In the wee hours of the morning my brother Max came over and crashed at my place. We built a comfortable room for him in the attic where he can stay whenever he finishes a job in our neck of the woods and doesn’t want to drive all the way back to the city. Plus sometimes he just likes to hang out with us.
He staggered downstairs and joined me in the kitchen where I was making coffee.
“Put a shirt on,” I told him as he stood there in nothing but a pair of draw string pajama pants.
I know he’s my eldest brother but he still needs to put a shirt on. I have four older brothers. I insist they be on their best behavior around me. Usually they are.
“You have ghosts in the attic,” he tells me, as if I haven’t already discovered it on my own.
“I know. They’re all over the place. I can’t do anything about it.”
“I don’t remember this many ghosts when we were children.”
“We lived in a new city Gold Rush boy.” Max was born in 1849 in a ship somewhere in San Francisco Bay. Now he drives an SUV and still doesn’t like ghosts. Most Vampires don’t like ghosts. They don’t care for us much either. I pretty much don’t care either way anymore.
“Damn, every time I was just about to drift off they woke me up with their whispering and horrible music,” said Max
“I’ll see what I can do for the ghosts in the attic. We rarely go up there so, anyway, I’ll put something up there to repel them, or just yell at them. They hate it when I yell at them.”
Max pushed his sleeves up and poured a cup of coffee out of the French Press. I could see the ugly scars from Demon scratches and bites.
I worry about Max but he’s a survivor. He survived the Titanic. He survived more bat shit crazy girlfriends than I can count. He survived being shot twice by Vampire Hunters. He has survived demons, angels, fallen angels, ghosts, jealous boyfriends and husbands, and all kinds of weird stuff. He survived the drama of living in three different centuries. He survived having four younger siblings who aren’t exactly serious when it comes to being Vampires. OK maybe Aaron. Aaron is serious about everything but that is a different blog post.
I glanced out the window and could see about half a dozen ghosts sitting on my back fence with black umbrellas in the rain. They watched a lone coyote walk across the meadow underneath the oak canopy. Their sad eyes looked up at me in unison. I pulled the blinds closed.
Max sat down and started to talk about his girlfriend. They talked about where they’d live after they got married. They decided to keep both of their houses, at least for now. She lived in Monterey. He lived in San Francisco. Maybe they’d get married in July. Max had a lot of questions for me. He wanted my opinion.
I listened, but kept glancing over at a small transparent ghost of a child jumping on the couch in the next room. I mouthed the words, “go away.” It stuck out it’s tongue, turned it’s eyes black and vanished.
Max look at me funny. “What are you doing?”
“Nothing. Just thinking maybe you should have the wedding in one of the art museums. Are you getting married in San Francisco?”
“I was thinking Carmel, or Monterey,” said Max.
Out the kitchen window a ghostly bride with a slit throat and a bloody white dress floated past the window. I closed that blind and poured Max more coffee.
“Either one would be beautiful,” I said as a bloody hand came up out of the garbage disposal. I turned on the water and the garbage disposal switch. The hand vanished.
“I can’t believe I’m finally doing this. A hundred and sixty nine years old and I’m finally getting married.”
“I’m so happy for you Max,” I said as I heard the faint sound of an accordion coming from the formal dining room. “Excuse me Max. I’ll be right back.”
In my dining room I found a group of five musicians and a female singer in a dress with a huge bustle and low neckline. She carried her big blue eyes in a jar and held it up so she could see me.
“We’ll do his wedding for cheap,” she said with a gap toothed smile. The band started to play Ode to Joy.
“Go away,” I said. “All of you,” I yelled. “Go away. I swear to God you all know there are only two ghosts I allow in my house, and that is on a good day. ALL of you need to leave right now our I’m finding your graves and piling them with moth balls and dog poop.”
The ghosts looked at me with fading eyes then vanished, along with their music. A glance out the window showed no signs of ghosts. I didn’t feel their presence anywhere in the house.
“Moth balls and dog poop. That’s pretty harsh baby sister.” Max had come into the room.
“Sorry Max, sometimes when it rains they gather. There are a couple of cemeteries, actually three of them on the other side of the river. I think they just get water logged, or maybe come up from the clubs that used to be along the river banks. They know I can see them. It’s kind of like dogs. They want my attention even when they aren’t mine.”
“I guess. If you say it’s weird it must be weird.”
Max excused himself and went back upstairs to sleep a bit. Apparently the accordion had kept interrupting his sleep.
Back in the kitchen another man, one with shaggy black hair and a smirk on his face waited for me. “You’re not going to throw dog poop and moth balls at me are you?”
“No Nigel,” I said. “I’m not going to throw anything at you.”
He got up and poured a cup of coffee and set it on the table then sat down to smell it. “You know I only come here for the coffee.”
“Sure, and the company.”
“I’m the only ghost you like. And Mary of course. Everyone loves Mary.”
“I don’t always like you Nigel,” I said. “But you’re my ghost.”
“And you’re my Vampire,” he said.
We didn’t talk about Max and his aversion to Ghosts.
I don’t live a double life. I’m a mom. I live a triple quadruple life. Husband, kids, siblings, elders, pets, ghosts, etc… I take care of everyone.
You know how it is. Don’t we all.
“At least your closets aren’t full of skeletons,” said Nigel.
“Not too many,” I said, and poured yet another cup of coffee.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman