This afternoon I found a tiny baby coyote in my front yard. As soon as the little thing saw me it jumped up and ran off back to the woods where it came from. A few minutes later one of the bald eagle babies flew over my head. I use the term baby lightly. The coyote was small – the size of a cat. The eagle was the size of an adult, but was hatched this past spring. Then I raked some bark back in place the turkeys had scattered. This is what happens when you live in a home that backs up to a park.
My brother Val was inside talking to my husband Teddy about relationship woes. Val lives downtown. He is up for the day for Teddy’s birthday. By the way it is Teddy’s 172nd birthday. That is how old you’d be if you were born in 1849.
The subject of relationships isn’t typical for my relaxed and generally easy going brother Valentine. This is especially true when it comes to basic warm blooded women.
Every few years my smart, and reasonable brother gets a wild hair and decides he really likes some woman he hangs out with. She is always cute and smart and totally different from the others. In reality she is not totally different from the others, since Val has a specific type he likes to get all googly over.
This one is named Nichol. She is perky, with a cute blonde pixie cut, a beautiful face with a big mouth that is almost always in a smile, big blue eyes, and a perfect little button nose. She wears either yoga pants or really darling little dresses. Who couldn’t love her?
“I was thinking,” said Val. “Nichol is so adorable, and smart, and I love being with her. Juliette, I was thinking she’d make a great Vampire,” said Val with a stupid dreamy look on his face.
“What makes you think that?” I asked.
“She is so open minded, and I think she’d fit into the community. You could help me,” said Val.
“No,” I said.
“You’re the best at conversions. Nobody converts people into Vampires as well as you do,” he said.
“No,” I said.
“When was the last time you changed some poor soul into a Vampire dear?” said Teddy.
“1988,” I said, remembering an event I won’t go into today.
“Isn’t Nichol vegan?” Teddy asked.
“No, more of a traditional vegetarian. She eats dairy products and honey,” said Val.
“She eats bacon,” I said. “When we went out for breakfast with your friends a few weeks ago she had bacon with a side of more bacon.”
“Alright, then she isn’t strict about it,” said Val.
“Yet, she tells her friends she is,” I said. “You know, it’s ok to not to be extreme about your diet, unless you have medical issues, or unless you’re a Vampire.”
“Oh Jewels, don’t be so judgmental,” said Val obviously hurt by my lack of enthusiasm about Nichol.
“She is also a border line anti-vaxer and hasn’t had her covid shot, even though she used to get flu shots and was one the first on board for the HPV Vaccine,” I said.
“She didn’t like wearing masks and one of her friends told her it causes memory problems,” said Val.
“Memory problems? Really Val? I didn’t like wearing masks either, but I did, even though you know none of us would have ever had Covid-19. We even got vaccinated. What the hell is wrong with her?” I said.
“She doesn’t like needles,” said Val.
“Bull shit. She gets flu shots.” I said.
“She said that…” Val sputtered.
“How can you sit there and tell me that you want me to turn someone into a Vampire who claims to not like needles, lies about bacon, and is a border line anti vaxer?” I snapped at him.
“Juliette…” Val was pleading at this point.
“No Val.” I said. “Clara might not get to go to grad school in person because of the selfishness of anti vaxers. Los Angeles County is thinking about doing a lock down again. Her last two years of college were online. She missed the college experience, and now I’ll be paying a FORTUNE in tuition fees and she won’t even be attend classes in person or see anyone in real life So don’t give me that bull shit about someone being a nice person or having a choice. The choice to be an asshole takes away the choices of others. I bet she follows Q too.”
“Well no but…” Val started.
“She likes conspiracy theories,” said Teddy with a sly smile.
“Like what?” Val said.
“The last time I saw her she was talking about baby eaters, and I’m not talking rogue Vampires or Werewolves,” said Teddy.
“Pizza Gate. Jeeze Val, where did you find Nichol? At least you could talk some sense into her. Seriously bro, this isn’t like you,” I said, feeling like my head was going to explode.
“Juliette, you don’t know her,” said Val.
“I know enough,” I said. I’d had enough so I went out on the back deck to clear my head.
I went out to the deck and noticed the hummingbird feeders were full of big black ants. Really? As if the day wasn’t already annoying enough. Then I looked up and saw a familiar face.
“Good morning,” he said. His transparent face materialized into a face with a full body and became a little less transparent.
“Nigel. Where have you been?” It had been months since I’d seen the ghost who lives in and around my house.
“I’m a ghost. I haven’t been anywhere,” said Nigel with his usual disgusted look.
“So answer me this Nigel. What if a ghost is in love with someone, a live person, and he wants her to become a ghost so he can be with her forever?”
“This isn’t The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. It doesn’t work that way. Ghosts can’t control who becomes a ghost. People never become ghosts together. Never.”
“It is totally out of our control. Completely random.”
“That makes sense.”
“It doesn’t make any sense. Who wants to become a ghost. That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. I certainly didn’t want to be a ghost. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Not even a Vampire.”
“Val wants to turn a friend of him into a Vampire. She is totally and completely wrong for it. Yes, my brother is thinking with his dick.”
“It happens. Are you going to help him?”
“No, absolutely not.”
“Good. The world doesn’t need more Vampires.”
I didn’t respond. Nigel hates Vampires. Like most ghosts he covets our physical bodies. Not my problem.
“Does this woman even know Val is a Vampire?”
“No,” I said. “Her idea of Vampires is weird movies and badly written paranormal romances where everyone is dripping blood from their chins onto their low cut black lace dresses and heaving their lovely white mounds of perfect perky breasts.”
“Yuck,” said Nigel.
“I agree,” I said. “Yuck.”
Nigel sort of shifted his ghostly feet from side to side. He wanted something.
“What?” I said.
“Do you want to go with me to visit my grave today?”
“Sure. Are you ready to go now?”
He smiled and tossed my keys to me.
As I left the house I called back to Teddy, “I’ll be back in a bit. While I’m gone talk some sense into Val.”
“Will do,” said Teddy. “Love you.”
“Love you too,” I said.
And yes, Teddy did talk Val out of it.
Stay safe. Were a mask if you need to. Get vaccinated. Don’t be a dick. Be kind. Hug your kids. Talk to your kids. Check in on those who might need extra help or those who are alone. And kiss a Vampire (you’ll thank me for it later.)
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman.