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

 

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: When You Grow Old

I have to go to the Drive In Theater to get my daughter’s car. She was there last night with her boyfriend and the starter on the car went out. After watching “IT” for the third time the kids were still waiting for the tow truck. Service is not a priority these days with AAA. They got home just before sunrise. Anyway, we’re taking care of that today. Needless to say I didn’t write a short story this morning.

I’m posting one of my all time favorites, first posted in 2013. I hope you enjoy it. xoxo 
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

When You Grow Old

A short story by Juliette Kings

“Who will take care of you when you get old?” I asked my brother’s caretaker Josh.

My brother Bob is 90 years old. A former screenwriter and movie producer, he lives in a modern glass and polished wood mansion on the Central Coast of California.

I’d been at Bob’s for six months.

“Your grandmother would have been 101 this year,” Bob told me. I was going to turn 101 this year, at the end of October. What Bob doesn’t know is that I am his sister Valentina. He doesn’t know I’m a vampire either. He thinks I’m a great niece who is the spitting image of his older sister who passed away in 1935.

I walked the beach in the evenings with Bob. He leaned my arm and told me about the cycles of the tide and the migration of the whales.

Arriving home we found that my brother’s caretaker Josh had fixed dinner.  A beautiful salad and fresh rockfish. Josh, a tall skinny but muscular blonde in his 30’s had been with Bob for about 3 years. He divided his time between helping Bob and two other elderly folks near by, and when he wasn’t with his old folks he was surfing.

I asked Josh why he worked with old people. “They’re exceptional creatures,” he told me, “with the knowledge of lost times. They have wisdom and humor that needs to be honored. You can’t always get that out of old people, but if you work them just so and LISTEN they’ll give you the secrets of the universe. And the weird thing is, no not weird, I the magic of it, is that they don’t even know they have that knowledge.”

The next morning we had a visitor. It was Stephen, one of my brother’s neighbors.  “You’ve been good to your brother,” he whispered in my ear. He was also a Vampire, something I’d known for a while, but never talked to him about. Our paths crossed but this was the first time we had made a social call since I’d been there.

It seems Stephen and Bob have been friends for the past 10 years, since Stephen purchased the run down house next door and restored it to the former glory of its past. Until today, he only visited Bob when I was out. They spend the evenings talking, watching movies and playing cards with Josh. There was a bond of friendship that was so real and close, the kind that never ends, even with age and differences of opinion.

A few night later Stephen and I walked the beach.

“How long have you been a Vampire?” I asked him. It was a common question Vampires ask each other.

“Since the summer of 1802. Funny it seems like yesterday.”

“So hows it working out for you? I mean, the Vampire thing and all?” I had to ask.

“Good. It’s all good. You know it isn’t for everyone.”

“I wonder about Bob.” I had wondered about my brother and if I made him into a Vampire if I’d restore his youth and keep him in my life.

“Bob is happy where he is.”

“I think you’re right.”

We walked more and listened to the waves. Then he kissed me under that stars. That was a surprise. A nice surprise.

The next morning after Josh had helped Bob with his shower and getting dressed I visited with him over coffee. Josh was such a caring free spirit, loving his work with the elderly and his relationship with the waves.

“Who will take care of you when you get old?” I asked Josh.

He smiled. “I’ll ride out on the surf and become one with the sea.”

“Who will listen to your words of wisdom?”

“You and Stephen can pass it on. You’ll still be here. You’ll always be here. So will Bob, not in body but his spirit is strong. He’ll be around as long as the stars over the surf.” Then he winked at me. “Valentina, I know all about you. Your kind is all over the coast down here. I grew up with Vampires. It’s cool.”

And so it was.

Short Story Sunday: Motorhome

Motorhome
An Austin and Elizabeth Story

Austin grew up knowing that Grammy didn’t have many filters. She’d say anything she wanted to anyone. Austin’s mother said Grammy had always been rude. Grammy said she was giving out good advice that might make people want to do something about their situations. Everyone was in a situation so everyone was told what they needed to do.

Grammy’s caretaker, a lovely woman named Kayla, had texted Austin the following:

“Just a warning, Grammy is in a mood today. Completely speaking with no filter. We talked to Tom across the street. Grammy asked how they were doing and before he could say anything she said, “well it looks like you and your wife have completely given up on loosing weight.” I nudged her in hopes she would stop but it didn’t work. She then went on to say, “I thought you guys were dieting. Looked like you’ve completely given up on losing weight. Tom was so red embarrassed. I said he is healthy and happy and always smiling, so I told him to have a nice day and closed the door before Grammy could say anything else. I then said “OMG Grammy u can’t ever tell people that they are overweight. Ever. Men or women. It is not to be discussed. Don’t tell women they look pregnant. None of it. She said “Well maybe if I say something that will make them want to lose weight.” I said, “NO. NO. NO. Nothing you say will change them. You’re just being terrible at that point. No more ever.” Grammy’s mind is in it’s own place sometimes. Tomorrow is a new day. I told her she is the cutest sweetest little Grammy in the world. She has to stop thinking and saying such negative things.”

Austin was mortified. Tom had been a good friend for years, and would do anything for Grammy. But sweet little Grammy had a dark suspicious side. She’d grown up in the Deep South where people generally have fewer filters than those from other regions of the country. She’d also grown up in a family of Vampire Hunters. It was in their blood, no pun intended.

When Austin arrived at Grammy’s house he wondered who the old motor home in the driveway belonged to.

Kayla, a rail thin brown haired, blue eyed woman in her forties came out to meet him. She and her college student son Colt live with Grammy and took care of her in her great big family home. At one time Austin had tried to get Grammy to sell her house and move into a smaller house in his neighborhood, just three houses down from him, but she’d have none of it. She’d rather complain about money and upkeep than move out of the house she’d lived in for sixty-two years.

“Is someone visiting?” Austin looked toward the motor home.

“I bought that last week. I’m going to take Grammy on a road trip.”

It was a small 1981 motor home complete with faded orange and red stripes on the outside.

“Wow, look at this thing,” said Austin.

“Come inside. Take a look,” said Kayla inviting him in through the back door.

Grammy was sitting on an orange couch that could fold out into a double bed. There was a table, a small kitchen, four captain’s chairs, and a tiny bathroom complete with a toilet, sink, and a shower.

“Hey, Grammy,” Austin said bending down to kiss her.

Grammy was small, and still quite pretty for an eighty eight year old lady. Her white hair had been done up the day before with pink foam curlers. She wore bright pink lipstick, a pink flowered shirt, and matching pink pants.

Grammy took his hands, “Austin. What do you think of our new castle on wheels?”

“Great,” said Austin. “The orange and red carpet is pretty ugly, but otherwise it’s great.”

“I don’t see any problems with the carpet. It looks almost new to me,” said Grammy. “Now, Austin, are you still seeing that Vampire girl?”

Austin was in love with a woman who just happened to be a Vampire. He knew it wasn’t exactly the right thing to do but…

“But,” he said, “Grammy, Elizabeth isn’t a shadow creeper, or one of those ghoulish undead types. She lives a pretty normal life. You know the kinds of Vampires I help get rid of, and Elizabeth isn’t one of them.”

“You know those Vampires aren’t right. They do nothing but cause problems. Austin you’re an idiot for getting involved with one.”

“Grammy, Elizabeth isn’t that different from us.”

“That’s what you say. But the next thing you know they’ll be coming out of the shadows. I bet you the first thing they’ll do is call the ACLU and get a bunch of lawsuits in place against us normal people asking for rights and then some. Then they call AARP because they’re all older than dirt. You can’t trust them Austin. Listen to me. You are going to have nothing but trouble ahead of you. Nothing but trouble.”

“OK Grammy, I get your point.”

“I hope so. I don’t want you marrying one of those things. You haven’t have sexual intercourse with that Vampire of yours yet have you?”

“Grammy, I’m not going to talk about this anymore.”

“Are you still killing Vampires?”

“Only the ones without souls.”

“Well, how do you know if they have souls? They’re all a bunch of fanged faced liars.”

“Grammy, I know. I’m a Vampire Hunter. I can tell. It’s in my blood.”

“Well, your blood will be their blood if you don’t watch out.”

Kayla, who’d gone inside to make iced tea, came back out with three tall cold glasses full of iced tea with fresh mint. This wasn’t the popular sweet tea, but strong freshly brewed black tea with just a hint of lemon and mint. Grammy wouldn’t allow anyone to ruin her good tea with the addition of sugar.

Grammy took a sip of her tea and said, “I don’t know why your mom and dad had to name you after a city.”

Kayla smiled. “Be nice Grammy. You know Austin was where they fell in love.”

“Well, maybe. But it sounds like a character out of a trashy cheap romance novel,” said Grammy.

And she wasn’t kidding.

Austin had dinner with Kayla, her son Colt, and Grammy. They’d dined on garlic coated shrimp in a pasta, along with mushrooms and more garlic. Grammy always made sure she had garlic in all of her food to keep the Vampires away now that she had retired. Austin knew for a fact that garlic didn’t keep Vampires away.

Conversation became pleasant and without any caustic remarks. Grammy was charming and full of joy. Kayla looked relieved.

As Austin left his Grammy gave him a hug and a kiss. Then she said, “I wish you’d find a normal girl.”

Austin smiled and said, “Normal girl? Grammy, you of all people should know there is no such thing.”

Grammy just said, “pasha,” and closed the door in her grandson’s face.

 

~ End

Read all of the Austin and Elizabeth Stories (The Hunter Series) from the start.  Click here for the full set.

Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Keeping the Fires Alive in Our Cold Vampire Hearts

I walked into her bedroom. I’d never met the woman. I’d heard of her, but the details are always the same. She is pretty and smart and fun thirty something woman and not interested in a serious relationship. Perfect for my brother. By the way, my brother is a Vampire. So am I. But you already knew that.

They were on the bed but nothing had happened yet. Her shirt was off. So was his, along with his belt and the top button of his jeans was undone. His mouth was on her neck.

“Val. Valentine you need to come with me.” I almost growled it out. The woman screamed. I thought her name is Courtney but I could have been wrong. It didn’t matter. She screamed again. Val’s eyes glowed red at me.

“Stop with the eye glow. We have to go. Family emergency. Now.”

“Courtney, darling, I’m so sorry. I have to go with my sister,” he said, giving his lady friend a kiss and grabbing his shirt and belt. She covered her chest and stared at me, then looked at Val, then looked back at me. You can tell we’re related. There is a very strong family resemblance. I could see the bite marks on her neck. He’d be back. Val almost always goes back, especially to one this lovely. Plus he owed her some future sweet dreams for my barging into her bedroom. On the good side, in the morning she’ll forget any of this happened. That is one advantage of being a Vampire – we can make them forget.

An hour earlier I’d received a call. “Come now, come now.” The quiet voice almost hissed in my ear. Dealing with the elderly can be both rewarding and heart breaking and sometimes it just pisses me off because I’m the one… I love them, but sometimes it would be nice if I had some help.

“I thought you were staying with them,” I snapped at my brother.

“I can’t be there 24/7. I needed a break. I need my own space sometimes.”

“We saw Wicked tonight. A nice family outing. Why is it that every time I go to the theater or on vacation or have something nice planned someone calls me with an emergency. It could be our parents or Andy or the Elders or… all I ask for is one night. Just one.”

Val mumbled something but I just cranked up the radio.

Old Tellias met us at the door of the Queen Anne style farm-house. His pale hair was around his shoulders making him looking more like a Victorian Angel rather than a Vampire. He wore an open tuxedo shirt and jeans like some college student trying to make a fashion statement. It was just the way he dressed, like he had his eyes closed.

“She isn’t well. She isn’t well at all,” he said in a paper thin whisper.

Eleora was not well. They’d been together for 2,000 years and even now as they slowed down their love  stayed strong. Anyone that old is bound to be fragile and that is exactly what these two are.

Eleora was on the fainting couch wearing a flowered sundress and an old stretched out sweater. Her long dark curls were dull and hanging limp in the heat about her shoulders.

To anyone else she’d be a young woman of maybe 19 or 20. My head spun. Eleora was at least 2,500 years old if not more. We knew Tellias was born before the birth of Christ, but not too long before.

It didn’t matter. She lay still as death wrapped in an old sweater and covered in a quilt, not breathing, or making her heart pump. She wasn’t dead but she wasn’t alive. She just was.

“When was the last time she ate anything?”

Tellias gave me a guilty look. “Maybe last week.”

“Why didn’t you call me or at least called John next door. We could have brought you something. Have you been out of the house at all?”

He shook his head. “We lost the car keys.” Again. They were always misplacing their car keys. Any spares were long gone. “I didn’t want to bother anyone.” he added.  “You’re all so busy.”

It is frustrating to see that pretty face of his and know that the brain behind it isn’t working at full capacity. Maybe it isn’t his brain. Maybe his spirit is just tired.

I reached up to the top of a bookshelf where he kept spare keys in a box. I dragged my brother out to the barn. The old 1955 Ford truck was still out there. After charging the battery (thank goodness for jumper cables) I got it started.

Tellias stood in the barn doorway not saying a word. This Vampire who once took charge of every situation was now so helpless and confused. I still admired him. Unfortunately it wasn’t a night to express those thoughts.

When I returned to the house Eleora was sitting up. I sat next to her and took her cold hand. She curled her fingers around mine.

“Nobody needs us anymore. Most of our close friends are gone.”

It broke my heart to hear her say that. “Oh Eleora, dear Eleora, don’t talk like that.”

“Ginger died.”

I didn’t expect that. Ginger was their old dog, a large yellow lab mix who’d shown up about 10 years ago. Everyone loved Ginger, but nobody more than Eleora and Tellias.

“When? Why didn’t you call me?” I asked still in shock.

“She wouldn’t get up.” said Tellias. “Her legs wouldn’t move.”

“We sat with her all night,” said Eleora.

“All night, until she stopped wagging her tail,” said Tellias.

“Until her heart stopped,” said Eleora.

“Then she was gone,” said Tellias.

“She died.” said Eleora.

“Ginger went to where all good dogs go,” said Tellias.

“Ginger was a good dog,” said Eleora. “A good good dog.”

The old dog seemed fine last time I was over, but that was two weeks ago. Tellias buried her in the orchard under the walnut trees.

That is why Eleora was so sad and out of sorts. Her dear dog friend was gone. It always amazes me how much love dogs and cats have and how their loss is so heavy on our hearts.

Eleora squeezed my hand.  “Tellias shouldn’t be so worried about me. He worries too much. He worries all the time. He worries. It is what he does. I’m glad you’re here. I loved that dog.”

“So did I,” I said trying to blink away the tears. Even Vampires have tears for dogs they love.

Eleora put her hands on my face and kissed me on the forehead and wiped my eyes. “You’ll be fine dear Juliette.  I am glad you’re here. I miss Valentine being around. He had to go to the city he said. Not where you live. He went to the big city. But he said he’d be back all summer. All summer long.”

Val had vanished. I eventually found him in the upstairs bathroom throwing up blood (not his own of course.)  His skin had taken on sort of a greenish tint, which brought me back to Wicked. Anyway, he wasn’t well.

“I don’t know what is wrong with me,” he said, looking as dead as a Vampire can look.

As soon as I entered the room I could tell by the smell what was going on. “Courtney is pregnant.”

Yes, one thing that makes a Vampire male sicker than a dog is blood from a pregnant woman. A look of surprise came over his face. No of course he isn’t the father. He couldn’t be. It turned out she had an on again off again boyfriend of three years. So much for that. I’ll make sure Val gets her a nice gift for the baby – a crib or a rocking chair or a nice fat savings bond.

Val gave me one of his looks. It is kind of a scowl with a bit of fang. “What are we doing? I mean what are we really doing Juliette? We used to travel the world and have grand wild adventures. We were the Vampires of lore. We ruled our world.”

“We were out of control idiots. Remember?”

“But what about now?”

“We’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing. We’re taking care of each other. You never asked me how Wicked was?”

Val put his arm around my shoulder. “How was Wicked dear sister?”

“Amazing! It was so much fun.”

We talked for a bit more until Tellias came up to see what we were up to. I called Pete at the Bottle & Blood store and ordered a delivery of a couple of cases of mixed blood to be delivered to the farm that night.

So where are we?

I guess we’re here we’re supposed to be. We’re where we are right now. We’re keeping the fires alive in our cold Vampire hearts and souls. I guess we can’t ask for anymore than that.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Teddyanddog

 

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

 

 

 

Random rambling thoughts with ancient vampires

Never walk with your keys and your phone in your pocket or you’ll end up accidentally calling everyone on your list. It called my kids and my mom and two of my friends. I blame it on the keys but those kinds of random things just happen to me. My life story is the story of random things.

moth

But one call came in that wasn’t on the list, at least not for today. The soft whispery voice on the phone said, “We need you to help us with a few things. Stop by when you’re out.”

There was no thought that they were 36 miles out of my way. I figured I could make it there and back and…I would have to do most everything I’d planned for today tomorrow.

The curtains were drawn closed, shielding the occupants of the elegant Victorian farm house/mansion from the rays of the daytime sun. An old dog and an even older looking cat (who’d come by from the next farm over) sat sunning themselves on the lawn. A silver truck I didn’t recognize was in the drive.

A slight tinge of guilt comes over me for not visiting since last week. My kids had stopped by for a few hours on Friday. They didn’t have anything to report except how sweet the ancient ones are.

I opened the front door, which was unlocked and called out greetings.

There was no answer. They keys to the car were on a marble table in the front entry. I was shocked considering the keys are usually lost.

I was relieved not to smell anything that could be rotting or dead. It didn’t smell like moth balls or talcum powder either. What I did smell was hops and a malt undertone.

brewing trouble

They were in the kitchen making beer. All sorts of equipment was on the counter, only a fraction of it needed to make the beer.

They are the Elders. Eleora with her brown curls piled on her head and tied with a large red bow. She wore some sort of yellow bag like dress with a fancy Christmas apron. Tellias wearing well worn farmer overalls with a wife beater tee shirt with his white blonde hair pulled back with a twist tie (the kind you get on produce.) They look all of 20 years old but they’re ancient. Over 2,000 years old, but who’s counting. And I’ve taken on the role of being the one who checks up on them and makes sure they’re safe and clean and doing ok.

Eleora looked up and ran to greet me. She threw her arms around my neck and started to whistle “Roll Out The Barrel.” Tellias came over and gave me a hug, then held my face in his cold hands and looked me in the eyes.

“I have a lot I need to talk to you about.” Then he stirred something in a large steaming pot, came back and took my arm. “Sit here.” He put a large grocery bag full of newspaper clippings and books in front of me. “Go through these papers. There are some things you might be interested in.”

The infamous newspaper clippings. They always have them. When I refuse they end up being smuggled out in my purse or mysteriously end up in the trunk of my car or in a coat pocket. There is no escape.

“Have you two been eating ok?” I always have to ask. They often forget or get confused and don’t manage to get what they need.

“We had a nice young professor in from UC Davis come over last night. He teaches Food Science. He had him for dinner. He doesn’t have any classes today so after we had dinner we tasted beer all night and asked him to stay.”

Yes, they had HIM for dinner, though I’m sure he thought he’d had an enchanting evening with a young, attractive and seductive young couple who had a passion for organic farming and home brewing.

I went upstairs to check on their guest. A man in his early 30’s was sleeping soundly in one of the lavish guest rooms. He had light brown hair with sunny highlights, broad shoulders and was sort of cute in a boy next door sort of way. There were some slight marks on his neck and wrist, but those would be gone in the next 24 hours.

“Do you know him? I mean, is he a friend of yours or someone you just called because you were hungry?” I asked because there have been problems before with their guests.

“He’s a friend,” said Eleora.

“His name is James. He started coming by when he was a graduate student,” chimed in Tellias.

“He was getting his PhD in something with a long name,” said Eleora.

“He’s a professor now,” added Tellias.

“He teaches and does research,” Eleora said.

“He is a full professor at such a young age. We are so proud of our James. We like him,” Tellias said. “He likes us. He is a friend.”

“A friend.” Eleora smiled and blew me a kiss.

“Does he know you’re Vampires?” I had to ask, so I’d know how to react if I met him while he was awake.

“We’d never tell him that,” said Eleora making a sign of zipped lips.

“He suspects we’re different. But we always have so much fun.” Tellias gave a sly smile.

“So much delicious fun,” said Eleora winking at us.

“He has a nice laugh.”

“Very nice.”

“Very nice.”

Their chatter could go on for hours. Sometime I didn’t even stop them if I was busy doing something else or needed a good laugh.

I wasn’t going to lecture them on bringing home guests for dinner. This guy seemed harmless. At least conversation with him would help keep their brains alert and give me a break. And to be perfectly honest, they’d been having guests over for the past 2,000 years. I couldn’t do anything to stop them. At least on that level they usually knew what they were doing.

The thing I do have a problem with is when they do things like call 911 or a plumber or somebody else, someone who isn’t a friend, and call it “Free Delivery.” There was a time when they’d pick transients up on the highway and bring them home. That wasn’t a fun time (click on this link for the entire story).

They rambled on about James for a while, then started to talk about beer and the olive trees and dogs and politics and what color to paint the front door and stories they heard on the radio this morning and a book they wanted me to read and something about college applications that I might want to read since my kids are going to college and the oven and basement lights were out and they needed a new front door mat and the dog had been scratching and Lola had been gone for a month and they didn’t know where Val was and they hadn’t seen as many bats this fall… and they twisted and turned their train of thought in all different directions, repeating and stopping mid sentence to change subject and soon they weren’t even listening to each other.

“Stop.” I yelled. “My head is going to explode. Just one thing at a time.”

“We have a lot on our minds.” Tellias gave me a serious look. “You haven’t been over for almost two weeks”

“I was over 5 days ago.” I told him. “I’m sorry I’ve been busy with the kids and work.”

“I know honey. I just needed some help.”

Tellias asked me if I could design some labels for his beer bottles. No problem.

Then from his pocket he pulled a fancy triple enveloped invitation. I knew exactly what it was. My eldest brother Maxwell was to receive an award, a great honor for a Vampire, one of the highest, and of course they’d been invited to attend, as ancient Vampires and as family.

It would be formal. Everyone would be there. They were excited. Plans needed to be made. He needed a new suit. She needed a dress. They needed my help. I knew I’d find nothing for them to wear in their dusty attic, so we’d need to get them the very best.

“It will be an honor for me to assist you and to sit with you at the event,” I told them. They both hugged me and covered me with light cold dry kisses.

I could hear footsteps coming down the stairs. “James is up. I’ll put on some coffee,” I told them.

Tellias watched me fill the coffee maker with water. “Did you know that the first time I ever drank coffee, I believe it was in mid 1600’s. It was vile. Juliette, I have a few things I want you to read, but first could you let the dog in. Let me know if you think the boards on the front porch look too worn?”

It was an easy visit today. A good visit. But then again, every visit is good when you’re with those you love. They took care of everyone I love, so it is now my time to take care of them, no matter how silly or excentric or forgetful they can by. They carry the wisdom of the ages but they’re young at heart and will continue to dance under the stars as long as they are able.

Now that we’re coming near the holiday season don’t forget to include those who are old or alone. It doesn’t take much to bring someone flowers or a hot dish. It doesn’t take much to add another chair to the table. It doesn’t take much to pick up the phone and call, or send a card, or let someone know that they’re loved.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

bite