End of the Year Conversations (with Vampires, Friends, and Family)

I overheard my brother Andrew’s friend James saying, “I stopped seeing her because she always complained about how hard life was for her because she was so smart and so pretty. The thing is, she wasn’t that smart, and was just marginally pretty.”

Then James looked over at me, as I was pouring another glass of wine. “How come you were never interested in me, you know, in that way that makes the world go round?”

“You know why James,” I said. While I know the woman James is talking about, and have to agree with him, I don’t agree on most of his horn dog sexist views and constant propositions. I’ve known him for over 100 years and some things just never change.

I didn’t want to hear anymore and went into the living room to find either my husband, or one of my kids.

We’d planned on being up in the mountains, at Lake Tahoe, right now but the highways are closed due to blizzards. So we all decided to take my brother Andy up on his invitation and come visit him in San Francisco. There is a lot of rain, but the roads are open.

The San Francisco skyline is now sort of like that marginally pretty woman. It used to be stunning until the heinous Saleforce building was built. Who the fuck approved that monstrosity?

I was trying to think of what had happened in 2021 but my mind just went blank. I can’t remember much of anything. I remember a wonderful romantic trip to the coast with my husband. I remember visiting the USC campus in Los Angeles with my daughter and it being completely empty. It was as if we were the only ones on the entire campus. I remember when the museums started to open back up. There was a riot in Washington DC, a tragic building collapse, more school shootings, a lot of stupid mind numbing news that I would have rather not heard. I read some good books. I was glad that my children were doing alright.

It was just sort of a weird year, even for Vampires. I was always busy but it seemed like everything was still on hold.

Over by the big window overlooking Andy’s rose garden my brothers Val and Aaron were talking. They didn’t see me, otherwise they might not have said anything.

“Max and Teddy are such arrogant self-righteous assholes sometimes,” said Aaron.

“Only when they’re together. They sort of turn into a two headed monster,” said Val.

“No, they’re getting like that all the time. The past few years have just brought it out in them.”

I backed away. Max is our oldest brother. Teddy is his best friend, and my husband.

Everyone is still on edge due to the lockdowns and pandemics. The negativity tends to stand out a lot more than the peaceful good things.

In some ways Aaron and Val are right, but they’re also arrogant self-righteous assholes. Well, maybe Aaron. Val isn’t arrogant.

My sister-in-law Verity (Aaron’s wife) was in front of the fireplace talking to Max’s girlfriend/fiance Mehitabel.

“Tell Juliette about what you found last week,” Verity said to Mehitabel.

“We, Jayne and I were sent out on a rescue. A clutch of newly made Vampires was living in a warehouse out in Daily City. Three guys and two girls. The poor things had no idea what was going on. No idea,” said Mehitabel. “They were going to sell them as exotic sex slaves.”

“Who did this to them?”

“A couple of Vampire ghouls I’d never heard of. Bright LaMont and Carson Johnson. Can you believe that Johnson is a Canadian? Canadian Vampires never pull that kind of shit, or at least they usually don’t.

“Where did these people come from, the new Vampires I mean?” I asked.

“Kids who were barely off the street, on the street, or just kicked out of the system. All were fairly healthy without any known drug problems. God damn it. We took them to a place where they’d be safe. You know John and Emily down by Moro Bay? They’ll take care of them until they learn how to be proper Vampires and live on their own.”

“What about the ghouls who did this to them?” I had to ask.

“They were eliminated. I hear you were helping with getting rid of some unwanted baggage as well.”

“Sure,” I said. “Early in the pandemic especially. I just help out Aaron sometimes and a Vampire Hunter named Durant. Do you know him?”

“Just by reputation,” said Mehtiabel.

“I now him,” said Verity. “Great guy. He only goes after the bad ones. Nobody like us. Too bad he is so warm blooded.”

I felt someone touch the tips of my fingers, then a hand slid around my waist. My husband Teddy was standing next to me, and joined in the conversation, as charming as ever.

Outside the rain continued to pour. Inside we caught up, and despite the weird times, considered how lucky we all really are.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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