I smiled and took her hand, “Dear Cassie, where I come from no longer exists. Even if I could go home those who live there would not welcome me. I have found a home here, with those who are like me, in a new home with strangers. But strangers no more. I have you and others friends who are far better people than I knew before.”

“You can’t go home again. Sort of like the Thomas Wolfe novel. Have you read it?”

“No. Write it down. I will read it.”

“You seem sad,” she said.

“No, I am not sad. I am just feeling, what do you say, retrospective.” Then I smiled at her in a way that charms all who have warm blood in their veins. “I come from a place in Europe where the mountains are high and eagles still fly above the towering trees. I do not even know what country it is now. It does not matter. I am here in California. I will learn to ride a board on the waves. What is it called? Smurfing?”

“Surfing. It is surfing. Smurfs are small blue French people. Like annoying little dwarves and there’s only one girl.”

I had no idea what she was talking about. I just smiled and then scanned the room for someone with a nice neck and a healthy pulse.

Later with my veins full of fresh blood and my mind clear I went back to see Cassie. I gave her a kiss on her cheek and a hug. I closed my eyes feeling her heart beat.

“Thank you my dear Cassie for giving comfort to an old man.”

“Love you Vlad. HA! Old man my ass. What are you? Thirty-two, thirty-four?”

“Something like that,” I said as I kissed her cheek again. I would never tell her that I am 675 years old. I would never tell. It always confuses people, more than any technology can confuse an old Vampire like me.

As I left I could hear her tell the other bartender, “Damn, he is cute.”

I do not understand this cute. That I will never understand, but I will take it as a compliment from a friend.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

I woke in a cold sweat. I am a Vampire so I only have cold sweat. I had a nightmare about small blue Frenchmen. They smelled of garlic and blueberries. They sang songs in deep throaty voices about ripping out the heart of Vlad the Vampire King.

The door to my bedroom opened. My love Gillian came in. She was wearing an extremely small black dress. The dress fell to the floor, along with her bra and panties. That was three pieces of clothing. She had no shoes. Now she wore nothing but diamond studs in her ears.

She crawled into bed with me, putting her smooth cold arms around me. I put my arms around her and pulled her close as she skimmed her fangs across my neck, then put her lips to mine.

I closed my eyes, and saw blue men, screaming as the large waves covered them while the great white sharks ate them like teenage children eat Hot Cheetos.

Gillian took my face in her hands. “Are you ok Vlad?”

OK. That is another one of those words I do not understand. It means someone  or something is good, or not bad, or it could mean anything, or nothing.

“I am fine,” I said. “Just take my mind off of my mind. Make me forget.”

As always she did. And then some.

~ Vlad

 

Kissed by a Vampire

Kissed by a Vampire

You’ve just read the 40th entry of Vlad’s Vampire Diary. To start from the beginning, or read your favorites again click here. 

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: I’ll Take Care of You

Tangled Tales

I’ll Take Care of You

The headache was real. He opened his eyes and squinted at the sun coming through the window and tried to remember what had happened the night before.

“Oh you’re up. Look at the sunlight. Tell me how you feel.”

“Like I’ve been hit by a truck.”

“Do you feel alive?”

He looked at her sitting in a navy blue wingback chair wearing nothing but a smile and black silk stockings held up by red garters. He thought of her as a girl, not from her age but by the way she acted. She had been cute for a while but the cuteness became annoying and practiced.

He got out of bed and looked for his robe. She watched him with a smile on her face that was part wonder and part greed. Memories started to come back. Against his better judgement he’d taken her home and to his bed. Then she’d poured something she said was wine, but it obviously wasn’t.

“What did we drink last night?”

“What did you drink Andrew darling. I gave you an elixir to life. I gave you a tonic of love. I gave you light and love?”

He didn’t even respond. The sooner he got her out of his house and made coffee the better. Finding his robe he headed to the kitchen.

“Do you feel different?” She got up and followed him down the stairs.

“Other than feeling like shit?”

“Today is your new birthday. You’re mortal again.”

It suddenly occurred that she’d given him some sort of potion. “Jen, I can’t be cured. There was nothing wrong with me.”

“You were a Vampire.”

“I’m still a Vampire.”

“You’re walking in the sunlight. See it comes through the windows and you aren’t burning.”

“I’ve always been able to walk in the sunlight. Whatever you gave me didn’t work. It never works anymore than me giving you something that would turn you into a dog.”

“Give me a chance and I’ll take care of you Andrew,” she said clutching at his arms.

He pried off her hands and whispered under his breath, “Yes, and I’ll make sure to take care of you.”

Escorting her to the door, the Vampire told her to not come back – but he knew she’d try. Jen never took no for an answer. He compared her to a bad rash, that is if he’d ever had a bad rash.

Nobody would believe her tall tales of dating a Vampire. She was a groupie, a fan, a follower who didn’t know how to be an adult or find real love. It wasn’t like he always knew how to find real love, but at least he wasn’t going to let anyone change him for it.

Picking up the phone he made a call. “You know, I really don’t have the stomach for killing her right now. Any suggestions?”

His friend paused on the other end of the line then said, “Don’t worry about it. I’ll take care of her.”

After getting off the phone Andrew made a blood and strawberry smoothie hoping it would clear out some of the toxic effects of whatever the Hell Jen had given him.

Jen told everyone her family had always been around Vampires, kind of sort of, but she’d just discovered her ability to pick them out about 10 years ago. She’d clamped onto Andrew about a year back after seeing him sing with one of her favorite bands at a local club. She’d spotted him and found out all of the details about his life through mutual friends. Her immaturity was charming at first and kind of cute but now it just grated on Andrew. He ran his hands through his hair and wondered why he’d brought her home last night. Oh right, blood and sex. That always does it.

Then again, Jen thought life should be a cross between a Doris Day/Rock Hudson movie and Twilight. Holy crap. The woman was delusional.

Jen sat alone in her San Francisco apartment and thought about her beautiful Vampire lover. Giggling at the thought of his cool skin and hot kisses and wonderful techniques as a lover. He knew all the tricks. She imagined living with him in his beautiful St. Francis Woods home.

Last night she’d offered him not just her body but her blood as well. Last of all she offered her heart. As far as she was concerned that was a sealed deal. She was part of him now. He’d never get rid of her.

A year passed and Andrew had all but forgotten about that night with Jen. Occasionally one of his friends would bring up the story of the toxic brew and laugh about it.

“Don’t laugh, it could have ruined my voice,” Andrew would tell them half serious and half joking.

“What ever happened to her?” They would always ask. Andrew would just shrug.

A hundred miles away, locked in a room with no sharp objects Jen sat rocking on the bed speaking of her Vampire lover and how he’d return for her. Andrew said something under his breath about taking care of her. So she waited not knowing that he already taken care of her, quite nicely.

 

~ End

 

Juliette aka Vampire Maman