Charged Technology, and The Ancient Folks We Love

“Juliette, I am so glad to see you. Were you in the neighborhood?” Tellias took my face in his cool white hands and kissed my forehead.

“No,” I said. “I’ve been trying to get a hold of you for three days. Your phones go straight to voice mail. You never check your voice mail. You never check to see if your phones are charged. I was worried about you.”

Tellias said nothing about the phones, took my hand, and said, “Let’s go see Eleora. She’ll be glad to see you. She fell in a drainage ditch out in the pear orchard yesterday. I had to call John next door to come help me get her out.”

“Why didn’t you call me?”

Tellias gave me that annoyed look one gives children with annoying questions. “We got her out.”

He stood in front of me, his blue eyes looking brighter than usual, his white blonde hair hanging to his shoulders. Today he wore a Hawaiian shirt with big blue hibiscus flowers, and ancient worn out orange plaid Bermuda shorts, and his yellow flip flops.

Tellias and Eleora are old. They’re ancient old. Tellias is well over 2,000 and nobody really knows how old Eleora is. They looks as if they’re about twenty years old, but act like they’re in their nineties. For readers new here, I must explain that they’re Vampires. We all are. I’m the one who checks in on them, just as many of you check in on your elderly, or other family members with special needs and concerns.

Tellias and Eleora live on a farm along the Sacramento River, an hour drive from my home. I grew up running through their orchards, then new, and going to lavish parties at their home. The first house burned down, and was replaced with a lavish Queen Anne style Victorian mansion. But that is neither here nor there right now. They won’t plug charge their phones.

In fact when I saw Eleora, lounging on a couch, in a polka dotted white and navy sun dress, with a pink pilled up sweater over it, she looked at me with sad eyes. Did she mention her fall? No.

She asked me, “Why don’t your brothers or your parents ever call me?”

“Because your phone is never charged and you don’t check your messages, and you don’t even use email anymore,” I said, trying to keep from yelling. “What were you doing out in the pear orchard, by the drainage ditch?”

“I was checking to see if there were any bums out there. They used to camp out there during the depression and they’re still camping along the river. Homeless.”

“What if you had found someone? What if they’d hurt you?” I asked.

“I’m a Vampire Juliette. I would have eaten them and torn their heads off.” Then she and Tellias laughed and then he took her hand and they danced around the room.

“She would have eaten them,” said Tellias.

“Every one of them,” said Eleora.

“Every one of them,” said Tellias.

“And torn their heads off,” said Eleora.

“She found a rake I’d lost about thirty years ago,” said Tellias.

“I told you I’d find it,” said Eleora.

“Glad you did,” I said. I really was. Eleora had been asking about the rake for the past thirty years, non-stop.

“It was rusted out,” said Eleora.

“I figured as much,” I said.

“Rusted out,” said Eleora.

“Has anyone seen my truck keys?” Asked Tellias.

“They’re hanging on the hook in the hallway,” I said.

“Oh. I swore I’d lost them,” said Tellias.

“Swore he’d lost them,” said Eleora.

“Lost them,” said Tellias.

I turned to see both of my kids, and my son’s best friend Randy, standing in the doorway with boxes from the car.

Tellias and Eleora ran over to Clara, Garrett and, Randy covering their faces with kisses and hugging them.

“She found the rake,” I said.

“Oh good,” said Garrett, trying not to laugh.

We fixed iced tea, and cold blood over ice garnished with mint and sage leaves. Eleora showed off her quickly healing bruises and scratches.

Their neighbor John, a handsome man in his 60’s stopped by to say hello and fill in the blanks to the ditch story.

“You should have called me,” I told John.

Of course John said he’d call me next time. There have been dozens of next times he has promised to call me about but never followed through on.

Randy, who as usual, was wearing a vintage shirt from the 70’s with a panoramic scene across the front and back. He and Tellias talked fashion, or whatever it is they think they’re wearing. The more heinous the better is the rule with them. Randy is only twenty three so dressing like a mismatched old man looks cool on him. Sometimes I half expect to see him in sandals and dress socks, or worse red socks and sandals.

Almost twenty year old Clara sat with Eleora and held her hand as they talked about Clara’s transfer to the big university in Southern California that will happen in September.

Garrett and John helped me unpack bottles of Poet’s blood, cans of cat food (for the cat, not for the elders) and various other things I brought over. Tellias, who does most of the shopping often forgets to get things like cat food, and soap, and basic things we all need. When the elders want food they’ve taken to calling deliver services for food (Fill in the blanks. Nice warm blooded folks come to the door…) I have already told them not to call 911 to deliver handsome young sheriff officers for dinner.

I have to tell the elders not to do a lot of things. They never listen to me. Heads are nodded. I love you is said over and over. They smile with a coy hint of fang.

Eleora told Clara and me three more times that my brothers and parents never call her.

Before we left I checked the phone cords and made sure the chargers were put in outlets that hadn’t been switched off. I made sure everything was plugged in all the way and charging.

I reminded Tellias where his truck keys were, and where the other car keys were. I also reminded him to write down a list when he went out, and to even write down where he was going so he wouldn’t forget and drive half way to Timbuktu before he realized he was going to the hardware store for nails or a sprinkler part.

As we drove away, the three young adults and I, we waved to the elders, John, and the cat who all stood on the grand front porch of the beautiful Victorian home.

I was glad everyone was more or less alright, but couldn’t help but feel a little sad, and a little depressed. I always feel a little sad and a little depressed when I leave them. I feel the same way when I leave my house to go there. I feel that way whenever I think about them.

I can’t help it. I guess that is what happens when you love someone so much.

In a day or two I’ll call back. I know the phones won’t be charged. I’ll text John who will tell me he’ll check on it for me, but I know he’ll go over there and they’ll tell him their phones are charged. John will believe them and go home.

One more thought before I go. Summer is here. If you know someone who is elderly or needs extra help, make sure they have their air conditioning on when days reach triple digits. Make sure they’re ok, even if you have to drive that extra five or ten, or twenty miles when they don’t answer their phones. Tell them that you love them. Hold their hands and listen to them repeat the same stories over and over.

Be there.

Because they might be gone one day, even if they’re Vampires.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

Love in the dark, and in the light that always shines

Love in the dark, and in the light that always shines

Eleora couldn’t remember what she did yesterday, but she could tell stories of her childhood in excruciating detail. My daughter and niece sat next to her, holding her small hands in theirs. They looked like three young women about the same age. My Clara is 16, Lauren is 21 and Eleora is, well, nobody knows how old she is. We know Eleora is over 2,000 years old but no exact number has ever come out.

The girls heard stories their parents and grandparents had never heard. These were ancient lost tales that she’d hoarded until she found the right audience.

Tellias, her husband, told the girls to watch if they went outside. Eleora might wander off on her own and not find her way back.

He watched the woman he loved, his eyes filled with pain. Sometimes I’d see a rare bit of anger. Of course there is always love, but with that more often than not pain and frustration.

This was Sunday. We’d all gathered at my brother Aaron’s for our mother’s birthday. All four of my brothers were there (Max, Andy, Aaron and Val), as well as the elders Tellias and Eleora, Aaron’s grown children Logan and Lauren, Great-great-great-great Grandmama Lola and her friend Cody, and our friend Pierce. My husband Teddy and Aaron’s wife Verity were there playing host and hostess as they sometimes do. And of course our parents Jeremy and Samantha.

More friends were to come later at this gathering at Aaron and Verity’s home. Of course we’re all Vampires. It would seem weird to bring anyone else in.

This isn’t like the movies and horror stories where we bring in virgins and babies to feast on. Of course there is blood, but we have it in wine glasses (not big red cups.)

I stood outside under the stars with Tellias and my brother Max.

Max put his hand on the elder Vampire’s shoulder. “Eleora isn’t all there anymore is she?”

“I believe she is there. She just is a bit disorganized. You know, when you can’t find the mates to your shoes and you are walking on a bed of nails so you just hop on one foot and hope you don’t fall. But if you fall it will be into a burning pit of lava. Then you look down and notice your pants are gone and your socks don’t match,” said Tellias. “You need to come by and see us more often Max.”

“I know,” said my brother.

“Nobody knows how long Vampires live. Most of us don’t make it this far given the dangerous nature of our existence. Don’t take your chances. Your day could be tomorrow. Eleora’s could be tomorrow. We never know. But no need to get depressed, none of us are going anywhere for a while. We’ll be around for plenty of birthdays to come. But the more you and Juliette and the rest of you come around the easier it will be for Eleora to straighten out the mess in her mind.”

The three of us stood there for a few seconds. Then Max gave Tellias a hug and walked down into the yard under some trees. I watched him as he took out his phone and made a call.

“He is calling her, isn’t he? He should have made that call fifty years ago,” said Tellias. “The boy never seemed to understand love, even at his age he still can’t.”

I had to smile. Even at the age of one hundred and sixty-six Max still is just starting to understand that ships that pass in the night sometimes never pass each other again.

Tellias took my hand and gave it a squeeze. “I appreciate everything you do for us.”

