Short Story Sunday: A Night at the Crest

A Night at the Crest

Dallas Andrews was performing at the old Crest Theater in Sacramento. Jonathan Ward’s soon to be ex-girlfriend Beth told him that this guy was hot. Andrews could actually communicate with the dead. Dallas Andrews said angels walked among them. He claimed to see angels all around him 24/7.

Andrews was the darling of the clairvoyant, medium, mysticism, aura generating followers of spiritual awakening. He had been featured on most major network and cable television stations. He did radio shows, graced the covers of magazines and now was packing in full houses on a nation wide tour. He followed in the footsteps of Casey and Nostradamus. His book was on the best selling nonfiction lists.

Jonathan had tried to talk Beth out of it. He told her the guy was a fake. He told her that all of these guys were fakes, but she insisted. She told him it would be fun and enlightening.

“It would be fun and enlightening to stay home and watch The Wizard of OZ,” he replied, but she wasn’t going to budge.

Jonathan Ward, founder and editor of the West Coast Review, was 5’10 with broad shoulders on his medium build. He was in good shape for someone his age, which appeared to be somewhere in his mid 40’s. According to his drivers license he was forty-six. His sandy brown hair had soft grey streaks at the temples. His eyes were framed with long thick lashes. His prominent nose was straight and narrow, but it fit with his oval face. He was good looking enough to get noticed by women but not enough to stand out in a crowd, unless one noticed his almost unnerving pale ice blue eyes. He had almost a perpetual and too quick of a smile. “Always amused” is how he was often described.

His companion Beth McAllister was knock down drop dead gorgeous and she knew it. Aside from her occasional bizarre and childish fascinations with freaks like Dallas Andrews, she was also brilliant. Well, most of the time.

Beth chattered away as they entered the lobby of the Crest Theater. Her stiletto heels clicked on the floor. Jonathan always thought of it as her mating call. He slid his hand down over her perfect behind. She promptly slapped it away. “Who do you want to contact?” she asked.

“Judy Garland and Billie Burke.”

“No, it has to be somebody you knew.”

“There are no dead people I want to talk to.”

“Maybe Dallas can contact your parents or your brother.” She said gently.

“They have unlisted numbers”

“You aren’t funny.”

“Bitch.” he whispered then kissed her on the mouth and led her to their seats.

As they made their way through the crowd his eyes met a well-dressed, slightly handsome, thirtyish man in the lobby. Jonathan was sure it was a plant; someone sent by Andrews to listen in to the conversations in the lobby. “My brother was blown to bits in Afghanistan. Pass that one on to your boss.” The man looked calm but Jonathan knew he’d unnerved him.

The restored art deco movie palace was the perfect place for the grand show of bullshit he would witness tonight. The lights dimmed. A woman in a long green dress played a traditional Irish harp on the corner of the stage. At the other corner was a plainly dressed woman signing for the deaf.

“I bet there isn’t one deaf person in this theater.” He said to Beth. She rolled her eyes at him and squeezed his hand. The lights came up on the stage. The crowd cheered. Jonathan sat back with his arms crossed, glaring at the stage.

Dallas Andrews walked causally onto the stage dressed in a white silk shirt, cream colored tie and matching cream colored dress slacks finished off with tan Italian loafers with tassels. He was in his mid-to-late thirties with wavy dark hair and boyish good looks. He smiled sweetly at the audience showing off perfect dimples, practically glowing with goodness and concern.

“How innocent, how angelic, how phony,” thought Jonathan.

The audience clapped until Andrews blushed on command and told them to stop. Jonathan glanced at Beth. She was transfixed. He had lost her, to Dallas Andrews, at least for the next hour.

The man in white told his story with all the passion of the finest bard or worst televangelist, depending on one’s point of view. It was all bullshit about dead friends and relatives who’d ended up with tragically only to “speak” to Dallas through his new found gift.

Dallas ended his touching life story with “We can all be at peace with those we love who have passed over. I knew at that time I had to help others to find that peace and end the pain and worry.

It is a selfish thing that we expect the dead to contact us. It isn’t easy for them. But I’m trying to make it easier, as their go between. I channel. I am the messenger. I am merely a vessel to bring the message of love from the other side.”

Jonathan said nothing as the audience sat transfixed. He jotted a few notes then put his pen away. The night might not be a complete waste of time if the timing was right.

Andrews proceeded to ask questions of tearful audience members who wished to hear from departed loved ones.

“I’m hearing from Mary, Martha? I also see black and white. A nun. A policeman.” Andrews said in the most gentle and concerned voice.

“I can’t fucking believe this.” Jonathan swore under his breath. The people around him glared. He ignored them.

They heard from a dead son killed in a car accident, a recently departed grandmother, a young wife who died from cancer, a career Army officer killed in Iraq. Jonathan’s heart broke for those who came looking for answers and the hope of any small comfort. He took notes while Beth wiped tears from her face.

After about 90 minutes Andrews opened up for questions and answers. When called on, Jonathan stood up with his usual amused smile. “Be nice” Beth whispered.

Dallas Andrews saw a familiar face. He knew who the middle-aged man in the expensive black suit and distracting ice blue eyes was. Then he noticed the incredibly beautiful brunette sitting next to him. Dallas smiled sweetly at Beth, catching her off guard. She smiled back then blushed. With any luck he’d she’d be at the reception afterwards and after that in his suite at the Hyatt Regency across the street.

“Yes, you had a question.”

Jonathan addressed the clairvoyant. “You actually see angels? Show me who the angels in this room are?”

Dallas smiled and nodded “You won’t be able to see them. They are spirits who reveal themselves to me, but they are here, all around us. Open your heart and you’ll feel their presence.”

Jonathan didn’t like the answer “Tell me Mr. Andrews, are your angels from heaven or are they from someplace else? It’s often hard to tell the difference.”

The room hushed. Dallas Andrews was obviously annoyed by this man. “I sense you have a troubled soul.”

“You don’t know the half of it.” Jonathan replied in disgust.

Andrews gave a sympathetic smile and help out his hands, palms up. “Let me try to help you find out where your demons come from.” His voice was soothing as if talking to a troubled teen.

Jonathan almost laughed. “Oh you’re good. You’re very good. Mr. Andrews, where I come from we have words for people like you. A few that come to mind are liar, con man, cheat, and oh yes, more importantly sinner.”

“What is your name?” asked Andrews trying to keep his composure.

“You know perfectly well who I am,” thought Jonathan. He smiled at the man on stage. “Jonathan Ward, West Coast Review.”

Dallas Andrews pointed at Jonathan then put his finger to his chin. He smiled again. “I thought I recognized you. You’ve seen with your own eyes, heard with your own ears the news I’ve brought to these people tonight. Mr. Ward, humor me for a moment. Think of someone you’ve lost. Your parents were from Alaska. They died in a plane crash, you and your siblings survived. Would you like a message from your parents?” he asked raising an eyebrow at Jonathan.

Beth took Jonathan’s hand. He gave it a quick squeeze and let go. Parents my ass. “Why should my dead mother contact you, a stranger, when she could contact me directly?” he asked.

Dallas toned down his voice. He turned up the gentleness and compassion. “You block out the passage for her to travel with your negativity.”

Jonathan only glared. “You found the information about my mom from the bio on my web site. You’ve been following my stories for the past year.”

“You must have great pain in your heart” replied Dallas in a comforting voice, as he put his own hand over his heart.

“How do you know my mother is really dead or even has a soul?” Jonathan shot back sarcastically.

“I speak with the angels.”

“Really? You not only see, but you also speak with angels? That is truly amazing.”

“It is a gift, a blessing.”

“It’s a lie,” said Jonathan calmly as Beth sunk lower in her seat.

Dallas Andrews smiled sadly “Ladies and Gentlemen, this reaction is common from skeptics. There are angels all around us.”

“Show me.”

“There’s one right next to you.”

Jonathan ignored the comment. “Dallas, do you believe in God?”

“Of course.”

“Do you believe in hell?”

“I believe in the intrinsic goodness of all mankind. So, no, Mr. Ward, I don’t believe in hell.”

“You will Dallas, believe me you will.”

Dallas lifted his chin in defiance. “Is that a threat?”

“No Dallas, it isn’t a threat. It’s a statement of fact.” 

“What in your opinion is hell, Jonathan?” asked Dallas slowly and deliberately as if he was ready to pull out the big guns.

“I’ll give you a tour,” Jonathan thought to himself. He wasn’t going to take the bait. “I’ve seen enough. Good night Dallas. Don’t forget to check out next week’s issue of the West Cost Review for the end of this riveting story.” Grabbing Beth’s hand, he started to make his way to the back of the theater. Beth stopped and turned back.

“Just like Lot’s wife.” He whispered in her ear.

She pulled her hand away and hissed “Asshole.” He stopped by the exit door and faced the stage.

Dallas Andrews had already started to have a violent seizure. Then he started to scream and fell to his knees holding his head in his hands. Soon he’d feel pain like he’d never felt before. It was an ugly way to end the evening, but the man had to be stopped. Jonathan couldn’t kill, but he could do an amazing amount of damage to the living. Maybe, with any luck, Dallas Andrews would get the message and change his ways.

Jonathan smiled slightly and narrowed his eyes “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. Amen.” He said quietly to nobody in particular.

Beth looked at him with wide eyes.

He scowled at her “What? Don’t look at me like a frightened cat. I told you he was a fake.”

“Jon, we can’t just leave.”

“Sure we can. There isn’t anything we can do here except be in the way.” He took out his phone and dialed 911. “My name is Jonathan Ward. I’m at the Crest Theater on K Street. Sacramento. Dallas Andrews is having some sort of attack. Horrible convulsions. Oh my gosh, I think he passed out. Please, he needs help. I’m not sure…there’s a doctor or someone up on stage with him now.” He paused “Yes…you’ve had other calls…help is on the way. Thank you. Thank you so much.”

Beth stood in shock. “Oh no, oh no.” she whispered, her eyes still on the stage.

“Let’s go darling.” Jonathan told her grabbing her arm like a vice and practically dragging her out of the theater. She passed a few of her wide-eyed friends, but he didn’t let her stop. She’d be blabbering all night to them about poor Andrews. He wondered how someone as smart as Beth could be so gullible and stupid when it came to crap like this.

They walked across the Capitol Park to his car. Beth was livid.

“We should have stayed. I bet you made him have an aneurism with your stupid questions. I can’t believe how rude and mean spirited you were to him. I’ve never been so embarrassed in my life.” She tried to stop him but he kept walking.

He gave her a disgusted look. “I was rude and mean spirited? At least I was telling the truth.”

“No, if he dies it will be your fault.”

“How will it be my fault? Should I have asked for his medical history before I asked him any questions?”

She grabbed his arm. “Aren’t you concerned at all?”

He stopped and pushed her hand away. “Tell me why I should be concerned with a fraud like Andrews? Enlighten me?”

Beth was livid. “Dallas isn’t a fraud. What I saw tonight was real.”

This was going nowhere. Jonathan changed his tone. He ran his hands down her arms and gently took her hands. “Dear sweet Bethany. It wasn’t real.”

“You never respect anything I say or feel.” She cried trying to pull her hands away. “What about his visions from his cousin and dead girlfriend? He couldn’t have been making that up.”

Jonathan held on tight. “His cousin Joyce died when he was two years old. Andrews had seen her once. And there was no girlfriend Patty. She was a girl in his dorm who died of leukemia. They knew each other but they never went out.”

“He might have loved her. He might have cared for her.”

“No Beth, the guy is a liar and a fraud.”

“You don’t know that.”

““Listen to me. Remember the first time you saw the trunk that belonged to May Woosley, in the Sacramento History Museum? You were on a field trip with your nephew’s 4th grade class.”

Beth blinked, her voice turned shrill. “What are you talking about?”

“Let me jog your memory. May died in 1879. She was just a little girl. On the advice of a clairvoyant, like Andrews, her mother sealed a trunk full of May’s belongings in the wall of their home. Mrs. Woosley spent the rest of her life searching for a message from her daughter because she’d listened to the words of a con-artist rather than listening to her own heart for healing. The trunk wasn’t found again until 1979. When you saw it in the museum you cried. You went home and cried all night for the little girl and her family.”

“How did you…that was five years ago, before I even met you. I never told you about that.”

“You didn’t have to. Beth, don’t you see. You knew Mrs. Woosley was lied to. Dallas Andrews lies to people too.”

A tear rolled down her cheek. She backed away. “How do you know these things? You always know things.”

“I observe and I guess a lot.” He wiped the tear away and kissed her. “See, you aren’t as tough and shallow as you pretend to be.”

The fog had rolled leaving the night air with zero visibility. He took her hands and wrapped the car keys around them. “You’re driving.”

She took the keys knowing full well that he was practically blind on clear night and completely blind in the night fog.

“Could you even see Dallas Andrews on the stage.”

“I could see enough. Let’s go.”

“If you could have seen his face.”

“I saw his face clear enough to know every single thing he said was a lie.”

She adjusted the seat and glanced over at him. “You’re such an asshole.”

“Just drive.”

“Where are we going?”

“Your house.” Her house was closer and he wouldn’t have to drive her home in the morning.

“You expect me to let you…”

“I love you Beth. Nothing, including your faith in a charlatan like Dallas Andrews, is going to change that. Not now, not ever.” He took her hand and whispered, “You are my soul. And despite the fact that you drive me absolutely crazy, I need you.”

Another tear rolled down her cheek as she drove in silence.

When they got back to her house and made love to her like she was the last woman on earth. She asked him again about the long thin scars on his back. He told her for the 100th time that he didn’t remember how it happened. It was during the plane crash when his parents died way up in the Alaskan wilderness, hundreds of miles from anyone. So final. So tragic. It made for a good story, even thought it wasn’t true.

Beth’s amazing body was as fake as the con man he’d just put down. Beautiful store bought breasts, a dazzling smile of the best veneers money could buy, cheek implants and a slightly smaller and straighter nose than nature had given her, violet colored contacts covering her hazel eyes, the trendiest hair colorist in town, a sprayed on tan, artificial nails and a toned body thanks to grueling sessions with a sadistic personal trainer named Bruce. Jonathan thought wistfully that there was an entire generation of American men who had never felt a real female breast.

The sad thing was that at thirty-eight Beth would have been lovely without most of the work. At least her heart was real, despite her tendency to be shallow and superficial.

He knew he scared her. The only reason she kept him around was for the great sex and his political connections. What a joke – there were no real “best” connections in Sacramento or anywhere else for that matter.

Jonathan knew the best people to know where those brilliant folks who stayed away from the media limelight, away from the cultural and political wanna-bees. He often thought, “Give me the rocket scientist next door over those who claimed they partied with Arnold and Jerry, or knew the more influential elected officials and developers at the state capitol. Give me my own friends; the mom who writes historic romance novels, the high school science teacher, the master gardener and the emergency room doctor. These were the people who really know what it is like to be alive and human.”

The next morning the fog had been replaced by a grey drizzle of rain. He left Beth’s in his silver Jaguar XJR, heading off to the airport to pick up Lorna. A few years his senior, she was a golden haired, blue eyed living Barbie doll. She lived in Malibu with a view of the ocean. Tapped into the spiritual rhythm of the ocean, she fit right into the affluent new age lifestyles of her neighbors. They had to be some of the most entertaining and shallow people he’d ever met.

“Where’s the hybrid?” asked Lorna

“Dropped it off for new tires.” He thought of Lorna and her unrelenting social conscience – knew he should have driven the hybrid, then shrugged it off. This weekend he wanted style not substance. In a few hours all the substance he could ever want was going to be shoved down his throat.

“We’d better not break down. What are you listening to?” she asked in disgust when he started up the car.

“Metallica.”

She turned it off. “Have you heard today’s news yet?”

“No. I’m clearing my mind today. No radio. No TV. No newspapers. No Internet. No phone.”

“Tell me what happened last night?”

“Beth broke up with me. She said I was too intense. I recall she used also used the words weird, asshole and insensitive. Lots of tears so I think there is a good chance she’ll take me back.”

Lorna grabbed his wrist like a vice. “What happened with Dallas Andrews?”

“Let go, do you want me to wreck the car? Where did you hear about Andrews?”

“NPR, Morning Edition. CNN. Fox. LA Times.”

“Was my name mentioned?”

“They said that in the process of being interrogated by you, Andrews had a violent seizure. He is now is now seeing visions of hell and keeps mentioning your name.”

He changed the music to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. 

“Funny guy that Andrews. I heard the story on the way to the airport. Didn’t realize Dallas Andrews was so popular.” He said giving Lorna a wink. “Grab my phone, it’s in the glove box. Check my messages.”

Lorna’s beautiful mouth turned into a slight smile as she listened to the messages. Jonathan thought it was almost a snarl. “You have twenty two messages. The first three are from your office, CNN and Beth. She’s hysterical. The rest seem to be people wanting to talk to you about Andrews.” They headed down Hwy 50 towards the hills. “What are we going to do with you Jonathan?” she asked rubbing his neck with her left hand.

“Don’t do anything with me” he answered quietly. “Just let me do my job.”

They went up the hill towards Sutter Creek, to Ruth’s Ranch as he always called it, for the annual, get our heads screwed back on, clear our brains, find peace, drink a lot of great wine and solve all our problems retreat. He was looking forward to it. The past few months had been a major drain on his mental and emotional resources.

Jonathan looked over at beautiful golden Lorna dozing in the seat next to him. She was his older sister, his mentor, the one who kept him grounded. He imagined her with a halo and beautiful wings spread out in shining glory. Then he wondered if she was sleeping with her new best friend, a plastic surgeon named, Dennis O’Brian. Denny, as she called the man was nice enough, but suddenly Jonathan felt like he wanted to beat the crap out of the guy if he ever touched Lorna. Then he’d torture him and flay off his skin leaving him a quivering mass of, well, whatever. He had to stop being so protective of his sisters.

Jonathan’s mind skipped back Dallas Andrews. He felt sick to his stomach. It had been unpleasant business, but somebody had to do it. After all it wasn’t easy being angel.

Urgent Emergency…but everything is alright…all things considering…because, you know, we’re Vampires.

Pandemic. Protests. Election. Fires. More fires. More smoke. Online school. Online work. My computer is off kilter and hardly working. My not so smart phone is also broken and limping along. Then yesterday I fell and smashed my nose, which thankfully isn’t broken, but I feel like I’ve been in a bar fight or maybe hit be a baseball bat.

Other than that things are pretty good.

We just returned from five days in Aptos, California, on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. It was wonderful and cool. While fires burned around us we were safe. Now that we are home the sky is still hazy and it is hot as hell but we’re safe.

The dry Oak Forest near my home where I walk my dog.

I have an ear worm. It is an ear worm with the wrong lyrics but I can never hear it with the correct lyrics.

You play tricks on my mind
Your underwear is so hard to find

That would be “Urgent” … the song by Foreigner. You know it.

My great great great great grandmama Lola is by for a few days. After social distancing with her current younger Vampire lover she decided he was too stupid to keep company with and has stopped by my house for a few days.

At six hundred and seventy six years Lola looks all of twenty six years give or take a few.

“So what happened with Frank?” I asked.

Lola stretched out her long legs and kicked off her sandals. “He is a picky eater. That is horribly unattractive in a warm blooded man, but in a Vampire man, and now during these times, it is downright stupid. You know how I hate stupid men.”

“Picky. Like what?”

She scowled. “He said he would only drink the blood of dark haired women with blue eyes who were virgins. I called him a disgusting sexist homophobe creeper. I should have known he was weird when he kept going out and coming back hungry. I told him that if he starved to death it would be fine with me. When I wouldn’t let him touch me anymore he admitted he would feed from other sources, but by then I was done with him. I should have known, but he was handsome and seemed like a lot of fun at first. The tip off should have been his fondness of some night elf girl on that World of Warcraft game. I thought someone who was two hundred and twelve who’d been a Vampire for the past hundred and ninety years would be a little more mature.”

“Yuck,” I said and sat down on the couch next to her. “Do you want to watch a movie?”

She smiled, then jumped up to find my husband and my brother Val.

We saw First Cow. It was a sweet movie and a quiet movie. You’re wrong if you think Vampires sit around watching horror and slasher movies.

Lola and my brother share a three bedroom cottage out in the country near the river delta, on the property belonging to Eleora and Tellias. Sometimes they stay there, sometimes in Lola’s house in San Francisco, and sometimes in Val’s house in Sacramento. I can’t always keep track. They watch out for each other. That means one less person I have to watch out after… but I still do watch out after them.

So that’s what we’re up to. I have to mention that when we got home our animals (a dog and two cats) went nuts and are still attached to us like leaches. It is good to be loved.

All this and I didn’t even mention politics. Nope. I’m not going there today.

From Scott Metzger, one of my absolute favorite cartoonists

Oh, yes, one more thing. I saw a new mural by my husband’s business. I’ll post photos of the two murals on the side of the building that houses the art gallery next door. I love them.

  • Stay safe
  • Wear a mask
  • Social Distance
  • Don’t be a dick about it
  • Check in on those who might need extra help or might be lonely
  • Talk to your kids
  • Kiss a Vampire
  • Don’t let the bullshit get to you
  • Turn off anything that has to do with politics for the next

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Aptos, CA

Juliette’s Book Club: Close to Home

We’re experiencing a pandemic. Fires blaze around us. The air is filled with smoke. Social changes and politics are beyond volatile. I’m still waiting for the space aliens to land or for my dog to start talking. All of that and the new fucking block editor. In the meantime I’m reading two books that are extremely close to home. I had no idea when I started these how close.

The Brief History of the Dead
by Kevin Brockmeier

Official Description: The City is inhabited by those who have departed Earth but are still remembered by the living. They will reside in this afterlife until they are completely forgotten. But the City is shrinking, and the residents clearing out. Some of the holdouts, like Luka Sims, who produces the City’s only newspaper, are wondering what exactly is going on. Others, like Coleman Kinzler, believe it is the beginning of the end. Meanwhile, Laura Byrd is trapped in an Antarctic research station, her supplies are running low, her radio finds only static, and the power is failing. With little choice, Laura sets out across the ice to look for help, but time is running out. Kevin Brockmeier alternates these two storylines to create a lyrical and haunting story about love, loss and the power of memory.

My Note: I am loving this book. It is unexpected and beautifully written

Second Sleep
by Robert Harris 

Official Description: 1468. A young priest, Christopher Fairfax, arrives in a remote Exmoor village to conduct the funeral of his predecessor. The land around is strewn with ancient artefacts–coins, fragments of glass, human bones–which the old parson used to collect. Did his obsession with the past lead to his death?
     Fairfax becomes determined to discover the truth. Over the course of the next six days, everything he believes–about himself, his faith, and the history of his world–will be tested to destruction.

My note: This is not the 1468 you’re expecting.

As I write this my computer is acting like a ghost is in it so I’m going to be quick. I’m in Aptos, California right now. We are mostly out of the smoke. The object that looks like a giant dead fish in the water is a sunken ship. Just thought I’d share last night’s sunset.

Read a good book. Stay safe. Wear your mask. Pet your dog. Talk to your kids. Stay sane. Kiss a Vampire (it is safe to do that you know.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Short Story Sunday: Floatsam and Jetsum

Here near the beach is one of the few places not on fire right now. The hills are flaming. The valleys are full of smoke. We are safe here on the beach for now despite the ashes on the deck of our beach house.

Last night after dinner, when the fog and smoke had blown off, and the wind had calmed down we walked along the beach.

My husband and daughter walked along the edge of the surf deep in conversation, solving the problems of the world. I walked along next to them enjoying the sound of the waves and the sand under my feet. We wore our masks, and passed a few other with their dogs and kids.

As we approached the old abandoned pier and ship wreck I could see dark heaps scattered the sand. It could have been driftwood, or clumps of seaweed. Some looked as if giant fish, or the king of the mer-people and his enterage had washed ashore after a great undersea battle.

Early in the morning just after the sun came up, before anyone else was out on the beach I walked towards the old pier and the ruined half sunken ship.

I saw the shadow shapes from the night before had been driftwood, logs, and matted seaweed. I also saw fewer shapes than the night before. I wondered how high the surf had been to wash away such large objects.

Walking over to where I imagined the mer-king had beached I saw in indentation and it looks as if someone had dragged a large object towards the surf. In the track I found a string, like a broken necklace, made of polished shells and what looked like pearls and gold coins. I picked it up and put it in my pocket.

Near the spot where the object had been I saw a hand print where someone, or something had dragged along the sand. A clump of what looked like long turquoise was tanged in the sand. I put it in my pocket.

When I get home next, away from the beach, I’ll research my finds. In the meantime I’ll dream of the mer-king and wonder if he still swims tonight or if he perished on the beach.

I’ll never know, but then again, you never know about these things. You never know.

Smoke

Fire season has started. It seems as if everything exploded a few days ago. The air smells like smoke. Ashes cover cars and any other outdoor surfaces. 

I took this photo yesterday from my front yard. It was about 8:00 a.m.

The glowing orange ball is the sun.

IMG_4674

 

I’m about forty miles from the nearest fire. There are many. I know I’ve mentioned before that I’m worried about the parks near where I live, including behind my own home, catching fire.

My heart goes out to those who are in active fire areas, and to those who are fighting the fires.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Technical Difficulties and Just Trying to Chill

Forgive any weirdness. I’m trying the new block editor on WordPress. I don’t know where any of the settings are. I’m also on a borrowed tablet as my computer is in the shop. I brought it in a week ago today. The guy in the shop said they’d contact me in three business days. I’m not sure what days they’re doing business but it has been a week. Despite the fact that my computer has survived MIDDLE SCHOOL and HIGH SCHOOL, and by that I mean sharing it with CHILDREN, this is the first time I’ve had to have it in the shop.

Children do weird things when they’re around computers. They pull the keys off of the keyboards. They pour sticky stuff on the track pads. They drop them. They eat over them with the opinion that the more crumbs they drop on the keyboard the better. They paint the outside of lap tops with nail polish and acrylic paint.

I haven’t even started on the weird software and apps they download.

If I ever get my somewhat trusty 2012 MacBook Pro back I know I will get judgmental scowls by the guys in the computer repair shop. This isn’t one of those dark geeky holes that are run like a later day umbrella repair shop. It is a sleep modern place in a somewhat trendy part of town about a block from a HUGE Intel facility. Please, guys, don’t judge me. I know the real problems started when my huge dog slipped her huge horse sized head under my arm and caused me to spill coffee all over my track pad and keyboard about a month ago. It might have been more than a month ago. It might have been two or three months ago. I’ve lost track of time.

My husband suggested I just get a new computer but … I need to see if this one can be fixed. That is just the way I roll.

As I write this I’m looking out the window to my back yard and the dry field behind my house. The clearing has happened for fires but that is small comfort. If a fire rolls through the narrow ravine/canyon there will be no stopping it. There aren’t any fire roads.

Already there are fires exploding all over California. The air is smoky. That adds insult to injury when it comes to yet another day of triple digit weather. My heart goes out to those who have been evacuated or are facing evacuation.

This morning I was going to talk about Lola’s latest adventures and lies but I’ll get to that later. Maybe later today.

For so many, including myself, it is difficult to concentrate on anything right now. Adding stupid things like computer repairs, car repairs, broken air conditioning, and hot water heater leaks just adds to it.

College is virtual this fall. Yesterday my daughter said, “Going to college online is a lot better than having permanent lung damage.” We discussed this after hearing news reports of colleges in other states opening with optional mask requirements. Students and staff came down with Covid-19. No shit. Thoughts and prayers aren’t going to help you there. Wearing a mask, social distancing, and washing your hands will help.

My not-so-smart phone isn’t working that well either. I can’t get online with it. I can’t text photos to most people. The screen is broken. Yes, I’m low maintenance. I’m not worried about my hair, my nails, or much of anything else. Everything is pretty basic right now.

But last night I had a Zoom class and I couldn’t even get on with this tablet. I tried to download software and put in 34,000 passwords with no results. Finally I think I set up something and the new password I created was CatShit123! Then my husband came in and told me to use his computer. It worked. Thank goodness something worked.

I know I’m just whining. I’m the mom so I rarely whine. I didn’t even whine or use bad words (except for the passwords) last night. I think most of us are doing that. We’re just going along and realizing that everyone is dealing with the same cat shit.

This morning I saw where some bitch was cutting down police lines in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco and yelling about masks, and generally being an idiot. A young man in his 20’s filmed her. He was totally an American kid, but she started to spew racial slurs at him due to his dark hair and skin which was slightly darker than hers. She told him to go back to where he came from. I’m sure he came from someplace a few blocks away. WTF? Seriously. What the fuck is wrong with people? Just wear a mask and realize that some places will be closed for a while. Turn on Netflix and watch The Witcher again. Go watch The Floor is Lava. Just chill. Don’t call people nasty names. Don’t be a racist because a playground is closed.

Maybe I’ll try a DROP CAP.

Oh look, a giant letter.

I’ve got to get more coffee and go out and make sure most of my plants haven’t died.

I’ve also put a ban on anything political. The thought of all of that childish and stupid insanity makes me truly want to drop F bombs.

Other than that I’m painting walls and canvases. My kids are safe. We’re in touch with friends and family. We live in a nice house and not a hot dusty crypt. There is a lot to be thankful for.

I can’t figure out how to make a bulleted list so you just get a plain list today, but it is still important.

Wear a mask.

Wash your hands.

Kiss a Vampire (it is safe. We can’t give you Covid-19)

Call your kids.

Pet your cat.

Stay safe.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman