Additional Reminders

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I was sitting here and a pop up message popped up on my screen.

You haven’t written anything yet.

Thanks, but I don’t need any additional reminders.

Seriously, I don’t need any reminders right now, or ever.

I hate compute pop-ups. It just makes me feel hate. It is worse than the hate I feel when I see commercials with inappropriate music. You know like when Microsoft used “Start Me Up” and some clueless marketing asshole decided to show a small smiling girl using a computer right before the lyrics “You make a dead man cum.”

Aside from stories about raccoons scaling tall buildings (yes that is a real story) I’m trying to stay away from news stories concerning politics. I don’t need any reminders about any of that. I have yellow jackets to deal with.

You’d think it would be easy being a Vampire. You know, you just lurk around, sneak into rooms and drink blood, occasionally scare someone, and watch out for Vampire Hunters, but it isn’t like that. Jeez, not at all. Wouldn’t that be a horrible existence? Sort of like being a Zombie or more like a politician. You know, all dead and rotten on the inside with no feelings except the desire to feed and create a brood of sniveling bootlickers. And I’m talking both sides of the barbed wire fences they put up to keep their camps in line.

The yellow jacket sting burns and has put me in a temporary bad mood. Can you tell?

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Several other things have also put me on edge but … but it will be a good day. My wonderful 84 pound shadow of a dog is with me. Despite the asshole yellow jackets my yard is beautiful (I’ll post photos later.) I feel creative. OK not this second because I’m venting, but I’m feeling creative. My kids are driving to the coast for the day and I’m happy for them. My husband was in a good mood. Nobody was eaten by coyotes last night (at least not anyone I know.)

Alice

My dog Alice

So what is bugging you today? Feel free to vent. Or better yet, feel free to share something good that is going on. We could all use some of that.

Sometimes it is good to have a reminder, but nobody wants to be bugged by yellow jackets or by their own computer.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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Bloom

Even Vampires get the blues, but nothing so bad that some flowers won’t fix it. I dare say I don’t live in a black house with dead plants in the yard. OK I’ll admit that everything in the yard used to be dead but not anymore. I’ve spent the past three years digging in the river rocks rolled in a light dusting of dirt and managed to make something of it. The key has been to plant so that something is always blooming.

These are my flowers. The gray one is Oscar the cat.

 

 

But one can never have too many flowers in their world.

A few weekends ago I took the old ones Eleora and Tellias out to see the world. I had to get them out of their old musty house and into a bright spot. We went to the Sacramento Orchid Show.

Eleora wore satin red shoes. These were old shoes that she’d used years ago for ballroom dancing. She’d tied silk orchid flowers to the straps. She matched it with a red skirt decorated with appliqué poinsettia and snowflakes. With that she wore a yellow lace blouse. I asked her about her choice of a Christmas skirt.

Eleora looked at me with almost an eye roll and said, “Flowers. We are going to a flower show. This is a flower skirt.”

I didn’t argue. Tellias wore his usual yellow flip-flops, black dress pants, and a white tuxedo shirt with rolled up sleeves. He’d trimmed his pale blonde hair from just below his shoulders to collar length. It had kind of a wave in it now that I hadn’t seen since the 1960’s.

Lola, my great great great great great grandmama also came along. She is quite a bit younger than Eleora and Tellias, but still ancient in her own right. She wasn’t wearing anything unusual, just jeans and a pretty shirt like just about everyone else at the orchid show.

But all in all we looked like a group of nice young people. Tellias and Eleora appear to be in their late teens or maybe twenty or twenty-one. Lola looks forever twenty-five, and I look just slightly older, even thought I’m the youngest of the group at a mere 158.

I watched as Eleora and Tellias went off by themselves, huddled over each orchid plant in awe of the beauty of the unusual blooms. They talked over each other, hummed, sang a few songs, held hands, and occasionally gave each other a quick kiss. I kept a sideways eye on them just to make sure they wouldn’t do anything too odd. They were indeed a beautiful and strange pair who positively glowed over the sight of the orchids. If anyone did look at the couple they’d usually smile. How could they help but smile at those two.

Lola and I walked behind them admiring the plants and catching up with each other. She mentioned her ex-husband, her first, was alive. She thought he was dead. Of course she hadn’t seen him in about five hundred years, give or take a few. She had no intention on seeing him ever again. I asked if he had an Internet presence and she told me no. That isn’t unusual for Vampires. A lot of them go on the Dark Web for obvious reasons, or they’re like me and don’t give a crap what people think. Nobody believes any of this shit anyway, but there is an element of truth in it all – more than an element. But back to Lola…

“You need to let go of him,” I told her.

She took my arm in hers and led me to a giant yellow orchid. “That is so beautiful. I need get one of those. I’ve been trying to keep up the greenhouse. It keeps Eleora and Tellias active. They can putter around and sing little ditties to the flowers to make them bloom.” She led me over to a grouping of pink orchids. “These too. Eleora loves pink. We’re growing herbs too. Back when I was married to him we grew oranges and lemons in a greenhouse. It was too cold to grow them outside.”

“Why’d you leave him?”

“Not why you’d think. He wasn’t cheating on me or cruel to me. He was just such an asshole. So full of himself. And he was violent even for a Vampire. I didn’t like his friends either. The passion was there but… always the passion, but I got tired of fighting and making up all the time. I got so tired of all of the drama. When I met Thomas, my next husband it was like a glowing ray of moonlight. He was so kind and gentle, and he was funny. He made me laugh. And there was also great passion like every Vampire woman dreams of. Then… I just don’t understand. Thomas was burned alive as a witch, and that asshole still lives on.”

She has told me this story over and over and over, for my entire existence. We all have friends and family members like that. And as they get older they tell the stories more often. I try to keep Lola, Eleora, and Tellias involved so that they have new stories to tell.

Than again Lola’s current boyfriend is thirty nine years old. You wouldn’t think it would work but it does. I wouldn’t want my son or daughter to get involved with a much older Vampire, but Lola and Cody went in without one taking advantage of the other. Plus Lola has always been diligent about keeping up with the modern world.

As a parent I’ve always kept up with current culture. There is nothing worse for a young adult to have a mom or dad who is still living in 1984.  Parents owe it to their kids to keep up with everything from music to fashion to movies and everything else that is going on. If your kid is politically involved you need to be too. Share your music – new and old. You’ll be surprised how many things you both like. Keep an open mind. It will keep you young.

Despite their age (well over 2,000 years) I’ve always believed keeping an open mind is one of the things that has kept Eleora and Tellias young. Nobody wants to be a musty dank old Shadow Creeper and sit around in rotting Victorian clothing drinking thick days old blood in chipped old china cups. That isn’t just good advice for Vampires. It is good advice for everyone.

Tellias and Eleora bought twelve new orchids for their greenhouse. Lola texted Cody and told him to meet us later for wine on the back deck. I called my husband Teddy to do the same.

No matter who you are, or what you are, make it a goal to keep growing and blooming. And have fun, no matter what your age.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Short Story Sunday: Fall Garden

 

So I’m digging away, trying to put in some sort of flower beds in my rocky garden. It is foggy. It is cold. And I am not amused. That is what happens when you live in a house built on gold mine tailings. Rocks. Nothing but river rocks coated in a tiny bit of dirt and a shit load of weed seeds.

I’ve got the pick ax out, and I’m jamming the shovel in a hole, with the cold nose of a ninety pound German Shepard in my face, when I FINALLY get the last rock loose before I can plant a small dwarf lime tree. The dog goes nuts. I push her away and pull out the rock.

It isn’t a rock.

It is a skull.

A human skull.

Shit.

My son comes out with a fresh cup of coffee for me (did I mention it was cold.) He looked at the skull and then calls up to the house.

“Hey Dad, she found another one.” Then he turns to me. “This one is small. Man, woman, or child?”

I toss the skull in my garden gloved hands. “It might be a woman but you never know.”

“Want me to put it with the others?”

“Sure,” I said, handing the skull to my sweet teenager.

I could hear him in the side yard opening the 50 gallon Rubbermaid storage container, and dropping in the skull.

He came back to me after about a minute. “Hey Mom, the container is almost full.”

I took a deep breath. “That’s a lot of skulls.”

He gave me an uncomfortable look. “It sure is. Who do you think they are?”

I put my arm around his waist and gave him a hug. “I have no idea. But thanks for the coffee sweetie. Let’s go in. I think I’m done out here today.”

 

~ End

 

Tangled Tales

 

 

 

Vampire Diary: Pumpkin Spice

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Dear Diary,

I do not understand these large vegetables called pumpkins.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

Tonight I went out for a bite to eat. It was night. Late night. I had gone to the usual night spots and had, what do people call it these days, oh yes, I had a snack or two. Small bites. Wanting more, and wanting something good I went to a tavern owned by a woman called Cassie.

I walked her home, nearly crazy with her warmth and the sweet smell of her blood. The night was cool with the change of the seasons. It was the autumn solstice. I was hungry.

Once inside of her house she grabbed my shirt and kissed me. I shared her embrace, hardly able to contain myself. Then she smiled and said she had to go to the bathroom. I waited, and decided to remove my shirt thus showing of my well chiseled muscular male form that few women can resist. I believe I have what people call a six pack. I do not understand it but I will accept it is a good thing.

Cassie appeared, still with a smile, completely naked, and completely beautiful. She approached me and put her hand on my chest.

“You’re cold Vlad,” she said.  Then she pressed her body next to mine. I kissed her. She sighed and pressed closer. Then just as I was ready to sink my fangs into her neck she stepped back away from me. I did not understand. Why did she step back from me?

The woman smiled and said, “Do you know what I want Vlad?”

“I assume it is me,” I said.

“I do want you Vlad, but first I want a Pumpkin Spice Latte.”

I did not know what to say. I, Vlad, King of Vampires, was speechless.

“Vlad,” said the beautiful naked Cassie, with a laugh, “you look so cute when you’re surprised. Damn, you always look cute.”

Cute. I do not understand this cute anymore than I understand this pumpkin spice. Kittens are cute. Babies are cute. I am not a baby or a kitten.

And now I find myself resistible. That is not a good thing. No woman should be able to resist me. I am after all Vlad the Vampire King. I ran my hand through my golden hair, and glared at her with my hypnotic blue Vampire eyes.

“What is this Pumpkin Spice Latte you desire?” I asked.

“Coffee flavored like Pumpkin Spice,” said Cassie.

“Vegetable flavored coffee? Why would you rather have that when you can have me? Would you rather I be a vegetable?”

She laughed again and called me cute again. I walked a few blocks to an all night coffee shop and obtained two Pumpkin Spice Lattes. All the while I was thinking that I should have stayed locked in the crypt in which I was imprisoned for three hundred years. On the walk to Cassie’s house I tasted one of the lattes. Stepping into an alley I vomited blood and Pumpkin Spice for ten minutes. Vampires should not drink Pumpkin Spice.

When I returned Cassie was wearing a robe over her naked body. She thanked me for the concoction from Hell. I debated whether to stay or go. She said the drink was good. Then she said I would be good too. I decided to stay.

I was exceptionally good.

I still feel ill

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

I could not sleep today. Dreams of my home being overtaken by vines heavy with pumpkins, pounding on the windows, with tendrils clawing at my doors, filled my head.

Looking out my window I saw no pumpkins yet my thoughts were still troubled. Knowing my friend Randolpho would be awake I drove to his house to find solace.

My dear friend greeted me at the door and welcomed me in. His home was cool and dark. The experience made me feel relaxed. Then suddenly I was overcome with nausea.

I looked towards Randolpho who was lighting candles.

“What madness is this?” I cried.

“Pumpkin Spice candles. Bath and Body Works is having a sale. I love their fall scents. There is nothing like blood and a little Pumpkin Spice to make one feel positively warm with Vampire comforts,” said Randolpho.

“Are you out of your mind my friend?” I said. I glared at the candles and made the flames go dead.

“What crawled up your ass?” said Randolpho.

“You do not need to be crude Randolpho. That smell makes me sick,” I told him. Then I related the story of the night before.

“Vlad, my friend,” said Randolpho, “it was not the flavor that made you sick, it was the milk in the latte. You know Vampires can’t drink lattes. Now if the coffee had been black…”

“Stop. I want no more talk of this,” I said.

“Fine,” said Randolpho, giving me that look he gives me when he thinks I am being unreasonable. “I am going to the plant nursery on the hill to buy bulbs.”

“Bulbs. Pray tell why would a plant nursery sell bulbs unless you are growing marijuana…” I said.

“No, TULIP bulbs,” said Randolpho. “Fall bulbs, like tulips, daffodils and crocus. Those small fall wonders that when put in the ground explode into a riot of color and true beauty.”

Tulips. Oh how this modern world amazes me. I remember  when tulips were rare and as valuable as the rarest jewels.

Once as a ransom for his idiot son, who wanted to become a Vampire, a Dutch merchant gave me four rare tulip bulbs. It was the year 1635. I remember it well.

I planted the bulbs in pots and nurtured them. In the spring the small brown eggs of earth (as I liked to call them) produced magnificent blooms of purple and white stripes, red, and yellow. I invited all in my castle to come see the flowers. Then out of nowhere came Baskall Kirflint, a Vampire with great wealth, good looks and an ugly temper. He demanded that I give him the hand of my sister, or he would steal her away and have his way with her.

I told him, “Baskall Kirflint, my sister does not love you, nor will she ever love you. Your unpleasant ways and foul temperament reminds her of a spoiled child. She will not have you, and I will not force her to be with you.”

Baskall Kirflint snarled at me showing his fangs. Then he knocked the tulip pot to the floor and ground the bulbs and blooms with the heel of his boot into my Persian carpet.

“Be gone from my sight,” I said. Then I told my guards to send him on his way knowing there was a full moon that night. The Werewolves ate him, all except his head which was still alive. I put his head on a pole on my castle wall so he could watch the world without being able to be in it. That was a mistake for Baskall Kirflint yelled insults from his bodiless lead to all who passed. I threw his head into the fire pit in the castle court yard that night and ended Baskall Kirflint.

“Remember Baskall Kirflint?” I said to Randolpho.

“What an asshole,” said Randolpho. “In the five hundred years I’ve known you I don’t think I’ve ever seen you go angry.”

“Seven hundred,” I said, “but who is counting.”

Then we both laughed.

After putting on sunscreen and donning our dark glasses we went to the plant nursery on the hill to obtain tulip bulbs.

I have no words, or almost no words for my joy when I walked into the plant nursery building. Bin upon bin was filled with tulip bulbs in every color imaginable. Along with tulips were daffodils, narcissus, crocus, and freesia bulbs. I imagined the fortune I would spend in this place, then saw that the bulbs were inexpensive. Six bulbs were the price of a pair of socks.

I filled my cart with bulbs of all colors, but mostly red. Then Randolpho said we must look at more things. As we walked along rows of trees, blooming shrubs and flowers, two women looked at us. One whispered to her friend, “they make a cute couple.”

Randolpho just laughed. I was not amused, but wondered at the ignorance of these women. If two men look at flowers why do modern people assume they are a couple. I am still trying to figure out the modern world but make an attempt to not fall into branding people with stereotypes (my new word for this month.) Randolpho told me to get over it. That is another expression I refuse to use. I told him so.

As we continued to walk through the beautiful rows of flowers, herbs, and shrubs we came upon a sign that said, “Pumpkins Are Here.” What madness was this?

In front of us were piles and rows and mounds of pumpkins in every shape, size and color. There were gourds that looked like small monsters. There were pots shaped like pumpkins with grinning faces.

Randolpho picked out a few of the unusual pumpkins to bring to his house.

“What are you going to do with those Randolpho? You are not going to eat them, I know that to be true,” I said to my friend.

“I am going to decorate with these pumpkins. Then when the fall is over and Yule Time comes I will cut up the pumpkins and feed them to the squirrels and deer,” said Randolpho.

Now I am at home with two large bags containing over one hundred flower bulbs. It cost me less than one hundred dollars for all of them. I did not, would not, bring home any pumpkins.

I went back to sleep and had dreams of red flowers and Cassie’s hot red blood.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

It is now snowing in the mountains which I can see from my home. I think of the winters long ago when I lived in a castle. I think of standing on the high tower lookout with the cold wind in my hair, and soft flakes of cold snow falling on my face.

People in my neighborhood are starting to celebrate the cool air by putting scarecrows, wreaths of gold and orange leaves, and pumpkins on their porches.

Everything is different now. Different than it was centuries ago when I was King of the Vampires.

I sent my sister a text on my phone. I have learned to do that. It is a valuable tool. I send her a photo of the tulip bulbs. She sent back a message with three red hearts. Do I dare say that was cute? I told her that I would save some for her. I told her how excited I was about the bulbs.

Then she texted, “Do not lose your head over it.”

And I texted back, “LOL.”

I am feeling as if I belong to the modern world, even if I do not appreciate the cult of Pumpkin Spice.

~ Vlad

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This is #33 of the Vlad’s Vampire Diary series. For the entire series, from the beginning, CLICK HERE. ~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Vampire Diary: Two lips in the dark of the night

Dear Diary,

Today I went in search of tulips, those small packages, when buried underground, turn into beauty beyond compare when spring comes. It is as if by magic that they grow from the cold ground and bloom in a riot of color.

In 1636 my friend Petris traveled from Holland to my castle in the East and presented me with a box full of what looked like tear drop shaped balls of light wood. They were rare tulip bulbs, brought to me with great cost. Oh the magic of these flowers amazed me. It was beyond magic for it was real.

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Petris who brought me tulips. I wonder if he would be called cute by modern women? I imagine he would. I imagine his head would explode with pride. I imagine women would want his two lips (see, I can make a joke.) He would laugh. I will ask him.

I drove to a place called a nursery. There are no babies or children there, only plants and tools.

At the nursery were bins full of bulbs. There were tulips of colors I could never imagine. There were crocus, iris, and daffodil bulbs. I stood in wonder. Never before had I seen so much spring before me, waiting to be planted in the ground then come alive again, beautiful and surreal – like Vampires of the plant world.

As I chose my tulips of many colors and put them in the large metal basket on wheels I had a feeling I was being watched.

Two women stood next to me with smiles on their faces.

The one with the silver hair and young face spoke first. “Those tulips will be beautiful. You have so many. Are you planting a large space?”

“I did not think of space,” I said. I had eighty tulip bulbs in my metal basket on wheels.

“You look like you work in the garden a lot,” said the one with blonde hair and large brown eyes as she glanced at my arms.

“No, I am new to this gardening hobby. I love tulips, and other bulbs of springtime.”

“That is so cute,” said the silver haired one. “I bet you spend a lot of time at the gym.”

I smiled without fangs and made my blue eyes sparkle. That move has kept me fed for centuries.

“Very sweet,” said the blonde haired one. “Don’t forget to put them in the refrigerator for up to six weeks before you plant them. They need a hard frost to bloom well.” She touched my arm in what I have come to know is a friendly reassuring way. “You’re so cold.”

“I will warm up soon enough,” I said, knowing now what I would be doing for lunch.

After I arrived at my home I closed the curtains and put on soothing music using vinyl discs. I took the tulip bulbs in my hands and cooled them. There is no need to wait six weeks when one is a Vampire.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

I planted my tulips. While I was digging in my yard one of my neighbors came out and asked me if my cat had died.

“My cat is not dead. I am planting tulips,” I told him.

He looked surprised. “At 1:00 a.m.?”

“I will not get sunburned,” I told him.

People are weird. I do not understand them. Why would he ask me if my cat was dead?

So I wait six months for my tulips to grow and come to life, like beautiful children buried under the dirt for a long winter nap.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

Today I looked at where my tulips are planted. They are still underground.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

I was out in a public place, a bar, where there are many people. I sat at the bar listening to the talk around me. I could hear all that was said. The people spoke of their places of work. They spoke some of politicians who lust over power and say stupid things.  They mostly spoke of their romances. Then I turned. I overheard other Vampires.

They sat in a dark corner, with their heads close together. They spoke of a Vampire who had gone to a home where old people lived because it was easy. If the old person died it would not seem odd. The Vampires in the corner had removed this Vampire from the house of old people. They had taken him to the river and put a stake in his heart. They threw his ashes into the water.

I approached them. They all looked up, two males and one female. They were Vampires who hunted other Vampires. They could tell I am older and hold great power. This is not because of how I look but it is just something Vampires know.

I smiled, “Good evening.” I brushed back my golden hair. “I am Vlad.”

The looked at me in surprise. We talked. They said they were honored. I told them that now instead of ruling armies and keeping order, and keeping the law of Vampires, that I lived with a cat, and was gardening.

They laughed. They thought I was making jokes with them. I will let them think that.

The woman, a young Vampire in her 70’s told me that she didn’t expect me to be so cute. What is it with this cute? I asked her. She smiled and giggled like a school girl. There she sat in black leather with a knife strapped to her leg under her skirt, and she giggled.

We spoke of many things including the local Vampire community. I have been quiet. Most Vampire do not know I am here. Most do not know I exist anymore. After a while a young woman approached our table. I knew her. She and her friends are regulars at the bar.

She smiled at my friends then at me. Her name is Brittany. “Vlad, when you’re done here come join us,” she said. I told her that I would be there in a short time.

I reached into my satchel. “I have something for you before I go.”

“I never thought the King of Vampires would carry a man-purse,” said one of the Vampires.

“It is a satchel. Do not ever call my bag a man-purse,” I said freezing their hearts. Out of the bag I took my treasures. In front of each Vampire I set three tulip bulbs. “Plant these. They are blood red. Make sure you put the pointed side up or they will not grow. In the spring they will wake, like Vampires, beautiful and fresh.”

Then I went and joined my female friends.

In the early hours of the morning I opened my eyes in the bed of Brittany. Everything in her room was covered in flowers. The sheets on the bed were covered in flower patterns. Flowers were in vases on the furniture. Flower paintings were on the wall. I took this as a sign perhaps.

She ran her hand across my chest, up to my face, then curled her fingers in my hair and then brought her two lips to mine. “This is the last time I’m going to see you Vlad. You’re sexy and cute, but I’m getting married in a few weeks. I won’t be able to explain the punctures and bruises on my neck anymore.”

I was but a toy. But I knew that. I got what I wanted. She got what she wanted.

I left behind a dozen tulip bulbs with instructions on she could grow them in pots. I wished her well.

Walking down the street in the cool night air did not take the warmth of her body off of me. It has been that way for centuries. I am a Vampire. I am cold. But I am cute so women love me. Women love cats. Cats are cute. They love babies. Babies are cute. Babies are not always cute. I will never understand cute.

After being locked in a crypt for three hundred years I often find this modern world confusing. Yet, it is never dull. It is never uneventful.

I will miss Brittany. Her blood tasted like cherries mixed with a hint of thyme. But there will be others. There will always be others, but tonight I am out of tulips. The sun is coming up and I must get some sleep. And I will call Petris to find out what other wonders he discovered while I was locked in my crypt.

~ Vlad

 

Tulips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until you are nothing

Tomorrow I shall start to kill

Poison

Strangle

Hack away

Until you are nothing

Bare ground

Where you were

I have always hated you

Your drive for attention

Your needs

That could never be met

I will bring in dirt

To cover any last trace of you

And I will plant

Roses

Lilly of the Nile

Rosemary and Sage

Farewell hated lawn

My revenge on you will be swift

And final.