One of my neighbors left a bag of long green vegetables at my door. There are 34 of the vegetables. A note taped to the box read: Hi Vlad. Here are some more zucchini squash from our garden. There are a lot more where that came from. Let me know if you want more. I have plenty. ~ Zoe
This is the third bag of these zucchinis I have received in the past two weeks. I am not sure what to do with these zucchinis. They do not look squashed. Am I supposed to squash them?
My cats do not want them either. Yet, I am thankful that there are people who look out after me.
I would kill to protect Zoe, her family, and her zucchini plants.
Today Zoe told me she was canning and invited me over to help.
Canning. I had no idea what that was. Now I know. It is an amazing thing.
Back when I was King of Vampires, before I was locked in a crypt for 300 years and missed most of the amazing technologies ever invented, warm blooded humans had issues with food. They could not drink blood like Vampires. They would spend hour and days and months growing, hunting, raising, baking, cooking, and making food. Then the food would go bad. Then the warm blooded humans would get sick and often die. Then the Vampires would be sad because their food went bad.
Zoe, who is exceptionally well versed on such matters, told me that canning was invented around the year 1810. Food would be preserved. Warm blooded humans would no longer become ill. The main Vampire food source was preserved. I do not know why Vampires did not think of this first.
Today we made salsa. I tasted some. It is made of tomatoes and spicy peppers and onions. I liked it. A lot. Zoe told me the process was called a water bath. I enjoyed hearing the jar tops pop to prove the salsa would be safe for human consumption.
I told Zoe about the time Randolpho became extremely ill due to feeding from someone suffering from food poisoning. Randolpho and I were young at the time. He did not know better.
“Zoe,” I asked, “is it possible to can blood at home?”
“You’d need a pressure cooker. Stuff with animal protein or low in acid need to be pressure canned in order to be safe. But, Vlad, I wouldn’t advise you try to do blood at home. Leave that to the professionals.”
It is nice to have a friends who know I am a Vampire so that I might ask such questions.
Then out of the green…or blue, it is out of the blue. I believe that must be a reference to the vastness of the sky but I am not sure. So out of the blue Zoe asks me about my history with relationships.
“When are you going to marry Gillian?” Zoe asked.
“I am not sure I need to be married again. We are happy. Marriage might change things. I speak from experience.”
“You were married before?”
“Yes, unfortunately, but maybe not unfortunately. Then again, definitely unfortunately. She was my perfect match. She made my cold Vampire happy. Then she didn’t. All we did was fight. Then she cheated on me. Then she left. Nothing I did was ever good enough for her.”
“I’m so sorry Vlad. That sucks. But you know, I was married before I married Ryan.”
“Yes, me. I married my high school boyfriend. I grew up. He wanted to be a kid forever. It was like being married to Peter Pan. I was tired of being Wendy and left.”
I do not know who Peter and Wendy were but I understand what she meant.
Zoe continued. “Don’t give up Vlad. If you ever loved your ex just wish her happiness and move on. Don’t torment yourself.”
“Thank you Zoe,” I said, and gave her a kiss on her cheek.
“Your lips are cold, but I have to admit that was a thrill Vlad.”
“It was a thrill for me too,” I told Zoe.
Then we both laughed. It is good to have Zoe for a friend.
She asked me if I wanted more zucchini. I politely declined.
Randolpho came over tonight to drink wine and blood with me. We watched a movie called Romancing the Stone.
Randolpho wiped a tear off of his face when the movie had finished.
“Dear Randolpho, why the tears?” I asked.
“I met my wife in 1850 while crossing the Isthmus of Panama. We were both traveling to California for the Gold Rush. Two star crossed Vampires. The trip was full of adventure and craziness just like in Romancing the Stone, only we had Vampire Hunters after us. It was grand. She was amazing. Katherine. Her name was Kathleen just like the actress in the movie.”
That stopped me cold. I use that expression loosely as I am usually cold, but… Randolpho never told me he was married before.
“You were married? You never told me.” Randolpho has been my best friend since we were babies. He never told me he had been married. HE NEVER TOLD ME. I was a loss.
“Only for ten years,” said Randolpho. “We were living in San Francisco. Vampire Hunters got to her. She’d gone to the shops one day to look for some lace. That was the end of it. It was August 1, 1860. She was only 232 years old. Dear Vlad, I’m sorry I never told you. It is still so painful to talk about it.”
“I will plant a rose in my yard in honor of Kathleen and your love for her,” I told my friend. He embraced me and cried cold tears on my shoulder.
I missed so much when I was locked away for so many years. I wish I had been there for Randolpho. Maybe Kathleen would have still been alive.
There are those who say Vampires do not love. They are wrong.
My cats curled up with Randolpho. They purred and rubbed their heads against his arm. There are those who say cats do not love and have no souls. They are also wrong. Dead wrong.
Randolpho told me stories about his life with his wife Kathleen. I listened and was both sad, and happy for him. I am glad that he knew such love. I was sad that I never met her. Despite his ridiculous hats, Randolpho is never lacking female attention, but that is not the point. He had true love, if only for a short time. That is something to be treasured. I love my friend Randolpho.
I dropped a bag of zucchinis off at my friend Cassie’s house. Maybe she can garnish cocktails at her bar with them. She could cut them up and make them all cute and twisty. Just like me (yes, that is a joke,) A Zucchini Martini. I do not know what else one would do with them.
My next stop was with Aaron Todd, my attorney. Aaron called to tell me he had a box of items that had belonged to me long ago when I was the King of Vampires and lived in my castle which no longer stands, on a mountain that is no longer there, in a country that nobody remembers. That makes me a king that nobody remembers.
Aaron greeted me at the door of his office which is in what is called a Victorian house. Everyone thinks it is an ancient building. It is only 120 years old. But that is neither here nor there, as the expression goes for things that have not much to do with the real story.
It was hot, over 101 degrees Fahrenheit, I think. I do not know the exact temperature. I avoid the heat unlike Vampires who live in the desert…there again I am avoiding the real painful story.
I wore jeans, sandals, and a black tee shirt with a cotton shirt with what is called a Hawaiian flower pattern. Had I known what was to come I would have worn something else. My satchel was over my shoulder.
We went into Aaron’s office. On his desk was a box I recognized.
“Where did you find this?” I asked him.
“Someone has been keeping it for you.”
“Do I know her? Who is she?”
Then I hear the voice. A voice I could never forget.
“Vlad, don’t be stupid. Who else would have saved that box for you?”
I looked into the corner of the large room. Sitting in the chair was my wife, or should I say my former wife.
“Vlad,” said Aaron. “This is Lola, my great great great great Grandmama.”
“You had children?” I said. I was surprised that is what I blurted out in my shock to see her.
“They were not yours.”
“You know each other?” Aaron asked.
“We were married,” I said, as I glared at Lola.
There she sat in a chair, wearing a blue dress that is what the young women call a sun dress. Her brown hair fell around her shoulders. She was as beautiful as the day I married her.
“You were married to Vlad? You were married to the Vampire King? Grams, why didn’t you tell us?”
“Aaron, dear,” said Lola. “You need to go to another room. Vlad and I need to talk.”
Aaron just stared at us as if his entire world had been turned upside down, which I suppose had been.
“Aaron, go. I will call you if I need anything, or if Vlad needs anything.” said Lola. Then Aaron left.
Lola looked up at me but did not stand. “You’re still gorgeous Vlad.”
“You never called me gorgeous when we were married,” I said.
“I didn’t have to. You already knew it.”
“What is in your bag Vlad? Babies?”
“Why would I have babies in my bag. What sort of fiend do you take me for?”
“Then what is in there?”
“My cats,” I said. I opened the flap of the bag and the cats put their heads out to look around. “I am so sorry darlings I forgot about you in the surprise of seeing Lola and ensuing drama,” I whispered to my cats, then looked up ready to turn my wrath again to Lola.
“Cats! Oh my goodness they’re so cute. May I hold one?”
“No,” I said. Of course my cats never listen to me. Marcus the black cat jumped out of the bag and onto Lola’s lap. Then he crawled up on her shoulder and nuzzled her neck.
Then Lola, reached for a cane that leaned against the wall, and stood, one hand on the can, and the other holding Marcus my black cat on her shoulder.
“Why are you using a cane?”
“Vampire hunters,” she said as she took a few steps towards me. “I know this is a shock to you Vlad. I didn’t intend for us to meet again this way. I believe I’ve avoided you more than you’ve avoided me.”
“You have a child. Is it mine?”
“No of course not. I had three children. Only one is alive now,” she said, then she sighed. “My second husband was Thomas Cane.”
“He was burned alive, along with 20 people accused of being witches,” I said. “I remember hearing of it. It was heavy on the hearts of all Vampires.”
“Yes. That was my Thomas.”
“He was a Vampire to be admired. You were with him? You?”
She did not answer my question which was more of an insult to this woman who had ripped my heart out in a way that no Vampire Hunter could ever do.
“We had been married for 6 years. We had two boys and a girl. I watched the man I loved, the father of my children burn. Since then, my children and their descendants mostly learned to hide. Aaron’s generation is well equipped to keep safe. Unfortunately, I seem to attract Vampire Hunters. Seriously, I can’t get away from them. I’m a legend to them. I’m their monstrous bigfoot or some sort of frightening threatening space alien, or the personification of evil to them and I must be found and destroyed. About ten years ago they tried to burn me to death as they did my Thomas. I survived but I am still healing.”
“Why did I never know this?”
“I don’t know. We broke up. We ran in different circles. Then you vanished and everything thought you were dead for three hundred years.”
“So why are you here now? Do you finally wish to destroy me?”
“Oh Vlad, don’t flatter yourself. You’re such an asshole. I have spent the past five hundred years protecting you. That includes the time you’ve been out of that crypt. I helped find you. And after you were rescued by Randolpho, Connie, and Gillian I have kept an eye on you. I have kept you safe from Vampire Hunters by using myself as a decoy and staying away from you. There are Vampires out there who keep the rest of us safe, and that includes you, and I make sure that happens. We all have changed. You, Vlad, need to catch up with the rest of us. You need to find a new direction in this new world you live in. So far you’ve done well but you need to do more”
“I do not know what to say,”
“Then say nothing. Just listen. What we had was special. We had passion unlike anything else before or since, but we were wrong for each other. We were a wildfire without water to tame it, just wind to make it more dangerous and damaging. We burned until our love was nothing but ashes.”
“Lola…it was not like that.”
“Yes, it was. Stop thinking about me. Stop hating me. You should thank me for leaving you. The love of your life is waiting for you, and she is not me. If you don’t take her seriously or take your feeling for her seriously you will lose her. If that happens you might as well lock yourself back up in that crypt again.”
“How do you know about Gillian?”
“I know about everything. Do you think Randolpho and I don’t talk to each other? You were gone. We all moved to the Colonies and then out here during the Gold Rush. We were all in this together. Come on Vlad, you need to move on. You are no longer the Vampire King. I’m not the Vampire Queen. You know that.”
“Yes, I do know that,” I said to my former wife, who stood there looking so beautiful and sounding so wise. I would never trust her completely, but now there was suddenly a sense of calm as she leaned on her cane, holding my purring cat.
Aaron came back into the room. “Is everything ok?”
“We’re fine. Come sit with us Aaron. Vlad and I need to talk. We all need to catch up.”
So the three of us sat, and we talked into the night. Marcus the black cat continued to sit in Lola’s lap. My gray and white tabby cat Daisy came out of the bag and nestled in the crook of my arm.
As the night went on we spoke of our lives, our shared friends, encounters with Demons, Werewolves, and Vampire Hunters. Lola told me about her children and grandchildren.
Then she stopped talking, stood up, stepped over to me, and kissed me.
“What was that for?” I asked.
“Because you look so cute there with Daisy sleeping all wrapped around your arm.”
I smiled and thanked her. She said I looked cute. After tonight maybe, just maybe I do understand. Yes, I believe I just might.
I was going to ask her if she wanted a big bag of zucchini, but I did not. Maybe another time.
When I arrived home, right when the sun was coming over the horizon, I found Gillian asleep in my bed. She opened her eyes and smiled at me, then put her arms around my neck and pulled me close.
“We need to talk,” I told her. “Not that kind of talk. Don’t worry. A good kind of talk.” And so it was, along with some good kind of other things as well.
This has been the 73rd installment of Vlad’s Vampire Diary.
Click here to read all of Vlad’s diary entries, right from the beginning.
After being trapped in a crypt for three hundred years, Vlad the fierce and powerful Vampire King is now learning how to live in the modern world, and learn the true meaning of the word “cute.”
Keep checking back for more installments. Click on the links below for read the entire riveting story. And yes, put down your coffee or you’ll spit on the screen.
Seriously… I just had a blast with Vlad and the Zucchini! ROFL I have to say, he adjusts quite well to the modern world… but canning? I was cracking up.
I have to admit I laughed out loud at myself when I wrote this post.
I like! Thanks for posting. Will have to catch up now.
Thanks. Please do catch up and keep checking back for more from Vlad and his friends.