Short Story Sunday: Blow Up

It wasn’t just one of those days. It was THE day. At least it seemed that way, for a few minutes, then Tara realized that it was a rare week that went by without a disaster.

Take this morning for example. She’d been driving home and heard the sound of an explosion, then sirens, and then saw a huge black cloud coming from the sky. She assumed that it was a fire in a field or an old warehouse occupied by homeless tweekers. She stopped to get gas, then by the grocery store to pick up cat food.

She turned into her street and saw that it was her garage.

“Dingus,” she whispered. Her dog raised his head from the back seat of her car. “Amber,” she said out loud. “Oh no. Amber.”

The detached garage was gone. Firefighters were working on keeping the rest of the house from burning down. Tara parked and ran down the street towards her house. Dingus ran after her.

Her neighbor Sue was standing outside with a beer in her hand. She approached Tara and stopped her from getting too close to the fire. “I have Amber. Your kitty is safe sweetie.”

“What about the guys in the garage?” Tara looked at the fire with tears coming down her cheek.

“I’m going to assume they’re gone. Holy shit, to come all this way and blow themselves up in a garage fire,” said Sue. “I told them just the other day to lay low and not fool with stuff. They never listened. That is on of the great faults of history. Nobody listens to the natives. They have to think they know better. They have to think their technology is always better.”

The women watched as the fire was put out, then Tara approached one of the fire fighters. She held her big Lab mix Dingus close and told him not to jump.

“Hey, Dingus,” he said as he pulled off a glove and put his and on the dog’s head. “I’m so sorry Tara. This is so weird. We thought there was someone in your garage. Maybe… I don’t know. It was weird, like someone running around in the flames. Then we didn’t see them. Was there anyone who might have been in your garage?”

“No, Joe. The only thing I had in there was Dale’s old Mustang, a few tools, and gardening stuff. My Costco stash was in there too, you know toilet paper, paper towels, charcoal. But I kept the lighter fluid in the house. I had a couple of gas cans for the power tools but they were empty.”

They talked some more about the weird explosion and fire. The a handsome officer from the Sheriff Department asked some general questions. He said someone would be out to investigate. Tara called her insurance company, then called her mom and her boss.

After all of the emergency crews had gone, and the yellow tape was around my garage, Sue and Tara poked around a bit.

The women couldn’t find any trace of anything. That included Tara’s deceased brother Dale’s 1965 Mustang convertible. It was a sweet ride – white with a red interior. Dale had loved that car. So had Tara.

Sue looked down at the burnt out garage then at Tara. “Do you think they took the car?”

“Looks that way,” said Tara.

Later that night Sue’s husband and kids came home from a school field trip. They speculated on what might have happened. They decided not to tell the fire department or Sheriff about their own theories.

Despite the smoke smell Tara decided to stay in her house that night. Joe came over later and spent the night. They shared a bottle of wine, made love, and Tara didn’t tell him anything about her garage.

Far away on the moon Titan, circling the planet Saturn, Dolf and Wheeze drove into the underground city in Dale’s 1965 Mustang. They thought their parents were going to kill them for crashing their ship in Tess’s back yard. They’d even get more shit for blowing up her garage. They’d put a chip in Amber’s neck to make sure they’d know what was happening on Earth. Amber seemed to know everything. She was their best long-term connection. But for now they just wanted to settle in from the long trip and cruise with their friends. Life was good, especially for Titan teens.

 

~ end

Thank you for reading yet another story quickly written over Sunday morning coffee.

Yes, this story is in honor of Art Bell who passed away on the 13th (yes Friday the 13th.) I spent many a long lonely drive listening to Coast to Coast, and all of the weird callers who talked about aliens, shadow people, black eyed children, ghosts, and other interesting and amazing things. 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

From whom all blessings flow (and 200 Jack Asses)

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Easter weekend has come and gone. I had a house full of people. It was lovely with flowers everywhere, wine, and good company. The best.

Now it is Thursday and the house is a mess from my work, and the college aged child gathering gear for a class camping trip. Excuse me, I’m the one gathering gear for the class camping trip.

I’m also writing. Not this blog obviously as you can see by the lack of regular posts. Just semi-regular. So now I guess I should bitch about the leaf blowers in my neighborhood. There are seven houses on my street. The three which surround mine hire men to come and run leaf blowers for about twenty hours every week.

Last weekend I’d started writing the account of how Vampires came out to California in 1849 – 1850. I know, that sound pretty stupid for those who are new to this blog. We’re Vampires but not the kind you see in old Hammer films all dripping with blood and shit like at. This is no Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee fan club.

Anyway, this is the beginning of the true historic account:

“In two weeks time we will be leaving for California. We won’t be coming back, at least not anytime within the next fifty years.” He chuckled at his own joke. “We will be going by ship, crossing Panama, then taking a ship up the Pacific coast to California. Our ride will be first class, so will yours if you choose to join us. All of your expenses will be paid, plus you will receive a large bonus. For those of you who choose not to stay behind we will had new positions for you. It is up to you to decide. We hope that you will join us but we understand if you choose to stay behind. Go to church, enjoy your day, and pray upon it or whatever you wish to do to help you decide.”

Then he stood next to his wife and they sang with sweet, beautiful, angelic voices.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!

Amen.

Their staff listened knowing their employers and protectors rarely, or never set foot in a church of any kind.

Then the woman laughed and said, “Go. Have the morning to yourself then let us know what you wish to do.”

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The flyer featured above was not from their ship but take a good look at it.

200 Jack Asses!

Seriously, would you want to be on a ship for thirty five days with 200 Jack Asses?

The leaf blowers continue to make noise. Lucky for me it is going to rain for the next few days so maybe I’ll get a break. On a good note my dog is at my feet keeping me safe and in good company. No ghosts are on my deck. I wish there were ghosts out today. I’d send them out to scare the leaf blowers.

Enough of that. I’m going to spend the next few hour on a contemporary tale with lots of twists and turns. But I will continue the tale of how Tellias, Eleora, my parents, and other came out to California, and of their non-Vampire friends who also came along. Just for kicks and grins.

Later.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Make Me Comfortable

My husband Teddy can talk to anyone about anything. He is so good with people. He always has been.

I love to watch and listen as he makes others comfortable and engaged. He makes everyone feel as if they are interesting and important.

Every woman feels beautiful and fascinating in his presence. Every man feels as if he has a life long friend.

I on the other hand tend to be more quiet and reserved around those I don’t know, and even those I do know. But I too can fascinate.

I don’t know where this one is going, I have stuff to do and I’m waiting for my nails to dry because the entire weekend is just one social event after another. The past few weekends have been like that. That is a good thing.

It is a good thing that Teddy will be along.

We’re always close. His hand is never far from mine. Even when he is across the room I feel his presence. We talk to other people but we’re never apart. Sometimes it almost seems like we’re the most romantic when we’re not alone. I don’t mean gross or overt public displays of affection, but the need to feel safe. Or maybe just to bounce ideas off of each other, or show each other off (look at my fascinating and funny spouse.)

We’re one of those couples. In a more mature way.

My existence isn’t perfect. But as with our parenting philosophy we don’t take our marriage or romance for granted, or by accident. We try to make things happen, not happen to us.

Just like advice for raising kids the same goes for all relationships.

Talk with the people you love. LISTEN to them. Make it safe for them to express themselves. Laugh at their stupid jokes.

In our wedding vows we added “play.” Yes, we make sure we play.

We have our disagreements. We’ve had our fights. I’m always sort of weirded out by people who say they’ve never had a fight with their spouse, or a disagreement.

But we’re together, as partners.

I’ll be once again fascinated this weekend as he makes everyone else feel fascinating.

And as I walk by in a crowded room he’ll hook one of my fingers with his, or put a hand on the small of my back, and whisper an observation in my ear that only I will understand.

I have to go. My nails are dry. I have to get ready to go.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Just another normal paranormal day

I had to go. I had a lunch date. I was looking for my keys. I was running late. I’d spent extra time talking to my daughter before she left for school (never too much time, but anyway), and my son called me so I talked to him for a while. The dog was out with food and water. The cats had food and water. All I had to do was put on my shoes and find my keys. Where were my keys????? I looked in every chair, under cushions, in every room, on every counter, in my purse, in my coat pockets, in my husband’s coat pockets, in my car, in my purse again.

Then I heard a jingle of keys. Standing behind me was The Ghost. Not just any ghost but Nigel, The Ghost.

“Give me my keys,” I said.

He just smiled, then said, “catch.” Then tossed the keys to me. I missed. The keys vanished.

“Nigel, I have to go NOW.”

“Lunch date I assume,” he said.

“Yes. I don’t have time for this.”

His eyes turned black and he smiled. “You can turn you eyes black can’t you?”

“Of course I can,” I said.

“Do it.”

I couldn’t believe him. I just stood there and stared. He stood before me, his eyes now blue again, surrounded by his usual mess of black hair. He was in a white shirt, skinny black tie, and dress pants. No shoes, just socks today.

“Give me my keys Nigel,” I said again.

“Find,” and he dropped the keys in front of me.

I put the keys in my pocket and went to put on my shoes. Of course my shoes were gone.

“Is this a lunch date where you have lunch with somebody, or is your date your lunch?” He asked this with a smirk on his face.

“My date is my lunch. Listen Nigel, I’m hungry, I’m grouchy, and I’m not in the mood for this.”

“Your shoes are by the couch, where I assume you kicked them off sometime during the past twenty-four hours.”

I put my shoes on and got in the car. I could brush my hair with my fingers at the next red light.

“So are you going to bite his neck or his wrist? You are going to bite the guy aren’t you? I assume you’re going to your lawyer friends office? Now THAT is funny, a blood sucker sucking the blood out of a blood sucker.”

I glanced over to the passenger seat. “Get out of my car Nigel.”

“Did you see the ice dancing? Oh MY GOD. Seriously I don’t even know if there is a god just all kinds of weirdness and demons and things that call themselves angels. They’re nasty and mean spirited. All of them. Us ghosts, we’re on our own. Anyway, the ice dancing was amazing. Do you dance Juliette?”

“No.”

“Never?”

“I like to but I’m not good at it. You know Nigel, you can leave now.”

“You’re a Vampire and you don’t dance. That is just sad. That is pathetic.”

He kept talking on stop about the existence of heaven and hell, ice dancing, downhill skiing, and how most politicians were going to Hell and that he knew that for a fact because he is a ghost and ghosts know a lot of things, but they just don’t talk about it.

As I pulled into the parking lot he smiled, and said, “Don’t choke on anything.”

When I arrived home I thought I’d find a little peace and quiet, but my brother Aaron called.

“Juliette, I need your help. There’s a house with a couple of shadow creepers lodged up in the attic. Looks like they’ve been there for at least eighty years, maybe more,” said Aaron.

“Can’t you call the Vampire Hunter?”

“He has a class.”

“Oh,” I said. Austin Durant the local Vampire Hunter is also a history professor at the local State University.  “Can it wait until tonight?”

“I guess, but he isn’t small enough to get into the space to check them out. They’re pretty dried out so I don’t think they’ll be coming alive anytime soon.”

“How about around 9:00. Text me the address. Meet me there. I’m not going in alone.”

“I wouldn’t think of you going alone. Durant will be there too. I’ll make sure of it,” he said.

We talked a little bit more about our kids and spouses. Aaron is a lawyer, but he is also the Vampire who is called when Shadow Creepers and other rogue and soulless Vampires are lurking around, or in this case, sleeping where they shouldn’t be.

After I got off the phone I changed into jeans and a sweat shirt. I had to get some citrus trees and succulent plants covered before the big freezing storm came in and made everything turn black and curled.

I stood in the middle of my family room, a large space which is great for entertaining, playing with the dog, or just thinking. Looking out the window I made a list in my head of everything I needed to get done.

A cold blast of air hit my face. I turned. Nigel was there again. He held out his hand.

I stared at him, ready to show my fangs, but that would have been a waste of time. “What do you want Nigel,” I asked.

“How was lunch Juliette?”

“Fine,” I answered. “What do you want?”

He smiled and took a step closer. “Dance with me. Take my hand.”

I put out my hand and took his, now with a form, as cold as ice. He put his hand around my waist, pulled me close and led me into a waltz, three times around the room. Then he stepped away.

“You can dance. You just don’t want to,” he said.

“When you were alive…” I started.

“I will always be alive. I’m a ghost. I’m not going anywhere,” he said.

“You were warm when you were alive,” I said.

He laughed, then said, “you don’t know that.” Then he bowed, smiled again, and vanished.

I covered my trees. Later I visited with my daughter and husband. We watched the Olympics and then took the dog for a walk in the park. Later I helped Aaron. My husband Teddy came along for shits and grins – at least that is how he describes things when we’re dealing with weird stuff like Vampire Hunters and Shadow Creepers. He also reminded me to bring spare clothes and heavy leather gloves.

And we took care of the problem. But that is another story.

Tomorrow I might get something done, or at least more done. Until then I’ll appreciate the small things like my purring cats, coffee with my daughter, or a waltz around the floor with a ghost.

Have a good night everyone, and remember…

Talk with your kids. Listen to your kids. Hug your kids. If you love someone – tell them. If you have creepy dried up Vampires in your attic or crawlspaces call my brother. And don’t take anything for granted.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Vampire Maman

 

 

 

Things that go bump…on Halloween Morning (or Life of a Modern Vampire Mom.)

In the wee hours of the morning, before the sun came up, before I’d finished my first cup of coffee my phone made that little annoying ping noise that indicates a text message.

It was my brother Aaron, the middle child, of my Vampire Family. I’m the youngest, but who’s counting. I just had my 158th birthday. Aaron is 164. Anyway, we’re young as far as Vampires go, but we’re established. We’re cool.

So I get this text.

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Aaron is an attorney with a twenty person law office housed in a 4,000 square foot downtown home he purchased in 1898.  He stood on the front porch in jeans and a flannel shirt. No suit yet. It is Halloween anyway so he could put on a beard and be a lumberjack for the rest of the day for all I knew.

He gave me a hug and a kiss on my cheek, then thanked me profusely for coming.

“Where is your Vampire Hunter?” I asked him. He has a guy named Austin he works with on occasion for removing unwanted soulless Vampires (who are not like us because as you know we have two souls and we’re not dead yet.)

“He has an early class this morning. I didn’t want to wake him. You know how they need their sleep,” said Aaron. Aside from hunting dried up Vampires, Austin teaches history at the local University. He isn’t a Vampire so I guess he needs his beauty sleep more than I do.

“You know you would have called me anyway,” I said.

“You’re so good with them Sis,” said my brother with a sparkle in his cold blue Vampire eyes.

I looked at my brother with squinty hazel eyes. “You’re afraid of them. Admit it.”

“You’re better with them than I am.”

“You’re an alpha male Vampire. I’ve seen what you can do.”

“You’re a mom.”

I give him the look. You know that look that all wives and mothers instinctively give the men in their lives. But he had a good point.

“Alright,” I said. “Show me where they are.”

As we walked inside I immediately heard the scratching and sounds of, I don’t know, snorting and just weird obnoxious noises, like when you have someone annoying in a cubicle next to you and they’re eating loudly, sucking snot, and tapping ALL DAY LONG (I have friends with that problem, not me thank goodness.”

“In my office,” said Aaron.

I walked up the stairs to his office. It was a beautiful space in a room with a round turret in the corner and original stained glass windows. Sitting at Aaron’s desk was a haggard looking Vampire with oatmeal colored skin stretched over a narrow skull, oily black hair, and red eyes. He wore a long black coat and a black baseball cap. A woman stood behind him. She was wearing some sort of weird red lace dress and a nasty looking old monkey fur coat. There was no beauty left in her sunken in face. Greenish blonde hair was piled in a sloppy bun on top of her head. Another man, with gray skin that looked like cracked leather leaned against the window sill. He wore red jeans and a tight black tee. His orange hair hung in dreadlocks down to his shoulders. Round black lensed glasses sat on his nose.

The all flashed their fangs at me and hissed. I could smell their breath. Rotted meat and cat pee. They were so nasty.

“Good morning to you too,” I said to them. “Looks like you’re all ready for Halloween.”

They hissed again.

“Get the Hell out of here or very bad things are going to happen to you.”

“Money first,” said the one sitting at Aaron’s desk.

“NOW,” I said in my strongest mom voice. “OUT.”

They all sat up with wide eyes.

Yes, they were terrifying, but hey, they are also disgusting and stupid and have no business asking for money or anything else. I knew who these three where.

“I know where you live. I know who you hang with. Come around here again and I’ll call the REAL Vampire Hunters. They’ll put stakes in your dead hearts and cut your heads off. So get the fuck out NOW.”

They stood up and slowly crept out hissing at me as they passed. I barred my own fangs, which were longer and whiter than theirs will ever be. They jumped aside. I could feel their fear.

I never understood the whole scary horror movie Vampire thing. Sure they can scare teenagers and children, but they can’t scare a mom. Nobody can scare a mom.

“And clean up,” I yelled at them. “You look like a bunch of meth heads. No self respecting Vampire would look like you. You’re a disgrace. All three of you. You should be ashamed of yourselves. It is Vampires like you that give us a bad name.”

Then I pulled the female aside. “Get yourself some nice clothes. See what I’m wearing. It was easy to put together and you’ll be more comfortable. I know today is Halloween, but just today. And get some moisturizer for that face. You don’t HAVE to look like crap. And you’ll eat better and feel better if you look better.”

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Vampires don’t have to dress like ghouls. It is ok to dress like girls. 

She looked at my clothes then reached out an touched my sweater. I pushed her bony hand away. “You need to go.”

I watched them file out past my brother, get on their bicycles and ride off.

“Wow. I tried for an hour to get them to leave,” said Aaron, obviously impressed. “They’re such assholes. I was afraid they’d trash the place. I don’t know how I’m going to get the stench out.”

“They’re so dead they don’t even think like adults anymore. It is like dealing with a bunch of middle school kids.”

“Wanna get coffee?”

“Sure,” I said. By then it was 5:30 a.m. and we both knew the little coffee shop around the corner would be open.

So now the only monsters I might see are the neighborhood children who are going to knock on my door tonight. I’ll pour a goblet of spiced blood, dress up the dog, and hand out candy. Oh, I have to carve my pumpkins too! I’ll post photos.

Happy Halloween.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finish it… odds and ends… That usually means more odds but, whatever.

Before I do anything I need to let EVERYONE know that my short story collection “Morning at the Vineyard” will be FREE on Amazon (download only) October 27 – 31, 2017. It is a fun collection of stories from this blog. Share with your friends. Read it on Halloween. Have fun. Happy Halloween.

Here is the link: https://www.amazon.com/Morning-Vineyard-Collection-Tangled-Tales-ebook/dp/B00M4V1DGI

I was looking at my blog stats and noticed that someone was looking at random pages of my “Girl in the Woods” online novel. That was supposed to be finished in 2016 but I came to a chapter that needed to be rewritten and I didn’t feel like it, so I ignored it. It didn’t go away. Now it sits there lonely and alone, waiting for that chance reader to come by and read chapter 9 and chapter 19.

Another example is my house. I love my home. It is my dream home. It is a mess. I could clean. I plan on cleaning. So instead I go to the store and buy Twinkies and frosting so I can make Ghosts for a Halloween party this weekend. Actually there are TWO Halloween parties.

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It is a fun and easy project. Get a box of ten Twinkies, a can of white frosting, a tube of black frosting. Spread the white frosting over the Twinkies. Draw faces with the black frosting. Presto – you have a delightful treat. You don’t have to be Martha Stewart. It doesn’t take any time at all. You don’t have to be perfect. Everybody loves these. It will make you laugh. Clara and I made these cuties a few years ago, and we’re doing it again. We don’t eat them (we’d become violently ill) but we have a lot of fun making them.

But back to my house. I wish I had a maid. I’m not a witch so I can’t just snap my finger and make everything clean up itself. To tell the truth most witches can’t do that. I’m not a Disney Princess so I don’t have animal friends who will come do it for me either. With my luck they’d be like my cat and pee all over everything just for spite. He has no reason to feel any spite, but he is a cat. Something was moved, or someone called him an asshole, or the dog looked at him wrong, or the other cat simply exists, so he pees to prove his point. He is a talker too. It isn’t like I’m not listening to him 24/7.

This is the glamorous life of a Vampire. No blood stains to wash out today. No turning into a bat. No cryptic messages from an ancient council of folks who wear robes and chant weird shit. Just a mom, who planted bulbs in the yard today, and who is going to go to the post office in a few minutes, then off to Dave’s Bottle Shop to pick up a few bottles of  Poet’s Blood and a case of Spiced A Positive.

Then we’ll decorate for Halloween.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Marla Todd _ Oscar Gray