Musings on Pets, Art, Vampires, and Trying to Make Sense of Anything At All.

It started out as one of those days where the dog ate all of the cat food, the squirrels at all of the bird food, the cat tried to eat a bird that flew into my house, I’m trying to take photographs and the fall lighting is all off, then the cat barfed on the carpet. The other cat is asleep out on the deck. He never causes me problems aside from his yearly “I am an idiot and got myself gravely injured again,” vet visit. Today, I am also feeling a great sense of loss that has come over me in a wave.

A sense of loss and melancholy isn’t uncommon for Vampires. I just had to throw that out there.

I put on some sunscreen and decent clothes and went out in search of art supplies. I didn’t need any. I thought it might inspire me to try to put pen or pastel to paper. That is to put it to paper without fear of disappointing myself.

At the downtown art supply shop, the one that had been there for decades, I wandered the isles looking at brushes, textures, tools, and colors. I was drawn to all of the shades of gray, then got sort of perturbed that some asshole decided to write a bad porn book of that name that became oh so popular with bored middle aged women who didn’t date enough when they were single. Still I looked and imagined what I might create.

I felt a cold hand upon my arm, then looked to my left. “Connie,” I said upon seeing my old friend. Constantine Jones, the very one I wrote the story Night Dogs about. He’d told me about that night a few years back. I valued his friendship because he matched my love of art, both in creating it, and in studying it.

“Juliette. Pastels today?”

“Maybe,” I said.

We talked of art and our lives. He asked about my children. I asked him what he was up to. I purchased pastels and paper. He picked up a few brushes and oil paint. Then we walked down the tree lined street to a small independent coffee shop.

As we sat in the shade sipping our coffee nobody would have suspected that we were Vampires who’d know each other for over a century.

No, dear reader, this isn’t a story of fangs, dripping blood, or darkness. All creatures, even the most ardent predators, the lions, the hyenas, the wolves, and the wolverines, still need their times of peace. We are always aware, but sometimes we just need to take a break from what keeps our bodies alive and think about what keeps our passions alive.

Even more so it is the small things that matter. It is things we do for tangible reason like having coffee with an old friend. We talked about art, as kindred spirits do.

Connie touched took my hand in his. It was warm from holding the coffee. I thought how odd that was to have a warm touch from another Vampire.

“Your heart is heavy,” he said to me.

“I don’t know what it is right now,” I told him. “I’m fine.”

“You’re not.”

“It shall pass. I just have too much BS that I have to deal with.” That is true, but isn’t that the case for a lot of us.

Standing across the street I saw a lone figure with dark hair and a black suit with the tie loosened. Connie looked as well.

“A ghost,” he whispered. “Why is he looking over here?”

“I know him. He lives at my house most of the time, but he’s buried near here.” I motioned for my ghost, Nigel, who was an artist in life, to come join us.

I pulled up a chair for a friend that nobody but Constantine Jones and I could see. I ordered coffee for Nigel. He sat in the chair holding the cup and letting the aroma pass through him. He can’t drink it but he can smell it, which is a small comfort for a ghost.

We talked more of art, and the weather, and small things that friends talk about.

After two hours Connie went his own way and Nigel came home with me. As we drove down the freeway Nigel changed the radio station about thirty times. I finally yelled at him to stop it.

And now I’m home. I don’t know where Nigel got off to.

From my window I cans humming birds in the lemon and orange trees. The calico cat sits snoring in a chair. I can hear the other cat scratching a piece of wood outside.

I feel better. Sometimes we just need to get away from ourselves for a while, or at least get into a different place where we can be the selves we need to be, and deserve to be.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

A Change of Heart

A Change of Heart

The Demon sat on the roof of the house wondering what to do next. She looked around wondering how they put on the roof with such a steep pitch. 12/12 she figured. Standing up she stretched out her leathery wings and brushed back her hair with claw tipped fingers.

It wasn’t like she didn’t know her job. It wasn’t like she wasn’t trained right. It wasn’t like everything she was ever to be was to be wasn’t drilled into her head for centuries.

Flying to the next yard over she found, the handsome Vampire sitting in a chair, with a goblet of blood and his Nook. She knew him. He would know what to do. He would help.

“I don’t want to do this anymore,” the Demon told the Vampire.

“What do you mean?” He glared at her with no light in his eyes.

