Slut

A story from my friend Bart. He’ll tell you all about it (you might have heard this before but it is a story well worth repeating – I’m sure a lot of you can relate.)

Slut

A lot of us have kids in college, or starting college in the next year or two. One of the big things everyone is talking about is sexual assault on campus or in college towns. I’ve talked about it with my two kids who are in college. Everyone has, at least everyone who is a decent parent.

So I get this call from Hodge Williams. Yes, that Hodge Williams. Everyone remembers him.

“Bart, how are you?” As soon as he spoke I wondered what he wanted.

“Hodge. Fine. Great. Life is good. What’s up?”

“I’m writing a story on the history of sexual harassment and violence at universities in the US. I tried to contact your sister but she wouldn’t return my calls.”

“Beth?”

“Yes, Beth. She kind of got around so I was thinking she might have experienced first hand, you know, she was at risk.”

“What do you mean by at risk?”

“Oh come on, your sister was a slut. Everyone knew it.”

I sat there with the phone a bit stunned. He just called my sister a slut.

“Hodge, you’re an asshole. In fact you’ve always been an asshole.” I hung up the phone. What an asshole.

After sitting for a few minutes and collecting my thoughts I called my sister and told her about the conversation.

“What an asshole,” she said. “Sure I was sleeping with his best friend without the benefit of being his best friend’s official girlfriend. OK I also slept with another one of his friends but we were in college. We were young.”

“Did you ever sleep with Hodge?”

“No. Hell no. He was always making passes at me and grabbing me. Hodges had that Madonna/Whore things going on in his head. A girl was either a virgin until marriage or a whore. Plus we’re not like him, you know the religion thing, so he just assumed I was a whore.”

“But you didn’t have sex with him.”

“I know. That makes me a whore. He called any girl who wouldn’t have sex with him a whore.”

“What an asshole.”

“I know. Believe me, I know. I mean, if the guy had asked me to go see a movie or go for a walk or just spent time talking that would have been different but he was just all over me like…yuck. He really called you? I can’t believe he’d have the gall to do that. Asshole.”

After we got off the phone with the promise of a lunch date later in the week I got to thinking about my own kids.

I’d spoken with both my daughter and son about sexual predators. I’ve done the best to teach them not to be bully bait. I’ve taught them to stand up for themselves and for others.

From experience I knew that bullies never grow up and most don’t change.

Hodge never got the answer he wanted. Over the years Beth had a few close calls with sexual predators but she always ended up safe either by being with friends or using physical force to get out of it (exactly twice as she told me.) That didn’t include unwanted advances by guys like Hodge. And even though Hodge didn’t use force it still hurt emotionally that he’d think so little of her or of any girl.

I wanted to pound the crap out of him. Then I thought about how many other women out there who thought the guy was an asshole. That made me smile. Spread the word ladies, spread the word.

That evening after work I talked to my wife about it. She shook her head and said she’d had similar experiences. More anger surged through my brain, then sadness deep in my soul.

We all judge others. We all make assumptions. We all call names even if it isn’t out loud. We all talk behind the backs of others. Maybe we need to stop. It isn’t easy. It isn’t even practical.

Anyway, if you see Hodge Williams call him and an asshole, and tell him that Beth and Bart don’t say hello.

 

I Hate Valentine’s Day (A Short Vampire Story)

Short Story Sunday Monday Tuesday:
I Hate Valentine’s Day

“I shouldn’t be alone today,” thought young Randy as he sat brooding on a rock, on the beach at 5:30 a.m. on Valentine’s Day. His heart was broken. The girl, a Vampire girl he knew he was going to fall in love with had given her heart to another and left him in the dreaded friend zone.

And it wasn’t as if she’d left him, or chosen another college student. Sure the guy she’d fallen for looked like he was twenty-one but he was born in freaking 1902. What did girls see in these older guys?

He was jolted from his thoughts by a “Hi. You’re Randy, aren’t you?”

A dark haired girl in a short black skirt and a long black jacket stood in front of him. “I’m Alexis. I’m in your Organic Chemistry class. I’m a Vampire, but you knew that. I know you are too. Small world.”

“Oh, right. Sure. Hi. Have a seat,” said Randy, glad for the company now.

“I hate Valentine’s Day,” said Alexis.

“Why do you hate it?”

She sat down on rock next to him. “My parents were borderline Shadow Creepers, you know old time Vampires who stayed in the dark most of the time. Nobody knew we were Vampires, but everybody including the other school parents thought my parents were weird. I got picked on a lot at school. I was like quiet and small. I didn’t know how to stand up for myself. I didn’t dare try any of my Vampire stuff on anyone. I was afraid if anyone found out they’d kill my family. Anyway, every Valentine’s Day we’d have to make stupid boxes and bring Valentines. I always made something pretty with roses and flowers and stuff, all pink and nice. I always make a beautiful box, and make everyone pretty Valentines by hand, but I never got any Valentines. Maybe from one of the girls who felt sorry for me. Everyone had full boxes except me. The kids all started to laugh at me. I wanted to rip their throats out but I couldn’t. You know, Vampire code.”

“Sure, don’t show them what you are, no matter what. Did your mom and dad know?”

“I never told them anything. We didn’t talk much at home. But I got my revenge.”

“Revenge?”

“I told the teacher I had to go the bathroom. Of course the boys started to make jokes about how I’d stink the school up. They were mean like that. Always. It never stopped. So like, the teacher said someone had to go with me to make sure I wouldn’t spend too much time in there, cause sometimes I’d just go there to get away from it all. She said that Ashley should go with me. Ashley was the most popular girl.

Ashley started to pout and complain. So a girl called Emma volunteered. Emma was the only kid who gave me a Valentine. She was kind of overweight and sometimes the other kids would say mean things to her too, but she was the smartest kid in the class so they didn’t say too much.

When we got out of the classroom Emma said she knew I didn’t need to go to the bathroom. We walked around for a bit, then went back to the classroom. But we didn’t go in.

“You can make them pay for what they did. I’ll help you,” said Emma. “I’m a witch. I know what you are.” Then she smiled in a way that even scared me.

We didn’t go back in the classroom. The door locked with a loud click. Emma just smiled. The room filled with smoke. The other kids started to scream. They couldn’t get out. Everyone started to claw at their faces and arms. That is except the teacher who kept trying to open the door. We ran to the office to get help. You know, we had to keep up appearances.

By the time the fire department go there and knocked down the door, the smoke at gone away, but the smell of sulphur was still in the room. Some of the kids had clawed out their eyes and made huge gashes in their faces and arms.

Then Emma whispered in my ear, “they’ll never call you ugly again.”

Hey, even I was shocked. I never did a thing. It was all her. Both of us ended up going to another school. In high school I made a lot of friends. They all thought my parents were cool Goths. The rest of the kids are still all scarred and screwed up.”

Randy looked at her feeling sort of numb. “Where is Emma now?”

“She got into swimming. Lost a lot of weight. Turned blonde. She’s at UCLA now. So Randy, why don’t you like Valentine’s day?”

“A girl I liked started seeing another guy.”

“Bummer. Sorry to hear that.”

They sat in silence for a while, listening to the waves. Randy didn’t know what to say. He and his best friend had been the two most popular boys at their high school. Their lives had been happy and relatively care free. Their parents were modern Vampire in every way possible.

Alexis bumped her shoulder gently against Randy’s. “I hope you don’t think I’m weird.”

“No. Well, maybe just a little.”

“Looks like the storm is coming in. Wanna get coffee? No pressure. It’s not like I want to be your girlfriend or anything like that. Just you know, like just a couple of Vampire friends.”

“Sure,” said Randy.

As they walked up to the street he put on his sunglasses against the morning sun. Well, stranger things had happened.

~ End

Happy Valentine’s Day,

Juliette aka Vampire Maman

A short essay on bullies

Think of all the time and energy bullies spend being obsessed with their victims. Think of all of the energy of that hate that could be channeled into something positive. Anything really, other than being obsessed with someone they deemed weaker, weirder, stupider, fatter, smaller, or just different in some way. Usually there isn’t a reason why a child is bullied. It is usually just a random act that builds into sort of a self-serving cult.

If you’ve been bullied just think of what an idiot the kids was who bullied you was. No doubt he or she still is. I doubt if they’ll even remember what they did. If they do they won’t feel bad about it. They’ll still blame you for their failures especially if you’re a success. Even if you aren’t. Their own self loathing is masked with self-indulgent feelings of superiority and then helplessness.

They’re nothing but defective worms. They are to be pitied. Then again, don’t waste your pity on them. Don’t carry the burdens of their actions with you. It hurt. It was wrong. It was wrong for adults to let it happen. But it is time for you to move on. You aren’t the asshole. The bullies don’t matter. They were the ones who spent the time to be obsessed by you, like evil perverse demonic fans. It was their loss, not yours.

And most of them, the bullies, have assholes for parents. Think about it.

You aren’t the asshole. Believe me on this one.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

fart joke

We’re Not so Different

I’m continuing the Vampire Maman Christmas Story Fest with this tale from my friend Mandy White. “We’re Not so Different” can also be found in the WPaD anthology Tinsel Tales.

We’re Not so Different

By Mandy White

My daughter was clearly upset when she arrived home from school. Crystal tossed her pink, sparkly book bag into the corner and gave it a kick.
“Bad day, honey?” I asked.
She didn’t answer at first. Instead, she ducked her chin and pouted as only a twelve-year-old can.
I waited. Finally she looked at me.
“Is it true?” she demanded.
“Is what true, sweetie?”
“That we’re going to Hell?”
“What? Where on Earth did you get that idea?”
Crystal mumbled something unintelligible.
“Pardon me?”
“Becky Bullock! I hate her so much!” she ranted. “Just because her father’s a minister she acts like she’s God and treats everyone else like dirt!”
“Now, I hardly believe God would treat anyone like dirt, honey. Come here and talk to me.” I sat on the sofa, shoving aside a pile of towels I had been folding so she could sit beside me. Crystal plopped into the cushion, arms folded, glaring at the wall across the room.
“Why exactly does Becky think we are going to Hell and she is not?” I asked her. I suspected I already knew the answer, but I wanted to hear it from her classmate’s perspective as well as hers.
“Because of my report,” she said.
“Your report?”
“Yeah, we were all supposed to do an essay about holiday traditions and I did mine about the Christmas tree. I didn’t know the stupid teacher was going to make us read them in front of the class.”
I nodded knowingly. I saw where this was going. “Go on,” I prompted.
“So anyway, my essay was about the Christmas tree, and how it’s Pagan in origin. Like the story Grandma told us, about how in the old days it was a custom to bring a live tree inside the house to symbolize life and good luck and all that junk.”
“You actually said it that way?” I laughed.
“Not really,” she went to her book bag and withdrew a crumpled piece of paper and handed it to me.
I relaxed into the cushions to read the essay. I was impressed; it was quite good. Crystal explained how ancient Pagans believed evergreen trees had the power of eternal life because they stayed green through the dead of winter. During the winter Solstice, the darkest day of the year, they adorned their homes with the boughs of evergreens in hopes that the magic of the trees would bring the sun back for another year. It was said that the ‘sun was born’ during the Solstice. Feasts and celebrations were also held during this time to keep people’s spirits high and fend off the starvation that threatened during the lean months.
It was clear that Crystal’s depiction of the pre-Christian roots of some holiday traditions had offended her classmate, who had no doubt learned a different story in her household.
“So, at lunchtime Becky and a bunch of her snotty friends corner me and start teasing me, telling me that my whole family is going to Hell. ‘Jesus is the reason for the season!’ she says to me. Then she starts calling me a witch and a Satanist and a h-heretic!” Crystal sniffled and began to cry.
“What did you say to them?” I asked.
“I called them a bunch of assholes and then I ran away.” She peeked warily up at me from beneath tearstained eyelashes, checking to see if she was in trouble.
I burst out laughing. I’m sorry, I just couldn’t help myself. The mental picture of Little Becky Bible-Thumper and her friends’ faces after my daughter called them assholes just wouldn’t leave, and try as I might, I couldn’t help cracking up. That’s my girl, I thought. Your Great-Grandmamma would have been proud.
“That wasn’t very nice of you to say that. And it wasn’t nice of them to make fun of you either,” I told Crystal, who had begun to giggle through her tears at my reaction. “But, you could have gotten yourself in trouble. Remember the old saying, ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’. Becky is entitled to her beliefs just as much as you are.”
“But Mom!” Crystal insisted, “She doesn’t have to be mean about it!”
“No, she doesn’t,” I agreed. I put my arm around my daughter and cuddled her close. “You remember all the stories Grandma used to tell? The ones about her ancestors?”
Crystal nodded. “Yeah, that’s where I got the one about the tree stuff.”
“Well, then you also remember that our family lineage goes way, way back, to long before Christianity was even thought of. Our kind has been through happy times, and there have been dark times as well. Many of our ancestors were persecuted by the church and burned at the stake for things as trivial as practicing herbal medicine, or for voicing their own beliefs, much as you did today.”
“Which is why they’re a bunch of assholes!” Crystal said.
“From your perspective, it may seem that way. Try to think outside the box for a moment. Christians have also been persecuted for their beliefs in the past. Jesus was executed for the ideals he taught. Look at the Jewish people, and think of all that they have been through, or the Native Americans. No matter which culture, which religion you look at, you will find some point at which those people were victimized because their beliefs were different from someone else’s.”
“So everyone gets bullied, no matter what they believe, then. That doesn’t make it right.” Crystal observed.
“No, it doesn’t. It’s not a question of right or wrong, good or evil. From our own personal perspective, each of us is right, and the Creator has given us many paths to choose from. What’s great about the times we live in is that we are no longer in fear of being slaughtered for our beliefs. Neither is Becky Bullock’s family, or Jimmy Goldberg’s. We live in a time when a Wiccan child like you can learn in the same classroom as Becky, Jimmy, and all the other children who come from different cultures and backgrounds. Opinions will always differ, but if God is perfect, as Becky’s father teaches, then all must be right in the Universe.”
“So how am I supposed to deal with Becky next time she calls me a Satanist? Put a hex on her, or just punch her in the eye?” Crystal asked.
“Neither!” I laughed. “What you put out there is what you will get back, threefold. To quote your grandmother, ‘Remember ye the law of three. For what ye do comes back to thee’. Or, to put it in terms Becky might understand, ‘Ask, and ye shall receive’. So, to answer your question, if you approach a situation expecting disharmony, you will encounter disharmony. If you go into it intending harmony, then that is what you will get back. Somebody famous once said, ‘Peace is achieved through understanding, not conflict.’ Remember that Becky is not so different from you. She deserves to be treated with the same tolerance for her beliefs that you expect for yours.”
“Fat lot you know about bullies, Mom. The whole, ‘walk away’ thing doesn’t always work. I may still have to punch her in the face, just warning you.”
“If walking away doesn’t work, then ask her how Jesus would have handled the situation. That might make her stop and think. You think about it too. How do you think Jesus have reacted?”
Crystal shrugged. “I guess Jesus would have turned the other cheek. Isn’t that what the Bible says? To love your enemies and stuff like that?”
“Exactly. Treat others with compassion, even those who oppose you. It’s what my mother taught me, and what I’ve always told you. Our beliefs are not much different from what Jesus taught.”
“But I don’t love Becky! I can’t stand her! She’s just so… mean to everyone. Especially me.”
“You don’t have to be her best friend or anything. All I’m saying is, think before you react. Negative reactions won’t result in peace. If that doesn’t work… well, be sure to ask your teachers for some homework if you get expelled.”
“Becky might get expelled, too,” Crystal commented, a hint of hope in her voice.
“See? I told you, you aren’t so different from each other.”
We giggled and snuggled on the sofa. The Christmas tree sparkled in the corner, the angel at the top smiling down at us as we gazed out the window at the falling snow.
Copyright © 2013 Mandy White

 

Thank you Mandy!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Tinsel Tales download is now available for only $0.99. Part of the proceeds will go to MS Research. Click here.
413md5CpxyL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_

 

Short Story Sunday: Trifecta on Bullies, Slut-Shamers and Bad Dogs.

A while back I wrote a story about a guy running into a bully from his past. Then I wrote another story about slut shaming. Today is the third story about a bad dog. You might have seen the first two already but they are worth reading again. The dog story is new. All three stories are about individuals we just don’t want to be around because it is NEVER a winning situation.

The Bully

Sunday mornings on the deck with coffee, a cat purring in my lap, a dog at my feet and my beautiful family still asleep upstairs equals something good. It is all good.

Of course it wasn’t always that way. I think of my kids. I’ve done a lot to make sure they’re strong and secure. I make sure they’re not open to con artists and bullies. I made sure that they learned to stand up for the weak and those who are different.

So why am I musing on such lofty parenting goals? It is because their witty, confident, successful and good looking dad was once the kid who went to school in fear each day because of bullies. Nobody thought anything of bullies back then, when I was a kid. It was part of the school culture. But you know, even as a kid I knew it was wrong and one day it would be over.

It was over for me by the time I was 13. I went to high school and reinvented myself into a funny smart semi-popular kid.

My mind went back to fifth grade – in particular to one kid. Ronnie Martin was the personification of a bully. He was Goofus in Highlights Magazine. He was a sadistic little shit who never let down on reminding me that I was smaller and weaker than he was. Ronnie amassed an army of schoolyard thugs up against me. I was taunted, tripped, lied about, and shunned by other kids. I never knew why his one goal in life was to make my life a living Hell.

Once we got to high school nobody would put us with his bullshit. He faded into the background of kids nobody sees. I was free.

So what brought these memories back on a beautiful Sunday morning?

Last Friday on the way home my 15 year old son and I stopped by the hardware store to pick up some supplies for a leaking faucet. I still had on my suit (important meeting at the Capitol that day) sans the jacket. My son had on a band shirt and skinny jeans (no sagging mind you.) We were a typical father and son – only my son was an inch taller than me. When did that tiny six pound baby grow to be six feet tall?

I’d sent Tristan off to find a new front doormat while I went through the thirty thousand small bins of washers.

Standing in isle 34 I heard a voice that made me go cold.

“Here kitty kitty.”

In fronting of me was Ronnie Martin. He was older and larger than I remembered. The last time I remember seeing him was 45 years ago in Freshman English class when a couple of popular kids told him nobody put up with bullies in our high school and that they liked me. Now here Ronnie was a big slob with a gray ponytail, bad ink on his arms and a shit eating grin on his face.

I had the misfortune to be named Bartholomew. My mother called me by my full name. I went by Bart. Ronnie picked up on the mew.

Back in elementary school Ronnie and his minions would follow me making pathetic mewing noises and yelling “here kitty kitty.” Someone once filled my desk with cat litter. Ronnie told the teacher I’d done it to get out of work. She believed him. I had to clean it up and was sent to the office where the principal lectured me on my bad behavior. Such was my life for the next three years.

Ronnie made sure I was always picked last on teams and that I never had a place to sit on the bus. Now I look back on it I realize that I was his obsession. It just seems so sick and twisted now.

The bully looked me up and down in isle 34 like some creeper looking at a pretty girl in short skirt. “So I hear you’re some sort of big shot. What are you the gay secretary?”

He knew I owned a successful advertising and PR agency. He must have known.

Tristan came up with a doormat looking curious at the big rough looking Buba blocking my way.

I tried to pass and Ronnie blocked me. I looked him in the eye. “The fact that you bullied me does not define me. The fact that you are a bully defines you and will always define you.”

“You’re still a pussy Bart. You’ll always be a pussy.”

I said nothing but I knew he’d always be an asshole.

Putting my arm around Tristan I headed for the check out.

“What was that about Dad?” My son gave me one of those amused WTF looks.

“Just some loser I knew in elementary school.”

Tristan started to laugh in that way teen boys laugh. I had to laugh too.

__________________________

Slut

College is starting soon. One of the big things everyone is talking about is sexual assault on campus or in college towns. I’ve talked about it with my two kids who are in college. Everyone has, at least everyone who is a decent parent.

So I get this call from Hodge Williams. Yes, that Hodge Williams. Everyone remembers him.

“Bart, how are you?” As soon as he spoke I wondered what he wanted.

“Hodge. Fine. Great. Life is good. What’s up?”

“I’m writing a story on the history of sexual harassment and violence at universities in the US. I tried to contact your sister but she wouldn’t return my calls.”

“Beth?”

“Yes, Beth. She kind of got around so I was thinking she might have experienced first hand, you know, she was at risk.”

“What do you mean by at risk?”

“Oh come on, your sister was a slut. Everyone knew it.”

I sat there with the phone a bit stunned. He just called my sister a slut.

“Hodge, you’re an asshole. In fact you’ve always been an asshole.” I hung up the phone. What an asshole.

After sitting for a few minutes and collecting my thoughts I called my sister and told her about the conversation.

“What an asshole,” she said. “Sure I was sleeping with his best friend without the benefit of being his best friend’s official girlfriend. OK I also slept with another one of his friends but we were in college. We were young.”

“Did you ever sleep with Hodge?”

“No. Hell no. He was always making passes at me and grabbing me. Hodges had that Madonna/Whore things going on in his head. A girl was either a virgin until marriage or a whore. Plus we’re not like him, you know the religion thing, so he just assumed I was a whore.”

“But you didn’t have sex with him.”

“I know. That makes me a whore. He called any girl who wouldn’t have sex with him a whore.”

“What an asshole.”

“I know. Believe me, I know. I mean, if the guy had asked me to go see a movie or go for a walk or just spent time talking that would have been different but he was just all over me like…yuck. He really called you? I can’t believe he’d have the gall to do that. Asshole.”

After we got off the phone with the promise of a lunch date later in the week I got to thinking about my own kids.

I’d spoken with both my daughter and son about sexual predators. I’ve done the best to teach them not to be bully bait. I’ve taught them to stand up for themselves and for others.

From experience I knew that bullies never grow up and most don’t change.

Hodge never got the answer he wanted. Over the years Beth had a few close calls with sexual predators but she always ended up safe either by being with friends or using physical force to get out of it (exactly twice as she told me.) That didn’t include unwanted advances by guys like Hodge. And even though Hodge didn’t use force it still hurt emotionally that he’d think so little of her or of any girl.

I wanted to pound the crap out of him. Then I thought about how many other women out there who thought the guy was an asshole. That made me smile. Spread the word ladies, spread the word.

That evening after work I talked to my wife about it. She shook her head and said she’d had similar experiences. More anger surged through my brain, then sadness deep in my soul.

We all judge others. We all make assumptions. We all call names even if it isn’t out loud. We all talk behind the backs of others. Maybe we need to stop. It isn’t easy. It isn’t even practical.

Anyway, if you see Hodge Williams call him and an asshole and tell him that Beth and Bart say hello.

___________________________________

Bad Buddy

When Uncle Bill passed away he left a dog.

Bill wasn’t really my uncle, just a close family friend, but we were like family, sort of. You know, the kind of family you aren’t born into – the kind of family that just happens.

Buddy the dog was going to the pound and more than likely straight to death row.

He was an obnoxious black and white bastard – half Lab and half Satan’s spawn.

So stupid me. Of course I volunteered to bring the dog home, to my family no less. I love my family. I don’t know what I was thinking.

The first thing Buddy did when we arrived home was growl at my wife, pee on the living room chair, try to attack my dog Rosie and then eat our two cats. Putting Buddy outside didn’t help. He started to bark nonstop then proceeded to dig holes and destroy the outdoor furniture, sprinkler system and knocked down the gate to the vegetable garden.

“He has to go,” said my wife.

I asked for another chance. Lucky me. The next morning he grabbed my trousers and ripped them half off of my leg. Hugo Boss no less. It was one of my favorite suits.

My son had a the bright idea of taking him to dog school with the park and recreation. Buddy attacked every dog there then tried to bite the class leader.

My sister called me and asked about Buddy. “Remember the time he killed Bill’s cats? Why the crap did you take him in.”

That night I looked at Buddy straight in the eyes. “What the crap is wrong with you Buddy?”

He growled at me then tucked his tail and scratched at the door to go out.

“That dog is too miserable to live,” said my wife.

“I agree with mom,” said our teenage son.

Buddy stood outside watching us through the sliding glass door and barking as if he wanted to kill us.

The next day I got a call from Uncle Bill’s girlfriend Vera. She’d been in Alaska when Bill died and just got home. She said she’d take Buddy. I was glad to see Vera leaving in her truck with Buddy crated and barking in the back. Off they went to her ranch outside of Reno. Buddy would have room to run and with any luck be eaten by coyotes.

A couple of months later I received an email from Vera. Attached were photos of Buddy being the almost perfect dog. Vera said Buddy was like Uncle Bill. He needed his solitude and room to run. After being kicked by a cow the dog calmed down a bit. Vera said Buddy was almost normal now, then she laughed and said the cow had kicked some sense into him.

I still hate that dog and don’t plan on visiting Vera anytime soon. I guess Buddy makes her think of Bill, though Bill was a sweetheart. I’m sure he took in the damaged dog due to his soft heart. My heart isn’t that soft. But I wonder what sort of abuse that poor dog endured to make him that way. Or maybe he was just born mean. Buddy isn’t going to tell me so I guess I’ll never know.

~ End

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Tangled Tales

Short Story Sunday: Slut

College is starting soon. One of the big things everyone is talking about is sexual assault on campus or in college towns. I’ve talked about it with my two kids who are in college. Everyone has, at least everyone who is a decent parent.

So I get this call from Hodge Williams. Yes, that Hodge Williams. Everyone remembers him.

“Bart, how are you?” As soon as he spoke I wondered what he wanted.

“Hodge. Fine. Great. Life is good. What’s up?”

“I’m writing a story on the history of sexual harassment and violence at universities in the US. I tried to contact your sister but she wouldn’t return my calls.”

“Beth?”

“Yes, Beth. She kind of got around so I was thinking she might have experienced first hand, you know, she was at risk.”

“What do you mean by at risk?”

“Oh come on, your sister was a slut. Everyone knew it.”

I sat there with the phone a bit stunned. He just called my sister a slut.

“Hodge, you’re an asshole. In fact you’ve always been an asshole.” I hung up the phone. What an asshole.

After sitting for a few minutes and collecting my thoughts I called my sister and told her about the conversation.

“What an asshole,” she said. “Sure I was sleeping with his best friend without the benefit of being his best friend’s official girlfriend. OK I also slept with another one of his friends but we were in college. We were young.”

“Did you ever sleep with Hodge?”

“No. Hell no. He was always making passes at me and grabbing me. Hodges had that Madonna/Whore things going on in his head. A girl was either a virgin until marriage or a whore. Plus we’re not like him, you know the religion thing, so he just assumed I was a whore.”

“But you didn’t have sex with him.”

“I know. That makes me a whore. He called any girl who wouldn’t have sex with him a whore.”

“What an asshole.”

“I know. Believe me, I know. I mean, if the guy had asked me to go see a movie or go for a walk or just spent time talking that would have been different but he was just all over me like…yuck. He really called you? I can’t believe he’d have the gall to do that. Asshole.”

After we got off the phone with the promise of a lunch date later in the week I got to thinking about my own kids.

I’d spoken with both my daughter and son about sexual predators. I’ve done the best to teach them not to be bully bait. I’ve taught them to stand up for themselves and for others.

From experience I knew that bullies never grow up and most don’t change. 

Hodge never got the answer he wanted. Over the years Beth had a few close calls with sexual predators but she always ended up safe either by being with friends or using physical force to get out of it (exactly twice as she told me.) That didn’t include unwanted advances by guys like Hodge. And even though Hodge didn’t use force it still hurt emotionally that he’d think so little of her or of any girl.

I wanted to pound the crap out of him. Then I thought about how many other women out there who thought the guy was an asshole. That made me smile. Spread the word ladies, spread the word.

That evening after work I talked to my wife about it. She shook her head and said she’d had similar experiences. More anger surged through my brain, then sadness deep in my soul.

We all judge others. We all make assumptions. We all call names even if it isn’t out loud. We all talk behind the backs of others. Maybe we need to stop. It isn’t easy. It isn’t even practical.

Anyway, if you see Hodge Williams call him and an asshole and tell him that Beth and Bart say hello.

vm girl in woods