I should have a big flashy post today because it is Halloween. Unfortunately I’ve been spending the day trying to get blood stains out of my favorite shirt and out of Teddy’s leather jacket. I’m also polishing my scratched up boots. Damn it. We’re also trying to locate my brothers Val and Andy who were with us. Teddy and I were running so fast we just lost track of them. I’m sure they were smart enough to call an Uber or Lyft and get back to Val’s house, or somewhere. Sometimes I don’t know about those two. Another night in the life of Vampires. Plus a huge group of Ghosts are gathering down the street in the park. Not always a good sign. I don’t even want to think about what the Witches down the street might be doing. Trashy bitches.
False Starts, Lost Dreams, Finding Love and an Ancient Tabby
As a child Bronagh would get up each morning and go to school. There she’d figure out ways to escape through day dreams and long lone walks around the school ball field. In her more lucid and social moments she’d be trying to ignore the nonstop bullying from the group of smirking thugs who ruled the school. Having a different name in a universe full of Debbies and Nancys and Susans made one stand out. It made one get picked on along with being small, plain and quiet. Her family was also considered weird.
Her father was a large loud Irishman with a thick accent and her mother was a small pale elf like German woman who’d lost her family in the war, then ended up in a group home for lost children. The Irishman and the German girl met in a bar, got married, moved to America and had too many children and didn’t do things like other families. They’d sit up all night and play cards and smoke and drink too much. Then they’d tell stories of ghosts and werewolves and violent relatives who didn’t come to America. They’d sing loud songs and walk around their backyard in their underwear. Sometimes the intensity of the couple frightened the other families of their normal middle class community.
Bronagh was never mistreated at home but she never felt too connected to her family either. She loved them but she didn’t want to live with them or be like them.
She struggled in school but in her secret world she was smart and would one day be beautiful and successful. Nightmare sessions in front of the class unable to do a math problem while other children jeered made her imagine a different life. At that point she started to keep secrets.
Nobody ever knew what she was feeling or thinking. She gave away nothing by her expression or words. She lived in two worlds – one on the outside and her own world inside.
She grew up, went on to high school, made friends, grew into a beautiful young woman, made straight A’s and never looked back.
Then she went to college and found herself on too many long walks alone, but that was OK. She was used to that. Friends came and went. There were always good times to be had but she never stayed close to anyone. She graduated and had plans but her life seemed to be one big black hole that sucked the life out of every idea, every relationship and every job prospect. All of her choices sucked. It was as if everything she touched turned to garbage. It was garbage that couldn’t even be recycled. It was toxic waste.
Time passed and roadblocks grew higher and doors slammed in her face. She found herself with a college degree, a shelf full of books, a stray one-eyed tabby cat she named Toulouse, and nothing else.
One day she decided that one of two things needed to happen. She either needed to die or fall in love. Nobody would ever love her she decided, so she set a date to end it all, that is if nothing happened.
She grew numb.
One day she forced herself to go the large university library to research jobs and graduate schools.
On the first floor she ran into an old party friend Cindy. Beautiful lucky Cindy was going off to her dream job in Los Angeles. A huge engagement ring sat on Cindy’s finger. Cindy’s clothes were beautiful and obviously expensive. Joy radiated out of her, not for material reasons but because she was just where she wanted to be. Then again Cindy had been born where every girl wanted to be. Cindy was that kind of girl. Bronagh gave Cindy a hug and wished her the best.
Then she saw a guy she’d had a one night stand with talking to a biology professor she’d had. Ditching them she went up the stairwell to the second floor to take refuge with some art books. There were always too many people from her past she didn’t want to deal with.
On the second floor, as she left the art section, she ran into a man she’d been passionately in love with. She smiled with a sense of hope that maybe, just maybe he’d finally feel the same longing she did. He was glad to see her. He was glad to tell her that he was getting married – to somebody else. He asked her if she still had the cat. She thought he thought she was an idiot. She lied and said she had a boyfriend and great job prospects. Someone she really liked had dumped her the week before. She’d been fired from a job she’d held for a month. It didn’t matter. He’d cheated on her anyway. Being young and miserable with no prospects is no fun even when you don’t feel bad about telling lies.
Feeling numb she looked at college catalogs, made notes about graduate school requirements then go up to walk and distract herself. It was time to look up poisons or just sit down and die and turn into a mummy that someone would find in 50 years or so behind a stack of books nobody ever read.
In the deep darkness of the ancient basement stacks she accidentally tripped and fell into the arms of a young man. It wasn’t that kind of fall into your arms. It was more of the kind of “I noticed you were looking up poisons,” kind of falling to his arms. He noticed in a big way. Poisons were not the kind of things pretty girls, or anyone not doing medical research or writing crime novels usually looked up. She said she was writing a story. He knew she was telling a lie but he let it pass.
She had iced herbal tea with him in an earthy crunchy little coffee shop and they talked about all sorts of things. His name was Val, yes, that Val, my brother. His delightful friend Alonzo joined them.
That was 38 years ago. She still remembered the purple skirt and white lace top she was wearing. On her feet were gray flats. Val was wearing jeans and a black tee. Alonzo wore a red vest and a white button down shirt. His dark hair curled around his ears. It was weird how she remembered the details. She clicked with Val and Alonzo. They didn’t judge her. But they were not like the predators she’d met who wanted to lure her into schemes and religions and cults and plans that she didn’t want to be part of.
They became friends and she became one of them – one of us. A Vampire.
I know it sounds weird but she tells such a glum story. Bronagh is the funniest Vampire I’ve ever met. Yes, we have a sense of humor. You can’t live as long as we do and not.
Bronagh thinks about things too much – old things, things that happened, the guy in the library, the guy who dumped her, people who had been to her, a friend who died when they were young. But then not really, not lately. She used to sometimes wonder what life might have been like had she not become a Vampire.
Becoming a Vampire wasn’t what solved her problems. Having some support and encouragement and sheer tenacity is what got her out of her gloom. Long story. Hard work. Creative thinking. Love. Humor. She shrugs it off.
She’ll laugh and talk about how handsome Alonzo is but that she married him for his sense of humor. She’ll tell you about how he proposed to her while they walked under the stars on a windy beach. She won’t tell you about the times she was so unhappy and lost. Those dark times were such a small portion of everything but still, it makes a mark.
Alonzo had a past so full of nightmares that he was glad to become a Vampire and live in a world of calm control and find some measure of peace. I’m just glad to have them in my life. Maybe I’ll talk Alonzo into telling me a few stories.
Halloween is almost here and all kinds of ghosts are coming out of the woodwork. Let’s just keep most of them tucked away. We don’t need to deal with them or let them bother us.
Alonzo just shrugs and laughs off anything from his past. Bronagh does the same for the most part. They’re just like any other couple, only they’re Vampires. They believe that what they is due to divine intervention and it happened for a reason. Maybe. Maybe not. I’d like to think it was meant to be. OK it was meant to be.
And the odd thing about this story is that the old one-eyed tabby cat Toulouse is still alive at 39 years old. Of course, cats aren’t supposed to live that long but sometimes, well, all Vampires know that there are things we’ll never be able to explain.
There is a quiet beauty about historic cemeteries that I can’t always put into words. So many lives ask to be remembered and stories beg to be told, or maybe not. Earlier this week (10/27/20) my daughter Clara and my friend Amelia joined me in a visit to the historic Sacramento Historic City Cemetery. We’ve had no rain so many of the usual flowers and grassy areas are dry and brown, but it does little to take away from the beauty of the place.
I’ve posted about this cemetery in the past. At the end of the post I’ll share links of those posts and posts about other cemeteries and graveyards I’ve shared, and a map of where you can find the historic Sacramento Cemetery.
Click on any of the images below to get a larger expanded view.
Things that go bump…on Halloween Morning (or Life of a Modern Vampire Mom.)
In the wee hours of the morning, before the sun came up, before I’d finished my first cup of coffee my phone made that little annoying ping noise that indicates a text message.
It was my brother Aaron, the middle child, of my Vampire Family. I’m the youngest, but who’s counting. I just had my 158th birthday. Aaron is 164. Anyway, we’re young as far as Vampires go, but we’re established. We’re cool.
So I get this text.
Aaron is an attorney with a twenty person law office housed in a 4,000 square foot downtown home he purchased in 1898. He stood on the front porch in jeans and a flannel shirt. No suit yet. It is Halloween anyway so he could put on a beard and be a lumberjack for the rest of the day for all I knew.
He gave me a hug and a kiss on my cheek, then thanked me profusely for coming.
“Where is your Vampire Hunter?” I asked him. He has a guy named Austin he works with on occasion for removing unwanted soulless Vampires (who are not like us because as you know we have two souls and we’re not dead yet.)
“He has an early class this morning. I didn’t want to wake him. You know how they need their sleep,” said Aaron. Aside from hunting dried up Vampires, Austin teaches history at the local University. He isn’t a Vampire so I guess he needs his beauty sleep more than I do.
“You know you would have called me anyway,” I said.
“You’re so good with them Sis,” said my brother with a sparkle in his cold blue Vampire eyes.
I looked at my brother with squinty hazel eyes. “You’re afraid of them. Admit it.”
“You’re better with them than I am.”
“You’re an alpha male Vampire. I’ve seen what you can do.”
“You’re a mom.”
I give him the look. You know that look that all wives and mothers instinctively give the men in their lives. But he had a good point.
“Alright,” I said. “Show me where they are.”
As we walked inside I immediately heard the scratching and sounds of, I don’t know, snorting and just weird obnoxious noises, like when you have someone annoying in a cubicle next to you and they’re eating loudly, sucking snot, and tapping ALL DAY LONG (I have friends with that problem, not me thank goodness.”
“In my office,” said Aaron.
I walked up the stairs to his office. It was a beautiful space in a room with a round turret in the corner and original stained glass windows. Sitting at Aaron’s desk was a haggard looking Vampire with oatmeal colored skin stretched over a narrow skull, oily black hair, and red eyes. He wore a long black coat and a black baseball cap. A woman stood behind him. She was wearing some sort of weird red lace dress and a nasty looking old monkey fur coat. There was no beauty left in her sunken in face. Greenish blonde hair was piled in a sloppy bun on top of her head. Another man, with gray skin that looked like cracked leather leaned against the window sill. He wore red jeans and a tight black tee. His orange hair hung in dreadlocks down to his shoulders. Round black lensed glasses sat on his nose.
The all flashed their fangs at me and hissed. I could smell their breath. Rotted meat and cat pee. They were so nasty.
“Good morning to you too,” I said to them. “Looks like you’re all ready for Halloween.”
They hissed again.
“Get the Hell out of here or very bad things are going to happen to you.”
“Money first,” said the one sitting at Aaron’s desk.
“NOW,” I said in my strongest mom voice. “OUT.”
They all sat up with wide eyes.
Yes, they were terrifying, but hey, they are also disgusting and stupid and have no business asking for money or anything else. I knew who these three where.
“I know where you live. I know who you hang with. Come around here again and I’ll call the REAL Vampire Hunters. They’ll put stakes in your dead hearts and cut your heads off. So get the fuck out NOW.”
They stood up and slowly crept out hissing at me as they passed. I barred my own fangs, which were longer and whiter than theirs will ever be. They jumped aside. I could feel their fear.
I never understood the whole scary horror movie Vampire thing. Sure they can scare teenagers and children, but they can’t scare a mom. Nobody can scare a mom.
“And clean up,” I yelled at them. “You look like a bunch of meth heads. No self respecting Vampire would look like you. You’re a disgrace. All three of you. You should be ashamed of yourselves. It is Vampires like you that give us a bad name.”
Then I pulled the female aside. “Get yourself some nice clothes. See what I’m wearing. It was easy to put together and you’ll be more comfortable. I know today is Halloween, but just today. And get some moisturizer for that face. You don’t HAVE to look like crap. And you’ll eat better and feel better if you look better.”
Vampires don’t have to dress like ghouls. It is ok to dress like girls.
She looked at my clothes then reached out an touched my sweater. I pushed her bony hand away. “You need to go.”
I watched them file out past my brother, get on their bicycles and ride off.
“Wow. I tried for an hour to get them to leave,” said Aaron, obviously impressed. “They’re such assholes. I was afraid they’d trash the place. I don’t know how I’m going to get the stench out.”
“They’re so dead they don’t even think like adults anymore. It is like dealing with a bunch of middle school kids.”
“Wanna get coffee?”
“Sure,” I said. By then it was 5:30 a.m. and we both knew the little coffee shop around the corner would be open.
So now the only monsters I might see are the neighborhood children who are going to knock on my door tonight. I’ll pour a goblet of spiced blood, dress up the dog, and hand out candy. Oh, I have to carve my pumpkins too! I’ll post photos.
A sense of foreboding surrounded me. I could feel the darkness and cold grievous glares of unforgiving eyes in the darkness. The anguished cries grew louder and louder. There was no escape. No place to run. I knew I must take action. It was time to feed the cats.
I am now 677 years old. Earlier this week I got out of bed as soon as the sun went down, then I put on my jeans and a tee shirt. That was not what I would have worn 677 years ago.
After being locked in a crypt for three hundred years, missing the 18th– 20thcenturies, and coming out now I find fashion and clothing these days extraordinary and at times baffling.
Zippers. I have no words for zippers. I do not know what I would do now without zippers.
Shoes called sneakers. Sneakers. I like the sound of that. Sneakers.
As a Vampire I appreciate clothing that is easily removed. I appreciate women who do not wear thirty-seven layers of clothing during the day and night.
Of course when I was King of Vampires I dressed better than most. I mostly missed the clothing I wore at the time I was kidnapped, locked in a crypt, and left for dead with a stake in my heart. It still hurts when I think about it.
This is how everyone dressed when I was born.
This is how I dressed at the time I was locked in the crypt. I looked better than this. This picture is not of me.
This is how I would have looked had I been out of the crypt during the 19thCentury. It is close to my likeness.
This is an image of my friend Randolpho and his ridiculous hat in the 1850’s. It was a time I wish I had not missed.
This is how I look now, but this picture is not of me. It is how men look now. I do not have dark hair or whiskers. I might grow whiskers. It is difficult to have whiskers when one is a Vampire. I do like the dark glasses and wear dark glasses always.
This is how couples looked in 2019. Notice that he is not wearing tights. There are creatures called Superheroes who DO wear tights but in this century they look extremely ridiculous.
This is how couples look in 2020.
Fashion is one change I can live with as long as there are zippers.
Technology makes our lives easier. The clothing is also easier. One would think that it would be the opposite effect.
The days have started to cool. The election; the celebration of death and monsters is almost upon us. No, that is not right. The celebration of death and monsters is Halloween. The election is the day to attempt to rid the land of monsters yet I do not see that happening. It was easier when I was King of Vampires. Then again there have always been an abundance of fools and an abundance of those who wish to have that job.
This year has been the second United States of America presidential election year since my liberation from the crypt in which I was trapped for those long three hundred years. I live within the United States of America and have lived here long enough to become a citizen of this country so I will vote. Gillian my Vampire lover told me that if we go to the local voting center the Sunday before the official Tuesday election day that we can drop off our votes and not wait in long lines.
I feel excited to vote yet no so much as I believe that people are too sad and too angry to make intelligent decisions. Gillian said it is because I did not live among people during times of great revolution and during the World Wars, or live behind a curtain made of iron, or in a land with a dick tator. I do not know what penis shaped tubers have to do with being an evil leader but it seems to somewhat make sense that that is the name in which someone like that was given. As King of Vampires I would never been called evil or unjust. Gillian says I need to read more and brought me a large bag of books which I shall start reading tonight.
I know my head will feel as if it is full of maggots but I shall read of evil but also read of redemption and short lived celebrations. We live in a world in which women no longer wear thirty seven layers of clothing or have children until they die. Yes, there was a time when a man would marry a woman who would then give birth to child after child until she died. Then he would marry another younger woman who would then give birth until she died. There might be three, four or even five wives. That would continue until the man died or his current wife poisoned him. It was no way for a woman to live.
Vampires have always married for love. That is a concept which took centuries to be adopted by the general warm blooded populations. Even now there is much fighting over what women are allowed to do. This makes no sense to me. I say if someone tells a woman what she can do or can not do than his head should go on a pole. Maybe it is not only my cuteness, golden hair, or muscled arms and shoulders that make women attracted to me. Maybe it is my mind.
So out I go now to look for blood. I shall wear my mask and be a modern man. There are times when I just do not know. I just do not know at all. At least I have cats. Cats always know. Cats know everything.