“I am so frustrated with everything. I want to open an art gallery, the kind with pictures of seascapes and sunflowers. I want to paint and draw, all the while promoting up and coming artists. I’ve got a knack for marketing so I know I could make it work.”

“What sort of stupid trick is this?”

“No trick. I just…I just don’t know how to be…to get out of my contract. I can’t very well ask my boss about it.”

“Why not?”

“I’d be sent back into the fire as a pitch fork handler. I’d never see the light of day again.” She looked into his ocean colored eyes with her yellow-orange orbs. “You’re a Vampire so you don’t know what it is like to have someone own your very being. I’m not my own creature. The Master of Evil owns me. Damn it. This is not what I want. It is not who I want to be.”

“Do any of your peers feel this way?”

“No. They’re happy. They’re content. Seriously what is wrong with me? Who wouldn’t want to spend the day convincing people to have affairs, feel crazy, commit murder and abuse elderly people and twist the necks of animals until they die a slow and painful death. The rush of it all is exhilarating, like the best sex anyone could every have. I mean who wouldn’t want that? Who wouldn’t want the rush and thrill of convincing someone to sell their soul? That is the ultimate. Damn, do you know how many souls I’ve taken to my Master. Millions. And you know what? You know what Vampire? I’m tired of it. I never liked it in the first place. OK I did for a while but after a couple of thousand years it is getting old. Really old.”

He rolled up his sleeve and showed her an ugly scar. “Demon, this is from your last visit. You nearly took my arm off. I was in bed for three weeks because of your poison.”

“I’m sorry. I really am. You have to believe me.”

He glared at her, hate filled his voice, “I can’t believe a word you say.”

She stood in front of him looking into his handsome face. There was no soul she could tempt. There was no blood she could spill.  Taking a step towards him the Demon held out her hand. “You could teach me,”

“No. It wouldn’t be a good idea.”

“I love you.”

“You need to go. Now.”

She stood looking at his face. If she had been created with the ability to shed tears she would have, but she could only stare at him in disbelief with yellow-orange eyes.

“I love you.”

“Go.”

Unfolding her wings she flew off, out over the bay, over the city. There were so much damage she could do to hearts and souls down there, but her own heart wasn’t in it anymore.

Turning towards the ocean she flew out, then upwards towards the night, trying to imagine what it would be like to be accepted for what she was not.

 

~ End

 

2015 Juliette Kings

 

Even Vampires Get the Blues

Family lore said he left the battle fields of the war between the states and ran California to seek his fortune. There he died in a mine explosion. But he really went to Patagonia where he met a strange man with the voice of an angel. From there he met a man with the voice of an angel who hired him to go to London to hunt Vampires. And that is exactly what he did before he was murdered by a whore who said she did it for love. His niece ended up with all the gold and didn’t tell anyone.

 

I have the house to myself today and I was trying to pound out a blog post or maybe a story about the California Gold Rush, when my brother Andrew staggered down the stairs. Not quite alone. Andy had bad days, weeks, months… He tries to get in a good place by not spending too much time alone.

I give him coffee. He sits across the table from me. I can tell he is feeling numb and helpless. This extraordinarily gifted being feels this way for no reason – it just comes on like a wave, or so he describes it.

“I’d take drugs for this if I could but they don’t work for us,” he told me.

“I know sweetie,” I told my older brother. All four of my brothers are older. Andy is the second in line.

He is good at hiding it and dealing with it and avoiding it and trying not to acknowledge it. He doesn’t let it define him. But it is hard sometimes.

Andy had inspired a lot of my stories. This includes the popular stories Morning at the Vineyard  and Dancing on the Beach. He is a musician, a lover and gentle soul and can party like no other. He is impulsive and the most thoughtful person I’ve ever met.

When he arrived I had a list of activities. No matter how painful it was he always tried and often the flurry of action and stimulus would knock him out of it. Odd how it works.

We chatted for a while over coffee. I poured a liberal amount of blood into his (remember we’re Vampires) and told him of some fun people we’d meet later tonight… yes, we’re Vampires remember.

But no matter what you are, if you’re a little bit of human you can get the blues. Werewolves get it bad. Regular Humans get it really bad. We just need to be sensitive and help those who have it. Just telling someone to snap out of it is like telling someone with a broken arm to snap out of it.

Andy asked about my blog post, the silly stuff I was writing about hidden stories. We takes about our family, my kids, or brother Aaron’s kids, our pets, music, his work and a lot of other things. He ran his hand through his long brown hair and closed his eyes then gave a slight shake of his head, as he does sometimes.

He takes my hand. “Thanks Jewels, I’m going to be fine.”

“I know,” I tell him. He’ll be fine as long as he remembers that it isn’t him. It is something else. He told me that a long time ago.

So anyway, we have a lot to do so we’ll get on with our fun.

Hope everyone has a good weekend full of love and understanding and good coffee.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Frogs, Rain, and Finding Unexpected Company Under the Floorboards: Keeping in the Light

In the land of eternal drought it has been raining. It has been raining a lot.

The rain means frogs around my house. From May to October we get very little or no rain. In the summer most of the frogs go underground into their mud shells and wait for the rain. A few come up to my deck and hang out in the planters, or hide underneath the front porch in the hot weather but most vanish under the ground.

Anyway right now their chorus is deafening at night. They’re called Sacramento Valley Chorus Frogs. Really. That is what they’re called. They’re tiny little things with huge voices.

My dog lets me know when deer and coyotes come into the field behind my house. There are always turkeys. If I look up into the sky I can see eagles, hawks, and a large assortment of song birds. If I go outside the humming birds will buzz around my head. The hummers are fearless because they know nobody can catch them.

Occasionally my brother Aaron will call me to help distract some old dried up shadow creeping Vampire from a building. His friend Austin Durant, a Vampire Hunter, often is along. The only reason they call me is because I’m not afraid and I’m the only one small enough to get into most of the tight places under houses and in attic walls.

I guess the point is that even when it is raining or seems like nasty out nobody needs to stay hidden behind walls. I wonder why my brothers, friends, and I choose to Vampires who live in the real world, and others crawl away and hide. Sometimes they hide for years, until they dry up, like frogs who live in a drought for a hundred years.

There are regular people like that too, living like the frogs who get stuck in the hardened ground forever.

If you know anyone like that you need to go water them. Bring them out. Let them sing their songs again.

Then again, if they’re Vampires, leave that to the experts. Let me know and I’ll hook you up with someone who can help. You don’t want to mess with Vampires.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Rain and Frogs

One of our frogs. They’re tiny. You could fit 6 or more in the palm of your hand.

Dark Days, Ghosts, and Inspiration

coffee

Coffee with Vampires, Ghosts and Poe

I’ve been having a bad case of Empty Nest Blues lately. Yes, even without any kids in the house, or kids almost out of the house, I can do anything. Right? Yes, but like everything else it is always complicated with me. As I brooded about my lack of brood and lack of inspiration my brother Val stopped by for coffee.

As I filled the French Press with hot water, Val grabbed cups and poured in a shot of blood and half/half in each cup. He put two packages of Equal in his, one in mine.

“Dark day?” He asked.

“I feel frozen. But I’ll be fine. Tell me about your sorry existence.” That was a joke. Val has a lovely existence, especially for a Vampire.

We sat and talked about a lot of things. I thought about being inspired to be inspired.

I poured more coffee into my cup and posed a question to my brother. “What if Edgar Allen Poe had lived. He died in 1849, so he might have heard of the gold find in California. What if he’d live and come to California? What if he’d continued to write and eventually met Bret Harte and Mark Twain? What if he’d met Lotta Crabtree? What if he’d met us?”

“Imagine him on the ship with our parents. That would have been fun.”

“Poe would have loved them.”

“He would have ended up becoming a Vampire. Mom would have made sure of that.”

“Maybe,” I said. “He was so odd and broken, but he shouldn’t have died. I think he was murdered.”

“That’s the rumor.”

One idea leads to another, and I make mental notes for stories, books, and artwork that I think a lot about and might someday create, or finish, or forget. The thought is depressing, or exciting depending on who is thinking it. If I’m thinking it right now it seems vague and somewhat depressing, and impossible, and overwhelming. Tomorrow it might be another answer.

As we talked, and my mood brightened and became more hopeful, Val and I looked out the window into my back yard. We could see the ghosts, Nigel and Mary by the fence. They were dancing to music we couldn’t hear. Being ghosts, dealing with their own deaths, and murders, had taken a toll on both, but they pulled themselves out of their own broken fog and made a life after death for themselves. Love will do that. Don’t get me wrong, Nigel is still a major asshole, but sometimes I see that light I know he had when he was alive. Like with Poe, I wonder what he would have achieved had he lived. He’d be fifty-eight now, had he not died in 1986.

Nigel looked up at us and waved at Val. Then he looked at me. Our eyes locked, and he flipped me off. Then Nigel and Mary vanished, as she continued to dance, and he glared at me.

I can relate to the songs and dances of the broken. These are not all sad songs. They’re just songs of those who have maybe had more complex paths to wander along.

Val had always been along my path with me, but we’ve taken side trails alone.

But like with my brother’s visit, I always circle around and return to the joy and love of my family, my friends, and of my imagination.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

don't be a ghost

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/broken/

 

 

 

Another Rainy Day (or Night)

Maybe it is the gray weather, or just changes, or nothing, but the gray mood of Winter continues, way past the first day of Spring.

Anyway, my jeans and sweatshirt were still wet from going out in the rain, as I looked up #vampires on Twitter just out of curiosity. It was all fangs, dripping blood, sexy hot male Vampires, and a lot of violence. Seriously, I’m always up for the sexy hot male Vampires, but you know, after kids, and pets, and business, and taking care of stuff at home… I don’t have time for that. I don’t have time to drip blood all over my clothes, try to get the stains out, go shopping for new clothes, etc, etc, etc. Oh, and not to mention getting the damn stuff out from under my fingernails. I find a friendly neck or a wrist. I keep it clean and simple, I go on. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I have a life. I don’t have time for the drama right now. And it is raining. Hard. Really hard.

I spent the day driving around in the car with an 85 pound German Shepard. She slept most of the time while I made all of my stops. It wasn’t interesting. No Vampire councils, no visits to any clairvoyants, no tight skirts and red heels (Vans today.) We went to the used book store, the post office, Trader Joe’s (yes, there is stuff there I need), to the high school, and then Dutch Brothers (where they can make anything sugar free for Vampires who as you well know love coffee.)

So I’m looking up different hash tags because I’m tired of political crap today and trying not to get sucked down the rabbit hole even more… don’t leave me because there is a story here…maybe.

My brother Andy called. Andy lives in San Francisco, in St. Francis Woods no less. I live near Sacramento. Andy is eight years my elder but who’s counting. We’re both over 15o years old so birth order doesn’t always matter at this point.

I hear Queensryche playing Another Rainy Night in the background. The band wasn’t there, Andy was playing it on an unknown device. I mention that because my brother Andrew is an insanely talented musician.

“Oh sweetie, did someone break your heart again?” I had to ask.

“No, it’s just the rain. I’m thinking about the loves I’ve lost over the years. Far far too many to count.”

“I know Andy,” I said.

“Maybe it isn’t even that. It is just a bad day. You know when it just hits you like a wave and every cell in your body feels like it is just going to stop.

“I know,” I said. Depression. It never makes sense. “You should call James. Tell him to bring the Unicorn over,” I said. I hate Andy’s friend James, but he always seems to snap Andy out of his moods. James is so sexist that he’d make the entire Trump administration look like members of the Pantsuit Nation. Jokes aside, he would. He also has a Unicorn. A real Unicorn. Nobody can resist the cheering charm of a Unicorn.

While I’m talking to Andy there is a knock on the front door. Then I hear our brother Val (almost a twin we’re so close in age) call out “Hey, Jewels.”

I put the phone on speaker and he talks to Andy. Val can always cheer up a room with his infectious laugh. You know, that sort of horse funny laugh that young men have (despite his 158 years.) Val is charming and soon we have Andy out of his gloom, at least we hope. In fact I invite Andy on our Spring Break adventure to the mountains and snow, but at least it will be beautiful and he won’t be alone.

We’ll have a weekend of quiet beauty and maybe even a bear sighting or two. They (the bears) are just coming out of hibernation, and for some unknown reason they always cross my path. These are black bears mind you, but I have had a grizzly cross my path before. That will scare even the most hardened Vampire, and even Werewolves. One does not mess with the one who is at the very top of the food chain.

I tried to think of another song to suggest to Andy, but by then he didn’t seem so depressed, but in an hour it might come back, but it might not. I tell him to resist, to tell it no, to not allow it in, not to embrace it, not to acknowledge it, or let it see him. It lurks around like a mean little demon who scuttles silently along the walls, waiting, watching, hungry to suck out as much as one’s soul as it can.

Then I think of the quiet woods, and know that we’ll find peace this week, along with laughter and love. No #scaryvampires. Just #lovedvampires.

Have a great weekend everyone. Find your peace.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman