Halloween is Almost Here (more musings and random thoughts)

Halloween is almost here

Ghosts and Goblins yell and cheer,

Witches drink their Bat Eye Beer

Halloween is almost here.

 

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At the crack of dawn this morning, actually about an hour before, I looked out on my deck to find two ghosts holding coffee mugs and savoring the first stirrings of the woodland creatures who live in my yard and behind my house (along with the sounds of fire truck sirens, trucks and a random dog bark or two.) I watched my translucent friends put their heads together in close conversation, occasionally laughing or using hand gestures.

These ghosts have discarded any old ideas of white sheets and hollow eyed wails. They leave that for others. Sure they can haunt the crap out of anyone and show their form in death (a rather violent image, especially for the one called Mary) but they usually choose not to.

He has pale skin and dark, almost black glossy hair that layers around his face. She has long reddish brown hair that she lets blow in the ghostly winds that most of us can’t feel.

If it was any other pair of ghosts I would have chased them off, but these two are mine. At least mine because they live in my space. I usually don’t like ghosts or anything without a body, but there are always exceptions.

I didn’t interfere with their reveries. I’d pick up the cups later. That is the empty cups they fill with their phantom coffee. I had other things on my mind.

Earlier my husband Teddy had come home with a scratch across his handsome face. Three scratches from fingernails to be exact and bites in various places.

He’d been called to see about a rare pocket watch a client of his was looking for. When he arrived at the old Victorian he discovered that the apartment was below street level (the original street level.)

The door was answered by a woman of shocking appearance. She was bloated like a dead thing that had been out in the sun. Her eyes were sunken and rimmed with pale pinkish red. Despite her bony frame the fashionable black dress she wore strained at the seams. White blonde hair tangled around her face. Blood caked around the corners of her mouth and on the cuticles of her fingernails.

He recognized her, barely. In 1934 he’d spent two weeks with her on Catalina Island. People thought she was a film star with her Jean Harlow looks and beautiful clothes. So much for happy memories.

She told him that now she fed on transients and outcasts who wouldn’t be missed. Rather than taking a pint or a quart here and there she sucked them dry. Nobody would miss them or care. It always looked like natural causes anyway. Then she’d sleep it off for a week or two and start again.

Teddy, being the man he is and a Vampire with a social conscience tried to tell her that what she was doing was not acceptable. Bad move Teddy. She attacked him, screeching that she never asked to be a Vampire. She didn’t choose that life. She had become isolated as those she preyed upon.

As she fled into the night  The young man who made the nicely decorated basement apartment at home was in a deep sleep. He wasn’t someone off the grid but someone who’d left his bedroom window open and a Vampire climbed in. Teddy had the decency to erase any bad memories the young man might have had. Then Teddy called a Vampire Hunter to take care of his old friend. Teddy didn’t have the stomach to do it himself.

We talked about it for a while and like so many things it just seemed sad. Too many things seem sad.

Halloween is almost here but we’re already up to our eyeballs in scary shit, including a school shooting scare and other stupid stuff.

But then again like all families we’re busy to the point where we can’t stop and even think about anything much. It is like this all the time. Halloween brings a flood of activity. A party at my house on Friday. A party on Saturday. A skate meet on Sunday. A dozen other things including school and work are squeezed in between. Then we start all over again.

But I’ll make it a point to stop and sip my coffee and watch the sunrise.  And tomorrow we’ll carve those pumpkins I’ve been gathering on my front porch!

 

Halloween is almost here

Werewolves howling is so near,

Zombie looking for his ear,

Halloween is almost here.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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This little adventure was first posted here in 2014. I’ll be back with new stories and adventures shortly.  

More Vampire Art From Jason Kemp (I absolutely LOVE these)

If you’re visiting Vampiremaman.com, and especially if you like Halloween and Vampires, you’ll love the art of J. Harrison Kemp aka my friend Jason Kemp of Tenkara Studios.

I posted the first batch of Vampire Art of Jason Kemp earlier this month. Here is the second group. SQUEEEEEEEEE. OMG I love these SO MUCH. Thank you Jason. xoxoxox.

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I have to stop for a second and admit in my cold Vampire heart that the top four images have my heart (especially the top two). Oh my goodness. Ask any Vampire. That said, the rest are utterly fabulous too.

