OLD ST. RICK
I’ve been on the verge of a wonderful things, and crazy panic inducing things, and just busy, and everything in my small corner of the world seeming to be like the proverbial Vampire in the mirror, while all the while everyone around me is telling me otherwise. It has been a post pandemic messy season and I have friends who are hurting due to death, and you know it just suck. Nobody should die this time of year.
A day or two ago I was pondering what I’m going to do next. Not like who I’m going to bite, but what I’m going to DO. You know DO like work or meaningful activity or creative genius stuff. Then as a brilliant idea or two came into my mind my computer screen went weird again. I kind of spiraled for a few days, but it was nice to take a break from the machine until the new screen was installed.
With the computer fixed I sat at home, with the computer closed, on my red couch with my calico cat, pondering a lot of things when a knock came on the door.
It was my friend Richard. Oh my goodness it had been a while since I’d seen him.
Women found him irresistible. Men found him intriguing. Children adored him.
I opened the door, gave him a hug and let him in.
Rickard looked at his blurry refection in the entry way mirror then caught himself in the eyes. The mirror cleared and he found himself looking into his own hazel eyes. He looked good after four centuries. Almost too good. The right description would be devastatingly handsome.
I took his Ferragamo overcoat and noticed the beautiful silk Hermes tie, that complimented his black Armani suit. He always was a sharp dresser.
“You look as gorgeous as ever,” I told him.
He kissed my cheek, “And you’re as beautiful as ever Juliette. Do you mind making some coffee? I’m absolutely beat, but I have to tell you what just happened to me.”
He followed me to the kitchen as I made coffee.
He flashed me a million watt smile. “I made my list and checked everything twice except the weather report. Yes, I was caught in the snow, but I had the most interesting night. It was pretty amazing.
I’d turned off the highway on a clear road. It wasn’t like I was in the middle of nowhere, and even if I was that shouldn’t have bothered me. Anyway, I was driving along with only one other car on the road. I was at a safe distance behind a midsize sedan. No problem. I’m singing along to the radio to that St. Motel song Cold Cold Man, and suddenly BAM. We were both, the car in front of me and I were both hit by a truck. The truck kept going. I went into a ditch and rolled. The other car spun and went off the side of the road into the snow.
A woman was in the other car. I could tell by her voice as she called to me. The snow started to fall as she helped me from my car. I was trapped. This small woman rocked the car until I could push the door open. It was amazing. She led me about a half mile down the road, through the snow to a cabin. There was no cell coverage and it was starting to get dark.
She was middle aged. You know just an average woman. Brown hair, a little overweight, pretty enough face, nose red from the cold. She got a fire going and lit an oil lamp, then started a kettle for tea. I just stood there like an idiot watching.
The more I watched the more I thought I recognized her but I couldn’t wrap my mind around her.
She told me to sit. She told me to take off my wet jacket and shoes. She wrapped a soft blanket around my shoulders and gave me tea. It wasn’t one of those nasty scratchy disgusting blankets people tend to have in cabins but a nice one.
She looked at me and said: This is my place. My escape. I was here for a few days trying to rewind. Looks like it might be a few more. I can’t get a phone connection right now but I left a note on my car. Somebody ought to be by tomorrow, if not tonight. You look familiar. Like a guy I used to know a long time ago.
I asked her who she thought I looked like. She said something about someone she knew a long time ago. Then she said she was old enough to be my mother and so we’d never met.
She said she was fifty-seven. I told her that I was four hundred and thirty one. And she just stared at me. She didn’t call me a smart ass or get weird. She just looked at me.
Then she said You’re THAT Rick. Oh my God. Fuck.
I’m a Vampire. I just blurted it out. I NEVER do that. I never tell anyone what I am unless they figure it out on their own.
I should have figured that, she said.
Thirty years before we’d had a one night stand. Then another one night stand. Then one more. She was beautiful but not in a conventional way and sexy as can be. And there she was.
Why didn’t you ever call me? I asked.
Really? She said. I could tell, like you, she had teens in her house.
Really. Why didn’t you call? I asked again.
You know why. I would have just made a fool of myself. How old are you again? She asked.
Four hundred and thirty one. I said.
I could see the wheels in her brain turning as she looked at me.
You’re lovely. I said. Yes, I read her thoughts. Society is so cruel to middle aged women. She thinks she is horrible looking and invisible. You’re beautiful.
She leaned against the back of the couch and closed her eyes. I kissed her.
Your lips are cold. Just like back then. She said. So are you going to drain my blood? I’m diabetic so you might get a mouth full of drugs and a bad after taste.
No, but hey, I could turn you into a Vampire if you want. You’d look the way you looked thirty years ago. You’d…
Stop. She said. I have kids in high school.
You could be young and live for…for a long long time.
She shook her head and gave me a sad smile. Oh Rick. Sweetie. I have to get my kids into college. Then maybe I’ll have time to sit on the beach and write poetry. I have a husband too. Twenty five years ago, thirty years ago the answer would have been yes, but now not so much. Boy, this is weird. I knew you were different but this is weird. And I’m not beautiful. I look like a troll.
Don’t say that, I told her. You don’t look like a troll. You’re beautiful. She was beautiful.
So to make a short story longer we talked for two days straight. She was worried about her family worrying about her but I told her it would be ok. The phone service wasn’t dead, it had come back on right after we settled in the first night. I just made it seem like that. I called her family when she dozed off. I also set up a college fund for her kids. Whatever they need they’ll have.
Oh it was grand those two days. She made me laugh harder than I’d laughed in years. She made me feel more alive than I have felt, well, since I was alive. You know, like warm again. And she didn’t judge. She wasn’t afraid of me. She was curious. She didn’t treat me like a freak. I hardly find a human who treats me like I’m normal and just a little different.
Before her husband made it up to pick us up I gave her something personal, just for her. I gave her my ruby ring. You know the pinkie ring I always called my Vampire ring. It fit on her middle finger. I guess that is fitting considering how I acted thirty years ago. She actually cried. I made someone cry tears of joy. God, she was beautiful back then. She still is, she just doesn’t believe it. I want her to believe. I’ll keep working on it.”
I looked at my friend Richard and suddenly realized that there was more to the centuries old party boy than I had imagined. He’d given his three day lover a ring that was worth at least fifty thousand dollars and made sure her kids would get through college.
“Hey Juliette, let’s go for a hunt tonight, just like old times. We can bring Teddy along,” he said.
“Nothing like a little holiday blood lust.”
“Exactly. And hey, the reason I stopped by was to ask you a favor. I know a guy who wants to be one of us. He is ready and will make a good addition to our community. Will you help me. You’re the best. I don’t know anyone I’d rather help me with … and what’s wrong?”
I stopped to compose myself. “You’re so sweet.”
He kissed my forehead. “Merry Christmas Juliette.”
“Merry Christmas Richard.”
I wish you all a Merry Christmas and happy holiday season with friends, old and new.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman