Randy still couldn’t believe she’d written the list.
Just before Christmas. She’d broken up with him. She was Claudia, Randy’s girlfriend. Why? Did it matter? Of course it did and she’d written out in fountain pen no less.
- Too young
- Too immature
- Too happy
- Too cute
- Too much of a comedian
- Not serious enough
- Likes dogs too much
- Dresses funny
- Laughs weird
- Has weird friends
- Vanilla ice milk sex
Nobody likes getting a list like that. Randy sure didn’t. The last one hurt. The fact that he didn’t like being hog tied or bitten didn’t make it vanilla ice milk. Randy was fun in the bedroom with plenty of flavor according to all of the other girls he’d been with.
And WTF? How could anyone like dogs too much. He didn’t have his own dog. Sure, he’d pet and make cute talk with almost every dog he met but who didn’t do that?
Randy had just turned twenty three. That wasn’t too young. Claudia was fifty, but that was also young for a Vampire. Since he was also a Vampire he didn’t think it would make that much of a difference. Apparently it did. To her.
Randy walked along the beach, his blond hair hanging in his face, and pulled his bright red and green Christmas cardigan closed. His jeans were black. A Christmas sweater could never be construed as weird when worn by a cute guy thought Randy. I’m cute. I’ve always been cute.
As Randy stood in the fog looking out over the waves breaking on the beach he thought about his now ex-girlfriend. She was gorgeous and elegant and serious. She was an extremely serious Vampire. On the other hand he was starting to feel like that writer in Sunset Boulevard, Joe Gillis. She, Claudia, his girlfriend, ex-girlfriend, had been his Norma Desmond. Oh boy, she was always ready for her close up. Crazy controlling yesteryear bitch.
Damn, Claudia was gorgeous and smart, and fascinating. He watched the waves and tried to talk his heart out of grieving for what he thought he had with her.
He was shaken out of his reveries by a voice.
“Hey Randy. What are you doing here?”
There stood the odd girl Alexis he’d met two years before when they were going to UC Santa Barbara. She had been in his Organic Chemistry class. She was really weird. But she was also a Vampire, like him, and in a world where Vampires are few between he could put up with weird every once in a while. They had coffee together from time to time then both graduated and lost touch.
She was wearing a big oversized cream colored sweater with black leggings, black work boots, and a black scarf. She had a headband over her black hair. It plastered her bangs against her forehead so that they made a straight dark line across her eyebrows. On her lips was burgundy colored lip gloss and on her nails was matching burgundy polish. She was one of the strangest girls he’d ever met but he liked her, as a friend.
“Alexis. Wow,” he gave her a hug. “I’m at USC, graduate school. Getting my MFA in writing. What are you’d doing here?”
She smiled. “I’m getting my MFA at CSU Long Beach in Art. I paint, you know, like on canvas. What’s going on? I mean, you know, you’re standing here in the fog? Did you break up with someone or something? You’re looking kind of lost.”
“You can tell?”
“Dude. Really? Of course I can tell. It seems like overtime I see you you’ve broken up with someone, or more likely she has broken up with you. You’re standing there looking like you lost your last friend. You have a death grip on your sweater, and your shoe is untied.”
“Oh.” Randy bent down and tied his shoe. “Um, you just taking a walk on the beach?”
“Yeah. I love the fog. It’s kind of mysterious. Like the holidays.”
“What makes the holidays mysterious?”
“I never know what’s going to happen. Last year I went home to my parent’s house and nobody was home. I waited for three days and found out they were trapped in a castle in Germany. A bunch of monks were forcing them to make fruit cakes and…”
“Are you making this up?”
“It’s the truth. Cross my heart and swear on a cave full of bats. The year before last I got home and my parents were dead. Vampire hunters had gotten to them. My parents even had presents under the tree for me. Damn, I pulled stakes from their hearts and brought them back. It was hecka scary. I’m an only child so they’re all I’ve got. I mean, my parent, they’re really old fashioned Vampires, like some film noir, or even worse, think Boris Karloff or Vincent Price, but I love them. You know I was bullied as a kid, but I worked it out. I did OK. They did their best.”
“Alexis. I am so sorry.”
“After I found them, and got the stakes out of their hearts, and got them some help, I had to do something. Some friends helped me go after them, the Vampire hunters. We dumped the bodies in the desert near Joshua Tree National Park.”
“Oh. That’s brutal.”
“You know, it wasn’t that bad. I was with my friends Olaf, yeah, like Frozen but not Frozen. Olaf is a hecka hot Vampire. And my friend Collette. She is at UCI going to Med school right now. Collette is sooooo smart. She knows how to, well, get rid of people. It wasn’t a big guilt trip. The Vampire hunters were hired organized thugs from Las Vegas, or at least that is the last place they lived. You know, organized crime and icky shit like that. So, we just buried the bodies, three of them, in kind of shallow graves and piled rocks on the top of them. We used those little folding camp shovels, but that was fine. The coyotes were going to get them anyway so I wasn’t too worried about it.
But we’re walking back to the car and I look up. Oh Randy, there were a million stars in the sky. We just stood there and all started to smile. Then there was this one really bright star. Olaf said hey it’s just like Christmas. Damned if it wasn’t. It was just like Christmas.
We all broke out in a chorus of Hark the Herald . Oh it was wonderful. Then somebody started to clap and we turned around and saw a couple of park rangers. They said we sounded like angels singing under the Christmas star. It was so special. So special.”
“Wow,” said Randy, honestly not knowing what else to say.
“It was great. We sang a few more songs, then we got some blood from the rangers. Don’t worry, they didn’t know. We left them chocolates and wine. Always have chocolate and wine in your car this time of year for people you get blood for. The chocolate helps them recover from the blood loss and the wine is just nice. Make sure it is good chocolate and good wine.”
“So your parents, are they OK now?”
“They’re doing great. I’m headed over to see them tonight.”
“I’ve never had anything like that happen to me. Wow. That is frightening.”
“You’re lucky. My mom and dad are so old fashioned. I keep telling them to stop living like old Hollywood Vampires. Then my dad will say, but honey we live in Beverley Hills. He is so weird. But he’s my dad so I gotta love him.”
Alexis traced a V in the sand with the tip of her boot. “It was weird growing up as a Vampire. How about you?”
“We lived in the suburbs so it was OK. Nobody knew. Nobody bothered us. My parents were pretty cool.”
“So what’s up with your girlfriend?”
Randy showed Alexis the list.
“What a bitch. You’re better off without her. Seriously dude, you don’t need someone like that. You need people in your life who appreciate you for who you are, not for who they want you to be.”
“Thanks. I’ll keep that in mind,” said Randy.
“Hey, you wanna get coffee or something. There is a great little place just up the street. No pressure. Olaf and I are an item so I’m not looking to take advantage, but I like you. It’s good to see you again.”
As they walked up to the street he put on his sunglasses against the morning sun that was starting to show through the fog. Well, stranger things had happened. Thank goodness for that.