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Tenkara Studios are presently the sole domain of author and illustrator J Harrison Kemp, or Jason as the dust bunnies call him. Within the halls of his labyrinthine workspace, a sprawling Wunderkammer, or wonder-room if you will, we find the artist surrounded and overly influenced by the many intricate objet d’art of a bygone age, a multifarious miscellany of complex curiosities that only the foolhardy would call toys. Brimful but charming, the antiquated atelier is commingled with an athenaeum housing only the greatest of literary treasures and books about things from outer space. Yes, it is here that the self-taught artist and writer draws from his surroundings that little bit more everyday and applies that inspiration to new and ever evolving graphic and fictitious projects.

Jay is currently the sole inhabitant of Tenkara Studios, a.k.a. the office and is busy with a variety of commissions, short stories, incidental projects and a soon to be realized anthology of horror fiction.

Contact: tenkarastudios@outlook.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tenkarastudios
http://tenkarastudios.weebly.com/

Jason has also designed the covers of several of our themed anthologies for WPaD (Writers, Poets, and Deviants.) Yes, and I have to add I am SO HONORED to have worked with Jason. Wow. I love these covers. AND as a writer Jason tells a damned good story too.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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Space, Crazy Circus Music and A Perfect Seventy-Eight Degrees

Space, Crazy Circus Music and A Perfect Seventy-Eight Degrees

I  was going to dive into to my Friday post but my brain is under attack by such noise, I can hardly explain…

I’m in the roller rink for Friday practice. All the skaters are doing beautiful thing with their dance and artistic routines. And yes, any comments about derby will be removed. Anyway, the music today is especially bad. It sounds like an old-fashioned circus. I expect Emmet Kelly and a band of clowns and elephants and dancing bears on skates to come flooding out of the back room any minute.

Dude, dancing bears. I have this poster in my house. The real one.

Dude, dancing bears. I have this poster in my house. The real one.

When we arrived the music (on a circus organ) was “Morning After, ” in some sort of polka or maybe fox trot or even an upbeat cha cha beat. Yes, that song, the one Debbie Boon sang to in the original Poseidon Adventure (1972 with Gene Hackman and Shelly Winters.) Imagine that song upbeat and in a crazy circus organ out of American Horror Story, or worse a Stephen King novel, or more like, well, an alternate or parallel universe. Holy crap this record is bad. No wonder young skaters aren’t joining the sport. Thank goodness the only thing with the old organ music is the American Dance. Yes, boys and girls, this is why your sport isn’t in the Olympics yet. It isn’t the skating – it is the music. Hell upside down. Now a version of “The Stripper” is playing that I have no words to describe. This is the Muzak they play in Hell.

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OK, back to our previously programmed blog post…

My sixteen year old Clara was talking about the Universe and space earlier today. She can’t get her mind around the fact that the Universe is expanding. But where is it expanding to? Where it come from? What was before the big bang, and before then, and before then? Then she told me about someone who created a photo of the entire Milk Way using millions of images of the Milky Way. It is all mind-boggling.

Then consider the fact that we’re looking at flickering stars billions of miles away. Then consider that someone might be out there looking back at our flickering star (the Sun) and wondering if anyone is out there. Think about it.

It is almost too much to get your brain around. We know so little about our own solar neighborhood. Only in the past hundred years have we managed to fly, and communicate with wires, then wirelessly, then we got cat memes. Actually cat memes aren’t new. But back to space, please.

Pre 1920 Cat Meme. Seriously, I kid you not. Cat memes aren't new. People have been creating them since ancient times. Think about it.

Pre 1920 Cat Meme. Cat memes aren’t new. People have been creating cute cat drawings and memes since ancient times.

Where was I? Oh right, physics, super colliders, and even some quantum physics. Stay with me. This isn’t leading anywhere, but stay with me.

I mentioned to my child that I’d read somewhere that some scientists thought they might be able to get to a parallel universe. The headline was, “Large Hadron Collider ‘Could Be About To Find A Parallel Universe.” Look it up. And if you ever get the chance to visit a Super Collider DO IT. I have and it is super interesting.

So the child asked me what exactly again was a parallel universe.

From Wikipedia: A parallel universe is a hypothetical self-contained separate reality co-existing with one’s own. A specific group of parallel universes is called a “multiverse”, although this term can also be used to describe the possible parallel universes that constitute reality.

Yes, you can be two places at once.

Or as they say in Firesign Theater How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You’re Not Anywhere at All.

Or another bit I swiped off of the Internet, “But, according to quantum mechanics, microscopic systems can be in two or more places at the same time, a principle called superposition (also called quantum weirdness – no explanation needed). Atoms and electrons can be in two places at once.”

I explained it the best I could in the best mom terms I could. It made more sense than what I’m writing here, but then again, when I’m driving in my car I’m not listening to crazy insane circus organ skate music.

What I didn’t explain to my daughter or anyone else, was that I had been in that somewhere else parallel universe – recently.

Then our conversation changed a bit.

“Being a Vampire is like living in a parallel universe. Tell me again why we can’t let anyone know about us?” My daughter has asked me this a lot.

“Because darling child, we must let them think they are on the top of the food chain. You know what they do to their own kind who are different. You know about the Vampire Hunters. You know the history.”

She shrugged and told me about her English class. Then we listened to music.

My mind went back to the night before.

I was in bed, my arms and legs wrapped around my husband, or I thought it was my husband. I assumed it was my husband. I was hot. I don’t think I’d ever been so hot.

We both opened our eyes at the same time.

“Juliette?” I knew the voice but it wasn’t my husband.

“Pleasant?” It was indeed my old flame Pleasant Van Dusen and he was burning hot. Not burning hot as in that kind of burning hot, but temperature wise hot.

Remember we’re Vampires and run at a cool 78 degrees farenheit. He was burning up at 98.5 degrees give or take a few.

He gave me a weak smile. “Happy Birthday honey.” Then he wiped the sweat off of his forehead. “What is going on? I can’t cool down.”

I rolled away from him. We were naked. Oh my goodness. The room looked unfamiliar but it was in a style that we both would have picked out. Modern with a touch of 80’s – and I mean 1880’s.

“My heart feels like it is beating out of my chest. Feel it.” He said this as he grabbed my hand and put it on his chest.

“It feels like a regular person Pleasant. It feels like…oh my God. Sit up. Look in the mirror.”

We sat up and looked at the mirror on the wall across from the bed. Our images showed up sharp and clear. We both smiled, uncomfortable grins. No fangs. Hot skin. Hearts beating fast. No fangs.

“Dear God, Pleasant, we aren’t Vampires anymore.”

“No. Juliette no.” The panic in his voice was frightening. Pleasant never panicked.

We’d been transformed. Both of us had been Vampires from the day we were born as rare Vampire babies but now…now…now…we were not.

And we were together. The rings on our left fingers matched in design. A portrait of our wedding was on the night table. We gazed out the window. Two moons. That could only mean one thing – an alternate universe.

I got out of bed. Pulling on a pink silk robe (I would have never chosen pink), I opened the bedroom door. Then everything grew dark. Next I opened my eyes and I was back in bed, my arms wrapped around my husband Teddy. He was a cool 78, exactly like a healthy Vampire should be. I was exactly with the man I should have been with.

My phone vibrated. I answered. It was Pleasant. “Are you a Vampire Juliette?”

“Yes. You?”

“Yes, are you with your husband?”

“Yes, are you with your wife?”

“Yes. What happened?”

“Alternate or parallel universe. We must have hit some sort of time warp or black hole, or I don’t know.”

“Are you cold.”

“Yes, thank goodness. You?”

“Yes, I’m cool.”

“Juliette, I gotta go. I’ll call you.”

“Sure, take care. Be careful.”

“You too. You too Juliette.”

And that was it. We were one of them if only for a moment. It was life as it would have been if we’d been regular “normal” people. But we aren’t.

I didn’t tell my child. I had no idea if our Regular Human versions ended up in our beds with our spouses. I didn’t ask. I don’t want to know.

I feel hot.

I feel hot.

 

I’ll continue to talk science with my kids. We will continue to speculate. But sometimes, just sometimes, it is good not to mention those time warps that happen when we least expect it.

So I guess, the only thing to say is to stay curious, stay cautious, and stay cool. And that my friends is the only point to this story.

And like I always say, take with your kids. Talk with them. Explore with them. Discuss with them.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

First posted in October 2015. My kids are now away in college and are not doing competitive skating anymore, but I still talk to them ALL THE TIME. Well that, and send them funny texts every single day.

Businessmen, Handsome Gen X

Halloween Hotties: Werewolves

My friend Brandy, who just happens to be a Werewolf, asked me an interesting question yesterday. 

Why are most Werewolves in fiction male? Why are sexy Werewolves usually male? Why are there so few sexy Werewolves. What’s up with that?

I thought about it for a second. Well Brandy, I’m sure my gentle readers would be able to come up with dozens of examples of all of the above mentioned. I just don’t know of many. In the meantime, maybe I need to change that and write a few stories for Brandy.
Today I’m reposting favorite from 2013. It was part of my “Halloween Hottie” series.  Aside from all of the love letter, taking kids to rock concert, and spoon hanging posts THIS one is in the top five all time most popular.

Halloween Hotties: Werewolves (if you’re into guys who smell like wet dogs)

Time to Countdown to Halloween with Halloween Hotties  – WEREWOLVES.

Werewolves. I’m torn on this one. I just don’t find them attractive at all. OK – I don’t find most of them attractive.

Now wolves, the wonderful wild wolves who don’t turn back into humans are some of the most beautiful creatures on earth.

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But Werewolves? Really? They’re just gross and disturbing.

This is not attractive or hot in any way shape or form.

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But before he was transformed…Mr Chaney was quite the looker. After the transformation his was just one ugly dog faced boy.

Lon Chaney looking hot in a suit! Sweetheart stay out from under that full moon!

American Werewolf In London = hot guys, ugly werewolves.

Looking cute now guys but wait until midnight!

So what does the whole Werewolf thing mean in modern culture. Man shows his inner beast? Nooooo, it’s just another way to creep us out and give us some scary fun.

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Caution: If you’ve come here for deep and meaningful look at my parenting posts.

That said, if you are looking for a HOT Werewolf… The hero of Robert McCammon’s The Wolf’s Hour, Michael Gallatin, is the most smoking hot Werewolf ever to grace the pages of fiction or non-fiction. I love this book. It goes down in my top 10 favorite books of all time. Take my word for it.

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The Wolf’s Hour is about a Russian Werewolf who is a Nazi hunter during WW2. Trust me, this isn’t some silly book. It is powerful, well written and filled with some of the best characters ever written. Read it. Read it. Read it. And by the way, Mr. McCammon you’re pretty hot yourself! I mean, any man who can write how he writes has to be hot.

Then there is Adam, my own Werewolf friend. He just rolls his eyes at me.

Yes, I do have personal experience with these guys. It is creepy when you see hair growing out of the top of somebody’s hand. I can handle the teeth thing, especially since I have fangs too. And I like a man with a little hair on his chest, but not covering his entire body like, well, like a DOG or a bear rug. Nor do I like the idea of kissing a guy knowing that he was chewing on his ass the night before. Yuck.

I once told Adam that I found the idea of turning into a wolf somewhat disturbing. He went off on me for a full 15 minutes about how vile Vampires are and that we’re more or less the most evil disgusting creatures that ever stayed awake all night. I told him I hoped he’d get fleas in his crotch and that I would NEVER forgive him for trying to rip my throat out a while back. I told him he smelled like a wet dog after he’d been a wolf for the night.

Most Werewolves are Halloween Hotties because of what they look like BEFORE the full moon. You gotta admit I’m right about that one. I mean, look at the photo below with the cute guy and the puppy. Cute now…just wait until the full moon and he turns into some disgusting hairy beast that eats Alpo and small children. Maybe we just want to take care of them – like we take care of our faithful dogs. Poor babies…. No, I don’t think so.

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Adam and I didn’t talk for a while after our big Werewolf vs Vampire blow out and insult throwing contest,  but we’re back to being in the close friend category.

Creatures such a Vampires and Werewolves can get a little emotional with expressing our feelings. That said, if you want emotional try spending some time with a ghost.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

And as long as you’re here…check out the rest of the blog for more fun and more Werewolves.

He claims he looks more like the wolf, but I've seen him with those wolf teeth and hair growing out of his arms...it is enough to scare the most hardened Vampire.

 

Bad Dates and A Bit of Advice From My Brother Val (For Vampires and Other People)

“She was weird.”

That is what my brother Val told me when I asked him about a woman he’d met at a party at my brother Max’s house last month.

I have four brothers. Max is engaged, Andy is occupied and in love, Aaron is married, and Val is unattached. Like me, they’re all Vampires. We’ve always been that way. Anyway, back to my story about my single 161 year old brother.

This morning he came in from San Francisco. I figured he was still wearing a scarf around his neck because it was still cold outside, or he was just making a fashion statement.

“Why was she weird?” I asked.

“Lots of things.” Val told me. “She asked if I’d ever had baby blood. Then she went on and on about the old days and how Vampires dined on children. I told her it was bull shit and bad form. We were brought up better than that.” He ran his hand through his hair, something he did when he was flustered.

“Yuck,” I said. It was pretty yucky.

“She wasn’t born one of us. She was fascinated by the fact that I was. I hate it when other Vampires treat us like we’re magical or something.”

“She seemed pretty normal on your first date,” I said

“I know. I thought she was a bit forward and kind of quirky, but she was fun. Damn, she is gorgeous too. Not that looks are everything, but it helps.”

“I guess.”

“We’d been out to a couple of jazz clubs, then went back to her place. She was acting pretty normal by then, you know, not saying weird things. We started making out. It was nice. Then she ripped my shirt open and bit my neck. Not just a little love bite. She sunk her fangs into me.”

“Crap.”

“I pulled away and she ripped my flesh. She fucking ripped my neck open.”

“Val! Let me see.” I unwrapped the scarf from his neck. There was a gash where he’d put a butterfly over a two inch rip in his neck. Usually we heal faster than regular warmer blooded folks, but this was bad. Vampire on Vampire bites take longer to heal than most injuries. The area around the gash had started to turn purple and yellow.

“I swear I thought she was going to bleed me to death. I grabbed her and pulled her off of me. Then she had the audacity to tell me that I was hurting her.”

“What a bitch.”

“She was fucking crazy. After that you know what? She wanted me to go to bed with her. She laughed at me and told me how much she wanted me. No way in Hell was I going to spend another minute with her.”

“Oh Val.”

“My blood was dripping down her chin.”

“Yuck.”

“Then she texts me this morning asking me if I want a third date.”

“What did you do?”

“I blocked her.”

Val’s dates usually don’t go like this. In fact he has less drama in his world than any Vampire or regular person I know.

A while back I wrote a post about dating advice Val had for other guys. Keep reading.

First  posted in 2012

Uncle Val’s Advice on Women (for Vampires but it works for everyone)

My brother Val is visiting for the weekend. My kids Garrett (age 16) and Clara (age 13) adore him.

That said, he decided Garrett needed some advice on women. Not that Garrett needs it – every girl in his high school has a crush on him. Sometime I think he has a crush on every girl as well. But he is level headed and smarter than most boys his age when it comes to girls. Yes, Garrett is a bit of romantic but that’s ok with me. I’d rather him be a smart romantic than a stupid player.

Val is a 156 year old Vampire who definitely does not still live in the 19th century. He is single and savvy. He is also sweet and exceptionally caring, especially about the elders and children of our family and friends.

So this is how the conversation went.

Clara: Boys are stupid.

Val: Yes, they are.

Garrett: What about me.

Val: You’re her brother. You don’t count.

Garrett: What about girls? They aren’t perfect.

Val: Women are crazy but the craziness depends on the level of psychosis. They’re also smarter than we are so just admit it and let them know that.

Me (Juliette): So I’m smarter than you.

Val: No, you aren’t.

Me: Why is that?

Val: You’re my baby sister.

Me: You said boys are stupid.

Val: They are.

Teddy (my husband): He’s right.

Val to Garrett: Vampire girls are independent these days. It used to be that you’d just bring them a few small children or a baby and they’d be happy.

Clara and Garrett together: That’s gross.

Val: We don’t do that anymore.

Teddy: WE never did that.

Me: Your grandparents never did THAT.

Val: My point being that most Vampire women like to hunt for their own food. They don’t need guys to bring it to them.

Teddy: Keep digging Val.

And then we talked about general behavior and a few funny and awful stories but in the end Val passed on his time honored rules about women. Here they are…

Uncle Valentine’s General Rules About Women – If you like them and want to keep one around.

  1. Don’t talk about how much you love beer on the first sip. And I say sip. Don’t glug it. And unless you’re talking microbrews or party planning don’t talk about beer. Even then keep it brief.
  2. Don’t act like you are having a love affair with your car, motorcycle or truck. She doesn’t give a shit.
  3. Wear a decent shirt. Button down is best. Roll the sleeves up and show your forearms off. Women think that’s hot.
  4. Don’t act like a dog and paw all over her. Wait for her to give a signal and be a gentleman for God’s sake. Get crazy in bed after she says she wants to get crazy….excuse me my sister reminded me we have teenagers in the room.
  5. Use good table manners.
  6. Don’t take the last cookie unless you ask her if she wants it.
  7. Don’t talk about your ex-girlfriend/wife. Mention the ex once then STOP talking about it.
  8. Don’t bring her small children or babies…just kidding. But really, don’t do it. Vampires aren’t into that anymore.
  9. NEVER criticize her hair or tell her that she is too fat or too skinny – not even in a nice way. DON’T go there.
  10. If she clings and cries RUN AWAY.
  11. If she is needy RUN AWAY.
  12. If she is mean to you RUN AWAY.
  13. If she complains about everything RUN AWAY.
  14. If she shows more than a hint of jealousness RUN AWAY.
  15. If she talks about her ex too much RUN AWAY.
  16. If she wants you to buy her everything or complains you don’t spend enough on her RUN AWAY.
  17. If she laughs when her dog bites you RUN AWAY.
  18. If she is a Werewolf or a Goblin RUN AWAY.
  19. If you love her…just be careful. Make sure it is real and not infatuation.
  20. If she is a regular human and not a Vampire DO NOT GIVE HER YOUR HEART.
  21. If she isn’t a Vampire NEVER turn her into one. Don’t even think about it. Talk to me about this later.
  22. If you like her – tell her so.
  23. Have fun. Don’t lead her on. Don’t let her lead you on.
  24. Respect her.
  25. Show her respect. And expect her to respect you.
  26. If she is not a Vampire don’t use her for your main food source. In fact, if you’re dating don’t use her as a food source, period. Don’t mix food and sex or love.
  27. Women are crazy but you gotta love them. I love women. They’re like a drug and like any drug you don’t want to abuse it or over use it. Take what you need and don’t be greedy.

“OK Val, I said. I think that’s enough advice for the night.” I said.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Short Story Sunday: Leaving Victor

A new Tangled Tale for October 13, 2019 from Juliette aka Vampire Maman.

Leaving Victor

The Creature watched as the figure in the large overcoat and hat came through the door. The man walked with a slight limp. He smiled at The Creature as he took off his coat and hung it on a peg.

“Igor, you back. Doctor left,” said The Creature.

“Gone for three days. That gives us plenty of time,” said the man with the limp as he took off his hat and shook out his hair.

“Nice do,” said The Creature. “Igor look good.”

“I needed something different.”

“You look like hipster. Short sides. Longer top. Igor look stylish.”

“It isn’t Igor anymore. It never was Igor,” said the man.

“No Igor?”

“Victor called me Igor. It was a derogatory term due to my handicap.” Then he reached around and pulled a pillow out of the back of his shirt. “I won’t be needing this anymore.”

“You straight,” said The Creature.

“Physical therapy. Now I just have to use a cane when I’m on uneven surfaces. But listen, my name is, my real name, is Isidore Rassioli. Some of my friends call me Izzy.”

“Izzydore. I like.”

“You need a name too. That damn Victor didn’t even give you a name. What do you want to be called?”

“Don’t know. Never think I could have name.”

“Well I have.” Isidore pulled out an envelope and set it in front of The Creature. “You are now Corbin Jones. Look here. You now have a birth certificate, and a passport.”

“Corbin. Middle?”

“Andrew,”

“Sound good. I like. Why all this?”

“Because, my dear Corbin, it is time for us to leave. Our servitude is over. For years I toiled under Dr. Victor Frankenstein as his assistant. I did all of the research. I formulated the numbers. I came up with the key ideas, theories, and every thesis. I even wrote his lecture notes. The only reason he has tenure at the university is because of me. All the while he called me Igor and took advantage of my lack of confidence. Well no more. I am not ugly. I am not stupid. I am not a cripple.”

“Looking good Isidore. You smart. I always say that.”

“And so are you Corbin. So are you.

“Passport say American. Why?”

“Because dear Corbin you are a man of an astoundingly diverse heritage. Your body is Italian, built like Michelangelo’s David. Unfortunately the first owner was crushed in an automobile accident. Fortunately we were able to find a perfect fit for a new right arm and shoulder from a murdered Ethiopian gun smuggler. Your left brain is Irish Catholic and your right brain is Ashkenazi Jew. Your head is generic Caucasian, from an American who lost it to an unfortunate run in with a machete. You look like of like Chris Evans, you know, Captain America, sort of but I think better looking. Your ears don’t match, but nobody looks at ears unless they’re unusually large, and yours aren’t.”

“What about her?” Corbin asked, looking over at a closed door.

“The woman? Her body is from a woman who was of English, Welsh, and German decent. She was involved in an unfortunate industrial accident that took off the top of her head. Her scalp and brain are Korean. I’m not sure where those came from. Her heart is First Nation Canadian. Jesus Christ, I can’t make this stuff up. The two of you are true citizens of the world.”

From behind the closed door came a woman. She was striking with one brown eye and one hazel eye. Her long black hair was pulled up into a messy bun on the top of her hair. She wore jeans and an oversized sweater the color of the evening sky.

“Izzy. Did you get my papers?” Asked the woman.

“I did. Here you go Rochelle.”

“Oh my goodness it is good to hear my name. Rochelle. Wow.”

She opened her envelope and looked down upon the birth certificate. Rochelle Patti Smith. She’d picked out the name herself. Her own name. Not Eve or Lilith as Victor wanted to call her, but Rochelle. Patti Smith was after her favorite musician. Rochelle was just because she’s always liked the name somewhere in her distant past that she couldn’t quite remember.

“I have my bag packed,” said Rochelle.

“Good,” said Isidore.

“Where we go?” Corbin asked.

“Orange County, California, the United States of America. I got a job teaching at the Biology Department at UC Irvine.”

“UC?” Corbin asked.

“University of California,” said Isidore. “I have my PhD. This is a great opportunity. Plus we’re not going to be alone. My brothers Sal and Perry own a body shop in Long Beach.”

“They make people too?” Rochelle asked.

“No, cars. They repair cars. Automobiles.”

Six Years Later

Corbin, Rochelle, and Isidore lived in a house walking distance from the beach. It was a good life.

Corbin obtained his GED, took two years at the Community College and got into California State University Long Beach majoring in Political Science. With the help of a speech therapist he now spoke without a trace of hesitation. His girlfriend owned a surf shop and had taught him how to swim.

Rochelle was now in Law School at UC Irvine. She dated a movie producer.

Isidore was a popular teacher. Often he’d walk the beach with his dogs Ramble and Corky, and ponder the meaning of life. Not so much his life, but life in general.

He’d never even thought of making any more conglomerates of reanimated body parts and calling them human beings. Corbin and Rochelle were enough. They were miracles who’d been rescued from spending their new lives shut up in a laboratory to be poked and prodded. Now they were free. Maybe they even had souls. God knows they lived their lives like they did.

Victor had approached Rochelle a few years back, like an abusive stalker waiting to bring his woman back where she belonged. She told him that she’d call the police if he ever approached her again.

Victor had told her, “You ungrateful sewed together bitch. I made you. You belong to me.”

Rochelle said, “No Victor, I made me. I made the women I am today.”

A small note on the online news sites stated that the body of famous biologist Dr. Victor Frankenstein had been washed up on a beach just south of Santa Barbara. Corbin, Rochelle, and Isidore never talked about it. They didn’t need to.

The thought of Rochelle standing up for herself made Isidore smile. He wanted that for all of his students. It had taken years for him to stand up for himself.

As he watched the sunset over the Pacific Ocean a peace settled over Isidore.

“Come on boys,” he called to his dogs. Then he stood up straight and planted his cane in the sand. “I’m done with crutches my dear dogs. Let’s go home.”

~ end

Tangled Tales