“I know.” I said. I looked into his crystal blue eyes, in a face that looked no older than nineteen. To think that he had lived in ancient time didn’t seem all that strange most of the time. He’d kept up. They both had. That is what kept Tellias and Eleora young. Nobody would ever have expected them to dry up in a crypt or become ghouls living in shadows. Then again, they gave so much love that the cold dark places the put fear in men’s hearts didn’t touch them.

So stay young. It is easy if you love and let love in. Even if you’re a Vampire. And even if you’re not.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

(First posted in 2015 – the message remains the same.)

 

VM_Tellias and Eleora

True love keeps you young forever!

 

Suspicion and Ancient Vampires (exactly what I want to be spending my afternoon on)

“Come quick, come quick.” said a voice whispering like silken moth wings.

It was Tellias, one of the Elders, a Vampire over 2,000 years old. He lives with Eleora, who looks like a lovely fresh young beauty but is even older (or so we suspect) than Tellias. They’re old and like many old people are often isolated and confused. Over the past few years I’ve insisted others help me watch out for them and help them.

Tellias was waiting on the front porch for me. A small black cat sat on the railing mewing at me. I gave Jinx a quick rub and we headed inside. The old Vampire, who looks like he is about 19 or 20 years old, was wearing a steel blue colored work shirt with the name Lloyd embroidered on it and a pair of jeans so old that Levi Straus himself might have made them. Tellias had pulled his white blond hair was back and tied with a yellow shoelace.

He hugged me and told me thank you a dozen times, then hugged me again and kissed me on the forehead. “Dear girl it is so good to see you. I need your help so badly. So very very badly.”

Val came in wearing a suit and carrying a bag over his shoulder.

“Where’d you come from?”

“Denver. Business.” He kissed my cheek and headed for the kitchen.

My brother does things with finance and money. It is all secretive and perfectly legal. Like our Grandmama Lola he doesn’t have one permanent home, but moves round between places. It is common among Vampires. We’re just sort of like that sometimes. About a year ago I convinced Val and Lola to stay with the Elders from time to time and help them out. Really it was to help me out.

Tellias touched Val on the arm. “Are you hungry dear boy?”

“No. I’m full. Hooked up with a couple of flight attendants in Denver before I left.” Val went to the refrigerator and grabbed a beer, then went upstairs to his rooms on the top floor.

Tellias too my hand and led me to a chair. “Sit down. I have to talk to you. I have things to say.”

“What is it?” I asked that expecting something reasonable. Silly me.

He furrowed his brow. “Eleora is seeing someone else. They’re all in love with her. Of course she encourages it. She encourages every single one of them.”

“When would she have time? You’re always with her.”

“Not always.”

“Who?”

“I have my suspicions. I have my list. He took a well-worn piece of paper out of his pocket and handed it to me.”

“Most of these guys have been dead for at least fifty years.”

He shoved it back into his pocket and pulled out another paper. “This one Juliette. Look at this one.”

There were names on the list I hadn’t seen since I was a child. He grabbed it back and pulled another out of his pocket on lined yellow legal paper and shoved it in my hand. “This is it. This is the most current list.”

I scanned the list and recognized the names. Half were Vampires and half were Regular Humans.

“Well, Tellias, you can scratch Kyle Hanson off the list.”

“Why?”

“He’s a Werewolf. She’d never sleep with a Werewolf. This is ridiculous Tellias. Eleora is not cheating on you.”

Tellias grabbed the paper out of my hand and shoved it back in his pocket. After that he paced the room and started to straighten already straight pictures.

“You’re no help. I thought you would help me. Considering everything I have done for you over the past few centuries.”

I shrugged my shoulders. “Where is Eleora?”

“In the cottage with your Grandmother.” He never called her that unless he was angry with her.

Like I said before my great great great Grandmama Lola sometimes stays in the lovely little storybook cottage next to the grand Queen Ann farmhouse that Tellias and Eleora occupy.

I got to the cottage and discovered Val already there. He’d changed into jeans and a sweatshirt. A bottle of wine was on the table along with a couple of glasses. Eleora was nowhere to be found.

Lola stood there with a scowl on her pretty face. “The old fool has been going on for days about her cheating. I told him he could blow smoke out of his ass before he’s get any information from me.”

“Is she cheating?”

“Of course not.”

I left the cottage and found Eleora standing in the middle of the barn surrounded by owls. Yes, owls. You know, it is a barn, in the middle of an orchard.

I gave her a hug. She danced around me and touched my face as lightly as a butterfly kiss and fluffed up my hair. She wore a green sweater, a gray pleated wool skirt with a big gold pin in it and black rubber rain boots.

“Tell me about Tellias.”

“He used to be a Roman, then he was English, then he was American, then he turned into an old fool. He is still an old fool.”

She twirled her skirt then stopped. Her eyes flashed with anger. “You’ve seen how women look at him. They’re all over him like alley cats in heat. Do I say anything? Absolutely not. I have never said a word. Never. Never ever ever ever ever.”

I took her hand and took her back to the house.

Tellias glared at Eleora. “You’ve wounded me for the last time.”

With low growl she showed her fangs. “No, you’ve wounded me. Me. I have done NOTHING wrong. You fool. You silly stupid idiot fool.”

Jinx ran into the room and started to sing the song of his people – a grand opera of loud meowing.

“Do you need food baby kitty?” Tellias picked up the cat and rubbed her neck.

Eleora came up and kissed the cat on the top of her head. They both cooed over the cat while I found the cat food.

While they babied Jinx I walked back over to the cottage. Lola greeted me at the door with a smile. “Have they made up?”

“I don’t know. They’ve been sidetracked by the cat.”

“Good,” Lola said, “maybe tomorrow they’ll lose their car keys or break a shoe lace or have another emergency. I’ll take them out to find a donor or two, you know like a lunch date. They haven’t been out for a good hunt in a while.”

We spent the rest of the afternoon just visiting together. The lists of supposed lovers had been forgotten along with a lot of other things.

I always answer the phone when Tellias calls because I never know if the emergencies are real or not. We have had real emergencies and there have been times when I thought I would lose one of them.

I guess I could say no, but when you love someone you don’t say no. When someone needs you, even if they don’t remember why you don’t say no. You just go and help and in the end you still love each other… sometimes even after 2,000 years.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

traditional vampire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t forget to enter the Vampire Maman Love Letter Contest (with grand prizes, fame and fortune.) 

If you want to learn more about Tellias and Eleora go to the search box and look them up. I really have to make a page for them as soon as I help them find their keys and my mind.

 

Those we love…caretakers, ghosts and musings

“My mom had no understanding or even concern about me when I told her that I thought she was going to die that night in the hospital. She didn’t remember it so it didn’t happen. She had no idea.”

I was having coffee with my neighbor Kelly. She takes care of her elderly mom Isola.

“She’s at my sister’s house across the country for the next month but I’m still on auto pilot wondering if she needs anything. It’s like having a ghost. I’m so used to seeing her everyday. The kids are still walking to her house after school.” She took a long drag of coffee and looked out over the woods behind our homes. “Her old cat screams and screams when we leave. I miss my mom. I’m enjoying a bit of a break, but still… she drives me nuts but I miss her.”

Out of the corner of my eye I could see a ghostly shape standing by one of the trees. He gave me the finger than vanished.

I thought about the elders I watch out for. Everyday I worry about them. It isn’t as though we have to worry or care, but we do, because we have to. I never saw Kelly or me as caretakers. When I first met her we were in a club doing shots. It was 1987. She had a long blonde hair with a perm in it and shoulder pads on her dress. Now her hair was brown and straight and her shoulders a natural size. We were the same but so different.

Isola is a pretty woman in her 80’s with a sweet charm about her. Everyone love Isola. She drives Kelly nuts, but there is a sweet bond between them. Parents should all wish to have such bonds with their children. Though I have to admit Kelly’s bond with her own children is closer, just as I feel mine is closer with my kids than it is with my mother.

Out in the woods the ghost walked closer and mouthed the words “You wouldn’t understand Vampire.”

I would and did understand. Asshole. I was pissed and reacted by refreshing our coffee and hoping he’d go away. I looked back out the kitchen window and noticed he, Nigel – the ghost was watching Kelly.

He belonged to her, not to me. I’d just assumed because I’m a Vampire that he was attached to me somehow. Then again, why would he be? He just hangs out with me because I can see him and hear him. He hangs out with me because I’m not like Kelly.

Or I could be wrong.

We chatted more about Kelly’s mom. She told me stories in a Southern accent and dialect of her family that made me laugh out loud.

After she’d left I called my own mother. She never ages or gets confused. She never needs anything from me. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe she does need something, like my attention and my interest and my company every once in a while. I’m just thinking out loud here.

I was going to look through my volumes of poetry for something to end this with but when I went to my shelves I found the ghost standing there giving me one of his judgmental looks.

“What?” I stood accusing him before he could accuse me.

“In another life we could have grown old together as friends do.”

For some unknown reason I was somewhat touched by his words. “We still can Nigel. You know, in our own way, we can grow old together.”

He smiled and vanished into the old leather bound volumes.

There is no longer the need for poetry right now. Just the knowledge that somethings, like friendship and love and the need to care who need us never gets old. Sure it sounds sappy, and you know how I hate most sap, but it is true.

 

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman