My friend Randolpho came to my house today. As he entered through my front door he slammed his hat down on the front entry table and then sat down on the couch. My cats both jumped up into his lap.
“What is upsetting you my friend,” I asked.
“Constantine will never tell anyone what day his birthday is. He celebrates a different day every year. He said it was going to be on April 1 this year. I started planning a party for him, but then his girlfriend Diana broke up with him and he said he was skipping it this year.”
“He was devoted to Diana,” I said, saddened and puzzled by the news.
“Diana is a Werewolf. I told him it would never work out. No self-respecting Vampire would allow themselves to fall in love with a Werewolf.”
“Did he give you any details?” I asked.
“None. The man speaks in riddles. Look here,” he said as he put three pieces of paper on the table. “For the past three years he has given me clues to what day his birthday is on. I still can’t figure it out. He didn’t give me one for this year yet.”
I picked up the notes and read them.
Now is the time for all of us to gather. Over in the woods around the bonfire. Vampires warm their cold hands around the flames, while holding cats in their arms for comfort. Each and every one of them thinks of good times and share stories of nights go by. Maybe they should be sad and remorseful because some say they are Demons. But because they’re not, and because they have cats, they feel fine. Everyone starts to sing. Songs from the Scratchy Archives. “Remember,” one said, when we used to sing and dance every single night. 3 of them remembered the songs. 1 of them remembered the date.
Nobody ever said it was going to be easy to solve this puzzle. Only one remembered the date and she can’t be found. Vampires know that she loved Constantine more than anyone else. Every Vampire man desired her, but Constantine was the one she had chosen. Maybe it was his sense of style, or his mysterious smile, or the way he gave away secrets. Because he never celebrated his birthday on the same day it made her wonder if he was pretending to be somebody else. Even the most jaded of Vampires wondered why he didn’t return her love. Reading between the lines was the only way to solve this mystery. 3 years ago he’d fallen in love with a Werewolf. 1 woman was enough for him, no matter how much she growled at him, and no matter how she’d discovered his real birthday.
Never had anyone given this poor child any kind of cake or party for his birthday. Only is dear mother would remember when he’d advanced a year. Very early on he would start to make up birthdates depending on his mood. Every year it was a different date. Mothers tell their children, who are born on unspoken days, to forget the actual date and pick something else. But Constantine remembered. Elephants aren’t the only ones who never forget. Running out of time wasn’t an option. Thirty year, or thirty centuries; it didn’t matter. First one must consult the stars, then the whole damn universe for answers.
Randolpho took the notes back from me. “What does Connie mean by singing around the fire and cats, and a mysterious woman, and running out of time?”
I smiled and knew exactly what day our friend Constantine had been born on, but I am going to let Randolpho figure it out by himself. I also know who the woman is.
“Randolpho, dear friend,” I said. “In a few days we will be going to a party. We’ll celebrate Connie’s birthday then. It is the anniversary of when I turned him into a Vampire. I believe that counts as a birthday just as much as when he exited his mother’s womb.”
Randolpho rolled his eyes at me. Yes, he rolled his eyes. “Vlad, it is a good thing no women are in the room right now or someone would have slapped you.”
I have no idea what Randolpho was talking about. In the meantime, I am looking forward to the party.
This morning there was a knock on my door. When I went to answer nobody was there. On my front porch was a statue of a small man with a beard and a red pointed hat. His hand was up with the third finger pointing to the sky. I believe that is what is called flipping a birdie. I have no idea why a hand sign for fuck you is called flipping the bird. There is so much I still do not understand about modern life. It a gesture I seldom want or need to use.
I saw my neighbor Zoe and asked her about the rude little man statue. She laughed and told me it was a Garden Gnome.
“And why pray tell would anyone leave me a rude little man statue such as this?” I asked Zoe.
“You take your gardening very seriously Vlad. Just look at your daffodils and iris. You’re the envy of the neighborhood. Maybe someone wanted you to have extra protection,” said Zoe. Then she laughed out loud. “Seriously Vlad. That Gnome is funny. You should call him Chester.”
“My friend Mandy said she had a rude gnome but before now I had no idea what she was talking about. Then she said her friend Rick had written about it because their friend Bill wanted them to write about it. Why I do not know, but it brings them enjoyment.”
“You have weird friends Vlad,” said Zoe.
“They seem perfectly normal to me,” I said.
I still do not know who left the foul little man, though I do have to admit he is kind of cute, but not cute in the same way I am cute.
Over the past weekend Constantine, Randolpho, my love Gillian, and I went to a most remarkable party. The invitation was from a friend to us all, a charming Vampire named Astrid Voormann. I might add that Astrid is the mysterious woman in Constantine’s cryptic notes.
Constantine drove while Randolpho attempted to figure out the latest puzzle. Gillian and I sat in the back of the car.
Not all dates exist within current dimensions. Over time they are forgotten. Very few remember now. Even those who were there have short memories. Maybe it has to do with the fact that is just isn’t important anymore. Because of this I ask you to look again. Everything might be important if you keep looking at it. Thirty million years ago a small animal ran across the forest floor and the long line of decedents became dogs. First, we must check the timelines of both past and future and of the lost and unknown to find the date in which you seek.
“Damn it Constantine, this makes no sense,” said Randolpho.
“Read every single word, every letter, and between the lines. Then think about it,” said Connie.
“Things are obviously not what you think.”
“Obviously,” said Randolpho.
Then they started to talk about women. Gillian called them “poor sweet babies.” They are neither poor nor babies, but they were both without a female companion. I was thankful that I am, what is it called…not for sale…transitional…no…yes, off the market. I am glad I am not in search of a woman. I was not in a search or in a market when I met Gillian so long ago. I met her and fell in love after the first hour with her. Of course, that does not prevent women from being attracted to me.
When we arrived at the spectacular house on the coast, lovely Astrid greeted us at the door with hugs and kisses. This was her 450th birthday celebration. Constantine would turn 447 on his mysterious birth date.
It was a large party with at least one hundred attending. Most of the guests were warm blooded normal people. They did not know a few of us, including the hostess, were Vampires. There was no reason for them to know.
We mingled around the main part of the house making small talk and catching up with those we already knew.
A few well known local California politicians showed up. They are blood suckers of a different sort. A couple named LeRoy and Jasmine told us they are vegans. A few people were talking about diet pills. I know nothing of diet pills, so I avoided the subject. It was almost the same endless small talk I endured in my court hundreds of years ago when I was the King of Vampires. Gillian had gone off to talk to some of her girlfriends, leaving me alone.
Because I am a Vampire, I could hear people whispering how cute I am, and wondering who I was. The orange cat who lived there was cute. I am not an orange cat. I do not understand why they always call me cute.
While pouring a glass of wine, I struck up a conversation with a lovely woman, who seemed so familiar to me, yet I knew I’d never met her before. She was in her mid-forties with long brown hair, and elegantly dressed in a cream colored sweater and dirt colored pants. She said she was a historian, specializing in 15th and 16thCentury Europe. Fancy that – so was I. As we began to talk we walked outside for fresh air and enlightened discussions. Her name was Nichole.
We stood on the back deck overlooking a view of the stars over the forest and ocean. I could smell her blood. Just a quick bite was all I needed. I hesitated. There was something familiar I could not place.
“Look into my eyes,” I whispered to her.
She turned her head and looked at me. “Who are you Nichole?” I asked, not expecting an answer. I suddenly had no desire to partake in her blood.
“Vlad?” A voice called out from behind me.
I turned. “Constantine. Come join us.”
Then Nichole turned towards my friend.
Constantine turned paler than any Vampire I’ve ever known. “Mama?”
Nichole came out of the trance. “Constantine. Baby, is it you? You’re all grown up. How did you get here? Oh baby sweetie.”
She held him tight. “I thought you were dead.”
“No. I survived the fire, but you and Dad were gone. How did you get here? I don’t understand. What are you doing here? I mean, I’m glad you’re here, but how?”
“Time travel. Constantine, just like you. Your dad and I were Time Travelers studying Elizabethan England. This is our time.”
“What? Your time? What year were you born?”
“1976. You father was born in 1975.”
“I was born in 1576. 400 years before you. How can that be?”
“Time travel. How long have you been here?”
“I never left.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m not a Time Traveler.”
“I don’t understand. You can’t be 447 years old.”
“But I am. Mama, I am.”
“I’m a Vampire.”
“What? Don’t be silly.”
“About a year after the fire I met someone. I met the King of Vampires. He helped me.”
“This sounds like a bad B movie from the 1970’s.”
“Why didn’t you come back for me?”
“I couldn’t. It was November 31. It was your birthday. We were between times and November 31 only comes around when everything in the space time continuum is aligned in the right way. It might be five hundred years before it comes back, if it ever comes back. I wanted to go back, but I couldn’t. Then we were told you were dead.”
“I’m not dead. I was for a minute, but Vlad brought me and my soul back. I’m not a Time Traveler. I am a Vampire. I only go forward.”
Then we heard laughing and LeRoy and Jasmine came into the room.
“Hi,” said Jasmine to Connie. “I haven’t met you yet. This is my boyfriend, LeRoy. We’re vegans.”
“We know,” I said. “If you tell us again you will be someone’s dinner, and I am not kidding dear child.”
They both stared at me, then turned and went back inside. As they a man came into view. He was the very image of Constantine.
“You are Brendan, Constantine’s father,” I said.
He looked surprised. “How do you know about Constantine?”
“Come closer and meet your son.”
Once again, they went through the time traveler and Vampire confusion.
Then Brendan turned to me in anger. “You turned my son into a Vampire.”
“Yes, I did. If I had not he would have died before his 20th birthday and you would have never seen him again. He was alone in a harsh time. My friend Randolpho were there to help. Your son is a remarkable man.”
“Dad, I wanted to be a Vampire,” Constantine, said in almost a whisper.
“Why?” His father Brendan stood there looking like an angry version of my calm friend.
Constantine ignored his father’s question. “Why didn’t you tell me you were Time Travelers? I had no idea you were from the future. You could have told me.”
“That would have changed time and history baby,” said Nichole.
“Did you plan on leaving me behind?”
Suddenly a new voice was added to the conversation. “Vlad, Connie, I figured it out. The first letter of each sentence spells out November 31. Holy shit, why didn’t you tell me your birthday was on November 31?”
Constantine turned towards Randolpho. “I knew you’d figure it out.”
“Who is the woman?” Randolpho asked.
“Randolpho, you should have figured that one out,” said Constantine.
“Astrid? You’re in love with Astrid?” Randolpho shouted.
“Who is in love with me?” We all turned to see Astrid standing there.
Everyone turned to look at her.
Constantine stepped forward. Brendan put his arm around Nichole’s shoulder. Nichole’s eyes watered up. Randolpho smiled. I did not react. I have seen situations like this go bad more times than I care to remember. Over a thousand.
“Astrid, um, what an interesting evening. Brendan and Nichole are my parents. The last time I saw them I was a teenager.”
“No wonder you look so much like Brendan. Holy shit. Brendan, Nichole, I had no idea. I knew you were Time Travelers, but I had no idea you had a son.”
“We thought he was dead,” said Brendan. “I am so sorry Constantine.”
“It’s ok Dad.”
And yet another voice as the deck became more crowded. “Nichole Jones? Is that you?”
“Gillian,” said Nichole.
“Wow. It is great to see you. The last time was on November 31. That was at least 400 years ago.”
“How’d you get here?” Nichole asked.
“Vlad and I carpooled with Constantine and Randolpho,” said Gillian.
“No. How did you get from the 16th Century to the 21st Century?”
“I’m a Vampire,” said Gillian.
“Did Vlad make you into one too?” Brendan spoke up.
“Oh no, I met Vlad long after that,” said Gillian.
At that point I excused myself saying I needed to get a drink of water. That was a lie. I just wanted to leave the confusing conversation.
I sat down in the kitchen with a piece of paper and pencil.
Nobody would have ever guessed.
Everybody involved with unusual things knows about this.
Maybe it is too obscure.
But it is not always a puzzle.
Each letter stands for letter.
Red is the color of blood, and one of my socks because I could not find the mate so my other sock is black.
Thirty were in my drawer and none of them matched.
1 matching pair of socks would be nice.
Maybe I should give up writing this type of riddle. I have to admit it looks like a strange poem one would read at a coffee shop poetry reading, or yell from a mountain top while your friend records it for one of any number of social media platforms.
At times, since I was rescued in 2014 from my 300 year forced nap in a crypt, I have felt out of place and out of touch. Tonight, I feel as if I am the only one who knows what is going on.
I was King of the Vampires at the same time Queen Elizabeth the first ruled England. I knew of her, but I never met her, or even corresponded with her. I had never been to England. Had she known I existed I am sure she would have sent an army to destroy me.
I first met Connie in Italy, where I’d gone to see the new styles of art, and experience warm weather. He was studying color and fabrics with some of the masters. As I have said before, my friend is the most fashionable Vampire I have ever met.
I went to the studio of a well-known artists with the intention of commissioning a painting of the goddess of the moon. When arrived I found two men fighting. Blood was everywhere. Next to me in the doorway stood a young man with an arm full of beautiful fabrics.
The young man looked over at me. “You look like you just walked out of a Botticelli painting. Unfortunately, Caravaggio is an asshole. Nine times out of ten you’ll find him fighting with someone. His work is brilliant, but he is a monster to work with.”
That was the beginning of a long and unlikely friendship with Constantine Jones.
Gillian came to me and held out her hand. I took her hand and stood up. I kissed her and told her that I love her.
“How about we get married on November 31,” she said.
“You know I will not wait that long,” I said.
“You’re so cute Vlad. That is why I love you so much.”
Cute? Really Gillian? Cute? I said nothing and kissed her again.
That night Randolpho found a group of young people in the pool house and got a belly full of blood. Constantine talked with his parents until the sun came up. After that he went to sleep with Astrid in his arms. LeRoy and Jasmine found a bowl full of bell peppers to devour, and to my surprise did not talk about it.
Later as the sun came up behind our shoulders as Gillian and I walked along the beach. In the distance we saw Randolpho out walking alone. This morning his ridiculous hat was in his hand and not on his head. His dark hair fluttered around his shoulders in the wind.
“The last time we had a night this crazy was when we went to that crazy castle.”
“The night of Shelf Critter Theater,” I said. Yes, I remember it well.
“Wasn’t that part of the Contest of Whatever?”
“It was indeed,” I said.
“That was like 450 years ago. A lot of shit happened around those times.”
The three of us continued to walk the beach. I could only hope that there would be little or no shit happening in the next few years, or at least not until November 31 comes around again. I do not think that will be the case, but we can only hope.
Things that happen on November 31:
The hell hound and the demon cat will watch over you and keep you from harm.
Life will bring you lemons.
Someone will fuck up all of your album covers.
No books will be banned.
No art will be banned.
Demon shelf critters will come alive.
Squirrels will have their portraits painted.
This has been the 78th installment of Vlad’s Vampire Diary. To see all of the previous entries which are much more entertaining than this one click here.
It is my contribution to The Evil Squirrel’s Nest 10th Annual Contest of Whatever.
The theme for 2023 was NOVEMBER 31.
Vlad’s Vampire Diary was the winner of the 2017 Contest of Whatever. Click here to see that entry.
To learn more about the Contest of Whatever and The Evil Squirrel’s Nest CLICK HERE.
Thanks for dropping by from Vlad, and Juliette aka Vampire Maman.
It’s good to see Vlad is always up for the Contest of Whatever. That makes him even cuter than he already is. I admit, I figured out the riddle right away…. poor Randolpho. And Chester is vying to be official mascot of CoWX! Thank you for the entry! I can’t wait until November 31st so I can get my portrait painted….
It’s about time that time travel made its way into Vlad’s world.
Chester the gnome certainly is getting around! We shall be seeing more adventures from him soon!
Reblogged this on DysFictional and commented:
Another fantastic entry to the Contest of Whatever! Juliette even gave Chester the gnome a mention.
Thank you Mandy
Wow, that was an “out of this world” entry into the contest! Just like the Our Universe book on the bookshelf!
(Yes, yes, I could not resist zooming in and looking at the titles. And “Greene & Greene Masterworks” book…along with all the other Arts & Crafts books! 🙂 I love books!)
A winner of an entry in this year’s COW…….I read and re-read and that’s unusual for me with my relatively SHORT attention span! Good luck in the contest…
Awwwww. Thank you so much. I won in 2017 for the Shelf Critter Theater Theme. The COW is one of the highlights of my blogging year.
I’m going to have to read up about this Chester character, he’s getting around all over COW this year!
Chester is a piece of work. So are Mandy White and Rick Turton. More fun than a bathtub full of otters (or vampires)
Good story, and I love reading any diary entries. Love the dog and cat that will be watching! 🙂